While living in Detroit a couple years ago, I enrolled in a few courses at the College for Creative Studies. Let me tell you, I looked forward to these classes every week and jumped into an Advanced Photoshop class. I loved it! It was here that I took my first web development course and sparked the idea that eventually led me to move to San Francisco.
One of the courses I took was a Studio Lighting workshop. Even though I studied black and white photography in graduate school, I wanted to better understand how to use my camera and experiment with different lighting techniques in a controlled setting. Until then, I mostly took photographs of architecture and cityscapes with an old Nikon FG film camera given to me by my aunt in high school.
On the last day of the workshop, we organized a photo shoot and asked a friend to be my model for the four-hour session. I thought about having props and costumes and things; but in the end, I kept it simple because I wanted to make sure I got some good, focused shots using different lighting setups. I spent a bit of time doing research about different lighting setups and created several sketches that I could refer to during the day. I did a one-light (illustrated below) and two-light setup.
Even though I was prepared for the technical aspects of the studio session, I never anticipated the amount of energy it would take to keep my friend relaxed and get some candid shots. The instructor gave us a tip about 'getting the shot'. Set everything up the way you want it, then start an interesting side conversation with the person in front the camera (music helps). When the person finally lets their guard down to answer, laugh or think about whatever it is you're talking about ... TAKE THE SHOT. This is one of the few candid photos that came from that day's work.
At the end of the session, I was exhausted like I'd never been before ... it was the satisfied exhaustion of a job well done. Running around all day moving equipment, changing backdrops, and getting my friend to not look stiff when he saw me approaching the camera took a lot of energy and focus. I loved every second of it and if anyone wants to do a photo session with me (studio or otherwise), just drop me a line.