Monday, 1 October 2012

Low Key 1

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Models, a set on Flickr.

(c) Imago Mortis Photography 2012
Model: Zebora

I'm amassing some portable/home studio equipment now that I've got a little bit more room to play with. So far I've invested in a backdrop, but will be soon be adding a continuous light and a speedlight.
However I thought I'd experiment with the ambient light in my room to see how it would work.

Basically I used two lamps: one 60 watt equivalent with an adjustable head to work as a makeshift beauty dish, and another generic low wattage table lamp as well as some read lights to place in the background.
First I posed my willing model Zebora on the bed. We decided to go for an implied topless boudoir kind of look and I turned on the bat lights at the foot of the bed. The adjustable lamp was positioned precariously roughly at a 45 degree angle from the foot of the bed and would continue to be adjusted in terms of position throughout.
I used a 1.8 50mm lens for a shallow depth of field and to let in as much light as possible. The camera didn't quite cope as well as hoped as a stronger light source was needed really. iso noise was an issue as a result of this. However I feel I saved things in post-processing and gave things a moody vintage look with film grain and scratches and slight toning.
I opted to add some selective colour for two reasons; one was that those bat lights looked really out of place in black and white and two, I felt it just gave it a hint of light-hearted gothy-ness. I don't expect everyone to like that choice but photography, like all art, is completely subjective to personal taste.

For the second part of the shoot I set the backdrop up and positioned the adjustable lame on my tripod to the left of Zebora and at a 45 degree angle. The smaller lamp was placed on the floor to the right in front of her to add some upward fill. These I think came off better. The light fell more evenly and the iso noise was a lot less. I still think a stronger light source would have worked better, but what I had did enough to get some very interesting low key shots.
Zebora opted for a burlesque inspired military outfit and appropriated my peaked cap.
Again, I opted for selective colouring as I wanted the image to pop and the pure monochrome shots didn't quite make the outfit stand out as it should. Again I added textures and layers to give it an old-timey look.

There are some more ideas I want to try portrait wise with the one light method, and will probably be enlisting friends and family for some moody, and most likely victorian/edwardian style shots once I get myself a good light.


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