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The Dramatic Portrait, 1st Edition

Book Description

Without light, there is no photograph. As almost every photographer knows, the word “photograph” has its roots in two Greek words that, together, mean “drawing with light.” But what is less commonly acknowledged and understood is the role that shadow plays in creating striking, expressive imagery, especially in portraiture. It is through deft, nuanced use of both light and shadow that you can move beyond shooting simply ordinary, competent headshots into the realm of creating dramatic portraiture that can so powerfully convey a subject’s inner essence, communicate a personal narrative, and express your photographic vision.

In The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow, Chris Knight addresses portraiture with a unique approach to both light and shadow that allows you to improve and elevate your own portraiture. He begins with the history of portraiture, from the early work of Egyptians and Greeks to the sublime treatment of light and subject by artists such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. Chris then dives into a deep, hands-on exploration of light, shadow, and portraiture, offering numerous lessons and takeaways. He covers:
    • The qualities of light: hard, soft, and the spectrum in between
    • The relationships between light, subject, and background, and how to control them
    • Lighting patterns such as Paramount, Rembrandt, loop, and split
    • Lighting ratios and how they affect contrast in your image
    • Equipment: from big and small modifiers to grids, snoots, barn doors, flags, and gels
    • Multiple setups for portrait shoots, including those that utilize one, two, and three lights
    • How color contributes to drama and mood, eliciting an emotional response from the viewer
    • How to approach styling your portrait, from wardrobe to background
    • The post-processing workflow, including developing the RAW file, maximizing contrast, color grading, retouching, and dodging and burning for heightened drama and effect
    • How all of these elements culminate to help you define your personal style and create your own narrative

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. About the Author
  3. Contents
  4. Introduction
  5. Chapter One A History of Portraiture
    1. More Fun Than It Sounds
    2. The Evolution of Style
    3. The Evolution of Art and Portraiture
      1. Ancient Egypt (3100 BCE–332 BCE)
      2. Greek Style (800 BCE–600 CE)
      3. Onward to Rome (753 BCE–476 CE)
      4. Medieval Times (476–1500)
      5. Early Netherlandish (1420–1550)
      6. The Italian Renaissance (1341–1600)
      7. The Rebirth
      8. Low Renaissance (1400–1479)
      9. High Renaissance (1475–1525)
      10. The Renaissance in Other Countries
      11. Minding Your Mannerism (1520–1580)
      12. Going for Baroque (1580–1750)
      13. Heating Up the Dutch Oven (1600–1680)
      14. You Go, Glen Rococo (1700–1785)
      15. Neoclassicism, or: Why You Can Go Home Again (1750–1860)
      16. Romanticism (1800–1850)
      17. The Birth of Photography (1826–1827)
      18. Pictorialism (1885–1915) vs. Modernism (1910–1950)
      19. Photography Comes into Its Own (1962–Present)
    4. Wrap-Up
  6. Chapter Two Technical Lighting
    1. The Tools to Control Light
    2. How We See
      1. Contrast
      2. Shadow
    3. Qualities of Light
    4. Modification of Light
    5. Relative Size of Light
    6. Relative Position of the Background
    7. Giving Your Light a Job
    8. Lighting Ratios to Control Contrast
      1. Lighting Ratio: 1:1
      2. Lighting Ratio: –1 Stop Fill
      3. Lighting Ratio: –2 Stop Fill
      4. Lighting Ratio: –3 Stop Fill
      5. Lighting Ratio: –4 Stop Fill
    9. Why Size Matters
    10. Why Shape Matters
    11. How Falloff Controls Contrast
    12. Putting Light Where You Want It . . .
    13. . . . Blocking It Where You Don’t—the Flag
    14. The Special Order Menu
    15. Wrap-Up
  7. Chapter Three Taking Shape
    1. Shaping the Light, Mood, and Face
    2. Seeing the Patterns
      1. Paramount
      2. Loop
      3. Rembrandt
      4. Split
    3. Relative Position of the Light
    4. Broad Light Versus Short Light
    5. The Vertical Axis
    6. Which Mood, Which Light?
    7. Wrap-Up
  8. Chapter Four How Many Lights
    1. Using One, Two, and Three Lights to Further the Purpose
    2. The Purpose-Driven Light
    3. Studio Versus Location Shooting
    4. The Single Versus Multi-Source Approach
    5. One Light
    6. Two Lights
    7. Three Lights
    8. Wrap-Up
  9. Chapter Five Color
    1. Directing the Eye and Influencing People
    2. How Color Manipulates
      1. Describing Color
      2. Color: Symbolism and Emotion
    3. Making Colors Play Nice
      1. Monochrome
      2. Complementary
      3. Analogous
      4. Triadic
      5. Memory Colors
    4. Wrap-Up
  10. Chapter Six Styling
    1. Making Good Visual Choices
    2. Strengthening the Purpose
    3. Wardrobe
    4. Backgrounds
      1. Depth of Field
      2. Contrast
      3. Lighting
      4. Environment Versus Studio
    5. Textures
    6. Hair and Makeup
    7. Props
    8. Wrap-Up
  11. Chapter Seven Post-Production
    1. Adding the Polish
    2. How the Image Sausage Is Made
    3. RGB Versus CMYK
      1. Additive
      2. Subtractive
    4. The Components of Color
    5. The Raw File
      1. The Histogram
      2. Developing the Raw File
      3. What It Means to Develop for the Print
    6. Workflow
      1. Culling and Editing
      2. Developing
      3. Retouching
    7. Final Steps
    8. Wrap-Up
  12. Chapter Eight Personal Style
    1. You Do You
    2. Developing Your Personal Style
    3. Building a Cohesive Body of Work
    4. Gear Does Not Matter (But It Kind of Does)
      1. Gear Hang-ups
      2. Why Gear Matters
    5. The Narrative of the Image
    6. Case Studies
      1. Portrait of Linda
      2. A Fighter by His Trade
      3. Queen of the North
    7. Wrap-Up
  13. Final Thoughts