Sunday, June 01, 2008

Joshing Around

From a shoot a couple years ago, this is Josh, shot digitally. At this particular point in my transition to digital, I was only using my digital camera to proof the lighting levels and light arrangement in my studio. This is similar to an age old technique followed by studio photographers working with medium format or large format cameras in which they do a light check with a polaroid film back on their studio camera before shooting regular film transparencies or negatives. The polaroid image allows them to see immediately what the film will capture.

Since I was only doing a light check, I only took a half dozen photos at the start of the session with my digital camera. The rest were all taken with film.
I still use my digital camera to do light checks, but more often than not I use the digital camera to take more than half the images during the shoot.

When I am doing light checks like this one, I don't pose the model. I am not trying to create usable images. I am just verifying the light arrangement. Consequently the compositions and the model poses are straight forward and simple, like this one.

As we progress through the shoot and the model and I develop confidence in one another, I start to provide more challenging direction. Sometimes I have the model imagine they are something else -- an animal or a fantasy creature. Sometimes I show the model a picture of classical sculpture and have them use that as the starting point for their positioning, then proceed with variations either based on the exact position or the feeling of the art.

More and more I shoot the first dozen or so shots with a digital camera because as the model and I are warming up, we aren't "wasting" any film. As we start to get humming I switch back and forth frequently between digital and film. Sometimes when I take a shot on film that I really like, I'll switch cameras and take the same shot with my digital camera so I have a copy of the image that I can start working with that same night while the film is at the lab.

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