As most of my published work has been with natural light, I’m still very much learning when it comes to studio lighting. I’m pretty happy with where I am for beauty, art nude & basic fashion lighting, and I’ve had plenty of work published that was flash lit,  but until I can look at any photo in a magazine & tell straightaway how it was lit, it’s important for me to keep practising & learning.

As I’m a sharing kind of guy, I thought it might be fun to write about my experiences along the way. I’m not claiming to be right or wrong, or trying to teach, as this is new to me, just telling you what I did & showing you the results.

The Plan

I can’t tell you how important it is to start shoots with a clear plan of what you hope to achieve. It’s hard to be creative when you’re halfway through a shoot, maybe tired, maybe distracted by other people in the room, so having a clear focus in advance helps filter all that out. It doesn’t have to be complicated, & you don’t have to stick to it, it’s just there if you need it.

For my shoot with Vicki I decided to start with some natural light shots to warm up, & also to get some good shots in the bag. If you can show a model early on that you can take great pictures of her, she’s much more likely to relax and commit fully to things you suggest later on, and also be patient while you’re fiddling around with a lighting setup you hadn’t tried before. We also decided to shoot something for my Glitterboobs project & finish by experimenting with gels, which I’d never tried, despite having them for a couple of years.

Vicki was great to shoot, she has piercing eyes, a really long neck & striking red hair, plus she makes some great shapes.

Vicki Blatchley Blue LightVicki Blatchley blue light

So, for the gel shots I wanted to change the colour of the room but leave Vicki at least a little bit natural, especially that fabulous red hair. I used a blue gel (you may have worked this out all by yourself) & barn doors to light the room, & a snoot to create the spotlight on Vicki. I really like the effect, & I’ve already tried it in other parts of the house.

Oh & the lighting diagram was drawn with an iPhone app that Vicki introduced me to called Strobox. Thanks Vicki! 🙂

Vicki Blatchley crouching

The natural shot is just using window light. I sometimes use a reflector, but I prefer the light without it where possible.

Vicki BlatchleyVicki Blatchley Glitterboob

The black & white shot has a gridded soft box on either side, & a snoot behind bouncing off the glitterball just next to her boobs.

Model: Vicki Blatchley
Blog: http://www.vickiblatchley.blogspot.co.uk/
Location: My studio in London E1

Matt

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