Strobist photography has always been a great interest of mine, I’ve dabbled with it in bits and pieces but today I had a specific idea of a shot I wanted so I thought I’d give some low key photography a go this weekend. Seeing as I’m also doing my Charlie x 52 Photography Project I thought I might as well mix the two together and see what happens..


Strobist equipment


The setup

Ok so lets get to the nitty gritty of how I got round to setting these photographs up. First you need a subject, in my case it was obviously Charlie, it had to be done when he had just woken up, there is no way he would sit still long enough to set the shot up. Fresh from his afternoon sleep Charlie was placed in front of the black screen in the photo studio. You don’t have to use a black screen but you’ll need enough room behind the subject for the light to fall away and for the background to be cast in shadow. In this case the photo studio isn’t big enough so I need to use the black screen.

Anyway back to the setup, so for this photograph I’m using a one light setup, this will create a nice contrast of light and shadow across the subject and will create the illusion of them sinking into the black background. The light which consists of a Nikon SB600 and a Lastolite EZybox has been setup to the right hand side of the subject, there is a window to the left of Charlie which will give a small source of ambient light and ensures the whole lefthand side of his face isn’t plunged into darkness.

To speed the process up I took a few shots with a test dummy, it’s pretty much trial and error with the speedlight to get the right amount of light I started on 1/32 power which was no where near enough and then kept turning the power up until I was happy with the light levels. I brought Charlie in and took a handful of shots, even though he’d just woken up he still moved around alot, you only get a small window of opportunity before he decided trying to eat the camera was more interesting than posing.

I’m really happy with the three different final images i ended up with, I used alot of post-production sharpening and Silver EFX pro to get the final composition.

Charlie Stretching Lowkey

Charlie having a stretch for the camera

Charlie smilie black and white

Charlie smiling lowkey black and white