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College unveils new commercial photography studio

By Emily Heineck
On September 20, 2018

“I am in heaven,” said Professor Christine Flavin, director of the Photography program at Kirkwood Community College, after watching her first semester of students take Commercial Studio Lighting Table Top and Portrait, ART-224. 

Behind the doors of Nielson Hall, Room 314, is a newly constructed professional photography commercial photography studio three years in the making. 

According to Flavin, it has been built to mirror that of an actual professional studio used in commercial photography.  

The main objective of the ART-224, said Flavin, is to train students to develop a skill set to take the knowledge and science straight from the classroom and arrive on the fast track to a job or career in professional photography itself.  

Every lab is independently student based and team work is applied to solve technical lighting and photography issues, just as in an actual commercial studio. 

Every student who studies this course will design a professional portfolio for potential employers displaying the principals they have learned throughout the semester including product set up both in studio and on location, portrait photography demonstrating key lighting techniques, and post editing applying techniques used in Adobe Light Room.  

By the end of the 14-week semester, students will have had the full experience of running a fully functional photography studio, from the click of the camera button to the final photographs created in post editing.  

 Flavin’s advice to any potential student interested in photography itself is, “It’s really about seeing and imagination. It’s the photographer’s eye and creativity that gives life to every photograph taken, and that I can’t teach.”       

The studio itself took six months to construct and the entire system and set up is a replica of how a real studio is set and how it functions.  

The studio holds a professional product table, an extensive lighting system on rails custom built in Italy by Manfrotto, an intensive inventory of light modifiers from Pro Photo, a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) and a range of lenses tethered to a computer in which images are sent to Adobe Light Room for post processing.  

Flavin said students are expected to train, understand and manipulate all equipment and apply key lighting techniques to be used in a potential future job or career. 

This course gives students the hands-on experience and training required to run professional equipment and to develop professional commercial photographs and portraits.   

Besides the addition of a new studio for the department, a new visual media major to be offered at Kirkwood is in the works. 

If approved, the major would include two years or four semesters consisting of courses in graphic design, photography, motion media, wed development, marketing and business. 

Currently, any student considering commercial photography can enroll in courses Photography or Digital Photography, as a ​pre-requisite to Commercial Studio Lighting and Portrait or contact Professor Flavin directly for approval to enroll directly in ART-224 based on prior experience and knowledge.

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