Daily Archives: May 12, 2011

Studio Portraits

My latest (and last for this school year) photography course has been all about studio portrait photography. Three out of the six classes have been shooting days, which has been a great experience because of the different lighting set ups, backgrounds and models. It’s definitely gotten more fun with time – the first day was incredibly stressful as I was overwhelmed from using strobe lighting and have everyone watch you let alone knowing how to pose the model. Thankfully, that got easier with each session – thanks to some books from the library and the good ‘ol interwebs.

The first day we did high-key lighting, which is basically where you have a white background.

Second, we did low key lighting (dark background.) As you can see, it’s incredibly more dramatic than high key.

I don’t know why, but out of all the photos I shot, the ones I liked the most were generally ones where the person was not smiling. It’s almost as if you’re letting the eyes do most of the talking instead of the mouth.

The third night we had coloured backgrounds – the first with a blue backdrop and the second with coloured gels.

Technically you’re not supposed to look down or at the ground while using gels (basically a light shining on the backdrop with a coloured gel piece over it) as then you can start to see the original colour of the backdrop, but I just like this picture so much that I don’t care.

It’s really neat to see how studio portrait photography is so much more than cheesy family, school and graduation photos. The thing with a studio is that you have way more control of the light you’re using, so if you know how to manipulate it properly, you can get some pretty cool shots. (If you want to see what you can do with lights outside of a studio, try looking at Ryan Brenizer’s blog. Holy wow does that guy know how to control light!)

Which do you prefer: studio or natural light photos?

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