Starting Again With Strobes

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Page created January 23, 2015
Sitting date: 
 June 12, 2014


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 session.

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 craft the 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 refine concepts.

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 some might 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 to me.






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 powerful.




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.




To be honest, I never felt that I created some interesting lighting for this setup, but Olivia quickly made me forget.  We made some very nice images here, and I'm sure there will be lots of good images on the Out Takes galleries.

Olivia In The Shower


(Remember -- feedback is always appreciated) 

All images (c) 2015 Looknsee Photography

Olivia, First Visit Out Takes

Nearly 200 more images from this sitting are available in the Out Takes Galleries, which are available to those who have made a donation to the upkeep of this web site.  See this FAQ question for more details.