Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

Started Mar 14, 2010 | Discussions
Alex Koloskov Regular Member • Posts: 206
Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

Recently we had our first photography workshop, I would like to share what we did: the lighting setup and the actual portraits of all our students.

We did not use a model, but everyone had a chance to play on both sides: as a photographer and as a model.

One of them:

Lighting setup used for photo above:

More from the workshop :

http://www.akelstudio.com/blog/2010/03/atlanta-photography-workshop-update-lighting-setup/

Portraits of our students we had during the workshop:

http://www.perfectphotoblog.com/our-first-studio-workshop-and-master-class-in-atlanta/565/

I hope this has been helpful and would love to hear your comments.

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MacT Forum Member • Posts: 64
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

For me, with a photo in this key, the shadows are too deep. A fill card or an additional fill light would have helped to lift those shadows. The paramount lighting pattern works for her cheek bones very well!

hotdog321
hotdog321 Forum Pro • Posts: 21,108
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

Ditto the previous reply. A big white card bouncing some soft light and filling those shadows would improve the shot.

Might try a little less "dead on" pose with the model. Maybe looking over her shoulder or at least turn her body somewhat away from the camera.

Nice, tho.

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OP Alex Koloskov Regular Member • Posts: 206
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

Agree with you, guys. This is why we changed this setup, I have resulted photo on my blog post. It was a workshop, we did much more setups than I am showing: from simple one light and reflector to 5+ lights..

Ok, Here it is, with bigger reflectors on a hair lights and spot light (and book as a reflector) in front added:

An additional challenge was to highlight model's eyes, hat was casting deep shadow on them.

Setup schema:

http://www.akelstudio.com/blog/2010/03/atlanta-photography-workshop-update-lighting-setup/#more-790

However, need to say, we covered not a classic portrait technique, but more of a fashion-like style. In fashion photography deep shadow are often used for more dramatic look.

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robertfel Senior Member • Posts: 1,994
Your subjects

look uncomfortable.

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mar_nic Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

Wow, five lights? A bit heavy duty for a beginners' lighting workshop, isn't it?
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OP Alex Koloskov Regular Member • Posts: 206
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

Well, we started from 1 light, and every additional light was good explained and was very naturally fit in what we were trying to get. At the end everyone was happy:-)

Truly speaking, it was not usual workshop, firs part of it was a masterclass, where I showed how to get desired look of the model's portrait. The second part was more like a workshop, where students played with the lights and used their own cameras.

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OP Alex Koloskov Regular Member • Posts: 206
Re: Your subjects

robertfel wrote:

look uncomfortable.

They look very good for me, and most student has these or similar photos on facebook now, some even has changed their profile picture.

Why they would do so? :-))

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DanThaMan Contributing Member • Posts: 852
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

Hello Alex,

Thank you for your lighting setup diagram. I think however, the particular photos that you shared could do without the background light. IMO, I think the spot light pattern in the background is too noticeable. I think there is enough separation from the background when using hair light in this case.

Regards,
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Scott G Spellman Senior Member • Posts: 2,047
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

Alex-

The heavy shadows on the lower part of the face are a serious problem in the first picture. A reflector or second light would make the clamshell lighting setup complete and give a professional result.

Both pictures though show that fashion styled lighting does not work well for general portraits. You would get better results using models for fashion lighting.

-Scott

OP Alex Koloskov Regular Member • Posts: 206
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

Scott G Spellman wrote:

Alex-

The heavy shadows on the lower part of the face are a serious problem in the first picture. A reflector or second light would make the clamshell lighting setup complete and give a professional result.

You absolutely right. This is why we did so on our last setup change, girl with the book. The idea of workshop was to show all stages of setting up lighting, from poor to a complete setup.

Both pictures though show that fashion styled lighting does not work well for general portraits. You would get better results using models for fashion lighting.

Oh, I would live to have a pro model on this workshop for us for free:-) This was our first workshop, i did it for free for promotional and my own education purpose.

BTW, student really enjoyed being photographed:-)
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OP Alex Koloskov Regular Member • Posts: 206
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

DanThaMan wrote:

Hello Alex,

Thank you for your lighting setup diagram. I think however, the particular photos that you shared could do without the background light. IMO, I think the spot light pattern in the background is too noticeable. I think there is enough separation from the background when using hair light in this case.

Dan,

It might be better, might be not, tastes are different:-) besides of that, I wanted to show how gels can be used to highlight background, so I had to do it. BTW, we had orange-like gel color too, it was better than blue.

thank you!

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dbirling Forum Member • Posts: 56
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

So why isn't the darker shadow just moodier? Personally I liked it better than the girl with the hat... that one almost seemed flat.

OP Alex Koloskov Regular Member • Posts: 206
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

dbirling wrote:

So why isn't the darker shadow just moodier? Personally I liked it better than the girl with the hat... that one almost seemed flat.

I like it better too. But shadow on her neck a little too deep, some gray reflector in front and below of her will make it a little brighter.
I like her eyes and how face was formed, nothing should be changed there, IMO.
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OP Alex Koloskov Regular Member • Posts: 206
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

BTW, below are few photos of my daughters, with the only one light source: beauty dish above them.
See how well white floor worked as a reflector:

More photos from this set is here:

http://www.perfectphotoblog.com/our-little-models-atlanta-photographer-alex-koloskov/646/#more-646
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arizonadesertrat
arizonadesertrat Senior Member • Posts: 1,333
Re: Your subjects

Prolly because they're photographers filling in as models?

robertfel wrote:

look uncomfortable.

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robertfel Senior Member • Posts: 1,994
Re: Your subjects

Not every subject is a model.

Brides aren't professional models, neither are families sitting for their portrait. Most people having an editorial written about them in a periodical aren't models. Subjects, yes; models, no.

The photographer's first job is to get a rapport with the subject. I'd rather have a great expression in bad lighting than a deer in perfectly balanced headlights. But then again, this is a technique seminar not a portraiture class. So if they learned what they came to learn, it's all good.

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cksiegel New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

What software did you use to create the light setup diagram

jjlad Senior Member • Posts: 1,979
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

Thanks for the post and the links Alex. You mentioned it was in part a learning experience for you as well as for the students ..and I think you did well. It would be interesting to see some of the shots the students took themselves too.

I've attended lighting workshops so know the challenges you faced.

I'm another one interested in the software you used for your diagrams ..those look really good.

jj
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OP Alex Koloskov Regular Member • Posts: 206
Re: Fashion-style studio portrait: the lighting setup

A photoshop.

There is a library of object from.. forgot his name, I'll look it up when will be back on my desk.
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