Professional Photographer to the Rescue: studio portrait photography demystified

Professional Photographer to the Rescue: studio portrait photography demystified

Our professional photographer’s recommended gear

 

Our professional photographer's recommended gear: radio trigger

Radio Trigger
There’s no need to use leads to connect your camera to the flash any more, which is just as well – Luke’s camera didn’t have a PC Sync socket! But radio triggers are now extremely affordable. “I use these low-cost, two-part triggers, which cost about £15 ($25) a pair,” says John. “The transmitter fits in the hotshoe, and the mains-powered receiver is attached to the flash head.”

 

Our professional photographer's recommended gear: Sekonic light meter

 

Sekonic l-508 light meter
“A flash meter isn’t essential for studio photography, as with digital cameras you can simply keep adjusting the power of the flash heads until you get the exposure you want. However, using a light meter will make the setup significantly faster every time you change the positions of the lights. You set the ISO and shutter speed you’re using, and then the meter will fire the flash and measure the aperture needed for the exposure. You can then adjust the flash power settings if necessary. I use this discontinued Sekonic L-508, but prices for current flash meters in the Sekonic range start at £139 ($233),” John says.

 

Our professional photographer's recommended gear: Aurora Octobox lite bank

Aurora 150cm Octobox lite bank
“The main illumination in my studio comes from Bowens Esprit 1500 lights,” reveals John. “I have four of these high-power monobloc lights, each mounted on a wheeled stand for easy manoeuvrability. However, I need to use different modifiers to shape and control the illumination and get the effects I want. This eight-sided softbox is one of my favourite tools. It makes the light more diffuse and creates beautifully shaped ‘catchlights’ in models’ eyes. It costs about £259 ($400).”

 

Our professional photographer's recommended gear: Bessel soft box

Bessel 200x40cm softbox with grid
“This 6ft-long striplight is great for full-figure shots, and is incredibly affordable too, costing about £70 ($110),” says John. “The softbox creates a narrow, long, diffuse lighting source and comes with a removable grid or honeycomb. This black, mesh-like attachment creates a more channelled effect, helping to prevent light spilling onto parts of the scene that you don’t want it to reach.”

 

Our professional photographer's recommended gear: Background lift system

Background lift system
“My studio has a massive 17ft infinity cove, providing a seamless backdrop against which I can easily shoot groups of people and full-length fashion pictures,” smiles John. “The main cove is made from white plastic material, but it’s important that I can switch to other colours quickly and effortlessly. My motorised background roll system is the solution, letting me switch to three further colours and shades using the appropriate button on my remote control. A ceiling-mounted system similar to this would cost about £360 ($565).”

 

Professional Photographer to the Rescue: studio portrait photography demystified

PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: During the shoot
PAGE 3: Final tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear

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