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Twilight with Jade

May 27, 2016

We've very much enjoyed the "Twilight" series of films, after we bought the first DVD while browsing through some shops in Germany.


Apart from the story and the characters, from a photographic point of view the lighting has always fascinated me, and in particularly how the style has changed and evolved across the five films.

The first instalment was a bit of a one off as this was quite distinct in its visuals with Catherine Hardwicke as the director and Elliot Davis as the cinematographer.

The approach to lighting Robert Pattinson appeared quite old-fashioned - almost "up lit" and slightly overexposed in the old horror film style.  And of course, Twilight is not a horror story in the conventional sense.


The final, Breaking Dawn, was split into two films and a lot of the original mood lighting had changed and reigned back.  Maybe because most of them were vampires by then?

My personal favourites in the quintet are "New Moon" and Eclipse" with Javier Aguirresarobe as cinematographer working with Chris Weitz and David Slade as directors.

I notice they have a very distinct method of lighting, where the light source is large, such as a soft box, and brought in close to the person to bathe the face in soft and pale light.  This colourless look is not actually drained of colour, but appears so in contrast to the colours used in the surroundings, such as the woodlands of Oregon where a lot of the films were shot.


This also stands out against Jacob and the rest of the werewolves where the lighting is more naturalistic as would be found in the forests.

It appealed to me particularly, as lighting is very much my passion as there are so many moods and emotions you can create with imaginative use of lighting, and without having to resort to hours of digital manipulation.

For this shoot we took Jade to an abandoned factory deep in the woods and set up some fairly simple lights with modifiers to give a bright but soft light to contrast with the deep and saturated shadows behind.


In the woods, with the streams and waterfalls, and various animal noises it all came together.  All I needed to do in Lightroom was to slightly change the colour of Jade's eyes.

I didn't want to blatantly copy the Twilight films, but just to use them as inspiration to try something different - and everyone involved with the shoot was very pleased with the result.

The full shoot can be viewed here -