The Studio


If you were to ask me about my thoughts on studio lighting just a year ago, I would've lectured you on how artificial it is, and how unnecessary owning gear is to practicing the art of photography. Because I had to justify that gap in my knowledge. Because I was afraid.

But on a life-changing Wednesday morning last March, my photographer friend Luis urged me to just starting using the gear available in the photo studio. We assembled a softbox and plugged in the (then very very intimidating) strobe. I connected the Pocket Wizard (it worked like magic!) and shot. And I shot some more. And then a lot more.

Almost a year later, the photo studio has become my favorite place in the world. I used to love chasing the sun around outdoors during golden hour, but now I feel most creative and happy in a small empty room with black walls and a single stool. There is so much possibility that lies in the configuration of lights, the models you bring in, and the gray sweeps. The studio is a blank slate, and you can create to your wildest imaginations without exterior limitations. 

Over time, as I became more familiar with the available gear and studio usage rules (through lots of trial and error, heh), I was no longer afraid. I asked a gazillion questions about this and that, watched behind the scenes of countless photoshoots on Youtube, and learned every time I shot and studied my resulting images. The biggest thank you goes out to my professor Sky Bergman, for teaching me to see light and always helping critique my images, and photo tech Kurt O. Brown, for dealing with me, answering to my every question and need, and trusting me with his beloved studio. You two have changed my life.

I primarily shoot in the photo studio now. (Which is good and bad.) But it's taught me how to control light, work with professional equipment, and develop my style. I've always been a perfectionist, and a sucker for clean backgrounds and gorgeous lit portraits. I love the commercial look of fashion and beauty photography, and the studio makes that possible. And so thank you, dear Cal Poly photo studio, for making my dreams come true.


These images were from a quick beauty test shoot with my friend Irene. One beauty dish key light and a strip softbox for fill.