I did a photo shoot with a NYC model Katherine Gulling. We've worked together before and mutually reached out to each other to shoot again. Kat thought it would be fun to do a theme that involved heavy use of freckles. Since she doesn't have any, then we needed to add them with makeup. We agreed to the details; I hired makeup artist, Sasha Star; and hair stylist Anthony Perez, so we were on.
The focus was on a portrait format, bare shoulders (faux-nude), smooth / minimal specular lighting with moderate shadowing on both Katherine & the background.
When everyone arrived Katherine jumped right into makeup & hair. It was time to add some freckles, so I figure it was going to take some time. As normal the studio was already set up, so while Kat was in hair & makeup I simply tuned up the lighting and chatted everyone up. We were going to do 4 makeup looks, 1 hair and 2 lighting setups. The first hair/makeup took about 45 minutes to finish.
The setup was fairly straight forward. Since this was a portrait session Katherine was going to simply sit on a studio stool. This made the lighting setup much easier. I set up 2 Elinchrom D-Lite 4 monolights each mounted with a Portalite Softbox. I mounted the lights about 1-2' higher than Katherine's height sitting down camera left & right. I have the lights aimed slightly in & down. I also had a large silver reflector mounted on a light stand set up so it would rest on my model's lap while she was sitting. This was to decrease shadows on my model's chin and below her nose. Finally, for a hair light I used an Elinchrom Style RX1200 mounted on a Manfrotto Super Boom. I mounted an Elinchrom 8" reflector with a 30 degree grid on the RX1200.
For all shots I used my full frame Nikon D600 mounted with an AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED. I also shot with an AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VRII. I was sitting about 4-5' away from my model and in a few shots leaned in closer. I used my Sekonic L-358 light meter (which has since been discontinued) to meter all of the lights to f/9 through f/11. My camera settings started at 1/160, ISO 160, f/9, WB flash.
Here are the lighting setups
I did this setup against a Savage Focus Grey seamless. I did a seamless in case we wanted to do some full body or 9x12 shots, but we didn't bother. I set the seat far enough away from the background so we could minimize any shadows on the background and keep an even light grey. I did angle the hair light slightly back on several shots to get a halo effect around my model on the background.
Overall, we accomplished the look we were going for and the lighting worked as planned.