I have a lot of respect for photographers who solely focus on beauty imagery. It’s definitely a skillset that I’ve been honing over the past few years, but ultimately one that I’ve come to develop an appreciation for. However, beauty photography does not have to be terribly difficult. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create beautiful beauty lighting with a single studio strobe and a reflector.
Anyone who knows me, or my body of work, can tell you that I love simplicity. I don’t like lugging around a ton of gear. I try to minimize the amount of lights used to light my images – usually, I’ll opt for a single light. I actually don’t mind, not having an assistant on set. It strips away portrait, fashion and beauty photography to its core essence, which is working with your subject to capture the imagery you envision.
When it comes to beauty photography, I’ve never really seen a good concrete definition that I was content with, so I’m going to try to make up my own. To me, beauty photography is:
When you think of beauty photography, your brain should automatically recall the images that you see in Sephora, MAC, or behind the Macy’s beauty counter. That doesn’t mean that your subject needs a ton of makeup in order to showcase her beauty! She could just be showcasing her natural beauty.
For this setup, Westcott was kind enough to let me try their new Rapid Box Beauty Dish. It literally just hit the market, so I was really excited to put it to use. It’s a collapsible 24” 16-Panel white beauty dish that fits in a small tote bag. What’s not to like? I’ve mounted that modifier onto a Profoto D1 500w, placed 45-degrees above my subject.
Below my subject's face, I’m using a Rogue Super Soft Silver Reflector, to bounce light back into my subject’s face in order to lighten any shadows the BD does not fill in. And that’s about it!
I’ve opted to open up my aperture to it’s widest value, in this case, that’s f/2.8, since I’m using the Tamron 90mm f/2.8. This allows me to focus in on the eyes and blur the edges of the face in a beautiful manner.
Prior to filming this tutorial, I used this same setup to shoot an editorial for a large publication, which conveniently rhymes with Yell. I’ll be sure to post those images below, once they’re released in the magazine.
All in all, this makes for a really easy replicable lighting setup you can easily create at home.