EP114 On Why The Studio Is NOT A Dull White Box

When I first set out in this crazy, camera-carrying career, I had mixed views about working in the studio – I much preferred being outside in natural light with the environment as my backdrop.  Over the years, that changed as I realised much of my cynicism was partly because I didn’t understand it and partly because many of those who had taught me didn’t excite me. Now?  Well, now I think of studio portrait photography as some of the finest, …

Creating Stunning Portraits With Rotolight AEOS and NEO2

The good folk at Rotolight lent us two pieces of kit for this demo: the Rotolight AEOS and the NEO 2. These lights were originally designed for video work, but Rotolight have added a strobe feature that means they can be used like studio flash lights or location strobes (off-camera flash). They are extremely lightweight, very portable and their battery goes on as long as you can. We had a lot of fun putting them through their paces! The ideas …

Video: Studio Lighting For Available-Light Photographers

Perhaps you’re fairly (or very) comfortable with window-lit portraiture, but feel a little intimated by the idea of studio strobes. If so, you’re definitely not alone! For a very long time, I struggled to understand all the technical detail that seemed to be a requirement for getting started with studio lighting, especially as I just wanted to get back to what I love doing most – creating beautiful portraits! I finally had a breakthrough and realised that my knowledge of photographing …

Video: BJJ Fighters – Pose, Shoot, Photoshop

In this video, we take a couple of good friends of the studio – Chris and Ben – who are both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) Fighters and create some images for their new YouTube channel. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to show: How I work with, pose and frame two subjects for an image that will fit a wide aspect ratio (for a video channel). How to light dark-toned clothes so that they stand out on a dark background. How I met …

Photographing both light and dark skin tones with a single studio light

Sometimes photographing multiple clients at once is pretty straightforward. If the people in front of your camera have similar face shapes, similar heights and similar skin tones, then there’s fewer challenges to consider when creating flattering portraits of them together. But sometimes there’s a height difference that you want to minimise or exaggerate. Your clients might have different face shapes that require different lighting patterns to flatter their features. Or they could have different skin tones that you need to …

Image Critique 13

Another four images to enjoy, another four authors who have submitted their work. We create these critiques to try and help portrait photographers with different viewpoints and ideas. Some you’ll agree with, some you won’t (of course) but watch it through and let us know what you think! If you would like your images critiqued, please use the Image Critique menu option above to submit a file (or more than one of you wish). Your image will then appear in …

Action gymnast portrait in the studio

There’s specific studio lighting know-how you’ll need if you want to try your hand at catching an athlete mid-air with an arc of powder around them. Read on to find out what you need to do. Oh, and this shot comes with a warning, too… Isibel’s family came in for a regular shoot together, but with one additional request. Isibel asked if she could be photographed doing her favourite pastime: gymnastics. We’d agreed to this in advance, so she brought …

Award-Winning Studio Dog Portrait

This portrait of Rufus, our studio dog, won ‘Dog Portrait of the Year’ at the 2018 Master Photographers Association Awards. Here’s how we created it. It’s always lovely to win an award. It’s extra nice to win one for a personal portrait. This shot was taken for Sarah, my wife, as a birthday present. Sarah loves Rufus (a slightly errant working cocker spaniel) possibly more than she loves the rest of us, so I knew she’d be delighted with a …

Flattering Faces: Broad and Narrow Lighting

Different face shapes benefit from different lighting patterns. Read on to find out how to slim down a wide face or fill out a narrow one by changing just small thing – the angle of your subject’s nose relative to your main light. According to the people who measure these things, there are seven basic face shapes: oval, round, square, diamond, heart, pear and oblong. For our purposes, however, we’ll use a shape sorter with just two categories. The first …

A Portrait of Two Halves

When Liv and Hannah turned up in opposite-coloured tops I had to adapt from my usual tendency towards portraits with narrow tonal ranges. Getting forced out of your usual habits can result in some of your most creative images, so use it as an opportunity to experiment. When all else fails, you can always exaggerate differences for creative impact. Liv and Hannah came into my studio as part of a project for MasteringPortraitPhotography.com. I prefer harmonious colour palettes when it …