A Lighting Setup for Beauty Portraits

The following article describes the lighting setup that I used for some beauty portraits of Christine. Christine (model) and Win Wachirawin (makeup and hair) were wonderful to work with and their talents really show in the results. While there are many possible lighting setups for beauty photos, I’ll go over how I set things up for this shoot and the rationale. Beauty portrait with model Christine I used a full frame DSLR camera with a 70-200mm lens, but just about any camera can be used for this type of work. Different people have different preferences for portrait lens so it depends on how you like to shoot. When picking a good focal length to use, be aware of lens compression. Since these are close-ups, I would recommend keeping above a focal length of 70mm to avoid distortion to facial features. Equipment Full frame DSLR camera with 70-200mm Lens 3 Modifiers: Octobox (80cm), Reflector (110cm, white), Stripbox (20x90cm) with grid 3 Lightstands 3 Flash units, wireless triggers, and a whole bunch of AA batteries to power everything! Lighting Diagram There are many variations to setting up lighting for portraits. The basic setup I used is called clamshell lighting. My primary light source is an 80cm octobox, placed high in front of the model and pointed downwards at about 45 degrees. This gives me plenty of diffused light. I placed a white reflector in front of the model, just below and angled upwards toward the model’s face. The reflector bounced light from the octobox to Christine’s face to fill the shadows. In some sense, the octobox and reflector form a clamshell, or […]

How to Shoot with Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver

Every Spring, Vancouver is filled with beautiful pink and white cherry blossoms. Tens of thousands of these photogenic sakura trees bloom throughout the city to create a wondrous sight. While these blossoms make for great photos with people, it’s hard to know when and where to shoot because there are upwards of fifty different tree species — and they all bloom at different times! The hardest part of shooting sakura in Vancouver is knowing when and where they bloom. I first started by routinely driving through various neighbourhoods to see what was blooming and where, but soon learned a better approach. It helped me shoot part of a wedding with cherry blossoms as well spring portraits (pictured here). With lessons learned, I put together some tips to help anyone wanting to do some fun cherry blossom photoshoots in Vancouver. Know When and Where to Shoot The best resource I found to determine where and when to shoot is this map of Vancouver listing locations where specific trees are expected to bloom and how long they last. An amazing bonus is that there are photos of each area that are uploaded by site contributors. You can basically get a sense of each location without even visiting! These snaps help pinpoint your ideal spot depending on what you’d like to capture, though I’d still recommend scouting your chosen locations since the snaps don’t reveal everything. I found that a good time to shoot was when the trees started blooming until about the middle of the blossoms’ lifecycle. At that point, some blossoms have fallen to the ground which creates interesting patterns to shoot. If you wait too late, you may find that some of the trees have finished […]