Ultra-high-key portrait

Started Aug 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
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AndreyT
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Ultra-high-key portrait
Aug 19, 2013

I would appreciate a few pointers for creating ultra-high-key portraits on white background as shown in the Mylene Farmer promotional picture below. I presume it involves a considerable amount of post-processing, yet at the same time I suspect that the studio technique (lighting in particular) plays a large role here. My attempts to reproduce such portraits typically result in significantly worse definition of the hair. I'm not sure whether it is cause by my lack of Photoshop skills or by a suboptimal lighting setup (or maybe both).

Basically, the very first question I have is what in your opinion is the primary area of expertise I should focus on in order to reproduce this look as closely as possible: lighting or digital post-processing? I would appreciate any advice on the former subject, since it is the topic of this forum. What would be the good lighting setup to produce a good source shot for further processing? A better-resolution shot here

http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/90499843/Timeless+2013+Timeless2013Photo_TIMELESS_201.jpg

shows a catchlight in the lower right corner of the pupil, suggesting a key light placed relatively low, which appears to be consistent with the rest of the portrait. What else is important here?

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