Whether it’s boudoir or glamour, an editorial shoot, a band publicity photo, or a product shot, when it comes down to it, it’s all really just portraiture to me. When I shot the promotional photos for Andrea Marie & The Magnolia Band, it was probably no surprise to them when I asked the members to pose for me individually. Sure, I love a good group shot, but there’s just something great about working one-on-one with a person to get a nice portrait.
The shot above was taken outdoors. But we wandered into a nearby beer joint to get some interior shots, too. After all the main setups were shot, I asked each band member to sit individually by one of the windows and pose for a few frames. I setup an umbrella, in shoot-thru configuration, opposite the window as shown with a 580EX II as the light source. Below the diagram are my shots of guitar player, John Fink. He’s got a great look which is perfect for demonstrating the effectiveness of having the subject simply turn their head when using this sidelight setup.
Notice how we can get a soft and contemplative look, as he looks out the window. Then, more dramatic and intense looks as he turns his head away from it, letting the double side lighting really bring out detail and texture. The shadow side, as you you can see, is always toward the camera. A very similar effect is often created in the studio by placing two identical light sources opposite each other on either side of the subject.
For these shots, I used my Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM at f/1.8. ISO was 200, shutter speed 1/100 sec. The big window light is noticeably softer here. You might wonder why the lighting from the shoot-thru umbrella is harder. Consider that the umbrella was actually positioned about 10 ft. from the subject. This, in effect, makes it a smaller light source than the window (relative the the subject), giving that side a more contrasty/harsh effect. If we’d brought the umbrella closer, it would have provided a softer light, similar to the window light.