Off Topic – Studio Anywhere

Portrait of Teenager Daniel
Daniel | Porto Ferraio | 2016
With today’s post I’m venturing far away from my usual posts around Street- and Travel Photography. But vacation time is not only time for intensified photography around documenting our family trip to Italy.

Holidays means also having finally time for a lot of (photography) related reading of books, blogs and websites to get fresh doses of inspiration. And also having time to try out a few things off your usual beaten paths.

In this case I decided to do some portrait photography with my (more or less willing) family. First victim up was my son Daniel. To see more and learn how this studio-like portrait was taken without help of any flash on a 1m stretch of white wall inside our rented apartment’s bedroom continue reading after the jump.

During a recent trip to the USA (where often in the evening I visit a Barnes & Noble Bookstore to look at Photography books) I stumbled across the stunning book “Studio Anywhere” by professional portrait and commercial photographer Nick Fancher (link to the book at the end of the post). Nick gave up his rented studio after discovering that he can just as easy get professional results working directly at his customer’s location with minimalistic portable lighting gear, be it a small one bedroom apartment, an office, a backyard or a garage. The book describes in details many examples of his shootings including his setups, lighting diagrams, interaction with models and many behind the scenes shots that illustrate very well is approach to get professional studio-like results with minimalistic gear and in any type of location. Nick also describes his post production steps in Adobe Lightroom.

Portrait of Teenager Daniel
Daniel | Porto Ferraio | 2016
Very much inspired by the book I decided to use our vacation time to try some of Nick’s concepts myself in whatever our rented holiday apartment gave me. In this post I’m showing my first attempt using Daniel as my model and the bedroom of our apartment as the “studio”.

As you can see from the “making of” shot below the setup was super simple. A big window with a curtain as single light. A one meter stretch of more or less blank white wall (except plugs, antenna outlets and a TV wall mount).  In anticipation of the shots I brought a 2 by 1 meter WALIMEX 2 in 1 black & white foldout background as well as a WALIMEX 2 by 1 meter 5 in 1 foldout reflector.

Opposite the window I put the silver side of the large reflector to throw the soft light coming in from the window back on Daniel’s shadow side. It works awesome as you can see from the catchlights in his eyes in the image above.

The foldout background  I used with both sides, black and white, providing very different moods to the portraits. As prop I used a beautiful wooden chair that stands in this spot beside the window and that normally serves as the clothing trow on chair 😉

I shot the portraits with the Olympus PEN-F and the m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 at 1/100 sec, f/1.8 and ISO 400.

Making of a portrait - Lighting Setup
Making Of | Porto Ferraio | 2016
I converted the RAW shots in Lightroom CC. For the portrait with the white background I increased overall exposure by a half stop and cranked up the contrast to give the image some punch. To compensate for the increased contrast I opened up the shadow quite a bit plus added sharpening (as I shot in RAW). To warm the image a bit I decreased saturation of blue and cyan in the HSL panel. Finally I adjusted the curves in the red and green channels only.

With the black background image I once again increased overall exposure by 1/3 stop, reduced highlights a bit and opened up the shadows. Here I increased clarity a bit and adjusted luminosity in the blue and purple channels until the skin tones looked right.

I saved these settings as a preset (white background / black background) which I used successfully as starting point for the other images in the series. The ones posted are the ones my son liked best 😉

Hope you liked this little off-topic excursion into portrait photography.


Related Links:

Nick Fancher : Studio Anywhere

Walimex 2in1 Falthintergrund

Walimex 5in1 Faltreflektor

Related Posts:

Gear Talk – Ring light on a budget

Want your own Logo ? DIY !

Finding your photographic style

Little woes of a traveling photographer


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