The terror of the Studio | Shooting Alice By Massimiliano Tiberi

The terror of the Studio | Shooting Alice

By Massimiliano Tiberi

Dear Steve and Brandon what a wonderful summer of review and inspiration by your site and community!

Here I am again but with something different from my usual Street Photography.

Three weeks ago, for the first time , I received an assignment to shoot one young model approaching the fashion system, the term seems to be “new faces”. I was honoured to be chosen for such work but at the same time my experience in shooting in studio was really limited. But when chance appear to let it go is not so clever. I had something like two weeks to prepare my self for the shooting and that time was used to look at the Studio, understand the light, read books and chat with the Make Up Artist to give a direction to my shooting.

I have to admit that nothing can help a photographer more than a good book and the web : those can unlock the imagination of anyone around the world and helped me so much to understand how to do what I want to do. The terror I had at the beginning day by day start to disappear as much I got confidence studying lighting books, watching video on youtube and following some lessons on platform as or

But there was another problem the last problem, the BIG problem: THE CAMERA. I never used a medium format camera, never used a digital back. I took the chance to go one week before to try the camera hired by the studio and hold an Hasselblad H2 with Phase One P40+ digital back is really incredible and when I saw the first testing shoot in the studio I freak out. Yes today, 40Mp are going to be the “standard” on 35mm camera as Sony did recently but on a medium format camera is still something so beautiful to to see. The H2 is a great camera, so easy to use and with so many feature, When you hold it on the hand you understand it was created for the studio. Yes it is big but not difficult to handle, with the gear where you expected to find it. It was a surprise for me but at the end the last problem was fixed.

For the lighting I choose a simple set up with one light over the model and one for the background and some light modifier to reach the style I was looking for. All the rest were done by the Model, the MUA and the lens.

Here some shot I took in studio, wishing is liked by you all reader!


attractive_face_AliceAlice full face


Some more here:


  1. The left shoulder, her right, in the first image is proportionally enormous. Almost as large as her face. Perhaps just her face would be enough. The other two do nothing for me. The hair can’t decide on being mussed up or neat. Pick one. Her expressions don’t bother me so much but I find myself asking why am I looking at her? Do you reveal anything about her? Is she supposed to be seductive? Does the studio light and/or white backdrop add anything. I find it to be a bland photo of an attractive subject. Why not try exciting photographs of common subjects wherever you find them. I have Phase One gear with Leaf digital backs and I take them everywhere. They don’t need to be nursed at home. A camera is just a hammer in a box. You pick up the tool you need and you go build something. Struggling with new gear instead of focusing on what matters is like learning to drive on a Formula One Ferrari. I think it was Edward Weston who said call yourself a photographer and let artists call you brother. That quote reminds me to make images that initiate critical dialogue. I don’t think painters sit around comparing brushes.

      • It doesn’t matter what the physical properties are that caused the scale to look out of place; the question is whether or not it should be there at all? There are all sorts of constraints photographers endure to make images. Do we need to see the less successful ones in a presentation of three? That’s essentially my point: Where do we make the cut-off in editing? The reason all large agencies have photo editors is because we fall victim to loving what we do too much, even when it fails. An outside editor/voice keeps us honest and reminds us to do it again better.

        My initial gripe was why are we using the tools we use? Is it to get the best file/image possible or is it simply expensive jewelry to look affluent. I remember shooting in Ethiopia with my beloved M8 when a women approached me to show me her M9. I asked her how many files had she made in Ethiopia. She said maybe 1,000. I told her to call me when she hits 50,000, if she sticks it out in country long enough.I also asked to compare photos but she wasn’t available. I just want to make and look at images that mean something to me. And I’ll never ask what you used to make it.

  2. Regarding the comments on the poses of the model, if you go to his blog, I think the images posted there are better ones than the 3 that were selected here.

  3. Her face looks a bit masculine to me, but maybe that’s the desirable “look” today.

    Related topic: is it the model or the photographer who’s supposed to be making sure that a variety of poses are tried?

    • Very interesting question. For sure both, in this case for her was the first shooting in studio and I understand she is not very experienced (as the photographer) 🙂

  4. unfortunately, your fear can be seen in her expressions…..Interaction with your subject to get the right mood you’re after and put your model at ease is a fine art in itself. Never mind having to worry about the technical side of the shoot. But it can only get better and easier with practice. So good luck and keep shooting.
    On another note i would play around with the compositions a little. Placing the eyes in the middle of the frame is not really advisable

  5. I don´t get it, the first one is ok but I am sure results would have been far better if not concenrating on the gear so much but on composition. Just keeping the model`s eyes in the middle of the frame is not the most exciting approach, from my point of view.

  6. Hi, I was wondering with the medium format set up, did you shoot tethered and what raw converter you used? Thanks.

  7. Thanks guys for the visit and the comment. I agree with you Gass, is not easy but is necessary to create the right mood during the shooting to be able to achieve the best result.

  8. The images are good but I would like to see a variety of expressions from the model. All these seem a bit on the “sour” side. Not bad but not inspiring. I remember reading a comment that Bunny Yeager wrote that she practiced to develop a variety of smiles when she started modeling so she could respond to the need of a particular setup. Still good advise.

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