Studio Q&A


Children's Portrait Photography


Lesson Info

Studio Q&A

Uh, question from home design wass in the chat room would you please talk about the floor that you use when you're setting up the white seamless paper is the backdrop okay, that's a great question because in my studio I have a cement floor that I've had sealed um and it was very cool because it's a cement floor but the feeling the way they sealed it it takes on this kind of really cool look that I know if you guys have ever seen that's what a lot of restaurants have it where it looks, you know, different multiple colors very bronze e and silver and cool so I used that not only because it looks really bad, but I can shoot down. I'm gonna have a family sit there and shoot down on dit looks really interesting around them, so the white seamless just goes right over that and I have no problem whatsoever in this shooting situation here right now. Like, well, he just did um we needed teo put white board underneath so he's very long extended white boards we put underneath the white seamless be...

cause there's a soft carpet here and children would have smashed the white scene must all up on the carpet so you could just go out and buy um actually goodbye melamine e I guess it is going to present thing um or some sort of really cheap long big white board from staples or something and put that underneath pushing from sonny capps shop. Um, any advice about cheap flights? Cheapflights? Yeah. One of the things we bought was a flashlight that was on our budget to us. We bought a flashlight it's like seven, ninety nine um and honestly, talk about cheap flights. I mean, you can put that right there and there are times when I'm on a shoot and I need a little bit of a catch light I could use the sun pack the little video light that's thirty five dollars um, I can use that, uh that looks a little more socially acceptable if I'm at a venue where someone's watching me photograph but depending on the power of the flash and the been the size of the flash, some of those massive wide barreled flashes I have a lot of light to them. Um and you could do a lot with them. You know, you could mount that two issues to hand and use a flash if you could figure out one of the bigger barrel so it wasn't such a pinpoint of light um you could do something like that I mean, to some extent you're gonna end up restrictions um I've also done a lot of bare bulb shooting where? Literally just take the lamp shade off the lamp and point the bulb right out of the subject on those air. Really lovely for black and whites because you have the tungsten. And if you can't balance it properly, it's gonna look a little orangey, but you can shoot it, uh, black and white, and do a lot with that. Great. Thank you. Um, question from jubilee photo was any suggestions for easily movable stuff for an on location photographer, like anything that you bring to the beach? Um, okay. So two things. One, I thought of one more answer for you, susan. And then I'm gonna go into the theater thing, of course, and forgive me if this is too obvious, but is using a flash and off camp, you know, uh, off camera flash that you then would amount to a stand and then shoot often umbrella, or shoot off a white wall or something like that. That's certainly gonna be a little bit cheaper than something expensive lighting systems you can have. But that way, you can also take it anywhere, which answers your questions about things that you can make very, very portable. Luckily, some of those umbrella systems and stands and flashes are crazy portable on you could get some really good deals, especially if it's you're on the next version of flash, so, like going back and buying like a cannon five fifty for instance, you could still do that. You set up some pocket wizards and you're golden on and it's cheap and it's, easy and it's very, very portable, so those were good opportunities for things to take anywhere, certainly reflectors. Um, I take everywhere, um, were there questions about, like, props or what my equipment is or what I'm using? Yeah, I think it was I think it was more of a prop type question in terms of now, you say you don't use a ton of props, but easily movable stuff was it was the question usually my camera gear moves very easily. I don't, you know, I think because I don't use a lot of extras in my shoots, mostly the things that I'm bringing with me is additional equipment in case I need it, um, and then sew things I'm going to bring. I could see how a shooter might bring a backdrop with them and extra backdrop stands or poles. I do bring a, uh, video light with me in case I need it so that's got a lot more power, and then I could kind of use it where I might need it, but twenty minutes till end of day okay, so we're why new down apparently esso I will bring something like that but most of what I bring is like in the trunk in case I need to get to it okay and what about building on that? What about newborn shoots do you do newborn shoes? Ay dio and so are their must have people are asking like a photo for newborn shoot eh? So it's not a bad idea to bring some sort of posing object with you whether it's a bean bag or its actual poser an infant poser that's not a bad idea at all I think when you're in someone's home I'll talk to them you know beforehand and see what kind of things you have nearly everybody who said scheduling a newborn shoot has all the little blankets and the pillows and I like tio move newborns over to like a fluffy comforter or something like that a lot of time shooting with natural light I think that why talked earlier about using the bathroom now it's usually a lot very white walled I tend to do a lot of bathrooms shoots for newborns and bathrooms um with a big light and moving in an ottoman or something like that and putting comforter over it using a pillow to kind of adjust you know high once but in terms of additional product really other thing I might think to bring of course is going to be a reflector or an external light that I could just leave and that's the lovely thing about newborns is that you can set a light up and leave it because it's not like that no one is going to go anywhere um so you can set up just an extra video light on a little stand or just propped up on a chair you know, it's just here, let me lean this video light on this chair skim it so it's going between the