Taura Horn's Simple Studio Session

It's no secret that I LOVE film shot in studio.  The simplicity is just so beautiful to me.  So when I saw these images by Nebraska photographer Taura Horn, I know I had to share them.  

Read below as Taura share a bit about the session and her lighting set up.

-Sandra Coan

Taura Horn | Little Bellow | Film Photography in Studio
Taura Horn | Little Bellow | Film Photography in Studio

About the Session

For Amalia's session with her children Bastian and Poppy, I had a specific vision of how I wanted to style and shoot it, from the color palette and lighting, but I really wanted to give her some of her own time in front of the camera. 

I feel like a lot of moms come to shoots and don't really want their photos taken and just want me to focus on their children because they think they don't look good enough, or they feel guilty for taking time up for themselves.  So you have to give them some space, literally, to just be women and not moms for a little bit.  Make Dad or Grandma or a babysitter take the kids for the morning while she gets her hair and makeup done, and we get to make some beautiful photos of her by herself.  She deserves to see proof of herself as a beautiful woman, and her kids deserve to look back when they're older and be able to see her as someone who has a life and energy while still being their caretaker.  So this first half of the session is really important! 

By the time the kids get there, mom is relaxed, I'm warmed up, and we're ready for the controlled chaos of working with kids in the studio!  I was really pleased that Amalia trusted me with every aspect of her session, from how she would be styled, to how I'd dress Bastian and Poppy.  These two share a birthday, and their photos were taken about at Poppy's first birthday and Bastian's fourth birthday to celebrate! 

Taura Horn | Little Bellow | Film Photography in Studio
Taura Horn | Little Bellow | Film Photography in Studio
Taura Horn | Little Bellow | Film Photography in Studio
Taura Horn | Little Bellow | Film Photography in Studio
Taura Horn | Little Bellow | Film Photography in Studio

About The Set Up

I used a Mamiya 645afd with 80 2.8 lens, and generally shoot Kodak Portra 400 between 2.8-4f. 

My lighting set up varies between simple and "how did I do that again??", using a 5' Bowens Octobox with white seamless. 

Most of the times (and for a few of these) I position it facing the subject, simple and beautiful. 

For some of these (you can tell which ones) and when I want super soft light I bounce it off one of the white walls of my studio and use the natural light from the sliding door behind me to soften it even more, and the window up behind the subject with the light that is bounced off the white house next door gives some hair light.  I used a black v-flat camera right to the subject. 

I love to play with lighting, you can get such subtly different looks with small changes.  (It actually took me a while to figure out how to shoot in the crazy space, though it seems obvious now! ) 

Taura Horn | Little Bellow | Film Photography in Studio
Taura Horn | Little Bellow | Film Photography in Studio

Film was developed and scanned by Richard Film Lab.  

See more of Taura's work
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Three Myths That Keep Film Photographers From Using Off Camera Lights

Three Myths That Keep Film Photographers From Using Off Camera Lights by Sandra Coan

About ten years ago I was gifted a set of studio strobes from a friend of mine who was closing her photography studio.  

I had always wanted to learn lighting, but looking at the strobe heads and soft boxes just stress me out.  It seemed hard and technical and not "my style".

So I told myself that lighting just wasn't for me, put the entire set up in storage and left it there for five years.  

During that time, I struggled with light.  

You see, I live in Seattle, and it's dark here a majority of the time.  When I was shooting digitally, I would just crank my ISO up to 6400 and make it work.  But when I made the switch back to film I knew something had to change.  If I was going to shoot film inside, in Seattle, I was going to have to learn how to use lighting.

So I did.  And it changed everything.

Since then I've become somewhat of an off camera lighting evangelist.  I sing it's praises every chance I get!  And every time I talk about it I hear the same reasons from photographers on why they don't want to use it.  So today I want to talk about the three myths that keep photographers form using off camera lighting and why they are just not true.

Here we go.

Myth #1: Lighting is hard

I used to think this too.  But it's not.  In fact, it's really, really easy.  Just force yourself to start.

Take your strobe or your flash, put it on a tripod, put a light modifier on it, and tell yourself it's a window.

Light is light.  

If you can do it with the sun shining through a window, you can do it with a bulb shining through a soft box!

Myth #2: You Can't Be Spontaneous When Using lighting

This was my biggest worry what kept me from using lights for year.  You see, I work with kids. And kids run and jump and move a lot.  I wanted to be able to capture that movement.

And I can.  In fact, strobes make it better!

The flash freezes movement, so you can capture a kid in mid jump and not get motion blur!  

#awesome

Sandra Coan Three Myths That Keep Film Photographers From Using Off Camera Lights

Myth #3: Lighting looks fake. I want soft and natural.

This is the biggest lighting myth around.  Lighting, when done right, can look as soft and beautiful as natural light.  

This is how I do it...

I turn my lights down until I get a reading of F4 in the shadows.  That way I can soot at F4 or even F2.8 and have a prefectly exposed image that looks soft and just like natural light. 

Not sure how to meter with strobes and flash, check out my FREE guide on metering in all kinds of light!

Three Myths That Keep Film Photographers From Using Off Camera Lights by Sandra Coan for Little Bellows

Pro Tip: If you are going to be shooting with off camera lighting be sure to check your camera's sync speed.  The sync speed is the fasted shutter speed recommend for your camera when working with a flash of any kind!

The Missing Link: A Film Photographer's Guide to Studio Strobes

Most film photographers believe that in order to shoot film 100% of the time they need to shoot outside.

They struggle when the weather turns cold or rainy or when they are asked to photograph a subject indoors.

And they believe the only solution to this problem is to push their film and pray for good results or go back to their digital camera and embrace hybrid shooting.

I know because that was my story too.

I struggled with not enough light.  I pushed my film which resulted in contrasty and muddy images that didn't fit my brand, and I resigned myself to hybrid shooting, thinking that was my only choice.

What I know now, however,  is that it is possible to shoot film 100% of the time - even inside, even on super dark days.  

It is possible to create soft, luminous images at every single session regardless of the weather. 

And it is possible to do it without pushing your film or relying on your digital gear.

Let me show you how!

 

The Missing Link: A Film Photographer's Guide to Studio Strobes is designed to teach you everything you need to know about working with film and artificial light. 

 

In this workshop you will learn...

  • The exact equipment you need to get started.
  • Details on how to set everything up and get it working seamlessly with your film cameras.
  • How to meter with strobes for both B&W and color.
  • My one light, one light-modifier approach to creating luminous, natural-light looking photos.
  • Detailed descriptions, photos AND instructional videos throughout.
  • Bonus materials on shooting with speedlights, using strobes on location, film stocks and more.
  • Continued support in The Missing Link Facebook group where you can share your progress and ask questions.
  • Most importantly you will get instant access to all three modules.... AND lifetime access to the workshop.

Registration Open

Lifetime Access: $195
sign up now

 

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