Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Studio II

Studio II

Last year I rented the photo studio in the Werkstatthaus for a day and, with the help of Jim Palik, set up the lights and photographed several of my friends who were kind enough to come and pose for me. I remember it being hard work - not something I would like to do every day - but the rewards of the crisp pictures were great enough to make me want to do it again.

From April 2010
A year has passed, my knowledge of photography has improved, and this past weekend I was at it again. This time, however, I was leading a workshop for photographers who wanted to learn more about studio lighting. The participants were mostly members of an art group I belong to at the DAZ in Stuttgart. I had booked two models through a casting agent and a make-up artist through the Model-Kartei to help us out.

Kristina and Sönke

As you can well imagine, a photographer's job is made much easier when the subject in the picture is something or someone people want to look at anyway. The Alps at sunset taken from an airplane. The Great Wall of China. An attractive model. Well, we had two attractive young people there, and Alessandro had them looking good for the cameras. He also took some pictures, staying with us the during the entire shoot.

I decided against using the strobes because with even a half-dozen eager photographers wanting to snap pose after pose, you need continuous light. Everyone jockeyed into position to get a fair shot of the couple. We pretty much ignored the rule whereby you have one main light and one fill light and have the model look into the main light. I think we ignored lots of rules of studio photography, but part of the learning curve here was dealing with the pressure of having someone standing there in front of the lights who is waiting for you to do your work while they do theirs. It is hard work for those on both sides of the camera.

After an hour, Cihan (in the white cap above) designated himself the group's director and, together with Bärbel, started to make up little scenarios which allowed Kristina and Sönke to become involved with each other and ignore the cameras to some extent. The pictures improved greatly from that moment onward.

The Werkstatthaus is a beautiful old villa on a hill with picturesque staircases and interesting hallways. We took advantage of the windows and the stairways, using available light. When the golden sunlight shone in through the window in the studio, we were all in awe of the wonderfully strong highlights and shadows it produced.

Most of my favorite pictures were made possible by the beautiful light from the windows.

Some artistic pictures resulted from my keeping my eyes open. Here Kristina is reflected in the abstract painting on the wall.

I was trying out a new lens (f1.4/85mm by Walimex, a Korean manufacturer) to see how sharp it was at around f2 under good lighting conditions. It did fairly well. The couple pictures above were taken with it. When I shot into the light late in the afternoon, though, it flared even when I stopped it down to f8. But the result was artsy!

In two weeks our art group will meet to discuss workflow and post-processing of pictures. Please leave your comments here with any tips you have.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed that. Loved the photos and lighting. Thank you,
    Val Fieth in Welwyn Garden City, Herts.
    Jane and Jim's English friend. (They may have other English friends!)