Low Key Model Portfolio

Meet Yas Nawaz.

Fitness instructor and model. I’d met Yas at a previous shoot on New Year’s Eve in Clitheroe, where we had only the briefest of conversations. Yas later got in touch regarding a requirement for some portfolio images. Considering his physique, I felt a low key approach would be best in this instance, although a location shoot is on the cards for a future shoot too.

I wanted the light to be kept fairly tight, and to fall across his chest, throwing a shadow between his pectorals and therefore helping to define and emphasise the muscles. I chose to use a single light (Lencarta EP600), turned fairly low to reduce the possibility of it lighting the background. My first thought was to use a standard reflector with a thirty or twenty degree grid, but I felt it wouldn’t provide the necessary spread (yes, I know that’s contradictory when talking grids, but you’ll see what I mean), so I chose to use the Lencarta 40cm beauty dish with a grid, providing a larger pool of tightly controlled light. Yes, I could have gotten a larger pool of light from a standard reflector if it was further from Yas, but it would certainly cause light contamination of the background which is actually a white vinyl backdrop.

The light was place at head height and camera left, with Yas looking directly into it, and turned almost side on to the light source.

Nikon D3 ISO200 1/200th sec 24-70mm f5.6

This second image has just one purpose, which is to primarily display Yas’ muscularity. This was a little trickier, as the viewer needs to be drawn to the muscle structure, rather than with the first image, where it was primarily Yas’ face, with his chest as a secondary point of focus.

I also wanted to illuminate the background just enough, so as not to lose Yas’ left arm and the shadowed side of his chest into the background. I could have simply turned the light up a fraction, but found I had a little too much of a spill on the background, and the shadows within the muscled area seemed less pronounced. Instead, I moved both Yas and the light nearer the background so there was no change in the lighting level on Yas, but the background picked up enough to register.

With the light being camera left, Yas’ shadow provided a nice cut across the background spill. Which framed him quite nicely.

Nikon D3 ISO200 1/200th sec 24-70mm f5.6

I think this is one of my favourites and was actually nothing more than a final batch to get something with a bit of a theme to it. Moved the light to camera right, still at head height, and increased the output a little. This time I wanted less contrast in the muscled areas (as mentioned earlier).

Nikon D3 ISO200 1/200th sec 24-70mm f6.3