Syon Clinic, Gt West Rd. This image has been converted into B&W apart from the architectural detail of the tiles. Whilst I like this image, if I was to change something about it, perhaps I could have pulled back a little to include the top part of the building that has been cut off.
The Hive, by Wolfgang Buttress, Kew Gardens – this stunning installation was built as a short term structure but, a year and a half on is still delighting visitors to the gardens. I love the drama of this beautiful structure.
This shot has been edited to best show the colour of the sky and clouds, and also to exaggerate the shadows and reflections. I like that there are few colours in the image but that what’s there is very strong.
This sign is on an old and, slightly wobbly building next to the dry dock on Brentford Dock. I love the 1950’s font of the sign, it clearly hasn’t been re-painted and everything else around it has been left to rust and deteriorate. If I were to change something about the image, I might have tried to get the entire sign in.
These buses belong to a local company that are renovating them to use as ‘event’ buses. People can hire them for weddings and parties. When finished, these Routemaster buses look beautiful, but these poor ol’ buses are now retired and are waiting patiently for some love and attention. I really like the faded colours and tiny hints of chrome, even the hint of an old advertising poster with the promise of a fun night out. (…it is, I’ve seen it 😉 ) It might have been a nicer image if the sky were blue and the fence were galvanised as opposed to green, but that really was out of my control.
An ongoing project this term, was to explore, and photograph within the double page spread on an AtoZ map of our postcode area. We were to make studies and notes showing evidence of our research and investigation. We’re asked to view our environment with fresh eyes and finally, to select 5 images, and have them printed for our exhibition at the college.
BRENTFORD RESEARCH (1.1,1.2, 1.3, 1.4)
How do I feel about Brentford? I came here from a small village in Hertfordshire, almost 3 years ago. Our main criteria was to find a together home, with a garden, and within 15 mins of Tripod Carriers workplace. We had friends in the area. Brentford was affordable, and apparently starting to regenerate.
So, What’s the story? What does Brentford say? In lots of ways, Brentford has so much… Longevity, indeed a huge amount of history, including Julius Caesar, Famous battles, connections to Royalty, and great change during the Industrial revolution.
Kew Steam Museum OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kew Steam Museum OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kew Steam Museum OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kew Steam Museum, Brentford OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kew Steam Museum, Brentford OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kew Steam Museum, Brentford OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
It was a relatively bright day for the outside shots, so I used a low ISO, but kept a shallow depth of field because I wanted to focus on just a small part of the object I was photographing.
For the interior photo’s, I used a higher ISO, which varied depending on the level of natural light available, again, I wanted to focus on specific parts of the detail, so varied the focal length, for framing and kept the aperture quite low.
Perhaps it would have been easier for me to take photo’s using my tripod, but I was mindful of a small hoarde of schoolchildren, which meant H&S had to come first, so I settled for resting my camera on various railings, and bars, structures. I was happy with the outcomes of my day in the Kew Steam Museum, well worth a visit.
In my research, I have discovered connections to Charles Dickens, Van Gogh, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Pocahontas even! There are wonderful green spaces, Kew Gardens, Syon Park, Osterley House.
The Palm House Kew Gardens
The Hive Kew Gardens
The Hive Kew Gardens OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
and yet.. It has no heart. Or perhaps it’s just lost it for a while… Brentford has a long standing tradition of boom and bust. Today, the town centre is desperately run down, and depressing, the shops are almost non-existent. Even in the short time I have been here, more have closed down. For a short while, we had a small, but popular farmer’s market, then politics got involved, and the market was moved out of the way, causing most of the stall holders to give up. The market now consists of just a handful of stalls. People prefer to shop and visit with our wealthier neighbours, Richmond and Chiswick.
There are some beautiful buildings, and stunning architectural details along the Great West Road, and some shockingly run down 50’s shops and towering blocks of flats that need demolishing.
Art Deco Detailing, Great West Rd. Brentford OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Art Deco Detailing, Great West Rd. Brentford OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Copper Gate Detail, Great West Rd. Brentford OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Disused Warehouse, Brentford Dock OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Disused Warehouse, Brentford Dock
I set out to say something about my postcode, but I love the broken, faded images of decay around Brentford. It was a cold and grey day, but the soft light added something to the coolness of the colours, washng them out, adding to the rundown feel.
