Had an idea for a Noir-Styled Photoshoot. Need help with some inspiration/putting ideas to action!


TPF Noob!
Jun 11, 2011
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An idea hit me when I was walking on the campus I am a student at to do a noir-styled photoshoot. It is an older campus with older-style lights and brick walkways.

I have a ton of ideas rattling around in my head, but I was wondering if anyone here had some good inspiring ideas/thoughts to help spur some creativity and put my thoughts into action?

An idea that I have seen people use was “atmospheric aerosol” to create some fog.
High contrast, heavy shadows and dutch camera angle. Ive had an idea for a while as well but haven't implemented it yet.

You could watch the 1941 Orson Wells movie Citizen Cane or any film-noir movie for inspiration.


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Yup - low angle light, long shadows, high contrast, dutch tilt.

I would also suggest The Third Man (also Orson Wells, but not directed by him). It's so beautifully shot.

And there's lots of zither music! and a cat. I love when 'Harry Lime' suddenly appears in the darkness. Fabulous film just to watch for all the effects if nothing else.

Took a class some time ago thru TCM about Film Noir but don't know if any of the info. is still on their site. Saturday nights at midnight there's usually a noir film; you could search to find names of those coming up next month. Try searching online for Eddie Muller and the Film Noir Foundation.

And I don't think it's the best idea to carry around a can of aerosol type spray or use it around people. If I saw you I'd probably think bug spray and wonder if you're trying to do in all the insects on campus or what!! lol But seriously having asthma, don't spray anything around other people, go off by yourself somewhere.
Here's an idea. Put a friend at the top of some stairs. You can shoot from a few stairs down to get a ground level shot. You can use your DoF to adjust the old buildings that are visible in the background. Maybe you can check out some lights from the dept. to use to get whatever effect you wanna get!
Shots on tracks are always good. I like the way the light glistens on the tracks but tracks can be dangerous and mostly trespassing. I happen to like low angle shots! Good luck
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OK a few points to consider: The lighting is easy IF you understand certain things.

During the 1920-1960's alot of film was shot using photo flood lights. LED's and modern flashes just don't match the style.
also barn doors and alot of slower speed shooting. shooting in the high ISO range will blow out the style unless someone figured that out.

Otherwise anything from ISO 25-320 should work. Also study lighting carefully. the sharp contrast angle and other factors were in play and the use of wratten filters was very common even with B&W.

just IMO.

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