So I have been taking my Practical Lighting class now for 2 weeks and as much as I love it and love my teacher, I also really struggle with it and find it incredibly challenging! First of all we have to do ALL our own lighting set-ups for any shoot we do – up until now this has all been done for us any time we had studio shoots. this is both exciting and scary! Second of all it is SUPER technical! We have to figure out the best way to set up the lighting, then factor in what lighting ratios would best flatter our subject (basically how much contrast do you want in the photo – lots of shadows or few shadows?), we have to do several meter readings and adjustments BEFORE we can even begin to shoot, and that’s just the beginning of adjustments! Then we continue to do light meter readings and adjustments to improve the image. Add to the mix working in a group of 4 other people where lighting preferences and styles clash and you have a whole other issue to work through BEFORE shooting! Pretty much I’m learning A LOT about working with light and with others :).
Our first assignment was to submit 2 shots – one of a glass object and one of a metal object – each one setting up and adjusting the lighting to get the desired look and exposure for. I learned that still life photography is very technical and can take AGES to perfect and get that “effortless look”. It was quite challenging to figure out the lighting set up because both metal and glass are highly reflective materials. It wasn’t my favorite assignment and it was also challenging to be in a group of other newbie photographers who were just as insecure about making decisions on lighting as I was. BUT that being said it was a good experience – I pushed through and kept my cool, I completed the assignment and did the best I was able to do at my level of skill. I can only improve from here right? Here are my shots for the assignment:
This week for our second assignment we had studio portraits with a model where we had to pick one lighting style and stick with it for 4 images – the first shot was with a hard light and after that with each image we had to add a lighting effect (such as soft box, fill card/negative fill, and secondary lighting). My group chose Rembrandt lighting, which is a lighting style that is places the main light to the side and above the model/subject and know for casting some nice shadows and highlights on their faces. The key in Rembrandt lighting is creating the triangle or diamond shape of light underneath the eye. So not only did I have to look out for that “key feature”, but I also had to keep in mind how my movements effected the lighting, how the model’s movements effected the lighting, AND try and communicate with the model what I wanted him to do for each shot. THIS was the most challenging!! I am a people person, I am for the most part not shy and get on with others well. BUT when I feel a bit insecure about something or am in an uncomfortable situation where I am not confident in my abilities I tend to become a blurter. I just blurt out all kinds of random thoughts, none of which are helpful and most of which come across as “ditzy” non-stop-chatter. I don’t know why this is. I just can’t seem to use my words in a helpful way. I don’t know how to communicate my vision for the portrait in a clear way, so I just use a lot of “Um’s” and “likes” and fill the silence with my constant inane chatter or awkward pauses. I need to learn how to give direction and feedback when working with models! I kept getting so frustrated with myself thinking “UGH!!! GOSH! Use Your Words Naph, NOT your mouth!!”. All I can say is thank God for Reza our model who was super easy to work with and somehow seemed to understand my nonsensical blurting! So here’s my shots for the assignment:
I obviously have a LOT of practice ahead of me and work to do to improve in this area! Not only do I have to continue to learn about LIGHT but I also have to continue to learn about COMMUNICATION & PEOPLE in a whole different way! It really made me realize just how far I have to go, and yet when I look at my shots I can’t be too hard on myself. I have come a LONG way as well! Two years ago I never would have gotten these types of shots – so obviously I’m not as bad as I think, and yet I know I have a ways to go! Here’s to learning new things!!