These images are from a beauty test shoot I did recently with Caroline Royce. The lighting set up I used had four lights, a beauty dish above & to camera left, a gridded soft box to camera right, a honeycombed snoot as a hair light, & a honeycombed reflector to light the background. It’s pretty standard, I found it on the internet myself the first time I used it.

The thing I find with lighting is that you can only get a very basic idea from books or the internet, if you set up exactly as they recommend, it’ll probably still look rubbish at first for the room & model you’re using at the time, so you always have to tweak it to get the desired result. Then, when you get some photos you’re happy with & think you’ve cracked it, another model comes in the next day with different skin tone & you have to start all over again.

I’m testing a lot with lights at the moment (if you’re an outstanding model & would like to test, please see this previous post), & what I hope to achieve is to get to a place where:-

a) Whenever the lighting looks wrong, I instinctively know how to correct it i.e. which lights need moving, or turning up/down. I’m improving vastly at this, but there’s still a certain amount of trial & error involved.

b) Ultimately, I’d like to be able to see any photo in a magazine, know how it was lit, & be able to reproduce it. This might take some time, as magazines can use some pretty complicated lighting set ups, but I intend to have fun trying 🙂

In these shots, the first one was there very first shot of the day, I hadn’t changed the camera settings from the previous day’s (natural light) shoot, so it’s very overexposed, & Caroline wasn’t even posing, but there’s something I like about it, so I’ve included it anyway. Sometimes interesting things can happen if you deliberately make things wrong (though this was an accident) & also by post processing in different ways, but I’ll be exploring that more in a subsequent post.

For the other shots, we tried to make it a little more interesting than just a straight head shot, by adding the tiara, mirrorball, fur & fluffles we had a range of textures against the skin. The fluffles are an underskirt belonging to Vina Green, she’s a writer & a very good one, you can check out her work here.

My favourite shot here is the one with her eyes closed, blowing a kiss. It shows off the make-up (& Caroline!) really nicely, while adding a sense of fun, & the fluffles suggest she’s in a bubble bath & blowing the foam. To me, anyway 🙂

Model: Caroline Royce
Make-up & Hair: Charlotte Fisher