Most photographers have a tendency to light their subjects from the same side. I personally like to set up my key light on camera right and I also always have my subject look toward that light. Not today.
I had planned for this lesson to be an ultra complicated lesson about using gobos (or "go betweens") to create interesting shadows on your model's face but when my test shots failed, Patrick suggested that I go the opposite route and try to create a photograph using a single light. To spice things up a bit I decided to force myself to light from the opposite side that I would normally work from (camera left) but I would also have my model Lauren keep her nose pointed away from that light (camera right). This style of lighting has been successfully pulled off by many of the world's best photographers but it's a style that I have never been very comfortable with.
Having a subject look away from your keylight is not the definition of "beauty light" but if it's done well, it can create a really compelling image. Check out this classic shot of Audrey Hepburn by Richard Avedon.
I've been using Alien Skin's Exposure software for at least 10 years now. It's the absolute best set of presets I have ever found to give your images a finished "look." Earlier this week Alien Skin sent me over the newest version of Exposure X3 and pointed out that you no longer need Photoshop or Lightroom to use it. In fact, in many ways, it is better than Lightroom. If you're the type of photographer who exclusively works in Lightroom and you're tired of paying the monthly creative cloud fees, you might find that Exposure can do everything you need plus more. You can download a 30-day free trial now and if you decide to buy it, use the code "fstoppers" at checkout to save some money.
For my shot I used a single Profoto B1 and a white Beauty Dish with a grid. Because this particular photo called for some pretty specific retouching, I did a basic edit in Photoshop and then added a film "look" using the Exposure plugin.
I feel like the finished image is a decent first attempt but there is a lot of room for improvement. Before this shoot, I would have never attempted this style of lighting, but now, after forcing myself to try it, I'm excited to use it again in the future. If you find yourself taking similar looking photos again and again, it may also be time for you to force yourself outside of your comfort zone. Don't be afraid to try something new, It will only make you a better photographer.