Shooting Studio Portraits of Strangers on the Street As If They Were Famous

Philippe Echaroux is a young French photographer who makes a living shooting portraits of celebrities (among other things). Recently, he carried out a personal project that had been brewing in his mind for some time: using his celebrity portraiture experience and style for spontaneous portraits of ordinary strangers encountered on the street. The short video above shows how Echaroux roamed around with his small team and set up makeshift photo studios for each of the portraits.

Here are some of the pictures Echaroux captured:

You can find more of Echaroux work, both commercial and personal, over on his website. There are also higher-resolution versions of these portraits over on ISO 1200.

(via ISO 1200)

Image credits: Video and photographs by Philippe Echaroux

  • ISO 1200 Magazine

    One more time thanks a lot!!!

  • Goofball Jones

    Wow, what a totally personal project he did….um….with a team of 6 or 7 other people helping him out.

    Oh and he’s shooting on film! Which instantly shows you he’s a dedicated professional artist and in no way a hipster.

    /sarcasm off

  • Samuel

    Or maybe he just didnt have enough hands to do everything and uses film because of the massively superior quality.

  • ExtremeIII

    Then scans the film to digitalize it & then runs it through some HDR program! Massively Superior quality, yeah right!

  • theperfectnose

    The results are pretty good. On the guys. The chick.. dunno

  • Ayden Gotzmer

    Pretty awesome. Hopefully the people in the photographs got a copy!

  • Phil Echaroux

    Hi mates i am Phil Echaroux this Wad shoot With a digital back but no HDR it givr such noisies images …

  • Samuel

    dont get me wrong excessive HDR makes me mad but just because someone used film doesn’t make them a hipster and just because they have an assistant doesnt make it a group idea

  • Ruth Sotomayor

    love this idea…such beautiful faces that tell a story :)

  • Goofball Jones

    Lol, “massively superior quality”. Now that’s funny!

  • Goofball Jones

    Ah HAH! It WAS shot with a digital back, and not film.

    I stand corrected then.

  • Philip Han

    Hi Phil, I am Phil too. Could you give us a rundown on your editing process? It definitely looks like HDR, or at least something that renders in such a manner.

  • Samuel

    It has been pointed out it was shot with a digital back making this argument moot but nonetheless if it had been shot with im presuming medium format film that has a far greater resolution than even the most expensive camera

  • julian

    Dear me, such hate! Give Phil a break! He had an idea, he went and shot it and was brave enough to put it out there. Well done Phil, thanks for sharing.

  • eraserhead12

    when people shoot female celebrities, their only focus is “let’s make you look as preetty as possible”. which makes for pretty ladies but boring photos. no HDR on that face, it’s gotta look smooth and perfect :P.

  • Goofball Jones

    Well, other than medium format digital cameras.

    You see, there comes a point where you can’t milk any more resolution out of film when you’re butting up against the grain of the film. It’s just the nature of the beast. When I was doing pre-press and we’d scan in chromes from medium format shots, then the art directors want to crop…then crop some more….oh, we really want that little bench in the background way off in the background, crop it to that. Sorry to say, but when doing that, it’s a grainy mess after a while…though it was a look that the guy was going for in that particular case.

    But my point is, film wasn’t this magical end-all/be-all thing. Even medium format. After a while, there’s only so much you can resolve. Though yes, medium format film, as of today, has more resolving powers than 35mm digital. But technology marches forward.

  • 9inchnail

    Hi Phil and Phil, I’m not Phil but I’d also like some clues about the processing.


  • Dave

    I really don’t agree with Goofball Jones underhanded swipe and (misinformed) take on how this was done, but film, long ago, took a backseat to the resolving power of digital. You can do all the math you want, but side by side, high end digital kills high end film.

  • 9inchnail

    “just because someone used film doesn’t make them a hipster”

    Well, some people might beg to differ.

    But calling people hipsters is too mainstream for me.

  • Wolfgang Lonien

    Nice idea and very good photos. But I think the most important aspect of this is the feeling you can give to those people – at least *someone* really cared for them for a moment. Magnifique!

  • studio 17b

    What a great idea! Maybe he’d want to make copies of iconic celebrity portraits but using street people instead, next. That would be interesting to view.

  • BIll HIlly

    photography is boring. Face reality, its true.

