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Low Lighting Portrait of a Musician: Behind The Scenes

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Jun 19

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Shooting A Musician In A Low Light Environment

Before taking any pictures an low lighting environment, we met with Glenn and talked with him about what kind of images he wanted from the shoot. We eventually decided on portraits with a dark, yet natural low lighting feel. Realizing this helped to build our lighting and location accordingly. We’d be shooting in a dark theater with the Canon 35mm f/1.4, so it would be a challenge maintaining a balance of strobes and lights that were already present at the location.

Let’s Rework the Low Lighting

Since we were shooting with such a wide aperture and slow shutter to account for the lights on the ceiling, all of our strobes were at the lowest possible power. We also moved them farther way from our subject, and even pointed the beauty dish completely away from him. This created subtle lighting that blended in with the theater’s house lights.

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  • Steve Schuenke

    Very nice photo. I’d be interested in finding out if the lit match in any way
    contributes to the story of who the subject is or what he does. Or was it a
    totally random choice to make the lighting more interesting?

  • Jurica

    Hi Aaron, it looks like you focus and then recompose, so how come you still get sharp face with such shallow DOF?

  • Steve

    Great work Aaron, as always!

    Glenn looks just a little annoyed or bored…

  • Jordan Tarrant

    Because he knows how to use his camera.

  • Sergio Galván Rivero

    Hi Aron, Why didn’t you use a Tripod to avoid blurriness? I think it could have helped a bit more, Image looks fantastic, but just wanted to know that? Big Up from London.

  • hede

    he focuses on the model’s eye and then w/o changing the location of the camera (but the angle) and then he recomposes the frame. That way you allways have true focus

  • Sebastien Morin

    Like Hede said, and don’t forget to use Single focus (AF-S) and not continuous ;)

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Random Tips

One way to figure out the lighting in a photo besides looking at the direction of the shadows, is to look into the eyes and particularly the catch lights in the eyes can help you figure out the type of light used by its shape in the eye as well as the directions it was lit