What makes me uncomfortable about TW8? There seems to be a lack of community.. Cliques of disparate ethnicities, an undercurrent of racism. One of the few places that seems to bring people together in Brentford, is the football club, which has a large following. The pubs also bring people together, and I discovered that previously, Brentford had a reputation for brawling and drunkness!! Perhaps that’s why we had such a large Magistrates Court, which has now been developed into a snazzy coffee shop?
Brentford has strong transport arteries.. The Thames, The Grand Union Canal, The Great West Road. All of which brought great wealth in their time, and going forwards, there are plans to create a supercycle highway.
Grand Union Canal Tranquility
Grand Union Canal Reflection
Grand Union Canal Leaf
f.8 1/80s 14mm ISO200 Grand Union Canal Leaf
Everyone I have spoken to about this regeneration tells me it’ll never happen. Brentford has seen these promises before. There have been many attempts to rebuild Brentford.. All of which have failed. Brentford is now very jaded. Once a bustling, well-to-do Victorian town, there is little evidence of it now.
There are new plans to build and rejuvenate the canal side area, and the south side of the High Street, but there’s a great deal of opposition, and everyone involved seems to be dragging their heels. Nothing has happened yet… People seem to be very sceptical and disapproving. I’m not quite sure what they are afraid of losing?
Disused buses, Brentford Dock OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Gillette Building. Closed, but occasionally used for film locations now. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Boots OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Thousands of shiny new flats are being built, but there just isn’t the infrastructure to support so many people. Plans have been approved, land has been compulsory purchased, but it has a very long way to go before Brentford has a thriving community. For the time being Brentford is…
For my final photo’s I wanted to recognise this current stagnation whilst celebrating earlier boom periods when Brentford was the site of West London’s water pumping station, and when the Great West Road was bustling with modern factories and future promise.
The images above are some of my favourites from this project, but have not been selected for the final 5 for various reasons. Perhaps they show an interesting detail or texture, but would not be instantly recognisable as descriptive of TW8 to a wider audience.
Along with depth of field, this has been the toughest part of the course for me. I’ve struggled to find ways to portray movement. I can see it in other people’s work, and enjoy it, but capturing it seems to elude me. Perhaps because I’m not the outdoorsy type, and most of my hobbies are slow, quiet things, maybe it’s just not that important to me, who knows?
In my efforts, I’ve stood on every windy corner, in sun, rain and wind. I was even out in a near blizzard with Tripod Carrier, this evening. Both of us shivering with cold and stamping our feet to revive them. Me, behind the lens and he, patiently taking direction in an attempt to capture light and movement. Waving his mobile phone around to make lights trails over the Gillette building. People drove past us, and I wondered what they were thinking…? Taking photo’s in this weather? Below zero degrees, pitch dark? They must be bl**dy mad! Well mad probably, but it must be love too. Love of photography for me, and love for me from Tripod Carrier. 😁
Flags OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Movement in RIchmond OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Movement: Car on Kew Bridge OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Gillette Building by snowy night OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Boys climbing at Kew Gardens OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
There really are only a few photo’s I’ve taken that I can use to explore movement. I know I do need to work on this aspect of my photography skills, and I hope that as the Spring comes, it will bring lighter evenings and the chance of more movement shots, al fresco. Fortunately, we only need 3 for this assignment. So here we are my chosen 3:
Fountain at Kew OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Movement: Water at Kew at Kew OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Movement: Child running in Kew Gardens OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
At the beginning of this course, I was still struggling with camera controls, and being able to capture exactly what it was that I wanted to capture. So, whilst I am still battling with panning techniques, (it’s all still a little bit hit and miss) it is getting easier to portray what I want. Perhaps I have somewhat chickened out by using these images (above) but despite hundreds of ‘failed’ images, I have yet to really succeed with panning and movement techniques. (I’ll persevere with it though…..)
Too much blur. f.14 1/130s 16mm ISO100
A little overexposed and too much camera shake. f.11 1/40s 20mm ISO100
A bit better… f.11 1/40s 20mm ISO100
An attempt to capture light trails. Gillette Corner f.22 30s 14mm ISO200
…nope… still not getting it…. f7.1 1/30s 17mm ISO100
Nope….. f.9 1/40s 40mm ISO200
Getting a little bit better, but camera shake is a problem.f.9 1/30s 29mm ISO200
I do, however, think my final shots convey a sense of movement. Perhaps traffic is just not my forte 😉
Update June 2018
Well…. A lot more practice and I’m getting it, I really think I am now!
