Kelsey visited my studio earlier in 2013 for her first portfolio shoot with me, she got on great then. Since then she has pursued the modelling and also entered the DIVA Next Door competition. She done fantastic at that and won the October slot on the calendar. She dropped down to me for a second time for a test shoot. I wanted to work on the whole “White Wall” & Terry Richardson look. During the Summer of ’13 I went through a phase of trying to emulate the look. I found it interesting for a number of reason.
- Reducing the complexity of the lighting should put more emphasis on the subject
- Simple lighting = Simpler and quicker setups
- The Controversy surrounding TR and some of his work and off camera antics.
Terry Richardson is an accomplished photographer who has done many wide and varied projects. He happens to be just best known his white wall look – The TR look. This look is basically a white wall and single flash on the camera. The look is very simple indeed. Where Terry makes it his own is his interaction with the subjects, the expressions and the general coolness of the images.
Flash on the Camera! Yes you heard right. I know there are a lot of people ( me included) who started of learning about lighting and thinking that you need to get the light source away from the camera to give flattering light, interesting light etc. So with the TR look and putting the light back even closer to the lens seems counter productive.
In using the flash on the camera for this method, it is not the normal flash on the hot shoe. Instead, the flash, the actual source of the light needs to be moved closer to the lens axis. Older film camera and pocket digital cameras have a setup like this. For DSLR camera, a special bracket to move the flash close to the lens and a sync cord or TTL cord are needed to be able to fire the flash.
For these shots with Kelsey, I did not have such a bracket ( I do now though). So to achieve a similar effect, I setup a single studio strobe with a 21cm reflector and set it at my eye level. I used just a reflector to try to recreate a speedlight, which is a small and harsh light source. To achieve the look, I just took the shots with the camera placed right under the reflector.
The idea of keeping the light source close to the lens axis is to reduce the appearance of shadows and to give an even ( but harsh) light on the subject. Another photographer who uses this look a lot is Irish-in-LA man and PLayboy Photographer, Tony Kelly, go check out his work. Combining one light ( over exposed a tad) and some curves adjustment, you’re well on the way to creating the TK look.
It was the summer of ’13 when I started liking this look and because I am behind in my blogging a good bit, you will be seeing a lot of similar images on the blog over the while. You will be able to see the progression of the look as I try different techniques.