I had not realised just how much time had passed since I last set foot in a studio until I got to Milk + Studios for an Art Nude shoot. Turns out it was the 24th of April at Advanced Studio Lighting LPMG and I could really tell the difference. Little things like using my more wide-angle lens at the starting point and being less clear with guiding the model, all added up to a slightly rocky start.
I was shooting with another photographer, Michael, who was shooting nude for the first time, though you’d never know it, and we had an hour split between us, so we did three ten minute sessions each, alternating.
The model was the talented Elle Black, who’d been doing this shoot for several sessions and so had a good idea of what would work and what wouldn’t. She was willing to try something different if you suggested it but would point it out if it didn’t work. Equally, if your suggestion worked she cheerfully added it to her repertoire.
The studio itself is a nice, white open space in a artists collective type of warehouse area in Battersea, and the three organizers were lovely. We got an introduction to the studio and set up and we were left to our own devices to shoot, which was a great experience. I got the feeling that if we’d needed support they’d be more active in helping out, but because we’d both done studio work, they were comfortable leaving us.
The setup was low key, two strip soft-boxes to either side, shielded by black walls and a black background. Additionally, there was a single soft-box with a translucent silver fabric over it to reduce the light output. After a short time, we actually turned it off and only shot with the side lighting.
Elle was stood the whole time on a mirrored table, made of linked circles. It allowed for a level of reflection that I’d like to have played with more, but the setup tended to make the reflections somewhat murky. It was a cool effect, but it would have been nice to be able to experiment.
Elle is extremely acrobatic, and so the poses we ran through made the most of that, unusual shapes framed by sharp shadows to give a powerful set of imagery.
It wasn’t really until the third and final session that I felt I had found my stride. I’d gone against my gut on the first round and used my 17-40mm lens to shoot with rather than the 50mm prime and this was a mistake. On the third session, I went back to the 50mm and so stood further back and feel it helped. I was also back in the swing of shooting in a studio with a model.
I’d have liked to have more time, the hour went by faster than I realised, and I’d have liked to be able to play with the lighting more than I did, but those are often complaints when I finish a shoot, I which I’d had a chance to do more. The studio was excellent value for money and Elle was superb.
It made me realise that I’d spent far to much time outside of a studio shooting landscapes and too little shooting in a more controlled environment. It is something I need to change.
For the post-processing, I decided to do something I rarely do and keep a consistent theme on all the images I rendered to give more of a sense of consistency and pattern between them. I rather like the effect. Heavily desaturated but with colour poking out here and there.