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Lighting for a dark & shadowy look

Medusa

Medusa: 1/250 sec, f/10, ISO 100

I was inspired by the ballet dancer photograph (see below) by Chase Jarvis and decided to try a similar lighting style for a photoshoot that I did last week. I was shooting body painting work by makeup artist Meghan Thomas for actor, model and dancer Genevieve Clements. The theme was Medusa, the gorgon of Greek mythology with venomous snakes for hair and the power to turn to stone anyone who looked at her face.

Ballet Dancer by Chase Jarvis

Ballet Dancer by Chase Jarvis

I wanted a dark, shadowy look for the Medusa theme, but also wanted to make sure that the body painting was visible. To achieve this, I used a black seamless paper background and positioned two softboxes behind the model, one on each side. This is similar to the set up for the Chase Jarvis ballet dancer shot. I then added two gridded strobes in front to use as spotlights for highlighting the makeup and body painting. I also used two large black foamcore panels to block the light from the softboxes to prevent lens flare (see the lighting diagram below).

Post-processing was done with Lightroom 3.4 and Photoshop CS5. I increased the contrast and did some light retouching, but kept the colours to highlight the body painting.

Let me know what you think. Do you have some lighting techniques that you use to give a shadowy look?

Lighting Setup for Medusa Shoot

Lighting diagram courtesy of Kevin Kertz.

  1. May 21st, 2011 at 04:16 | #1

    Great information thanks for sharing this with me. In fact in all posts of this blog their is something to learn . she dance is very good and i appreciate your work and hopping for some more informative posts . Again thanks.

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