First Studio Session

Two years ago I joined the RA Photo Club. The Nortel Networks Photo Club was decimated from the cuts at Nortel and the company was headed for bankruptcy protection; there were very few people still attending the meetings. I wanted to see what the other clubs were like.

I also joined the Studio group, which allows me to have access to the club’s studio. I took the mandatory training session. I had also taken two studio courses with Lawrence Cook at the School of Photographic Arts Ottawa (SPAO) a few years ago.

But I never followed these opportunities up with my own studio sessions to practice.

I often fell into the mental trap of being afraid of not being successful.

Rosa and I talked about this and she, being more adventurous than I, pushed to have a studio session this weekend. So I booked a 6-hour session at the studio and we went in.

We treated it like a simple fashion shoot. Rosa brought about 10 complete outfits, including shoes.

For the high-key photos, I set up a largeĀ soft box at camera right, and raised it as high as I could – the ceiling was quite low. Put another, smaller soft box with a grid at camera left. Rosa stood on the seamless white backdrop (or cyclorama).

High-key setup
High-key setup
Rosa - high-key lighting example
Rosa - high-key lighting example

For the low-key, I used a thin vertical softbox at camera left. Because of the height, I was not able to raise it very high, so it was just above eye-height. Rosa stood on a black seamless backdrop. I learned from an earlier course that you can introduce colour into the background if I use a gel on a spotlight pointed at the background. This is what I was attempting to do for the Les Petits Ballets photos. So in this case, I used red and blue gels on a strobe that was fitted with a grid. This is used also to separate the model from the background.

Low-key with coloured backdrop
Low-key with coloured backdrop
Rosa portrait - low-key lighting example
Rosa portrait - low-key lighting example

For a few shots, I turned the grid strobe around to point at Rosa from behind. I was intending to use it to outline her, like a rim light. I also lowered the output level, as I only wanted enough to light her shoulder and hair. I wasn’t satisfied with the results, so I will need to try again in our next session next month.

Low-key setup with rim light
Low-key setup with rim light

The diagrams were created with the Strobox iPhone app.

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