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Swedish Model Photoshoot & Setup

Studio portrait with female model using Profoto beautydish & octabox

I rarely shoot models in the studio, it is mostly business portraits, of ordinary people with little or no experience of standing in front of the camera (and some of them start by saying that they would rather go to the dentist, huh?).

Niouscha, a Swedish model I worked with when we went through every garment ever made by Fräulein von Hast (read the step-by-step on clothing photography here) wanted new photos for her portfolio, and I saw the opportunity to work with a pro. A classic TFP, my first actually.

Lighting Setup for half-length portrait

Beautydish Lighting Setup Diagram for Beauty Portrait of Model using Profoto Octabox as fill

This was the first setup of this session, I will post more examples later from when I added some lights and went a little closer for different portraits and poses. Just to get the main light and the fill right, I took this photo.

Beginning with a Profoto D1 250 Air and a White Softlight Reflector (beautydish) as my main light a little camera left on a boom stand, I added a 150 cm/5 foot Softbox Octa behind to get a fill that would cover more than just her face.

A good starting point


Before Lightroom conversion

Very often, I find myself doing portraits just like this. Starting with a relatively flat light to find out how the face and features reacts to it (not to mention the skin), and then trying to modify the light and adjusting ratios until it feels good.

As my studio is quite small, the light tend to bounce around a lot and reducing the contrast of the photo in a way that can make it pretty boring.

I use bookends a lot to stop the light reflecting on the walls hitting the model. Without them, I guess this photo would be very flat and not at all what I wanted.

The background is white, but as a lot of light never reaches it, it looks grey.

Lightroom conversion to black and white was quite straightforward, a little more contrast while trying to keep a little detail in her t-shirt but no extensive retouching at all.

A simple two-light setup that can be evolved into almost anything, change background or adjusting the light ratio would create a completely different photo. Or just a different pose.

The best thing was that it was the first time I used the Profoto Air Remote to control the lights, and that was exactly as simple as I had hoped it would be. No more climbing ladders to adjust the effect of a light, just press a button and it is done. Highly recommended.

More interesting examples later, I promise.

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