subject of the background so I've got a nice little break and then you could do your shoot shot that way you defused little no, I'm using it as a skimmer so it's a separation light on dh that's something that I think you know a lot of people might want to think about how much that could come in handy because if you're shooting in someone's home and you don't have optimal light um one of the best lights you can actually have outside of the main light that you find through natural light sources is something to separate your subjects in the background because I could have a lot of great light here and it falls off completely there and so if you saw what I did the family shoot on bainbridge island we had a lot of front lighting and there's a lot of light coming in from the back too so we were clear, but if that hadn't been a window behind them and that had just been a plane, you know, dark wall for instance I would had all this light and then all this drop off which makes it just doesn't look nearly as that ambient light really draws you into the image and I want my lighting behind my subjects to have that ambient light, so if I'd had additional light so in that home we were fine, but we moved to the bar and you see how it got dark behind them think about that same shot with a family in front all well lit nice reflection and then that light behind that there'd been a skimmer like a chair like this with a video light like a low allied perlite or something like that on the chair and it's kimmy across that would've made a world of difference in terms of how that shot would've looked because they would've been lit and had been the sense of some ambiance behind them and it's just a richer shot so those back whites could make a big difference the hair lights of the room lights or the skimmers I don't know that they're officially called skimmers I just call them skimmers, so I had asked people and twitter chat room teo tweet what their favorite d I y studio fixes were and I got a response from cathy moore's who says she has a backdrop made of with white form core and shoes is plastic tiles that looked like tin ceiling panels they come in lots of colors and textures and they're super fund for newborn mate yeah that's very cool any other good ones I just got she was the only one that cathy thank you for coming uh see way hand why can ask another quick question um do use the same products for most of your chutes or do you buy different stuff for each shoot are using the same equipment well they say products so I'm not really sure you have your inventory and yet I you know I think that a lot of people shoot very different because I know a lot of people come in with their props you know, I definitely talked teo shooters we got a box of props in the car this is that I just don't shoot that way I think I'm going to use any sort of props it's going to be something that's a meaning to them and that's in their home or that's part of their environment or part of their sphere of love attachment uh so I don't really bring things in that way because I can always find things that matter more than what I would bring in so sony can't was asking what sized space do you need at a minimum for shooting star a shooting space for starting out yeah, why shooting three by five bathrooms so three by five would be good places to turn around uh you know, I think that if you're thinking about setting up a studio yeah, well, the first to go I had with six hundred square feet um that was in my attic and, uh very low ceilings which uh frustrated me I still did a lot of great shoots and then I was you know I could do it so if you talk about what can you do? I still was fine. I think my ceilings were, uh up there um maybe eight or eight or nine foot, maybe eight foot that's not very low, but I have twelve. Um I have twelve to fifteen feet now I think not like this. Look at this guy what's the feeling in this two floors were far north ceiling and more uh, yeah, my my current space having those really high ceilings is very useful to me now because if I am grouping a large family and there's a tall dad and I need to back up, I don't want to get to the top of my roller. You know? I don't have to come back that so um if I had to choose I'm walking into a studio space for with our height, I would advocate for a little more height um and then use it just if it's really small use it just is a shooting space and do the rest of your stuff somewhere else. My current studio space is twenty two hundred square feet and that's that's that's very good for what we need because it's myself as well as several associate photographers and a studio manager and production assistant and um I mentioned earlier with last year teaming up with video production team with the lackey ballard productions so now they're in there doing video production work um so it's a really bustling space and a lot is going on and we've created the space so that it's it's a wide open space and I got this idea when about six years ago I went tio this was after I was working in my six hundred square foot space and I had kind of a section for everything and I went and visited um a uh I was actually went up to fitness magazine and I was part of someone that me and a couple of people were being photographed for a story. So I was on the other side of the lens and I went into this massive white box in downtown manhattan where they had psych walls everywhere and backdrops hear this and that but for the most part it was wide open and it was creative studio this was being shot here that's being shot here this was being shot here and everything was portable and mood movable and I sat there for a few hours while we're getting ready for the shoot thinking this is fabulous because I can use the space however I want and it was great timing because it was a few months before I was gonna open up my well, it is actually you're happy about it. I was already thinking about how I need to get into the studio space so I used a lot of that as the basis for my studio. My studio space is extremely open and everything is moveable. So if anybody here has been to my studio thinking you have but somebody watching have, uh you'd see that like I could clear the whole space out if I wanted to and make it just a party room we have a cocktail party will do everyone I could be shooting up here or I could be shooting it back here