Patrick and I were invited to shoot a behind the scenes video with beauty photography Sam Yocum in NYC a few months ago. I've always been struck by the lighting and flawless models, makeup, and retouching that can be seen in high end Beauty work and so I couldn't wait to see a real professional work...
We showed up at Shoot Digital (a massive photo studio in Manhattan) early in the morning and the models were already in makeup. Sam's assistant was working on the lights and I got to sit down and interview Sam for a few minutes. What I found most interesting about Sam was his incredible attention to detail. Most photographers either say "we'll just fix that in post" or they wouldn't fix it at all but Sam seemed to know exactly what he wanted out of the shoot before he started clicking.
Sam started off the day with a Mola Setti Dish above the model and a gridded light below them. He quickly turned off the gridded light and lit the models with only a dish for the rest of the day. The photograph then became about the makeup, the model, and the way that single light was hitting their face. I always assumed there was some secret, ultra-complex lighting involved but that wasn't the case with this shoot.
Since Sam didn't really move his "light" at all, the behind the scenes video seemed a bit lacking so we asked Sam to film a quick look at his retouching. Once again Sam's attention to detail really impressed me and it made his "great" beauty shot a world class image.
As I get the opportunity to meet some of the top photographers in the world I am finding that they all start with a simple concept just like any other photographer, but the best photographers go the extra mile to create that one, single, flawless image while the rest of us stop short.