My Home Studio: Part 1

- Want to see where I work? Check out part 2 here: my home office -

A lot of people seem to think I have this giant space. I do not. I actually never had more space then those 2 converted bedrooms I work in now and not so long ago I rented a small, bedroom sized commercial space. And even before that, I used to work in my studio between my bed and desk. And going even further back, I had to sit on my bed to even be able to shoot a half body. I started working with clients in the time I had a one-room living studio space. Good times.

I think space, as a whole, is something I’m right now in between proud and embarassement. It’s small and it’s stuffed full because I got too many awesome costumes and props and an amount of lights I’m not really able to place around yet have been managing kinda okay actually - considering where I got through that road in the past 3, 4 years of doing this studio stuff.

So right now, have an introduction in my space part 1! The next blog will be about my office, the one I’m working on right now while writing this and basically doing everything else when I’m not shooting in my studio or somewhere on an other location for the job.

But let’s talk about my magical place right now where I create about 99% of my work for the past 2 years that you see and probably has brought you to this blog all the way: Our appartment right now is pretty big, which means I was able to not only take one, but two bedrooms for my professional purposes of photography and everything surrounding it - which has been absolutely amazing as I never had this much space and even though right now I’m really feeling it’s limitations - I love the simplicity because it gives me a constant purpose to motivate and push those edges in all directions. There is nothing more, it’s all I have. And it has learned me to think only within the frame of my camera, not outside of it.

I also got pretty good at figuring out space-management, which was until not so long ago owning between 300 to 400 costume pieces (including as far as 8 sets of armor), a bunch of lamps & modifiers thanks to the GenNEXT broncolor program, a ton of material like my giant reflector (I use to avoid light bouncing off my wall) and way too many colored backdrops. An ikea wardrobe became a partial costume storage (also becoming an awesome interior styling thing), holding also a ton of modifiers & props I use during shooting and other technical equipment - finished with a piece painted by my dear friend Shienra featuring “Triss Merigold” from the Witcher. Behind my backdrop I have my own armor and weapon armory (that 1m35 backdrop hides three full sets of plate armor, way too many fake and real weapons and some loose pieces for example), the corners have been transformed to one side some more light equipment and my authentic harpoon (yup) while the other is the “backdrop spot” where I can easily pick and store anything I don’t use.

When I’m not using my lamps; I usually store them all in front of my backdrop - keeping 2/3rd of my studio free which is easier to clean and keep track of; but when I’m working I usually put them on my left when shooting as they’re not in the way of either myself or the set.

Against my “free” wall I have stored some mannequins, which is just easier to store another 2 sets of armor. They also hold some stools to sit on - but it’s also where I often put my main light; which is why I don’t bother to cover that wall as the light comes from that direction anyway. The other side I have my (by accidentely way too big) reflector; which is my most beloved thing now because it doubles both as anti-light for deeper shadows but also as a bigger and especially higher backdrop when my model(s) and/or sets are too tall. Two-in-one is awesome.

And that’s about it. Do I want a bigger space? Please yes. I REALLY do. But until then, it’s my cozy space.
Am I a bit embarrased and shy to share this finally? I actually do. It feels in a way unprofessional to share how small and humble my space is to be honest, but at the same time: this is what it is. I don’t nééd more to be able to do what I do and I know once I hit a new chapter in life - one with hopefully a bigger space - I am aware how lucky I am to have it and how many crazy opportunities that is giving me. And I can basically work almost anywhere by now because I’m not bothered as much by what (isn’t) there.

The entrance to the studio of my alternative reality from day to day.

The entrance to the studio of my alternative reality from day to day.

My studio: 1m35 of colorama paper fun I have worked on since the earliest days of purchasing this in 2015. I went through about 3 black backdrop rolls by now - but most of my rolls have been going strong since the start. it’s pretty crooked - but I don’t cut it off unless it’s like literally falling apart from (ab)use as I don’t always shoot full body and backdrop paper is expensive … Currently it has two new holes into it due to yesterday’s evening shoot (woops).  The studio holds the following equipment: a broncolor siros 800, a move 1200 with 2 lamps, a beautydish, an octabox, two stripboxes (30x120cm on permanent lamps - my other is folded up and away), there is also a para, a picolight with various attachments and some various stuff that is either brandless or fun tools.

My studio: 1m35 of colorama paper fun I have worked on since the earliest days of purchasing this in 2015. I went through about 3 black backdrop rolls by now - but most of my rolls have been going strong since the start. it’s pretty crooked - but I don’t cut it off unless it’s like literally falling apart from (ab)use as I don’t always shoot full body and backdrop paper is expensive … Currently it has two new holes into it due to yesterday’s evening shoot (woops).

The studio holds the following equipment: a broncolor siros 800, a move 1200 with 2 lamps, a beautydish, an octabox, two stripboxes (30x120cm on permanent lamps - my other is folded up and away), there is also a para, a picolight with various attachments and some various stuff that is either brandless or fun tools.

How it was lit: Fervor - Artifical & Natural Light

How it was lit: Fervor

My first time using artificial light on location

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done this shoot, but I’m so happy I can finally talk about it: my very first time using artificial light outside. When I became a broncolor GenNEXT ambassador, I quickly knew I wanted to have the possibility to work outside as well – as I felt that was something I rarely did anymore. Mostly because I felt uninspired and I love how I’m able to use artificial light to create certain moods and feelings – but it was something out of my reach. This entire set was shot with a Siros 800 with just one modifier (a Softlight Reflector with diffuser) and being able to just pack it up and go is pretty mindblowing. Everything is battery charged and I made it through the entire session with just two, with the second still going strong and steady.

For this specific shoot I had some of my favorite people on set: Eline Deblauwe who was taking care of hair and make-up, my gorgeous muses Luce Del Sole & Van Spooky Pants, with dresses by Church Of Sanctus – a London base independent vegan brand – and amazing jewelry by Finnish designer Eero Hintsanen.

For this one I only took one modifier with me – as I had this idea to create very deep and contrast like images with the urban location we had in Antwerp: which was the Siros 800 and the Softlight Reflector with a diffuser. I did my first try with Spooky and it took me a bunch of attempts to figure out the “how” as the first images looked like the (what I don’t like) typical look I see very often with artificial light outside.

Try-Outs.jpg

It all came together the moment I positioned my model against the beautiful, strong evening light we had on that fall day and I used the light to fill in my model rather than to use it as a main light. And that was basically the magic I was looking for. The first try (with Spooky) resulted in some heavy chromatic aberration (which I’ve been able to work away), for the second shoot I positioned my model in a more overcast setting and used the shadowplay of the building we where shooting under for a different kind of look.

I positioned my light mostly on the left, angled up at a 45 degrees downwards while the rest of the image was mostly lit by the evening light. It resulted in a deep, contrast like set of images without losing any details and an absolute minimum for editing. Most I had to do was color conversion and adjustments to contrast and light – with just a few minor distraction removals.

And on that note: The Siros 800 is an absolute beast - the HS (High-Speed) was able to balance out the beautiful evening light and merge both light sources together. It is definitely visible it’s not only using natural light, but it doesn’t has this overpowering feel to it like in my first tests and that was the look I was going for.

Lane1.jpg

I shot a second set near the water, which was a bit more tricky as I had more natural light and the sun was setting, but again I was able with some minor adjustments to get it all done and ready to shoot with a similar set-up as before. As before, in post-processing I barely had to do any editing as everything just flawlessy came together on set.

I will be going outside again shortly to try more of this, this time with colored gels and/or more modifiers but that will be for another blog. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed!

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