Fashion Photography Dramatic Lighting Tutorial

Fashion photography does not always have to be only about the dress or the model. You can create interesting fashion photographs if you play around with lighting and use it to complement the dress itself. Photographer Daniel Norton from Adorama demonstrates how you can use gels with lights to create graphical interest in fashion photography:

As the model is wearing a dress with a red top and a black bottom, Norton’s idea is to create a background to complement just that. The idea is thus to create a background that’s dark at the top, and red at the bottom.

To create the bottom red portion of the background, Norton uses a Profoto light with a red gel. To prevent the light from spreading all across the wall, he uses a flag on top of the light.

With the second light turned on to illuminate the model, she is fairly lit.

image with model light turned on

If you feel that the shadow is a bit too much, you can always add in a reflector to bounce some light back onto the model. In his case, Norton uses a silver reflector to add some specular highlights on the model’s face.

“Look at the outfit, think about how it’s going to be presented.”

This kind of photo shoot works great if you’re up for an editorial shot. It wouldn’t work for the traditional white catalog shot. So definitely try this technique out if you want a moody fashion portrait.

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