Guest Post by Yasmin Tajik – Follow Yasmin on Twitter
I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I can be mature, calm and collected when it comes to encountering new situations. I tend to sit back, take in all the information I can and then feverish apply it. I’m not scared to approach or ask someone of high status a question, or send an email to a person I think is unreachable. After all, I was groomed by my parents to always aim high and that I deserved the results I worked hard for. When I recently started using strobes/studio lighting I was unsure what to do. Scott Bourne told me to act like I was five years old. What? I was taken aback. No one I respected had ever told me to do that. Not only did he tell me to act like I was five, but he made me promise to do so. Saying it was one thing, then acting out on it was another.
I’ve been told I’m well-rounded, but I come from a biology background. I’m analytical. I like mathematical formulas and knowing that I can come up with a distinct answer. Being thrown into a situation where there seemingly were no boundaries or right or wrong was a bit unnerving for me, but, it was exciting too! And this is what I set out to do with my new studio lights. I had no previous instruction or classes on studio lighting. Just my Tony Corbell book, my Professional Photographer magazines, and the endless images I had banked in my brain of proper lighting techniques. See, I’m secretly a nerd at heart so my first reaction when taking on a new venture, is to completely immerse myself in it. I read on the Internet, I read books, I study other photographer’s websites and blogs, and now I have learned to get away from all that and simply act like a five year old.
No, I ‘m not immature or lacking life experience. I am returning to a state of mind of being completely open and curious, with my eyes set at 2.8. I’m taking it all in, and experimenting. When I first brought all my studio lighting in to my house, I sat down and soaked in the moment. This was a huge accomplishment for me. See, I had made a public declaration at the beginning of this year to “Live Breakthrough Minded.” And although there have been several breakthroughs for me this year, this was number one. I had accomplished acquiring studio lighting. But now that I had all this equipment strewn out on my kitchen floor, what do I do with it? Scott’s words resonated with me every time I looked at the equipment. Some of the pieces sounded familiar. I had heard them mentioned in an article I read somewhere. Some were mentioned in a lecture I heard at a photography conference, and some I just didn’t know what they heck they were. There were bevies of cords, and attachments, and no manuals. But even though I had no previous experience with all this, I looked at it all like a pot of photographer’s gold. This was my prime opportunity to be completely free of formulas, restrictions, and right or wrong. It was my time to blossom and experiment.
I started with one light and one modifier, a halo softbox. Even though my first instinct was to put together an elaborate lighting set up I have seen in magazines, I forced myself and my brain to go back to a five year old’s mentality. So I started playing around with my one light. With a foam head named “Sheila” as my model, I set it upon my posing stool and shot away. Wow, that looks kind of cool! What if I turned this switch on the back of my light? Humm, not anything I think I need but heck, I’ll take a picture anyway and see how it comes out. Umm, well, nothing breakthrough, but at least I tried it. What if I move my light from the right of the subject around to the front. Now what did that do to the portrait? Oh wow, look at how the shadows created a whole different look! “This is really cool,” I loudly exclaimed as I did a little happy dance in my living room.
My first experimental time with my lights not only opened my eyes to lighting techniques but gave me the permission to be young, to look at the world with fresh eyes and to truly be free. As I worked the light around the room and my subject, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I had a renewed sense of creativity and a child-like joyfulness I had not felt in a long time. It was a euphoric feeling as if I was riding a roller coaster. It was exciting, exhilarating, scary and fun all at the same time. And when I set down my camera at the end of my session, I experienced the same feeling after my first roller coaster ride. I immediately want to go back on it again.
And so with Scott Bourne’s words being whispered in my ear, along with the curiosity and playfulness of a five year old, I have now ventured upon a new journey. I am so excited that I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. When I walk into my living room, it is like walking into Disney World. I love being a five year old! Maybe you should try it too?
This post sponsored by BorrowLenses.com – Camera Gear Rental by mail.