I’ve been working on two of my photographic goals. Firstly, I have the name of a local photographer that may provide my first opportunity in the photo business. I’ll call tomorrow to see what might come up. I’ve been nervous about this, but, you know, grab the reins.
Secondly, I’ve been working on my list of example photos to try. This morning, I took the mandatory 3-hour studio orientation at the RA Photo Club. During the orientation, I was able to try both the high key and low key photos. I am mostly pleased with the results, but I also know that there is room for improvement – a reason to rent the studio and come back to experiment.
First, the low key photo. An improvement I would make is to have add a little hair light on the top left, as the shot is missing definition there. The low key shot starts with a black or dark background. On the right side of the photo, two black panels were brought in and a soft-box was arranged to shine through a 2″ (5cm) gap between the two panels. This provided a narrow slit of light. The model was positioned in various ways with respect to the light. In this photo, the model is slightly behind the slit, so that her entire face is lit. If she was next to the slit, or in front of the slit, only part of her face would be visible. Moving the model closer to the light will mean a harsher light, and if she moves away from the light, the light will be softer and will provide more coverage (remember that the light from the slit will light a triangular area, as the soft-box is immediately behind the slit – to get a straighter slit of light, move the soft-box away from the gap in the panels). This light is useful to show shapes, as the light plays across the model. But it is also unforgiving, as blemishes or other marks become emphasized by the glancing light.
Second is the high key photo. An improvement I would make here is to recompose the shot in the camera so that her shoulder is not touching the side of the frame. This high key photo starts with the white background of course. There were three lights, all in soft-boxes. A main light was on the right of the photo, above the level of the model. The second soft-box, providing some fill, was on the left, also above the model. The third light was in the background and was pointed to cover the background. A hair light is not really needed here, as it would soften the boundary between the background at the hair line of the model. A high key setup is flattering, and masks blemishes and wrinkles in the skin.