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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…


When I take portraits of my clients in the studio, I often end up with a grey background. Most of the time it is a white background, that I make light or medium grey depending on the subject and what I want to achieve, just by letting the right amount of light reach the background. But sometimes, background colour makes it a better portrait.

Changing background colour, or rather, adding, can be really really simple (just use the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom) if the portrait is lit in a way that takes away most of the hurdles when it comes to making the transition between the subject and the background look natural. Or natural enough for a studio portrait like this.

Rim lights and background colour…

Portrait on location in office environment

Very often my clients want photos taken in their office, but to make it look a little better, often with a stock photo as some kind of visual reference. Trying to imitate something very polished, sunny and designed, in an ordinary office has its challenges. Especially when the sky outside is covered with dark clouds.

That is exactly what happened to me lately, when shooting portraits for a client. We had just shot the ordinary portraits against a medium grey background in one of their rooms, when they asked if I could take a couple more. If I could use their office as background, they would be delighted.

[Read the full post here…]

Portraiture, half-length portrait of gentleman shot in my photo studio, black and white. Photographer Stefan Tell

Most of my portrait photography features a smiling face, or at least someone working hard not to look too grim and serious. But, sometimes someone comes into my photo studio in Stockholm and does exactly the opposite.

The gentleman in this case works as a business consultant and he is a very nice guy, but he doesn’t smile for the camera. Nope. And I like that, you don’t have to smile. Most lawyers never do that, for example.

The lighting setup in my studio used three Profoto Compacts and I developed all portraits in Lightroom including the black and white conversion. And added some final touches in Photoshop.

This was the short version.

Read the long, detailed version with diagram and all…