Douglas Kirkland on Photography: Studio Portraiture

with Douglas Kirkland
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Douglas Kirkland on Photography: Studio Portraiture
Video duration: 0s 31m 4s Appropriate for all


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.


Course highlights

(upbeat happy music) - 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. Here's a picture that I did of Jessica Alba. Comparatively simple, they wanted almost a cosmetic look and I'll show you how we do that. What I'm going to be doing is showing you different types of lighting we use and how and why we use them. We work predominantly with soft boxes, a lot of soft boxes, but we also use spotlights and they all go through the strobe light.

We have enormous control and we can repeat it. Yes, yes, I like what you started to do there, that's great. It's almost like a wonderful dance together when you come to this point. We're most concerned with what's on Courtney and all the other is just ambiance. Now what we're doing here is we got the same picture, but with gray light by just unplugging the back lights. So now we have three lights, key, fill, and spotlight in the background, that's it, that's what's doing this and watch what you get.

See the effect? You have this nice vignette feeling, it's very enhancing. What happens is it brings your eye into the center. I love working in the studio. All the elements, whether it's lighting, or it's music, a fan in the hair as you see here, all these elements, they all help make the image. So I hope you've enjoyed being part of our process today and I hope you get something that helps your photography and carries you to a new place.

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