Running studio experience sessions is always good fun;  not just for the participants but me as well!  I recently organised my first one for 2018 with the wonderful Hayley Bird as our model.  It was so popular, we had to put on 2 sessions with a total of 12 photographers taking part.  Each session is 2 hours long, use of the studio and lighting, a welcome cuppa available, help and advice from me if needed and always a professional model.  Why?  If you’ve never used or been in a studio environment before, it can be pretty intimidating.  Not only have you lighting to contend with but you need to communicate with your model, give instructions or an insight into what you are hoping to capture in your images.  If you’re new to studio photography, having a professional model means they know exactly what they’re doing so, if necessary, can run off a series of poses for you, taking the pressure off you having to come up with an idea.  It’s not as easy as it looks.  Time is money and if you’ve already planned your session with regards to a theme, lighting set-ups, poses, etc., you’ll maximise your time shooting instead of trying to think on your feet.

Planning starts before you’ve even booked your studio space and model.  Questions to ask yourself:-

  1.  Why am I booking this?
  2.  What theme or look am I hoping to capture?
  3.  Will I use these images as is or want to put them in a composite image?  This may be easier with a plain background, so what     background do you want for the session?
  4.  Can I afford this on my own or would it be best to collaborate / share with another photographer?
  5.  How long do I need to book the studio and model for?  This may depend on the theme / looks you’ve chosen as it may take time   for your model to change between them, eg., outfits, make-up / hair, etc.

Communication is the key.  Always ensure you’ve contacted the model / studio a few days before your booking to make sure everything is still OK.  Before the shoot, discuss what you are hoping to achieve with the model – they may have suggestions / ideas that could help.

I recently bought myself a new camera, the Panasonic GX80 and wanted to try out the time lapse feature, so the studio experience session gave a great opportunity to experiment.  Here is the result, not Oscar-winning but fun all the same!


I always try and fit in an hour for myself when I run these sessions and this one was no exception.  The wonderful Hayley Bird was our model for the day and never disappoints!  But because the morning session overran (which is usual) I only ended up with 15 minutes to get the shots I wanted.  As I had already planned my shots, I managed to get them anyway, albeit a little quicker than I’d have liked!  I’ve put a couple of before and after shots below.  Most people don’t appreciate the amount of time, effort and expertise that goes into producing just one image.  Suffice to say, from start to finish, there were tweaks in Camera Raw, several layers to produce the effects, skin, hair and imperfection work plus a little sharpening and soft focusing to achieve.  All in all, one image took me over an hour and a half to finish.




And the second one:-





It’s worth appreciating the amount of skill, expertise and time that goes into creating a finished image.  Multiply that by the number of images that may be taken at a wedding and you’ll understand how much time is needed to perfect a set of images.  The studio sessions were great fun and everyone enjoyed their time.  Keep an eye on my Facebook page and blog for details of the next one I’m planning or even subscribe to get the latest news and updates below!  Comment, share & enjoy!


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