(1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)
Ronnie. Southbank f.14 1/60 14mm ISO100 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Stunt. Southbank. f5.6 1/50s 45mm ISO100 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Richmond Cyclist f.13 1/80s 23mm ISO250 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Warp Speed. Tower Bridge. f.11 5s 18mm ISO100 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This week we were rather busy. As well as our Class presentation, the brief for this assignment was to be able to produce studio photographs, as an advert of a product. One as a still life, and another including a person. We were required to research ideas and concepts, and to present our studio outcomes to an audience, reviewing strengths and weaknesses of our own images. We had to set up our own studio lighting, record all the light settings and critique our work.
RESEARCH (1.1, 1.2, )
Last month, I visited the orchid exhibition at Kew Gardens twice. I took lots of photo’s of all the gorgeous orchids.
Pink flowers (possibly begonia)
Green and Purple Orchids
Feeling inspired by all the stunning colours, shapes and details, and the painting on the umbrellas, an idea was beginning to grow…. then, I spotted these lovely cards in a shop.
and I knew what I wanted to do….. I love flowers and having gained my level 1 cert in Floristry, last summer, a concept came to me, and I decided that my ‘outline’ would be that a florist had contacted me to take photos of their work for an advert.
I did a little more research looking at images of flower-y shoes and found this image on Google
(1.1, 1.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2)
these I found on Pinterest (…a frequent visitor there, me 🙂 )
image found on Pinterest
image found on Pinterest
image found on Pinterest
I cannot claim to be a proper florist, and a real florist would most probably laugh me out of their shop but… here’s the story of my effort.
IMAGES (2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4)
Whilst out shopping, last week, the charity shop fairy was with me, and I bought these shoes (for the bargain price of one whole £ 🙂 Love a bargain, me ) Although they were a little bit scruffy, I knew it wouldn’t matter. I had a plan to decorate them with fresh flowers.
One hot glue gun, lots of decapitated flowers, succulents and greenery raided from my garden, and some wire raided from Tripod Carriers shed (He’s away in Denmark.. He’ll never know…Shh…. it’s just our secret 😉 ) A few hours later and my flower shoes were ready….
Getting my shoes to college in one piece, was a bit of a mission.. What with being dressed up in full 1950’s gear, with a backpack, and a full-to-absolutely-bursting shopping trolley, and with shoe boxes tied up with string. (Not to mention I was already nervous about my class presentation.) But I did it. The shoes, my hairdo and me, all made it in one piece. When I got the shoes out of their boxes, there were lots of very appreciative oohs and ahhh’s from my lovely classmates and tutor which was nice 🙂
(2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2)
I did bring in some dark velvet fabric and some wrapping paper that looked like grass but, I decided that they were not right for the shoot because, the piece of fabric was a little too small, and the paper too shiny. Eventually, I pinched a bit of hessian scrim from the studio and arranged the table with the hessian backcloth. I opted to put my camera on a tripod for stability, rather than go handheld. After a little bit of fidgeting about to get the table into the right position, I set up the lighting rig with two overhead key and secondary lights, situated behind me. I had to make a few adjustments until we got the light and shadows right. At one point we discovered the reason my images were coming out a little dark was that my hair bow (yep…50’s outfit) was too close to the light and was diffusing the light from the studio light, lol 🙂 Once we sorted that out, I got some fairly nice shots. Unfortunately, time constraints meant that I was unable to take the shots with a model. The flowers are a little too dead now to bring in next time, so I may have to shoot someone else’s product model.
If I could change some things about this shoot, I would have liked more subtle shadows. I would also have liked to have tried a darker background and backdrop, perhaps. In the first image, there is too much of the hessian cloth raw edge visible. But you work with what you have in the studio. As a little side note, I think I would have altered the flower arrangement to not have had the wire showing on the t-bar, it’s a little bit distracting.
Nice but a little too dark perhaps? I’m a little bit distracted by the frayed edge on the hessian though., and the flowers aren’t lit well enough to be the main focus of the image. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Slightly better light, but the background environment is very distracting.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Lighting adjusted, table moved slightly closer to the camera, and the hessian moved to cover the entire table. Changing the angle of the shoe helps, and makes cleaner lines, but I still feel that the flowers are not the main focus of the image. .OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I like the angle of the shoes, the flowers are more defined. Turning up the fill light a little makes the shadows reduced. I also like that there is some negative space which could potentially be used for copy. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Cropped right hand edge of image to lose some of the background. Soft shadows, nice highlights. Background is not so distracting. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Soft shadows, nice highlights. Background is a little too distracting. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Changing the position of the lights meant I lost some of the darker shadow but, I wasn’t happy with the change of background. It makes the image too bland,, making the shoes and the background a similar blahhh colour. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
In this next series of images, I changed the lighting and the aperture to control the image but was not entirely happy with the outcome. The images are rather bleached out and the background is untidy. I don’t like the positioning of the shoes. I think I could have used a more focused light or perhaps barn doors to to spotlight the shoes, leaving the background darker.
