In 2013, I finally managed to spend a bit more time in the studio. In 2014, I have decided to go even more!
Working in a studio is very different from everyday photography. I like to work with amateur models — when we are alone in the dark, illuminated only by the ambient light of the flashes which light up like small suns every now and then — then we both know that we are somewhere at the end of an exciting journey.
To me, model photography is a complex creative process in which the model is fully involved. It starts with a concept which gets refined in meetings and e-mails, during dress selection and make-up discussions. When we finally have something arranged, I design the lighting in my head. To work effectively in a studio, you must have some knowledge on proper lighting — if you cannot or will not do a course, some books are essential. I am especially into Hollywood portrait lighting. It is also essential to hire a good studio — the more equipment, the better.
Doing studio photography in analogue is, of course, much more fun. Of course, we take as many pictures as possible, with slight modifications to capture the very best poses and exceptions. But you most probably won’t end up with 600-700 photographs like a digital photographer would. I usually stop after 3-4 rolls of film (which are used up in 3 hours). After that, the model can relax (I once tried this role, too — it is a tiring task indeed) and my excitement starts. If I shot in black and white, it’s a bit easier because then it’s me who would be doing the developing. As for shooting in color, I usually choose a shop who can do it fast and provide excellent quality. For studio photography, I usually choose professional quality film.
Then comes the scanning and the editing. I try to get away with as little post-processing as possible; if I want something, I try to capture it on the spot. When the photos are ready, I upload them and share them with the model, too. More discussion comes until we arrive at an agreement which would be the 5-10 photos that we will publish.
And when we are done, we usually come up with a new concept. This year, I want to get as much practice as possible. There is really nothing like pressing the button of your SLR after framing the perfect portrait — and when the mirror springs up, you hear the flashes firing in union. Try it — this is a New Year’s resolution I can recommend to everyone.