On the 5th of January 2013, I assisted photographer Darren Key at his studio, ‘Dark Lens’ based in Wolverhampton. I assisted Key on two photo shoots: a family portrait and a fashion shoot with alternative model Eve Grotesque.
The waiting time in between these shoots allowed me and another newly hired assistant, Imant, to experiment with different lighting techniques and practice shooting using one another as models. Below are some examples of the photographs I took of Imant using slightly different techniques:
In this image I used one light source with a large soft box and positioned it almost directly in front of Imant. I took the image from below the soft box, meaning the camera was below and looking up towards the model. Lighting the model this way didn’t create too many harsh shadows and created a really nice soft image overall.
Key offered some advice in order to make Imant’s features more profound and to create more shadows around the jaw line in the final image. To do so, we heightened the light source, as if it were looking down on the model slightly and I shot from below the soft box looking slightly upwards again. This slight change in height of the light source showed me how you can completely change the look of an image through slight amendments. This has encouraged me to experiment more whenever I’m in a studio.
In the image below I placed the light source to the left of the model, slightly higher then Imant again. This created deep shadows on the right hand side of his face and I felt the image was more successful in black and white.
Later, we were also offered the opportunity to photograph little Miss Eve Grotesque ourselves before and after the actual shoot took place. Again this allowed us to experiment with different lighting techniques and learn how to pose the model.
During the shoots which Key led, I was required to set up light boxes, change the lighting settings and add or take away other equipment such as the snoot or fan. The studio is high paced which meant I always found something to do. The experience taught me how to work quickly and efficiently and how the photographer should communicate with the model frequently to make them feel at ease. For example, during the family portrait photo shoot, where the mother was heavily pregnant, I took it upon myself to compliment the mother and tell her how great she looked. She instantly became more relaxed making the final images appear more organic. Also, during the shoot with Eve Grotesque, Key was constantly reminding her how pretty she looked which boosted her confidence whilst being photographed, which increased throughout the shoot. Here is an image I took of Eve after the shoot with Darren Key:
I placed the light source to the right of the model and took the image below her, as if I was looking up at her. Key advised us that in order to make the model appear longer shoot from a low level. I took this advice on board. I also asked the model to lift her head in order to elongate her neck, again giving her more height.
Overall, I was really pleased with my first day at ‘Dark Lens’ and was surprised to have learnt the amount I did. I’m looking forward to see what else I will learn!
Photography © Sophie Moet