The Guerilla Style – Why you don’t NEED a $10,000 studio to make great images.

Lately I have been disturbed by a trend that has been growing in the glamour photography world.   People are starting to become keen on the notion that they need tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment to make great images.   Sadly,  I have seen photographers who are close to totally incompetent who think theyre work is great simply because of the number of lights that they used to shoot the image with.

Now, don’t get me wrong.   There is certainly a time and place for a fancy studio set up,  but for those of you who are still learning what to DO with a studio set up,  let me give you a tip.  KEEP IT SIMPLE.

The following images I am about to post, are all shot with a sub-$2000 camera,  a sub $200 lens, and use only ONE speedlight and a 24″ umbrella as a light source.  No banks of softboxes, no beauty dishes, no grids, no cyclorama.    Heck, no studio at all!  They are all shot on-location with just one light, placed well.   And all they feature is a sharp, well composed shot.   I think you’ll find it’s amazing what you can do with just the simplest of equipment.

This shot for example of model Nicole, wasn’t shot in a studio at all!  It was actually shot in an abandoned warehouse.   Simply shooting it with a small enough aperture, with the wall far enough away, and with the umbrella closed most of the way for the snoot effect was enough to accomplish this effect, which after a bit of retouching makes for a flawless shot that NO one would think wasn’t in a high end studio set up.

You also don’t need a green screen to do cool special effect shots.  This was also shot on location in the model’s apartment living room.    No backdrop needed,  the same trick as above applies.  Make sure you’re far enough from a wall and that your lighting is well-directed so that the background isn’t well illuminated.  It makes taking out the remainder in photoshop a breeze.   Then the creative process can begin,  and as you can tell,  I had a lot of fun with this one!

And just in case you didn’t believe me,  there is one other image from that same shoot.  As you can see, a bit of the background remains here, but I decided to leave it as I thought it gave a nice mood to the image, and accentuated the eyes.   This shot was taken with the umbrella wide open, but placed VERY close to the model,  about the same distance as my camera in fact (I was just about shooting AROUND it haha).  Remember, that when you’re shooting with big light sources, like umbrellas or softboxes, the closer the light source is to your model,  the softer and more beautiful it will be.

So I hope you enjoyed some of these examples.   I plan on putting together a video feature explaining more of my guerilla shooting techniques in the future.  For now,  experiment, and keep that camera clicking!

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