Field studio photography looks quite unlike ‘normal’ nature photography. For one thing, its stars are often the overlooked animals and plants you can find near where you live rather than the exotic or rare. But the biggest difference is the pure white, back lit background that shows up the subject not as a species or a member of a community but as an individual in its own right.
In the final installment of our 4-part Guide to Lighting Options, Steve Aves will unravel the mysteries of studio flash, starting with the basics. You’ll learn how these kits work, key features to look out for and guidance for deciding how much power you need from a studio lighting kit.
Could Black be the new White? Photographers have been shooting Hi Key portraits against white backgrounds for a long time now, perhaps too long, and I just wonder if Hi Key has had its day? I have this thought because more and more photographers are asking me how to shoot against a black background.
The Strobelite looks good with its smooth finish and one piece moulded design that incorporates a large grip handle and moulded air vents behind the tube. I think the heads look very smart in that matt black finish and I also liked the way that the brolly clamp is very neatly built in to the chunky stand bracket.
The Free Range Show, held in London’s East End is always a favourite of mine. Hosted in the Old Truman Brewery building off Brick Lane, the rolling show is held annually from May until July. The show features a wide range of arts, presented by students from colleges and universities from around the UK, who each take a show space for a limited slot.
Producing and selling a calendar has become an increasingly popular way of raising funds for and awareness of worthwhile charities across the world. As such, many photographers are finding themselves asked by friends or family to shoot the images for these calendars. In this interview I spoke to pro photographer Tony Read about his involvement in a charity calendar and some of the challenges he faced shooting it.
Irving Penn was instrumental in the way we take portraits today. He was one of the first photographers to shoot his subjects against a neutral background in the studio, rather than setting them with props, and I admire Penn’s portrait work because of his ability to convey something about his subject, his ability to bridge the gap between the photographer and the sitter and his ability to create stunning compositions that have stood the test of time.
Unless you’re extremely efficient when it comes to recycling, the chances are that you may have some ideal still-life subject matter at home. Yes, we’re talking glass. I still have some empty glass bottles waiting to be recycled from last Christmas, but I also have a small collection of interesting bottles that I’ve collected over the years for this very purpose. You see, glass bottles and glass, erm, glasses are ideal still life subjects.
WexPro have recently introduced a new range of Softlite reflector, the perfect accessory to shoot portraiture. It gives great skin tones, superb round catch-lights, even coverage over a wide area, is ideal reflector as a main light for Hi-Key portriature, gives superb results shooting against a black background and allows you to shoot full length; in short it’s the perfect studio tool.
Since its introduction some years ago, the Lastolite HiLite background has been increasingly popular with portrait photographers. Sadly, I still get a lot of correspondence about the HiLite background from photographers who struggle to achieve the look that they expected. That’s why I’m putting pen to paper, not in the form of a review as such, but just to reassure you that using the HiLite need not be a struggle.