• josutherstphotography

Informing Contexts – Work Evaluation – Saxophone Shoot


Figure 1: Sutherst 2017


The intent of this shoot was to capture sultry and classy images of a subject who had “never been photographed properly” with her saxophone.  She wanted to capture images that she could be proud of.


To achieve the effect, I decided to setup low-contrast lighting that would flatter the subject.  I used a grey backdrop and a single light with a vertical rectangular softbox.   I chose a grey backdrop rather than a black one because I did not want to use a second light to separate the subject from the background.


In figures 1 and 2, I placed the single light off to the side.  This was so that I would achieve the contrast needed for the images.  The light was also placed slightly above the subject so that I could concentrate on the upper part of the body and the light would drop-off as it got lower down her body.


The resultant lighting is low contrast and low key.  The subject looks sensual and seductive without it being sleazy.  The images are dramatic and have a good degree of depth to them.  The subject is clearly defined and distanced from the background.

On reflection, the lighting could have been set to a slightly lower intensity. The light used does show up creases and wrinkles in the skin. I have counteracted this a little in Lightroom by adjusting the clarity to soften the image a little.

Overall these are successful images that the subject is pleased with.  The minor tweaks I will work on in

Figure 2: Sutherst 2017 Lightroom as a further edit.

Figure 3: Sutherst 2017


For figure 3, I decided to adjust the subject’s position and the lighting position to create a  shot of her legs and saxophone.  This is my favourite shot from the session.  The composition works well and the image appears very classy.  The lighting set up is the same as for figures 1 and 2, just lowered as the subject is sitting.


My niggle is that the shoes does not fit the subject as well as they could.  There is a gap at the back of the foot which irritates me.  The shoes are the subject’s own and I did not have another pair to fit her. The shot would not have worked without shoes, so it is something I have to accept on this shoot.

Figure 4: Sutherst 2017



Figure 5: Sutherst 2017


Figures 4 and 5 were shot using natural light only.  The large window with privacy glass offered a soft diffuse light in the room.  The silhouette in figure 4 is quite striking.  I particularly like the lines of the window interfering with the silhouette of the subject.


The detail of the saxophone in figure 5 has been composed to provide an intimate view of part of the saxophone. The colours are attractive and the angle across the image adds to the interest.


This shoot provided the opportunity to produce work where the subject was clear on the intent of the performance they would give to the camera.  The narrative was not, in this case, one that I needed to come up with. My challenge was to interpret the subject’s narrative in such a way to meet her expectations. This I achieved.

#January2017

Recent Posts

See All

Informing Contexts – The Viewer

“Every viewer is going to get a different thing. That’s the thing about painting, photography, cinema.” – David Lynch REFERENCE Lynch, D. From BrainyQuote. (2017). Photography Quotes – BrainyQuote. [o

Informing Contexts – Next Steps

Having resolved this body of work, I am off in a slightly different direction as the next module begins. Picking up on comments made when I presented the naked portrait a few weeks ago, that I photogr

©2019 by Jo Sutherst Photography - Critical Research Journal. Proudly created with Wix.com