This past Monday I had my first experience working with models during my wedding photography class at the Minneapolis Photo Center. It was sort-of what I expected, but not completely. I went into the experience a little nervous, but relieved that there would be so many other students there to take the pressure off of me. If I didn’t know what I wanted the models to do, at least someone else would be there to give direction.
What I found is that (1) I really need to think ahead more and have some poses in mind before going into a shoot, (2) models are really nice people (at least these models were) who aren’t going to laugh at me if I want to try a pose a certain way and (3) there’s nothing scary about shooting posed people. I was also reminded about the importance of getting the lighting right; I should always be looking for shadows and glare and adjusting to make the photo more appealing.
I also took this opportunity to play with my exposure a bit and to try out high key shots and white-on-white shots. Some of these experimental shots were successes and some were failures (I won’t be showing the failures, sorry!), but I definitely learned a lot by trying different approaches. It’s reminded me that I need to experiment more in my everyday shooting, not just when I’m in a class or in a studio.
In the end I think I got some really great shots and I’m very happy with my final product. I’m now really looking forward to taking the fashion photography class and learning more about posing and working in the studio. As for weddings, I’m not sure I’m ready to take on a whole wedding at once yet. I think it would be a lot of fun to assist as a second shooter at a wedding. The pressure is off a bit that way, and I’ll get a chance to learn and grow as a photographer, while still capturing some beautiful memories in the process.
The more I learn about lighting theory, the more I notice lighting and it’s influence on what I see. I notice the color of the natural light, and how it changes throughout the day. I notice how light elucidates texture when the sun is low on the horizon, and often hides it when the sun is high in the sky. And I notice how lighting can play with emotions, not just in photography but also in my life – the way that the sun popping out from behind a cloud can illuminate a room and life my spirits at the same time.
Every day I’m learning a little bit more, and seeing a little bit more. The door to the world is open, and every day the world is new again. It’s up to us to see it as new, and to explore.
Amy Kingman at Drawings In Motion has posted a fantastic series of articles on making her own lightbox out of foamcore and poster board. The supplies for the design are extremely affordable and the whole thing breaks down for storage when not in use. She mentions in the article that the foamcore and poster board cost her about $5 altogether, but I was wondering how much she’d spent on the lamps she used for lighting, as those can get expensive. No worries – I saw similar clip lamps at the pet store yesterday for $15 each. For someone like me without a lot of cash or space, this design sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to get started!
If you have your own experiences with do-it-yourself lighting please share. Thanks!
Last night I had my first class learning studio lighting for product photography, and I found I really have a lot to learn. Studio lighting is brand new to me – I only learned what Alien Bees are a few weeks ago, and currently know very little about different lighting types and how to use them. That’s all about to change. Last night I shot with strobes for the first time, learned what a beauty dish is and learned a few techniques for blocking stray light from entering the lens. Even though there was no prerequisite for the course, I still felt woefully unprepared, so between now and next week I’ll be reading Light: Science and Magic and Strobist to nail down the basics. If you’ve been down this road and have tips for where to start with learning lighting, please share them with me. I can use all the help I can get.