The World’s a Studio

14 03 2009

Next., originally uploaded by kamikaze productions.

Ok…so I’m exaggerating but then again I’m not. Whenever I’m asked by a friend to help them with some modeling shots, the first thing I say is you have to understand – 1) I don’t have any sort of studio lighting, and 2) I don’t have proper equipment (backdrops, etc). But I never turn down an opportunity to capture another subject, learn another skill, or just pick up the camera.

My friend Chelsea was in town and asked for a favor, so we tried to navigate my apartment in a way that would give somewhat usable lighting and background. Now here is where the whole anywhere is a studio idea comes in. We made a white wall be the equivalent of a backdrop and propped up lights to help eliminate shadows. Biggest downside – regular lights aren’t white!

But creativity is the important part of the experience. There was no way pictures were going to come out and be worthy of her final portfolio, but the practice and the experience yield returns as well.

One thing I learned – when you get in tight, you can mimic a studio quality image. Now this picture I have edited of course but the point is you can make an ordinary wall be a plain backdrop – I’ve contemplated taking the idea to another level and hanging paper to change a background color as well.

The ultimate lesson is that anything is possible with a camera and an idea. Studios traditionally have the fancy equipment, lighting, etc…but if you follow the mantra “Life’s a stage”…then it won’t be that hard for the photographer like you and me without the fancy stuff to adapt the phrase to say – “Life’s a studio”…just make sure you bring the camera with you when you leave the house.

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Shooting Sexy

21 01 2009

Appeal., originally uploaded by kamikaze productions.

It wasn’t until recently, that I really got into shooting a model in a photograph. Most of the subjects in my work are my friends turned guinea pigs or strangers unaware of the new found celebrity via my lens.

I had a friend that approached me looking for some basic shots to start off her porfolio. It was an extraordinary challenge, given my lack of experience, not to mention the yellowish tint of light and low light at that — throw in no use of flash — in my apartment. So instead of really getting portfolio work done, it became a learning experience in what work and what doesn’t in low light no flash situations, and I found out that you can salvage a shoot if you don’t mind getting artistic.

This photo exudes sexy, classy — sexy. There is one element in this photo that keeps it sexy as opposed to the reaction — “She’s hot!” that you would get from a regular photo on some bikini modeling website. That element is absence of light, the vacuum that creates one of a photographer’s favorite tools – shadows.

Don’t get me wrong, I did use a preset in light room when I processed this shot, but the shadows are what make this photo what it is. There are both subtle shadows and overwhelming shadows. Subtle shadows have their role in a light ballad down the center of the chest, while heavy shadows drench her right side and even medium shadows have some play across her face.

Photography is capturing an image based on lighting…I have several other definitions as well…but regardless, pay attention to how you use the absence of lighting as well as the presence of lighting to capture the context, emotion, and aesthetic that you are looking for when shooting.