I got my black muslin background for my studio about two months ago, but had yet to actually try it out. (horrible, I know) I think I was just dreading ironing/steaming it. I decided it was time, however, and dragged my husband into doing a mini shoot with me. I also needed a refresher with my light meter because I’ve honestly been a little lazy and not used it in a while.
While studying photography in school, I learned mostly film and all in black and white. In the studio we were using a 4×5 film camera- no digital at all. The black and white element has always stuck with me. I prefer it mostly over color because of the aesthetic. This also causes me to be really picky with the black and white work that I do. As good as digital is, it’s never going to create a true black and white like film so you have to manipulate the levels quite a bit. It bothers me so much when I see a “black and white” image on a photographer’s site that is really just a color picture turned to grey scale. GREY SCALE IS NOT BLACK AND WHITE. It’s just not. If you don’t have a true black and a true white anywhere in your photo then it’s muddy and you need to work on that a little more to get the color right. (Ok another little rant off my chest.)
Also while in school, I took a Hollywood portraiture class, that I can still tell you was my favorite class in my entire college career. I fell in love with the lighting and mostly with film noir. I’m very inspired by the lighting in movies in general, but especially noir films. There’s something about the drama in the lighting that captures me and pulls me in. I decided this is the direction I wanted to go in for this shoot.
(Now before you say anything, I know this is not really noir. His wardrobe isn’t noir at all, but the lighting is inspired by it and so is the contrast of the black and white. Also, keep in mind this was really a test shoot so it wasn’t a full production, but I hope you enjoy them anyway.)