Lingerie photo session: Video light & Studio flash
Olena is a wonderful model that I love working with because of her natural instinct for posing. So for a test shoot in my new studio space, she was an easy choice. (Here is Olena’s model mayhem portfolio.) We shot several outfits, using different lighting setups. This one is interesting because of the simplicity of the setup – using a gridded Profoto RFi 1’×4? softbox (affiliate) to control the light, and a Lowel ID-Light (affiliate) as a back-light to give that warm glow to her hair. It really helped enhance the intimate feel of the sequence of photographs.
Here is the pull-back shot that will show how the lights were placed in this quite simple setup:
The camera settings reveal how the video light, which has much less power than the flash, was able to register.
1/20 @ f/4 @ 100 ISO
That slow shutter speed did the trick. It allowed the continuous light from the video light, to register. But I also pulled the flash output to the lowest possible, and that gave me f/4 @ 100 ISO at that distance .. and this was a more sensible choice of aperture and ISO, so that I didn’t need to pull the shutter speed even lower.
The main light was a Profoto RFi 1’×4′ softbox with a degree soft-grid (affiliate links). I used the softbox in a near-horizontal position so that there was this lovely warp of light around her, but the light was still fairly contained. I didn’t use a grid on the softbox this time. Just the softbox in a plain way.
The distance from the light-grey backdrop turned it into a dark grey background. The Inverse Square Law is your friend in this instance.
Composition and posing
In terms of posing, there were several images that worked. I liked the photo above the most of all, because the tilt to Olena’s head matched that of her upper arm. The way her arms and hands wrap, was the result of careful adjusting of the “elements” in the frame.
These two images below show the differences, and why they weren’t picked.
The image on the left doesn’t have those fluid lines to how her arms and hands and face are placed in relation to each other.
The image on the right-hand side, has her chin slightly hidden behind her wrist. I do like the way her hand rests on her shoulder, but in the final image, her hand is now wrapped around her neck in a more intimate gesture, and doesn’t draw attention from Olena’s face.
These kind of adjustments are done while shooting, and observing. There’s a certain instinct involved in looking at the composition, and immediately recognizing the ways the image can be improved. It’s the same kind of thought-process as described in the article on adjusting a pose with incremental changes.
Photo gear used during this photo session
- Nikon D4; Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S VR II
- Profoto D1 Air 500 Ws studio light
- Profoto RFi 1’×4′ softbox with a Profoto 50 degree 1×4 soft-grid
- Lowel ID-Light 100 Watt video light
- Lingerie photo shoot in the studio – model: Carly Erin
- Colored gels with flash photography – model: Jessica Joy
- Lighting a boudoir photo session – model: Carla Starla
- Dramatic portraits of kids – Lighting and intent
8 Comments, Add Your Own
Simple and realy beautiful.
Great Job Neil as usual. I really like her look and the way she is “glowing in a romantic way”.
The only think that just popped out when I had a deeper look on that photograph was the blue nail behind her ear.
Beside that … wonderful job as usual.
Thanks for sharing your experience.
2Neil vN says
Olena wasn’t happy with the color of her nails when she arrived at the studio, but I said that it wouldn’t matter – it would be easy to change in Photoshop.
When I saw the final image, I did like that two oddly incongruous splashes of color there. So I left them.
I find it difficult to pose the arms and you really nail it!
I usually love Neil’s posing, but this one time – am I the only one who doesn’t like the positioning of her arms? Her upper left arm is not visible, so it kind of looks like she is holding someone else’s detached arm. It spooked me out just a little bit until I figured out why I was having that reaction.
Neil, lovely shots. Did you establish the hair light before adding key light when setting up?
Actually, I take the above comment back. I imagine you metered for key light first which gave f4 at 100 iso then lowered shutter speed until video light registered. In a darkened room, at those settings, the ambient light didn’t impeed on the key light exposure?
8Neil vN says
Scott, here I had to get the exposure for the hair light first, since it is a lower powered continuous light – compared to the higher-powered flash.