How to make creative beauty picture with a studio setup with 7 lighting units and color and conversion gels
Before describing how this beauty picture was taken I would like to talk a bit about how significant this work is for me. This is one of my favorite works! Every photographer should strive to make vivid and memorable pictures. I think that this is the best way to prove their skills, to draw attention to yourself and your creativity. I try all the time to do creative project by inviting well-known models, experienced makeup artists to develop new imaging technology, ideas and images. So this photo is in addition to bringing new knowledge, technologies and experience to my professional baggage also greatly contributes to my advancement in the market. I made a lot of my professional works for clients who came with a single phrase: “We would like the same in my campaign”
The brief description of the idea for the team that was involved was very simple: “I want to get image where a simple peasant girl is met by us in the sultry noon in the whey field and she is so beautiful that she is turning into a mirage. It should be close, tangible, simple, accessible, but still remain a mirage, a consequence of our sore from the summer heat and thirst of the brain. It was a real spectacle, Olga (the model) produced wide range of emotions, trying to catch the mood that was required, more and more. Even come a moment when I realized that this crime to interfere with its dialogue with the camera, with her image, and just turned the screen in her direction and just enjoyed the spectacle, the range of images, the tension, excitement , excitation of which she was accompanied by his search for images. Working with a great model even without a result is indeed so excating that could be compared to playing of actor.
Now let’s talk about the technical solutions are applied to create this image. The first thing I needed to create a warm environment. You can not just tone the picture, or move the color temperature of the entire photo for a few thousand Kelvin “right”. A visual representation of the heat in the shot is given in another way. I use a neutral key light but for another sources (as fill light, background lightt, some additional lights) I use warming gels that create the necessary “hot” surrounding, the visual embodiment of the heat. Originally I intended to use multiple sources of light, so I used a different solution: I put “cold” conversion gel 202 Half CT Blue on the key light. Then changing the color tempereture in RAW-converter to “warmer” position (at about 6000-7000 K I got the key light as neutral but all another sour see using without gels in this scheme as “warm”. It looks like I use 205 Half CT Orange gels for all sources instead of key light.
The next I had to do was to deal with daisies (or rather chrysanthemums, as in this case). The flowers were so close to the beauty dish that I use as a key light and were brighter than other part of the picture. In order to “remove” unnecessary lighting over the daisies I placed a large black flag over them that gave a little shadow on flowers and returned them to the dynamic range of the camera. In addition, this flag avoided the background for a light falling from the beauty dish and kept it absolutely dark.
Then I put two rear softboxes on both sides of the model. I wanted to portray the game of light which fall at her through imagined leaves of trees that surround the model. Here, I not only had to put light but give the tint of leaves to it. I did not want to just “slightly green” color “- I would like to get glare spots, play of light, so I put 090 Dark Yellow Green gels on the half of surface of each softboxes, so every softbox luminaries as if it has two parts – colorless and green. So that’s why highlights have such a different structure on the neck, hair, shoulders of the model: somewhere it is green, somewhere it is overexposed.
The next step is coming for the fill light which would pull out the shadows on the face of the model and created an illusion of the light reflected from the warm earth having a lush green vegetation. In order to find the right shade or rather the right combination of colors, I used two reflectors that lights on a huge two-meter reflector located at the foot of the model: one has “warm” 204 Full CT Orange gel using to show “the heat” and another has 090 Dark Yellow Green gel putting here to show the reflexes from green grass. The shadows on the face of the neck has a nice warm green. Two points at the bottom of the model eyes betray a secret of the presence of the two reflectors.
Next, I needed to illuminate the background. I did not want to build some props behind the model. Of course I did not want to spoil this photo later in Photoshop. It is clear that I was doing a studio work so I needed only a hint of green and warm reality around the model and the background. I decided that the background spotted with green and yellow lights would be the best for my task. To do this, I took a light green background and put the light source with 101 Yellow gel reflection from a huge piece of silver foil. This is a very interesting way of lighting the background: changing the hardness of the light source and the size of spots comes from its distance of background and lighting source from the foil. But all that things was not enough and I added a spot of light with the reflector with honeycomb grid. It brought the feeling of reality not alway symmetric and conveyed the volume of picture that I needed.
At last we threw the petals of flowers in the air in front of the model. You can see bright spots all around the picture turning into glares of light on the face and body of the model.
In this light setup I used 7 sources of light, and you can see in my story, that the presence of each of them was justified by the tasks to which they are assigned. Each of light sources appeared in meaningful working fulfilling important understanding tasks. I am an opponent of adding lights just to add it, to make it “better” and “brighter”. Each time you add new light source you must clearly understand why you do it. On the other hand, this scheme is interesting to show the way of usage of color and convertion gels helping to create a bright, true, natural image, and this is impossible in this case to do it in different way. You couldn’t do well without them! And their careful usage creates such a vivid and unusual work.
Camera: Hasselblad H3DII-31
Lens: Hasselblad 4.0 210 mm
Exposure: 1/250 second
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