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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lighting To Suit Subject and Mood

I think that every photographer has a magic formula for lighting - you know - that particular setup that always works and is always the first one he pulls out of his "bag of tricks".  I do.  But there comes a time when you are presented with something different - something that calls for a different strategy.

After 3 years since learning about strobes and lighting in general, a vast majority of my photographic subjects have been beautiful women - model types.  I can now light them in a snap and direct with confidence.  I've done a few male portraits but they are more of the corporate and formal type of portrait.  Headshots and full body shots in casual or formal clothing. 

This is the first time, really that I have a musician of interesting character, to pose for me for some promotional shots.  The client here is Steve Osman, a well -known British solo-guitar performer.  He was very specific with what he wanted to achieve for this shoot - (1) a few formal shots that simply says he's a guitarist, a few artsy-type of guitar playing close-ups and plenty of outrageous poses and insane-looking ways of playing the guitar.  Basically, he wanted these photos to be eye-catching.

I started with my usual tried-and-tested portrait shooting methods and that usually means medium telephoto lens, and 1 strobe with shoot thru umbrella for soft lighting.  I realized early in the photoshoot that this guy is not the usual cute, young and sexy ladies I'm used to shooting.  I needed a different lighting setup.

While this setup worked quite well, we needed some edge to bring out his character just a little bit more.  So I setup a second strobe behind him right side of the camera with colored gels attached to it - actually they're just some cheap plastic colored folders you can buy in school supply stores.  We tried it with red color but we both agreed that ice blue looked better and perfectly complimented his black leather jacket.  This setup worked quite nicely - even in shots where he has his face turned to the blue light.




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