Ever wonder how i edit, shoot, or get timeless expressions, find out how today!
When you see a mind blowing black and white image, what makes it so great? Is it the lighting, the expression, the editing, the story? It’s all of the above.
To craft a masterpiece from scratch, you must obtain an abundance of fundamental skills, and guidelines you follow on a daily basis. Each time you turn on your camera, make an imaginary checklist in your mind, and check off each aspect as it comes to you. Lighting, check. Expression, check. Editing, check. You’ll nail that “ONE” shot you have wanted since day one in no time!
The first thing that runs through my mind on any given shoot, is the story I want to convey. Whether it be sad, forgotten, lonely; they all tie in together to the backbone of the equation, expression.
When I’m composing my scene and putting the model into place, my ultimate goal is to make the model at ease and comfortable. This is the hardest part of any shoot. To overcome the challenge of expression, I institute two crucial steps.
1) PLAYING MUSIC:
I ask the model before we shoot what their favorite song or playlist is, and on the shoot I’ll play it. If I like it or not, I’ll embrace it, all equating to the fact that the model feels comfortable in front of the camera.
2) TALKING TO THE MODEL
Silence is golden, right? Not on a shoot. When your model is anxiously waiting in front of your camera, waiting for some direction, and you’re fiddling with your camera, you’re being anti social. Think of the model as a friend, a colleague, talk to them, give them directions. The last thing you want is your model being the deer left in the headlights.
3) BUILDING A BOND.
Actually, when I started photography six months ago, the only people I photographed were my family, and close friends. When I was still trying to figure out what I wanted, the people I am close with made it a hell of a lot easier. We both knew what we wanted, and overall, the models felt relaxed, and almost second nature to them. So shoot with people your comfortable with, master that, then you’re ready for the big leagues, actual pro models!
Possibly one of the most important elements in photography is lighting. Lighting can make or break your scene, and is second on my list. When you hear the term “lighting”, what comes to mind? There are dozens and dozens of ways of lighting, and different types; soft light, hard light, directional light, back light, key light, fill light, natural, artificial. However, pro or beginner, we must all start with the three most fundamental types of lighting.
Before I even go into the complications and intimidating studio lighting, I’ll start with where light all started. Natural.
To add a fourth type of light, the best to your list, plain old natural window light.
Ironically, my shots appear now as they’re all taken in a studio, however, those were instituted into my routine, just this month. Before this, my shots were composed in front of a black mattress as my backdrop, and a huge sliding window, and THAT’S IT. I was trained with natural lighting, giving me the knowledge I needed to embrace studio photography. I fully recommend mastering the art of natural lighting before going out and dropping thousands on fancy lighting equipment. It will teach you how light works, and how it effects a scene. In my eyes, it’s ranked in the holy trinity of lighting.
Go push yourselves with natural light, its refreshing!
Now easing our way back to the big league, studio lighting. First learn these fundamentals, then you will be ready to kick it up a notch.
Your key light, back-light, and fill. (Fill will become your best friend)
These 3 light sources will paint the story, and lead your eye to whichever segment you want it to. I like to call it, “Painting with light.” In a typical scenario, you’ll use all three; each one has its own sole purpose.
The key light is the most important light in a photographer’s arsenal. The key light’s main purpose is to give dimension, and sculpt the form of your subject. You will frequently find yourself using this light from the front of the subject.