How I Shot Chriselle Lim for the Cover of Female Malaysia

How I Shot Chriselle Lim for the Cover of Female Malaysia

A couple of months ago I was given the opportunity to photograph Korean-American stylist, lifestyle blogger, and digital influencer, Chriselle Lim for the cover of Female Malaysia magazine. It’s always exciting to be able to shoot a cover for a magazine, especially one that is the leading fashion and beauty magazine in Malaysia, and I particularly love photographing strong, successful women. Gotta be around these role models!

Due to changes in schedule, the studio we ended up using for this shoot was rather small. This meant working within the limitations of the given space. Therefore, the set up for this shoot was rather simple. We also wanted the images to be clean to show off Chriselle as a person so we wanted as little distractions as possible on the set itself. I had planned to use soft lighting as it is a reliable way to achieve flattering images when photographing women. Other than the plain background, I also wanted to use the textured backdrop that was available in the studio in order to add some variety into the spread. We went through about 6 outfits and finished the shoot in approximately 4 hours.

With the cover shot, I loved her dress but it looked fairly plain to be shot as is. We decided to add some movement into her poses in order to make the photos more dynamic. When it comes to capturing movement, it is understandable that there will be hits and misses. However, after getting her to swing her dress around a couple of times, we were able to capture this gem that worked beautifully as the cover shot.

Equipment List

Lighting Setup

As mentioned above, the set for this shoot is fairly simple including the lighting setup. I used two lights for this shoot, one with and octa and one with a silver umbrella. The octa is used as the main light as the size of the modifier allows the light output to be soft and flattering. The silver umbrella is added in to give a slight pop to the image. We also used white V-flats on the side and a reflector on the floor in the shoot to help fill in the shadows when there was too much on the sides.


The above setup is done using set.a.light 3D software which is fantastic for trying out different types of lighting setups!

Editing

The whole shoot itself was tethered through a TetherPro cable to Capture One. This allowed the makeup artist and wardrobe stylist to view the images while on set so they could adjust the hair and items of clothing accordingly, allowing them to be even better at their job while reducing the amount of post-shoot retouching work for me. With Capture One, I was also able to color grade and add in edits such that the images that appeared on screen while tethering are already closer to what I envision for the finished product. 

Once I was done with the photoshoot, I filtered through the images in Capture One and then retouched them in Photoshop. The main two plugins I use in Photoshop are the Retouching Toolkit (Code: SHAVONNE15 if you're interested in a little discount!) and the Infinite Color Panel. The Retouching Toolkit is a hugely customizable Photoshop extension that helps speed up the retouching workflow. It helps me cut down on steps that I'll need to take which might not seem like much on one image but when you're retouching a set, this really adds up. Quentin wrote an article on it here. Infinite Color Panel, on the other hand, is strictly for color grading. Color grading is this huge complicated topic that is so subjective it becomes confusing rather quickly. For me, this panel really helps me see the different directions my image can take with different color grades. Both are fantastic plugins and help fast track my editing process.

Closing

The whole shoot was tethered straight into my laptop using a Tethertools cable into Capture One. This allows the whole team to see what I’m shooting in real-time so they can adjust whatever that’s needed on set. I then brought the images that we chose into Photoshop for more detailed editing and finished it off with a color grade using Infinite Color Panel.

Editor: Yang Mei Ling

Photographer: Shavonne Wong (instagram)

Assistant: Zachary Witt

Model: Chriselle Lim

Stylist: Cheryl Tan

Makeup: Alison Christian

Hair: Amanda Lee

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10 Comments

Jorge Cevallos's picture

Perfect work. I love it.

Stephen Kampff's picture

Always a big fan of your lighting diagrams, so informative!

Richard Bradbury's picture

Great work Shavonne Wong Thank you for sharing. Very clean images.

Shavonne Wong's picture

Appreciate it Richard (:

Beautiful images!!! I wonder whether a simpler lighting setup would have been to use a single deep octa (either a high end focusing unit from Broncolor/Briese- or the poor-man's Glow EZ Lock deep octas) to give you the combo of a big soft light that still has some specular 'pop' and contrast?? Just a thought for a 1 strobe equivalent setup...

Shavonne Wong's picture

Interesting question! To be honest, I've never actually gotten around to trying the deep parabolic light modifiers so I tested it out on the set.a.light 3D software that I mentioned in the article. It seems like it could be possible to get fairly similar results. It's not exactly the same but pretty close!

Sooooo cool you actually tried it out (virtually at least!) The high end para units have so many options with strobe positioning (focused/defocused) that you would prob have to simulate those variables too to see whether the combo of 'soft light with a pop' is doable with 1 unit- my bet is yes. I shoot a lot of dance where that same soft light with a bit of an edge can really sculpt the line and outfits of an athletic moving dancer...

Edo Photo's picture

Very very nice. I especially love the diagrams! Love the designs added to the 'squat' image.

I and my fashion week friends are now swapping stories of when these influencers (formerly 'fashionistas') first made a splash at fashion week. Between her, Aime Song, Irene Kim and some others, we have literally watched them come up from nothing over the last 5+ years.

And while I'm happy that they or anyone who can find some success, unfortunately the photographers who have taken their pictures over the years are NOT sharing in any of the glory, the endorsements, the marketing deals...none of it. An influencer that I used to shoot for every fashion week replaced my services for her boyfriend (s' phone) to save a buck. Photographers need to find a way to enjoy the spoils as this segment explodes.

If you don't shoot street style or fashion week,(s) it may sounds like a bunch of nothing- but it is a big deal. I just wanted to leave that nugget here, because currently I'm working on a way to get into the financial chain that these influencers now enjoy their successes from. We helped put these people on the map with our images. And have mostly nothing to show for it.

Cheers thx for reading.