Studio headshots with Brittney, Part I

Recently did some headshots with model Brittney Baker in the studio, as part of a collaboration with makeup artist Kahulani and local artist Ben Kikuyama.

Wanted to try a different lighting style this time.  For our main light, an Alien Bee AB800 in a medium softbox, we boomed it up overhead and pointed straight down at the model (what's known as "tabletopping" the light).  Two AB800s in strip softboxes with grids on either side of Brittney were used to rim light her.



Since the main light was aimed straight down and the two strip softboxes had grids on them, we were able to keep most of the light away from the white walls of the studio, which made them go dark gray.


Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II lens iso100 1/160 @ f8

One of the things to be careful about when using the main light in this fashion is to make sure the model is not directly under the center of the softbox, but rather closer towards the rear edge.  This allows more of the light to wrap around the mask of the face.

Sorry for the crudeness of this drawing.  I'm not an artist. ;-)

While we were shooting we noticed that sometimes depending on Brittney's pose, the shadow under her nose would get really dark.  This is why having a very talented makeup artist on a photoshoot can really make a difference in the final images. As soon as we mentioned the shadow, Kat came up and adjusted Brittney's makeup. I don't know what she did exactly, or if she just waved a magic wand or something, all I know is that whatever she did worked.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II lens iso100 1/160 @ f8


Kat, you are just all kinds of awesome, you know that? :-)

For some of the later shots, we also added a silver California Sunbounce Micro Mini reflector just below the bottom of the frame to help soften the shadows a bit more.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II lens iso100 1/160 @ f8


Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II lens iso100 1/160 @ f8


Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II lens iso100 1/160 @ f8


For these last few sets Brittney wore her hair down, so we added some CTO gels to the two strip lights to help highlight her hair.  We didn't have enough gels to completely cover both strip lights, only about half of each, so the color difference is subdued a bit.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II lens iso100 1/160 @ f8


Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II lens iso100 1/160 @ f8


Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II lens iso100 1/160 @ f8


Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II lens iso100 1/160 @ f8

Part 2 of this post will illustrate how you can create interesting backgrounds using a flash and some not so ordinary household items.