- Black and white portraiture
- First Studio Portrait Kit
- First Studio BackDrop Support Kit
- BackDrop: 10 x 12-foot grey
- FirstStudio® Portrait Kit
- FirstStudio®: BackDrop Support Kit
The First Studio™ Portrait Kit comes with two lights, two umbrellas, and endless opportunities for creating great portraits. We have covered how to use a key light with a fill light in another lesson, so lets look at some other options.
For certain situations, it is advantageous to use the black and white setting on your digital camera, as it is the only way to "see" without color; observing only the highlights and shadows. Professional photographers used polaroids for years, now we can use our LCD screens!
(Click on any thumbnail image below for an enlarged view.)
To begin, set up the First Studio BackDrop Support Kit and a 10'x12' gray BackDrop. For detailed information on how to setup this kit, we recommend that you view the lesson on Photoflex Lighting School entitled "First Studio BackDrop Support Kit".
Finally, we had the model turn slightly into the light so that the shadow from her nose left a slight upside-down triangle of light on her left cheek. This is known as "Rembrandt Lighting", and serves to give the model a more three dimensional appearance. If properly positioned, a nice highlight will show in the model's left eye.
We wanted to shoot a black and white portrait, so we set the filter mode on our Olympus EVOLT E-500 to Black-and-White. We set all of our exposure settings, focused, and made the first exposure.
In our result (figure 3), we get nice highlights and shadows on our subject's face without any background detail. This is a very nice effect, but restricts the amount of detail information we get from our subject.
While we like the first result very much, it is little on the "arty" side and not really a "classic" portrait. By adding gradated light to the background we can give more information about our subject and still maintain our original lighting scheme.
In figures 4 and 5, we added the second light behind our subject, raised it about two feet over her head and moved it a foot closer to the backgound than the other light. We then positioned the light in the umbrella to get the maximum reflection and no light leak. Then, by changing the axis of this light, we achieved different levels of gradation across our backgound.
We like both images for different reasons and applications. Perhaps a more intimate portrait mood for figure 7 and a professional resume shot for figure 8. It is important to think of the end usage for your image, but is also important to experiment. Photography provides for many "happy accidents", so don't be afraid to color outside the lines. Especially in black and white.
By using black and white as our medium, we have come up with a very striking end result. Our eyes are not distracted by different color variations and the subject is presented prominently. If you have a model and the time, be sure to try other angles or change the lights.