Andrea Belluso is an experienced photographer with more than three decades in the business. Over the years, Andrea has shot everything and everyone from supermodels and celebrities to fashion and beauty and stock photography. In addition, Andrea works as a light shaper evangelist at the Profoto headquarters in Stockholm. Once a month, starting today, Andrea will share one of his recently used setups. First up is his beauty portrait setup.
SETUP: The Beauty Portrait Setup.
PERFECT WHEN: You want a light that brings out the beauty rather than the character.
BUT ALSO WHENEVER: You want a soft light with depth and contrast.
THE ASSIGNMENT: When I was asked to shoot a fashion/beauty story featuring furs, I immediately thought of softboxes. My idea was to utilize the soft, even light to bring out the softness of the fur, so to speak. The fact that the client wanted something clean, young and fresh strengthened me in this conviction. As Profoto had just released the RFi softboxes, I figured this was as good a time as any to try them out. For the record, I am a big fan of softboxes. I love the soft shadows they create and how you can almost make shadows disappear with certain softboxes. The only thing I sometimes miss when using a softbox is a bit more depth and contrast, but I was hoping that the deeper shape of the new RFi softboxes would solve that issue.
THE SETUP: I used three softboxes for this setup. The main light is a small Softbox RFi 1×1.3’ equipped with a Softgrid. The Softgrid helped me reduce the amount of spill light. It also prevented the different light sources from blending, which allowed me to control the lights individually. The Softbox RFi 1×1.3’ is positioned right in front of the model, two meters away and about 30 cm above her head. This position is a little further away than I would usually place my main light, and the reason for the greater distance is that I wanted a slightly harder light and a more fashion-oriented look. It is also worth noting that the main light is positioned at a relatively low height, to avoid unwanted shadows underneath the visor.
The second light is a Softbox RFi 1×6’, positioned right above the fur hat, horizontally. The purpose of this is simply to light up the fur hat, and it is placed close to the hat to enhance the feeling of softness.
Finally, the third softbox was used to create a gradient effect on the grey backdrop. For this I used another Softbox RFi 1×6’, positioned quite close to the wall on the top end of the backdrop pointing down. The fall-off then created the subtle gradient effect you see on the background.
All in all, it is a simple yet versatile setup that can be used for pretty much any assignment where you want a flattering light that is also rich in depth and contrast. I would also recommend experimenting with the position, distance and zoom position of each light source to find the exact light that best creates what you are looking for.
If you have any questions, leave a comment below. I will do my best to answer asap!
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