Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dark Light Portraiture Series

Photography is all about light.  Capturing the light.  Taming the light.  Modifying the light.  Bending, mastering even, the light to one’s will.  There are other considerations – composition, focus, perspective, others - as well, but sans light, there is no image awaiting capture.  Lesson the first.

Most commercial photographers are driven to produce attractively lit images with a flattering balance of shadow.  Whether Portrait, Landscape or Still/Product Shot, abundant and flattering light is the Rule.

Rules – as you may remember from high school – were made to be broken.  And so it is with my Dark Light Portraiture project.  Rather than working with plentiful light, this project is about aggressively restricting light’s fall on my subjects.

This project is, in effect, an exploration of shadow.  I invite you to come adventuring with me.  Welcome to the Dark Light Portraiture Series project…

There’s an old saying:  “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  Nowhere is this more on point than right here, right now.  I can blather on about camera settings, light angles, level of shadow, light modifiers and such for days, but none of that’s really going to make a whole lot of sense to non-photographers, so I’m gonna skip that part…

What I have in mind for this portrait series is best explained by viewing the images included throughout this post.  As you can see, the images here are edgy, the subjects lit from unconventional angles, with strong yet indirect light and aggressively restricted light.  I rely on shadow and contrast in these examples far more than “good light” to bring out the “Artistic edge” (if I may so label my efforts) I want for this project.

I’ve recently began using wireless triggers in combination with multiple speed lights in my photography and am looking forward to doing a bit of experimenting.  So far, I’ve been pleased with the results.  I’d like to continue “extending my reach” so to speak in lighting techniques… 

Towards that end, it’s time to get a bit more ‘scientific’ in my methodology.  I know what’s worked thus far.  Now it’s time to see what else will work.  And how it can be improved, tweaked or otherwise altered to fit my needs.  Should be a lot of fun…

Model Requirements
This project is open to males, females, children, cats, dogs, turtles, frogs, parrots & other avian Friends as well as the neighbors & the odd coffee mug of your choice.  Put another way, anyone may participate. 

Adults must be prepared to sign my commercial release and provide a copy of their state issued photo ID for my records. 

Children may participate in the project with parents/guardians present only.  Said parent or guardian must sign a release on the child’s behalf as well as provide a copy of their own state photo ID for my records. 
Cats, dogs, turtles, frogs, parrots & coffee mugs are only required to be awesome.  That is, after all, their job…

Wardrobe / Exposure
I leave wardrobe entirely up to the subject.  You may dress as you feel is appropriate.  Anything from Slacks/Blue Jeans & Shirt to “Business-wear” casual to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” formal attire will work.  It all depends on you…

The "N" Word:  Nudity
Nudity is most definitely NOT a requirement.  However (you knew there was going to be a ‘however’ coming, didn’t you?) I do intend to include some few figure studies as part of the project. 

If this is of any interest to you, let me know – we’ll talk it out.  If not, forget about it…

Dark Light Portraiture is being conducted as a Trade Shoot.  Participants may choose one of two compensation options.

Option 1:  Participants will receive their choice of 10 fully edited Dark Light image files (in full size printable and low resolution web display formats) to include in their portfolio and/or use for self promotion;

Option 2:  Participants may instead choose to schedule a second photo shoot of equal duration, the results of which will be theirs to do with as they see fit.  The type of shoot is entirely up to you.  Family portraits, fashion, editorial, swimsuit, art nudes – whatever you want.  I will even include editing of up to 10 image files as part of the deal.

Location is a variable that will change from session to session.  

This project is largely an experiment in controlling light, which will be simpler to manage inside than out.  If you’re comfortable shooting in your home, we can do that.  If you’d prefer not, there are alternatives…

On the other hand, part of the challenge and fun in the project comes in attempting to control natural sunlight.  I’ve a few spots in mind – parks, alleys, parking lots, playgrounds, etc. – in which we can bring the dark to the fore…

I am primarily an “Available Light” photographer, though I occasionally use speed lights & reflectors for fill, and the odd modifier to soften output.   

My schedule is annoyingly open at present, so I am absolutely able to accommodate your busy schedule. 

Experienced and first time models are both welcome to participate.  You may be assured I will work with you to capture the best possible images and make the experience as much fun as possible. 

Escort Policy
Models are welcome to bring a companion/escort along for moral support, costuming assistance, protection (whatever) as long as I’m told in advance.  Surprise me with an unexpected guest and the session will be cancelled immediately.  I hate surprises…

Please note:  I have zero tolerance for high school drama on my shoots.  I go into each and every session with the full expectation that I am working with adults fully capable of discussing any and all issues that may arise.  Name calling, threats of violence and similar nonsense will result in the session's immediate termination and the deletion of all images taken to that point.  If necessary, I will call the police and press charges to the full extent allowable under the law.

Got a question I didn’t cover here? Want to schedule your session? Let’s talk…