Back in Helsinki, I took a walk in Suomenlinna with my friend Márton. Well, it was one of those many walks we took there in the golden month of May. He wanted to work on some portraits, so I abandoned him and chased some birds around.
When I came back, he showed me all he managed to do with only one flash. I then acted as an assistant (yes, apparently it’s better to have someone holding the flash than to leave it on the ground) and a model (something I really enjoyed).
I was really impressed. I didn’t have a flash at that time (I still don’t, though buying one is on my list now), and so this seemed like magic. I was very tempted, but on the other hand, I knew nothing about portrait photography, and it was scary. On the way home, we improvised the photo shoot of a tern resting on a rail. My first work as a portraitist? Yeah, kind of…
I was not an annoying model ^^
Later, I assisted Márton on a photo shoot he did with a friend of his, Sophie, in Suomenlinna again. I was the flash-holder, a difficult task when birds are swarming around, tempting you while you need to stand still.
“Lower your chin, look at me, look there, smile”… Whoa, the way he directed her amazed me, but it felt like I could never do that. In the end, it proved a great source of inspiration. A great help, too.
Fast forward to Copenhagen, in the autumn. Eyes wide open, I discovered the photo studio available to the members of DTU’s photo-club. Flashes, backdrops, octoboxes, beauty dish… a completely new universe unfolded in front of me. A completely new language, also. Hard light, soft light… what???
So, before I made the final step, I learnt. I read all I could find about lights, about poses, about how to direct a photo shoot… Digital Photography School helped a lot, I recommend following them if you’re a photographer and want to polish your skills.
My mom had always asked me to put more people in my pictures, but I was reluctant. Shyness? Misanthropy? I don’t know, it just felt unnatural for me to shoot people. But my mind had changed.
The first experience was quite gentle: I spent some time there with Chantal, a fellow photographer and friend eager to learn about the studio. We tried different lights, differents backgrounds, and ended up with interesting results, and a lot of material to think about.
I acted as the photographer of course, but also as the model. Funny enough, it’s the latter that I enjoyed the most. While taking pictures, I felt helpless. I didn’t know what to tell her, what to ask of her, and she was uneasy when posing. On the other hand, she was very good at directing me, and I had fun imagining new poses.
I was thrilled when I saw the results. Imagine, an endless world of new possibilities awaited me! All I had to do was find models, and learn how to direct the shoot.
This tension when shooting made me very nervous prior to my first “real” photo shoot. Luckily, I was with friends, and they helped me a lot. By simply talking to each other, they lifted the pressure that was on my shoulders: I was able to think about the next shot, or look at the previous one without having the model look at me and wait awkwardly.
In the end, I realized it had gone smoothly, and both Giannis and Sabina confessed that they enjoyed the moment more than they expected to. I hope they will come again!
So, what now? Well, more photo shoots of course! One has already happened, and some will be planned soon enough… so stay tuned!
I’m not leaving behind me birds and concerts, though. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’ve met a Short-eared owl this weekend… more about that very soon. I also want to try night photography in the city, and long exposure… so many things to experience, and so little time.
Thanks to all the beautiful people appearing or mentioned in this article: you rock!