I raised the ISO to 200 but the image is blown out. Too might light, everything blurs into one, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The same image but I changed the aperture to f.16. A better exposure, but visually a bit ‘messy’ OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Again, the same image, tried cropping it a little but I’m still not happy with it.. It all looks a bit untidy, there’s still a lot of background. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Obviously the final edit is up to the client, but my final image is the one I would suggest for the advert.
For various reasons, well …I got to play with flowers and take photo’s.😁 I did enjoy this shoot and, it was a really good opportunity to use studio lighting.
I have to miss college next week, due to a friends’ funeral but I’ll be back the following week for the last day of term.
Coffee stirrers on a wet day OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Baked goods. Brentford OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mobikes. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Reflection, Brentford Dock OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hive, Kew Gardens OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Broken, Brentford Dock OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
fisherman, Brentford Dock OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fish OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Orange. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Do not enter. Brentford Dock OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Red. Brentford Dock OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Spring.. Brentford Dock OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
(1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)
It’s hard to choose just 3 photo’s when you’ve taken hundreds. It’s quite difficult to be critical of your own work. Perhaps because photographs are so personal to me, it can be tricky to be objective. I took the photo because I liked ‘it’, whatever it was. In the past it didn’t even really used to matter that much if it wasn’t completely perfect, because I knew what it was, and I had liked it enough to take a photo. But I am sensing a change.
These days, after spending 3 terms now taking photo’s… I think I am beginning to see things differently. I am beginning to see what makes a good photo technically, not just a good photo taken with a good eye, as such, but a new perspective too. I think my classmates and I all feel we’ve been on a journey, and we’re really doing it… We’re becoming photographers. 🙂
So, after much procrastination, huffing and umm-ing and ahh-ing… and countless trips to the kettle for a hot drink (no biscuits for me though 😦 )
Ta dah! At last…..
These are my submissions for our Depth of Field assignment.
“When I’m gone, you’ll need love to light the shadows on your face…” The Calling.
Studio lighting continued…
Actually, you need light to light the shadows of your face….
It seems there is a lot to learn about studio lighting, since we are into our third week. I am finding it very enjoyable though. We’ve been given another assignment, which is to do a class presentation on a studio photographer of our choosing. Mine is John French (more on that in next week’s blog post. 🙂 )
So, in this post, I shall endeavour to let you know what I have learned so far about studio lighting…
My guide to Studio lighting.
The “key light” shines directly on the subject and is the main light source. It’s generally the brightest lightest.
A “fill light” is always weaker than the key light. Sometimes called secondary lighting, it’s used to direct shadows,create softness and is generally a diffused source of light.
“Hair lights” are typically overhead and slightly behind a subject, hitting the top of the head. Hair lights separate the subject from the background, so that you have definition from the background, hair, and clothes. It’s typically used as the name would suggest, in beauty photography to highlight the hair.
“Rim lights” using rim light lifts the subject from the background by making highlights form along an edge of your subject. It produces a thin line or ‘rim’ of light which appears to cling to the subjects outline. This can be achieved by blocking off part of the light using barn doors or a reflector, even a piece of card to allow just part of the light.
Simple yet beautiful
Awww….baby kitty. (well I have to keep you interested, somehow!)
High and low key lighting
High key is a term used to describe images that are bright and airy, containing little or no shadow. Images appear fresh, optimistic and upbeat. It’s most often used in film and TV work. Your background should be super white, so introduce extra lighting to purposely highlight the background. High key lighting gives lots of white, and light tones.
Low key kind of does what it says on the tin…. It creates mostly dark tone and colour, and can be used to convey energy, drama or atmosphere. Low key creates mainly shadows, and striking contrasts, creating images that are moody, emotive and even mysterious.
Hard and Soft lighting
Hard and soft lighting controls the ‘mood’ of your image. Hard lighting is a way to bring out drama and character to your subject. Think mean and moody, or bold and intense.
