Planning the best decorative investment you’ll ever make…an investment in yourself and your family’s heritage.
About clothing, colour, tone and style
When more than one person is to appear in the portrait, or when a special stylistic effect is desired, clothing and prop choices can make or break a portrait.
Skin tone considerations
Whether working with light ir dark complexions, the objective is for the face to dominate the portrait. Accordingly, skin highlights must be the lightest or brightest, most intense areas of the portrait. So, when a medium to dark background is used, all subjects photograph best in medium to dark tones, whatever the skin tone.
Clothing for small groups
Couples or small groups should choose simple garments within the same tonal ranges. When subjects appear in a mixture of light and dark tones together, there is a visual confusion – as the light colour comes forward and the dark colours recede. When this happens (e.g.) one person dominates and appears heavier than in reality.
Clothing for families
In a family group, proper clothing consideration is critical. When decorating a home a major consideration is to coordinate the colours and tones of the walls, carpets, drapes and furniture. Similar coordination is necessary when selecting clothing for a group portrait. Choose clothing in the same tonal ranges so that no single member of the family stands out because the clothing is too light or bright as compared to the rest of the group.
Proper clothing selection makes the difference between a portrait that appears to be a group of seemingly unrelated individuals and one in which every member of the family “belongs” to the group. Casual clothing compliments portraits made in outdoor environments.
Creating style and personality
Your goal is to create portraiture as individual as the subjects we photograph. Tools include various styles, techniques and settings that make each portrait a unique artwork.
Seeing the world through a viewfinder smack bang in front of your face sure hides everything outside that tiny field of view. When we as Professional Photographers used film, most especially those bastions of image quality, the medium format camera, mounted on a tripod, we were forced to initiate the process by taking care of the technical requirements of FOCUS, APERTURE and SHUTTER SPEED relevant to obtaining that perfect exposure.
Once done, our ‘Focus’ became the command, control and observation essential to capturing that perfect image in one solitary frame by looking at our subjects, engaging with them and eliciting that expression appropriate to the mood and flattery of our subjects. We saw the world as it should be seen and the camera was the tool of capture over which we had control.
To shoot like you are using film, that precious and costly silver based commodity made us conscious of doing our job efficiently and in a manner that set the professional apart from the enthusiast and amateur. With this in mind, let’s take back control and consider the enormous advantages and virtues of Medium Format once again. My aim? To get my hands on a new Pentax 645Z and go back to doing what every ‘Pro’ did so well.
This inaugural Masterclass Workshop 23rd April at Victoria House, 59 Willes Road, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 4PT is designed to examine and implement ‘best practice’ in professional portrait studio lighting. The course will cover ‘Low Key’, ‘Mid Key’, ‘High Key’ and a glance at ‘Beauty Lighting’ for good measure. How often have we been told to simply place your lights at position ‘X’ and at forty-five degrees and it will be OK? What does this mean and why? I will take the myth and legend out of studio portrait lighting and cut to the chase with a common sense, practical approach that will be understood and above all, a workable solution.
I am pleased to announce that the Studio here at Victoria House, Leamington Spa, England, UK will be available for hire at extremely competitive rates from next week. So if you’re looking for a place to develop your photography, look no further and contact me on 07854 249710. If you need help, my Mentoring services are also available.
It’s high time I put together a post on getting started with lighting in studio and the simple principles to help you along. On the premise that ‘less is more’ my studio flash heads of choice are the extremely well engineered and constructed iLux range available from Photomart. Starting with the 150’s to the popular 300 & 500 RD powered heads and culminating in the new 600 Summit Cordless, there is really a unt for every purpose. In a subsequent post I’ll chat more about the cordless range and its versatility.You really can’t go wrong with the superb RD 300’s that I have in everyday use in my Leamington Spa training studio. But, what is also critical to me is the choice of light modifier or softbox.
Photomart have a healthy number of kits on offer at prices that are extremely affordable, but they will also help you put together a kit to suit your personal needs and I’m always here to give advice. Just send me a message and I’ll be pleased to help.
I must admit I’m not a huge fan of umbrellas as I’m a total lighting geek who wants to exercise maximum control in the emulation of directional, natural light. After all, the most gifted of Renaissance painters had just that to work with, hence my plea to keep it simple.
As yet I have not had the opportunity to play with the iLux 150’s but would say quite clearly, that for any newcomer to Studio Portraiture that they have a great build quality for such an inexpensive unit and with individual heads at around the £80 plus VAT mark and kits starting at £237 plus VAT they represent excellent value. In forthcoming post I’m join to look at lighting starting with just one head complete with simple lighting diagrams and examples. So, get online and order your starter kit now. You won’t regret it, I promise!