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Dave Collerton

Life Study - A portrait in the making

Life Study - A portrait in the making

The PPG meeting last night allowed us to hone our skills working with model Lianne under near studio conditions. During the shoot I was able to experiment with various lenses in various manual shooting modes as well as utilising the dual lighting setup provided by Clive Figes. This latter setup allowed for optimal shooting conditions of F11 @ 125ms and ISO 200. Irrespective of the lighting conditions, ie ambient light, camera flash or dual lighting setup, each shot had it's merits and even though some were not pixel perfect, especially the low speed shots, many captured something relevent or of interest. Photography is not always about image quality but it's always about content. Sometimes you get lucky and get both!

The first thing to notice in a studio shoot is that, unlike the "shooting from the hip" photography I'm normally into, there's an awful lot to do. For example, the setting up of the equipment. Lighting for example can take a considerable amount of time to get right, especially systems linked to the camera. Then there's the environment. This needs to be sympathetic to the nature of the shoot. Finally the model. He or she needs to be managed so they know exactly what's expected of them. They may be wearing different costumes for example, or be required to take up particular postures etc. It's quite clear that whereas a field trip is an ideal single person activity, a studio shoot may require two or more people to achieve best results. 

With everything in place it's a different story. Models are by nature compliant so ask them to do something and bang, it's done. Capturing a range of expressions or poses is childs play as the model seems to know exactly what's required. Capturing the unguarded moments is not alwas as easy but it's simply a matter of taking photos between the poses that often creates the best images, well, for me anyway.


Ultimately, the images you take are going to be defined by your clients needs, whether that client is a model, a modelling agency, a bride, mother, family or couple. You are trully lucky if you get to choose the final photos as often, this is out of your control. 


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