Wow this is the first blog entry written by someone other then one of the four lightGIANTS .... Thank you "D" for writing such a cool guest blogpost...
The Friday night “Studio 101” workshop at the lightgiants studio was my first studio experience. The only studio time I’d had before was sitting to have my passport photo taken. When Scott suggested we do a beginner’s workshop, I jumped at the occasion, together with Carlos and Tim – old acquaintances from the Flickr Klub Karlsruhe.
I started being interested in photography around 2003 but it wasn’t until 2005 that I joined Flickr. After a few years of experimenting with different genres, mostly street photography and urban landscape, I started to concentrate on portraiture, and after my daughter was born, on child photography.
I shoot almost exclusively available light. I find its limitations challenging and believe that an atmosphere of a photograph taken with natural light is something that a studio shot lacks. I won’t claim I was proven wrong last Friday, but my first studio shooting was a very positive, fun experience and I’d gladly do it again.
Before we started, Scott explained the basics – how to set the lights, where to stand, where to place the model, how to set the camera. I realised that setting a studio surrounding takes a lot of precise work – calculations need to be made, you have to keep in mind the physics of light and space at all times. On the other hand, once you’ve learned the basics, you can set your imagination free. Two light sources? Why not three? One of our settings consisted of a softbox in front of the model, a harsher, more direct light at the back, and another smaller light source on the side to lessen the shadows. (Almost) anything goes!
Our models were Tiffie and Oxana and the first light setting was high-key, with a white backdrop. I prefer a more discrete light and a darker surrounding, so my favourite setup was with a dark red background and a frontal triangle of strip lights that created an unusual reflection in the models’ eyes. The girls were very patient and managed to keep smiling for three hours! A model’s job is not as easy as it seems, after all.
I’ve learned a lot – not just the technical know-how, I’ve also learned to appreciate the effort that goes into organising a studio shoot. Our hosts put a lot of love and enthusiasm in what they do. I’m already looking forward to the next workshop and I’m sure there are many more people who would like to learn about shooting in a studio – why not turn this into a regular course? With such good teachers, the waiting list would stretch all the way to France!