Below is a selection of photos from a recent session with Lauren in the studio. It’s always a pleasure to have Lauren model, and it gives me the opportunity to try out various studio lighting techniques.
For this studio session I challenged myself not to use soft boxes as the main light. I often refer to soft boxes as being a kind of ‘one size fits all’ safe studio light to use. Sometimes a soft box is the obvious choice of lighting modifier to use, but in many instances something much more creative/dramatic in look can be achieved by forgoing the soft box for something a bit more hard and controlled in light source.
This was our starting point for the studio test session. I stumbled on a white voile type curtain a while back, and placed it on a background pole and have been using it recently in the white wall corner of the studio.
Here I used a beauty dish as the main light, controlled so as not to spill too much light onto the curtain background. I did this intentionally as I wanted to add some light independently onto the background. For the background light, I used a warm tone gel, taking my clue for colour from Lauren’s outfit. I positioned the background light such that it would light the white curtain, and also spill forward onto the white wall, and in particular to give the shadow on the wall a warm tone.
This was a variation of the same lighting above. I thought it worked best as black and white.
Next we changed to do some full length work. A beauty dish was the main light here with three additional back lights. One on the background wall, and another two on Lauren.
This was one of my favourite photos from the session. A harder light source was used here and positioned in front and slightly to camera right of Lauren, as can be seen by the loop shadow from the nose onto the face. Additionally a back light camera left was used and a background light set to drop off in light from bottom to top.
This was a slight modification on the above lighting setup. One of the back lights was removed, and also the background light. I wanted this to be more dramatic against an almost black background, hence I removed the background light on the grey wall. The main light was a beauty dish and moved in position to suit.
This was our next setup. Again the main light was a beauty dish. with a soft back light on Lauren. Here the grey wall was gelled a warm tone.
For this one the background gelled light was changed in colour to suit. I’d probably traditionally have used a soft box as the main light with a three quarter length like this, but glad I didnt here.
I was pleased with the results from the red dress photo from the back (above), so I decided to recreate it agin for this outfit of Lauren’s. This time though I stuck with the gelled light on the background.
Back to full length again, and a warm toned gel onto the background. A beauty dish was the main light, and a hard backlight was used camera left and right. With Lauren’s coat being light in colour, these back lights can be best seen on her lower jeans.
We ditched the coat and apart from moving position of the main light, this was pretty much as above.
Sticking with the same outfit we moved to the white wall. This was a single light (beauty dish) and a fan.
Last on the list was some coloured gelled lighting as back lights.
The smoke machine was brought in for this one.
Using the smoke machine indoors, especially in an enclosed studio space means a very short time window of opportunity before smoke falls forward and fills the studio with a thick fog! This was the last one from the session before smoke stopped play.
Thanks to Lauren who did a great job professionally modelling.
As I said at the outset, I challenged myself to do a whole studio session without using a soft box as the main light. I’m glad I did and I’m very pleased with the results.
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