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dianna
05-03-2006, 10:34 AM
I love everything about this look from the shallow DOF to the lighting. With such a shallow depth of field, I'm guessing that the photographer used modeling lights or some other constant light source and a wide aperture or large format camera. I would be grateful for any tips on how to achieve this look (BTW I don't own a set of studio strobes and don't have an interest in using them).

JBrunner
05-03-2006, 10:43 AM
Large tungsten or carbon arc fixtures (at the studio, you know)
High right key, lower(eye level) left fill (you can see them in her eyes, and the key angle from the nose shadow), a hair light, and lots of makeup. Portrait lens.

The triangle of light under her eye (left frame) was the thing in the day.

noseoil
05-03-2006, 11:31 AM
The catch lights in the eye tell their own story! tim

Amund
05-03-2006, 11:39 AM
And lots of work with the 30`s version of Photoshop: the lead pencil :)

df cardwell
05-03-2006, 11:45 AM
Massive retouching is the key. The photographic image - made under HOT lights - was often completely painted over. This particular image was also vignetted ( probably in the printing ). You COULD do this all day long in Photoshop.

Pick the most appealing quality of the image, and you can probably do it easily enough without tricks. But combining the whole catalog of FX ? Paint, pencil, etching knife, airbrush...

kwmullet
05-03-2006, 12:04 PM
I briefly used an Adams Retouching Machine (http://images.google.com/images?q=%22adams%20retouching%22%20machine%20&oe=UTF-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&percentage_served=*:100&sa=N&ie=UTF-8&tab=wi) in high school to retouch b&w 4x5 portraits. I hope these still teach this somewhere. Very rewarding if you get it just right.

-KwM-

Kino
05-03-2006, 12:07 PM
Don't forget our buddy, Max Factor here. He began by providing pancake to the silents for shooting with Ortho stocks which made the caucasian face turn very dark. Next time you watch a low budget silent, look around the nape of the neck and cuff area of the arms and see where the makeup ends.

It made it really easy for white guys to play Native Americans; they simply didn't apply makeup...

I assume the lass has as very thick layer of (base) makeup on her face.

BTW FWIW, the kicks in her eye suggest to me a spun glass Mole Richardson "rifle" light (5K tungsten) for her camera-right key, up at 2 O'clock and a Niner-broad Mole on camera left with silks at 9 O'clock for fill with a tweenie or other small illuminary providing the kicks on the hair from behind at 10 and 2 O'Clock.

Pretty classic stuff...

David A. Goldfarb
05-03-2006, 12:14 PM
Looks like makeup and pencil in that example.

Hurrell used to like to photograph subjects with makeup only to define the eyes and lips and no base makeup to get the natural glow from the skin, and then all blemishes would be retouched out and lines would be softened with pencil on the neg.

I have an Adams Machine, and I'm learning.

df cardwell
05-03-2006, 12:23 PM
Hey Kino

Why do they call it pancake ? ( you owe me a milkshake for the softball.. )

.

Kino
05-03-2006, 12:24 PM
Oh yeah, sorry, suggestions....

Lowell DP kit, Key at 1:30, medium flood with hard reflector at 8 feet away. Fill, another DP light full flood behind a sheet of toughspun diffusion at 12 feet and directly at eye level to fill sockets. 2 Teenies, no more than 150 watt each, just out of frame behind subject at 10 and 2, hard spots raked across hair tips from behind. White cyclorama (or sheet) behind subject about 4 feet (no shadows on it) and a nice even, diffused light source on it; put it on a dimmer or variac and adjust by eye. Stack NDs on camera to get minimum DOF and focus on eye kicks. Heavy makeup, vaseline on teeth and you are ready.

My 2 cents.

Frank

Kino
05-03-2006, 12:26 PM
Hey Kino

Why do they call it pancake ? ( you owe me a milkshake for the softball.. )

.

I used to know this... Sorry... Drat.

jnanian
05-03-2006, 12:55 PM
mark wangerin is in the midst of writing a book for
making portraits just like this .... last i spoke with him ( a few months ago ) it was still being edited ...

the adams machines were great. i had one and used it for years. one of the tricks is to have a very sharp-pointy lead, and a light touch (and not to put hardener in the fix - you'll loose the film's tooth ).

don - pancake makeup was called that because it came in a semimoist cake form ... or so they say ... unlike grease-paint, from days of yore :)

-john

Kino
05-03-2006, 01:14 PM
A new book would be nice, but you can always go to the master...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0520089499/sr=8-1/qid=1146679996/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-9082219-4139337?%5Fencoding=UTF8

"Painting With Light" by John Alton

Christopher Nisperos
05-03-2006, 01:18 PM
I love everything about this look from the shallow DOF to the lighting. With such a shallow depth of field, I'm guessing that the photographer used modeling lights or some other constant light source and a wide aperture or large format camera. I would be grateful for any tips on how to achieve this look (BTW I don't own a set of studio strobes and don't have an interest in using them).

