A few weeks back I did a test shoot with the lovely Undis from EB Models. I wanted these fashion images to easily be considered as a set of portraits, and decided to go with a large light source to get smooth and soft shadows. The lighting was real simple and done with a Profoto 5′ Octa mounted with a softgrid as the main light; powered by a Profoto Pro-8a. Here’s the final result and some info on how we sat up the light to get this look.
I used a Canon 1Dx and a EF 85mm f1.2L II set to 1/200 sec at f/2,8, ISO 100. As always I overexposed the image with 1/3 of a stop to make sure I get all the information the sensor can hold. More about that in another blogpost.
I sat up the Profoto head with the 5′ Octa and the softgrid on the right side of the model who was placed about 3 feet from the backdrop. As you probably know the larger the light source the softer the light. There is one other thing that also defines the light quality, contrast. The closer you set the light to your model, the higher the contrast. So if you want soft shadows(where light gradually turns to shadows) use a large(relative) light source, and if you want high contrast(how deep the shadow go compared to the lights parts of your image) put the light source close to your subject.
The main light was set high with the help of a Avenger A4050CS stand, about 20″ above the models head and approx 3′ in front of her. The direction of the light was set so that the center of the octa points just below her chest. This means that her head is lit by a really feathered light to create soft shadows but with a fairly high contrast, as you can see in her dark eyes. Also there is hardly any spill over to the background due to the direction of the light and the soft grid attached.
When I sat up the light I initially wanted a rim light on the models left side, but I soon realized that this was not in coherence with the look I was after and dialed the rimlight down 2 stops opening up the deep shadows but without leaving any “visible trace” of a second light source. Dialing down 2 stops from 2.8 is not something all strobes can do, but it was not a problem for my Profoto D1 250w. I sat up a large black portable wall to flag the light from the camera.
Thanks for reading and feel free to ask me any questions you may have.