Soft lighting is gentle and forgiving. Soft and glowy. It spills, bounces and flows over your subject, hiding any imperfections.
When taking portraits, you need to take several things into consideration. Where do you want the light to be? What do you want your portrait to say? Will it say as much about you as it does the sitter? What do you want your portrait to show? Drama? Youth? Age? Sex-appeal? If the portraits are for advertising purposes, are your clients wanting to target, women or men? Youth or wealth? What quality of light do you want? Hard, soft? Will there be colour or shadows? How much of the environment will you include? A lot to think about, isn’t it? All of these considerations will potentially affect your lighting set up, and ultimately, your image.
Generally, with portrait photography, if you aim the light directly at your your subject whilst it can be flattering, it doesn’t shape the face, and may ‘plump’ you up. (..perish the thought.) It’s good for people with strong facial features and is useful to fill up all the “hills and valleys” as Ria puts it, or blemishes and wrinkles to you and me (…that’s the one for me, these days folks!) This style of lighting is often used in beauty photography. But, it can create a rather flat light if you’re not careful. Precision in your lighting is important. Shadows and highlights will give your portrait depth, a more 3 dimensional quality.
Broad and Short Lighting
Two important set ups to use are broad and short lighting
left = short lighting, right = broad lighting.
Turning the head makes one side closer to the camera than the other, and will create one bright and one shadowed side. You should be able to see a little of the face on both sides.
Broad lighting: (subject facing camera) The shadowed side is furthest from the camera, The beam of light hits the side of the face that is widest. If your models face is very narrow, or has a feature they don’t want to show, use a broad lighting pattern.
Short lighting: (subject facing away from camera) If the shadowed side is closest from the camera it’s called short lighting. The main part of the face is in shadow and only a sliver of the face is lit. Face is in profile. This style of lighting is particularly useful for asymmetric faces. If your model’s face is wide, or round, you can use short lighting to slim it down.
I’m afraid the images here today are not mine, forgetting my camera last week has meant I’ve had to trawl the internet…. and in between getting magically sucked into knitting yarn sites and absorbed by Pinterest, this post has taken me far too long!! My school reports often said, “Carmela is easily distracted.” Hmm…
So, that’s about it for now.
p.s. How many hands make light work? A watt. ….Get it? 🙂
Now, I can only blame my nerves on our Product Photography Studio Shoot on all this….. Rewind to the week before, when I got into college loaded down by; an enormous rucksack, tripod, and uber-sexy shopping trolley (You don’t think? No, neither does my dear tripod carrier) crammed full all manner of ‘products’. We were only supposed to be bringing 3 items, but a total inability to make a decision and/or travel light meant shed-loads of kit (yep… good technical term for it there…)
Fast forward to Tuesday morning, this week. Kit marginally narrowed down. 😁 Oh, ok, ok… I ate my mid-morning snack when I was packing the shopping trolley. But even before I got to college, I’d had a looong day and it was only 9.30am!
Suffice to say, I arrived at bus stop, bus arrived. I got on the bus, card not accepted. Driver not amused, fellow passengers not amused… Embarrassed shuffling by me. Insert here; much tutting and eye-rolling by no longer fellow passengers, getting cross that they’d also be late for work because of my apparent ineptitude (…when did we all get so grumpy??) So, I walked back home to get my old Oyster card (…remember when they said we wouldn’t need them?), I took my camera bag out of my rucksack to put said Oyster card, that I was never going to need again, into my wallet. Grabbed my keys, rushed out the door and set off for the bus stop again (…”Take 2″)
This time, I was accepted onto the bus, and we set off. Hurrah! The penultimate stop before college, I realised I still had my Oyster card wallet in my hand. Only when I went to put it back into my rucksack did I realise, much to the horror of fellow passengers – (insert small, mildly expletive squeak by me, here…) that… Yes, you’ve guessed…. I’d left my camera on the kitchen table!! I could’ve cried. Looking at the faces of fellow grumpy passengers, I decided against.
Fortunately, our marvellous tutor was completely unfazed. (She’s probably heard all the “My dog ate my camera…” excuses by now.) She just smiled sweetly and said “Not to worry, that makes you our model for today.”
So just for this blog post, here are a few grainy shots taken at the back of the class on my mobile phone:
Are some really rather ‘un-glamour’ shots of me. Well, at least I think there will be some, since everyone else had remembered their cameras!!
Yes, but what happened about the product photography, Carmela? I can almost hear you ask. Well… we ran out of time.
