Lighting Alicia

This test image of Alicia Sandeman, a brilliant makeup artist was posted to Facebook a few days ago.

Alicia will provide makeup and hair for a forthcoming project, as she has never been photographed professionally, decided to take the plunge, a) to get some images for her portfolio and website etc, b) to experience what others experience in front of the camera when I'm in control, so I had to be a good lad!

A lot of people have commented on the lighting so I thought I'd share more about the image.

Before the shoot I had not met Alicia, only spoken to her on the phone so had no idea what to expect. So on arrival at the studio I hadn't made decisions about the background or lighting, other than having a couple of Elinchrom soft boxes set up from previous work.

As Alicia wore a black dress I opted for the black background paper so she would stand out from the background. To prevent light polluting the background I kept my key light close to Alicia just out of frame and the accent light was feathered to prevent spill.

Key to Lighting Design
1. Elinchrom BRXi 250 with Portalite 66 cm square soft box, about 1' above head height to add depth and shimmer to the hair. Softer and more subtle than a undiffused grid spot.
2. Elinchrom BRXi 500 with Rotalux 100 cm square soft box, about 1'6" above head height and angled at about 30 degrees down.
3. California Sunbounce Mini Micro reflector with gold/silver zebra, positioned below light rather than in front of Alicia to maintain a degree of modelling/soft shadow.
4. The star of the show:-)

Both lights were set to minimum power giving a quick and responsive recycle between shots.

Camera, Canon 50D, 50 mm f/1.4, Elinchrom Skyport. ISO 160, 1/125th second, f/9. Exposure was established using a Sekonic L408, none of this wind the power on the flash down until it looks right. Using the exposure meter looks professional and saves precious time.

This simple set up works with a variety of backgrounds and allows the model room to move. The crop here was in camera, not added in post, allowing either a landscape or portrait crop from the one shot.

A monochrome treatment using Snapseed on an iPad.

Elinchrom lights in the UK are available from The Flash Centre. Contact Simon Burfoot and mention this blog.


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