Cinematic Portraits: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace
Cinematic Portraits: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

Hi everybody, welcome to another episode of Exploring Photography right here on AdoramaTV. I am hanging out in Kampuchea Party Republic Studio, and there you go, that’s how you spell it, and I am hanging out here with a very special guest. Her name is Nikki Nikki. She is a singer-songwriter here in Cambodia, and pretty spectacular work I have to say. Just Google Nikki Nikki, and you’ll see all kinds of stuff on YouTube from her. What we’re doing today, is we are going to shoot two different styles of portraiture using the exact same gear, and I’m going to sort of walk you through how we’re going to get there. Now we’re going to start with one of my very favorite lighting setups, it almost always works. It’s a no-fail lighting setup and then we’re going to use the exact same gear to do something, that’s a little bit more risky. A very cinematic gritty portrait, and we’re going to make it really emotional. So let’s get started right now. This lighting setup is one you’ve probably seen me use several times before, and the reason for that is I want to make sure I get a beautiful shot of Nikki, and so this setup is simple and it just works! So what I’m using here is my Leica M type 240 with a 50mm lens. We’re shooting at about f/8 and I have my favorite portable lighting setup, it’s my Profoto off camera flash B2 system. So it’s right here. I have my b2 triggering this with an OCF 2 ft octa-box. It’s going to give this really nice, soft light. There’s no grid on this, and so we have a lot of light that can just spread out and get really nice and diffused. Now to give us a little bit more motion, we’ve added a fan right here. I’m going to turn this guy on, and this fan is going to work well with this dress. It’s really flowy and it moves and Nicky’s hair also it’s really flowy, and it moves, so that’s going to give us some motion. But one of the things that’s really important for Nikki to understand is which way to face, because if she faces away from this light what’s going to happen, is the lights going to go this way, all of this is going to show up in shadow, and the fan is going to blow her hair across her face! That is not what we want, and so instead what she’s going to do is, she’s going to face into the light. That’s still going to give us a nice soft light this way, with some shadows over here, but her face will be evenly illuminated, get really nice catch lights in her eyes and that fans going to blow the hair out of her face, and that’s going to work just perfect! Now because of the direction and the distance of the light to Nikki it’s not really close to this background and we’ve already learned that this will fall into darkness, and that’s going to complement everything, so we have a winning lighting setup. That’s just one light, one fan and a perfect model so we’re going to shoot that right now. Now that we have that beautiful portrait that works, we want to do something that’s a little bit more cinematic. A lot more emotional, and much more punchy. How to do that? We have a few tricks up our sleeves. The first is we’re not going to use any flashes, none at all, what we’re doing is we’re going to use constant light, so I have my modeling light turned on on my B2 and that gives us a few tricks that we can use. The first thing is, it’s not extremely bright and that allows us to crank up the ISO and my camera, which makes this look a little bit more cinematic, because we’re going to add some noise. I’ll do some post-production to turn that noise into film grain, and that is going to look really cool on you. The other reason we’re using the modeling light, and not the flash is, because I want to shoot this more as a more cinematic look, so I need really shallow depth-of-field. so I’m shooting with a 50mm 1.4 lens at 1.4, and that means that the background is going to fall out of focus. I’ve added some lights back there they’re going to show up as specular highlights. It’s going to look really cool, but it’s going to do one more thing for us, that I think is going to sort of wrap everything up, and that is we’re going to have this little trick with color temperature. So this modelling light is about 2100 degrees Kelvin but the background back there lit up by the normal studio lights, well it’s about 4000 degrees Kelvin. Which means when we set our white balance correctly for Nicki, that background is going to fall into blue, it’s going to look really really, amazing. Now we want to make sure that we shoot this widescreen, just like
a movie 16:9 aspect ratio to do that. I’m using my camera’s Live View feature and on this. I actually have some guides that will show me exactly where I need to crop the image so there’s 16:9 guides and because I want to see through the lens, and not have to use live view, I’m actually going to add an electronic viewfinder. So on a Leica to be able to see through the lens you need one of these little guys, so I’m going to put that on top. That’s what that is, so everything is going to work out for us to create this really punchy look, and I forgot one thing that we’re going to do. We want to make her a little bit more emotional, so she is going to do some things with her makeup and look like she’s crying, so when we add all that stuff together. Shallow depth-of-field color shifts, a really wide screen look, grain and an emotional model, this is going to look cinematic and I think it’s going to look awesome. So let’s do that right now these images look great. Straight out of the camera, but they look even better with a few Lightroom adjustments. I took them to the next level by jumping over to photoshop and doing some skin retouching, and then I took them over to the Nik software collection. Specifically analog effects Pro – to add some texture, and while I was in analogue effects Pro – I discovered that the images, because of the color contrast, will they just lend themselves to all kinds of fun, and so once you shoot your images like this, try some post-production to see the different effects, you can get by just using the presets in analog effects Pro. You can get some startling results and it’s free software, so why not play. I created my own custom preset and here are my results. Thank You Nikki, we had so much fun in this studio today. Nikki better known as Nikki Nikki is quite famous here in Cambodia as a singer. You should check out her stuff on Instagram and Facebook and especially YouTube. You can see all of her awesome songs. I’ve included links to those videos in the description of this video and here’s your Instagram feed, so you can check that out and see all of the stuff that she’s doing right now. I’ve also included in the description of this video some links to other videos that I’ve made about white balance and a Nik software collection, so you can see sort of how we did all of these tricks for this really weepy cinematic look. So thank you so much for joining us for this episode. Don’t forget to subscribe to AdoramaTV.It’s absolutely free. Click on the subscribe button right now. Thank you, and we’ll see you again next time.

