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In the Douglas Kirkland on Photography series, well-known photographer Douglas Kirkland explores a variety of real-world photographic scenarios, sharing technique insights and critiquing the results.
In this installment of the series, Douglas demonstrates how shooting in a studio allows for precise lighting control and consistency. The course begins with a look at the strobes and light modifiers that Douglas frequently employs for studio portraiture. Douglas positions the lights and then shoots a variety of portraits, demonstrating how he works with a model to capture different moods and positions.
Finally, he reviews the best images from the shoot, analyzing the lighting techniques he employed and showing how judicious use of Photoshop can enhance a portrait without making it look unnaturally processed.
So you've seen how we bleach a background, how we get that beautiful dropout white as we call it. But we don't only want that. We want to get more than that out of a shoot and one of the devices we use is a very elementary one. I wanted you to see this. We get this look and it's done in a very simple way and in a very deliberate way, and you keep the flow going. People don't even know that any change has been made and we could change the background paper, yes, and all that sort of thing, but we don't want to take the time because we want to keep the momentum. We want to keep the spirit of the subject going and moving.
What do we do? We'll switch off the background lights. These two lights that have been bleaching the background are turned off. So there's no light on them ,but now what's happened is that background is only being illuminated from these lights up here, our key lights, our key and our fill. There is no other light in the room and that gives you that grey look, and that's the result of having this distance from the background. You could be a stop to two stops darker and this is the look you'll get and this is the image you'll get. And again, you frame up and it's quite beautiful, Just look at this one.
It's very simple and it's how we work and we keep that momentum going. I'm talking with the subject. They almost are unaware that anything has happened but I've gotten a whole new picture. Especially important when I work with a lot of the superstars whom I work with and you have like one hour with them. You want to get as much from that shoot as you can. This is one of the devices we use. So here we are. Courtney is great, she moves, and we usually have music going. And it's not my music. it's their music. If they want to hear Brahms, it's Brahms.
If they want to hear Michael Jackson, it's Michael Jackson, or anything in between. Because it's for them. They must feel good. Your relationship with your subject is very, very important and that's where these images come from. But there's still one more lighting technique that I want to show you. So we'll do that next.
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