Beauty Shoots: Should I Photograph with Natural Light or Strobe?
Do you need many photography lights to have a successful beauty shoot? Not necessarily and in this post I will tell you exactly why. In my career, I’ve photographed for many perfume brands and other skin care products that are seen in magazines and billboards.
In my mentorship photography course, I teach photographers who want to start their businesses that you don’t need a lot, and I’m here to prove this to you!
Lets get started and beak down the shoot so that you can see how it’s possible to create something similar yourself!
What is a Beauty Shoot?
It’s focusing on the beauty of the model, whether it’s natural beauty or heavy cosmetics. It’s less about the fashion wardrobe and the location. The star is the skin, the natural features of the face. Beauty shoots can be about cosmetics, skincare, haircare and even sometimes perfume. That’s really all that it is.
Here are 8 Tips About this Shoot
This is a beauty shoot, meaning we are really focusing on the makeup of the model and the strong points of her facial features.
The recipe for this imagery is as follows: Canon 5D II (Not their newest camera but an older camera). It was photographed on a Canon 85mm Prime Lens at F1.8 and 1/160th exposure.
I would estimate about 30% strobe and 70% natural light. If I want a natural feel, the natural light must be the vast majority to keep that look.
The windows in the back really helped with the ethereal backlighting and all-around even natural light. If you see her body, it’s almost all even tone.
The strobe with with a soft box. Softboxes try to replicate a cloudy day or window light and I wanted it flow naturally with the major lighting. The soft box (see image in the gallery) was placed over here head for a few reasons…
The first was to create depth and some shadow under the model’s jawline. The soft box helps with that. It also created highlights on the skin because I asked for dewy makeup. See her cheeks, temple, arms and shoulder for those highlights.
The biggest reason for the F1.8 is because I hated the background and it was hideous. The bokeh effect helps blur the background and hide the ugly couch, the clutter along the wall, etc…
The soft box is also necessary (but not the only option) because the model has a lot of backlight. That usually gives the images a silhouette vibe. I needed a soft box key light to brighten her face and still keep the natural light blowout in the back.
These steps might seem easier than you think, but it doesn’t have to be brain surgery. It should be easy, creative and doable. You do not need a lot of studio lighting, use the sun. I use the sun for record covers, beauty shoots, and even clothing catalogs or magazine shoots. It’s HOW you use the light and that’s one of the main topics that I also cover for my course.
You have the necessary lighting already available, look around. It’s everywhere and you can find an amazing array of lighting to build your photography portfolio. Try it out!