Boudoir Part 3
This is continuing our series from a Boudoir Photo Session which was conducted at our Studio in California. Here we set up our model with a fresh white men’s shirt which is set off against a black background. We used a bit of elevation on the composition for some added dimension. The lighting is just a bit less dramatic than Rembrandt (you may recall a previous post). If you look carefully at the model’s eyes you can reverse engineer the lighting setup very quickly. Here you can see a large rectangular soft box at about 45 degrees to the left, and also a smaller and much less bright fill light at about 45 to the right. Sometime edge lights are used to sharpen and highlight the model’s frame. Often a hair light is used to accentuate the hair from behind, but this was not the effect that we were looking for.
Studio lighting tends to use one, two, three or four lights, with reflectors and other light modifiers, and is generally done with studio strobes rather than continuous. For a studio lighting setup, you need the lights, the relevant stands and light modifiers, something to trigger them, reflectors, and a backdrop of some kind. You will need to set the camera to manual exposure, because all automatic exposure modes will measure the ambient light and not the flash. You should set the shutter speed to your camera’s maximum synch speed. You can then adjust your lighting by their intensity, distance to the model and by your camera’s aperture setting. Having a flash meter is very helpful to dial in a setup.
There are four basic reasons for using lights, and, in order of importance, they are:
- To give enough illumination to the subject that you can capture all the details within the dynamic range of your camera, with the depth of field you need.
- To give true, high colour rendering
- To use shadow to bring out the three-dimensionality of the subject
- To freeze motion, so that you can, for example, capture the movement of hair
It is generally best to start with just one light, using reflectors to fill in, as it is easier to achieve natural results this way and easiest to learn. From there, you can progress to two lights, and so on.