Matthew Roharik Experiments with Low Key Lighting
November 14, 2017
I recently received a marketing email from photographer Matthew Roharik. Inside was this series of portraits with a distinct lighting formula. Intrigued, I emailed the Los Angeles-based shooter to learn more.
PB: What was the inspiration for this series?
MR: I am exploring the merging of low key, non-direct lighting with hard lighting in small, controlled light bands.
When I was in the Midwest, I went through a de-saturation period. Since relocating to Los Angeles, the southern California sunshine has led me to a vibrant-color mindset.
PB: What was the shoot for?
MR: This was for a portfolio refresh of studio portraits with Los Angeles agency models.
PB: How did you decide on the color palette?
MR: The teal and red color combination reminds me of old school, 3D cinema and the yellow light comes about from the tungsten hot light.
PB: What are the tech specs?
MR: The “low key” lighting overhead was feathered away from the model with two Profoto large deep dish umbrellas and diffusers. The left light had no gel and the right had a teal color gel.
I used three Lumopro LP180 speed lights: one in front with a snoot, barn door and no gel, and two with honeycomb 20-degree grids on each side with red and yellow gels to paint light in tight bands. Behind the model on camera left was a 1000w Fresnel that provided rim lighting at ISO 100 1/125th of a second at f/5.6. For the lens, I used the Sigma 85mm Art Series Lens. The camera was a Nikon D800.
The contrast was pushed to exaggerate colors and curves manipulated to open up the shadow areas in Capture One Pro.