I covered the basics of beauty lighting several months ago. This month I take you on a deeper dive into beauty lighting. We’ll look at a more advanced setup I used recently to produce two killer looks for the same model. There are constants in beauty lighting: a strobe with a beauty dish acting as the keylight, a reflector or second strobe to fill in the shadows from the keylight, and classic clamshell lighting. Add a stellar creative team, additional accent lights to amp up the look and maybe some colored gels for that extra wow factor.
It never ceases to amaze me what’s possible with just one light, whether it’s a strobe or constant, plus a little know-how and creativity. A recent assignment I shot for one of Orlando’s top modeling agencies is a perfect example of the magic you can create with one light. I’d been asked to shoot promotional images of Kino, a newly signed model. The agency wanted dramatic edgy shots that highlighted his chiseled features and ripped physique. It was the perfect assignment for a couple of cool one-light setups.
Black-and-white conversion is an art, and the art is in determining how each color is rendered in black and white. Say you have an image of a beautiful landscape with a deep blue sky full of fluffy clouds. When we convert that to black and white, the blue sky loses its color. Now, I have a question for you: How will the blue areas look in black and white? Will they look light gray? Dark gray? White? Or maybe light gray with a slight gradient of dark gray? Making these decisions for how each color will be rendered is what makes black-and-white conversion fun.