  • DafOwen

    Have heard it said that because medium format has such greater dynamic range people used to 35mm can sometimes mistake them for V good/subtle HDR

  • DafOwen

    Fun idea, nice results :)

  • DafOwen

    I think “personal” in this context is in terms of the common professional photographer term: “personal project” i.e. not paid for by a client. No. of people assisting isn’t a factor.

  • David Rychart

    These are fantastic, especially the 3rd one down. Great lighting and facial expression!

  • drissbenmalek

    Great work!

  • 9inchnail

    Yeah, and when they ask for a copy, you start bitching about photo rights and sue them if they use that photo anywhere. You’re still a photographer, act like one. No freebies.

  • notateapartier

    I think you mean your photography is boring.

  • Samuel

    I do understand films MANY limitations, I haven’t worked with it as extensively as you and maybe its just a personal thing but to me a negative (or positive) has a totally different feel to it than a digital photo. Technology is ever changing, film isn’t so i suspect we would agree that at some point in the probably near future digital cameras will surpass the resolution power of even a 25iso 8×10 frame…. I am looking forward to not being able to afford it.

  • suraj

    i really liked the ones of the girl the best. i shoot a lot of medium format film so i can appreciate the muted tones and natural look of the last photo here. i understand these were shot with a digital back, and i think it was a cool idea. i just prefer the natural look you took with the girl. the black and white one at the end of the video was probably my favorite. the one with the men were okay, but the editing is not really my taste. really nice portraits overall though man.

  • Pete Charlesworth

    haters >> die

    Philippe – well done brother. Takes balls to have a go and flick it out in front of the vultures. The way of an artist! So good to see everyone smiling and happy, particularly your sitters.

    Excellent shots and concept – bravo. If you make it to Australia, look me up…

  • Pete Charlesworth

    says you browsing a photography site. troll

  • Anatole

    That so awesome! Love it!

  • Rebecca

    I enjoyed watching this. What a wonderful idea, what were the reactions of the models? What a treat to have at least one really beautiful picture of themselves. The accents and music help with the atmosphere ;)

  • Phil Echaroux

    Thanks Everyone for the friendly comments ! Phil

  • michel panier

    hi ! bravo merci pour ces magnifiques portraits , signé l’indien des photos mp

  • Sabras

    It doesn’t look like HDR but like high contrast, sharpened and edited through high pass filter. And if they were HDR (that they are not), big deal.

    I don’t understand what’s the problem with some photo-phonies regarding this pictures. Probably just cringing because they didn’t take them.

    Great subjects, beautiful character portraits.

  • Allan Brown

    Very enterprising & talented photographer!

  • Tyler Magee

    You should go out and get photos like this alone. then post them :D

  • Tyler Magee

    You should go out and get photos like this alone. then post them :D

  • John Kantor

    Of course this only works because famous people today are shot as if they are homeless.

  • mandy

    Really enjoyed the video nice work. Inspired me to get out and take some portrait on my Bronica.

  • Gabriele Profita

    He’s not shooting film, he’s shooting on a Medium format Hasselblad camera…but with a digital back.
    The worst thing for a photographer is to carry all the equipment, especially if it involves carrying flashes, PSUs and stands….he’s lucky and that’s a freaking expensive set of equipment. I wonder if those people are paid too.
    Try looking for Hasselblad digital backs prices…and also for the price of the Elinchrom Quadra (even though probably he’s sponsored from both so he doesn’t pay anything)!

  • SaveTheWorldGetTheGirl

    Almost all this guy’s photos are over-sharpened and he’s gone crazy with the structure slider. It’s a little tiresome seeing “young photographers” running around with $30,000+ worth of equipment and a crew of people. Give any average photographer this setup and s/he’ll produce similar results…

  • syedmoindoja

    that cigarette smoking hat person is just wonderful..looks like he just stepped out of a steam punk it.

  • jamesbirkbeck

    It looks to me like he has gone with what I think is called the Dragan effect, which makes extensive use of digital dodging and burning tools.

  • Philip Han

    Thanks James!

    I’ve also noticed that his lighting setup does a lot of the work coupled with that technique. Knowing your post-processing abilities and flow before you shoot can be very powerful.

  • Taps Taporco

    In the end, the portraits are stunning and captured some priceless moments. His models will forever be touched by the encounter.