If you're on Facebook, you will have got those messages telling you your 'memories' from the same day a year or more ago. Apparently a year ago yesterday I made two New Year resolutions: to sort out my garden and to get myself set up for a home portrait studio. I think of myself as someone who doesn't make resolutions, so I was surprised to realise I'd made them. Its a good thing Facebook keeps these memories as apparently my own brain doesn't! Even more surprisingly, I have accomplished both those resolutions. The garden is no longer entirely covered with brambles and I have started doing studio sessions.
The set up I have is that a very wide paper backdrop hangs from a rail between two stands. This is collapsible and packs away between shoots. As my office/studio/junk room is what was formerly the garage attached to my house, there's plenty of width. The lights I use are a pair of portable lights in a kit from Calumet, which I've had for years and have often used on location. They can be triggered by on-camera flash or, as in the shot above, by directly connecting the camera to the soft-box.
My first shot was a family with two children. They perched on bar stools to keep them still, though they were still pretty wiggly! Mum stood behind them to make a tight family group and then it was a case of trying to catch the moments as they chatted and mucked around. I shot in colour but my favourites are the converted to black and white. Its worth customising this in Photoshop as you can adjust the channels. I find that reducing the red component gives much brighter complexions. I did a tiny bit of cleaning up in Photoshop as well, as one child had a scratched on their face which didn't need to be immortalised.
I'm hoping this shoot will be the first of many. Please do get in touch if you're interested.
Anna Watson: photographer, parent, juggler