I found several articles and information online including tutorials, tips and advice on taking shots of portrait photography using different lighting techniques and looked particularly into the use of low light photography, below is the research I have used during my project to help create my images;

Academy of Photography – creating a low light portrait

This article goes on to explain the key facts in taking low light photographyand how to apply moods and emotion into your images, this was helpful as I wanted to capture the thoughts and feelings and even determination in my images of my subjects;

  • Positioning- The light required to create an emotional shot is one hard light to the right of the model and a soft box to the left, As I only had my own equipment I used one photography bulb to one side of my subjects to create hard lighting to one side of the faces, the soft box I used was created by using a white material draped over a smaller photography bulb, I moved this in and out of shots as some images were not as dramatic with this second light being used.
  • Reflectors – the article explains using a black card for reflection on the opposite side to create some shadow, as I didn’t have a black board I used some black material to one side of the subjects to create my shadows to the left.
  • Placement of the model – I placed my models in front of a black background as described but decided that when I lit the background with my own equipment the light was too harsh so I decided to diffuse the back light using some thin black cloth, this i draped over the lighting and it diffused the light enough to create a slight glow to separate the subject from the background.
  • More black card – This explains using more black card to diffuse the spill of light to avoid flare spilling from the soft box onto the camera, with my set up I didn’t experience any light spill so this wasn’t necessary.
  • Spot light – to highlight the hair of the models this article described using a spot light to create this same effect I used a small light shone from above that only created a slight highlight onto the models.

Using all the information collected I was able to start my first shoot, creating the low light scenes.

Photography Monthly – Low light Photography 

I found some simple tips for taking low light shots, most of these tips include shooting low light band or festival music but some advice I found useful, these tip I found helpful towards my brief;

  • Shoot in manual
  • shoot using a wide aperture
  • Use a tripod
  • Be artistic
  • Shoot RAW
  • Keep it steady when shooting using a slow shutter speed
  • Keep the shutter speed low
  • Improvise with light
  • Dress light to help reflect light
  • Use reflectors black or white, depending on the image
  • Use constant lighting
  • Accept some under exposure
  • Don’t rush

I applied all the above skills when shooting in all my test shots as well as my final shoots also.

Digital Camera World – Indoor Portrait Photography

I then went on to looking into taking indoor portrait photography, as my brief was ‘no day light’ I wanted to look at using tips based on an indoor experience rather than using outdoor ambient lighting including moonlit scenes.

I found some tips helpful towards my project, these tips also included advice on creating indoor photography without the pricey studio equipment;

  • use a little reflection – to reflect light back to highlight features
  • Use a wide aperture – f2.8 of wider if possible
  • up the iso – if there’s no use of tripod to avoid shake
  • all about the eyes – always focus on the eyes, make sure you use a single af point
  • find a willing model – always make sure you have someone to model for you
  • make the image pop – use Photoshop to adjust the levels to brighten teeth and eyes

Picture Correct – Photographing in a dark indoor setting

This as like the other articles explains tips on dark indoor settings, including tips on using stability when using the camera and slow shutter speeds as well as the use of under exposing and white balance. It also explains using the editor tools to push the camera exposure during the editing process if the image looked darker in the camera.

I also downloaded a visual guide from the picture correct website to taking photographs in low light based on the article I had been reading (this I printed out for an easily accessible guide), this described the basic features needed to adjust and explained it visually through the use of a diagram, this helped as a quick look guide during my shoots, I found it easily accessible and to the point.