Once again, we have a rather easy tutorial for you: How to take really beautiful low key images of women, men, in the nude or in beautiful lingerie. Altough the results are stunning, the procedure is rather simple: You light the model from the back to outline the body. This is the general idea, but there are myriads of possibilities (you’ll find some examples in my older post HERE).
The obvious variations are: the type and angle of the lightsource, its distance from the model (and associated hardness/softness of light) and of course the number of lightsources.
Here is the image I’ll discuss today:
If possible, use a big room and position yourself in the middle to avoid spill light on the back and from the front and sides. Using a background paper or cloth is very recommended! If your room is small and you have white walls, cover them up if possible by using dark cloth.
You have to use flashes/strobes, so you have to stay below the synchro time of your camera, which should be around 1/200th of a second. To be on the safe side, I like using 1/160th. Then, set the aperture so that your background is plain black. To achieve this, use live view or take multiple shots, and finally control the result with the histogram.
Set up one or more strobes (striplights are ideal) behind the model’s position. Put it farer away for harder light and edges, and nearer for smoother contouring. Positionning the light more from behind than from the side will produce darker shadows (on arms, legs, face, stomach). Play with that position to hide or highlight the features you want!
Now set the power of the strobes. I don’t use a light meter so I proceed by trial and error: Set one flash on the lowest setting and take a test shot, then dial the power up or down to suit your needs. Proceed the same with any other light you want to use and remember to check the exposure of your background. If you see some unwanted structure there, lower the power of your flash and put it nearer to your model. Additionally, you can try to dial-in more contrast in-camera or in post-pro.
Hm, not much to do here: convert to grayscale, increase the contrast, color the image lighty (sepia tones…) and that’s it. Enjoy!
Many thanks to the lovely model!
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