30 thoughts on “Cinematic Portraits: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace”

  1. Marco Felippe says:

    Thanks for sharing. Good footage!

  2. SatanSupimpa says:

    Congratulations on the 666k subscribers

  3. hawg427 says:

    Stunning photos Mark.

  4. dlphoto DL PHOTO says:

    Brilliant as always

  5. Martin Turner says:

    So glad you're back online more! You and Gavin are two of my faves!

  6. Raymond Isbill says:

    Awesome trick with the WB.

  7. V Dan says:

    Mark and Gavin vids are the best

  8. Eduardo Medeiros says:

    Excellent Mark! A question: If you use a 1.4mm lens at the widest aperture (1.4mm), it would not cause lack of quality of the image?

  9. Skyler King says:

    Warm subject and cold background. Doesn’t sit right, with the eye. Looks very off and “fake”.

  10. martin_e says:

    Oh shit…. Mark is back bitches!

    How ya been bud?

  11. Ricky Guo says:

    Check my channel, i make some cinematic video 🙆

  12. Sasa Mihajlovic says:

    Great results!

  13. Vormulac1 says:

    Is the post production work video available at real time speed? Very cool results!

  14. Al Green - Light Through Glass says:

    Cool Mark, that's a big like.

  15. Ls Lx says:

    Gosh that woman hot..

  16. 151 Proof Envy says:

    Hi Mark how are you what is the software you are using

  17. AKA_Goodfella says:

    Hi Mark, how did you get the blue background in the first set of images, also with the WB trick? If in Post please tell us how you did it. Keep up the good work.

  18. Scott Edwards says:

    Fun – thanks. I'm shooting a law firm this week. Hmmmm…. hahaha…

  19. Art'uro TM says:

    Lawd Jesus that Red dress…

  20. Duphe says:

    thank you sir for the well crafted hints 🙂

  21. Michael Miller says:

    I only get Nicki Manaj when I search.

  22. Ibrahim Mohammed says:

    How did you manage to get that blue background. It’s very cinematic. I like it very much. Will you please tech us how to get that. Cheers .

  23. Naeem Akram says:

    Great work.

  24. Mauricio Sanchez says:

    Mark, Thank you for the video, I shoot an M-P and always wondered if the Profoto B1 or B2 would be a good combination, it seems they are. Any additional thoughts about this combo? Keep the good work

  25. wksoh says:


  26. tertulious tert says:

    Fantastic shoot with mark

  27. Ray Valdez Photography says:

    Wow they said he died but Mark Wallace is back and in HD.

  28. Chris Pike says:

    Nice to see you again,,,,,, 🙂

  29. Nep Garcia says:

    I would love to see you people at adorama, one day, some day, that you make a video challenging creativity without mentioning the big names like PROFOTO and LEICA, seriously people, no everyone can afford brands like these! Or at least estate in your videos something like; You obviously don’t need this kind of set up, you can create your portraits with other means of lighting!
    I’m happy for you tho that can afford such expensive stuff!

  30. Максим Бондаренко says:

    and where CINEMATIC ???

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