This is a portrait lighting setup by Swedish photographer Frida Lenholm using only a window as a single light source. Since there is no expensive equipment needed, this is a lighting setup that anyone can test.
Frida: – I am very weak for portraits that are illuminated with window lights. For this portrait lighting with Börje Salming there was only one window in a dark room which created a nice contrast between light and dark.
The closer to the window you put the model, the faster the light will fall off, and give a stronger contrast. For more details regarding this, you can study the inverse-square law.
By placing Börje at an optimal distance from the window, I found a balance of contrast and even exposure that captures Börjes personality.
This fashion photography lighting setup is from a session on location in Hong Kong, featuring ShellZ Zhu. ShellZ Zhu is a fashion model and actress in China, but she has also been seen i a few Hollywood productions.
Portable lighting setup
I didn’t have the possibility to bring my full arsenal of lighting equipment, so I had to find a lighting setup that was easy to travel with. I brought a hot shoe speedlight flash, a shoot through umbrella, a lightweight light stand and the Elinchrom Skyport radio trigger. The shoot through umbrella was actually a multifunction umbrella with one shoot through layer and one removable silverlayer that you can bounce the light in when needed, but for this photo session I used it only as a shoot through umbrella. This is really a minimalistic fashion photography lighting setup.
It was a bit cloudy that day so the daylight was soft and had no specific direction. I placed the umbrella in front of ShellZ Zhu about 45 degrees to the left. For the photo with the “catwoman stance”, the lighting setup was moved so the lighting direction came a bit closer to the camera direction. Since the models pose i lower, the light gets relatively more from above.
This is a lighting setup by swedish photographer Carl Magnus Swahn with swedish model Denice Andrée. It is actually a classic butterfly lighting setup. I think it gives a very feminin character and I find suitable for classic beauty photos. This specific setup has the soft box with angle closer to the camera lens and less from above, so the characteristic butterfly shadow under the nose is not so prominent.
The equipment for this lighting setup
The photo was shot with a Lastolite Hilite 2,5 x 2,15 m giant soft box as a background. It was lit up by two Elinchrom strobes with a red/pink-ish gel filter to get that pink background. The gradient in the background was later enhanced in Photoshop. It’s difficult to see in the lighting diagram, but the Lastolite Hilite soft box is really huge. It’s like a huge lit up backdrop that easily can cover a full figure modell.
An Elinchrome Ranger (even though it was indoors) with a large soft box above the camera pointing at Denice. There was also a table with a silver metallic rescue blanket on it, used as a giant reflector. That gives a rectangular shape of the reflector and a much nicer catch light in the eyes.
If you zoom in on the photos and take a close look at the catch light in the eyes, you can clearly see the large soft box from above as well as the reflector from underneath.
Photographer Mattias Olsson is giving us this clean and crisp fashion lighting setup. The black flags prevent light spilling from the rear strobes. The key light from the beauty dish is distinctive and punchy, which accentuates the models expressive personality.
This is another shot from our fashion trip to Sardegna/Sardinia in Italy. It was a rather cold morning, and we had quite a few bikinis and bathing suits to go through, so we had to work fast. When temperatures are low like this, both the models and clients appreciate it when the photographer can work fast like this. Both on commercial, editorial and catalogue fashion, because you have a lot of stuff to get through. Most of these swimwear shots were done at Hotel Ollastu in Olbia where we stayed during the whole period. It has a lot of wonderful locations and backgrounds, and was also a great place to stay.
We placed the model behind the wall down at the bungalows, so she would be in shade from the direct sun rising to the left in the picture. At the same time the sun created some nice patterns on the stone wall of the bungalow. But the problem was that the background behind the model, with the wall and especially the door, got very dark. Too dark actually. So I started by building up a nice light around the model first. Some people seem to think; reflector = subject, but they’re excellent and effective for lighting up the environment as well. So I set up a large California Sunbounce Pro zebra reflector quite far away, out in the sun. I angled it carefully so that no light from it was hitting the model, but lit up everything else behind her instead. A reflector like this literally throws a big wall of light when placed in direct sunlight, so you have to be careful with what it hits. And the effect is tremendous. You can see the doorframe almost glowing.
Then I set up another reflector on the model. This time a California Sunbounce Mini white. I placed it just out of camera frame, and angled it so it lit up her face and upper body. Her legs got some reflections from the light colored stone ground.
I metered the light on her face with my Sekonic L-358, and got f/5.6 and 1/60 at ISO 100. Shot on a medium format digital Hasselblad with a 210mm lens.
Really love reflectors and natural light in my fashion work!
Believe it or not but this stunning fashion photo by Cecilie Harris is shot using 100 percent natural light. Cecilie and the model were under a bridge to avoid direct sunlight and used the reflected light from the right.