Photo Challenge: One Studio, One Model, Two Very Different Photographs

What a difference a photographer can make. That’s the lesson learned in these two videos, hosted by Mark Wallace and Gavin Hoey, who took on a challenge to shoot the same model in the same studio with the same equipment in 20 minutes or less.

This is the first video, which focuses on Wallace’s portrait:

The two photographers gave themselves the same camera the same equipment (one softbox, one reflector) and the same model, but one left the studio for 20 minutes while the other worked. They had no idea what the other was doing. Here’s Hoey’s version of the same shoot:

Wallace used a Leica Typ 240 Digital Rangefinder and a Leica 50mm f/1.4, opting to shoot a modest, lightly desaturated portrait. He sets up the soft box and reflector diagonally, respectively behind and in front of the model, to create a delicate lighting scenario and an intimate, fashion-conscious result.

mark wallace portraits

Hoey, meanwhile, went in an entirely different direction. He ditched the reflector altogether for a more atmospheric black-and-white moment, turning the model sideways, shooting his profile, and standing the softbox slightly on a diagonal in front of him. He added an old dictionary dusted with talcum powder to create a more fun moment, and upped the clarity in post-production with his Olympus E-M5 Mark ii and Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 lens.

gavin hoey photography

There are some similarities—both artists wanted to make black-and-white images, utilizing the model’s gray shirt against the black background (though they actually switched positions on this—Wallace originally wanted black and white and decided later to stay in color, while Hoey shot in color but converted it afterward). As well, both photographers immediately knew they had to sit down the enormously tall model in order to shoot him at eye level.

studio photography lighting

Two styles, two artists, two very different shots. As Wallace says:

“A lot of times, people ask me—and I’m sure they ask you—’What’s the correct way to light, I dunno, a model or whatever?’ And the answer is: There’s really no perfectly correct way. There’s a lot of options. And so we want to see what happens when we try to do the same thing with the same stuff.”

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