Tracie Maglosky creates dewy skin and soft light with Profoto
It’s funny how a shoot comes together. A moment of inspiration can affect your entire concept. We called this shoot “The Skin You’re In,” and it began when I was inspired to photograph a model with black, vinyl-looking lips.
The subject was Sali Kamara, a hair and makeup artist. Ironically, it was the first time I’d photographed Sali. After working with her as a hair and makeup artist on a client shoot, I knew I wanted to photograph her as a model.
The shoot took place in my Cincinnati studio. We wanted Sali’s skin to appear dewy and naturally textured, and for the entire color palette to include chocolate undertones. Sali did her own hair and makeup. I also relied on the assistance of Tony Pollard, my business (and life) partner, to help with the styling and wardrobe.
My biggest priority for this shoot was making sure the lighting for the skin was right. Skin is especially important for headshots. You always have to make sure that there are no hotspots and that the texture and color of the skin is preserved. To get this flawless look, we used a two-light setup. One Profoto B1X was pointed down toward Sali and was fitted with a 2x3 foot softbox with grid. We also used a Profoto reflector below her torso to produce an extremely soft output and fill in shadows underneath her face. The other light–a Profoto B2–was pointed at the background to create more separation between Sali and the backdrop.
Our biggest challenge was keeping the key light off of the backdrop. To prevent this, we added the softbox with grid to the key light and moved Sali closer it. By doing this, the backdrop falls off into a delicious rich tone in this frame.
Aside from the richness of the tones, my favorite part of the final frame is the texture and dewiness of Sali’s skin that we amplified through lighting. I know I can count on a consistent level of color and power with Profoto lights, and those features help guarantee that the skin is perfect from shoot to shoot.
Tips & Tricks
TURNING CHALLENGES INTO AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE BEAUTIFUL IMAGES.
- FOR SOFT LIGHT, bring your key light source as close to the subject as possible. The closer you get to your subject with your light source the softer the light will be.
- USE A SOFT GRID to reduce or eliminate spill on the background.
- TO CREATE A HOTSPOT BEHIND YOUR SUBJECT use a background light. This will create more separation between your subject and background.
- SOFTEN DEEP SHADOWS WITH A FILL LIGHT OR REFLECTOR. This will help balance light and shadow and produce a pleasing texture.
- USE A MODELING LIGHT to perfect the placement of the illumination. With a modeling light, you can find the catchlights in your subject’s eyes, and study where the shadow is falling on the face.