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Thread: Beauty Shoot Light Setups

  1. #1
    Member JJM's Avatar
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    Beauty Shoot Light Setups

    My wife and I are planning a few more beauty shoots for her makeup business website and general marketing and I want to try and improve my setup a little.
    Currently I have the following lighting gear and want to keep the purchasing of new gear to a minimum if possible
    • Elinchrom D-Lite 4 Kite with the square soft boxes
    • 580EX II Flash (No stand or transmitter yet..)


    First aim is to be able to able change the background colour quickly and easily using gels on a flash. After a little research grey backgrounds seem to be able to changed to various colours (reds, blues, greens) and depending on light setup also get the black or almost white.
    • I am not sure if I could use my 580EX II for this or if I need to use one of my D-Lites?
    • Is Grey actually the best background colour to use for this purpose? Or is white better?
    • Planning on getting Vinyl background at this stage as the long term horizontal storage of paper worries me or should I not be worried about it.


    Secondly, I want to try a different light modifier rather than the square soft boxes, looking very seriously at either a 70cm Elinchrom white beauty dish or maybe an Indirect Soft Box or a Large Parabolic Umbrella.
    • Should I consider a Silver beauty dish over a white one?
    • Are grids worthwhile on the beauty dish?
    • Knowing the type of photos going to be shooting what do you guys recommend?
    • I am open to any other suggestions anyone has?


    Thirdly, if I am using for example one of my D-Lites with some gels to light my background and say another in a beauty dish.

    • In an ideal world should I be looking to either use my 580EX II as a hair/rim light?
    • I have seen tutorials where they use a further two studio strobes one on each side as hair/rim lights is this really necessary?


    Thanks in advance and if anyone has any further suggestions I am all ears.

    Jeremy
    Last edited by JJM; 05-02-2015 at 1:24pm.

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    Hi Jeremy,
    I will try my best to answer your questions.....
    Firstly background....As a general rule grey is the best colour for background... mostly because as you say it can also be white or black quite easily....kind of 3 colours in one...
    i cant remember off the top of my head where i read it but grey is also the best colour for lights.... i have certainly had great results on grey backgrounds... i find white washes out the colour a little more...
    vinyl v's paper.. personal preference....just make sure the vinyl is matte... you definitely don't want a shiny surface reflecting lights all over the place, for the most part anyway....
    i would use the dlight for this...

    Secondly, light modifiers... really really depends on what look you are after.. they are just tools after all.... best advise i can give here is to buy them as you can and try them, learn to use them. grids are great.....once you start buying you wont be able to stop... you always seem to need that other size softbox, or a bigger beauty dish, or a stripbox, or a huge parabolic, or a ... ( you get the idea !!! )

    thirdly lights... again depends very much on the final look you are after.. hair/rim light might be needed, might not....just be aware that a hair light might need to be flagged to stop any light spill onto the gelled lights.... the second example you use ( 2 rim lights) this is typical lighting for composites.. can be used for beauty as well, once again depends on final look you are after....

    All in all most of your questions are answered by what you are after in a final look... lights, colours, gels, placement, size etc... they will all interact with each other to give an individual final look...

    hope that helps.... happy learning!!!!

    Simon.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for taking the time to reply @snappysi !!
    Last edited by JJM; 18-02-2015 at 4:40pm.

  4. #4
    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    A couple of questions JJM.

    Are you looking for purely head and shoulder close up shots or full body length? That will make a big difference in the amount of gear you need.

    How much room do you have to separate the subject from the background? Once again that will make a diference to the amount of gear as well as the power of the lights needed.

    A good neutral grey background is good for varying the light contrast and colours. A white background is good for varying colours with the use of gels on the background light.

    For "beauty" shots, the more light that you can surround the subject with and as much depth of field that you can muster is probably the better option. I would look at 1 to 2 lights for illuminating the subject from the front / side and 1 light to accentuate hair from "behind" or at a rearward angle plus 1 or 2 background lights.
    Modifiers I would look at in preference to square softboxes for illuminating the face would be octagonal softboxes or round beauty dishes. Beauty dishes are an extremely versatile modifier, open (no grid) allows soft even light fall off and then the grids can create more distinct directional light.

    If you have room for subject background separation and plenty of subject lighting the speedlight might have enough power with goloured gels to give you soft muted background colours but you will chew batteries when balancing it with monoblocs providing light at F/11. One or two dedicated background lights would be my choice.

    Unfortunately, with studio work it is one area that there really is no free lunch when you want the sort of results you are looking at. The more lights that you can have at your disposal, the easier it will be.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



  5. #5
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    Thanks Andrew, the photos will be head and shoulders.
    I have approx. 4m - 5m to play with, last time I had the subject about 2m off the background.
    Kind of thoughts so with the speedlight, think I will try and find another pair of monoblocs.

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