Hey ho…. third time lucky, eh?
I’ll show you the pics then, then, shall I? If I make it that far…..
Health and Safety Regulations around photography in the studio, are mostly common sense. That, and limiting the amount of hazards as far as practically possible, whilst taking responsibility to ensure one’s own health, safety and welfare, and that of any assistants or photo subjects whilst working.
Risk Assessment (2.1, 2.2, 2.3)
Be mindful of trip hazards when using tripods, and or lighting stands in the studio.. In the studio, use the correct lighting stand for the photographic lighting you are using. Do not over reach or raise the lighting stand, this may cause the stand to tip over. Lights get very hot!! To prevent the risk of burns, either to yourself, or your model, remember to use safety gloves when handling hot bulbs, or adjusting ‘barn doors’ for studio lighting.
Does the flash affect the models eyes? This can cause temporary blindness and be potentially dangerous.
Make sure there’s room in the studio for everyone to move around safely.
Cables should be taped securely to the floor with gaffer tape or protected with rubber mats, or wired upwards/overhead, so as not to cause a trip hazard. Make sure cables are properly unwound and not left on a coil. A coiled extension cable can become hot if left wound up whilst in use, and then become a potential fire risk.
Photography Backdrops should be taped or weighted down to minimise risk of damage or trip hazard.
It’s very often dark in a studio because of the low light levels. Trip hazards are less obvious in the dark! Pay extra attention to how you move hazards. Perhaps familiarise yourself with the layout of the studio before the lights go down.
At the end of a studio session, it’s advisable to allow your lighting rig to cool down properly before moving. After shooting, all equipment should be moved safely back to the edges of the studio.
Lighting Set up for Studio (2.2, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3)
First you need to decide on the quality of light you want for your shots. E.g. Hard or Soft lighting will control the mood of your image. Several factors affect the final image, the distance your model is from the background, the distance the light source is from the subject, the angle of the lights. Decide whether you want ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ lighting.
HARD lighting gives dramatic, energetic shots that are bold and intense, and is best suited to ‘character’ photo’s. Perfect for moody, edgy photo’s.
SOFT lighting is flattering, gentle and forgiving. It hides flaws (Yay! ☺). Women tend to prefer being photographed with soft lighting. (…particularly ladies of a ‘certain age’ I believe. Hah!…Sign me up for that one then!) In the following images, we used softboxes and beauty dishes.
Nara. Full frontal. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sola. This image is a little fuzzy, and somewhat over exposed, a higher f.stop would have been better. I was also struggling to focus. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
For the time being, we are starting with our camera settings at 1/100sec shutter speed and ISO100. We are adjusting focal length and f.stop or aperture to control the exposures. Remember to take a test shot to measure light levels, check your histogram.
There are four main styles of lighting used in studio photography.
SPLIT: lighting: A single light source placed at 90 degrees offset from the subject, a bit higher than eye level. Split lighting lights one half of the face, and leaves the other in shadow. This effect is dramatic, theatrical and is often used for portraits of actors and musicians.
Blow me a feather, RIa. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
f.10 1/100 20mm ISO100 Ria in action
f.10 1/100 23mm ISO100 Ria, our tutor, in an impish mood, perhaps?
BUTTERFLY : the lights are positioned straight on, above the subject, and in front, pointing slightly downwards. So named for the butterfly shaped shadow cast below the nose of the subject. Remember to keep the butterfly short, to give a button nose effect. Don’t let the shadow touch the lip… After all, no-one wants a Hitler moustache.
Butterfly Sola. This image is a little over exposed. I could have used a higher f.stop. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Butterfly, Sola. This image is a little dark. I think I could have used a lower f.stop, or raised the shutter speed OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Butterfly, Sola… But where are those catchlights? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
LOOP: the lights are positioned at approximately 30degrees from the camera to make a small “loop” shaped shadow under the nose which gives the style its name. It also darkens one side, and accentuates facial shape. Using a beauty dish or soft box will make the shadow softer. It’s very slimming, and accentuates the face shape but, avoid this lighting style for thin faces.
REMBRANDT: Named after the painter Rembrandt, who famously used this style of ‘lighting’ in his portraiture. It’s more dramatic than both butterfly and loop, and is created by moving the light source to approx 45 degrees from the subject. There will be a small triangle of light under one eye, on the opposite side of the face to the light. The nose casts a shadow that meets the cheek and illuminates the inside corner of the eye, making a ‘catchlight’.
