Have you wondered how I create the beautiful low key black background portraits? This article will give you a behind the scenes look into how I use powerful portable studio lights that I can use almost anywhere within reason. I personally favour a one light set up as I like the dramatic shadows that can be created although the light angle does need to be near on perfect to the cm. A cloudy day is my best friend and allows me to shoot almost anywhere as the photos below will show. If it is sunny I just need a bit of shade and a solid background whether that is from trees, a building or otherwise. I can normally be quite creative with acquiring suitable conditions when required. Indoor schools can be amazing
I start by desensitising my subject to the light at a lower power before cracking on with producing some portraits. I discussed desensitising horses in an earlier blog. I often work with a number of different positions and angles to create a range of dynamic and dramatic portraits where possible. I use a selection of different ‘modifiers’ to control the light both the direction and strength, from a plain plastic diffuser to shaped light boxes.
Here are a few examples of behind the scenes images that show how I created some of my portraits and how dramatic just a couple of cm’s difference in lighting angle can be.
Behind The Scenes
Looking at how much the angle of the light can affect the portraits here are a few examples where the lighting angles has been changed by just a few centimetres but in doing so has created very different portraits. Roll over the images to read where lights were placed in each instance.