Basic Lighting Setup for Fashion Photography on a White Background

Whoever says fashion photography photoshoots have to use extensive amounts of lighting equipment may want to take a look at the following video. While photographing model, Ulorin Vex, in his New York studio, professional photographer, Neil van Niekerk, kept things simple using just a backdrop and a beauty dish for a majority of the shoot. Go behind the scenes here:

The photo below was taken with a very basic lighting setup which included the aforementioned beauty dish.

fashion photography

To eliminate some of the shadowing and to make the edges of Vex’s body appear to be more crisp, a softbox was later added to the equation.

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5 responses to “Basic Lighting Setup for Fashion Photography on a White Background”

  1. Arealphotographer says:

    The beauty dish was too high and over models head (such a size beauty dish is about right for headshots or head and shoulders). And he couldnt even change the settings himself.
    Then after a few shots he used several more lights (well strobes which he mixed with studio lighting in a studio environment).
    Simple lighting? Bloody crappy technique and/or explanation and lighting more like.
    High key requires 3 lights for proper execusion (there is no short cut), or its NOT fashion high key lighting. Also mixing unbalanced strobes with studio light is a bad idea with regards to constant kelvin values.
    Some shots appeared ok but the technique was sloppy and this was NOT a good video to teach those needing guidance.
    Also, why use a 70-200mm lens at such a distance in a small studio? Compression (the oft reason for such a lens in fashion etc.) is only apparent on location or at distances from model to their background.

  2. Bill says:

    As a budding portrait photographer I actually found this pretty useful. Sheesh, get off your high horse Arealphotographer, this guy is doing a great job and the images look great IMHO.

  3. OldTimer says:

    beauty dishes are not normally used for full body images. They are usually placed at 6 feet or closer to the model. If one is attempting to shoot hikey images, the distance between the model and background is usually 4 to 6 feet. You can light the subject with one light if it is about the same distance from the model as the model is from the background. I normally use a large softbox or umbrella so the light wraps around the to light the background. Another method that is typically used is 2 lights place on each side of the background set at the same power/light reading which is normally one stop more than the main light. This is the typical hikey light arrangement. There are several other configurations. The real rules in photography are those that are mathematical. Other “rules” are guidelines but great images often break one or more rules/guidelines which is what makes them unique. Hikey images can be created just using 7″ reflectors. All one needs to do is experiment.

  4. Frank Illes says:

    These are fun shots, but certainly not fashion images. Bill, you are, by your own words, a budding portrait photographer. Your eyes have not yet been trained to differentiate between good and bad work to the degree some of us more experienced shooters have. Keep on learning.

  5. Jason Bodden says:

    Beauty dishes nowadays are being used in ways other than what they were actually intended for, with great success. So calm down, Arealphotographer.

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