Pole Shoots: Transition from Head Shots

CD on chair, Polecats Manila Studio, October 2017

Transitioning from mostly head shots to taking full body shots is no joke. It’s especially hard for me who takes more staged shots than spontaneous ones. My shoots are often indoors so that was tricky too. Anyway, here are the things that made it difficult and how I tried to solve it.

First, there’s not much space to work with at home. Having no studio means I had to live with small rooms with low ceilings. Usually, I was already at the far end of the room when I take pictures of people up the pole.  There were times I resorted to asking my muses to crumple into a ball or choose tighter poses just so they’ll fit in the frame. Or worse, I’ll crop something out. I really love my 50mm lenses but 24mm was just more practical for full body shots indoors.

And then there’s lighting! With head shots, I made use of windows, flashlights and basic reflectors and I am almost always more than satisfied. In pole shoots, it always falls short. I had to either have more light sources, improve lighting coverage or make use of modifiers for better lighting. It took some time before I finally understood that I needed to depend on artificial light and bigger soft boxes. Way bigger. What I did was use my flash with the reflective umbrella and diffused it with a big panel of translucent cloth (kind of like a scrim)I could think of at least 10 more things I feel I would be able to utilize but for now I still have a lot of things to experiment with in my current set up.

And the last one is background, specifically a plain one. I feel that I haven’t completely addressed this problem as I can only do plain white background. I still have yet to solve having a black background, a gray background and a colored one. Again this may sound very basic for head shots but a pole is about 10 feet high and a split is how much wide? So the background needs to be, let’s just say, really big. Of course I also dreamed of being able to take pictures of dancers with a staged background/foreground but that would entail getting more gear as I ‘d have to aptly light the background, the pole and the model.

This is just the beginning!

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