Lower back? Low key lighting! - The little Low Key Tattoo
A lot of excellent photos benefit from concentrating most of the light on the one important spot that the photographer wants to bring across. Low key photography is a good strategy for this type of composition. Let’s say you have model who not only got beautiful buttocks, but she also got a nice little tattoo right there - is that then probably the spot at which you want to concentrate most light? Well, at least I would - as you can see in this video.
Since I am photographing her “low”er back, I guess it’s a good idea to use “low” key lighting. In this photo shoot we are posing our model in a low key lighting setup that throws quite soft and dimmed light light onto her lower back from two interesting angles. See how it’s done:
If you look at the video and particular at the lighting diagram in detail, then you might notice that I truly underexpose my frames. Low key lighting straight in camera.
Yes, that’s different from conventional wisdom which might tell you that you should expose correctly, even if you shoot low key and rather dim the photos later in postproduction. I’m perfectly fine with this traditional method. However, with my current camera I cannot see differences in quality between the two approaches - even though theoretically there must be some. Since I shoot my photos for the practical purpose of making human beings happy and not for scientific quality benchmarks, I personally prefer to directly underexpose the low key photos in camera. This way they have the low key character straight out of the camera. I like it when everybody involved in the photo shoot can directly see the results. Maybe I am just lazy to do stuff in post production - but I won’t admit that right here and now. I understand that there are other approaches which have their benefits too.
If your current postproduction workflow involves a lot of standard adjustments like exposure, white balance, saturation and sharpness, then how about trying to shift this things to the time you shoot the photo? How about getting it right in camera, just for the fun of it? Not because generations of photographers before us had to get pretty much everything right in camera when they shoot on film, no, who cares? Just for the sheer fun of it. Try it out and use the settings of your camera. Chances are that they are working much better than you expect.
Photography: Michael Zelbel
Postproduction: Gina Hernandez
Graphic Design: AlexZlatev
I wish you good light!