Jessica’s First Shoot

So, I’m not really sure about this whole studio photography thing. I’m not sure it’s for me. See, I love natural light. I love shooting outside — in the ‘golden’ hours at sunrise and sunset, when the light comes in angled just right. The light has a soft glow. It’s beautiful.

Studio lighting can also be quite beautiful. You can control the angle and intensity of light, creating or removing shadows where you need. And when it’s done right, it looks flawless. But, where great studio photographers are like the artist painting with delicate strokes of the brush, I’m the guy who just throws giant cans of paint at the canvas. So that’s been my challenge: become a better painter with light in the studio. It would be easy to blame the equipment — I don’t have all the tools a full-fledged studio photographer would have. But that excuse is hollow. It sounds too much like the people we scoff at who say “I could take better photos if I had better camera equipment.” The truth is I need to master the equipment I already have before adding to it. I have two strobe heads and a number of reflectors, but the images I like best are the ones I make with a one-light setup. Adding a second light is less complimentary and more distractimentary. (Yeah,I just made up the word.)

But, I digress. I’m actually here to talk about Jessica’s first shoot. Jessica is a full-time student and has a full-time job. I’ve known her about a year and wasn’t sure how to go about asking her to try modeling. It’s kinda hard telling someone you think they have ‘the look’ without coming off as a sleazeball. She was a bit hesitant at first, but after some cajoling, she finally agreed.

We started out in the studio with some basic shots.

Beauty Shot: Single strobe with honeycomb grid. I got up high and had Jessica look up into the camera, accentuating the white around her eyes.

Beauty Shot: I like using an extension tube on my telephoto lens to get an extreme close-up. This is a single strobe with honeycomb grid setup.

Close Up: I used an extension tube to get in tight on her face. I like the way the hair frames her face and hides her left eye.

Close Up: I used an extension tube to get in tight on her face. I like the way the hair frames her face and hides her left eye.

Head and Shoulders.

Jessica quickly picked up on posing. We weren’t doing anything extraordinarily difficult, but she seemed to know just what look we were going for.

Three-Quarters Shot: (I know. I need to clean the brick wall.)

We then moved outside for some more photos. The sun had just gone down and the dim, evening light added some great mood to the photos.

One thing I noticed is that Jessica always seems to look a little different in each photo. That chameleon-like quality is golden for models. Too many have just one “look,” and even if it’s good, it can take them only so far.

Afterwards, I asked Jessica what she thought of the shoot. She confessed she liked shooting outdoors better. I have to agree with her. Sure, it’s important to know — and even be good at — studio work. But give me a location shoot any day.


2 responses

  1. Is that the same studio Mark Greenberg is at? How is that working out? Nice work, by the way.

    January 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm

  2. Yeah. I’m in the small studio at the end of the hall. It’s working out okay. I’m only in there a couple of times a month, which is fine since it’s kinda small.

    January 22, 2010 at 11:40 pm

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