If we look back at the 10 images, most of them where shot with 4 or 5 strobes including ring flash. I think it is really great that the readers picked the only image done with 1 single light, no reflectors.
I set up the light in the same position today and shot an overview* for you to see. First of all, simplicity is very often the very best. This dress was her retro dress so I wanted to go with the old style wall paper for the background. See how little you need to wallpaper for a shot like this!. Also, I wanted the lighting to have a more old days feel to it, back when the light used mostly was daylight coming in from windows. My light is an Elinchrom 600 ws Strobe w/ the 53″ Junior Octa my favorite all round soft box ever.
I put it far enough behind her that it highlighted what I call the most important part of a face, the triangle. On shots like this, it help to be in a dark studio so you can really see how the light hits her from the modeling light on the strobe. The quality of light in this image comes from being exact with the placement of light and her distance to the background, so you get the right light spill on the background. I set the light to just wrap around her. She is far enough from reflective surfaces to keep the shadows really dark, which I wanted. I kept the softbox as close to her as possible to get the softest light possible to resemble window light and give me max control. Another little detail that is not typically me is the profile that is not clean, just almost, which you often see in paintings, especially old once. (Yes this is a retro shot 🙂 )
A profile shot is one of many things that should be in a models portfolio, so I wanted the light to emphasize on her profile. Thanks for responding to which image to blog; responses make it so I’m way more motivated to take the time to keep blogging.
* I love overviews and I know they are helpful, but PLEASE forgive me for not always having them. There are reasons! When I get into a shot and a rhythm it can really break it to suddenly starting thinking about and shooting overviews. Sometimes, like in workshops, I invite a past student to come and shoot overviews for me. I will try to bring in a photographer more often to do them in the future, especially since I will be coming out with a book on lighting in November 2011.
Just wanted to post another exposure to show I quick variation on the same set up. This is also another “rule breaker” because there is more space behind her face than in front. That gives it impact. Know the rules, then break them at the right times. This image was processed with one click only with a brand new action my wife MaryLyn just made. Main image on top Photoshopped by MaryLyn and I have no clue what she did, haha.