Here are a few of the pictures I took on yesterday’s workshop. I asked Marko to knock them into shape in Lightroom and Photoshop so that I can share some my key picture making thoughts with you.
We explored working with just one light to take simple striking portraits like this one shot against a mid grey paper background. One Broncolor Mobil head in a softbox provided the light.
Marko has kept detail in the shadows in all the photographs in this post, plenty of it. No matter how punchy I want my pictures to get, he maintains the files integrity for me and treats the near blacks with the same importance as the mid tones. However, to contradict my obsession with blacks, I’ve always been a firm believer of the power of white in photographs and for many years I have regularly pushed chunks of my shots into white without concern of holding back detail.
I started the day by blowing a few myths out of the water. This photograph is as shot in camera. The amazing saturation on the background isn't exactly pretty but it does demonstrate how versatile a grey background is. The colour was created by placing a pink gel on a flash head.
Another gel of a different colour on the same grey background. The luminance of the background is set by the power of the flash. The hue is set by the colour of the gel and the saturation is set by both the density of the gel and the shade of the grey background. I used two 3/4 back lights and a soft key for this shot of Chloe.
Another change of gel and a 2 stop cut in the power of the background flash. I used Bowens Gemini Pro heads for this set up.
The same set up as above. Nearly all the shots in this set were taken at ISO 200, 1/125th second at f/11
We had a very colourful shoot session using just our grey background.
Hair and make up play a big part in the final look of studio portraits. Sophie Everett worked behind the scenes to bring style to Lora and Chloe's looks.
I love this simple pose.
Cutting flash power to the background light results in a deep low luminance shade. I used 2 kick lights, a soft key and a pair of Lastolite reflectors to light this shot of Chloe.
I like to match colours in photographs so I chose a peach gel from my box of nearly 60 shades for this shot of Lora.
If it wasn't my grey paper background it was my grey 'Fat Boy' bean bag that filled the frame. Seemingly infinite shades of grey blending seamlessly and with local contrast at the fine detail level produce super files to print. Click on the image to download the high res file of this shot and see what I mean. The exif data is in tact so you can see my settings etc.
Chloe is like an angel in this picture. I used just one light for this shot.
Once we had covered the syllabus topics of hard light, soft light, contrast, exposure, balancing lights, reflectors and flags, it was time to move on to more interesting concepts. We were discussing various images in my 'look book' and came across one with mottled lighting. I looked around the room and saw a potted plant that would fit the bill for this shot. This kind of frame is not new to me but I thought it worth sharing. Lit with 2 Broncolor Mobil lights and a Speedlight on a Pocket Wizard in the cube. One Mobil head was bare faced and shone through the plant onto the background and the other was in my 'Wafer 140' softbox on Lora.
This is a 100% crop of the shot above. 2 Mobil heads and a soft box are fantastically powerful tools when used together.
This shot breaks all the rules but I love it. The way we see and print our photographs has to be unique and the main rule as far as I am concerned is 'if it looks good it is good'.
One last shot to share with you. I shot this using two Bowens Gemini pro monoblocks against the same grey background as the shots above and I added a hint of fill light with a flash bounced off the wall behind me. I used the fill sparingly but it is there and vital in my opinion.
This was my last studio lighting workshop at Imagist Studios. From now on my studio training will be held at my own newly updated studio and limited to just 4 delegates per day. We will have a pro model and a make up artist to ensure we have the chance to capture top flight images. My studio is warm and well equipped. It has over 10 backgrounds available (including grey) so our image making opportunities are endless. If you want to learn how to light portraits join me for the day. The details are here.
Please feel free to comment on the pictures or your experience of the day if you were a delegate.