In The Studio


Wednesday evening found me in the camera club for a studio shoot with Kendall, who has posed for us before.

Due to Covid-19 we have been following the guidelines laid down by the Welsh Government for meeting in public places.

The setup for the evening, black background, studio flash remotely triggered from our cameras and Kendall taking directions from each of us on how we wanted her to pose.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Trying to keep those two maxims in mind . . . Things always seem to clash. These portraits illustrate why I normally like photographing landscapes. No two-way conversation is necessary. Once I see what I like the most about their personality, I point and shoot. For most portraits, it is necessary to talk to the subject to develop the most cursory of relationships prior to pushing the button to expose the subject’s personality. Here the subjects only needed to wordlessly talk to me and I not to them.

Stephen K. Malshuk
Black and White For That Classic Look

Originally this was a head and half body shot using the 12-40mm lens at 40mm, but I was able to crop it down to just the head. Normally I would have kept the lens at 12mm and just stood closer to Kendall, but social distancing precludes that. Camera was set to ISO 200, 1/125s @f5.6 and a remote trigger on the camera fired the flash.

One of our members asked Kendall to pose wearing a red cloak and hood so with the magic of Photoshop and a background from the internet I created this image.

E-M1MarkII OLYMPUS M.12-40mm F2.8 ISO 200 1/125 sec at ƒ / 5.6

Some of the people who are now manipulating photos, such as Andreas Gursky, make the argument – rightly – that the “straight” photographs of the 1940s and 50s were no such thing. Ansel Adams would slap a red filter on his lens, then spend three days burning and dodging in the dark room, making his prints. That’s a manipulation. Even the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson, with all due respect to him, are notoriously burned and dodged.

Joel Sternfeld

This next photograph, once again I changed the background. Nowadays with Photoshop it’s relatively easy to cut the subject out of a plain background and place them somewhere more exotic. But that’s not all you have to do. There’s light matching. Notice how the light from the windows is coming in from the left as we view it, that’s where I had the studio light positioned. Any background would have to reflect the same.

E-M1MarkII OLYMPUS M.12-40mm F2.8 ISO 200 1/125 sec at ƒ / 5.6

There’s also colour matching to be considered. Have a look at the original photograph without corrections in Lightroom.

E-M1MarkII OLYMPUS M.12-40mm F2.8 ISO 200 1/125 sec at ƒ / 5.6

The colour of Kendall’s skin does not match the lighting of the background so a subtle change is required to get a closer match and make it look more realistic. Fortunately this is relatively easy to do in Photoshop.

I have to say though, I much prefer to be out in the hills taking photographs. Personally I have always found it quite awkward talking to people in a studio environment, even someone I know. I have got better at approaching the subject and directing how I want them to pose. But give me an open landscape, fresh air and the sound of water bubbling over rocks any day.

Stay safe – Mike

8 thoughts on “In The Studio

    1. Gale force winds and heavy rain today, Mike, but the weather forecast is for sunny spells tomorrow. I’ve got a trip planned for St Baglan’s Church, Llanfaglan. It’s an old church in the middle of a field at the edge of the Menai Strait. Depending on time I’m going to follow it up with a trip to Borth to capture the old abandoned boats. Snowdonia is a no go area at the moment. Too many tourists, roads are jammed , hills are alive with the sound of screaming kids who don’t want to be there in the first place. I’m using local knowledge to go where the tourists don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds like a good plan. We have quite a few tourists here too (though not as many as you no doubt) but it’s easy to avoid them as few go on some of the bigger routes. That said I have a mate coming over in about 10 days and we plan to stay in some mountain huts… So that could be interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It’s not something I really like doing though. Whiles away an evening but to be honest in this present climate I didn’t feel safe, so I’m going to stick to getting out on my own, with no one around

      Liked by 1 person

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