Learn How This Beauty Image Was Lit and Shot

Beauty images are a wonderful chance for you to find your personal style through your choices of lighting, posing, and editing. This excellent video tutorial will show you how a photographer used two lights and gels to create a unique beauty image.

Coming to you from Lindsay Adler Photography, this great video tutorial will take you behind the scenes of how she lit and shot the beauty image you see in the video. For the shot, Adler used a Canon 5D Mark IV in tandem with a Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens. I was fascinated by this particular choice, as the 180mm Macro is a fairly rare lens, with photographers normally reaching for the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM. Normally, it is used by macro photographers who want a bit more working distance so as to not disturb their subjects. Nonetheless, in the context of beauty image, the 180mm Macro offers the same 1:1 magnification of its 100mm cousin while offering the telephoto compression afforded by a lens with a longer focal length. Altogether, it is a fascinating process that led to the final image; check out the video above to see how Adler made it all happen.

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5 Comments

The eyes look dead without catch lights, there is a hard shadow on the right side of her nose (which is a lighting mistake and is very distracting), and right side of lips looks bruised due to a shadow. And you call it “beauty image”?

Errick Jackson's picture

I think most of what you pointed out is subjective and intentional.

Seeking to have a catchlight in the eyes would take away from the illusion of a high-origin point-source light as the key. She would have to jump to a beauty dish or umbrella and that would take away from the hard edge of the lighting she has here, even with grids attached. The hard shadow is, idk, inevitable? Again, it's a hard, directional light so hard shadows have to fall somewhere. I don't think there's a version of this that doesn't end up with a directional shadow that's not noticeable. As for the lips, I don't see what you're talking about so idk there. But yes, I would definitely define this as beauty. Beauty photograph is skin and cosmetics focused, but not a monolithic lighting style. I think she pretty well accomplished the aims of both her and the genre, with one exception being I think I would have handled the neck retouching differently.

Thank you for your comment. "The hard shadow is, idk, inevitable?" No, it can be easily avoidable by changing the position / direction of the light source / position of a person being photographed. However, many people do not pay attention to it during a photo shoot. "Beauty" is something aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Yes, I agree - it is subjective, and I honestly do not see much aesthetics in this image.

Errick Jackson's picture

I understand you can change position, but the nature of the lighting means there will be hard shadows falling somewhere and it's not necessarily going to be pleasing to everyone regardless of how they fall.

But that aside, my reference to beauty wasn't particular to the abstract idea. I'm specifically saying the genre of photography known as Beauty is skin and cosmetics focused and lighting is varied throughout. I've seen this lighting style in a number of cosmetics and jewelry advertisements in magazines, so I think that whether or not you find it aesthetically pleasing very heavily comes down to your personal tastes; but it absolutely falls within the genre of Beauty Photography.

Spy Black's picture

I'm not sure I'd call that "beauty". Perhaps editorial, or creative, or something. Not that I think the model is unattractive, just that she has been made up, posed, and lit to look unattractive.