• Elton Cilliers

Studio Shoot Numero Two

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

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Studio Shoot Numero Two. So hot off the back of my first ever foray into flashlight portraiture work I realised that one flashgun just wasn’t going to cut it! So for my second shoot, I arranged to shoot with a model at a local studio (which has subsequently shut). The main reason for this was to get to play with some ‘proper’ studio lights and also have more than one light available to me. And also, the studio owner was a friendly chap who was happy to assist with any questions I had about setting up etc.


A studio headshot portrait of a young brunette

Finding models/subjects

When starting out, the obvious people to reach out to are your friends and family. You may be surprised how much resistance you have when trying to convince someone to have their portraits taken. Even those ’15 selfies a day’ types seem to become coy when you offer to take their picture for them! But persist, once they start seeing your results (and assuming they are any good) they will come around and you will find it easier to get folks to volunteer.


Try to shake things up. Shoot solo sets (male, female, babies), couples/duos, group, family etc. Basically shoot ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! When you’re starting off, there is no such thing as too much shooting! (well I guess technically if you pass out from exhaustion then you’ve probably gone a little too far). What you will find is that there are some ‘genres’ that you prefer to others. Having said that, I still haven’t found any genre that I am not keen on. There are some I absolutely love (more on that in another post) and some that I’m less ‘Yippppeee!’ about, however, I find that each and every shoot has its own challenges and no two shoots are ever the same. Which for me is one of the main draws to photography. I’m easily bored you see, I have a brain that insists on being active. Suffice to say I didn’t last long at the ‘paint drying watcher’ role. One thing I can say with certainty is that I’ve NEVER been bored during a shoot. There is simply just no time to be bored. I digress.


Closeup headshot of a brunette

Shoot two sets


So for my 2nd (and strictly, my first actual studio shoot) flashlight shoot I had TOO many ideas and only had access to the model for 2 hours. Again, this is something you learn with time. You will start to understand how long each lighting setup takes to get in place. How long outfit changes take. I didn’t have that experience at this point, so I basically had enough ‘inspiration’ to fill 2 full days of shooting! So, in the end, we settled for some high fashion, headshot and lingerie sets. Once you have a few shoots under your belt and have a more realistic feel for how much you can achieve in an hour, make sure you have specific ideas for what you wish to get out of your shoots. If you are putting together a portfolio, for example, make sure it’s diverse. Get different lighting setups. Different poses. Different shapes, sizes, sex, the colour of models/subjects skin tone.


NEVER go into a shoot to ‘wing it’. You don’t need to know EVERY pose you intend to capture during your sets. But you have to at the very least know the ‘genre’ of the set. So for example for the ‘fashion set’ of my 2nd shoot, I asked the model to bring a red dress (I knew I was going to be shooting against a black backdrop and I’ve always loved the contrast of red on black).


Attitude in Red

For the lingerie set, I simply left it to the model to bring an outfit of her choice. It so happens the also liked red (bonus!).


Try a little tenderness

And for the headshot sets, well, she just bought her head.

Men are from mars

Lessons learned from Shoot Numero Two

  1. You cannot fit 20 hours into 2

  2. Red and Black are just awesome!

  3. It was unbeknown to me at the time, but my fascination with hats had begun!

  4. Don’t forget props! Try to add props into your portraiture work wherever possible. Especially important if you are attempting to portray a story or emotion,

  5. I was going to have to consider purchasing a studio flashlight kit.


Related Posts:

  1. My first ‘official’ flashlight shoot



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