Hi Dianna,

First, here are my observations about this portrait:
Classic Rembrandt lighting
Main : medium-high, right, undiffused –probably a wide-diameter tungsten fresnel
Backlights : right and left kickers evidenced by reflection in hair and side of forehead and extreme edge of jowl
Fill : low left, probably at head level as evidenced by catchlight and shadow on chin from finger .. Probably not very near lens as evidenced by canyon-shadows between hands, under chin
Background : flood – maybe Mole Softlites
Make-up : finished with a little coldcream as evidence by focused highlights on nose annd cheeks
Lens : probably longer than normal, close-up, f wide
Film : probably ortho as evidenced by dark lips
There is as always for these type of portraits, quite heavy pencil retouching, and this portrait is a master example. I do not think a vignetter was used
and I do not notice any flagging on the lighting (though there may be, especially on such a well done portrait).

To do the same today, just use the same materials and technique (you have several good answers, above particularly regarding retouching. Yes, you can "get away with" smaller format and other substitutions, but if you really want the same look, the solution is simple: do the same thing!

One difference: Today I use all Dedo lights, as the optical efficiency of the spotlights let me work in smaller spaces and at more comfortable levels of light.

Good luck and have fun.

Christopher Nisperos
05-03-2006, 01:18 PM
I love everything about this look from the shallow DOF to the lighting. With such a shallow depth of field, I'm guessing that the photographer used modeling lights or some other constant light source and a wide aperture or large format camera. I would be grateful for any tips on how to achieve this look (BTW I don't own a set of studio strobes and don't have an interest in using them).

Hi Dianna,

First, here are my observations about this portrait:

-Classic Rembrandt lighting

-Main : medium-high, right, undiffused –probably a wide-diameter tungsten fresnel

-Backlights : right and left kickers evidenced by reflection in hair and side of forehead and extreme edge of jowl

-Fill : low left, probably at head level as evidenced by catchlight and shadow on chin from finger .. Probably not very near lens as evidenced by canyon-shadows between hands, under chin

-Background light : flood – maybe Mole Softlites

-Make-up : finished with a little coldcream as evidence by focused highlights on nose annd cheeks

-Lens : probably longer than normal, close-up, wide f/stop

-Film : probably ortho as evidenced by dark lips

As always for these type of portraits, there is quite heavy pencil retouching, and this portrait is a masterly example. I do not think a vignetter was used
and I do not notice any flagging or scrimming on the lighting, although with a portrait this well done, it's not always easy to tell.


To do the same today, just use the same materials and techniques (you have several good answers and suggestions above particularly regarding retouching, which is ABSOLUTELY necessary to achieve this look). Yes, you can "get away with" smaller format and other substitutions, but if you really want the same look, the solution is simple: do the same thing!

One difference: Today I use all Dedo lights, as the optical efficiency of the spotlights let me work in smaller spaces and at more comfortable levels of light. Plus, their barndoors (essential for this kind of work) are the best I've ever seen.

Good luck and have fun!

dianna
05-03-2006, 01:26 PM
Thanks for the tips. The Lowell kits are in the $2K range. Ouch! I think I'll just admire the glamour portraits and stick with available light until I can educate myself.

I would love to see a revival of that style. It's a niche that nobody seems to have exploited lately.

JBrunner
05-03-2006, 01:38 PM
If you want to mess around with tungsten lighting you can get some shop lights and and some foam core. Smith victor lights can also be found cheap.

You can use the foam core to bounce light, and also cut holes in it to control light.

Note that different B&W films have varying response to tungsten light.

jimgalli
05-03-2006, 01:57 PM
Contact me offline if you're interested in a Century Studio camera complete with Wollensak Series II Velostigmat & packard shutter. It's a 5X7 so film won't eat you up quite so bad. You could put an 8X10 back on but I don't have one for it. Clamps and floods from the hardware store are useable while you collect the correct vintage stuff on Ebay.

df cardwell
05-03-2006, 02:09 PM
I used to know this... Sorry... Drat.


Max Factor's PANCHROMATIC CAKE MAKEUP = Pancake

Christopher: Dedos.... gosh, yes !

Christopher Nisperos
05-03-2006, 02:16 PM
Thanks for the tips. The Lowell kits are in the $2K range. Ouch! I think I'll just admire the glamour portraits and stick with available light until I can educate myself.

I would love to see a revival of that style. It's a niche that nobody seems to have exploited lately.

Hey! Don't despair! Start out with a Smith-Victor photoflood outfit (used to be 3 lights and 3 stands for about $150. or so). Or check out the slightly more expensive Lowel L-Light system (http://www.lowel.com/llight/)

I swear you can get great results with either of these (don't forget to buy BARNDOORS!).. perhaps not the "Hollywood glamour look", but certainly the "Kodak glamour look"! Not as dramatic, but just as impressive. Look up Wallace Seawell's work to understand the difference.

By the way, about your comment that, "It's a niche that nobody seems to have exploited lately" ... well, there's me .. and ..

http://www.studio-harcourt.com/
http://www.thestarlightstudio.com/
http://www.wangerinphoto.com/