[BTS] Anna Sui's One Light Fashion Shoot With Sanchez & Mongiello

If you enjoy looking at fashion images, then the photography duo Sofia Sanchez & Mauro Mongiello should be on your radar. They are ranked as among the top fashion photographers on Model.com and it's easy to see how their work stands out within one of the most saturated fields of photography. In their latest campaign shoot for clothing designer Anna Sui, Sanchez and Mongiello have one of the simplest lighting setups ever: just a single gridded Profoto head.

It was pretty shocking to see the preview images on the screen; they had so much fill and detail that is normally not found with a single hard right. After seeing the final image, it's clear that there is also a backlight coming from behind the set. But could there be something else to this photograph? I might have to experiment with this lighting setup next time I'm in the studio or on set in an interesting house. Images like this remind me how much mood and feel play into your lighting and overall production. Enjoy this simple and short behind the scenes video.

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13 Comments

drives me crazy how video guys don't know how to white balance their cameras lol

Gaw-jous!  With a beautiful model, world-class wardrobe, make-up and hair, you could shoot this with a Holga and a 60w light-bulb, and get a keeper every time!

Wow, I'm amazed how much light they are getting in the shot using a gridded reflector. Look at the picture coming in from the camera on the computer, the image looks very "bright", something doesn't make sense. The light is sharply on her face creating contrasty shadows but the RAW images don't show this. They look like they are color graded and photoshopped coming into Phase One Pro. That's amazing.

It's not just one light, they just only have one modeling light on - with her skin tone matching the background and outfit, it would be easier to grab focus with a sharp contrast by turning off the other light's modeling lights.

true that. there's definitely a strong second light coming from that window behind the model (we can see that shadows that the sofa casts) - in any case I like the tones on the resulting image ; )

Do you mean models.com? they rate photographers?

hi guys, 

at 0:35 seconds, you can see a high raised flash head behind the windowed wall which blasts through the window to fill the "room" with light. the gridded light is just filling in the face (i guess). so it's not one light. 

Patrick Hall's picture

 yeah my title was a bit misleading....I mention the  backlight int he article but it still seems like a ton of fill from the front. 

agree with Ofir, there's 2 lights going on there gentlemen...

Don't forget the big bit of foamboard off to camera left and probably elsewhere...

Herr Falch Svinar's picture

Hmm, even with two lights i dont see how it will light up the whole room..as the second strobe just comes through a little window..Can somebody explain this X-File case? And what is the best way to balance flash and ambient light indoors?  

This thing is really interesting.  I think it needs the Hobby investigation.  At about:12 you see a glimpse of an overhead strobe head, angled down and back to the set.  At :35 you see another behind the window.  The interesting frames for me come at :32 and :33, you see two different shots on the monitor one quite a bit brighter than the other and with much more fill on the subject.

I'm curious as to why you said it was one light (granted, second light in the back of the set)? Was it because you only saw one light in the video? I would tend to agree that you see on modeling light lighting the scene, but there could be plenty more. That said, my girlfriend has shot some stuff that still has me scratching my head by placing one bare bulb behind the models head, yet the light on her face is soft and ethereal (our studio is a couple thousand square feet with 15' ceilings, and she's never busted those lights past 1/4 power, so I can't attribute it to bounce.)