One of these days I am going to run into myself with all the things I have going on a the moment. July has definitely presented itself in my life as the turning point month of 2020 and my life in general. As many of you know, I embarked on the perilous journey of portraiture during lockdown, choosing to take it more seriously than in the past, making do with whatever tools and set-up I have on hand. Well, last Saturday I had my first proper studio workshop to learn the nightmarish basics of studio lighting under the able and very patient guidance of Guido Schwarz.
Now I completely understand why my buddy ECB never went back to studio portraiture and decided to stay outdoors instead. Nevertheless, I was there to learn, and albeit some technical difficulties, I learned! I’ll be honest, the technical side of photography and a formal studio set-up are not my cup of tea, and I definitely don’t see myself spending much time in one in the near future. But there are certain unavoidable lessons to learn in this craft I have chosen, and there is no way I can advance in portraiture unless I spend some time with the lights.
First of all, being short and dealing with all the required heights is a pain, and although most of the settings were done for me this first session, my shoulder was screaming in pain by the end of the day. Second, the nature of a documentary photographer goes against the very grain of a disciplined studio photographer, and it takes some major mental gear shifting to focus on the task at hand. The lighting and positioning has to be tested, calibrated, checked for every shot, and it is an infuriating process when you are used to just grabbing the camera and shooting to your heart’s content before your subject moves away.
Nevertheless, I am incredibly grateful for the guidance, and my special thanks to my models Grace and James who gamely agreed to be part of this crazy ride.