General Question

lindsey23's avatar

Any tips for photographing in a film noir style?

Asked by lindsey23 (107 points ) July 27th, 2010

In a few hours, I am doing a photo shoot in a home that needs to be in a film noir style. I don’t have access to professional lighting – I plan on improvising by using various lamps in the house and that I’m bringing. (One of them could actually be a mini softbox.)

I know that I’ll need to do my lighting more dramatic, but what else will help?

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6 Answers

syz's avatar

I think of elaborate costuming, glamorous hair and makeup, dramatic lighting, and cynicism and sexuality. How you translate that into photos is going to be up to your own creativity.

KTWBE's avatar

High-contrast black and white lighting. Dramatic poses between people—one in the foreground looking away, another in the background staring at Person 1’s back. 40s hair, structured clothing, sharp suits, metropolitan sets.

jaytkay's avatar

What @syz and @KTWBE said, plus:

Light the background & subject separately – move them 5 or 10 feet away from a wall, for example.
Spotlight the subject using specular “hard” lighting, rather than diffused soft lighting.

I Googled “Hurrell” for examples:
http://ultraorange.net/media/2007/10/art-george-hurrel-sherilyn-fenn-1993.gif
http://www.mikecraver.com/Tierney_by_Hurrell.jpg
http://www.soulcatcherstudio.com/exhibitions/nude/hurrell.html
http://images.artnet.com/artwork_images_425931459_519123_george-hurrell.jpg

Carly's avatar

Try doing some silhouette shots, too.

Austinlad's avatar

You might also pull stills from classic film noirs like Maltese Falcon and They Live By Night for ideas.

ipso's avatar

Good info above.

Film Noir is famous for Low-key lighting, going for the chiaroscuro effect.

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