A studio portrait session looking into directional lighting to create some moody portraits.
I absolutely love dark and moody portraits and prefer this style of image to the high key effect. Having always admired portrait photographers such as Irving Penn, Yousuf Karsh & Richard Avedon, and more recently Albert Watson, i wanted to study how they lit their subjects and carefully consider which light shaping tools they were using. Snoots, reflectors with barn doors attached, grids and the use of flags are all tools used in the studio to control the spill of light. During my University days i spent a fair amount of time in the studio learning how to shape the light and studying other photographers and how they worked. There is nothing quite like it on a cold and dark november day getting the lights out and being creative. So expect a series of portraits coming over the winter months, the creative hibernation period awaits!\r\n\r\nBut also expect portraiture out on location too as i would like to do a series capturing people in their own environment, getting some context and narrative to get an idea of each individual and the environment they have created for themselves. A studio headshot records their features but does not really paint the whole picture.\r\n\r\nFor this portrait of friend James Phillips i used just two lights, first i aimed a head with 7″ reflector and grid attached, this gave a nice light with a subtle gradient to separate the subject from the background.\r\n\r\nThe main light has a snoot attached which gives that small controlled beam of light onto the face leaving the rest of the head in deep shadow. I converted the image to black & white and added some contrast, and a spot of dodging and burning.\r\n\r\n
For this portrait of Tom i used a beauty dish with grid and diffuser sock replacing the snoot and giving more of a spread of light but still a fairly tight beam, the beauty dish is most commonly used for beauty and fashion, but i like the light that you get with the diffuser sock that softens it giving it a nice soft quality, and the beauty dish always gives you a pleasing round catchlight in the eyes. The background light here is at a very low power to just give a tiny bit of separation from the background.