Last weekend I took a break from the norm to shoot a portrait.
Ever since I upgraded my studio lighting, I’ve been wanting try a “Schoeller” portrait. Martin Schoeller popularized this look with his famous portraits of everyone from Barack Obama to George Clooney for the covers of Time Magazine.
For my shoot, I wanted to try something similar but not as tight and not on white. (Gotta “steal like an artist” right?) Schoeller lights his portraits differently through his use of this style but the concept remains the same. Sometimes he used a clamshell, sometimes flanking strip boxes, and sometimes bounced off of V-Flats. I opted for a clamshell with two very large beauty dishes (40″ overhead and 28″ from below). In order to limit bounce light, I enclosed the set with two black panels and a thick black matte backdrop. Posing is relatively static not only because that is the key to creating this style but also because shooting the camera lens through the clamshell limits my movement. Despite the angle limitations, I worked freehand with a standard zoom lens because I wanted to experiment with how tight I wanted the shot.
As someone that doesn’t regularly shoot studio portraits – only a handful so far in 2015 – I have to say that I am in love with this lighting setup. It’s clean, soft, and very complimentary to the skin – making the post production process a breeze. I focused mostly on color grading and tone curves and didn’t need to spend much time skin retouching. On the editing benefits alone, I definitely see why this lighting is so popular for portraits and beauty photography.
It was nice to do something different and practice my portrait photography and retouching skills. This was incredibly fun to shoot and I’ll definitely revisit it soon. For now, back to the equally fun norm of food and still life!