Video: Looking For Light And Locations In The City

Oxford. One of the greatest cities on earth. Full of history, of course, but also a vibrant modern city with a huge range of locations in which to create portraits. So how do you go about looking for that perfect patch of light and that sumptuous scene to create an iconic portrait? In this video, we go for a long walk through Oxford with our models, Dory and Anisia, looking for interesting patches of light in which to create images. …

High Key Striplight Portrait

Can you shoot a pale subject on a pale background? Yes, you can, if you control your lights. Here’s how I used strip lights for this studio portrait of Lizzie. A fair-skinned subject in a white top on a white background? Common portrait wisdom states that it shouldn’t be done, but I disagree. White-on-white fails when you throw uncontrolled light all over the scene, losing shadow, definition and detail. Instead, control your lights and your exposure carefully for a high …

How To Feather Studio Light

Sometimes a gentle, subtle portrait is the best representation of your subject. Here I used feathered, low key lighting and a narrow tonal range to capture a studio portrait of a young woman, Julia, wearing a hat. Low key lighting refers to the predominance of dark tones and shadow areas in an image. This lighting style can be more atmospheric and give a greater sense of depth and shape than high key lighting; a good shoot/portfolio will include a mix …

Teenager Headshots

  Of all the age groups I photograph, teenagers are by far my favourite. They are at their physical peak, and often walk in full of attitude, which translates into compelling portraits, like this one. Laura needed a headshot for her performing arts course, which could also be used for future auditions. I wanted to open up my aperture to get a really shallow depth of field, with just Laura’s nearest eye sharp and everything else in front and behind …

Rembrandt Portrait Lighting

There are locations for portraits everywhere – even in an alleyway. This is how I created a dramatic shot in a local alley by overpowering the ambient light. If you think there are no good locations for portraits near you, think again. Even an alleyway can be the backdrop for an effective image, just like this portrait of Katalin in one of the curved pathways between streets in Haddenham. Here’s how I used a single Speedlight flash to light it …