Roll #10: Studio Roll

Why you are doing this assignment

The light in a typical studio recreates the ideal conditions you lokked for in the last roll: soft, diffused light hitting your subject from the side. Whether you are shooting under natural light outside or in a studio, this is one of the best ways to photograph a subject.

How to do this assignment

Studio light is diffused and hits the subject from the side, at about an angle of 45º. There are many ways to arrange the lights, of course, but in the “generic” setup, one light is stronger than the one on the opposite side. The stronger light is called the key light. The weaker one is called the fill light; its job is to fill in and soften the shadows created by the key light. Sometimes a third light, called the background light, helps separate the subject from the background. If you want to go for more dramatic lighting, unplug the fill light.

After the lights have been set up correctly, follow these guidelines:

  • Shoot vertical
  • Include your subjectʻs hands. No amputations!
  • One person at a time
  • Avoid fakey, silly poses
  • Avoid the fakey “camera face” that people sometimes put on in front of a camera.
  • Try to capture your subject looking like he or she looks when alone. In other words, try to capture something of your subjectʻs inner character. Have the person look at the camera, at least in some shots.
  • Finally, be sure that the camera is set to the correct aperture and shutter speed. Focus carefully.

What to shoot

Bring a friend. If you wish, have the person dress up. Use face paint. Add props. Get creative.

What to turn in

  • A contact sheet of 16 images on medium-format film
  • Two 8X10 prints
  • An analysis of your best print. Be sure to fill out the last section of the analysis fully.

What your assignment should look like

At this point in the semester, your prints should contain a full range of values (tones) from deep black to light, light gray. Pay lots of attention to your two test strips and make an effort to hit the right combination of exposure and filter #.

Also — try to set your easel blades to give you a thin, even border around your image.