Lighting For A Promo Shoot

Last week I shot some photographs for a national newspaper client who were doing a readers promotion with beauty products retailer The Bodyshop . I do a fair amount of portrait work these days but not much under studio conditions and I thought this would make a good blog posting on lighting for those who like me not too long ago, find lighting rather intimidating, as the setup was very simple and easy to replicate

using only a couple of lights and a bounce card. It is often easy to overcomplicate lighting and working as I do predominantly without an assistant as newspaper budgets are relatively small keeping it simple helps to keep you focused on the job in hand. No one wants to be running back and forth moving lights around and adjusting f stops when you only have a short amount of time to get the job done !

For this shot I used two Elinchrom 400W heads both on low power ; one camera left at 45 degrees with a 1 meter Rotalux softbox no more than a metre from the model to help softly wrap the light around the subjects face, a bounce card on a Lastolite stand close to the models right for fill and the other 400W head illuminating the background with a wide angle reflector. Another option would have been to place the main light directly in front of the model slightly higher at 45 degrees and a large reflector underneath, which is a classic "clamshell "beauty setup, but the the one used seemed to work fine with the white backdrop bouncing just enough light back up off the floor.

There is another Elinchrom head camera right which can be seen in the photo above, but ignore this as it is left over from a previous full length shoot .  The flash heads were triggered using Pocketwizards (which have never yet let me down) and shot using the fantastic Canon 1D MkIV with a 70-200 2.8L lens,
160 iso, 160th @ F8.
Here's a lighting diagram courtesy of the excellent to give you a clearer illustration of the set up.

I did two shots like this with two different models, a blonde and a brunette, one for the Daily Telegraph's front page puff and another for the Sunday edition .

I'll be starting on London Fashion Week tomorrow so hopefully I'll find some inspiration there for another posting soon and I'm planning another about lighting food sometime in the near future.


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