I have always prefered the more dramatic images of Low-key portraits than high-key as they seem to reveal more of the sitters personality and emotion. Below are a examples of low key photography:
During Photography class last week I tried in the studio to re- create this image with the help of Maggie. I like this image because it is very atmospheric and moody, I also underestimated how difficult it was going to be!
The lighting set up was similar to this:
We used a single light with a honeycomb grid on the end to help direct the light.
'Like snoots and barndoors, a honeycomb grid ia an attachment that narrows and focuses the beam from a stobe lamp. The primary difference is that a honeycombe grid provides a smoother less dramatic graduation to the edge of the light. These grids come in four standard angles of beam widtht; ten, twenty, thirty, and forty degrees. The smaller the angle of beam width, the tighter the beam of light'. ('Digital photography and lighting' (2006) C.Jamieson and S.McCormick p.71)
The difficulty we had was where to place the key light. If we placed it at 45 degrees to the subject (as demonstrated in the diagram) the shadows were too severe and too much light landed on the models face. If we placed it slightly behind the model, we got a 'rimmed' effect that was not what we were after.
The metering was taken using an sekonic L-358 with a set ISO of 200 and shutter speed of 1/125. This recommended an aperature of f/4.0. I shot it using my Nikon D80 with a 50mm lens and used manual focus.
Although I'm relatively happy with the final image, It doesn't quite replicate the image fully. It is also slightly out of focus and the background is not jet black as the light has 'spilled' over onto the floor of the studio. In the future to prevent this from happening I could use a heavy black cloth (velvet) on the floor inorder for the light to be fully absorbed. For a first attempt I'm quite pleased, but will try again and next time will use black cloth and focus on the subject before turning the lights off