When you photograph your subjects with Old Hollywood sensibilities, you are lending them an air of elegance and timelessness. What makes an “Old Hollywood” photo? It is a combination of the lighting, the styling (hair/makeup), the wardrobe, the set and the post-processing.
Are you aiming to emulate Old Hollywood images as closely as possible? Or, are you simply trying to take certain elements and give them a modern twist?
Begin by researching some of the masters of portrait work during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Study the work of George Hurrell, Horst P Horst, and Clarence Bull to begin with. Pay attention to the quality of light, the shadows on their subjects, or study of the texture of light and environment in the backgrounds. Upon closer review you’ll realize that there is actually quite a bit of variation from shoot to shoot and from photographer to photographer. There is no one single ‘old hollywood lighting setup’, nor even a dozen!
So, what makes those iconic Old Hollywood portraits so iconic? It’s all of the elements coming together. Exquisite hair and makeup, breathtaking clothing, an iconic subject, and light that conveys a mood and air of perfection to that subject. The subjects/photographers of the time and the productions they put together were all larger than life.
In this episode we will tackle Old Hollywood imagery with a range of approaches. In some images we will try to emulate the look and feel of an image from that time, in other shots we will steal the timeless styling but add gels and unusual light modifiers for an unexpected modern twist. We’ll play around with strobes, LED light sources, traditional ‘hot lights’ and more as we create beautiful images inspired by the Golden Age of Hollywood.