Photo Notes A place to talk about making images.

April 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Siskin @ 2:54 pm

I hope you’ll check out my books: Photographing Architecture and Understanding and Controlling Strobe Lighting. I hope you’ll get copies, if you haven’t already. Of course you know that one reason for this blog is introduce the books and get you to consider one of my classes at An Introduction to Photographic Lighting, Portrait Lighting on Location and in the Studio, Getting Started in Commercial Photography

I’m stating a portfolio building class this Tuesday, here in Indianapolis. It will meet at the Central Library at 6:30 pm April 16. As this class goes on it will meet in the studio I’m going to open. I really hope you’ll be interested in this class. I think it is a very good thing to get feedback on your images and to build a group of images that work together. This is going to be a small class, about 10 people, so you’ll want to sign up now. You can contact me by e-mail: or you can sign-up with PayPal. I’ll be bringing a few shots that will be part of my show at Indiana Landmarks in June. I’ve attached a few of those shots to this blog post. I really think it’s important to hear what others have to say about your images and to learn to talk about photographs.

It looks like I’m going to open a studio here in Indianapolis. I hope to actually write a book about the experience, and you’ll be able to see what’s going on here in the blog. Right now I’m looking for the right location. I have a couple of appointments to go searching next week.

When you want to start a studio the first thing to decide is what you’re going to do in the space. If you’re going to shoot portraits and book weddings you’ll need a studio on the boulevard, whatever the local boulevard is, and you’ll need a window full of portraits on canvas. Of course I have more commercial goals than that, so I want a studio with a cargo door in an industrial park. I expect to need at least 600 sq. ft. of shooting space, and maybe an office and a lock-up area. I don’t expect to ever get a walk-in customer. I would like to be near printers and machinists, as well as graphic artists. I may work with a partner, so I might need another office. A partner drops your costs by 50% which means a great deal. I don’t think I’ll shoot cars, but I want to be able to shoot a motorcycle. I want to keep a low profile. I want to be able to load items into the studio easily. I want people to feel secure when they came to the studio for classes or for jobs.

When I started my studio in Los Angeles, I was in my early twenties, and didn’t have any money. So the choices I made were more about cost than anything else. This was the only choice, but it was a choice that created trouble for the quarter century I had that studio. The location had some problems, but it did have fabulous parking. I can’t really explain how important parking is for an LA studio. Many of the things I built into that studio could have been better. Things like the seamless holders and the rail system I built to hold lights near the ceiling, but the bottom line is that they worked. I wrote this article ( a few years ago about building a studio. I expect to do things a little differently now. I will do more articles, and maybe a book, about this new studio.

And don’t forget the books!

Understanding and Controlling Strobe Lighting: A Guide for Digital Photographers
Photographing Architecture

B  Four

Thanks, John


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