Page created December 20, 2003

Justine returns for a third visit.

This visit was unusual in a couple of ways:

  • It was the first serious sitting in a while.  I usually take the summer off from making images, for a few reasons:

    • It's a good idea to take a break to recharge the batteries.  

    • If I don't take a break, I wind up making the same image over & over.

    • It's difficult to spend a day in the darkroom when the weather outside is nice.

    • I do a lot of studio work in my living room (like this sitting), and when the sun is shining brightly outside, it's difficult to control the light in the living room.

  • Usually, I have some specific ideas for the sitting, but not this time.  For this sitting, I had a general idea about the lighting I wanted to try, the backdrop I wanted to use, and the little (hidden) side table on which Justine was perched for most of the sitting.

  • I wanted to introduce my digital camera into the sitting (more on this below).

The results were simple & elegant.


I've mentioned that I've recently obtained a digital camera.  The purpose of this camera was for snapshots and for previewing studio lights.  There's more information on my FAQ page.  You can also read about my feelings on digital vs. traditional photography.

This is how Justine showed up for the sitting.  My advice to models includes wearing loose clothing to a sitting, to avoid marks on the skin, but Justine pulls this off elegantly.

For this sitting, I'll leave the digital images in color and the film & paper images in B&W.  Since all images on this page are digital, I don't have any problem in sharing the digital and the film images together.




I have to say that using the digital camera to preview the lighting was extremely useful.  It was a bit tricky figuring out how to get the digital camera to fire off the strobes, but it was definitely worth the effort.  I did have a Polaroid back for my film camera, but I never got it to work properly, and it certainly was messy.  With the digital camera, I can keep & display the images here.

It's also interesting to look at the digital & film images side by side:





Okay, I have better control over the film camera than the digital one -- this digital image is slightly out of focus, and it isn't exactly optimally exposed (the camera was set for manual, so I have only myself to blame).  And to be fair, I was using the digital camera only to check the lighting & wasn't concentrating on the pose or facial expression that much.  After making the digital image (on the left), I moved the main light (to the left of the camera) further back, slightly behind the model.  I like that the B&W image has come out more shadowy than the color one.

Enough -- let's get back to the images.



Some lighting basics:  classic lighting uses three light sources, and this is an example of classic lighting.  There's a main light:  a soft box to the left of the camera & slightly behind Justine; there's a fill light on the other side, which is lighting her face; and there is a hair light above Justine, which is contributing the light on the top of her head.  There's a reason this style of lighting is "classic" -- it is very nice & balanced.











This is the kind of image that I had envisioned when I set up this sitting.

And that's a good point for other photographers out there:  do your homework before the sitting.  I like to have some specific ideas to try during the session.  I remember when I was just starting out, it felt like a complete victory when I was able to get a model to pose for me, and the pictures showed it -- I didn't know what I was doing, the lighting wasn't well crafted, and the poses were awkward.  Nowadays, before the sitting, I know what kind of lighting setups I want to try, what kind of poses I want to try with each lighting setup, and what I want the model to do.    






Justine was looking very good indeed.  She is youthful & lithe with smooth, clear skin.  And perhaps more importantly, she's so easy to get along with.  

More images from this sitting available here.

(Remember -- feedback is always appreciated) 

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