Canon Imaging Academy: Studio Lighting for Portraits

After going through the Basic Photography Course at Canon Imaging Academy and a couple of other photography workshops there, I was inspired to learn more about photography. Or rather, these courses and workshops had open me up to this new world of photography. Strangely, photography isn’t just about those confusing ISO, F-stop numbers or other manual settings. A lot of it has got to do with the lighting. Even more so is the perspective of the photography. You don’t need the most expensive camera or equipment to get that award-winning shot. Over time, photography has branched out into various categories. Studio photography is one such example. The recent workshop (Studio Lighting for Portraits) I’ve attended at Canon has given me a good overview of what studio photography is all about.

First of all, this workshop focuses mainly on portraits or the shooting of human as a subject. It is useful if you’re venturing into a photography business and would like to learn more about studio photography. Otherwise, this course might not interest you if you are just picking up photography as a hobby or you prefer to take outdoor photography. Studio photography is indeed a different ball game altogether. In a studio, you will need to create your very own set-up using the strodes, hot lights and speedlites. You will need to adjust the power of the lighting and position it properly to capture your desired shot. In a sense, you’ve more control over the feel of the shots you want to take. But at the same time, you will need a lot of experience to work more effectively during a studio shoot.

There are three parts to this course which took place over a day from 9 am to 4.30pm. The first part of the session covers all the technical part of the basic studio equipment while the second part covers the studio equipment setup. During the last part of the course, there’s a hands-on session where a model is invited to the studio for us to shoot.

Due to the nature of this course, I would highly recommend that you do some readings about studio photography before attending the workshop. If you knew nuts about studio photography, you might find it overwhelming with the various equipment you’ll need to use. For me, I couldn’t quite comprehend all the technicalities involved as I haven’t played around with other camera accessories such as speedlites. However, I did have a very good overview of what studio photography is all about and how to shoot portraits. Communicating with your model is also a skill.

During the hands-on session, we did not use our cameras as it can be quite a hassle to change cameras. Instead, we used the instructor’s camera to shoot. We tested out the shots with a teddy bear for a start.

After each shot, we will try to analyse the photos to see if the lighting is suitable. We also played around with the various equipment to create various effects and mood.

I have to say that I enjoyed taking portrait shots a lot as there’s a lot of creativity involved when you’re taking a picture of a model. The picture straightaway comes to live with their body movements, posture and facial expressions. During the hands-on session, each of us took turns to test out various types of shots as the instructor help to do up the settings.

How does this shot look? It’s one of my favourite shots I took of the model. 
To me, this is more like a crash course on Studio photography because it would take several lessons for you to master the use of each studio equipment and how to make them work in sync with each other. You would need time to play around with the various equipment as well. At least, you’ll have a sneak peak as to how magazine photoshoots work. And who knows? I might be able to take studio photography one day. It will be cool.
Studio Lighting for Portraits is a Skillsfuture credit-eligible course. For more information, visit their website here

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