Did a test photo shoot with NYC based model, Laura Jansen while she was in town. As usual types for shoots like this I asked MUA, Sasha Star to join me. Laura wanted photos to potentially update her portfolio. The goal was to get editorial fashion type vibe in both B&W and color. This is the look I’ve been working on recently so I set up a fashion grey sweep and decided to use 3 lighting setups for 3 looks. I also set up a light blue backdrop on a C-Stand.
The light setups were:
- An Elinchrom 20x51” strip light diffuser mounted on an Elinchrom D-Lite 4 studio strobe. This was attached to a Manfrotto super boom. This light was the hair light. The key light was an Elinchrom 36x43” softbox mounted on a second Elinchrom D-Lite 4. This was attached to a standard Manfrotto boom arm.
- An Elinchrom 28” beauty dish diffuser with a diffuser sock mounted on an Elinchrom D-Lite 4.
- The 3rd lighting setup was a single Elinchrom D-Lite 4 mounted with an 8” silver reflector and a 30 degree grid. This was mounted on the super boom for the final look
When Laura arrived we got right to MU and arranging clothes I wanted her to wear. I could tell this was going to be a fun evening. Even though I hadn’t met Laura we started chatting like we knew each other. I like talking to creative people. I enjoyed her modeling and travel stories. I asked Sasha to do a minimal / nude look. Very light makeup. Laura has clean lines and hard edges so this was a great look. Sasha also played hair stylist for me tonight and put some flowing curls in Laura’s hair.
Makeup done so we put Laura in a really cool neoprene black jacket, strap top, black shorts and cool black heels. She stepped onto the seamless and wow, 6’4”. Had to raise my hair light and get out an apple box. Long and tall…nice. I used my Sekonic meter and adjusted the lights to f/9 with my Nikon D600 set to manual f/9, 1/160 & ISO 160. WB set to flash.
We did about 30 minutes on this look adjusting the lights several times to get different shadowing. However, with the big softbox and the hair light I worked to get a smooth lighting pattern on Laura with minimal shadowing on the background. I also shot parts of this set with the hairlight turned off.
Next we changed Laura into a heavy blue sweater, tight blue jeans & nude colored high heals. Sasha darkened her lips. This look was against the blue background. The light for this set was the beauty dish as the only light. Metered Laura to f/9. We worked this for about 20 minutes. Because the backdrop is only 5” wide we focused on tighter shots. 9x12 & head shots. I had the light camera left which created some really dramatic shadows. I liked this look.
Finally without changing Laura’s look we went back to the grey sweep and replaced the lights with the single D-Lite 4 and the gridded reflector. I’ve shot this look several times in the past and love the halo light it puts around my model. Because I had the light on the super boom I was able to adjust the location of the light falling on my model with a simple turn of the cranks. I moved the light all around and got lots of good looks.
About 2 hours later we were finished. It was fun and throughout I had a nice time talking with Laura. I took away a few tips as well:
- Make sure you know how tall your model is. I didn’t ask in advance and set my lights to a 5’11 model, not 6’4”. Not a biggie, but I like to be prepared,
- If the mood hits, chat up your model. Even while shooting we took several breaks to tell stories. I enjoyed this. It’s a good break
- Whenever possible work with a pro, experience model. Laura knew how to pose, work the lights and knew her angles. I normally do a good amount of directing when I shoot, but not this evening. I only occasionally adjusted Laura, and that was mainly to move her closer or farther away from the lights.
- Remember the time. The first set went long simply because I was having a good time and felt we were getting good images. Sasha had to remind me to move along.