Beauty photography can be a lot of fun to shoot, and that is what keeps me eager to keep progressing in my craft. But it does come with its own set of problems!
Every human face is flawed (except for the person reading this — you're perfect!). When an image is taken up close and personal in the way that most beauty photography is done, those flaws are magnified way more than anyone would ever want to be magnified. Big pores, baby hair, blackheads, and scars are suddenly all clear as day. The horrors!
That's why it's so important for the model you choose to shoot for beauty to have incredibly good, healthy skin — because that will dramatically decrease the time you spend behind the computer editing. Also, your makeup artist and hair stylist play huge roles in making sure your model looks good. A great makeup artist will also help make sure your post work is less tedious. It really is a team and all-hands-on-deck effort. As is the case with most teams, the desired end result becomes that much harder if everyone isn't doing their part.
Pro Tip: whenever possible, fix everything in-camera. The two seconds it'll take to move the strand of hair off the front of the model's eyeball can equate to 30 minutes of editing work.
There are many different ways to light a beauty shot. This is one of them, and I hope to show you guys more in the future.
- Canon 5D Mark II
- Canon 85mm f/1.8
- Profoto 5-foot Octa Softbox
- Profoto 8A and Pro Heads
- Silver Reflector
For this shoot, I used a Profoto 5-foot Octa Softbox to light my model. The light is wonderfully soft and incredibly flattering, and I also moved it to a more top-down position and then feathered it off to hit the model so the light is a little more even and soft.
I also had a silver reflector at the bottom to bounce the light back up to my model's face.
Here's a behind-the-scenes shot to help clarify:
Honestly, she had good skin. Of course there was still retouching involved, but mainly to clean up hair and skin. You can see the before-and-after below.
This beauty lighting is fairly straightforward so if you haven't done anything like it before, do give it a go. Let me know what you think and if you have any questions.