Portraiture and the Art of the Pinup. Simple idea. Try to replicate the aesthetic look of artwork that became popular during the second world war. The retro pin-up look has never quite gone out of style and recently has seen a resurgence in popularity. It is a slice of classic Americana that some simply can't get enough of, and the nostalgia of the Pin-Up connects us all to the history of our country.
The Aperture Academy's Glen McDowell and Scott Donschikowski were on hand this time to bring that nostalgic look to two groups of intrepid photographers. With half of the Aperture Academy gallery turned into a studio space for the day, our photogs had the best of two lighting setups and two models with which to capture that classic pin-up look.
Glen and Scott started with the usual introductions and such, and Glen moved into discussing more about the day's shoot. Before the models made their entrance, we talked about how to accomplish the goal of getting a successful portrait shot. The biggest one being attitude, and how the attitude of the photographer can be reflected back on him by the model. We also talked about lighting setups, and how a simple two light setup can be achieved even on a shoestring budget. We then brought out a model to show a quick run through of some poses, and proper techniques for using the speedlites and the studio strobes.
Alright, enough waiting, bring out the models! And with that, the Dick Dale station on Pandora snapped to life and the retro shoot began with period surf music as our accompaniment.
The students had two scenes from which to choose their shoot. The models, Sophie St. Claire and Stefanie Fauvor, are complete professionals and worked the shoot and channeled all the grace and aplomb of their 1950s compatriots. Our students found it easy to photograph the girls, and round after round made their way up and adjusted their cameras to get the perfect settings, under the watchful eye of Glen and Scott, and then proceeded to fill up their memory cards faster than our studio strobes could recharge.
A quick break, to let the models cool down and change outfits, allowed Glen and Scott to review everyone's images and talk more about the technique of portrait shooting. We introduced them to Pocket Wizards, natural window lighting, a few posing tips for outdoor portraiture, and most importantly, how to find the light and how that light is going to look on the models.
Speaking of models, they came out for the second time looking as ravishing as ever, after their wardrobe change. Our students began again, working the room, changing settings, garnering some pretty fantastic results. But alas, 3 hours passes by extremely fast when you're having fun on a retro photo shoot (and making some great images). We had time enough for a quick group shot, some exchanging of contact information (our models can be hired), and then congratulations all around for an awesome day of classic pin-up shooting.
Until next time... Glen, Scott, Stefanie, Sofie and the rest of the Aperture Academy team!
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.
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