Copy This Image: James Bond Inspired Self-Portrait

If you like photography you probably like to watch movies. I’m a big fan of watching movies and one of my favorite series is the James Bond’s one. The posters for those movies have usually included the main hero holding a pose with a gun and they are now pretty much classic images. That led me to try and replicate one of those images.

I’m the first to admit I’m not the most photogenic guy, but I also wanted to tackle a self-portrait project using a technique that was new to me. Let me explain the whole process.



I wanted to replicate a James Bond image, so I needed to select a specific one. After googling for a while, I chose this one because of the posture that I could replicate, the focal length that seemed to be used (40 or 50mm) and because I liked the black and white finish of the image.

Camera and Lens

Even though I love my DSLR, I went with my mirrorless camera this time. Why? Because it has wi-fi and it can be controlled with a smartphone. This is a key factor as you’ll see later. I then decided to use the EF-M 18-55mm lens.


In the original image, actor Daniel Craig is lighted using two lights, a key light aimed at him, located at camera right; and a background light, used to make the background look uniformly lit. Based on this I decided to use a flash with umbrella on camera right and a flash directly behind me, aimed at the background. I decided to trigger the flashes using the Radiopopper Nano transmitter and receivers, which I’ll write about in a later post.


Renting a studio for such a small project didn’t make sense so I decided to shoot in my apartment, which is very small, so the whole shoot was challenging but doable. I decided to use the space where I usually watch TV. I moved the TV away, set the camera on the tripod and set it to ISO 100, f/5.6 and 1/200 sec, placed the flash for the background light, then the flash with the umbrella, both at ⅛ power and zoomed to 35mm, and got myself ready.


I got myself in position and, controlling the camera with my smartphone through wi-fi, I could set the composition, try my pose, focus and finally take the photograph. Of course, it didn’t work right away but, after just a few tries, I got the pose and light that I liked. I have a copy of the gun used in the James Bond movies, so I tried taking the photograph with both the BB gun and the camera.


Once I had the image that I liked, the post-process was quite simple. I used Lightroom’s B&W Look 5 preset (Color Temperature 12500, Tint 35, Contrast 25, Clarity 25, Saturation -100) and then I moved the Blacks level to 70 because there simply was no detail in the dark areas.



And there you have it! It’s not a perfect copy of the original, but I really liked the end result. I specially liked how I could compose and focus using my smartphone, instead of guessing the focus and then running to my spot with the camera on timer.

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