The Why and How of My New “Gravatar”

I’ve bought quite a few photography books in the past number of years, but I’ve come to the realization that, other than a small handful of them, they are all just repetition of what I’ve already read somewhere else and I find them neither overly interesting or helpful; so, instead of buying more photography books with more of the same information, I decided to get subscriptions to fashion magazines such as Vogue and W Magazine instead, for about $10 each per year, and I’ve spend the last month and a half picking out photos that I find interesting and doing my best to try to figure out lighting setups for each shot based on reflections in the models’ eyes. I came across this image in InStyle magazine ad for

equipment ad 01

and it made me want to create something similar as my profile photo for Facebook and a new gravatar for my blog. As an added bonus, the camera that the model is holding reminded me of my old Canon AE-1 Program film camera and I ended up shooting my first roll of film in twelve years a few weeks after seeing this ad.

I formed some type of concept in my head of how I would set it up and was waiting for the right moment to take the shot, but the right moment never really arrives when you are taking care of three little kids 24/7. So yesterday when I was, for once, able to get my baby boy down for a nap while the older two were in school, I grabbed my husband’s white shirt and ran down to my studio hoping that the baby would nap long enough to allow me to set up the lights, get myself ready, and get at least one decent shot.

I never look even remotely as cool as models on those photos, but I only have myself to work with, and, frankly, being your own model, make-up artist, hair-dresser, and photographer is neither easy nor is it always fun. It’s frustrating having to rely on your camera’s auto-focus triggered by a remote shutter release, and it’s nearly impossible to nail the framing of any given shot when you can’t be behind the camera to spend any time framing it with your model in the frame to begin with. But it is what it is, and I think I made the best I could with what I had to work with.

(50mm, ISO 100, f/4.5, 1/125 sec + 150ws monolight at 1/16 power with 24×36 softbox about 20* to the left and about 5ft away of me)


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