Photographing Moving Models

Photographing Hummingbirds or Spinning Models, is pretty much the same. You have got to catch them just at the right moment, and have your camera focused, ready and set. Not  a gardening post, but a photography adventure. So what was I up to this past Friday?

I am so excited and could not wait to tell you all about it. I went to my first studio shoot with my photography group. Well, not all of them, this one was just for WOMEN only. Our leader held a special shoot for us women because none of us were showing up at the figure shoots.

Too many guys I guess, I know I felt a little uncomfortable shooting nude women in amongst a room full of guys. I have sketched nude models in art classes filled with guys, but for some reason this seemed a bit different.

I can not even explain why, but now that I have done this once, I do not feel so self-conscious amongst the guys. Partially because my images came out pretty nice and can hold their own with a few of the gents, but also because it did not seem any different from sitting down to sketch.

It was all about the lighting, and how it draped the form. You did not even really notice that she was nude, just like sketching, you concentrate on the what you are doing to produce your art.

I did not have a flash for my camera with me, and used a hotshoe setup, soft boxes, reflectors and umbrellas that our leader supplied. The hotshoe remote controlled the soft box and strobe light from my camera. It was a great experience shooting in the studio, and I would love to get some lights and reflectors myself.

I have done this before, but with architectural models, not people models. Lighting a stationary, inanimate object is much simpler I think. I did retouch these images in Photoshop. It gave me a chance to show my editing skills.

Outdoor lighting on moving subjects seems less trying, but I bet once I am accustomed to lighting setup, it will be similar to understanding outdoor lighting. The warmth of the lights, the angles, the intensity, –  using reflected light, diffused light and specular light.

The images are of our model before she disrobed, and I did ask her permission to use the images on my blog. I explained that I wanted to tell you all about my experience, and she was fine letting me use a few of the fully clothed images. I also told her my blog is G-rated. And we talked about how any professional photographer reading here and living locally can leave a comment to set up a shoot with her. So if you are interested, it goes through our group leader, and I forward on the email address.

The model was an aerial silk artist. She would move through the air on the silk with grace and skill.

I told the other lady photographers that I am so used to shooting flowers, birds, bugs, and bees,that this maybe quite a challenge.  Our model was mostly moving and this became difficult with the stationary lighting and a group of roving photographers.

I could move the lights, but then would have gotten in someone’s way. I would love to do the lighting setup and have it just right, but it became a bit of luck to catch her when the light was good. I have many images with the face in shadow and that is not good for any kind of people photos.

Other images, working in soft focus, I ended up with the focus not on the eyes. Again, this is something you want whether working with birds, bugs or people. You want the eyes sharp and clear. I so wish I could show you my photos because they really are very beautiful. Maybe not in a technical sense necessarily, but I was happy for a first timer in this genre of photography. I got some very artsy shots, some soft, and some with rim lighting and contrast. I had a great time. Different than bugs and flowers, but just as interesting and pretty. And I love a challenge, but will be sticking with bugs, birds and flowers.

Back to flowers, an Artist’s garden up next.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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16 Responses to Photographing Moving Models

  1. I’m not surprised that your photos turned out well. You are a master photographer as far as I’m concerned. And a great photo editor, too. Beautiful images. I’m glad you have a rewarding photography experience.

  2. I can’t wait to see your other photos. I like to just take pictures of flowers because they don’t move.

  3. Andrea says:

    I echo what Plant Postings above said. I am happy for you, you excel in whatever things you want to do. I see this dance on air here on TV and i am sure it is difficult to do. And that bird shot is fantastic, with only the eyes very vividly clear. I wonder how this is done!

  4. Anarya Andir says:

    Oh the photos are just beautiful!

  5. Marguerite says:

    What fun it must have been to see her perform just for your group. As someone who can barely get a good shot with a completely stationary object I can only imagine how difficult it would be to capture the light and focus on a moving person.

  6. These are some neat photographs! I love the set-up of the model with the red cloth. Great work!

  7. stone says:

    Wait… She was nude? I gotta get a new computer… I’m being censored.
    Nice hummingbird… Birds are so difficult to shoot…. But… they keep presenting me with opportunities, gonna get the shot eventually.

  8. skeeter says:

    Your photos are beautiful as always! Hummers are a challenge indeed….

  9. absolutely superb shots, as usual! i may have mentioned it before, but IMHO you should seriously submit your work to National Geographic and other mags…im pretty sure you’ll get accepted…your work is as good as, if not better, than some ive seen!

  10. Thank you taking us on your photo shoot. When I take photos of birds and bees I focus and follow the bird/bee as well as I can and take lots of photos. I may get one good photo out of 20 shots. Thank goodness for digital photography.

  11. I’d say you certainly learned how to shoot moving anything…including models…great images and your enthusiasm for your photography lessons learned is catching..

  12. What an interesting experience and good training. Your photos look great on the iPad. I am having a terrible time with the iPad here. I can’t read or comment on blogs at all. This is the first time I have been successful.

  13. OH man Donna I would love to see the rest of your photographs… Its funny because I have thought about shooting a nude model recently. There is no great urge but I have come across some nude photography which I find absolutely beautiful and I wonder at times how I would photograph a nude model.. I may venture down that road before the year is over. What you say is so true though.

    “You did not even really notice that she was nude, just like sketching, you concentrate on the what you are doing to produce your art.”

    I think this statement is very true. I remember a lady we worked with 2 months ago kept having wardrobe malfunctions with her top as well as her skirt.. Each time we would have to tell her to fix her dress or her top or the position in which she was laying because we did not want certain things showing in the photograph. She wanted her portfolio updated with somewhat steamy photographs of her in a particular out fit. When you are in the zone you don’t notice how scantily dressed a person may be you are just trying to get great images. I imagine that is how I would approach the subject of nude photography too. Don’t get me wrong the first 5 – 10 minutes may be slightly uncomfortable but once you are in the zone I can’t imagine you focusing on the fact that the model is nude. Unless of course the photographer is there for other purposes which just recently I saw on a recent bike shoot that Marcus and I attended.

    The images above are beautiful Donna and I thank you for sharing them with us as well a giving us a first hand account of how things went for you.!

  14. Indie says:

    What an interesting photo shoot. I would love to take a photography class sometime. I would think that this would be quite the challenge – people and moving objects seem the hardest for me to take good pictures of.

  15. I envy the photography group and all the techniques you are learning. I am not a good ‘on my own’ learner….a class would be so helpful! One of these days there may be one I can go to….timing is always an issue.

  16. Oh what fun you must have had – I’ve done boudiour shoots and like you can’t put the images online. It’s great when someone is so relaxed doing things like that and it always shows in the images.

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