Film Noir Photography!


Ahhh, my favorite technique! And why shouldn’t it be? It has beautiful black and white, hard contrast, and dramatic. But what what is film noir? and how can you do a beautiful photo-shoot just like this? I’ll show you!

Film noir is a term that was introduced in the 1940s by Nino Frank and Jean-Pierre Chartier, two French critics. The word noir which translates from french to mean “black” or dark”, describes the style of filmmaking rather than the film itself.


In film noir, you don’t use a flash or a strobe light, instead you use hot lights. These will create shadows that are sharp and distinct. To create these shadows, use a single point of light. An inexpensive way to do this is to use an incandescent bulb. You could put this on a typical household lamp and remove the lampshade. For something brighter, use a floodlight or a shop light.

Camera Settings

Iso: Keep the ISO low for higher film speed, this will reduce the noise and keep details in the face and other important objects in focus.

Aperture: Low f-stops like f/2.8 and f/5.6 work best to capture subjects close to the camera. The background in the shadows and out of focus.
High f-stops like f/11 and f/15 work best when you want details in the distance, i.e. when you are shooting down a long hallway or back alley/city street.

The Dutch Tilt

The Dutch tilt is a camera angle in which the camera is intentionally tilted to one side. This could be a slight or extreme angle, and it’s used to create a dramatic effect such as disorientation or frantic action. The tilt was used a lot in German films in the 1930s and 1940s. Other names for the Dutch tilt are the Dutch angle, German angle, canted angle and Batman angle, as a tribute to its extensive use in the 1960s television series “Batman”



Cucoloris is a technique that can be used alongside with film noir when you are creating shadows. Cucoloris is a device used for casting shadows or silhouettes to produce patterns. You can make these by using cardstock and cutting out shapes or using blinds or other objects you have on hand. The image above are examples of cucoloris, the image on the right was created by shining light through a set of blinds that we had set up with light stands. The image on the left was created by shooting with two lights. One light to use on the model, and the other was used on the cucoloris in the background. The cucoloris was a piece of foam cut to look like a window.


I hope you enjoyed this weeks blog. I would love to hear from you and what kind of photo techniques you like to use! And If you try out these tips, I would love to see the results please email, comment below or send me a private message to Facebook.

Audrey ❤


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