Beauty, fashion, and celebrity photographer Wendy Hope combines her sense of fun and whimsy with a super precise and detail-oriented lighting style to create images of unusual beauty. How do you turn hair into a cascading waterfall? Read on for her account of a recent beauty shoot.
The inspiration for this shoot was to create compelling, iconic, advertising-style hair images for my portfolio. I’ve been collaborating with hair stylist Keith Campbell and we wanted to shoot a highly exaggerated, long, clean, and classic straight hair look with multiple highlights and shadows. We also wanted to create an image where the hair appeared to look like a cascading waterfall… of hair. I wanted viewers and potential clients to think, “Wow, that’s amazing, how did they do that?”
I shoot with Profoto because I love the reliability and fast recycle times the packs provide. I shoot really fast when I get excited and Profoto can keep up with my rapid firing. For my main light I used the Profoto Beauty Dish with a grid placed at a ¾ angle to my model’s face.
I knew I wanted to add multiple controlled highlights into the hair. I used Profoto 2400 Pro 7 packs and heads at maximum power in the A channel. We didn’t have a grid available for the strip chimera so we constructed one out of black gaffer tape and rigged it with office clamps to prevent the light from spilling — sometimes you have to be resourceful. This creates the striped highlight at the top of the head you often see in hair advertising. I used multiple heads with 10 degree grids and snoots and then extended them further using Cinefoil to create and shape narrow bands of highlights.
I often sketch out a basic lighting diagram, especially when working with my interns. It helps to visually demonstrate the lighting placement, accessories, and ratios. It’s usually how I work out the technical details in my head, although these variables are always subject to change once you get going.
To see more of Wendy’s work, check out her portfolio, Wendy Hope Photography. If hair waterfalls aren’t enough, head over to her blog, Pink Lipgloss and Melting Ice Cream, for feathery eyelashes, sprinkle covered lips, and rainbow painted faces.
All images in this post are ©Wendy Hope, all rights reserved; story is ©Profoto. Please respect photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.
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