Photo shoot yesterday, with a great model in a great location (a pretty gritty rear stairwell of an office building). I used a pretty consistent lighting strategy throughout, going for a colorful, warm/cool feel: camera set to tungsten WB, key light generally gelled with a full CTO plus a 1/4 CTO to give some warmth, exposure balanced to let in some ambient light, which went blue thanks to the tungsten white balance. The above shot had the key light at camera left, no umbrella because I was going for hard shadows, plus an ungelled light at low camera right to shed a bit of light on the background. I did bump up the blue saturation a bit in Photoshop, but most of that rich tone comes from the tungsten WB.
I was pretty happy with the results in general – the lighting combination gave a pretty dramatic look that went well with both the model’s look and the location. It was particularly effective when we moved outside briefly for a few quick shots in the two feet of snow that recently got dumped on DC. The below shot has the key light at high camera right, through an umbrella, with a fill light at camera left, gelled with a full CTO, no umbrella. No saturation adjustments here, just WB combined with a deep blue sky at dusk.
Probably my favorite background, though, was this grungy looking window, with the afternoon sun coming in at a sharp angle. The below shot is a simple one-light treatment – key light at camera right through an umbrella, balanced with ambient. One of the challenges I faced in this shot, as well as many of the other indoor shots, was a difficulty retaining detail in Starr’s black clothing. I couldn’t just blast more light at her, as that would have completely washed out her skin tones. I’m not quite sure what the elegant solution was – instead I just used some masked levels adjustment layers in Photoshop to get the job done.
On a related note, I’ve added a portraits portfolio to my website. Feedback welcome!