More Than Meets the Eyes: The Story Behind This Captivating Portrait

©Samir Zahirovic

Serendipity played a major role in this striking portrait taken by Shutterbug reader Samir Zahirovic. According to Zahirovic, he had only met the model, Izeta Mahmutovic (nicknamed Izzy), a few days before the shoot.

“The combination of red hair and wonderful blue eyes and nice lips was amazing,” he says, “so we decided to do a photo shoot.”

To capture the image, he used a Nikon D600 and an “old” Nikkor 70-210mm f/4-5.6 AF lens at 155mm, ISO 250, f/6.3, and 1/80 second. The lighting for the photo shoot was “very simple,” as just two speedlights with softboxes were used. It is important to note that Zahirovic manipulated the image a bit in postproduction to produce the brilliant colors in her eyes and hair.

“The image was developed in Adobe Camera Raw,” he explains, “with basic improvements such as highlights, shadows, more vibrancy, and a bit more light in the eyes.”

He then used Photoshop to remove small blemishes on her face and finally the Portraiture plug-in to obtain skin smoothness. To view more of Zahirovic’s images, visit his website,

Every month we feature an image in Final Shot from Shutterbug’s online Galleries on