Just DiVine Thanks
Last week I had the pleasure of shooting Caz, who in her professional capacity as October DiVine is an International pin-up model, a professional make-up artist, a professional photographer and an extremely successful entrepreneur. As previously blogged (click-here)Â I was attending the Studio Lighting Session at TFC in Birmingham, Caz very generously offered her services,Â in a friend of the business capacity, (rather than in her full professional capacity as October Divine) and sat for us whilst we tested numerous lighting techniques.(If you are unaware of October’s credentials, check out her Instagram page with 60k followers and her Facebook page which has in excess of 771k fans, yes that’s right, in excess of three quarter of a million fans. In addition to her International modelling fame she is also one of the faces behind The Pin Up Academy).
Caz’s ability to strike the right pose, hit the catch-lights and generally look very photogenic made it very easy for us to shoot great images. Even though this wasÂ officially a day-off for her, she has generously authorised the use of these images for this blog.
A Single Head and White Umbrella
The first image was shot using a single Elinchrom D-Lite One RX, a low-cost entry level studio light (retailing at less than the cost of a Speedlight). An Elinchrom White ‘shoot-through’ umbrella was fitted and positioned on a tripod approx 45 degrees to the left of centre, slightly overhead.
Although this shot was taken against a multicolour background, after a few test shots adjusting aperture down and increasing shutter speed, it allowed us to create quite dreamy shots, with shadows softening contours and creating, in my humble opinion, a beautiful shot.
Having invested quite heavily in Elinchrom studio equipment for our business initially, I have to admit to being very pleasantly surprised at the quality we were achieving with just one D-Lite One RX, a very low-cost umbrella and not too much else.
You can pick up a brand-new D-Lite One RX for approximately Â£125.00 plus VAT and perhaps much less if you search the second-hand resale sites. Yes, that’s right, an entry-level, professional studio light, at less than one hundred and fifty pounds capable of giving you enough light to produce great shots on its own.
It’s funny, at the previous TFC session I’d attended, see The Humble Speedlight, I’d also been made to re-think my approaches to lighting, having previously more or less ignored my Speedlight in favour of studio lights, but here I was again a few weeks later swinging back towards studio lights. In essence it really boils down to choosing the right tools for the job, at any given time.
Having experimented with reflectors, grids, two lights and three lights with most of the Elinchrom range of modifiers, including shoot through umbrellas, soft boxes, and snoots, (If you are unsure what a snoot is, check it out here, but it is a metal funnel shaped attachment that fits over the front of all Elinchrom lights to produce a very small and directive source of light, which is great for picking out detail in product photography or highlighting hair in a model), we were producing some excellent results under the excellent guidance of Brian, (a very knowledgeable member of the team at TFC).
With Elinchrom snoots, a grid fits onto the front of the snoot to allow you to really control the light output even further. Just be careful when handling or using a snoot, they can become very hot and ideally, if possible, the modelling lamp in a studio head should be avoided.
A Single Head and Reflective Umbrella
Of the many shots we took during our session, the second image, a favourite of mine was achieved using the single D-Lite One RX and a black/silver reflective umbrella attachment. The D-Lite One RX was pointed towards the ceiling, away from our model and into the reflective inside surface of the umbrella, effectively bouncing down onto our model.
A Lastolite tri-flector was used to reflect light back towards our model, removing shadows and creating a typical clam-shell, beauty dish, glamour style look. Again I was really surprised at the amount of light we could achieve from just one 100W studio light, an umbrella and some reflectors, strategically placed.
With this set up, again it was just a matter of adjusting shutter speeds and aperture settings to achieve the desired look.
A Softbox Background
As we headed towards the end of our session, we experimented with a number of other set-ups, including using the soft box as a high-key background. The third image uses a set-up I’ve often used in the absence of a white vinyl background or in a situation where the venue has not allowed me the space to install a 3m wide Lastolite Vinyl Matte background, due to ceiling or room width restrictions.
Great for corporate profile headshots, with this set up it is possible to position the model in front of the soft box, with the soft-box pointing towards the camera and Â use a reflector placed in front of the model to direct light back towards the face of the model, or use another studio light as a key light, to light the model from the front, off centre, too.
This final shot of our model suggesting perhaps she’d had enough of us pointing and clicking….
Another great session at TFC, thanks to the guys at the Birmingham branch for another great day and our model, Caz (AKA October Divine).