The first pho­to shoot in the stu­dio is a huge and nerve-wrack­ing step for a begin­ner. You need to deal with the light, under­stand what to do in this space, but — most impor­tant­ly — to give a high-qual­i­ty result so that the mod­el does not get dis­ap­point­ed and does not feel that she paid mon­ey in vain.

So that you think only about the result and not be dis­tract­ed by orga­ni­za­tion­al issues, we have com­piled a check­list and do not for­get about life hacks that will help a begin­ner in a pho­to stu­dio.

A pho­to shoot in the stu­dio is a nec­es­sary stage in the growth of a pho­tog­ra­ph­er / Source: unsplash.com

Shooting in a photo studio — checklist

1) Choose a stu­dio.

It would seem that it is eas­i­er. How­ev­er, many peo­ple have prob­lems with the choice. Not only do you need to find a room for the idea, but the mod­els also have wish­es for the loca­tion of the hall.

In order not to pull famil­iar pho­tog­ra­phers and not to pan­ic if they are not there, use the online direc­to­ries of pho­to stu­dios.

Pho­to stu­dio direc­to­ries:

– Foto­geni­co

– Stu­dio­Go

– Pho­to­place

In them, you can not only book a hall, but sort them by bud­get, find those that are in the right area, see the spaces and com­pare.

2) Book a room.

Either you or the mod­el can do this. To pro­tect your­self, ask the client for a full pre­pay­ment for the hall — with­out any oblig­a­tion, the mod­el may sim­ply dis­ap­pear on the day of the shoot­ing and you will have to reim­burse the rental cost your­self.

Many pho­to stu­dios give a big dis­count on rent if you book a day in advance or on the day of shoot­ing. The dis­ad­van­tage of this strat­e­gy is that there may not be free hours in the right room / Source: unsplash.com

Tip: don’t expect to just dis­ap­pear from the stu­dio’s radar with­out warn­ing and can­cel­la­tion of the reser­va­tion if you rent­ed the hall in your name. At a min­i­mum, then you will again need the same pho­to stu­dio, but they will refuse to serve you, as a max­i­mum — pho­to stu­dios unite and main­tain their own black list of clients who have deceived them, so you risk being put on the stop list of sev­er­al orga­ni­za­tions at once.

3) Pro­vide the man­ag­er with a list of required equip­ment.

Some­times land­lords ask for it them­selves, but here you are the per­son con­cerned. So you will know for sure that dur­ing the shoot­ing there will be every­thing you need.

Often in stu­dios, espe­cial­ly small ones, there is less equip­ment than rooms, and it is dis­trib­uted based on the require­ments of pho­tog­ra­phers. Nat­u­ral­ly, there will be enough light sources for every­one, but often prob­lems arise with noz­zles, light fil­ters, addi­tion­al devices, such as smoke machines and fans.

In some stu­dios, you can also rent equip­ment — lens­es and cam­eras / Source: unsplash.com

What to tell the man­ag­er:

- Do I need a place in the dress­ing room and, if so, how much. As a rule, stu­dios give a free hour in the dress­ing room — the rest is paid extra. If you work in a team with a styl­ist or make­up artist, be sure to find out how much time they need to work.

— Num­ber of light sources;

- Pulsed or con­stant light (what’s the dif­fer­ence, read here);

- Light shap­ing noz­zles. The choice of noz­zles depends on the idea and what kind of light you want — hard (then take reflec­tors, beau­ty dish­es) or soft (soft­box­es).

- Do you need cur­tains for the reflec­tor to reg­u­late the flow of light.

- Do you need hon­ey­combs for a reflec­tor, beau­ty dish, soft­box­es to make the light hard­er.

Are col­ored fil­ters need­ed to col­or the light.

- Addi­tion­al con­di­tions and equip­ment: whether it is nec­es­sary to close the win­dows from nat­ur­al light, give you a smoke machine or fan, put a paper or fab­ric back­ground.

Nuance: often in stu­dios there is a free min­i­mum of light sources. For exam­ple, two or three per room. If you need more, you will have to pay extra, and it is bet­ter to find out about it in advance. Also, often pulsed light is includ­ed in the rental price, and con­stant light comes for an addi­tion­al fee. Sep­a­rate­ly, in addi­tion to rent­ing a hall, there is usu­al­ly a book­ing of smoke machines.

4) Read the rules care­ful­ly

Can you smoke in the hall? Spray water? Burn can­dles? Bring ani­mals? Is there a sur­charge for back­ground dam­age and, if so, how much? How many peo­ple can be in the hall at the same time? Land­lords warn about all this in advance in the rules. If not, then it is bet­ter to find out about it in advance and ask your­self.

Life hack: in some stu­dios there is a max­i­mum allowed pow­er at which you can turn on stu­dio flash­es. For exceed­ing this lim­it, you will be required to pay a penal­ty.

