Did a photo shoot over the weekend with a friend, actress and favorite model, the incomparable Lauren McCune, the idea being to test some film noir-inspired techniques in preparation for an upcoming web series. Tested various materials as home-made diffusers, but ended up shooting through a fairly loose black mesh. What's really missing here is focusable lights (aka fresnels, ellipsoidals or Lekos) in order to create focused hard light that can be selectively flagged to cast those all-important shadows, but I did the best I could with a standard Profoto kit with some grids, snoots, and softboxes. Pearls and sequins help, but what really helps is a great actress with an amazing face! We had a blast creating our own little imaginary psychodrama :-)
Also tried a desaturated/hand-painted color variation on the traditional B&W look:
Of course, the other huge difference here is the lenses. Lenses have changed so much in the last 70 years. Modern lenses are so contrasty and sharp; they just don't have that softness or vignetting or those funky qualities of vintage lenses. If only it were easy to mount vintage lenses on modern cameras! Anyone have a solution to this?