Sunday, January 3, 2010

Aim, don't smile, SHOOT!

I do not enjoy studio work as a general rule. To each his own, but to me the lighting is contrived, flat, boring and typically unflattering. I do not have much of a choice in the winter, I need to shoot things indoors and if I am forced to do it, I like to make it interesting. I usually play around with the lighting until it looks, well, UN-studio like. In the shot above the lighting is more harsh, but it adds a lot of character. I used a $30 black collapsible background and we set it up in the subject's kitchen. SIMPLE.

This subject does not like the way he looks when he smiles. So, I didn't make him smile. Don't always think you need to pose your subjects smiling. Try different expressions. Try to make them laugh; or maybe it's a tough guy and he can look aggressive. Kids are great. Have them make scary faces or silly faces. They can pretend to cry or be sad. In the shot above we got a smirk. Mix it up.

Photo above setup/post: Subject sat on chair against wall, with black background behind him. Softbox strobe on camera right (only a foot or so away) and umbrella on low power on camera left (to lighten shadow and pull out ear). I adjusted the contrast and "blacks" when converting the TIFF. You will see some other shots from this session in future posts.


Ruth Kenney said...

so often the stilted smiling gives that forced posed feel...the more relaxed shot has always been a favorite of mine.

Cory said...

I agree Ruth. In fact it is hard sometimes to convince your subject NOT to smile. It is an instant reaction for most people when they see the camera. Getting them to relax and trust you is the key!