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Studio portrait photography walkthrough - The Photography Express

Studio portrait photography walkthrough

studio portrait photography walkthrough

Studio portrait photography requires A LOT of work. Not only you need to get the right lighting equipment but as the photographer you need to do extensive research to find the right model that fits your style. However, the # 1 advantage of studio settings is that you are control of all the lights in the environment. Recently I joined a group of local photographers to take studio portrait photography and I want to use this opportunity to walk you through my experience. In this post, you will be going through the exact steps I did in this photo-shoot so you can take amazing portrait just like the ones you are about to see below. Enjoy!

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Walkthrough part 1


ISO 100, Aperture f8, Shutter speed 1/100 sec at 200mm

In this shot, I used a beauty dish on the right side of the model about 2 feet away. There was also a light strobe to her left side and that was used to get back lighting on the edge of her hair. I wanted to create some negative space so I told the model to look to her right (which is to my left). With the empty space on the model’s left hand side it also let the background stand out more.

For my camera lens I was using the Tamron 70-200. I had the benefit of standing a little further away to avoid distortions (edges seems stretched out) to occur. The best focal range for portrait photography is around 85-135mm so I chose 85mm because I didn’t want to stand any further back.

A good thing about hiring an experience model is that she knows where to stand! And The beauty dish does an excellent job at showing shapes and texture in her face (remember beauty dish doesn’t provide soft light, it’s not a softbox! However, it lightlight curves and textures for the model).

Photoshoot setup

Photoshoot setup

Walkthrough part 2

photoshoot2 copy

ISO 100, Aperture f8, Shutter speed 1/160, Tamron 70-200mm at 88mm

This setup was perfect for a full-length body shot. However, all other photographers were doing this so I wanted to be special and decided to take a half body portrait instead.

A giant soft box was used and it was positioned above the model. Another spot light was used to highlight the face of the model. I only thing I instructed the model to do was to lie down on the sofa and look straight into the camera. Nothing too fancy but the lighting was perfect in this photo.

Photoshoot setup

Photoshoot setup

Walkthrough part 3

There were around 8 models in the studio and I was taking picture of one of them when she walked in. I’ve to say she looks a bit like Megan Fox from Transformers. She walked in and replaced the model I was shooting at and all the sudden ALL photographers came rushing in and start lining up behind me. Since I was the one with the flash trigger (which means I have control of the flash and the model will only look at my camera) I had the opportunity to take many pictures before I gave the person behind me a turn.

Photoshoot setup

Photoshoot setup

Anyway, for the settings, there was 2 light strobes in total. One was behind the model’s right hand side and the other one to her front left. Personally I think this add complexity to get the right soft light because the multiple lights casted some really dark shadows in my initial shots. This is one for example.

photoshoot 3

After a few tried I had to carefully direct the model to face a certain direction in order to get the proper light on her face. And this is the final product:

photoshoot copy

ISO 100, Aperture f9, Shutter speed 1/125, Tamron 70-200 at 200mm

Overall, other than the camera settings these are the main tips I learn from this photo shoot:

1) You need to learn how to direct the models and tell them where to face for the optimal lighting condition.

2) Make sure you use low ISO and high aperture to get crisp clear shots. Also make sure to focus at the eyes.

3) Have a list of poses you want the model to do before you walk into the studio. Do not say “Just do what you’re used to do” This lacks creativity and make the model feel like you do not know what to do.

What is your experience with studio portrait photography? Do you have any experience to share with the community? Feel free to comment below!

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About Gary

A passionate photographer with goals to fulfill your photography passion and motivate you to take pictures even when life is busy!

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