Studio Portraits 1 at CDIA

Our first portrait module is complete!  I am so happy to be photographing people again!  I have to say, our class definitely had fun with this module, and everyone came up with great shots.   In this class we learned the ins and outs of a four light studio setup, and how we can really use them to create exactly what you are looking for.

One thing I’ve learned is that the best part of being in the studio is that you control every source of light.  And that the most frustrating part of being in the studio is that you control every…single…source…of…light.

We started off with a one light setup with a hot light, so we could see exactly what the light looked like before we shot it, using both direct light and bounced light.  Here’s Lauren, who I’m pretty sure has the most energy out of anyone I’ve ever met.  She was so excited when I told her to go ahead and make one of her faces!  I’ll have to share a post of the many faces of Lauren B at some point!

Next we moved onto strobes, gradually adding more lights for specific reasons.  Here are some of my single light source images of Leibniz.  I think he looks a little like younger Lawrence Fishburne in these, what do you think?

And of course, Lauren stepped in as a model once again – we worked together quite a bit in this module!

The next class night, I worked with Shawn, and we added fill lights and a kicker light.  I also had a light on the background to brighten it up a bit.  I really like how guys look in black and white, but I’m a fan of black and white shots anyway…

At the end of the night, we had to pick an image from a magazine and recreate the lighting. Our TA, Julie Sterling, stepped in as my model.  I chose a low-key shot that had a moody feel to it.  Believe it or not, that’s a white wall on the left image – we just kept Julie about ten feet from the wall, and kept all the light we could off of it.  Julie is the one person in our room that enjoys being on the other side of the lens, and it shows!

The last shot we did with a single person was actually our final test, but bear with me while I alter the time space continuum and move that here.

The test was in groups of three, we had a half hour to unpack all of our gear, set up our lights, each shoot a safe, well lit portrait of each other, and pack everything back up. That’s three final images in a half hour, including setup and breakdown – for those of you keeping track, we each had about 6 minutes to get our lights where we wanted them, get the exposures right, and shoot the image.

Lauren, Nick, and I pulled it off in 26 minutes!  Here’s my shot of Nick:

Now it was time for lighting groups, which can get much more complicated.  We started with a group of two, then added a third.  My first group shot was of Lauren and Kristy.  I wanted a really clean, tight shot, with really soft lighting.  Here’s what I came up with:

Next we pulled Freddy in for a bright high key shot.  We were going for a really fun shot, where the previously friendly Lauren & Kristy were now fighting over Freddy – can we say sitcom in the making?  Freddy also has some great expressions in his modeling arsenal!

My last shot I wanted to have three people looking like a band, with a pretty straight faced look, and a good amount of contrast.  I got the lighting where I wanted it, but with this crew on my hands, the serious look was pretty hard to come by…

The lights get pretty hot in the studio, especially when we’re using high contrast light, so Paulo needed his assistant, Nick to help him out with some eye drops…

Here’s my final group shot – I am glad I waited for it, Paulo, Lauren, & Nick pulled it together!

And now, on to Studio Portrait 2… more updates (and new people!) to come!

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