Saturday, July 23, 2016

Portraits in black & white

Recently, I have been exploring a portrait light setup that would create a deeply dramatic look suitable for a large wall print. After some experimenting, I ended up with a single front light, a studio strobe in a small slit bank with a grid on it to keep the light tight. The soft box I have settled on is a small Photoflex half dome fit with an accessory fabric grid. It is only 35" long by 9.5" wide. I place it very high over the subject with a boom stand. This creates deep shadows on the eyes and below the chin with a drop dramatic drop off of intensity on the lower part of the subject. I don't use any fill with this.

On the black seamless background I put one light placed behind the subject. This helps to separate the subject from the background. Later in Photoshop I substitute one of the many textured backgrounds I have. Using the texture layer in Overlay mode allows the texture to blend with the spot lighting in the original background.

This is a rather simple lighting setup, but it creates a powerfully dramatic effect on the subject.

For this shot I used a ring light on the subject instead of the soft box. I also added a low hair light from directly behind . 

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