Welcome to today’s post. We’re going to take a bit of a different direction today. As many of you know, I shoot both fine art landscapes and portrait work and today’s portrait images were inspired by celebrity photographer Derek Blanks. Derek pioneered the concept of Alter Ego in photography – capturing an individual’s distinctly different identities in one single image. Brilliant! I love Derek’s work with this concept and wanted to play with it myself. Then the opportunity to work with a fast-rising start up social media marketing company, The Social Lights, was presented to me and we discussed the possibility of working with the Alter Ego concept.
Martha, a co-founder of The Social Lights, gave me some descriptions of herself as a working business professional, but also gave me some thoughts on her love of Vintage and the TV show Mad Men. So, we went with it…building two Alter Ego’s around the modern day business woman and the vintage woman, representing the modes of communication of the times.
Lighting is easy, but its also difficult. Its easy to get your lights to do what you want, its difficult to know what you want. Having worked with studio lighting for a few years now, I could see in my mind the “look.” With that image in mind, I went through the following process to establish the final lighting diagram you see below.
Step 1. Establish Key Light – the beauty dish is my key light and once I was happy the amount and positioning of light falling on Martha, I was ready to move on;
Step 2. Establish Fill Lights – the umbrellas are my fill lights. They have the job of bringing the rest of the scene, along with heavy shadows on Martha, back up to a level that made sense for me;
Step 3. Establish Hair/Rim Light – Now I was ready to set up a Hair Light. For this I used a large softbox. Why? I had a spot grid but it produced a harder light than I wanted for this shot. So, all I had on location with me was a large rectangular softbox. It cast a broad, very soft and subtle accent. Perfect;
Step 4. Background Light – This was not immediately obvious. While looking at the test shots I had a feeling that something was missing. The background light was it. Right behind the couch, dead center. It creates that added sense of drama and dimension.