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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.
Hi! I'm Douglas Kirkland and I'd like to welcome you to On Photography. Today, I want to show you something about studio lighting and shooting and I love this because I have feel I have the most power. You have so much creative possibilities in the studio. I want to give you a few examples. Here's a picture that I did of Jessica Alba. It's done for 20th Century Fox. Comparatively simple. They wanted almost a cosmetic look and I'll show you how we do that. And then here's another example. This is an Italian actress named Margaret Made.
We have one soft box on the front of her and a hair light here. We did not have a hair light before. You have all sorts of creative possibilities. You really do. The potential is very rich when you can work with lights and work your way. But it isn't always in a studio. Because this is interesting. Because here I am on the other side of the world. I'm working in Beijing, not in Hollywood now. And the great actress, Gong Li, is my subject and I was told I had to photograph her in a restaurant because that was going to be my studio for the day.
So as a photographer, you have to be able to invent. At certain point, they said to me, okay, Miss Li is ready for you. And that's when as a photographer you better have your ideas worked out. And in this case, I didn't have a lot of lights or a lot of gear because I couldn't travel with it. But I did have a piece of black cloth. I saw she was wearing black and I thought it would be very dramatic if I put that black cloth over the couch and have her lay on it, and she did it. And that's where this image came from. Different ways of seeing things. Now here's another example. I was doing a poster for the opera, La Boheme, which was playing on Broadway and it was going to be other places as well.
And what I did here is used one single spotlight. Very dramatic, very theatrical because it was for theatre. Very much the type of lighting that you have in a theatre. But more specifically, I'd like to take you in a journey here today with a shoot we're doing with Courtney, and you'll watch how we use lights, how we use the camera, how we use lenses, and how I work with her, and watch the process. So let's get started.
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