Thursday, March 11, 2010

Daria Karaseva Editorial Shot

This is one of the editorial shots I did for Daria Karaseva's fall line of formal dresses.  Lighting was not restricted creatively for the editorial photos, so I went a little nuts as I wanted something with some nice contrast and some additional details.  There is no real post processing on this image other than a white balance and a bit of a curve as I find all digital cameras take shots that are a bit on the flat side.

Main light is a large softstrip on an AB800 at ƒ8.  I think this is one of my favorite lights.  It is a HUGE beast of a modifier, probably over 6' tall and a little over 1' wide.  The cloth grids that are available cost more than the modifier itself, so I simply go without it.  This is a Norman modifier, not one from Paul C. Buff.  I do plan to buy the Buff one soon though, as his folding stuff rocks and is very well built for the price.

Camera left and behind the model (just out of frame) is a Nikon SB-800 with a straw gel on it, firing at 1/4 power.  There is also a snoot on this to restrict highlight to her arm area and a bit of hair, just to pull her out of the background darkness a bit.  I make my snoots from cereal boxes, and then reinforce them with gaffers tape.  That way I can destroy them or cut them up in the field without much concern.  Thanks to Strobist David Hobby for that tip (and a whole lot more).  So, why use a speedlight here?  Well, after I had the shot setup, I decided I needed to add a little pop, and I was not going to drag out another light just to see if my thoughts were sane.  Another reason I love speedlights is they deploy very quickly on these super tiny stands I keep in a gym bag.  2 minutes later the light is up and working as expected.  At 1/4 power, it fired all day without an issue.

Behind that light and far camera left (actually against the back brick wall) is an AB1600 at full power up very high (10' or so) with 2 full cuts of CTO partially over the reflector and pointed at the wall camera right (obviously).  I only secured the gel over 1/2 of the light, as I wanted so white mixed in with the dark yellow.  Again, this was done to add interest, but not enough to draw the eye away from the dress which is the focus of the shot.  All of this was triggered by pocket wizards as my cyber commander did not want to cooperate due to a firmware bug (that has since been resolved).


  1. Love this shot! NIce lighting set up too! Sure gives me some inspiration for when I have shoots like this. I will be trying some set ups like this soon. Though you did not specify where your main light is exactly. I would say camera right because of the shadow directions. Love the blog! Keep it up

  2. Great question! Yes, the main light is just out of frame and in front of that post on her right. The key light was set so that only spill would hit that white post, otherwise it would really dominate the image.


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