I recently put a photo of a makeup shot for my regular Makeup Artist, Samantha Craughwell, on my photography blog: Geisha. While the lighting is straightforward, I thought I’d do a post on it.
For a lot of beauty shots, I favour Butterfly lighting. This is where the light is above the models head, and to the front. It casts a particular shadow under the nose, which is meant to look like a butterfly front on in flight. It’s more visible with harder light. My mate, Gary Hill, calls it ‘idiot lighting’ because anyone can get it right. In this instance I used the Elinchrom 70cm Deep Octa as key light, metered to f8, attached to a BX400. I choose f8 to allow the fabric background to blur. Had I want it in focus, I would’ve gone to at least f16. The light was mounted on an Elinchrom Polystand, a really versatile (albeit expensive) wheeled stand.
I added a silver reflector underneath to kick back light onto the fan, and for under the chin when the fan wasn’t being used. I choose it over white, as I needed more contrast in the shot. If you prefer a softer look, go with white.
Hair lights are a little out of vogue now, but for shots like these, I prefer to accent the hair, and the flowers. For this I used a 2nd BX400. This was on a Incline Arm stand, as reviewed here already, with a grid and barn door set to give me exact control over positioning. Metered to f8 also. For blonde hair, I wouldn’t have it so bright.
Both the stand and grid set are from Bessel.
The final element in the lighting is a background light. For ease more than anything else, I used a bare Portaflash 336VM. I’ve 2 of these from my first ever kit, and still keep them for accent lights. Set to lowest power. I tend to used BG lights to taste, rather than meter strictly, unless I’m going for a high key look.Read More