Classmate Portraits

For my Advanced Techniques class, we were assigned to take pictures of our classmates. The students were paired up at random to capture the "essence" of our partners in a photoshoot in the studio. I was paired with Jon Stephanoff.

I don’t know how much I love studio yet. I think of it like this — as a photographer, I go out into the world, and I make pictures. The lighting is hardly ever ideal, but hey, you deal with it. You take the light and sculpt it or adjust the camera and you make the light work for you. But in the studio, you control the light. It’s like you’re the god of the photo world, controlling all the lights and all. You’d think that’d be ideal, but I just feel overwhelmed.

It’s like when I go into my kitchen, I have a recipe. I have this recipe, and I follow it, and I may adjust it to better suit my needs (substituting apples for rhubarb or green beans for asparagus), but there’s a recipe. And to me, the studio is like telling me to go into my kitchen and make something. Just hey, Katie, take all these ingredients and create something! But wait, do you want cake? Are you craving pot roast? What about brownies or cobbler or shepherd’s pie?

Extended metaphor over. Basically, I’m struggling with studio. I like “cooking,” whether it’s from a recipe or creating something on my own. But usually, I need a place to start with my kitchen creation. So it’s going to take me some time to start to love the kitchen studio.

Included here are some of my outtakes. The first photograph is my select. I know the other photographs are more creative and such, but I feel like the first picture captures Jon better.

I struggled a lot with this assignment, obviously. Not only did I have to learn how to work in the studio, but I had a few kinks along the way. One problem, which is apparent in my select, is that my subject was too close to the backdrop. This causes the viewer to be able to see the wrinkles in the background. I was shooting at a very wide aperture (f/22), so just about everything is visible.

I also had trouble with shutter speed. In the studio, shutter speed does not make a different when you're using strobes. I didn't realize this and kept upping my shutter speed. But when you do that, not only does it not really change the look of the picture, but it captures the shutter in the picture, so half of your picture looks black. I kind of had a minor freak out in the studio, but you know, you learn from your mistakes!

I think I will learn from my mistakes. We're shooting metal and glass in the studio next week, which should be a bit more creative and such. I'm very excited!