Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Getting the light you want

Getting the light you want

Fynn in my "studio"
My sister Susan is a widely acclaimed artist in Richmond, VA. She has a one-person show up at this writing with 50 of her own paintings of nude women. This past summer when I visited her in the studio she had built in her back yard, we talked about photographing her models. I'm a serious photographer and have spent the past two years reading everything I could about light and experimenting on average 3000 times per month with different lighting situations. I've come to know a little bit about creating lighting situations that provide me with the look I'm striving for.

Working with other photographers and two models in the studio
She bought two large lamps from Home Depot for her lighting needs. She usually only uses one bare bulb to light her models. As we looked through hundreds of images on her computer, one group caught my eye. "Yes," she said, "the sun was shining in through the window that day, so we used that light. It was awesome." It did look nice, but I immediately wondered why she didn't just stick a light outside (or behind a light shaper) to get that - or a similarly awesome - look every time! She thought it would all be too complicated. She wants to use the camera as an extension of her hand, she said, and not have to think too much. There is a fine line when you are photographing nudes, she told me, between doing your work and making the models feel comfortable.

Getting the pose and lighting right for Kristina
We talked about various ways to shape light, discussing the pros and cons of different types of light sources. All that, she admitted, would put her over budget. Besides, she can recreate any sort of mood lighting she wants when she is standing at the canvas. Like photoshopping, she can lighten and darken areas at will. So why was I worried about her lighting? My last thought was, "I can't wait to see her work once she starts thinking about light!"

No comments:

Post a Comment