Join Douglas Kirkland for an in-depth discussion in this video Shooting a profile portrait, part of Douglas Kirkland on Photography: Shooting with a Medium-Format Camera.
Douglas Kirkland: So what we are doing here is quite a different look than we have done with…the soft boxes a few minutes ago.…We have one soft box here on the bottom acting as a fill light, but fundamentally,…we have this one sort of lighting, I'll call it coming-from-heaven-up-above…lighting, which will become Owen's profile.…One and a half there, and I want this much weaker.…Douglas: Now, would you weaken this? Have you weakened this to a maximum? Miranda: Are they split?…(inaudible speech)…Douglas: Okay, then the next thing we will do is walk away with this. It's that simple.…
You have all of these controls.…Actually, as strange as it may seem, our key is really right there.…It's 11 1/2 there, in the shadow here.…Now, it's more like it, it's 8.3.…That's what I want, a full stop less there.…And now let's see what we have here in the background.…It's going to be pretty bright. It is bright.…It's 16.3, which will be just fine.…Okay, I think we are ready for--first let's bring our subject in. Okay, this is,…
This installment follows Douglas as he creates a portrait for Kodak's On Film series, which features portraits of directors, cinematographers, and other major players in the film industry. Douglas has shot nearly 250 portraits for this series over the past 20 years.
The course begins with a discussion of the unique qualities of film—its clarity, definition, and tonal range—and of film's enduring importance in today's digital world. Next, Douglas tours the Mamiya RZ67 medium-format camera, demonstrating its components and comparing its format to 35mm film. He then demonstrates a variety of lighting, posing, and styling techniques while photographing Owen Roizman, an award-winning cinematographer, in the Kirkland studio in Los Angeles, California.
The course concludes with a critique of the resulting photographs. Douglas also shows how he resized and cropped the image to fit a print advertisement.