Matthew Roharik Experiments with Low Key Lighting

November 14, 2017

By Matthew Roharik

© Matthew Roharik

© Matthew Roharik

© Matthew Roharik

© Matthew Roharik

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.

Image courtesy of Matthew Roharik

You can see more of Matthew’s work at, Instagram, and PhotoServe portfolio.