Got a natural ligt studio! Need inspiration on what to do

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by matti, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. matti

    matti Member

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    I have never used a studio before. But I have one in our new house! It is a large room with a big north facing window built by an artist 1950. We will use the room for different things, like playing music, sewing sails, Scalextric etc. But me and the kids really would like to use it as a photo studio as well.

    I want to do portraits and maybe some still life with my 4x5 and 8x10. Shutterless lenses, so slow film, nd-filters and maybe some way to block out the light with curtains?

    I would really like to get some inspiration on how to use and direct the light.

    What about backgrounds? Are there some classic old texts I should read on the subject? Maybe I should even get some old furniture and props? I am tempted to also get an old studio camera.

    I hope I put this in the correct forum.

    /matti
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Get a still life photo workshop type book, and work your way through it.

    Nothing will build more skill at carefully reading the light and attuning your eye to it's nuances of shape and shadow as they record on film.

    With still life the output of an image is wholly the photographers responsibility.

    If you want to see what is posible with natural light and plain backgrounds, look up 'Disfarmer' , a midwest US turn of the centrury photographer.
     
  3. kbrede

    kbrede Member

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  4. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    You are the luckyest dog in town!

    Everything looks better under natural light especially portraits n nudes. Still lifes take on a painting like quality. I wish I had your space.

    Control your light with reflectors to fill dark shadows.

    Lucky dog!

    .
     
  5. Maris

    Maris Member

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    I have a natural light studio too, the ceiling is all diffused sky lights, and the illumination is a delicious combination of soft and bright BUT.....

    Light level changes with the hour of the day and passing clouds.
    Illumination still obeys something like the inverse square law; heads are bright, feet are dark.
    I have lots of backdrops and reflectors but still not enought to exploit every nuance of light.
    The place is roasting hot in summer, chilly in winter.

    And I'm truly glad I own it!
     
  6. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    I'm jealous! :redface:

    .
     
  7. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

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    From a mention elsewhere on the boards, I stumbled across an out of print (and copyright) book available for free online called "The Studio And What To Do In It" by Henry Peach Robinson written in 1891. I read it start to finish in an hour and, by the end of it, I was wanting to bash out the ceiling and hang some curtains.

    Unfortunately, I think my landlord might object!
    Anyway, it makes some good suggestions for controlling light, as well as pointing out ways to flatter your subject and diminish their, um, less than favourable aspects, shall we say :smile:

    The book can be found here, if it's of any interest: http://archive.org/details/studiowhattodoin00robirich
     
  8. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    A lot of Irving Penn's work is with window light. You could research him a bit. You need cards or panels for blocking light to create shadow as well as opening shadows up.
    Dennis
     
  9. matti

    matti Member

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    Thank you all for the help! Especially the old Robinson book. Downloaded it in Kindle format.
    I tried out some shooting with Harman positive paper today, since I don't have the enlargers set up yet.
    Here is the result:
    http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showimage.php?i=68529&c=2

    I think I need some reflectors to lighten up the shadows!

    /matti
     
  10. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Too bad I can't see the pic in your gallery (members only) but I'll bet it is spectacular as is.

    That book is really wonderful n full of all sorts of information, I enjoyed it. Thanks.

    Have fun.
     
  11. matti

    matti Member

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    Aha, I didn't know that the gallery wasn't available to subscribers. Here is the picture:

    Harman positive (1).jpg

    /matti
     
  12. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Nudes, nudes and more nudes. Wonderful.