‘Catchlights’? What on Earth are they?! A catchlight is simply a highlight of the light source reflected on the surface of the subjects’ eyes. A littlesparkle, if you like. The catchlight will depend on the shape or size of the light source, and its’ distance from the model. They’re quite important in portrait photography, they give life to the image. You don’t want dead fish eyes, do you?
The beautiful Sola, but lacking a certain something…. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
An enigmatic smile, but without the catchlights, this photo lacks life and sparkle. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Can you see what a difference it makes to have the catchlights?
(2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3)
In our sessions, we used softboxes, snoots, beauty dish, umbrella and reflectors. to add lights and highlights to our models faces. Although these items are mainly used in a studio environment, you can use mirrors, silver foil, hessian, and even white card to great effect.
Softboxes do exactly what the name suggest, they soften the light, allowing the light to ‘model’ or sculpt the face, softly. The further away the light source, the weaker it is. Move the softbox in very close. the bigger the softbox, the more the light has to bounce around.
Umbrellas can cast soft shadows and depending on the colour, e.g; white, silver or gold can reflect more contrast or rich shadows. Silver umbrellas are used mainly in beauty shots if you want to shoot a model with a matte skin, but don’t want them to look ‘oily’. Gold umbrellas can be used as mock sunlight, to create a warmer skin tone.
Beauty dishes are commonly used in the fashion industry, or for portraits that highlight make up or hair (those of you who know me, will know my brother is a well-known hair and makeup artist 😊(Not that you’d ever know judging by the state of me sometimes! lol)
Softbox (image sourced on Google)
Reflectors (image sourced on Google)
Umbrella (image sourced on Google)
In week 2 of studio lighting, we used a slightly lighter lighting set up so that dark hair didn’t get swallowed up into the gloom. A ‘keylight’ is the main light source. The keylight is used to ‘model’ the highlights and shadows of the model. Keeping the lights approx arms length away from the subject, we used softboxes and reflectors to modify the light. We used ‘fill in lighting’ or secondary lighting to fill in shadows and create softness, but also to eliminate the problem of the..’floating head syndrome’ (as Ria called it) that dark hair on a dark background, with dark clothing can create. Fill in lights should be used with care, the fill in should never be brighter than the main light source or it will create very flat unattractive lighting.
As you can see, we didn’t have much room in which to work. Most of us just about managed to poke our lens in between the softboxes!
John. You can just see the soft box at the bottom of the image.
Sola. So-glamourous OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Martina. You can see that using the secondary lighting, Martina’s raven hair becomes more distinct from the background. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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Martina. The original image felt quite cramped by the softbox being in the way, and the backdrop not completely behind Martina. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The delightfully cheeky, Martina
f.18 1/100 30mm ISO100 Martina
Martina.2 This image is much better for being cropped. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
As a result of the cramped conditions, many of the shots were marred by the softboxes being in view, but a bit of judicious cropping has rendered them really rather nice photo’s, even if I say so myself. Of course, the photos would be nothing without the fab-u-lous models 😊 I’ve really enjoyed working in the studio. SO much fun 😉
Good to know:
Lighting your subject from the front eliminates any facial shadows, but can leave the models’ features looking flat and uninteresting. Full frontal lighting is good for people with strong facial structures. It can be flattering, removing creases and wrinkles, but it doesn’t ‘shape’ the face. It can plump you out, and flatten ‘broad’ faces.
Tips for your model… Lick your lips! If you don’t want a double chin, push your tongue up against the roof of your mouth…( you’re doing it now, aren’t you?) Slightly parted lips (as if blowing a feather) will relax and loosen the face. Try it…. 😉
Next weeks’ class is about product photography. Looking forward to it (if a bit daunted) already.
I’ve been working a little more on my postcode project. On a really rather chilly, miserable day, I went out to take photo’s. (Hmm…Goodness knows why?! ….I’ve got the photography bug, I s’pose 😉 ) I took a walk along the Great West Road. I’ve probably driven along this road hundreds of times, and not really taken in all the little details. Not really seen.
