I have been a member of a local camera club for a number of years now, which I am fortunate that they are very active and that several members occasionally organise some activities outside the clubs normal activities.

I was asked by a very experienced photographer if I would like to attend a portrait afternoon in Probus (near Truro) in April 2019 where several photographers would be able to set up their cameras, backgrounds and lighting equipment in order to shoot some portrait photos with around 8 models that rotated around each photographer a couple of times.

Having only just starting acquiring my first studio lighting and had never photographed models before, I jumped at the chance to learn and boost my confidence working with models that I have never met before (and hopefully get some good photos as well). I purchased a new background drop to complete my studio setup, did some homework on camera settings to use and raided the fancy dress box for some props to use with the models.

The day arrived and suddenly the village hall was full of people, and initially I wasn’t even sure which was a photographer (TOG) and which was a model. So I setup my equipment as best I knew, made a few test shots with a few other togs to check and tweak the settings and then the models came in which each one starting with a different TOG. We all had a couple of minutes to introduce each other for which I was a little nervous and explained to each model that this was my first real studio photography shoot. All 8 models were amazingly easy to talk to and made me feel very comfortable taking their photos. At first I was leaving the poses to the models between shots but it didn’t take long for me to gain some confidence and suggest what props to use to.

So what was my setup and what did I learn?


  • Olympus OM-D EM-1 mirrorless camera (micro 4/3rds crop sensor)
  • 12-40mm Olympus Pro Lens (shot at various focal ranges but usually around 30mm)
  • Tripod
  • Godox flash light (as main light) on left with trigger
  • Modelling light (as a flash fill) on right
  • 2 x sturdy studio stands to hold up the background (Pixapro C-Stands)


  • Manual Mode
  • ISO 200
  • Shutter speed 1/160th of a second
  • White Balance set to WB Flash
  • Aperture was set to f5 but should have used something like f9
  • Spot metering
  • Flash turned on

I found my photos came out very well indeed. A few tweaks and cropping was all that was required in Adobe Lightroom and copies were then passed to the models a few days later. The models were not paid but the shoot was done as a TFP (trade for pics) so the models could have copies of the photos to use as they so wish for their own social media or portfolio uses.

I absolutely loved working with the models and  it is something I will be doing more of. Please see the gallery below for some photos taken on the day.

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