I’m really fond of the dramatic portraits I took with my friend Jon; so fond in fact, I could barely choose which one I liked the best!

The studio setup I had for all of them was pretty much the same throughout. I wanted to go with as minimal light as I possibly could. I was trying get the effect where it looks like the subject is the only thing coming out of the inky darkness, providing for obvious and interesting light/color contrast to the black background – and for the most part, I think I achieved my goal.

I set my camera on a tripod in the middle of the studio. I kept the simple black wall as my background. I turned off the overhead lights in the studio, and only left the light in the back office on. The main light I used on my model came from a single strobe (on a tripod stand), which I placed my different colored gels on top of. In the picture above I used the dark blue gel, but I used many different colors throughout my session. For this particular picture I lowered the strobe’s stand and tilted it up, so it could shine on the left side of Jon. This illuminates only his front features and lets the rest of him fade into the background; I liked this effect a lot. All I really did to change the lighting in my photos was to move the strobe around Jon to make it hit him on varied angles, tilt it to make the light harsher/softer, and change the colored gels. I tried using a softbox on some of the pictures, but in the end, I didn’t like how much they illuminated everything.

Here are the other portraits I liked, for your consideration: