Portrait photography, whether beauty, fashion or even head shots, can be easily complicated, and sometimes I find myself having to pull away elements to create the most impactful image. As the old adage says, “Less is More”!
Here is one of those occasions, when I was to create some publicity portraits for an actor but the demands of the agency is to make it about the talent, nothing else. The protocol is to show the subject as they are today, with a sense of a raw presence.
When I embark in creating such portraits, I still feel the need to add something special whether it be color, or lighting. This makes the image more evocative.
I chose to go with crisp commercial lighting and with a Savage Teal Seamless Paper for one, and Translum for the other. The teal added that extra touch I was looking for, as even in a small thumbnail, it still looked interesting. I learned early on when working with agents, that if it doesn’t standout as a thumbnail, casting agents will not usually open the image.
I decided to not add any light onto the background. I wanted to show the rich saturation of the teal color, which made it less distracting. Many photographers make the mistake of always lighting the background, and that doesn’t always make for a strong portrait. Again, less is more!
For the Translum, I decided to place a large 24″ x 36″ sofbox directly behind the roll to create not just a portrait on a white background, but a portrait that would have a heightened sense of image with a stark appeal. It also prevented light falloff becoming an issue, where in many cases, the background might go to a dull gray.
As far as lighting goes, I created the quality of light with a beauty dish and a honeycomb grid. I used two large white parabolic umbrellas directly behind the beauty dish, for open wraparound fill. No hair light, background light or kicker light.Just clean commercial lighting on two Savage seamless rolls.