Madi Film Noir Style

I’ll be doing a small group workshop for photographers who want to learn how to shoot this style. To get notified, join my Meetup Group where I’ll make the announcement shortly.

I love the old Hollywood-style images of George Hurrell, and I’m inspired by the work of Vincent Peters, who puts a bit of a more modern spin on the genre. I haven’t shot like this in a couple of years, so I thought I’d return to it, and Madi, who is incredibly expressive with both her face and her posing, has the perfect Hollywood starlet look. We played around to see if we could capture the look.

I used three relatively cheap LED fresnels for the shoot. Fresnels are focusable (if that’s a word) lights and they would have been used in that era. Unfortunately, my lights are battery-powered, and one of the lights died after the first set. I could only use two as we moved to the bed and the chest, so I couldn’t really do the characteristic hair light. Instead, I had one highlight her face and put the other beam across the curtains to get that strong vertical element in the background.

For the third set on the chest, I did have a small LED panel that I put at the bottom of the curtains at the back of the room to again highlight a vertical element. It was a panel, so I didn’t have much control over the direction of the light, but you’ve got to work with what you’ve got, right? That left me with one light for her face and the other to highlight her hair and spill onto her legs for some separation from the background.