Fellow photographers,

In this edition of my Newsletter I want to concentrate on a few studio related topics.  I’ve had several people ask me recently if I hire out the studio.  The answer is most defiantly: “Yes, I hire the studio!”.  Scroll down to see more details about hiring the studio.

If you have never worked in a studio before or are perhaps a bit rusty you might want to consider two studio events that we have coming up.  The first is “Creative Headshots” on Friday 21st October, the second is the “Introduction to Studio Photography” one day workshop on Saturday 29th October.

Keeping on the theme of working in the studio the Tips File in this newsletter is “The Anatomy of a Head shot”

Read on for more details on all these topics……   (But first let me give this Friday night’s “Light Stencils” event a quick plug)

Light Stencils

Friday, 7 October 2011 , 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: Ian’s Studio
Light Stencils

In tonight’s session we are going to look at how to create images using light stencils.  In addition to a short tutorial on how to create your own stencils we will work inside and hopefully outside the studio to create some weird and wonderful images images by combining simple strobist techniques with light stencils.

The image on the right was a quick test shot to try out my home made light stencil box to prove the technique will work.

Here’s the images I am planning…

Geeky girl with with game controller surrounded by space invaders in front and behind her floating in the air. Goth surrounded by light bats.  Hippy chick with butterflies and flowers made of light.  And all these will be done in camera!!

You will need to bring with you.  A tripod… we will be doing long exposures.  One or more speedlights.

If you can also bring one or more shoe boxes with lids, kitchen foil, and a craft knife it will help.  If you don’t have any of those don’t panic I will have supplies you can use.

Helping us with this event as our model will be studio regular Sarah Hobart.
Purestorm profile: http://www.purestorm.com/shobart (Although Sarah will be working to fashion levels at this event but her profile does contain some nudity)

Price: £20 

(NOTE: For those attending my “Intermediate Photography Course” I am offering this event at discounted rate of £15.00)

Yes, I hire the studio!

I’ve been asked a few times about studio hire.  So let me clarify a few things:

Yes, studio hire is part of my business.
Yes, you can bring your clients here for family portrait sessions.
Yes, the lights are included in the price of the hire.
Yes, I can book a model for you to work with.
Yes, I will help you set up the lights.
Yes, I am able to help you during the shoot – if that is what you want.
Yes, I can wait in my office and let you get on with the shoot – if that is what you want.
Yes, there is a changing room for your models/clients
Yes, I have got a shower at the studio.  It’s a camping one, it’s not ideal but it works!

The studio has a large selection of lights and modifiers available.  You can find the list here:  http://www.ians-studio.co.uk/studio/

Studio hire rates are as follows:

  • Full day (upto 8hrs) : £100
  • Half day (up to 4hrs) : £60
  • 2hrs : £40
  • 1hr : £25
  • Evening hire (upto 3hrs) : £50

If you don’t know what the facilities are like at the studio and want to come and look round just let me know and we can arrange a time.

Creative Head shots

Friday, 14 October 2011 , 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: Ian’s Studio
Creative Head shots

In tonight’s session we will be look at different techniques for creating head shots. These techniques will vary from using a single flash gun to using up to four studio lights.  We will work with 1, 2 or 3 models depending on the number of photographers who book to come to this event.Our lead model for the evening will be Steph Owen.  Those who came on the Crosby Beach shoot earlier in the summer will know how versatile Steph is.

You can see images from two shoots I’ve done with Steph (including the Crosby Beach shoot) here:
http://photos.imb.biz/models/shoot/steph and

Our second model for this event will be Katie B. You can see images I took of Katie at a recent shoot here: http://photos.imb.biz/models/shoot/katie
(Although Katie will be working to fashion levels at this event the gallery does contain some images with nudity).

Katie is also the model in the “Anatomy of a Head shot” tutorial in the Tips File section of this newsletter.

Price: £20
(NOTE: For those attending my “Intermediate Photography Course” I am offering this event at discounted rate of £15.00) 

RERUN: Introduction to Studio Photography Workshop

Saturday, 29 October 2011 , 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Ian’s Studio
Introduction to Studio Photography Workshop

In this workshop we look at a number of simple studio lighting techniques starting with zero lights (using only window light) up to using four lights.  We also look at some basic techniques for posing subjects and for working with models.


We will look at how different light modifiers such as umbrellas, softboxes, snoots, grids and gels can be used.  There will be time during the day for you to practise these techniques with the help of a professional model.  We will cover basic posing techniques which are suitable for photographing friends, family, customers or even models.   We will also look at the biggest cheat of all for posing people in the studio – the use of props.

Printed notes to document the techniques we will look at during the day will be provided and a buffet lunch is included in the price of the event.  Numbers will be limited to 6 photographers and we will have a professional models as our subject.

You can see some images taken at a previous version of this workshop in this gallery… 
27 Nov 2010 – http://photos.imb.biz/models/danniworkshop (at Pumkin Studio)
15 May 2010 – http://photos.imb.biz/models/faithstudio (at Calumet)

The cost for the event is £65.00. (includes lunch and printed notes)
(A deposit of £25 is required to secure a place)

I am expecting this event to be popular and potentially a sell-out.  I’ve already had a number of confirmed bookings and I’ve not really started promoting this event yet.

The Tips File: Anatomy of a Head Shot

I regularly shoot headshots and portraits for clients, for the local theatre and for models.   Let me take you through some of the steps involved in creating a great headshot.

The image above is the final head shot of model Katie.  I could have started with the set up that created this… and normally I would I do this often enough that I can easily start with everything set up for this.  However it is perhaps of more use to show you the steps involved in creating the image.

Step 1 – Beauty dish alone.

For this shot Katie is sat just in front of the pink background.  We have a single bowens head with a 70cm beauty dish on it up and to the left of Katie.  You can see the location of the light by looking at the catchlight in Katie’s eye.

Katie has angled her shoulders slightly so that she facing slightly towards the beauty dish.  It is always best to try to get that slight angle of the shoulders when photographing people.

Notice also that there are shadows under Katie’s chin.  We can deal with the shadows by adding a reflector below….



Step 2 – Add a reflector

As you can see from this version the shadows under Katie’s chin have been filled in by the use of the reflector

On a larger image you can just see the reflector in the catchlight of the eyes.

This image is an improvement and in my opinion it is much more flattering to Katie than the one with the harsher shadows.

The only problem with this image is that isn’t enough contrast between Katie’s skin tones and the pink of the background.

Let’s use the inverse square law to solve this problem…


Step 3 – Move subject away from the background

The inverse square law (and I’m not going to try to explain it in this tutorial) says that the light from a single light source illuminating a subject will drop off more if the distance between subject and background is much greater than the distance between the light source and the subject.

In real terms this means that moving Katie and light away from the background will make the background much darker.

We kept the reflector to fill in the shadows.

The image below shows how this set up looks in the studio….


On this occasion I was working without an assistant so I can’t show the shooting position in the image.

When taking the portraits I was stood directly in front of Katie with the beauty dish to my left, supporting the reflector in one hand while shooting with the other.

There was one last change made to the setup to create the final image…





Step 4 – Add rim lights

The last step in creating the image was to add two medium sized soft boxes either side and behind Katie to give a rim light to the image.

These two lights were metered to the same output as the main light and the effect is to give that final bit of separation of the subject from the background and to give a lovely healthy glow to katie’s hair.

I will be covering techniques such as this in two events and workshops I’ve already mentioned…

Creative Headshots – Friday 14th October:


Introduction to Studio Photography – Saturday 29th October: