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This is a photo from one of my latest assignments, portrait of another Swedish illustrator in my studio. During the photo session, I adjusted the setup a little step by step and somewhere in the middle it resulted in this.

The setup was quite simple, but very easy to change into something quite different just by moving the camera to the side just a bit or removing the background paper.

Two Profoto D1, one with a white Profoto Softlight reflector on (i.e. a beauty dish, this time with a diffusion sock I just purchased) and the other with straw gel.

[Read the full post here…]

Beauty portrait with make-up, studio lighting with setup for face photo. Stefan Tell

This kind of beauty portraits in my studio is not what I usually do, but the lighting setup is useful for all kinds of headshots. The main difference might be that these photos have a lot more make-up and hours in Photoshop than the rest of my portfolio.

The client was a Swedish producer of make-up and they wanted photos of their products in use on a model to show the colours of the season. In my studio we managed to fit a model, a stylist, a hairdresser, a couple of people from the client’s office. And me. And four studio lights. And some light shapers.

Behind the scenes and how I did it…

Beauty dish portrait without grid, 5-foot softbox Octa as fill.

On one of my latest assignment shooting studio portrait of a Swedish illustrator, I did a few different setups in the studio. One of them was this, a simple lighting setup using two Profoto D1 lights. Main light in both portraits were a white Profoto Softlight Reflector camera right on a boom.

The portrait above uses a large 5-foot softbox Octa as fill camera left, but the characteristic beauty dish look is still visible. With no grid and the model pretty close to the background, the white cyclorama is light grey.

Just add a grid…

Test shot, portrait of a comedian, with Profoto ring flash and a beautydish

Swedish comedian Lasse Nilsen is a guy I have been working with a couple of times now. And it is always a pleasure. He has studied mime in Paris, and works full-time as a standup comedy entertainer, both for companies and in clubs.

He needed new portraits, both the usual headshots, but also portraits with an idea that I can’t write more about right now. Will show you as soon as I am allowed to.

Having taken portraits of someone before teaches you a bit about how they are in front of the camera, but maybe more interestingly, how their face (and skin) reacts to light. That sets the limits for what kind of light setup you can use.

For this session, I used a gridded beauty dish as my main light with a ring flash as fill. Maybe not the combination I would use for company portraits, but when you have the time to adapt it to new ideas, it is very rewarding.

[Read the full post here…]


This portrait, taken in a loft where a couple of creatives share office was in fact not the reason that I went there. My assignment was to take a couple of publicity portraits of an illustrator working there, but when I asked some of his colleagues if they needed portraits (as I already had my lights set and was in no hurry) this guy said yes, please, why not?

This might be one of the easiest ways of selling a portrait session, I try to ask whenever I have the time and the moment feels right, someone will usually go for it. It could be some sort of business idea somewhere in this, but I haven’t really had the time to take it further, but selling professional portraits the same way they sell ice cream could really work. The problem might just be to find the right spots?

More on the lighting bit here…