Shooting models in a studio – is a special work for the photographer. Any model whether she or he is professional or not is a person with character and needs. So You can’t just put the model into your lightbox. First of all your studio should be equipped with a changing room and a toilet. But the most important thing for success is to establish contact with the model, to make your work comfortable and productive.
Photographing models may have different goals, but more often it's used to create a portfolio. Planning a photo shoot you ought to pay attention that the model need to have varied photographs with different moods, emotions and images. This photography is typically performed in a frontal lighting to show the features and figure properly without unnecessary artistic techniques. The portfolio should include photos in a full-length, full-face and half-face, photos from the back, face closeup, photos in a swimsuit and topless or naked (if the model works in the nude).
9 steps to get a great photo
Working in the studio is usually quite different from working on location, especially when you create a portrait. On location you can easily focus on the model's face, but the environment also helps. In the studio you need to create necessary lighting yourself, using complex studio lighting equipment. This seems difficult at first glance, but using simple tips may help you to achieve good results. Here are 9 tips for shooting in the studio, that can help you achieve excellent results.
1. Choose the position for the model
During shooting model shouldn’t change her position and you may move forward or backward. Be careful moving left and right not to break the pattern of illumination. The same applies to the model. Instead of taking two steps aside, ask the model to turn.
2. Speak the same language
Models and photographers often confuse directions, because your right side for her is on the left. At the same time the clockwise rotation for you both is the same, so you may use it. This technique is helpful, but sometimes you still need to specify in which direction the model must move. She doesn’t have to think about this, so the photographer ought to show the direction from her position. It’s important to agree about this immediately, especially if she’s not a professional model.
3. Lenses with fixed focal length
There are many arguments in favor of using zoom lenses in the studio. But it’s better to use fixed lenses, because as a rule they are sharper. Standard lens for portraits has a focal length of about 80-200 mm. If you use the camera with the matrix at the film frame (CF), don’t forget about this choosing a lens. For a full frame Canon camera photographers prefer lenses of about 85mm f/1.2 and 135mm f/2 and for crop cameras - 50mm f/1.2 and 50mm f/1.4. Those photographers, who shoot on Nikon, prefer 85mm f/1.4
4. Select the optimal height
Choose the correct height of the camera for each type of portrait, otherwise there is a risk of getting the wrong perspective and distorted proportions. For closeup portraits hold the camera at eye level of the model. If you create a shoulder-length portrait, hold the camera at chin level. For a half-length portrait - chest level and for a full length - the waist-high level. However, for some creative photos you may need to lie on the floor or use a stepladder for example.
5. 1/125 and forget it!
Camera settings for shooting in the studio are quite simple. Set the camera to manual mode, then set the ISO 100 or 200 (if your camera doesn’t have the value 100) and the shutter speed of 1/125 sec. When the flash is used, there is no difference what shutter speed to use - 1/100, 1/125, 1/160 or 1/200 sec.
6. Use a flash meter
Metering systems in modern cameras are well developed, but they won’t help you in the studio. You won’t determine which power of lighting is necessary for the background or model’s hair until you take test shots. With the flash meter you can adjust the lighting circuit immediately. If you know how to read the histogram on the camera, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use the flash meter.
7. Focus on eyes
Regardless of the diaphragm and depth of sharpness you choose, the eyes tell the story of the portrait. Attention should always be on the eyes, and they must always be in focus.
8. Custom White Balance
Light modifiers such as umbrellas, soft boxes and plates give some effect on the color temperature. Therefore setting a custom white balance before shooting provide the most accurate color reproduction.
9. Try only one light source
If you have a lot of light sources, this doesn’t mean that all of them should be used. Try a more simple approach to lighting - working with a single source instead of several. Using a single light source and changing the angle of illumination will help to create truly dramatic and stunning photos.