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Much to like, although I just wish there was more fill. The Rembrandt pattern is so strong that, especially with his darker skin, it runs the risk of being dark and moody - or, alternatively, Old School Hollywood Shadows For Glamour (eg Hurrell) - which I'm not sure is quite what you were going for.
Love the quality of light - hmm... one of these years when I have enough space not to worry about spill, I might have to consider a parabolic (for now, speedlight-mountable softboxes and Sofliters).
As for feedback - I would always hope that any photographer...Show more →
FWIW, I modeled the lighting (not completely, but in general concept) on Karsh's portrait of MLK, although his isn't a pure Rembrandt. Note that if you google search this image, most of the people who have uploaded versions have flattened out the contrast as compared to the real print which I have seen, or the copy I have in my book (printed before Karsh's death, and thus presumably with his approval on the reproduction). Slightly specular short light with a dramatic ratio and no kickers. I also eased back my background light a little... I've been trying to err on the side of subtlety with the background lighting in most of these.
The parabolics are nice because they are actually fairly controlled. The soft silver parabolic I have actually behaves ALMOST like a gridded softbox, and the full silver version is extremely focused. I have found them to be an economical and storage-space-efficient alternative to large gridded softboxes. I can also throw a diffuser on the front of the umbrellas for softer and less specular light, at the expense of directionality of course.