Portraits with continuous lighting – Westcott Spiderlites
This striking portrait of Lauraine is a combination of that sparkling mischievousness … and on the techie side, the selective focus of a wider aperture lens, and the flexibility of continuous lighting. The f/1.4 deliciousness of an 85mm – the best lens to change your portrait photography – really brings her eyes to attention.
During this part of the photo session in the studio, I decided to use continuous lighting. Lauraine is new to modeling for the camera and working in the studio, and the lack of flashes popping, helped in keeping the atmosphere gentle. The shorter telephoto length of an 85mm lens, meant I could work close and give instruction on posing. Slight adjustments to her hand or the tilt of her head could be more easily relayed.
Lighting was with two Westcott Spiderlites:
I used the softbox in the background as a hair light and to spill a little bit of light on the background.
The background is this 4 panel room divider screen (purchased via Amazon). Spilling a bit of light on it, and angling it properly, it allowed a hint of color and texture in the background, making the final setting for the portrait series a little more nuanced.
The pull-back shot shows the placement of the lights.
Camera settings: 1/500 @ f/1.4 @ 500 ISO
The continuous light makes it so much easier to adjust the lighting and adjust the pose – for me, even more so than the modeling lights of studio lighting would, since what you see is truly what you get.
I used 5 Daylight balanced + 1 Incandescent bulb in the Td6 so that the light from it goes a little warmer. The background Td3 only has Daylight bulks in it, so in the final editing where the color balance of the image is adjusted, the hair light / background light goes a touch colder.
Post-processing was done with the RadLab plugins from Totally Rad, via a Vintage flavored recipe that I generated and saved. I used this on a layer, and pulled down the opacity to make it more subtle. The post-processing sequence is very similar as to that described in the article on retouching for portraits.
Photo gear (or equivalents) used during this photo session
- Nikon D4
- Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4G / Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
- Westcott Spiderlite TD6 w/ 3’x4′ shallow softbox
- Westcott Spiderlite TD5
- Boudoir photo session w/ Westcott Spiderlites (model – Morgan)
- Anelisa – studio photo session, using the Spiderlite
- NJ photography studio rental