• Laura

Why Do I Make Life Difficult For Myself? Shooting in an All White Photography Studio...

I used to have rolls of paper backdrops hanging up on a roller in the studio. Always cream, grey and dark grey.

It got to the point where I hadn't used them for around a year. I still kept them there though, they were mostly out of the way and I like that it made my tiny little studio appear more like how a photography studio 'should' look- full of equipment! I soon got over this and took them down though, I think I was a little embarassed by the size of it to be honest- it is around 15 sq ft, pretty basic inside with some shelving, a chaise and a few other bits. It is across a courtyard from my house in it's own building and the entrance is seperate from my house but when you think 'studio' most people expect a high street commercial property with large shop windows and many rooms.

What I've learnt over the past 7 years is that I really don't need much to be able to work. Not to be able to produce the work that I do anyway. I need some big windows covered in ripstop fabric for soft and natural light, a plain white backdrop wall and white floor... and that is it. I choose to have basic wooden/white toys for the babies, and couple of other props lie about in there but parents book me to take photos of their babies, the details, the looks, the beautiful little THEM.

My point is that it's not easy in the tiny room without much space to move around but I know the angles pretty well by now. I know where to place baby and I know how to get beautiful catchlights in their eyes by getting them to look a certain direction- once you know the light and the room things get much easier.

Shooting almost exclusively on white however is another matter. Firstly do you have any idea how often I scrub that floor with bleach? Before every session. Not just because of our lovely friend Covid-19 but becuase that is the easiest way to keep it white. The walls mark, the curtains get grubby and I spend half of the time trying to get footprints off of the white floor.

Secondly is the more technical aspect of it- the white balance. You may be familiar with what this is but if not... the white balance of a room is basically how warm/cold something looks. Ideally it will stay the same, but throughout the day whilst using natural light this does change- if the sun is behind a cloud then it is cooler than when it is out, sunset has a soft orange glow compared to bright morning light.

So I find myself adjusting this to make sure there is a lovely consistency to all of my images. Keeping things 'white' really means just making sure that all of the neutrals have then same balance. Photographers who use studio lighting have an easier job when it comes to white balance (and in fact, lighting a subject as they can just move their lights- I can't exactly move a window) as the light colour is always the same and always consistent, however I personally feel that natural light is SO hard to mimick and I have always been in love with the softness and the natural feel it gives photos.

Colour casts can also be a problem too- wear a bring colour e.g. red or yellow and I can guarentee that your skin will have a colour glow reflecting your clothes! This is another reason why I advise wearing neutrals (but mostly it's because white on white is my favourite thing ever!).

So after listing the problems- why on earth do I do it? Here is why...

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Studio sessions will resume from 02.12.20 following government guidelines.

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maternity, family, baby, newborn, child, photography, cheltenham, gloucester, gloucestershire, cotswolds, oxford, swindon
maternity, family, baby, newborn, child, photography, cheltenham, gloucester, gloucestershire, cotswolds, oxford, swindon