Recently, at college, we have set up our own photography studio in a spare classroom. We have a backdrop, lights, reflectors, and so many other things to help us create wonderful images. As studio photography is something I’m new at I’ve been spending a lot of time in there just getting to grips with everything.
First let’s talk about what there is to use.There is a backdrop stand with both black and white backdrops to attach. I have used both of these backdrops, however, I prefer the white one just because I feel white backgrounds add more contrast to an image. This is a purely personal choice and I’m sure there are many people who much prefer to use a black backdrop.
Next there are two mono blocks on stands for us to use. Each has receivers and triggers to attach to our cameras so that we can use the lights remotely when shooting. Although they are a little hit and miss, they are better than nothing and make the shooting process far easier.
To go with the monoblocks, we have a snoot, a softbox and various umbrellas. These are useful for experimenting with. So far I prefer the snoot and that’s what I have been using in my photos. It directs light into a small beam rather than diffusing the light like an umbrella does.
There is also a studio camera for us all to use, however, I prefer to use my own Nikon D7200 as I know how to use it and it’s capabilities.
The main lighting technique I use in my studio portraits is side lighting. This is achieved by placing a light with a snoot at a 90 degree angle to the side of the model. This lights up half of the face and leaves the other side dark. It produces dark and dramatic images. You can see in the example below just how harsh the lighting is on one side. This is because the snoot directs the light into a small area so that all of the light is concentrated. Light only travels in straight lines, so by placing the mono block at a 90 degree angle, the face is very divided with deep shadows on the opposite side to the light.
Another Lighting technique I use is Rembrandt lighting. The name comes from the famous painter Rembrandt who was the first artist to add shadows into portraits he painted. When using rembrandt lighting you get a shadow in the shape of a triangle at the side of the nose. It is created by placing a light at 45 degrees down and in front of the model. You can see in the images below that the strength of the light can affect the outcome. The left side is a very soft rembrandt where the whole face is lit. Whereas the right is very harsh and much of the face is in complete shadow.
These are a few of my favourite images I have taken in the studio. For these I used a long exposure and a second curtain flash. This meant that the lights fired just before the shutter closed, this made it so that only one part of the face is clear whilst the rest is blurred in motion.
Thank you for reading, I have some more studio work up my sleeve so look out for that in the coming weeks.
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