This is some examples from my first portrait session using a smoke machine in the photo studio, the assignment was to create some band photos for a friend. The two guys, with beards and all, liked the idea of having some kind of haze in their photos, so I got to try how a little smoke can add an extra dimension to portraits.
My studio is quite small, but using smoke removed that feeling from the portraits right away. Or after a while, if I should be correct. At first, the smoke from the machine is a very visible part of the portraits, but after a short while it settles to a nice fog, making the studio space endless and very much a living part of the photos.
A more cinematic feel to studio lighting…
This must be one of the most simple studio setups with just one light and a very large umbrella. Works fantastic if you want to enhance a strong bone structure and have a large, wrapping light that looks good in the catchlights.
But, I wouldn´t rely on it for everyone, especially if someone might have very pale or oily skin, so it is not in my ordinary repertoire for corporate headshots. For that I chose a safer way with a large softbox or something similar.
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I have wondered if there might be a way to use flashlights as portrait lighting in my studio to create a headshot with relatively cheap and very portable lights. My goal was not to do the most creative portrait but to see if it was possible and what kind of problems I might encounter. And there were a few.
If this test turned out producing good lighting, I might be tempted to build a small kit including some bright flashlights and good solutions for attaching them to my lightweight studio stands (the Manfrotto Nano would be my choice).
It was quite different compared to using Profoto B1:s and D1:s together with all the lighting modifiers I am used to have at my disposal.
Behind the scenes, lighting diagram etc…
Recently one of my sons visited my in the photo studio, and I took the opportunity to shoot some portraits (can be fun to try something arranged with good lighting instead of the thousands of snapshot in my iPhone).
My lighting was simple, one Profoto D1 with a white Softlight reflector (beauty dish) camera left and a strip softbox behind him as rim light camera right.
That done, the problem was to get him into the sweet spot of the lighting and staying there for at least one minute. Luckily I had some props left from another photo session, one of the a heavy fabric with some brown/golden pattern.
Two lights and some fabric…
This is a portrait of Barbro Lindgren, famous Swedish author and the winner of The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) 2014. I have worked with this organization for many years now, and this part of my assignment is always the most fun, and the most challenging. Once a year I have an hour to produce good publicity portraits that they can use for press and information.
This year the weather gods were happy and we had a nice sky with small fluffy clouds that made a good background. It is a pretty hectic schedule trying to shoot as many portraits in different styles on this small island in the middle of Stockholm, so I tend to travel light with as little equipment as possible.
A Speedlight, an umbrella and a C-stand…