From the 18th to the 20th March 2017 I was over in the Netherlands presenting at the Professional Imaging show in Nijkerk.
This was actually the 3rd time I’ve presented at the show however the two previous occasions I focused mainly on Photoshop and Post Production techniques. This time however I changed things up and went through a talk, followed by a LIVE SHOOT and then retouching so showing the entire process.
The talk was based loosely on my new book, Photograph Like a Thief where in brief I explained the whole concept of reverse engineering and copying the work of others which can then help you to develop your own unique style.
Throughout the show I was working with model Stefan Visscher; a really great guy who completely nailed the looks we were working on and someone I definitely want to look at working with again in the future.
So for this post I thought I’d share a couple of the results from the LIVE shoots but also show you where the idea came from that was presented to everyone in order to show how reverse engineering and then copying over and over again I believe is the best way to develop yourself, your skills and ultimately your own style.
Here’s my picture of models, Stefan and Vita…
Here’s a picture I used as inspiration which is by Mark Seliger; one of my favourite photographers. I absolutely love his work! From this one I was drawn to the relaxed posing of both subjects and how one was stood and one seated and the lighting has been kept simple. See, when it comes to copying or rather inspiration it doesn’t have to be anything major…sometimes it’s just a suggestion of a pose that you take and make something from.
Here too is another image I took of Stefan using the exact same lighting as the image above…
Here’s a portrait of Actor, Liev Schreiber by Annie Leibovitz that I saw on Pinterest and used as inspiration asking Stefan to sit on the chair in a similar way and I then kept my lighting the same as before to give the Cross Lighting / Rembrandt style lighting pattern as you’ll see below.
Lighting Set Up
Here’s a picture taken by my friend Hans Hebbink that shows the lighting set up that I used in the pictures above; a single light source (Profoto) and an Octa which was roughly 135cm (50″ in diameter)
As for the positioning, to achieve the cross lighting / Rembrandt lighting pattern the light was positioned to the side and further forward of Stefan as opposed to being directly side on. The reason for this is so that the light source could see past Stefan’s nose and add a little bit of light on the cheek and under the eye on the shadow side of his face.
In the lighting diagram below, if you set the lighting up so that when you are stood in position A right next to the modifier, as you look across, if you can see the opposite side of the subject’s face (the cheek) then so can the modifier (light)…if this is the case then you’re pretty much set. Then it’s a case of adjusting the height and the rotation of the modifier to finesse the lighting pattern on the shadow side of the face.
It’s worth mentioning I guess that the actual LIVE shoot side of my presentation was very quick, lasting maybe 5 minutes in total. Now this isn’t because I’m saying ‘Whoa look at me’ but it just shows that by practicing a lighting set up / style again and again and again, it becomes second nature knowing how and where to position it. One way I recommend to practice is to get yourself a polystyrene mannequin head from somewhere like eBay…
They cost next to nothing (mine cost £4) and you can place them on top of a light stand and photograph and practice lighting using it any day and any time you want!
Couldn’t resist adding some text to one of the images giving it the look of a magazine front cover; might actually get this one printed and framed for my office too…
Hope this was useful in some way but as always if you have any questions / comments feel free to make use of the comments section below.
Photograph Like a Thief Seminar
One thing I want to let you know about also is that on Saturday 13th May 2017 I’ll be presenting a one day seminar in Petersfield, UK where I will be going through a presentation and a number of LIVE shoots including post production with much more detail based on my new book ‘Photograph Like a Thief‘
Tickets are priced at just £20 for the day and you can find out more details and book your seat by CLICKING HERE
Finally, CLICK HERE to check out LARGER versions of these new pictures over on my 500px portfolio page; hope you like them