High fashion lighting setup

Beautiful lighting setup for high fashion. Click image for full size.
High fashion lighting diagram.

Lighting For Photo legend David Bicho is back with a great lighting setup for high fashion. This is a pretty advanced lighting setup, but the result shows us that it’s worth all the effort.

David is also sharing a PDF of the assignment brief he wrote to the wardrobe stylist. It explains the mood, the story behind the photo etc.


Lighting setup for fashion photography

David Bicho is thinking BIG when he shoots fashon photos
A lighting diagram for fashion photography. All you need is basically a plastic wrapped building and a stripbox.

When doing bigger/wider lighting setups, the distances grow and ordinary soft boxes and such doesnt work since they become relatively small and creates harsh shadows. Then its great to use really BIG diffusors.

In this image we wrapped the whole exterior of the building in milky white plastic to get the huge windows like this. To get the correct depth of light from outside the window, the flash needs to be far away, thus demands alot of power. I think we used a twin head and two 2400Ws generators for the outside flash. Inside I had a strip light (without fabric) from the left shooting through a big diffusion screen. To the right there was a silver reflector that bounced back the light from a gridded flash. The reason why I bounced it was because I needed the extra depth of light one get when using long distances.

Jill Greenberg lighting setup and lighting diagram

David Bicho’s tribute to Jill Greenberg, using her characteristic lighting setup.
Lighting diagram explaining the Jill Greenberg lighting setup

This image is a pure tribute to the classic crying-images by Jill Greenberg. This is really showing the crisp and contrasty light of the beloved Profoto Giant (the huge umbrella). From the back, I use two strip lights and a hair light on a boom stand to create a “kicker” all around her silhouette. One gridded light on the black background (turns blue when white balancing to get nice skin tones). Just below the model there is a squared silver reflector (I hate round ones!) to give the classic extra lower clam-shellish-spark to the eye to give some feeling of “wet eyes”… To eliminate all unwanted indirect lightning, I used big black book ends to really push the contrast by lowering the levels in the shadows.

Visit photographer David Bicho for more great inspiration.

Photographer David Bicho

David Bicho in a jungle of light stands

Meet professional photographer David Bicho, who will give you some very inspiring lighting setups. The best way to get to know David and his photographic style is to take a look at his impressive portfolio and of course read the interview.

David, where are you from?

– “Born and raised in Orminge, Stockholm, Sweden.

How old are you?

– “38”

How long have you been into photography?

– “That’s actually a tricky question to answer since I started out making film/TV-productions when I was 15 at a local television station in Orminge. I lived and breathed the studio environment, lightning, productions for many years and moved on to different production companies and have worked for most swedish tv-stations as a photographer/editor/lightning-guy. But I didn’t do any serious still photography back then. Just moving pictures. Not until the digital system cameras was a serious alternative to analogue, in like… 2004?… I jumped on the train and bought one of the first swedish exemplars of Nikon D70 and a 50/1.8. I was totally blown away by how easy it was to get great quality without all the heavy, technical fuzz that comes when you deal with moving images. I started almost immediately to make money on business portraits – not because I was a particulary good photographer, but because I had ALOT of confidence and really thought I knew how to do it . I literally had to threw everything I knew about lighting, and start from square one again. I read everything I could come over and experimented like a maniac to get the light I saw from “the real photographers”.

What is your dream assignment?

– “When I make my editorial fashion and such, I have a very film-production-like workflow and like to work with story boards and some kind of a underlying story that puts the models in an acting position instead of just doing some nifty posing. I have some own really interesting stories all planned and ready to go as soon as I find the perfect locations. It would be my dream assignment to be able to use these stories the way they are intended.”

Who is your favorite photographer?

– “Oh – I have different favorite photographers in different areas of photography. But Erwin Olaf is the single photographer that made most impact on me with his arty project Separation. When it comes to great lightning, there is of course the golden pair of Stevens – Steven Meisel and Steven Klein. And we have a lot of great Swedish photographers with an extremely well developed feeling for esthetics and quality like Peter Gherke, Camilla Åkrans, Jimmy Backius, Denise Grünstein, Andreas Kock… They all inspire me in different ways.”

What is the most common beginners misstakes when it comes to lighting?

– “They pay all attention to the light – not the shadows.”

What is your favorite lighting setup?

– “Hm. I never do a lightning twice, since I always try to “motivate” the light by binding it with the environment/background. So my favorite lightning would only be an applicable term when the background is the same – wich is the case infront of a white studio wall… Then it’s one single light from either the Profoto Giant 180 reflector or Broncolor’s big Para. Both give a crazy-beautyful wide light with tons of 3D-pop and contrast. Fail-proof and very, very beautiful.”

What is your worst photo experience?

– “A couple of years ago I went to shoot some business portraiture on a company quite far away, and I forgot to bring the fabrics for my soft boxes (and the light was strictly set in advance from an ad-company since the images should look the same as some old ones. Very, very softboxish.). I had only minutes to rig everything before I had to shoot when I discovered that I didnt have any soft box fabrics. Panic! I solved it quick by using some huge paper sheets I found to bounce on to get the softness I needed, so everything turn out fine. But the first seconds when I realized my mistake gave me a very, very cold shiver and probably a silent DAMN!-whispering sound throught my teeths.”

Thanks, David!