5) Take your pass­port

Often pho­to stu­dios are locat­ed on the ter­ri­to­ry of indus­tri­al premis­es — it is there that the con­di­tions are made up of rel­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive rent, large rooms and win­dows, as well as suf­fi­cient pow­er so that a dozen pow­er­ful flash­es do not knock out traf­fic jams, leav­ing the entire room with­out light. That is why you often need a pass­port to go there.

6) Leave ear­ly

Be sure to learn how to get to the pho­to stu­dio — on social net­works, land­lords often pub­lish detailed maps with descrip­tions of land­marks and record videos on how to find them.

Since stu­dios are often locat­ed in indus­tri­al areas, get­ting to and find­ing them can be more dif­fi­cult and longer than it seems / Source: unsplash.com

7) Arrive at least 15 min­utes in advance

So you have time to come to your sens­es and col­lect your thoughts. Drink water or tea, look at the ref­er­ences again and dis­cuss with the stu­dio staff a set of nec­es­sary equip­ment. In addi­tion, this is a great time to chat and get to know the mod­el. For the sake of this, you can even arrive in half an hour or an hour. Espe­cial­ly if you’re ner­vous about work­ing with a new per­son.

8) Be sure to change your shoes

In the stu­dio you can not be in street shoes, so as not to stain the back­grounds. Because of this, land­lords ask you to bring a change of shoes with you. But they always have a set of rub­ber slip­pers or shoe cov­ers for guests. In any case, clar­i­fy this point so as not to car­ry an extra bag with you.

9) Glue the sole of the mod­el’s shoes

Based on point 8, be sure to dis­cuss the mod­el’s shoes in advance. You will not be allowed to go straight to the hall in win­ter boots after the slush. Even if you have such an idea and it fits the image per­fect­ly.

As a rule, the mod­el takes a set of washed clean shoes for shoot­ing. But even in this case, get ready that the sole will have to be sealed with mask­ing tape. Do this even if the pho­to stu­dio employ­ee for­gets to ask for it — you may be forced to pay extra for the soiled floor of the back­ground. In addi­tion, the less traces on the back­ground, the less it will need to be cleaned in post-pro­cess­ing.

Scotch tape is often avail­able in pho­to stu­dios, but you can save the rental time allot­ted to you and ask the mod­el to do it at home in advance.

10) Hav­ing entered the hall, indi­cate to the stu­dio employ­ee where the flash­es should be and with what light-shap­ing attach­ments.

The big fear of begin­ners is that they will sim­ply be left in the hall with a moun­tain of equip­ment and light sources and leave. In fact, this is not the case — the employ­ees them­selves change attach­ments and back­grounds. Do not neglect this — if you break a monoblock, you will have to pay a large penal­ty, since light often costs tens of thou­sands of rubles.

As a rule, the pho­tog­ra­ph­er only adjusts the pow­er, height and posi­tion of the source. But for the first time, you can lim­it your­self to only pow­er and ask you to put the light on once and for the whole shoot­ing / Source: unsplash.com

How to set up stu­dio light­ing

If you have addi­tion­al devices, such as a smoke machine, you should be told how to use them. Oth­er­wise, ask your­self so as not to acci­den­tal­ly break the device. Learn how to take pho­tos with a smoke machine here.

11) Mark the spot on the floor where the mod­el should stand.

A small piece of mask­ing tape will do for this. Hav­ing done this, line up all the light schemes around this point. This is much eas­i­er than mov­ing the light to fol­low a mov­ing mod­el. Espe­cial­ly if the light scheme is com­plex and 3–4‑5 sources are involved in it.

12) Set the cam­era set­tings.

You can build on these uni­ver­sal val­ues:

  • ISO 100
  • Shut­ter speed 1/125
  • Aper­ture f/8

Leav­ing the cam­era set­tings unchanged will reduce the num­ber of vari­ables that need to be tak­en into account. Now you can con­cen­trate sole­ly on the arrange­ment and pow­er of the light.

13) Turn on the lights one at a time.

The task is to build the light­ing scheme grad­u­al­ly, with­out try­ing to con­trol all the flash­es at the same time. Post­ed one source? Excel­lent. Turn it on, set it to medi­um pow­er, and take a few test shots. If it’s dark, turn up the pow­er, if it’s too light, turn it down. When the first monoblock is con­fig­ured, turn on the sec­ond one and repeat the algo­rithm until you have built the entire light­ing scheme.

Life hack: if you shoot with pulsed sources, turn on the mod­el­ing light. So you will see what kind of chiaroscuro falls on the mod­el / Source: unsplash.com

14) Clean up the back­ground after shoot­ing, if there are traces on it, so as not to pay a penal­ty.

In the case of a paper back­ground, it can be wiped with a reg­u­lar nap­kin or any dry cloth. Scratch­es on a white cyclo­rama are more dif­fi­cult to remove. Try eras­ing them with an eras­er.