I normally approach portraiture from the subject standpoint: I would get the subject first, and then build an image around him or her. I had been wanting however to keep exploring some colourful light setups, along the lines of Jack and Sammie, but see what could be achieved without the help of the make-up design (which I love, don’t get me wrong). This had been on the back of my mind when I ran into Jeremy at a party, and instantly though he’d be great for the look I was after.
So the idea I had started by using cool cyan/blue tones for the overall fill of the shadows — one would normally not lean towards such cold tones to go along with flesh (unless shooting Game of Throne’s posters, I guess), but once combined with a splash of a complementary red, it suddenly comes alive. Had I left it there –and despite looking cool already– the look would have been a bit more outlandish, which works wonders for Wesley, but was not what I was after this time. To soften it a bit, I added a third light gelled in gold tones, which would act as key.
Here’s a test shot I did with my lovely wife Raquel which shows the approximate setup:
On Jeremy’s shot the only change was to enlarge the key light a bit using a beauty dish, to soften up a bit, but still leave somewhat hard shadows that work so well on his expression. I think this makes for a edgy unusual portrait, so I’m really happy about the result.
At the beginning of the session however, and just in case this didn’t turn out as cool as it was in my head, I started with some good ol’ black and white shots to warm up. This guy looks great in any light setup!