The Light Shaper: The Beauty Portrait Setup

Written by Andrea Belluso on . Posted in The Light Shaper

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Profoto The Light Shaper Setup 01 01 The Light Shaper: The Beauty Portrait Setup

©Andrea Belluso

Andrea Belluso is an experienced photographer with more than three decades in the business. Over the years, Andrea has shot everything and everyone from supermodels and celebrities to fashion and beauty and stock photography. In addition, Andrea works as a light shaper evangelist at the Profoto headquarters in Stockholm. Once a month, starting today, Andrea will share one of his recently used setups. First up is his beauty portrait setup.

SETUP: The Beauty Portrait Setup.

PERFECT WHEN: You want a light that brings out the beauty rather than the character.

BUT ALSO WHENEVER: You want a soft light with depth and contrast.

THE ASSIGNMENT: When I was asked to shoot a fashion/beauty story featuring furs, I immediately thought of softboxes. My idea was to utilize the soft, even light to bring out the softness of the fur, so to speak. The fact that the client wanted something clean, young and fresh strengthened me in this conviction. As Profoto had just released the RFi softboxes, I figured this was as good a time as any to try them out. For the record, I am a big fan of softboxes. I love the soft shadows they create and how you can almost make shadows disappear with certain softboxes. The only thing I sometimes miss when using a softbox is a bit more depth and contrast, but I was hoping that the deeper shape of the new RFi softboxes would solve that issue.

Profoto The Light Shaper setup 011 The Light Shaper: The Beauty Portrait Setup

Profoto The Light Shaper BTS 600x397 The Light Shaper: The Beauty Portrait Setup

THE SETUP: I used three softboxes for this setup. The main light is a small Softbox RFi 1×1.3’ equipped with a Softgrid. The Softgrid helped me reduce the amount of spill light. It also prevented the different light sources from blending, which allowed me to control the lights individually. The Softbox RFi 1×1.3’ is positioned right in front of the model, two meters away and about 30 cm above her head. This position is a little further away than I would usually place my main light, and the reason for the greater distance is that I wanted a slightly harder light and a more fashion-oriented look. It is also worth noting that the main light is positioned at a relatively low height, to avoid unwanted shadows underneath the visor.

The second light is a Softbox RFi 1×6’, positioned right above the fur hat, horizontally. The purpose of this is simply to light up the fur hat, and it is placed close to the hat to enhance the feeling of softness.

Finally, the third softbox was used to create a gradient effect on the grey backdrop. For this I used another Softbox RFi 1×6’, positioned quite close to the wall on the top end of the backdrop pointing down. The fall-off then created the subtle gradient effect you see on the background.

All in all, it is a simple yet versatile setup that can be used for pretty much any assignment where you want a flattering light that is also rich in depth and contrast. I would also recommend experimenting with the position, distance and zoom position of each light source to find the exact light that best creates what you are looking for.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below. I will do my best to answer asap!

Profoto Andrea Belluso small portrait The Light Shaper: The Beauty Portrait SetupCiao, Andrea Belluso


 

 

 

 

 

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Comments (16)

  • Markus Brügge

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    Great work! Did you use flashes or continuous lights (in the making of photo it seems so….)?

    Reply

    • Fredrik Franzén

      Fredrik Franzén

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      HI Markus,

      This image was shot with flash.

      /Fredrik Franzén, Profoto

      Reply

  • Juan-Carlos

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    Nice and simple lighting setup and the editing is great and preserves the texture !!!!

    Great job !!!!!

    Reply

  • Ron Hiner

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    What is on the lightstand/table in front of the model? It looks a bit like a pizza box! Is that just a white reflector for fill? Beautiful shot!

    Reply

    • Fredrik Franzén

      Fredrik Franzén

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      Hi Ron,

      Yup, that’s just a reflector for fill. And yes, it does look like a pizza box from this angle…

      /Fredrik Franzén, Profoto

      Reply

  • Marco Fazio

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    Ciao Andrea,
    Very nice explanation, simple configuration for great result!
    All the best for this new series of lighting setups, I will eagerly follow every issue.
    Buon lavoro,
    Marco

    Reply

  • Ignacio Molina

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    Hi Marco and Fredrik,

    Very nice picture and set-up : ) !!!

    Did you shoot with film or with a
    digital back?

    Which was the focal length that
    you used for the portrait?

    Which Profoto lighting equipment
    did you use beside the softboxes?

    May the success stories continue!
    I have checked your webpage and
    the very nice work you do!

    Kind regards,

    Ignacio : ) !!!

    Reply

    • Fredrik Franzén

      Fredrik Franzén

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      Hi Ignacio,

      Andrea just went on a trip to Australia, but I’ll hunt him down and ask him to reply to your questions as soon as possible,

      /Fredrik Franzén, Profoto

      Reply

    • Fredrik Franzén

      Fredrik Franzén

      |

      Hi again Ignacio,

      Here are the answers to your questions: the image was shot with a digital back, the focal length was f-11, and Andrea used ProHeads and two Pro-8 packs. Otherwise,, in terms of Light Shaping Tools. he just used the softboxes.

      Reply

  • Ignacio Molina

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    Hello Fredrik,

    Thank you for your message : ) !!!
    Thank you for giving the aperture
    value, f/11. By focal length, I was
    wondering if it was a 120 mm.,
    150 mm., or 180 mm. lens that he
    used.

    Thank you again, amazing shot !!!

    Kind regards,

    Ignacio : ) !!!

    Reply

  • Andrea Belluso

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    Hi Ignacio!
    Greetings from Australia!
    The focal length of the lens was 150mm and it was a Zeiss lens.

    Take care!

    Andrea

    Reply

  • Ignacio Molina

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    Hi Andrea,

    Thank you for your message,
    and thank you to Fredrik for
    keeping an eye on my message : ) !!!
    It is very kind of you to write from
    Australia!

    Have a nice shooting there!

    Kind regards,

    Ignacio

    Reply

  • Tanes J

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    Love the setup, simple 3 lights and great result! will try to do it too :-)

    Reply

  • alan c

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    simple, clean, and well-lit. As a Soldier writing you from afghanistan right now, do you know of any organization that would be willing to donate used/refurbished ligt sets, tripods or camera equipment? Attempting to get fore ground subjects lit while capturing the sunset in the desert background. Great blog! Thanks!

    Reply

  • Andrea Belluso

    Andrea Belluso

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    Dear Alan c,
    extremely sorry for the late reply.
    I am glad you liked the post and I hope you also enjoy the new videos.
    Unfortunately I don’t know of any organisation donating used or refurbished flash untits, tripods or cameras, although I have heard of some organisations that do so as a charitable act. I am sorry I do not know what they are called nor where they are based. The thing is that if we are talking of Profoto equipment you would need either the new and amazing B1 or the D1 with a Batpac since you are shooting in the desert.
    The B1 is very affordable and it also has TTL which is a feature you might enjoy in your case. Maybe you could talk to a Profoto dealer in your home country to discuss some kind of financing in case you can’t afford to pay for it at once. Worth a thought and it would be a piece of equipment you would also use back home.
    Get back in one piece and take great care!

    Reply

  • Maxim M

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    Hey guys! your assistant, standing a front of the model, holds some kind of a cone. Can you explain the purpose of this accessory? Regards.

    Reply

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