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Woman + beauty dish + Octa

Studio photo of woman using Profoto beauty dish and softbox octa

When a Swedish publishing house needed portraits of an illustrator named Jessica they called me, and I started thinking about how to light her. After some research on the net, I decided to use a very open and up-against-the-wall type of setup. Almost no shadows, or gradients or anything like that.

A gridded white Profoto Softlight Reflector and a 5 foot Softbox Octa, and a silver reflector. And a camera. And Jessica.

From the model’s point-of-view


And me, of course, jammed in between the camera and the big softbox and a large reflector in front of me. And the gridded beautydish on a boom above. Not really the ideal space to move around in.

I didn’t do any lighting setup diagram for this, the behind the scenes photos speaks for themselves pretty well I think.


I settled for half length and headshots with this setup, if I would have wanted to move away more, the effect of the big fill light from the Octa would have turned into something else. Less big and less soft.

But for close-up portraits, it worked really well. You can of course move away with everything from the background if you would like to light that separately, but I liked the idea of just her and an almost plain white background. With her wearing two shades of grey, it only added to the picture.

With two light sources coming from the same direction and almost from the same angle, this is a setup that can be modified in many ways, just adjust the light ratio and the result will be completely different.

This time, I used a Nikon D700 and a 85mm/1.4 lens, maybe next time I might try it even closer with a 50 mm or 35 mm. I think that can make the fake ring light effect even more visible.

Or I might save up for a huge Profoto Giant (or just rent one)?

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Pierre September 16, 2011, 00:31

    Känns fräscht och lite omväxlande att trycka upp henne sådär. Man får bryta reglerna när man vet om dem vill jag påstå. Ser spontant ut och armarna i kors funkar med hennes leende. Tack för att du delar med dig!

  • Stefan Tell September 16, 2011, 21:59

    Tack, tänkte att det kunde vara kul som omväxling. De flesta ser bra ut med armarna i kors, det gör alla avslappnade. Tycker sällan att det behöver bli nÃ¥gon “power pose” för det.

    Förresten så har jag samma inlägg på svenska bloggen, men tack för kommentaren här ändå.

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