This tarot-inspired photoshoot was the perfect opportunity to experiment with backdrop, framing, and implied movement, all while lying down in the studio.
When you’re not using a fast lens (or Burst mode on a camera phone), don’t have a lot of room and definitely don’t have someone to hold or toss fabric and hair to create movement, what do you do?
You lie down!
This backdrop is a fabric print of a forrest with a ribbon-wrapped hula hoop with me laying on top of it.
There are quite a few wrinkles, so I’m curious how this kind of shoot will look when done on the studio floor instead of a mattress.
The frame was ringed with black shawls and the hair was fluffed to give the impression of movement or weightlessness. Underwater shoots are so stunning when it comes to that graceful movement, but in studio, the best we can do sometimes is to lie down or jump in front of a fast lens.
I highly encourage you do some fantasy photoshoots lying down. It can get some great lighting and some beautiful effects.
What have you been experimenting with in the photo studio? How do you bring a little more magic to your fantasy photoshoots?
In this list you’re going to find my favorite additions to the photography studio over the last ten years, big and small.
Everyone’s favorite tools and equipment and accessories for their work are personal, here’s mine:
DSLR body: Start out with a basic body. I still love my kit camera from 10 years ago, it’s a Nikon D3100 with my upgrade being a D3300.
Glass: I’ve become a sucker for fast prime lenses in this small studio. My favorites are 85mm f/1.8 and my 50mm lens.
Ring light: Perfect for smaller studio spaces.
ContinuousLighting: I love lightweight floor lamps with daylight LED bulbs.
Flashgunsand umbrellas: These have given me my most luscious lighting, but not my favorite option in a cramped studio.
Remote TriggerRelease: This has been indispensable. I almost always use this one but I also have a few other versions depending on the shooting situation. It prevents a LOT of running back and forth.
Polarizing Filters: Remember to choose quality so you’re not degrading the quality of your images. Not only will these handy filters boost colors and reduce glare, they’ll help keep your lenses safe from scratches.
RechargeableBatteries: Extra points if you use a solar panel to charge these.
PS and Lightroom: I bought PS CS5 for my computer back when Adobe wasn’t subscription based. I use the free Lightroom app on my IPod to edit my mobile shots.
Computer: Editing photography on a laptop isn’t ideal (depending who you ask) but it frees up a lot of space in the studio. If buying a computer, research ahead to see if it’s a good option for photography.
Monitor Color Calibrator: Calibrate your monitor and, in your editing program, use the best color space when editing and saving. Plenty of great tutorials for this online.
Backdrops: aka: Blankets, curtains, etc outfitted with safety pins to hang from nails on the wall. Check out your local thrift shop to see what colors, textures, patterns and prints you can find.
Mobile Camera: Gorgeous shots are absolutely possible on a smartphone and other devices. A growing number of my portraits are taken with my IPod. It’s a great way to experiment and get different shots before shooting the same look with a DSLR, or to do an entire shoot.
Mobile Camera Accessories: Tripods, selfie sticks, and clip on polarizing filters and other accessories are available for mobile devices.
Flash Drives: You’ve worked hard to create your work, be sure to save copies somewhere off your computer.
There you have it!
My favorite tools and equipment that I’ve adored the most over the past decade in the photography studio.
What are your own favorite tools and pieces of equipment?
Share with your friends and trade your own list of must-haves!
A gorgeous fantasy shoot is sometimes as simple as a blanket hanging on the wall, a caplet made from thrifted curtains strung on a ribbon, and a touch-light.
With custom PS brushes (from a picture of an orchid taken a few years ago) and a fave DSLR, of course.
The studio keeps getting smaller and smaller as Blessed Shadows expands and inventory continues to build, so it’s great to remember that beautiful photography doesn’t require a fancy studio.
My laptop is a decade old (if not older), the DSLR is a decade old, as well as my version of PS. The newest piece of equipment I use for photography is my iPod 4th generation, used in some of the more selfie-style portraits.
We don’t need huge studios, expensive equipment, and the latest gadgets to create great work.
Let’s upgrade as needed, and not sell ourselves short with a self-imposed expectation of needing all these other things to create. It’s great to treat ourselves and improve what we’ve claimed as a studio, but there is no shortcut for just creating.
A $200 isn’t going to be a game-changer, $19 ones can be amazing.
Expensive equipment isn’t going to sell our work, we are.
Let’s keep creating with what we have, treat ourselves responsibly and accordingly, and do our best to think and act big on a small budget when we need.