There are some models that I’ve photographed time and time again. I think that the more you get to know someone and build rapport, the better the images. I’ve found that second and subsequent shoots usually tend to be more productive than the first.

I’ve just finished processing images from my second shoot with glamour model Jay. The first shoot was good, but the second was even better. We were bouncing ideas off each other and having a lot of fun. I’ll post some photos soon, but as I was filing the latest images away I had another look through the photos from our first shoot together and realised that I hadn’t got around to posting these on my site yet. Coincidentally, I answered a question this week about shutter speeds, so these photos also help to illustrate a point about ‘dragging the shutter’.

Dragging the shutter

‘Dragging the Shutter’ is a term that refers to slowing the shutter speed down to lengthen the exposure and to allow more ambient light to show through.  When shooting with studio flash lighting you will need to set your camera to Manual mode and dial in your chosen exposure settings (aperture, ISO, shutter).  Now, if we are to drag the shutter the main variable we are going to change is to slow the shutter speed down, without changing the aperture or ISO.  Somewhere around 1/15 or 1/30 of a second would be a reasonable place to start.  From here you can take a test shot and assess whether you need to go slower or faster. The burst of flash from your studio lights or speedlight is so fast that it usually ‘freezes’ the subject, meaning that camera shake often associated with slow shutter speeds isn’t really an issue.

I’ve used the technique in the first two photos of Jay sitting on the couch. I lit Jay with one Elinchrom studio flash fitted with a softbox. I wanted quite a dark look to the images to match the dark underwear and the black leather couch and I liked that the lamp in the background was giving off a yellow glow, which I wanted to retain. If I had used a shutter speed of 1/125 the flash would have killed the light from the lamp. Instead, I dragged the shutter speed down to 1/30 of a second to let the ambient light from the lamp come through. The camera settings used were:

ISO: 100
Aperture: f/6.3
Shutter speed: 1/30 of a second

I hope this has helped a little. Thanks for reading and click on the photos to see them bigger.

Jay by Paul Jones

Jay by Paul Jones

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