Photowalk Utah. Photo: Bryan Jones
After a good deal of “will she/won’t she” deliberation on my part, I headed down to Draper on a Saturday morning for Photowalking Utah’s 5th Annual Studio Lighting event. About 175 photographers crowded into the Gateway Community Church, along with 11 models, a makeup artist and 10 different studio lighting sets. The event was free, with a suggested donation of $5 to pay the models––a great deal considering that the models were top-notch.
The goal of the day was to allow photographers of all levels, with cameras ranging from point-and-shoots and iPhones up to multi-thousand dollar pro DSLRs and even a few film cameras, to try out a number of different lighting set-ups. Sponsored by Pictureline, which loaned the event over $5,000 worth of lighting and photography equipment, and run by 17 volunteer hosts, each studio offered a different setup. Studios included a traditional Hollywood set geared for black and white glamour shots, a backlit stage set with two dramatically made-up actresses, and a set with an African American model in tribal makeup and dress.
Some setups used continuous lighting, which allowed multiple photographers to shoot at once, and one used natural lighting and reflectors. Other studios were equipped with light sensors, and each photographer was allowed to use a flash trigger to control the strobes, giving attendees with hot shoe attachments on their cameras the opportunity to try out the setups. I was so nervous that at my first stop, I shot four photos and then ran away with the flash trigger, which was embarrassing and kind of hilarious.
The wide variety of ages, skin tones, gender and makeup made each studio a complete learning experience, allowing the photographers to experiment with manual settings to achieve different effects. The studio hosts and even other photographers were quick to offer advice and help, and there were recommended settings posted at each studio. The fantastic models were interactive, knew how to work with the photographers, and genuinely appeared to be having a good time.
The studio lighting event is held yearly in the winter when it is too cold to enjoy an outdoor photowalk, but the group holds events each month, open to photographers of all levels. The next event will be on March 17, and the group will photograph the Salt Lake City St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Details about upcoming events are posted on Photowalking Utah’s Facebook.