Lighting setup for swimwear fashion photography

Everyday is a good day for a swimwear photo session. Even if the daylight is a bit dull.
Swimwear fashion photo session behind the scenes

Photographer Eivind Røhne gives you a great lighting setup for swimwear fashion photography:

A lot of the fashion stuff I do is photographed abroad, especially since Norway is a rather cold place in November when we often do new spring and summer fashion stuff. This is for a magazine I work with, and this time we travelled to Malta. We try to utilize the time as best we can, and shoot constantly during the time we’re there. We manage to get a lot of stuff done rather quickly, and that’s great for a magazine. Time is money. And to do that you have to work as light, easy and fast as you can. So most of the time we use California Sunbounce reflectors and also diffusors.

It was a bit cloudy this early morning, with no direct sunlight on the model. Unfortunately the swimming pool at our hotel wasn’t heated, and even though it may look warm, the water was only about 14 degrees Celsius. And when a model has to do 40 swimsuits in cold water, I try to work as fast and easy as possible. A happy model is a good model!

The hidden sun is behind the model to the right in the picture, as you can see from the glow on the skin. To fill in the front side of the model, I used a California Sunbounce mini (with zebra or half gold color as you could call it) right in front of her. I put it at an angle, resting on my camera bag. The model stood about a meter in front of it, stepping in and out of the pool with 40 swimsuits. The light was metered with a handheld Sekonic, to get an accurate reading of the light falling on the model, without the camera being tricked by the lighter background. At ISO 50 I got f/5 and 1/125 secs, and it was all shot on a medium format digital Hasselblad.

As you can see from the behind-the-scenes picture, the light is actually rather dull with no punch or contrast, but the reflector did an amazing job of giving us beautiful soft light.

4 thoughts on “Lighting setup for swimwear fashion photography”

  1. Thanks! No pola filter. The reason was that I loved those backlit highlights in the water, and a pola filter would have killed them and made the water dull and lifeless. One more thing to consider, is that the morning light was quite low when we started out (around 06:30), and a pola filter would have meant losing a couple of stops on the camera.

    Cheers,
    Eivind

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