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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Studio day

In my bid to learn more about photography and to learn to take portraits I saw a course advertised on facebook from a local photo studio.  It was a half day lighting course for £39.  Whilst I might not have lots of cash to waste I figured actually getting in a portrait studio for that price and being taught the basics wouldn't be a waste and I was right.  

Before the day I had no idea what strobe lighting was, I had heard the term but it have never been clearly explained on the internet in my opinion. Basically it is a light that is synced up to camera and only flashes when you press the shutter on your camera.  This is apparently better than having a contionuous light source as most portraits people move about and it saves on the electricity bill.

So my DIY idea of construction lights really aren't gonna cut it as they are continuous.  I also learned about soft boxes and reflectors too, which are things I don't have at home either, so time to get saving.

Anyway, to start we had our model against a white background, the initial set up was with 2 lights with soft boxes pointed at her and then 2 more lights with reflectors behind her and pointed at the white wall.

I definitely need some work with the white wall thing, which is not an issue as I have white walls at home.  I think it is a little blown out.  I have adjusted the exposure in photoshop but this was a day about learning not getting it perfect first time.

 I really liked this shot but it was a lesson in keeping an eye on the background as you can see the light on the right hand side.  I'm sure I could crop this though.
 As well as learning about lighting we also had to pose the model, which is definitely something I need to work on and I found every chair pose quite awkward, but I kept snapping away until I found a pose I thought worked.
Next we moved on to a grey back drop and to start with just one light with soft box, this was to give a slightly darker tone and see how the shadows lie.

 After liking this effect, we added another light with reflector high and from the back right of the model to highlight her hair more

 And then finally we move the light with reflector to low and behind the model and facing the backdrop.  Whilst this is quite a cool effect, I personally felt it was a little dated.
So time to go back to a white background but with the model right up against it and sitting on a white box.  I confess I can't remember the lighting set up as we have been there a long time by this point.  I'm not overly keen on any of these, I found it quite awkward and well it's impossible not to get shadows, but here are my favourite of the ones I took.

Now getting to the more exciting stuff we move to the pink wall, this was interesting as all 3 of us on the course were getting completely different results from the lighting, there were lots of experiments between having just one soft box or 2 or 1 softbox with one reflector.  Most of mine are either with one soft box pointed at the model only or one soft box pointed at her and one reflector pointed at the wall.

Probably the most challenging set up for me was next, it was with the model on the floor.  Due to having her on a rug we had to crop in quite close.

I didn't really like these shots so I suggested that maybe she lie on her front instead but as you will see I made some very rookie mistakes.  I didn't adjust the lighting, so her face is quite dark and I didn't notice that the backdrop was in the way, we should have unrolled really.

Now the last thing to do before we reviewed our photos was to get our model having more fun.  Back to the grey backdrop but as you can see we lighted it differently so it wasn't so dark.

Ok well thanks for sticking with this blurb, I hope you liked the photos and any constructive comments are welcome.  I know these aren't perfect but I wanted to share my journey so they are not meant to be perfect at the moment.

I'll be adding these photos to my flickr account as well if you want to see any of them a little larger