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Model – Mia Vixen, Hollywood Glamour and Film Noir

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How to Make Hollywood Portraits

Mia Vixen is a Southern California Model and Burlesque Dancer I had the pleasure of photographing a little while ago. This first shot Old Hollywood Glamour and reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe, with the second shot being more along the lines of Film Noir. Each shot was lit with Fresnel Studio Lamps, and each had a different number of lights used.

Can you tell how many lights were used? I’ll give you a hint: Look at the High Lights and the Shadows. That’s how I reverse engineer photos I like. Look at the shadows and the direction of the lights as well as with the high lights, there you will be able to tell where the light is coming from.

This is your typical Old Hollywood Glamour Style Photograph with a touch of Boudoir mixed in. The Lighting Diagram is below.

Mia-Vixen-Hollywood-Glamour

Mia Vixen Hollywood Glamour

If you guessed 3 lights you would have been right. One on her backside, one on her thigh and one on her face. The one on her face had a silk diffuser on it to soften the center but still give a hard-ish edge to the shadow on her cheek from her nose.

Mia-Vixen-Hollywood-Glamour

Mia Vixen, Hollywood Glamour Lighting Diagram

This next image could tell a story. A fine young lady is stranded at a bus stop late at night waiting for her bus. A single street light shines down on her. Her suitcase with all her worldly belongings props her legs up, in a recline. What’s a girl to do?

This would be a typical Film Noir type shot. How many lights?

Mia-Vixen-Film-Noir

Mia Vixen Film Noir

If you guessed 2 you would be right. On shining down on her like a single street light would, and a second one to camera left to open up the shadows a bit to keep her from disappearing int he shadows altogether. Hollywood Glamour Photography is often mixed up as or with Film Noir but there are some heavy distinctions, which I will go into at a later post. For now, enjoy the process.

Mia-Vixen-Film-Noir

Mia Vixen, Film Noir Lighting Diagram

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Comments

10 Responses to “Model – Mia Vixen, Hollywood Glamour and Film Noir”
  1. karl anglinNo Gravatar says:

    Mia is amazing!

  2. MartinNo Gravatar says:

    Your work is great, it is a great learning resource.

  3. Porn or ArtNo Gravatar says:

    Very cool that you include the lighting diagrams in some of your shots.

    Fresnel lenses aren’t used as much as they used to. It’s a shame they produce a very nice effect. A lot of contrast bust still nice and smooth with a little diffusion.

    From the photos I’ve seen, you really capture the that old style b&w glamouur lighting well.

    I just started a new photo rating site, would you be interested in posting some photos to it?

  4. vuNo Gravatar says:

    Darkman,
    Please elborate on the silks used on the fresnel? what type of silk is it and where can we get some?
    Thanks,
    vu

  5. PaulNo Gravatar says:

    Great! I can hardly wait to try Fresnel lighting now that I’ve found a place that hires them out.

  6. Doc RobertsNo Gravatar says:

    Imitation is the highest form of flattery & recognition. I’m striving to reach your level. You and your models got it nailed, keep up the good work. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all. Doc

  7. TerryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi and a Happy New Year, Great shots and advice as usual. I am in the process of assemblig the a set from A Touch of Evil, it’s the fist sight of Tanya (Marlele Deitrich) and would welcome your advice on the lighting.
    Cheers Terry

  8. JohnnyjompNo Gravatar says:

    Great inspiration and instruction. Thanks
    John

  9. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    I love your work Darkman but the shadow under Mia’s nose in the Hollywood Glamour shot looks too hard and unnatural to me. I’m not sure about her mouth either, although maybe that is to do with the angle of the shot? It might even be to do with the quality of the post, but either way, I find it distracting.

    • DarkmanNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks for the comment Mike. I’m sure you are not comfortable with it as many people weren’t in the old days of Hurrells lack of “Rules” when he shot. if you look above that phto as the cover of the Hollywood portraits book, you might notice the same thing going on.
      I supposed the shadow could have been re-arranged with lighting but I felt the shot was fine. But thanks for the comments!

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