Orchestrating Color & Shadow To Create Painterly Photographic Portraits

Spanish Photographer Miguel Ángel Sánchez is renowned for his use of dramatic contrast between light and dark to create photo portraits in the style of the 17th-century paintings. While working in Cairo, Egypt, he made a series of powerful portraits reminiscent of Caravaggio to capture the transformation of the country before, during and after the Arab spring revolution. More recently, he set up a photo studio in Istanbul, Turkey and continued to develop his style using the Rosco Color Correction Filter Kit and Rosco Cinefoil to portray anonymous individuals and well-known actresses.


“The foundation and method of my work is inspired by painting - not so much in results but more as a work philosophy,” Miguel Ángel comments. “The rich colour palette offered by Rosco filters mirrors the palette of a real painting, which enables me to mix colours and add or subtract the intensity as needed.”

Miguel Ángel considers the Rosco Color Correction Filter Kit an essential tool that he uses not only to correct the colour temperature of the light sources but also to cast colour on the models. “Rosco's Color Correction Filter Kit is the basic tool in my day-to-day work in the studio,” he shared. “It enables me to precisely modify and nuance the colour in LED, flash or tungsten illuminated environments.”

For this particular set of photographic portraits, Miguel Ángel experimented with all of the correction filters in the kit, including CTO’s, Plusgreens, Minusgreens and CTB’s, as well as Rosco Cinefoil to shape the light and create the striking contrast seen in the portraits. “It is understood that the use of filters will greatly determine the colour results in photography,” Miguel Ángel observed. “However, other elements such as the colour temperature setting on the camera and the colour temperature of the lights are just as important. Only by experimenting will we achieve a harmonious blend of the three elements. Rosco Cinefoil is another vital tool I use to generate contrast or create and project shadows.”

“Whenever I go inside the studio,” Miguel Ángel concludes, “I feel like an orchestra director with the same responsibilities. An orchestra is composed of different members, with musicians, instruments and yourself as a director trying to put an order on the initial chaos. The instruments need to be refined and the musicians should be capable to play with precision all at once, so that the melody sounds or intends to sound perfect and communicates directly with the public.” Miguel Ángel continues to orchestrate the elements in his portrait photography - his model, his camera, the light & shadow and his Rosco filters - in the same way.

If you would like to see more of Miguel Ángel’s dramatic photography, make sure to follow him on Instagram: @studiomasg. For more information about the “key instruments” Miguel Ángel uses to create his compelling painterly portraits, explore the Rosco Color Correction Filter Kit and Cinefoil product pages on our website.

All photographs in this article © Miguel Ángel Sánchez

Tatiana Massano December 06, 2018 Questions?

About Tatiana Massano

Content Marketing Specialist: Based in the Madrid office, Tatiana is ideally positioned to share inspiring stories of how customers use Rosco products to accomplish their ideas in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.