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.
Lighting & Design for Portrait Photography
Lighting & Design is a follow-up of sorts to Direction & Quality of Light. It’s a slightly eclectic mix, discussing the thought-process with various scenarios shooting portraits. The examples use available light, bounce flash, off-camera flash as well as studio lighting.
The idea is that in every one of the 60 sections, there is something to be learnt and applied, regardless of your level as a photographer or where you shoot – all shaped to form a cohesive narrative arc throughout the book.
You can either purchase a copy via Amazon USA or Amazon UK. The book will also available on the Apple iBook Store, and Amazon Kindle.
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
3 Comments, Add Your Own
the last photo should be the “thumbnail.” (in my humble opinion). The look on her face and her eyes combined with the out of focus tats make me want to know more about her. It was this photo that had my attention for several minutes….the lighting on her face and hair is superb…even now, I scrolled back up to look at it again…so good!
I do have one question: Having never worked with continuous lights, are the files more forgiving/easier to edit? I find strobes to bring out too much detail in the skin and they reveal every “flaw’ an individual might have.
3Neil vN says
That kind of detail has more to do with the direction of the light, and the size of the light source.
So you could still end up with “too much detail” on the skin if you use the light at a strong angle.