Monday, August 3, 2009
Dramatic Portrait of an Actor / Model - My Vision
Earlier in the week I had been photographing glassware using a portable table-top background cyclorama, similar to a Kaiser studio kit (but one I had built myself, using translucent plexiglass, and light from underneath with strobes). I asked Gerald, the model / actor, to step over to the table-top cyc, lean over and rest his arms on the table-top background. The effect was quite dramatic, and similar to what one might see in a theater production. (Click on any image for a larger view.)
This Kaiser portable table-top studio background is a small cyc (cyclorama) that you can buy for about $1300. I build one myself using a translucent white plexiglass sheet (about 3/16" thick and about 3 x 5 feet), and a 2x4" wooden frame (minus the attached lights you see in the photo below). I would then light the table from underneath using strobe lights. It was great for doing glassware photography.
Self-Learning Tip: Always look for the catch-lights in the eyes, and you can often figure out how a photographer light a subject. You could do something similar to this by using a light table, or a lightbox positioned below (and slightly camera left) and pointed upward.
Sidebar: Some time ago, a talent agency asked me to photograph some of their clients. They mainly wanted "head shots" for their talent books. Although the money they were offering to pay me wasn't that good, I saw it as an opportunity to experiment with people who were willing to try new things, and built portfolio images for both of us. Since some of these people had backgrounds in theater, they also had access to some interesting wardrobe pieces, which can really help liven a portrait. "Trading" talent has been a tool I've used over the years to increase my experience and build my photographic reputation. This image is part of a series that has resulted from these talent trades.
You can also view my Flickr Photostream to see more of "My Vision."