Model Shoot No.2

I had my second go at a model shoot at the weekend which was again great fun. The lovely Chantelle Riley was my model and we tried a variety of different lighting setups, again starting with a simple beauty light setup with a soft box above and a reflector below.




I also did a few 3/4 shots with a soft box and also with a second flash with a grid as a hair light to try and separate her from the background. I learnt a bit more and we both ended up with some images to use.




I may or may not keep this up to date for the next few weeks as I will be travelling to the UK but I hope to have some good images to share when I get back.

My 1st Model Shoot

A couple of weeks ago I had my first attempt at a model shoot. I placed an advert via the StarNow website and was pleasantly surprised to receive a number of responses. I arranged my first shoot with a lovely young lady by the name of Maruschke and her husband came along as well which was very useful, he was a very effective voice activated light stand (VAL for short). Having someone hold a reflector helps a lot!

Maruschke had done some modelling before which helped as she didn’t need much direction as I really needed to think about my lighting. I tried to keep my light setup fairly simple, initially using a single flash and later using two; to light the background and/or as a hair light. I shot with the camera on manual, around f/8 to f/11 with a shutter speed 1/125s to 1/200s.

I took around 250 shots in the end and I was quite pleased with the results for a first attempt at any rate. I tried beauty/clamshell lighting as well as some more Rembrandt style side lighting using a soft box. In the end I actually liked the effect from the soft box with a grid attached and intend to try that setup again the next time I do a model shoot. All in all a good learning experience but I need much more practice to become confident enough to relax about my lighting and concentrate more on the posing and personality of the model.








I tried lots of different post processing options, again more as a learning exercise than to create a consistent style. In the future I want to get a more specific look and plan better in advance.

Visual Design Part II – More Lines

Last Monday I gave my talk on visual design at my local camera club, it seemed to go very well. I managed to sound almost sane and we had a good discussion afterwards covering both visual design and composition. This week I want to continue from where I left off last time, with some more types of lines, specifically diagonal and curved lines.

Diagonal Lines

Diagonal lines have more energy than either horizontal or vertical lines and can be used to move the eye quickly through an image, the angle of the line and whether it is angled top to bottom or bottom to top affect how dynamic the line is. Lines angled up are generally more positive than those running down. Of course this depends on the viewer normally reading from left to right and top to bottom. 


This is still quite a calm image, the lines are not steeply angled.

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The angles here help make the image more dynamic.

HongKong_2010-05-13_15-53-20_DSC_2014_©RichardLaing(2010) Curve



Curves are more gentle and restful than straight diagonal lines. They lead the eye more slowly through an image and are often found in nature, a winding river would be a good example but also roads and paths can provide good curves to lead the eye through an image.





Implied Lines

Not all the lines in an image need to be real. The eye is very good at connecting points to make lines and when a person or animal is in the image the subject’s direction of view can make a strong line. We automatically look at eyes in an image and want to see where those eyes are looking. This is one reason that is usually a good idea to make sure that there is room in the direction the subject is looking. This avoid a the viewer from being drawn straight out of the image.

Cat in the grass

Visual Design – Lines

In my last post I talked about the PSNZ judging seminar that I attended. I have since been asked to give a presentation to the club on some of what we learnt and I thought this would also make a series of blog posts. In particular I thought I would work through the elements of visual design. There are plenty of texts which cover this and I have read several including Michael Freeman’s “The Photographers Eye”, “Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography” by Brenda Tharp and “Photographically Speaking” by David duChemin, all of which I would thoroughly recommend. 

The elements I am going to look at are:

  • Lines
  • Shapes – triangles, squares, circles
  • Textures
  • Perspective
  • Light

In reality light is probably the most important of all these but perhaps the hardest to explain – you really need to see the light!

For today I can going to look at lines, lines can be calm and peaceful or strong and powerful depending on their type and direction.

Horizontal Lines

Horizontal lines imply stability, and calm. The most obvious example would be the horizon, present in so many landscape images.



Sunset Beach

Calm horizontals, changes in hue or saturation can create lines.

Vertical Lines

Vertical lines are more dynamic, and possess more energy. Someone standing feels more energetic than someone lying down. True vertical lines are not that common in nature but trees, flowers, waterfalls and cliffs are examples or vertical (or near vertical) lines. Vertical lines can lead you into (or through) an image.


Verticals can lead you through an image.

That’s all for this week, I still need to finish my presentation, I’ll look at oblique and curved lines next time.