Ivan Tsupka: Embracing Experimentation in Portrait Photography

All images by Ivan Tsupka. Used with permission.

It’s always important that every photographer working for taxable income also does lots of personal work–as is the case with many getting new gigs from their creative side work. “In 2009, I quite accidentally shot my first fashion campaign for designer Olga Gromova, which at the time I worked as a director.” says Ivan Tsupka, a Ukrainian fashion and advertising photographer whose Construction series . “And gradually began to more and more work in the field of fashion photography. In the last two years I my work is mostly fashion photography related.” Part of this is due to his creative art project–which he describes as being very experimental.


For Ivan, he finds fashion photography to be a great place for him to experiment. Such is the case with his “Construction” series. “During the shoot I decided to experiment with a mix of continuous light and strobes, as continuation of developing my old ideas.” says Ivan. “The first time I did a similar project called ‘Flashing Lights’ in 2009, when I combined the available light in the night streets, and on-camera flash.” This time he tried to combine ambient lighting in the studio and studio strobes to create what he calls a Fluid Body effect.


Here’s how he did it:

My Sony HVL-43AM flash worked in stroboscope mode at 1/64 power, giving weak flash approx. every second. It was the trigger for three Profoto studio flashes with softboxes. As the shutter speeds was around 1.5 seconds it gives me 1-2 flash randomly during each exposure. So I get one or two sharp phases during continuous motion blur effect created by constant ambient light.

Lighting Diagram

Camera – Sony A850,
Lens Sony 24-70 / 2.8 ZA,
Camera setup: f / 16, 1.6 sec, ISO 200

Lighting setup: Sony HVL-43AM as a trigger for 3 Profoto studio strobes with softboxes

I try to work with a small amount of equipment. Now I use a Sony A7R camera with standard zoom Zeiss 24-70. I prefer high-quality zoom lenses, because they give the opportunity to play with perspective in the process of shooting. I like to use the flash when shooting outdoors for a more vivid image. I like sometimes to experiment with unusual techniques and shooting light.

Before and After

The editing of these images is simple colour correction in Adobe Lightroom.

Stylist and make-up: Ekaterina Nikitina

Model – Alina Savarovskaya

Hair – Sergey Cap




Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.