Well, sometimes things need work.
I often have students who ask “do I really need two lenses?”, “do I really need a reflector”, “do I really need a tripod”? “Must I really use manual”, … and so on.
The other day I attended a very entertaining shoot with Ivan Otis, and this shoot was a typical example of “how it’s done”.
Even a simple fashion shoot like this involves cameras, light stands, reflectors, computers, umbrellas, light meters, batteries, cables, softboxes, pocketwizards, props, two assistants, a make-up artist (“MUA”), a hairdresser, lunch, and of course a model and a photographer.
A more involved fashion shoot would also have fashion advisors, a creative director, and more.
So the answer to “do I really need all this” is “it depends, but you cannot always do everything with one handheld camera, a 50mm lens, and a pop-up flash”.
The complexity in a shoot like the one above is not done just to make things complicated! As I always say, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit-issue model cavorting happily on the beach looks good only because there is a guy with a big reflector cavorting along right behind her.
That said: you do not need to over-complicate things. Simple means can often achieve great results. Like this, taken at a recent Mono workshop Joseph Marranca and I taught:
That used just three bare speedlights and a handheld camera.
(On that note: our next “advanced lighting” all-day workshops in Mono, Ontario, will be held on 3 October and 20 November, and as of the time of writing, there is still space).