Photographing classic styled portraiture in the studio isn't something that you need to go overboard on when lighting. Especially when done with a precision to attention and lighting detail.
In a recent photo shoot I had with musician and friend, Freddy B (also known as Professor B), we had the idea to incorporate some classic portraits for the cover art to his upcoming album release, "Tough Times."
In preparation, I first had a vision of how I wanted the final image to look (lighting wise), then had to weigh my options of the best way for me to make it happen. I say "best way for me" because every photographer definitely has their own unique style of working. Everything from their process of preparation, their lighting, and their post-production to fit their image for the final result. I personally wanted to keep lighting this portrait fairly simple, emphasize more on Freddy himself, while knowing I wanted to keep the lighting somewhat dramatic and with contrast.
I focused the lighting set up with an Einstein E640 Flash Unit attached with a 22-inch High Output White Beauty Dish Reflector to camera left. An AlienBees B800 Flash Unit with a 7-inch Standard Silver Reflector, along with a white frosted diffusing gel over the AlienBees B800 setup a little behind the subject (to the right), aimed toward Freddy's back, and lastly, I set up a 4'x6' Sunbounce Pro Sun-Bounce Reflector Kit with a Silver Screen to the right side of Freddy. The purpose of the reflector is to get a little bounce back of light from the beauty dish, as well as bounce back light from the light behind Freddy.
After my post-production process, this is the final image. All post-production was done in Adobe Lightroom 5.
I'd like to reiterate that although this equipment is what I used to create this image, it's not the only way to do so. Sometimes photographers can't afford fancy lighting or fancy cameras and there's nothing wrong with that. It's not about that at all. It's all about how you approach your own style while using your technical skills and own resources to the best of your abilities in creating beautiful images.
To this day, I've learned, and am still learning more and more about lighting and other technical skills by simply trying new ways of approach and follow through. I strongly believe this is what makes all photographers unique in our own way. For me, that's the goal, create your own style and take little bits of knowledge in your travels and put it into effect, and always learning.
This is a formal list of the equipment used. Please feel free to click the following for more information:
- Canon 5D Mark III
- Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
- PocketWizard Plus III
- Einstein E640 Flash Unit
- 22-inch High Output White Beauty Dish Reflector
- AlienBees B800 Flash Unit
- 7-inch Standard Silver Reflector
- Home made, white frosted diffusing gel
- 4'x6' Sunbounce Pro Sun-Bounce Reflector Kit with a Silver Screen
And now, here is a special time-lapse video of our shoot in the studio, photographing Freddy for his album cover.