One significant difference between film & digital
photography is that digital cameras provide relatively
instant gratification. When working in film, one
collects all the rolls of film exposed, develops the
negative, perhaps make contact sheets, perhaps make
"work prints", and make final prints -- each of these
steps might take days, and there might be
days or weeks between each of these steps.
However, with most digital cameras, the image that is
recorded pops up on the camera's LCD screen a second
after exposure -- relatively instant gratification.
Another difference between film & digital photography
is that modern day digital cameras are immensely
complex, with thousands of settings & adjustments that
can be made. I know of no photographer, of
whatever level of skill and/or experience, who is
confident that every single setting is set correctly.
I've had the pleasure of watching photographers in
action. Those working with digital cameras have a
habit which I think is a bad habit. They tend to
make an exposure, and then they focus on their camera,
reviewing the image on the LCD screen, checking
settings, making adjustments, before refocusing on the
model. I think that breaks the flow of the
Not my style. I prefer to fuss with the camera
up front, making all the technical adjustments as we get
started. Then, I put the camera on a tripod
(whether it is needed or not), put the cable release in
my hand, step away from the camera, and I focus on the
model totally. When I use strobes (like the images
on this page), I expect that strobes to be consistent
from exposure to exposure; when I use natural light, I'm
typically letting the camera calculate exposure (to
respond to any changes to the lighting). In either
case, I don't need to look at the camera much. So,
during the "meat" of the setup, I'm paying attention to
the model and giving her my undivided attention; I use
direction to inspire reactions, which I try to catch.
This is what works for me.
But this means that there are a few test exposures at
the beginning of a setup that are used to fine tune the
lighting & the camera settings, and during which the
models' pose is not consequential. Some models get
goofy for these test exposures.
Here is a glimpse of Olivia's true personality.
She is great fun to be around.
Olivia wants to do another "Getting Started" setup,
and she choses another casual outfit.
I like off-center compositions.
I'm using my studio strobes for the exposures on this
page, and using strobes present a challenge. With
natural light photography, the challenge is to find &
exploit the existing light that is found on the scene.
With artificial light, the challenge is to
light to suit one's vision.
Strobes are a particular challenge, because what you
see is not
what you get. Here, using the LCD screen of the
digital camera is a distinct advantage, but I've found
that everything looks good on the LCD screen, even if
the exposure is slightly off.
Just because you can review the images on the LCD
screen, that doesn't mean that you can craft the images
to your vision. While I like many of these images,
they are not quite what I want. I suspect that I
am limited by the dimensions of the shooting area --
specifically, I can't raise the main light any higher
(because the ceiling is in the way) -- maybe next time,
I'd ask Olivia to work on the floor.
I think communicating with others is a useful way to
I also love the "Getting Started" setup, where the
model starts clothed & then removes her clothing.
To me, every instance is different; some are radically
different, and I always am intrigued by the transition
from "person on the street" to "fine art nude model".
But when I explain this concept to others, there are
many who think that models wouldn't like this style of
photography. Well, to be fair, I suppose that
not like it, and if that is the case, we can do
something else. But others really embrace the
concept. Olivia is one of the latter. After
we made the previous page exposures
(using the window light), I just thought we come to the
other side of the living room & work with the strobes on
some fine art nudes. Olivia requested that we do
another "Getting Started" setup, and she'd use a
different outfit for getting started. Sounds good
There is nothing I don't like about working with
Olivia. She is breathtakingly gorgeous, and there
is no shape or pose that I don't like. She is fun
& exuberant. She is confident & up for pretty much
anything. I'd be hard pressed to think of anything
or anyone better.
And I like making her laugh (see below).
Most of the time, I select my favorite sepia toning
because I like the abstraction -- in many cases, I find that
adding color to images can be distracting, and I like the
texture of the sepia tone. In some cases, I'll admit
that the usage of sepia toning can hide some "near miss"
exposure errors, and that's also true in this case.
I am enjoying the "new" artistic effect "airbrush & ink",
and even based on the sepia version of images, it looks
I think I'll conclude this page with
a cropping & artistic effect example. This image to
the left is close to the original full frame image, and
while I like it, I like the cropping immediately before.
Some photographers take pride in using every bit of the
negative or RAW file. Not me -- I figure that working
with medium format film cameras or high megapixel digital
cameras should allow some significant cropping. I've
watched some photographers who are frenetic shooters, moving
all over the place -- at my age, I'm a lot more sedate.
The artistic effects are just fun
for me. I hope you enjoy them, too.
Look for a lot of good images on the
Out Takes page from this setup.