Year Two (12) – Studio Photos and focusing

Another studio session with the Old Bakery – the idea tonight being a little bit Marilyn, trying different shots with the same model that we used last time. This time the challenge was for a group of photographers to take turns nicely and not over the flashes and at the same time create a shot that they are happy with.

Studio photography with Lucy - behing the scenes - ISO2000, F5.6, 1/60sec

Studio photography with Lucy – behing the scenes – ISO2000, F5.6, 1/60sec

I was using my light meter – to help work out the correct amount of light needed for the shot and the shutter speed – I need to learn to get it out of my bad more often, as it really can help indicate where the light falls, and what settings to use – much better than the light meter built into the camera. Using the meter helps with understanding what to change with getting the balance right, the choices of course are:

  • ISO – but keeping this as low as possible means better quality images, so ISO 100 or 200 is great for studio shots.
  • F Stop – Depending on the mood of the image, a shallow depth of field or wide aperture lets in more light and creates a different look and feel to a narrow aperture!
  • Shutter Speed – Do I want to freeze movement, or drag the shutter … I’ll explain later…
  • The amount of light – strobes and speedlites do different things – working with a strobe we can turn them up or down to effect the light, whereas with a speedlight we are playing with the light duration.
Studio photography with Lucy - ISO100, F6.3, 1/250sec

Studio photography with Lucy – ISO100, F6.3, 1/250sec

Above is one of my initial shots of Lucy – we had a fan blowing her hair to add movement to it, and Lucy was bring let with 2 speed lites in a soft box above which was carefully positioned so the light did not fall on the background.


Studio photography with Lucy – ISO100, F5.6, 1/25sec – dragging the shutter and photoshop

With a little bit of help from a photographers assistant (there were plenty) we spent some time adding movement to her dress. The dress only went up on one side… behind Lucy, but with the help of photoshop I was able to reflect it on the other side so that it frames her more – not natural … but it gives her the feel of wings I think…

Also with this shot I tried to drag the shutter – this means that I held the shutter open for a longer duration, and used rear sync flash to freeze the movement which was meant that the edges of her dress where it moved quicker are a touch softer!

Studio photography with Lucy - ISO100, F5.6, 1/160sec

Studio photography with Lucy – ISO100, F5.6, 1/160sec

There was also a chance to experiment with poses and angles – add a hat, hide her eye and looking down on Lucy and the shot has a different feel, however from a composition point of view – I should have included her hand in the foreground as it is cut off in a less than natural place.

Studio photography with Lucy - ISO100, F6.3, 1/200sec

Studio photography with Lucy – ISO100, F6.3, 1/200sec

This shot is a much better crop – Lucy is making eye contact with the camera and you can see she has a great hand of cards – the fact that her hair is wind blown doesn’t matter, but the black gloves almost make her hands disappear.

Studio photography with Lucy - ISO100, F5.6, 1/160sec

Studio photography with Lucy – ISO100, F5.6, 1/160sec

Lucy skirt made a great circle on the group -almost framing her, so when I pulled back I was able to capture this.  Positioning of the hands on the wine glass and the shoes had to be considered so that they enhanced rather than distracted the main image. In the shot I was standing looking down on Lucy.

What I had not noticed is that Lucy has now got her hair band on her wrist .. it was not in the earlier shots … but it has now made an appearance – so although I noticed the details at the start of the shoot, you never know when something unexpected is going to change in the scene!

Studio photography with Lucy - ISO100, F6.3, 1/200sec

Studio photography with Lucy – ISO100, F6.3, 1/200sec

Getting much lover and a similar shot has a very different feel – here the black glove works to add a dramatic focal point on the white dress, but the hand holding the glass disappears.

Studio photography with Lucy - ISO100, F3.2, 1/160sec

Studio photography with Lucy – ISO100, F3.2, 1/160sec

However moving my feet and standing on a chair and I have another image – this time the gloved hand and the glass is framed within the dress, the wide aperture means that you are drawn to her face – I just wish I had spent more time on getting my focusing right … when you view the image full size – you can see it is slightly off.

There is a great plugin you can get for free for Lightroom – which enables you to see for sure whether you got the focus right or not… and I need to concentrate more with my focusing especially when I am using single point focusing … have you discovered the show focus point plugin?

The above shots all used a black background … we then switched and shot with a really large Hi-Lite background – this was like a huge giant soft box that we put a light inside – the idea was to use it to make a white background and then to soft light the model. We used it though to create a silhouette – just by lighting the background, but amazingly the light shown through the umbrella!

The model is in the same outfit – but now her body shape matters most – the angles her body makes matters – I have composed 5 silhouettes together, added a little color in photoshop so that the balloon which was grey and the drink that was clear matched the umbrella so that the image flowed.

With the couple in the first shot – and the red balloon… the idea of celebration this final image would make a great valentine gift for someone and a striking image to display in a bedroom.


Silhouette shots with Lucy and John against a HiLite background. ISO100, F5.6, 1/200sec

But does the above photo work – no. It  is all about the attention to detail… detail in the shot and detail in the post processing …  I shared the image above with the photographers that attend the shoot for some feedback … as a group we are critiquing each other images and offering feedback …. and at the time of posting this blog – no one noticed that I cropped the foot off of the second silhouette – so below is my final edit with a well known saying added inspired by a friend of mine who has realised how important it is to dance in the rain!


It is all about the details!


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