Monday, 27 September 2010

My first experience of using a studio and a model

Originally uploaded by James_at_Slack
I went to Elgin Studios last weekend to learn about studio lighting and shooting with a model, in this case Claire Emson. The instructor was David Porter who clearly knows his stuff. I, on the other hand knew nothing about using a studio or using a model. David set up the lighting for this shot, so please don't praise me for that. All I tried to do was use the props and get Claire to pose, take a shot that was exposed well enough.
I would love some real constructive comments on this shot as I discovered that I didn't have what might be called a natural flare with posing models - in fact I was crap at it. It was my first real experience of doing it and I'm sure I would get better at it if I did it more. I didn't shoot enough and left too much time in between shots which meant Claire lost her momentum of posing and wondered what I wanted as I wasn't taking any shots. So that's a lesson learned.
I felt a bit awkward as I suppose I'm a landscape photographer generally and when I walk about looking at a beautiful Aberdeenshire landscape, I decide which part of the chaos I'm going to frame and wait for the correct light. With studio shots using models, the lights are in your control, background (and foreground) is in your control and there is no chaos to frame, there a model standing in front of you. Yes, you deicide about how much of the model you're shooting but the real skill I think (as well as getting the lighting correct) is what you do with the model (or what she gives you).
Anyway, that's some initial thoughts.


Suzanne Edge Photo said...

I wanted to chat last night about it but didn't really get a chance.
You seem a bit flat about it all and not as excited about studio work as I thought you'd be.

I think you're right - if you don't really know what/why your doing it - then it's hard for you to get really excited about what you've done. Is it a classic pose for grannies wall? Is it a funky pose for a magazine? ...Is it part of an exhibition collection looking at a certain theme (eyes/colours etc) ? Obviously it's none of these cos you were practising but do you get what I mean?
Are you selling the scarves (ie Millars shots) or trying to show the girl's eyes? If it was for any of these specific reasons then you would have a set of objectives and you could decide on whether or not it was a success or if not, how you could improve the image.
Yes it's all subjective but I think we still need a set on objectives to work to in a situation like this or we will never know how to improve on an image.
Posing is different for all of these situations and it just takes time and practice to get the "flow" right but ultimately there are good poses for females that will make them look slimmer or sexier or powerful or submissive or whatever you want and when you've got them sorted, the flow comes. But if you don't know why you were doing it in the first place then it's hard to judge the outcome.
It's harder than getting the exposure right because a camera won't get bored of you playing around but as you say the model will lose something in momentum or expression while you play.
I do seem to ramble on a bit in my comments, but I'm just really trying to think out loud, because I find it helpful too.
Am I making sense or should I shut up?

James Dyas Davidson said...

Thanks for the comment Suzie - and yes, you've just made perfect sense. In fact, you have just hit the nail on the head. I could feel there was something missing on Sunday and that was it - a purpose to the shot.
Liz's talk was a great wee inspiration talk last night and I will 'play' again, as I think I have this year. But, you can lose your way a bit and, as I said in my blogs from the 'hospital bed', I'm going back to my project I started a couple of years ago and make it better. I need to try to stay positive during a lull/low point so I need to get back to my 'comfort zone' as well as play.