June 30, 2004

A Candle Light Session

I have only worked with multiple models and candles a couple of times, and with mixed success - the small circle of illumination is difficult to work with when two models have to be lit, and while the intimacy it implies is welcome, if the subjects of the photographs are hidden in shadow, they have a much reduced impact.
Digital original
For this session, I was very directly building on the successes I'd had working previously with Miranda and Monique in April. That session had yielded a number of very strong images (in spite of losing more then half of the images to a tragic mistake), and made me rethink the difficulties I had had previously with two models and the candle. I think the root of the problem I had had was I was approaching it like a standard couple session, trying to light the scene with the candle, as opposed to building the image from the candle out. With the first approach, I would have the models find a comfortable pose, and then place the candle within it. The tactic I used for this session was the reverse - I placed the candle on the backdrop, and then had the models carefully move into the composition, adjusting their pose and position as dictated by the light.
Digital original
The impact this change in approach made on the resulting images was surprising. For over an hour the two model and I worked with the single candle, and successful image after successful image emerged. I started working with both models back-on to the candle, and making images of their buttocks lit by the light, but swiftly shifted to other less structured images. By placing one model in the foreground, in front of the candle, and the other model behind the candle, I had a base of the image (the first model) and a focus to the composition (the second model). I think the fundamental error I made in the past was I saw the candle as just the light course, and not the primary focus of the image.
Digital original
As the last session in a busy day, the candle-light photos were a great success. The primary advantage of the session was that both models could relax and be relatively comfortable during the session (though the question was posed as to why it couldn't take place on the far more comfortable futon), and the results were very pleasing. Bobbi has specifically asked about working with the candle, so after I'd exhausted the possibilities of both models together with the candle, Miranda moved to the comfy futon, and Bobbi and I made a small series of images of her with the candle alone.

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