How it is done three:
Deconstructing Bruce's fashion and beauty photography lighting techniques. Studio lighting techniques using a three strip light strobes flash set up.
The beauty image below was shot many years ago on film and has not been retouched in photoshop at all. The Secret: Good sin, good make up and good lighting are the secrets to not spending hours in Photoshop retouching lighting effects and cleaning up bad skin.
I would much rather spend my time shooting and getting it right in camera as much as I can rather than sitting at a computer screen in Photoshop for hours and hours upon end.
It is not very cost effective for your clients if your retouching bills to them are higher than the actual shoot costs.
There are not many clients that will pay you £50 per hour with on average 2 hours of Photoshop per image to make your clients finished images look like your portfolio images that got you the job in the first place.
As I have said, pick a model with good skin, it used the be the first factor when we were casting for models. A good make up artist is worth their weight in gold, so pick the best you can, there are a lot of good people out there so go networking to find them.
Of course good lighting and building an understanding of the texture of light, the quality, the intensity and the physics of light helps when setting up any lighting scenario.
Its also very important to learn how to replicate daylight available light with artificial lighting such as flash, tungsten, (incandescent) or any other lighting equipment. For most of my own images I prefer to use available light, I bounce it, reflect it, diffuse it, of all kinds of surfaces to create the effect, texture and quality of light that I think is right for the subject.
These are all very important lighting factors that will help you stand out as a being good at lighting and will save valuable time when finishing your images.
I teach all of the lighting skills and techniques that I have learned over my 40 years shooting high fashion photography assignments for advertising, catalogues, look books and magazine editorials under just about every lighting condition in the studio or on location in all corners of the world from Alaska to Australia
How the image featured above was lit and shot.
The fashion photography lighting technique
The image above was shot in my studio in Soho, London using just small three strip lights, one either side of and behind my mode set at the same angle, hight and power to evenly give a clean white light on the white paper back drop which was about 8ft behind my models position.
The strip lights for the back ground were powered by 2 x 500 watts studio flash heads to give me a metered reading of f11.5 i,e 1.5 stops higher than the 500 watts flash head strip light on my model which was powered to give me a metered reading of f8, the strip light key light was
set up to camera right, slightly above my shoulder hight.
Connecting with your model
It is very important when shooting beauty like this to make a connection with your model, it's the intimate moment that I wanted to catch, holding her attention and sharing the her
adoration in her eyes and a divine grace in her posture with the viewers of the images. I love to capture the divine in my subjects in my images, especially a close up beauty/portrait shot like this image.
Divine grace in your models posture
Seek out the divine, the grace and an ability to project the stories and the feeling you want people to see in your images when choosing your subjects and models. If there is no divinity in your subject you will not have a divine look in your images, so pick models that can portray to you and your lens the feeling, emotion, energy and a consciousness that captivates you to look into the image and not just at the image. Read my feature about "The Perfect Image" and What It Takes To Achieve "The Perfect Image" articles on my website.
How I created the cats eyes catch lights in my models eyes.
Now here is the lighting reflectors setup that created the cat like reflections in my models eyes. To my right and right of the models key-light strip light there was a 2ft wide x 8ft high poly-board painted black, then in between the light and myself there was a white poly-board, then to my left a black poly-board and left of this there was another white poly-board. Dow-n low in-front of my model is another 2ft wide white ploy-board. Shot on black and white film, not digital, so no retouching at all.
Camera: Nikon F4
Lens: Nikon 70mm to 200mm f2.8
Shutter: 125th sec
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Image featured was shot by Bruce for a major advertising campaign for Häagen-Dazs ice cream
Connect with Bruce Smith, the published professional with 40 years experience also the author of "Fashion Photography A Complete Guide"