Steven Brokaw Photography

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Model Cecilia Hernandez & Lighting Setup

Cecilia on a grey sweep, 27" Elinchrom beauty dish with a diffuser sock

Cecilia on a grey sweep, 27" Elinchrom beauty dish with a diffuser sock

I recently did a shoot with BMG Models  Chicago model, Cecilia Hernandez.  We did the shoot for both of our portfolios.  I've worked with Cecilia previously, and she's been in one of my published works.  She's cool and has skills.  I hired Jen Lee to do makeup for Cecilia.  I asked Jen to lighten Cecilia's face and do heavy eye makeup, and define her cheeks.  Like Cecilia, Jen has skills.

For this shoot I planned 3 lighting setups.  I wanted each setup to give me a different look.  Thought I would share the lighting setup.  They were:

I shot these on a 107" Focus Grey Savage seamless paper, and a 53" black Savage seamless paper. 

The first set was on the Focus Grey paper, and the 27" beauty dish.  I set the light approximately 6' high, camera right and about 6' away from Cecilia.  I added a white diffuser sock on the beauty dish, but I didn't add the internal diffuser.  I shot all of my photos with a Nikon D600 with either an AF-S 50mm f/1.4 or an AF-S 70-200 f/2.8 lens.  I started all looks with my camera in Manual, set at 1/160, ISO 160, f/9.  I used a light meter to set the power on my lights.  I adjusted my camera settings as needed.  I had the key light mounted on a Kupo C-Stand.

Here is a photo of the beauty dish & the 72" umbrella

72" Promaster umbrella & 27" Elinchrom beauty dish with a diffuser sock

72" Promaster umbrella & 27" Elinchrom beauty dish with a diffuser sock

With this setup the light was fairly even but I had the hotspot aimed at Cecilia's face.  There was reasonable light fall-off on her body, and created a cool shadow on the background.  I shoot this look often, and it works perfectly in B&W.

Cecilia on a black background lit with a D-Lite 4 and a 72" Promaster white umbrella being used as a bounce.

Cecilia on a black background lit with a D-Lite 4 and a 72" Promaster white umbrella being used as a bounce.

The next set was against a non-swept black background.  For this set I started with a D-Lite 4 as the key (no additional lights) and a 72" Promaster white umbrella.  I had the umbrella set up as a bounce versus a shoot through.  I set the light about 6' high so the top of the umbrella almost hit the top of the ceiling.  I had the light about 5' away from Cecilia camera left.  I was actually standing slightly inside the cone of the umbrella.  The camera and light was set with the same settings as commented above.  The light was mounted on a Manfrotto 420B light stand with a boom arm.

This is the first time I used this umbrella, and I liked it.  The lighting was very even across Cecilia, but it dropped off fast.  She was standing about 2' away from the background and the light was almost completely muted.  Only around her head was there a reasonable amount of light reaching the background.  This is a cool effect.

Cecilia against black background with a D-Lite 4 and an 8" reflector.

Cecilia against black background with a D-Lite 4 and an 8" reflector.

Finally, I shot against the black background with a D-Lite 4 mounted with an Elinchrom 8.25" reflector and a 30 degree grid.  This is a cool setup if you want a very directed cone of light on your model.  The closer you set the light the smaller the cone.  I had this lighting set up on a Manfrotto 420B with a boom arm.  On all light stands I used several sandbags to keep them from tipping over.  

For the last set I had the light set about 4' away from Cecilia camera left about 6-7' high.  I manually adjusted the light reflector to get the cone directly on her face.  She was standing 1 - 2 feet away from the background.  The light drop-off was very significant so there was only a slight halo around Cecilia's face on the background.

This setup is so nice and looks great in B&W.

Same photo as above but processed in Black & White

Same photo as above but processed in Black & White

Overall all 3 of these lighting setups were easy.  Easy to setup, easy to adjust & ultimately easy to breakdown & clean up the studio.  The added bonus is that Cecila is easy to work with.  

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