On the Ask.com website a photographer asked about whether they should use a mannequin to help them practice their studio lighting
Ask.com culled a variety of answers to this question and the response below by someone who goes by the name of “lensman” wholeheartedly recommended a mannequin and here are his reasons why:
You can be ready to shoot at a moment’s notice, even at 2am if you want. Studio lights are hot and bright. Why have some poor tortured soul under the lights as YOU figure things out.
I used both Styrofoam heads, plastic torso’s and a few beat up mannequins on the stand with the metal pole up their, ahhh, backs, and it or they, helped me a lot in getting my lighting down for the ratios in the 2/3 or 3/5 type lighting. This is where one light is 2 units from the model and the other is 3 units. Same with the 3/5. You almost NEVER want your lights the same distance (unless they are variable lights and you can dial in the ratios).
The photo test dummies are the best way to get all your practicing down the way you want before you subject a human to the torture of the bright lights. This way you seem to know what you are doing, because you DO know what you are doing and know your results will be good and flattering.
One thing I did make sure of though,and believe me it helped a LOT, and that was to get female mannequins too. The extra shapes, curves and contours they have help a lot in doing good looking photos of women, even if all their clothing IS on.
We sell new and used mannequins and mannequin heads at www.MannequinMadness.com if you want to practice your lighting.
Frequently we have a bargain bin of damaged mannequins that are popular for photographers and artists. These items are not always on our website, so give us a call or come and visit us at our warehouse.