Every year, as a joke, I give up shaving for Lent. I follow the ancient fasting rules for real. But for years, much to the chagrin of my wife, family and friends, I grow a Lenten beard. Then I take a bunch of goofy photos in stages as shave it off. My life is small. 😎 But anyways, this is said beard for 2014.
I thought I would do a little BTS explaining of how I made this image. Here is the studio setup:
First of all I’m in my garage. I’ve got a grey back drop permanently mounted to the ceiling. I got the idea for that setup from Jay P. Morgan’s vid. Check it out, it’s awesome! I received an old backdrop from a photographer friend who passed away. I painted it “Photo Grey,” a colour you can get at Home Hardware in Canada. But the colour didn’t matter for this shoot as a I changed it for the shot.
It’s helpful to think about lighting and photography in “zones.” They are like layers in photoshop. First of all, we’ll start with the subject. I had the idea for the shoot already conceived. Myself and my glorious Lenten beard right side in the frame, looking camera left. So for the key light, I’ve got a speed light gelled CTO with a Honl grid. Very narrow shaft of hard light. Oppositely, Ive got another SB with a snoot (a flash bender) with cold daylight hard light. This is a classic cross lighting setup adding 3 dimensionality and separation from the background. For the next layer, for fill and to bring some detail into the beard, I setup my DIY Light Scrim and shot a 1/4 CTO gelled SB through that. It’s acting as a huge reflector and light source at the same time, filling the shadow zone. Once I was happy with that, I went to work on the background. I gelled a LumoPro 180 with a theatrical red gel. The red looked cool but it needed more. Being that this is a Lenten/Good Friday type photo, I decided a cross would be a nice addition. I didn’t really have a big random cross lying around so I quickly made one out of a paint stir stick (from the photo grey background project previously mentioned) and couple pieces of Gaffer tape. Looks legit to me! 🙂 I muddled with the light placement to get the right size and perspective of the cross “shadow” on the background. It’s essentially a spiritual gobo!
So there you have the BTS breakdown. A hard-light portrait, 4 light setup, 2 different zones of light, layered together for key, fill, kicker and background. I edited the photo in Lightroom 5 and Nik software for the final grading and grunge look. Have a very blessed Holy Week & Easter season!
But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and by His wounds we are healed. ~ Isaiah 53:5
Most of the time we tend to think of photography studios as huge places of sprawling, ginormous, north facing window light. It’s luxurious and lovely. For full time working pros, it might even be a necessity. But for enthusiast types like me, I can’t justify the expense. I wanted to try and see if I could achieve studio results in a really, really small space. These photos were taken in my 9×10 office. A cheap black sheet for background, some inexpensive lighting setups and you’re good to go. The best thing is that this small little studio space is portable. I can take it with me so there’s literally no place I can’t achieve similar results. Here’s a location setup of the small studio. Move some furniture and you’re golden! 😎