A studio portrait

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I haven’t posted for a few days because I have been incredibly busy at the six day SWPP photography convention in London. Wow what an event! There were literally hundreds of seminars; a great trade show with demonstrations; I got to network with other photographers (and was thrilled to see how many female there are in the industry); and then for the grand finale I enjoyed a day’s seminar with the incredible Clay Blackmore. He has so much energy, talent and enthusiasm – in fact he put so much into the seminar that he was in tears at the end – and is truly inspirational.

So, I highly recommend that photographers attend the event, whatever your  level or specialism – there really is something for everyone and all the people I spoke to were buzzing! (Some folks think that the society is a bit old fashioned and I admit that I didn’t go with any expectations, but was very pleasantly surprised!)

Just when I didn’t think I could learn anymore I also had a studio photography workshop this evening with Andrew Mason. Again I couldn’t complain as the workshop was both practical and productive and I realised that being in a studio isn’t something to  feel intimidated about. The photograph featured was taken today and is one I’m particularly proud of it because myself and two fellow pupils devised and set up the lighting ourselves (for the technies out there we had one soft main light, one to light up the background, one for the hair line and then another one from below) so it wasn’t just a matter of pressing the shutter button. Andrew was so impressed with the results that he got out his camera and took some pics himself!

Funnily enough, the first time Andrew whipped his camera out was after seeing one of my shots. Being a bit on the short side I was shooting from a much lower angle than everyone else. I showed him one of my pictures and he said it looked great; then I noticed he was still looking at it over my shoulder on the view finder. Eventually he said “It’s so unusual to see the models shot from that angle; I have to replicate it.” For the rest of the evening nearly every shot he took involved him crouching down to my level. I even stood beside him at one point so that he could see what the exact angle was!

It isn’t often that being short is an advantage, especially in the photography industry, and I know that I was lucky that this model had such a strong jawline to carry it off. But it  made me think that maybe being small could be seen as a positive rather than a handicap – in that my pictures might just look that little bit different to everyone else’s! Well, people are always looking for new angles in photography so maybe this is it…

8 thoughts on “A studio portrait

  1. Congratulations on your actions and involvement during the portrait workshop. If you were shooting from a lower angle it does not seem so when look at the picture of the model. It appears that I can look directly into her eyes. Maybe her head is slightly tilted down but only slightly.
    Yes, I think perspective is important. How many time have I caught myself shooting from eye level and then afterwards realized how much better the photo would have been from a lower perspective. That’s why I carry a 5 gallon buck with a seat on it for sitting or for standing on. It’s a little bulky but it is great for carrying camera gear. Here is a picture of my wife modeling it. http://www.flickr.com/photos/timothysallenphotos/11696748155/

    • Hi Tim, actually I had placed her on a stool by this stage but the ones I took earlier had a totally different feel to them (almost spiritual) because of shooting slightly upwards. I might just post another as an example, seeing as though I’ve got people talking about it.

      That’s a great idea re. the bucket with it having a dual purpose – especially if your wife carries it for you ;-) You could also get the model to sit on it. Clay Blackmore at the seminar was raving about e-z steps http://hansonfong.smugmug.com/SiteFiles/Investment/21481152_GQskMq/2003257812_xfHx5DG
      but they’re a lot more expensive, and not as versatile, as a bucket!

      • Hi Eleanor
        I didn’t think about the model sitting down. That’s a “no da” on my part.
        The bucket is good especially with a strap. I ordered the seat and strap from Amazon. My wife is very generous but carrying my camera stuff is asking a lot. She does sit on it and occasionally is my model.
        Tim

    • Thank you Alicja – it doesn’t look being small is holding you back either and I know another top London photographer who is shorter than me, so there’s nothing stopping us! “(Small) women photographers unite!”

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