Make any ordinary location look cinematic with these tips

Apr 5, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Make any ordinary location look cinematic with these tips

Apr 5, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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It’s great to be able to work in epic locations and make your photographs or videos look cinematic. For most of us, however, the reality is usually a little more underwhelming. When budgets are small, it’s quite common to end up shooting in less-than-perfect locations.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t lift those drab locations up into cinematic territory. With some lighting knowledge, interesting perspectives and good composition, you’d be surprised what you can achieve with even the humblest of scenarios. In this excellent behind-the-scenes video, YCImaging shows you how they shot a music video in an ordinary home. The results are spectacular and well worth a watch.

Of course, the number one thing to consider if you want to elevate your shoot location is to think really carefully about lighting. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use natural or available light, but you want to carefully consider what effects you want to achieve and then think about what lighting you’ll need to achieve that.

In this case, the team put a key light outside the living room window, creating a sunshine effect shining through the sheer fabric curtains. They then utilized the metal door as a cookie to create some interesting background lighting detail behind the subject. It’s this layering of lighting that seems to make a big difference. Don’t just light the subject, light the whole environment.

Some of the compositions and shots are very creative. Thinking a little outside the box will also help elevate the production value. In one scene, the subject is filmed in the bedroom from above in a top-down position. In another, the artist is filmed reflected in a mirror on the floor. This creative approach can do wonders in making your shots more interesting in both videos and stills.

Once again, good lighting and composition are the main players in whatever you are shooting. You can watch the finished music video here, although you may want to watch it away from young ears or with headphones on, as the lyrics are not exactly safe for work!

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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