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Dark And Moody Studio Portraits - Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey - Video

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It’s all about the shadows, get them right and you’ll be a master of the "dark" element of a low-key portrait. Adding some mood is a little more tricky. That requires a combination of carefully considered shadows, styling, or props that add some dark character and possibly a little bit of post-processing magic.

Photographer Gavin Hoey starts at the beginning and shows you how to make the shadows as dark as possible before you start your photo session. Next Gavin uses a simple two-light setup to keep control of the light on his model and background using a Glow softbox and two Flashpoint flashes.

For the mood in his portraits, Gavin has three simple studio ideas that use everyday props in an unusual way. It starts with some heavy, dark fabric that Sophie, his model, wears like a hooded cloak. Next Gavin mixes things up and uses the brim of a top hat to cast a shadow that hides his model's eye. Finally, Gavin switches to some sheer black fabric that completely covers his model but adds that all import mood and mystery to the images.

  • 00:00 Intro 
  • 01:15 Camera settings for maximum shadows 
  • 02:14 Setting up the key light and background flash
  • 03:25 Hooded cloak photo session
  • 04:58 Dark beauty lighting set-up
  • 05:59 Top hat with shadows photo session
  • 07:38 Correct camera setting for sheer fabric 
  • 09:50 Sheer and lace fabric photo sessions
  • 10:50 Conclusions and Subscribe


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