12.02.2016

A portrait from the studio this afternoon. (Revisedx2).

©2016 Kirk Tuck. All Rights Reserved.

My intention all along, as a photographer, was to take more portraits in styles that I like. I've been working on it lately by asking the people I work with, and see in day-to-day life, if they will drop by my studio and collaborate with me on making portraits. Today I had a young, talented actor named Alaina come by. I'd set up the studio to do classic "actor headshot" lighting and we did a number of portraits in the prevailing "headshot" style. Then I set up a 4x6 foot, 1.25 stop diffusion panel to Alaina's left (camera right) and put one LED light on the other side of the diffusion to create a much more (to me) interesting light.

The panel is very close to my subject and runs perpendicular to the camera plane, extending back into the studio but starting about three feet in front of Alaina. I used a very weak, passive fill on the opposite side. 

The image was taken with one of my favorite camera and lens combinations: The Sony A7ii and the 70-200mm f4.0 G lens. The lens was used at f4.0 (wide open) and the shutter of the camera was set to 1/50th of a second. ISO: 800. Of course the camera was held in place with a nice tripod and the focus sensor was set to her right eye. 

We took about 400 images this afternoon but this is the very first one to catch my eye. I could make some fixes but I'm trying not to overproduce or over enhance the stuff I shoot for myself. 

This "one light" set up is one of my very favorites. I'd teach it in my workshops if I had workshops. It's always a nice look. 

12 comments:

Frank Grygier said...

The light on her is beautiful.

Kirk Tuck said...

Thank you Frank.

Fred said...

This may be just another way of saying what Frank said but I love the subtlety of the shadows and the high lights on her hair. Although I really like the bright "theatrical" colors in your theater photos the softer and quieter colors of this portrait are the sweet spot for me. This is the kind of coloring that could almost make me forget about black and white.

Gary said...

This is a beautiful portrait. Like many you've posted, it's sharp and soft at the same time. How do you do that? Unless you would be giving away a trade secret, this amateur would love to know.

Luke Miller said...

I think those eyes would grab me regardless of the lighting. Very well done.

jiannazzone said...

"I'd teach it in my workshops if I had workshops."

Well....?

Kirk Tuck said...

jiannazzone, hmmm. I always wanted to be a photographer, not a teacher.

Anonymous said...

Heh, like Gary points out this has all the trademarks of your portrait style, neatly summed up by the hard/soft character.

I figured that you achieve that with the large, close diffuse lighting that you use, which makes the highlights on the eyes less sharp (or flashy).

I find that I don't usually have the space to set this up (either at work or home) which is a shame as it's a lovely effect.
Mark

Kirk Tuck said...

I revised the color today. Every day is different.

Carlo Santin said...

Kirk, how long do your sessions normally last on average? 400 images seems excessive to me. I have far less experience with this than you but for me I find the longer the session goes, the more my portraits suffer. There seems to be a threshold with me, and my subjects, and that threshold is always well below 100 shots. If I don't do something interesting in that first 100, then it isn't going to happen for me. I do prefer working quickly though.

Kirk Tuck said...

Carlo, if I don't find the subject at all interesting I can get the job done with 50 or fewer images but I find most people amazingly interesting and I shoot a lot of frames quickly. If I find a pose and expression that I like I might shoot 10 or 20 variations around that one micro-set-up just to work it. The littlest changes in expression can make all the difference. A session with an actor might cover three or four looks or lighting changes. For Alaina we spent half and hour chatting/getting make up, etc./ and one hour in front and behind the camera. Sometimes it all falls apart at the end and you stop. But, if the person has a great look I always find myself wanting to go for more.

Finally, as we talk we'll find more and more interesting stuff to discuss. The conversation narrows down and gets more specific to the person. We might end up at 250 frames, talk about something else for ten minutes, and I might see a different side of the person or a new expression and we'll go right back and shoot some more.

Out of the 400+ images I shot on Friday only 100 of them made it to the trash can, I liked the other 300 enough to keep the raw files around for a while. After a week or so I'll look again and see if I can't narrow that down a bit....

Radu said...

Great lighting and a lovely model! Both Gary and Fred said it better in the previous comments ;)