Looking west…. The Great West Road f.6.3 1/125 18mm iSO100
The Great West Rd. image sourced on Google
THE GREAT WEST ROAD – then and now -1.2
Advertisement for Pyrene. image sourced on Google
Firesone Tyre factory. image sourced on Google
Smith’s Crisps factory. image sourced on Google
‘A cosmetic factory that transforms the faces of our women lies not far from a razor-blade factory that keeps smooth the faces of our men, while nearby a fountain of neon lights proclaims the toothpaste factory that keeps bright our teeth. From potato chips in bags…we proceed though such various activities as the manufacturer of screen wipers, swimming costumes, motor cars and tyres. All housed in buildings that suggest the pursuit of the fine arts rather than the elusive shekel.’ ‘And So to Bath,’ Cecil Roberts
The Great West Road was opened by King George V and Queen Mary in, May 1925. The coming of electricity after the First World War meant that industry had a better, flexible source of power, giving companies greater choice in where they were sited. Known as The Golden Mile (actually, it’s more than two miles!) during it’s hey-day, rows of factories stretched along both sides of the road from Chiswick Roundabout to Syon Lane.
Since the then fashionable design was Art Deco, many of the factories were built in this style. Big, household names like, Gillette, Packard cars, Firestone Tyres, Coty, Macleans, Smith’s Crisps (particularly of interest to a crisp-epicurean, like me.)
The Second World War, redevelopment, cheap manufacturing in Europe, and some very dodgy dealing (more on that later….) have meant that most of the buildings have been demolished. Only five of the original Art Deco factories now survive. Thank goodness they’re all subject to preservation orders. There are so many gorgeous little art deco details along this stretch of road… if you ever have the time, and inclination… take a stroll and have a look for yourself.
1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4
Detail. Great West Rd f.16 1/40 45mm ISO100
Great West Rd f.11 1/80 14mm ISO100
Doors f11 1/30 20mm ISO100
f.11 1/100 24mm ISO100Post edited to lighten the picture al little.
Great West Rd f.14 1/30s 45mm ISO100
FOrmerly National and Provincial Bank Great West Rd f.10 1/100 30mm ISO100
Great West Rd f.16 1/40 20mm ISO100 Cropped and post edited to bring out the colours.
Steps > Great West Road. f.11 1/100 29mm ISO100
f.14 1/40 16mm ISO100
There are now, of course, lots of shiny new buildings, but I wanted to highlight the somewhat faded glamour of the old Art Deco buildings. There are so many little things to see, some of which I didn’t even see at first glance, but with a camera I start to see things differently.
etail. Great West Rd f.11 (cropped, straightened and lightened in post editing. 1/80 36mm ISO100
Firestone logo. Great West Road. f5.6 1/30 45mm ISO100
Firestone Tyres logo on the old gates. f.4.5 1/100 20mm ISO100
Copper gate hook. Great West Road. f.5.6 1/13 33mm ISO100
For an hour and a half, I was completely absorbed by these modernists monuments. The principles of Art Deco are based on Cubism, with it’s geometric elements. The angular forms and motifs marked a break with Art Nouveau. These new buildings had clean lines, rectangular forms, and little decoration on the facades. They were designed to show the prestige of their builders, and faith in the social and technological progress of the period.
I mentioned some skullduggery and dodgy-dealing…. ? The Firestone Building, once viewed by many as the finest along The Great West Road, fell vacant after the tyre company closed in 1979. When rumours began that the new owners were to demolish it, the Dept. of Environment scheduled it as a listed building but, the night before the listing, a demolition gang were secretly moved in, on the August 1980 bank holiday. Over the weekend, it was reduced to nothing but rubble. The only parts that were actually saved, by the actions of Brentford Residents, were the pillars, railings, gates and steps and they still stand in front of the new mirror glass building.
Firestone Building. Image sournced on Google .
Gatepost detail. Great West Rd. f5.6 1/125 33mm ISO100
Gate post Great West Road f.6.3 1/125 18mm ISO100
f4.7 1/100 23mm ISO100
Firestone Tyres logo on the old gates. f.4.5 1/100 20mm ISO100
Firestone gates. Great West Road. f.5.6 1/100 37mm ISO100
Finally, I come to the last building on my route. The Gillette Building standing on Gillette Corner. With the light fading as the skies prepared for some snow, I took a couple of shots… frozen to the marrow, and if you look carefully…. you’ll even see a smudgy snow flake or two on my lens.
Gillette Corner Great West Road. f8 1/8 14mm ISO100
Gillette Building. Great West Road. f.10 1/10 14mm ISO100
One of the stone plinths, framing The Gillette Building in the background, f.10 1/10 16mm ISO199
And finally….. A possible contender for my final 5 in the Postcode Project?
Time for this frozen photographer to go home and hug a radiator!!