Adler has owned and operated a portrait, fashion and wedding studio for the past 10 years, during which time her work has become known for its "fashion flair" approach. Her studio is succeeding, and her images regularly appear in major photo publications like Professional Photographer and Rangefinder Magazine. And she knows that the start of any good image involves getting the lighting right.
"If the lighting isn't right, it is impossible to make a good image," Adler adds.
The problem is that when it comes to lighting, Adler believes photographers spend too much time worrying about light modifiers and the number of lights they are using. "The direction and quality of light in photography are essential," she says. "Instead of focusing on light modifiers and the number of lights, photographers should just be aware of the axis and angles of their light."
In addition, Adler suggests that photographers play with lighting angles to discover what works best for a certain image. "Any direction you move the light will have an effect on the quality of light," she explains. "For example, if you move the light to the left or right of the center point of the image, the quality of light becomes more dramatic. If you move the light up or down from the center point of the subject, the light becomes more dramatic. And as you move a light closer to a subject, the changes in the other axis of light become more pronounced."
But lighting is only one important part of the image puzzle. Adler also knows that finding the right poses for your portrait subject can mean the difference between great...and merely good.
"When I'm working with a client who isn't a model, I realize that posing can be pretty challenging," Adler admits. To overcome this challenge, she brings "inspiration images" to photo shoots to help guide clients with posing ideas.
"For basic portrait sessions, I have a variety of go-to poses I have developed along the way. Yet for more creative sessions, I bring reference photos from fashion editorials, catalogs, advertisements and anything I find online where the pose helps further the concept and mood of the shoot," says Adler, explaining how she gets the poses she wants.
You can get a start on growing your own lighting and posing skills--and learn even more of Adler's techniques--during her session sponsored by Miller's Professional Imaging at the Kansas City stop on the PPA Tour 2011 (October 3). She'll help you walk away with an understanding of the essential lighting and posing elements of fashion photography and how you can use them in your own portrait and wedding photography.
Read more about the PPA Tour 2011 here, and see more of the cities and speakers here.
Lindsay Adler, a Sigma Pro, is sponsored by a variety of major photography companies and spends a lot of her time traveling to teach at major conferences and workshops. She instructs thousands of photographers annually on topics ranging from retouching to fashion techniques and studio lighting. In addition, she "teaches" even more photographers via her books: "A Linked Photographers' Guide to Online Marketing and Social Media" (published May 2010) and "Fashion Flair for Portrait and Wedding Photography" (published February 2011).
The PPA Tour 2011: One to Grow On is an eight-city slate of daylong workshops, starting August 15 in Atlanta. Each event--designed for those just getting into photography or those needing a refresher--is focused on helping photographers make more money, while finding new ways to differentiate their studios in a highly competitive industry.