Sunday Studio - Light and Portrait
We are packing the first boxes, measuring and planning the new apartment and my son and i went on a first walk in the sun around our new, soon-to-be neighborhood, already spotting cafés and playgrounds that I can picture us sitting and playing in. In the meantime we are taking the first steps to slowly hand over the keys of our office to the new owners, and whereas the real moving date is only in over one month it already feels like something new is on the horizon.
In the meantime, there is one major pitch going on right now and a couple of shoots to edit and to be organized. So life is rushing right now, still I’m trying to remember what I wrote in the last newsletter issue and try to squeeze in some time to work on personal projects. I’m focussing on smaller ideas and concepts rather than bigger projects.
My personal work often revolves around strong and natural characters, intimacy and relationships. I wanted this portrait to be about the gesture of taking care of each other, nurturing and affection. I asked a friend and her sister to sit for a short moving sequence and a few portraits while braiding her hair in classical light and a posture that almost feels sculptural.
For this portrait I wanted the light to feel classical and soft, yet evenly lit to work in close-up as well as in wide shots without rearranging the light and disturbing the flow of the scene. I recently bought the Mega LiteCloth from Intellytech on a boom arm. By using the included grid and cine foil to control the spill I was able to get a very directed yet soft and even key light source with a nice fall off to the side.
Additionally, I used an Aputure C300D II with the Spotlight mount and a 1/4 CTO on both of the faces to push the contrast further, adding some warmth to the skin tones.
By placing the key high above the subject I had the freedom to change shooting distances quickly and swap from moving image to photography in an instant without disturbing the flow of the scene. The floor was light enough to act as a fill, but in hindsight i should have introduced a poly board or a portable white reflector to fill in the shadows for the closeup shots.
I shot the stills on the Canon R5 with a 28-70 f2 lens and the motion with my Canon R6 at 50fps, using the same lens. Additionally I took a few pictures on 35mm film, but that didn’t work out as well as I initially thought, giving the steep contrast ratio so I decided to drop the film shots after I had them developed and scanned.
Grading and editing of the motion sequence was done in DaVinci Resolve, using the great Dehancer plugin for the base grade and some minor color tweaks using curves and wheels.
For the stills I switched back to Lightroom from Capture One a while ago. This is just my personal preference and I feel that my custom presets let me work faster and more efficient than building the look from scratch in C1.
If you want to try the base preset I used for the stills, feel free to download and test it here:
It’s a modified version of Adobe’s CN17 Preset that has proved to give me the best first results with a great tonal range and nice blacks that need little tweaking for each image except for black and white tones, white balance and tint.
There was no additional retouching in Photoshop, I wanted to keep the skin as natural as possible as I always do for personal projects and prefer for commercial projects as well if possible.
Let me know if this issue of the newsletter was helpful to you and don’t hesitate to ask me questions, technical and non-technical. And if you really enjoyed it and want to support this newsletter, you can always Buy Me A Coffee. Your support and feedback means the world to me!
Talk to you next week!