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Lighting Styles

Lesson 6 from: Introduction to Flash for Beauty Images

Mike Hagen

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Lesson Info

6. Lighting Styles

Lesson Info

Lighting Styles

So let's talk lighting styles, and I'll kinda move through these pretty quickly, and then we'll get into shooting some pictures. One of the first things we need to think about is camera height. Camera height matters, so if your model's sitting on the stool, or even standing there, you have basically three options: above the model, at the model's head, or below the model, right? And when I say the model, in this case we're talking about shoulders and head. If you shoot up high, and down on the model, you get a shorter neckline. And if we're into beauty shots, which is kinda what we're after today, that neck can be very glamorous and very nice. And so we don't necessarily want to hide the neck. A lot of times we want to show the neck. At the same time, we don't want to be like this. You don't want to be like shooting up from way down below, because what does that do? Shows the double chin. So the ideal case for this is slightly below. So we're gonna shoot just a little bit below, so we g...

et some of that nice neckline, but not so low that we're showing a double chin, or something like that. So camera height matters, and we'll shoot a couple examples of that as we move on. Let's talk about proximity to background. I skipped a slide there, but I'm just gonna kinda talk through that slide I skipped. Proximity matters. It really matters how close you are to that background to get that beauty shot, and that beauty look. If you're close to the background, that means that your main light can spill onto the background. And that's what we're after today. A lot of times you'll hear photographers telling you that you have to be a long ways away from the background. And most of the time, that's the case, because you want that background to fade away into nothingness, and get all blurry. But today, since we are only using one flash, we have to find a way to light that background. And the only way to do that is to be pretty close to that backdrop. So you can see I've already got the stool set up here, and you can see that I am about a foot away from that backdrop. We'll shoot a couple images. I'm gonna show you what it looks like to be one foot away, three feet away, five feet away, and you'll see how important it is to be close, to make that background look white. Okay, so proximity to background matters. I left my clicker over here. (clears throat) And then, let's talk about some of the lighting styles. And I realize that we talked a lot about gear, and so I think what I might do is just, real quickly, just describe the lighting styles that we're gonna shoot today, and then we'll get right into shooting. So lighting style one is all around a soft box. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna use a soft box, and create something called butterfly lighting. Butterfly lighting, a butterfly light, the idea here is that if you put the soft box up high, the shadow from the nose falls right down here, by the upper lip. And the shape of the nose actually creates a butterfly shape between the upper lip and the bottom of the nose. It used to be called Paramount lighting, for the old Paramount studios, as well, so we're after kinda that look. So a soft box up high, and then this butterfly light, is gonna give us that little shadow underneath the nose. The next style we're gonna shoot, if it clicks, is I'm gonna show you a beauty dish, in this case not an actual beauty dish, but the Phottix Raja. So I'm gonna show you a beauty dish, and a reflector, and I'll show you a bunch of different looks with that beauty dish. The next one after that, I'm gonna show you how to use an umbrella. So we're gonna use this small umbrella, and then we'll go to the big umbrella. And then we're gonna throw in something called a V-flat. And the V-flat is that big black thing there in the background. And what that is, is a big barn door type setup, and the inside of that's all white. And we're just gonna reflect lots of light onto the subject. Just massive, huge, large light, just... It's all about the sounds. (makes warping sound) Then, we're gonna go to another set, and this is we're gonna use a reflector. So I'm gonna use the reflector as the key light. So we're literally gonna shine the flash into the reflector, and we're gonna use other reflectors to help reflect light back onto the subject. So that's like the least expensive scenario we'll shoot. And then this one, lighting style five, I don't really have a name for it. It's just, we're gonna throw everything at it. (laughs) We're gonna have a nice big soft box. We're gonna have a reflector down low, reflectors on the sides. Basically, we're gonna create a light sphere around the model, just to create this beautiful flat light. And then the last one, I think I have style six here. We're gonna do something interesting, and we're gonna put the soft box behind the subject, directly behind the subject. And then we're gonna use reflectors in the front to shine light back onto the subject. And you'll see what that looks like. And that's one way to always get a really white backdrop, is to put the model in front of the light, itself.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Beauty Images Lighting Diagrams
Gear List for $100 Budget
Gear List for $250 Budget
Gear List for $1000 Budget

Ratings and Reviews


Practical, informative, affordable instruction that’s easy to understand and leaves you excited to jump into the studio with a single flash and whatever you have on hand .. soft boxes, umbrellas, v flats or even a bunch of cheap reflectors. Mike is a superb instructor. Highly recommend.


Really good. Superb teacher. Bought it. Worth the money.


Loving this class so far! The instructor is amazing

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