I could shoot you back there and I've got my backdrop coming out of the ceiling so that I could shoot this way or it could reverse it and shoot this way and then I've got a back room that's wide open with a private space if we want to do private meetings um but I could also shoot off this wall this wall so for me that much space makes sense because we have a lot of activity going on and we need the room and space for it, but I could have a shoot going and a meeting going at the same time and threw up a couple those four by eight foam core um dividers and I'm good to go, so I like the idea of having a very open space um, you know, I have definitely had people say if you don't have a closed off dark camera room, you don't have a studio um I totally appreciate that that's their point of view, but from me, I like being able to have a mix of light and just correct for it and borrow from the natural light whenever I went to her just shoot natural light when I went to him and have a wide open space that I can adjust change based on what we need to teo was extraordinarily long answer no e I heard myself saying you're falling, you're like have a still falling it's called thorough it is very thorough, very vero can I have a quick question from sandra and twitter who would like to know what a baby poser is and wants to know if that's something specific or if it's just whatever baby posers come in all shapes and sizes that could be a little trying bowling triangular foam that you just prop a baby if against or it could be kind of more convoluted where you have like a space for their bottom and space for their head or it could be a beanbag that you just morph and change into whatever you want there's quite a few baby posers out there it could be one of the nursing pillows that actually makes for a great one so you can nurse your baby and then pose them like baby closer brown there's no brand name. Okay there's a bunch of brand name. Okay there's just there's a lot are they for photography or therefore are they specifically for photography? There's many okay over a particular to target looking absolutely yeah, the one as I use the most are the beanbag because I like the squish ability and being able to do what I want and the nursing tool because I don't actually first photographs but I will put a bunch of, uh you know, uh, fabric and things like that and squish them all in and then cover them up and you could just little things like this or you flip it and you have them belly in the kind of open space of the um if they're a little bit older, you belly in the space of the uh nursing pillow and they're facing outwards and propped up because what I don't want is this you know, because I can't really get a lot out of that I can't find the tweet right now, but oh michelle says twitter uh cheap heating pad is really good for a cheap heating pad heating pad is good for newborns keeps them warm e have that little bear hat yes, yes, I remember but there I have one that's just what I use for money for shits and you stick in the microwave and then it's like you're not bringing with it a legend yeah, I always get worried about electrical oh, yeah um but yeah that's that's a really good idea because that's nothing I do in the studios we jack up the heat you know, we know newborns command have a question to put it eloquently. Um I have a question from girly girl thirty six uh tomorrow for a non location photographer would it make sense to get a studio if you only plan to use it in winter months or is your business more seasonal? So for a non location tire for what it makes sense to goes to you? Well, I know photographers whose only uh basis they have studios to do business out of and they don't shoot in there at all. It depends on what you most need a studio for if you feel like you're exhausted trying to meet people in coffee houses and at their home and lugging things around and you want to show them products that you've got those in the back of your car and that's becoming so cumbersome I think a studio space is a good idea even if it's a one room rental you know somewhere that you can have that privacy and that ability to kind of do that um one of the things I talked to photographers about a lot is uh is that question when I might wonder I know I'm ready no wonder I know I'm ready for a studio space and for me it becomes when it becomes very apparent to you that you are holding yourself back by not getting a studio space if that has become something that is obviously a barrier to the growth in your business and you want to grow your business that's when it's time to get a studio space and that became very evident to me when I was using up every section in my house pretty much um and I've lost my life work balance separation sort of thing and I needed to go into an external space and the external space I chose was actually in a crush mint indoor outdoor mall um southpoint mall in the triangle area and it's not a cheap location to be in and I had to make the decision uh do I want to sacrifice some dollars for location because I was choosing between a pretty expensive space that was bigger or a cheaper space that was a lot less a cheaper space. It was a lot less expensive, a cheaper space that had less, uh, less of a location factor. And I ended up deciding that I was gonna put all my marketing budget in with my leasing budget and recognize that I was going to get a lot of wrap up. Please, I feel like I'm accepting an oscar. Oh, that has to be subtle about reading my bad. So I went with the expensive face because I thought it would get a marketing boost, cause I had the big sign up in. A lot of people would see it was a highly trafficked area, and indeed it was, and it was worth the money, and I'm grateful I did it.

Class Description

Celebrated children's photographer Tamara Lackey leads a special worldwide workshop on the magic, art, and business of child portrait photography. Take a live, front-row seat with Tamara as she works with a wide range of kids. You'll watch as she works to put them at ease, gets them laughing, and coaxes out their natural personality for fun poses and great family portraits. More importantly, you'll be part of an ongoing weekend conversation with fellow photographers around the world about how to grow your own successful portrait photography business, while balancing personal and professional lives.