On Saturday I have a day booked at Velocity Studio in Chorley, Lancashire. I have not really done any studio work or people photography for that matter, I usually wait for people to get out of my shots rather than plan them in!
So an early start on a Saturday morning saw me leaving with DSLR plus 15-85 lens packed and ready to go. There were 5 of us there plus Marc and Nicky from the studio, the model – Jen Brook would join us for the afternoon session.
The basics were discusses for the first hour or so and we learned about the various lights, modifiers, power packs, etc… We then set up a ‘high key’ shoot with white background and lots of light, key point here is to flood and overexpose somewhat the backdrop whilst setting exposure for the subject. A few simple shots were taken of Marc to get a feel for the technique. We then set up a ‘low key’ environment which was by far the more difficult approach but does yield much more dramatic images. The importance of getting the right light source in just the right place was unbelievable, trying to set up a ‘Rembrandt’ or ‘butterfly’ shot was dependant on the light being within a few inches and the model holding a fairly stable position.
Once Jen arrived we set about putting the theory into practice, starting with the ‘Rembrandt’. A single light was positioned at top front left and was modified with a ‘beauty dish’ to soften the light. The black backdrop was shielded from stray lit by a large black board and a white reflector was added right of shot. Exposure was tested and re-set and the shoot began. Jen was superb in the way that she struck and held poses, a true pro! Each photographer took a few minutes and tried a range of shots before handing over. It was an interesting situation to be in as a studio novice, directing a well practiced model. My approach was to give an idea of the shot that I wanted and then let Jen do her stuff.
An hour and a bit of the low key setup was followed by a ‘mid key’ setup on the larger stage. Again a range of poses were discussed and shots taken with Jen striking some memorable poses and expressions.
Overall, it was a really good day of photography, something different to my usual wildlife and landscape outings. Marc and Nicky did a great job in getting across the technicalities and also the finer, more creative points of the genre. Jen was superb from start to finish, she made the task so easy that I almost felt that I knew what I was doing. I even came home with some shots that I am really proud of, so thanks to all at Velocity Studios.

Jen Brook