Rising Light is an article series highlighting promising photography students from all over the world. This month we introduce Shelby Bella, at Art Institute of Colorado.
A native of Canyon Texas, Shelby Bella‘s father was a photo enthusiast and as best as she can remember she started taking pictures with his camera when she was in fourth grade. By the time she got to high school she was interning with local photographers while serving as the school’s official go-to photographer. The first time she saw her pictures in a local newspaper she knew this was what she wanted to do with her life.
Talented as she was behind the lens when she left high school, she felt she was lacking in many technical and compositional skills, and equally importantly, the business end of photography. That’s where the Art Institute of Colorado comes into the picture.
Currently in her senior year as photography major at the Art Institute of Colorado, Shelby first took notice of her chosen school after watching a television commercial. After digging around a bit more and talking to people with firsthand experience of the school she decided to check it out further. By coincidence her father was interviewing for a job in the Denver area so they turned it into a father-daughter research mission. They weren’t disappointed by what they saw.
The facilities are first-class and the faculty is made up of knowledgeable, working professionals. One instructor in – Brad Bartholomew, has been particularly influential in Shelby’s growth as a photographer during her stint at the Art Institute.
Prior to entering college, Shelby’s lighting experiences were limited to ambient and on-camera flash. When asked how her approach to lighting has changed since then she gave out a hearty laugh.
“Lighting is everything. When you light an image it changes everything – lighting makes all the difference. Lighting allows me to determine how bright an image is, the mood, and the atmosphere I’m trying to convey. That’s where lighting comes into it”.
Shelby’s lighting system of choice is the Profoto Acute2R 2400 generator with Profoto Acute2 Heads. She appreciates the fact the system performs equally well in the studio and on location. She also likes the fact it has a 6 f-stop power range, is consistently dead-on accurate, and can be used wirelessly.
In addition to using the standard Profoto Zoom Reflectors, Profoto Softbox RFi 3×4’ has been one of her favorite light shaping tools for her work, though she also admits to emphatically liking the snap, sparkle, and pop she gets from the Profoto Umbrella Deep M Silver.
One of her favorite pictures to date is one she calls ‘Breakfast in Bed’, a high-key image backlit by a large window and filled in the foreground using a silver umbrella, which she credits for the image’s airiness. Captured using a Canon EOS 5D MK II with a Canon EF 24-70mm/f2.8 L lens.
Having a penchant for food photography, Shelby follows a number of professional food bloggers as well as new-featured work on Pinterest. Photographers whose work she follows include Izy Hossack, Jody Horton, and Erin Kunkel.
As for her own future, Ms Bells would like to make a go of it in Austin Texas, near her hometown. Austin is home to several regional and food publications and she hopes to establish a network of native professional talent in the area including food stylists and art directors.
Looking a few years down the line Shelby hopes to be on staff or a regular contributor to one or many of the regional magazines published in the Austin area, Asked when she’ll know she’s ‘made it’, Shelby is quick to reply “When I get to shoot a cover for one these magazines”.
Photographer: Shelby Bella
School: Art Institute of Colorado
Visit her website: shelbybellaphotography.format.com