studio style, pt. 1

lighting, thinking

Hail retina revellers!

Tomorrow we get back into the photography studio. I’m stoked. It’s similar to the excitement of heading into the recording booth. I have taken portraits outdoors (see above image of Parminder in his natural habitat), which are more consonant with my interest in photography. But now, like recording narration for a radio piece instead of heading out and gathering audio, I head into the controlled environment of the studio.

This makes for a more thoughtful, planned out kind of composition. Like producing a radio drama instead of a news piece. My focus in the photography studio will be composing a PR portrait with Rembrandt lighting and a character portrait using butterfly lighting. Not exactly the detail of a radio drama script, but nonetheless, more of a compositional plan than just shooting Parminder in the arb.


rembrandt lighting

Rembrandt lighting, obviously, was coined to evoke the portraiture of 17th century, anti-Baroque, Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. A small triangle of light appears on the unlit side of the subject’s face due to the 45 degree angle of the key light.


aristotle contemplates homer by rembrandt via google art project

I like thinking of portrait photography in relation to great painters.  Painting takes a considerable amount of forethought and effort compositionally, the kind of forethought that can be taken away from photography in a point and shoot, snapshot, ‘instagram it’ culture.


butterfly lighting

Butterfly lighting is very dramatic and you’ll recognize it from all sorts of films and magazine photos. The technique is employed by cop shows all of the times, with the single overhead shaded tungsten light swinging above the good cop and bad cop in the interrogation room. You may also recognize it as tilt shift lighting.

Prisoners walking the Round by Van Gogh.jpg

tilt shift lighting from van gogh

We’ll see how I deal with this experiment in contemplative composition in the photo studio. I’m excited to see if it is as fun as a recording studio or as fun as the classic image of the fashion photographer, yelling ‘you’re  a tiger!’ at beautiful women as techno music blares.

thanks for the peek.

One thought on “studio style, pt. 1

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