How Do You Shoot The Same Subject Differently? The Tarantino Approach

I often times hear that portrait photographers will only show 1 person in their portfolio and not to duplicate subjects on their website. I am completely against this idea and urge photographers to be more like Mr. Tarantino, who can transform characters and settings by use of wardrobe, color, and hair. This post is a call for examples of how YOU are shooting the same subject differently. Send me your images and I will post a follow up article with the best suggestions.

Gaining access to great subjects and models can be a struggle, especially if you are starting out and have limited access to wardrobe, hair, makeup, and a crew. This video from Timor Barshtman is a great example of how you can use similar characters and evoke completely different emotion through your use of settings, wardrobe, and hair and makeup. Despite using the same actors in most of his movies, I am never reminded or distracted by other characters from previous movies. Keep this in mind next time you have access to a great model/subject and you want to maximize the amount of portfolio work you can create.

What is your take on approaching the same model completely different? In the comments below answer the following questions:

  1. Explain why you would or wouldn't show two or more of the same model in your portfolio.
  2. What are some of your tricks to make the same person look completely different.
  3. Post a link to some examples, how you did it and add if you would like to be included in the next post.

Don't Forget About The FStoppers Workshop This May. Step Your Game Up And Come Down.


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It all depends if the different images of the same person both add something to the whole of your portfolio.

Here's a recent shoot I did where we had two very different looks and locations :

One location was in a field a few feet from a parking lot at golden hour and the other
was inside her dance studio with an off-camera speedlight in a softbox and fake
falling snow. I wouldn't hesitate to use one of each in my portfolio and I'm guessing a lot of people might not even see that it's the same person if viewed in a portfolio with a bunch of different people.

Photographing food allot for work clients can get challenging and we constantly have to come up with new images of the same products, particularly lately now that Facebook has taken off our clients are often requesting images that work really nicely in Facebook posts without duplicating previous posts too much showing repetition. It's not uncommon for me to spend an afternoon or a day photographing the exact same products using different lighting and different props and sets to get images that look like they were take at totally different locations and at different times, evoking different emotional responses. These donut images ( at the end of this set were a good example of what changing a few simple things can achieve. Not only are location, set and lighting changes important but changing perspective offers a totally different take on things as well.

mmmmmm donuts

I get the point, but try and show 3 different stories to a fashion editor with the same model. They don't see it that way...

I do a lot of selfies so the model is the same. I like to to choose theme for the pictures so I end up with pictures that look different: My blog has lighting diagrams and setup pictures for the most of my (studio) pictures.

Nice stuff!

I think this is the sort of thing the big boys can easily get away with, but new photographers should avoid like the plague; especially if they don't have access to easily recognized celebrities. (e.g. Annie Leibovitz could easily get away with making an entire book of Queen Elizabeth shots, if she wanted.)

As soon as a working amateur reveals the same model peppered throughout her portfolio, your mind can't help but say, "Wow, your roommate is clearly an important part of your work," or, "Yes, I see you're getting your money's worth out of that model shoot you saved up for."

I've been shooting people (with a camera) for a little over a year now, and have struggled to find unique subjects. As vane as it sounds, I don't want my portfolio full of unattractive people, or my photographs to be judged by the consumer based on the model.. with that said, I often struggle with myself when choosing which photo from a set to display. Obviously, this is a good thing for in regards to social media marketing, since it allows for shots from the same set to be displayed to different communities without seeming redundant, etc.... Ironically, most of my best shots of people were done pro bono, and my highest paying - the least attractive people. You can see a few repeats in my gallery currently My solution to this problem - keep shooting

Here is one model who I've worked with several times.We've done different looks and concepts. I would show the same model in my port to show versatility and creativity. I see photographers who basically take the same photo with different models. I like the idea of taking the same model and taking different photos of that model. I personally find it more creative and rewarding. I do this by changing concept, lighting, makeup, and wardrobe. I love the models who can do everything.
Yes I know I have too many photos from each shoot in here but I use this as my dumping ground for all photos.

I too use some of the same models for different shoots.