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Beauty dish portrait with golden hair light


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.


The setup

(A) is the beauty dish with a diffusion sock, (B) is the gelled hair light with barn doors and (C) is a black book end to control the shadows a bit, (D) is a white reflector for fill and (E) is a blue paper background.

I really like this portrait, for many reasons, but the most interesting thing is how just a tiny bit of the black v-flat/book end, included in the portrait makes it so much better. Maybe it is that she is suddenly not alone in the frame, or that I am too used to having a clean studio background that makes me happy with the tiniest change from my standard way of doing things?

Otherwise this portrait is done the way I do things in the studio all the time, Nikon D800, 85mm lens, aperture 5.6 and all that.

Another thing I really like about this is the straw/yellow/amber/light orange hair light from a gelled Profoto D1 with barn doors. It really makes her hair stand out and adds a touch of colour.

My initial plan was to write a blog post about how easily you can modify a lighting setup to produce a lot of different styles, but the hour is late and I will have to get back to that another day.

To wrap that thought up quickly, I can say that this was not my starting point for this session, this portrait came to life when I moved the camera one or two steps to the left. Usually I let my camera on a stand stay in one place and change everything else (I have a small studio, and there is often just one good angle).But, it is when you do something differently (than you usually do) you can make something different (than you usually do). Must trademark that line, or at least make a bumper sticker.

More about that later.

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