The first steps in using a flash often scares away budding flash photographers, what are some of your suggestions on this question, what would you recommend?
Perseverance! At the beginning, it is not necessarily easy to manage working with light, manage this type of material. I would recommend you start with simple things in a studio, an object for example. Start with a flash, then move it, change its intensity, change your accessories (softbox, reflector, umbrella, etc.), and observe the changes. Observation is key to learn how to work with this technique. You have to progress step by step, starting with one flash, then two, go through several tests, and you will learn as you experiment.
Can you describe your favorite setup?
Generally speaking, I like the main light to be quite direct, so that it highlights the traits of the model. Therefore I use a flash unit with a grid pointed directly at the character, or on the main element of my photograph. I smooth the different unlit parts using large softboxes, generally placed on the sides or on top. My camera is plugged into my laptop, which lets me see the result on my screen immediately and ensure that the rendering is what I had in mind.
Drawing, make-up, costume, shooting, final product. You control everything from A to Z. Is that a personal decision or due to budget constraints?
Managing every aspect of the job is neither an economic gain nor a time saving measure, quite the contrary. I like the idea of constructing a photograph from scratch: imagining it on paper, going through different creative phases before the shoot itself, to finally giving it life and finalizing it on the computer. I construct these images little by little, the same way a painter would construct his or her paintings. The shoot represents the snapshot, where everything comes together and is ready to tell a story.
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