Dramatic Photographic Portraits Tips

Here are a few more portraits from this past weekend with model Michael  Heppner.
I like creating drama in my photos and feel the best ways to do this are either through dramatic lighting or through dramatic expressions.
Or in the best cases-both!
I have no rules for lighting-I use everything except strobes-I’m not crazy about the look of those.
In general I always have two light sources, one much more dominate than the other to create the chiaroscuro painting effect, or “Rembrandt Lighting”.
As far as the actual lights, I’ve used professional lights with umbrellas and soft boxes, halogen lights, clamp-on work lights, LED video lights, high powered flashlights from China ( I think they are really for rifles) and even those small click-and-stick lights. Oh yeah, and also Christmas lights.  Anything goes.
Expressions can be more difficult, it just depends on the person you are photographing. One way to inspire more expression, especially for someone that has never posed before, is to give  them a character to become. People are more loose and expressive if they have permission to pretend a little bit.
Another expression tip-the background music. I always have background music for inside studio sessions. The music creates the mood. I’ve read other photographers saying they let their clients bring their own music-I can’t imagine this! I feel like I would be giving away too much control of the mood of the entire shoot.  Instead, I have several cd mixes that I use, mostly very ambient, sultry and low-key-unless the photos need more energy. The one with the sword above needed some Rob Zombie-and it worked!
Click images above for a better  view.

See full post here: The Phantom Darkroom2013-07-31.