Mid-week, Alana asks for a fashion shoot! Since I was free on Saturday anyway, yes, why not? I am at the stage now where I am trying to expand my fashion portfolio with increased diversity of looks. Examining the usual LIZ LISA fare, with their florals and curls and frills and organic pastel colours, I realised that most of them were lit.
It’s an interesting thing, because I have had someone ask me before the reason for using lighting, like flash. To photographers who might be just starting out (or who might have built their entire skill set without learning to use additional lighting), flash is associated with the artificial look, the antithesis of what would be considered natural.
And that’s even before we start considering the use of light as the photographic language for constructing a narrative. Or debate just how pointless it is to argue for “available light” shooting as a sort of measure of skill or “authenticity”.
Anyway, we were at a train station when that question popped up. So I went to one of the advertising lightboxes nearby, and together we dissected how the model was lit to give that “natural” look. The point of course, is that most of the stuff we see on an everyday basis (magazines, ads, TV) that we might interpret as “natural” are in fact carefully constructed to give exactly that impression. Welcome to Media Theory 101.
Note that I consider reflectors as lighting too. Certainly from a photograph’s point of view, reflectors are just another source of light, even though it might simply be redirecting photons. From a practical standpoint, a large enough softbox or umbrella can (and do) take the place of reflectors if properly balanced. Technical details are a bit different of course (mostly to do with sync speeds).
In any case, I asked my friend Daniel to come along and help out with reflector handling, and it was a pretty relaxed shoot, done in less than an hour. I did have a flash and lightstand in my bag for the “just in case” scenarios, but they weren’t really needed.
I am noticing my fashion style is diverging from my usual cosplay style. I’m not sure if they will become two totally separate ways of shooting, or it’s just an overall evolution of the way I am seeing the shots. In any case, a recent shoot I did really helped highlight the deficiencies in my execution of shoots, habits baked in from years of shooting cosplay. I’m working to improve on these areas, and that’s the fun thing about it all – there’s always room to grow, new things to learn, older things to polish, and boundaries to push.