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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 Courtney, I want you to-- It's all very important how you feel. So I am going to ask you to come here and sit here and just to see if you're comfortable here. You can find your own spot, you can do that or? Oay, now okay, this is great. It is very good, it's very clean and get our fan ready, please. The show is hers at this moment. It really is. So okay, now I have to-- One of the things that interestingly you have to critically ask yourself, and a lot of people miss this.
See how the hair is separating at the back. I don't want that to happen. So Jerry, a little less. Now see how it's improving. This is the picture being created here. This is very cool stuff. What I am doing right now is I am watching her very much, and here we are. Yes, yes, yes, right, good. Okay, great, great, wonderful. That was 11 1/2. Yes, yes, nice, nice, wonderful, wonderful. Yes, yes, I'd like what you'd started to do, that. That's great. This lens is a fairly simple lens.
It goes from 70 millimeters to 300 millimeters and frankly, it's a Canon lens. This particular one, is the Canon 1Ds Mark III camera here. It's not a very expensive lens, but it's a very good one because you can get just about as close as you could ever imagine wanting to get and I am just going to demonstrate that. See what you can do? There is the closest at 300. And then I can go easily to this. So here you can see that as well.
It's all within an instance's change, instant change. Okay, yes, yes, yes. I am sitting on a stool here, which is a device I use, and I am just raising it a fraction. Because I worked as an assistant years ago for a man name Irving Penn. He was one of the people who said don't waste your energy as a photographer if you aren't comfortable. Make yourself comfortable. Courtney, it's you though now. It's all? Irving who? Yes good, great, very good. Yes, yes, yes, nice, nice, yes, yes, yes.
It's almost like a wonderful dance together when you come to this point. You know, you need the intensity to-- Yes! You are good, you are good, you go, wonderful! Okay, assistance! Just connect the back light please. Great! Then read the front quickly. Now we have got the same deal. Okay, now what we're doing here is we got the same picture but with gray light, by just unplugging the backlights. A fast change! Yeah, go ahead, go ahead.
You have to respect everybody. I respect everybody on the shoot because everybody is doing their job. Mandy is in there right now and she saw something and Jerry, move the other one back. Thank you. Yes, yes, yes, okay, you are good. I am going to lower my camera a little. Now Jerry, get ready to plug in that spotlight and to make a spot on the background. Plug it in now. What we have done, we first started with a bleached white background, then we went to a gray background and now we are going to put a round spot right behind Courtney.
And Miranda, move it to camera left so it's behind her body. Okay, come back a little more. Okay, okay, now read the bright area and then read the gray area, please. I am going to give you some numbers that we are doing on. This is the logic of how it's working. We have these strobes. It's all coming off of one 2000 pack Dynalite and we have split the sides so the background is on a separate side from these front lights. So on the front lights, we have lit, so you get the meter reading of 11 1/2 and in the brightest spot in the background, it's 16 1/2, one and a half stops brighter.
In the gray area outside the spotlight, it's 5, 6 1/2. Now you might say, all these numbers, they come together, but truthfully, we are most concerned with what's on Courtney and all the other is just ambience. So it's the ways we work. Okay, yes. I love your hand back if you are just doing, yes, yes, yes. Okay, there you start to see the effect right away. See the effect of the spot. At a time like this, Courtney, what do are you thinking about? Where is your favorite --? Courtney: I feel like getting into-- (inaudible) Douglas: Yeah, Courtney talked to me about maybe becoming a photographer herself someday.
So that's cool. A lot of the great models of the world have become great photographers too and people in front of the lens, the great ones, really understand the process just about as well as any of us. Okay, now Courtney, I am going to ask you, is there a way of sitting maybe a little further back on the table? Just a second, hold the line. Why don't you get up for a second? Let me move this. Is it possible to sit here? I would like to see that shoe, if I could.
Douglas: See how that works. Courtney: I can try. Douglas: I know you will. Douglas: Disconnect... Miranda: White? Douglas: Yeah, go to white please and we will need a lot on the background and a minimum in the front. Do a reading on the front please, and then reading on the background. Jeremy: 11. Douglas: Okay, what do you got on the background? Jeremy: 11 1/2. Douglas: Okay, cool, just what we want. You know what? I am going to need a wider lens. So may I have the lens? Thank you. One of my favorite lenses is the 24-105.
I use a minimum of lenses because I want to go smoothly and quickly and I want to get my attention to the subject, not to the camera. Okay, yes, nice, nice, nice, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Nice, nice, nice, you are looking really good. Yes, yes, yes, Courtney, wonderful. Having fun with it! Yes, yes, yes! I wish there was some music! You are good, you are good, you are good. Yes, yes, yes. Now, what's happening as I shoot here, I am getting excited, I get talking, I have to make sure I don't make errors. I don't bump the f-stop, get the focus off, and that's critical.
There's another machine going in my head with all this excitement. That's great! I am watching and everything and I am watching that I am not making mistakes. If you get the picture out of focus or something, you may have the most exciting picture in the world, but if you don't have it, technically, you don't have it. Yes, yes, yes, this is why I became a photographer! Whoo! One more, Courtney, and I am going to get a quick vertical here. It's useful to do. Don't make all your pictures all horizontal or vertical. Yes, yes, yes, I keep seeing new images.
Courtney is creating wonderful images as she flows. Courtney is an artist. That's what we are seeing here. That is work of an artist and she really is good and she has to get the credit she deserves. Because without somebody with her creativity, there is no picture.
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