The Light Shaper: The Nippon Pop Setup

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NIPPON POP S1 600x708 The Light Shaper: The Nippon Pop 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, beauty and stock photography. In addition, Andrea works as a light shaper evangelist at the Profoto headquarters in Stockholm.

Once a month Andrea shares one of his recently used setups. He is also available to answer any questions you might have. Just leave a comment below or tweet us at @Profoto

SETUP #02: The Nippon Pop Setup

PERFECT WHEN: You want to bring out colors and details without sacrificing soft skin textures.

BUT ALSO WHENEVER: You want a light with a high output but soft shadows and smooth shapes.

THE ASSIGNMENT: I was recently contacted by M Magazine who wanted me to do a shoot inspired by the Swedish painter Manuela Vintilescu. She makes these beautiful, colorful portraits that look like a blend of manga and pop art. I thought it sounded like an exciting job and an interesting production and happily agreed to do it!

The first thing I did was to contact the art direction company JU’NK to discuss how the different themes should be handled. We also discussed the styling, the make-up, how to find a suitable doll-like model and, of course, the lighting.

THE SETUP: It soon became obvious that the perfect way to light these images would be to use a hard light with very soft shadows, lots of punch and color contrast. I also decided that I wanted only one light source and that it should be focused. So, what do you think I used?

Nippon pop lighting diagram 600x671 The Light Shaper: The Nippon Pop Setup

MPOP  DSC7142 600x397 The Light Shaper: The Nippon Pop Setup

You guessed it, the Softlight Reflector Silver – or the Beauty Dish, as many photographers call it. I also attached a grid to the reflector to give it a bit more focus and kill the spill light. The reflector was positioned about two and half meters right in front of the model, about 20 centimeters above the camera.

I used this set-up for all the images in the series, and I think it fitted perfectly. It really brought out the colors of the make-up and the details of the styling, while also softening the shadows on the model’s skin and giving just the right skin tones and smooth textures that I wanted.

To be honest, I’ve not used the Softlight Reflector that much in the past – partly because I wanted to stick out from the crowd of beauty photographers, but also because I had a habit of sticking to my softboxes, snoots, giants and Fresnel spots. But after using it on this shoot I’m pretty much hooked!

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 Nippon Pop SetupCiao, Andrea Belluso

 

 

 

 

 

NIPPON POP S2 600x708 The Light Shaper: The Nippon Pop Setup

©Andrea Belluso

NIPPON POP0 S3 600x708 The Light Shaper: The Nippon Pop Setup

©Andrea Belluso

NIPPON POP0 S4 600x708 The Light Shaper: The Nippon Pop Setup

©Andrea Belluso

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Comments (11)

  • Tom

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    Nice Setup – but only one light?
    There is a soft and nice rim light in every face from the right side but not on the hand. Looks like a flagged rimlight. It’s only on one side, so it’s not the background light…
    ?

    Tom

    Reply

    • Roman

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      It looks like spill from background light.

      Reply

  • Andrea Belluso

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    Hi Tom!
    I am writing between one job and another in Paris so excuse the short answer.
    The rim light is actually produced my the background light which was just a medium umbrella silver that I decided to angle, letting it gently spill on the side, in other words no flags on a rim light, but just the softlight silver and an umbrella for the background. Originally a mistake that I chose to keep since it added a nice touch.
    I always say that one should not be scared of making mistakes as long as one either corrects them or decides to use them creatively. The importance is to learn from one’s mistakes in order to discover new things :-)

    Reply

  • RVB

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    Beautiful images…. and a great idea…I like the small touch’s like the 1,2,3,4 with the models fingers…

    Reply

  • dan

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    Andrea, there is a second light in the image with 3 fingers. high on the left side. why the change up? Hair light?

    Reply

  • Andrea Belluso

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    Hi Dan!
    There is no second light on the image with three fingers. The light was kept exactly the same for all four pictures.
    RVB, thanks for the comments :-)

    Reply

  • tim bowden

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    Great shots and Lighting! Did you use the internal metal deflector or did you take this out for harder light? how big was the dish? I agree with your comment on utalising mistakes or correcting them!
    tim

    Reply

  • Marco

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    Ciao Andrea,
    Great photos!
    I was wondering if with the Soft Reflector White (which I own) can I achieve the same quality of light, maybe moving the light away and increase the power to get it more punchy?
    All the best,
    Marco

    Reply

  • Andrea Belluso

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    Hi Tim and Marco!
    Really glad you like the shots.
    Tim, I used the silver SoftLight reflector as it is, with the metal deflector, the light is both soft and punchy enough with the silver.
    The size is the standard size of the SoftLight reflector (beauty dish).
    Marco, you would of course get a harder light by placing your white Soft Light reflector a bit further away, especially if you add a grid, but you will not get the same punchy effect in the colours as with the silver.
    I hope this answers your questions.
    Happy Easter!

    Andrea

    Reply

  • Dan

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    @Andrea
    It seriously looks like another light. Tell me you can see the shadow under the nose and down the neck left to right… Wonder what it is then?

    Reply

  • Andrea Belluso

    Andrea Belluso

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    Dan, sorry for the late reply.
    You are totally ritgh, what is spilling on the 3-finger picture is actually a background light.
    Sorry about that…

    Reply

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