Glamour Photography TipsSubmitted by Michael on Thu, 2012-03-08 04:20

No giant softboxes at hand? Use reflectors!

Fortunately Ortwin Schneider was on holiday. He is the owner of the fancy Fotomagic rental studio. That’s where we did today’s photo shoot. Ortwin equipped the studio with multiple kilowatt seconds of the finest Hensel strobes and with huge light modifiers, even with a huge Deep-Octabox.


I guess he would have cried bitter tears if he saw, how we did actually light our model, cousin Sarathustra in his studio: with 3 bare speedlights. That’s how things go when two photographers meet up, who both love to use speedlights off camera: Cousin Blende666, who frequently hosts off-camera flash workshops and yours truly.


Today’s goal was to contrast a Geisha makeup and hairdo with a latex outfit. And latex is the part where usually huge light modifiers would come into play, but… see yourself:



Lighting diagram latex reflections
Lighting diagram of our latex reflections shoot

I wish you good light!

-- Michael


Model: Sarathustra

Styling: Emily

Photos: Blende666 and Michael Zelbel

Studio: Fotomagic


Hard to get my thick German accent? Here's the transcript

Hey fellow photographer, how's it going?

I'm Michael Zelbel. Today I would like to show you

what you can do when you absolutely need huge softboxes and

huge striplights and you really don't have them.

I'm happy to shoot together with Cousin Blende666

and with his lovely wife Cousin Sarathustra.

They are not only a lovely couple, but they are also

a really well balanced creative team.

They are working together very smoothly,

so it's such a pleasure to work with them.

What we wanted to do here is,

we wanted to contrast a geisha styling, a geisha hairdo and makeup,

contrast it with a latex suite, with a latex outfit.

Now, photographing a geisha with makeup and hairdo

that's very easy, lighting it: very easy,

it's a piece of "rice"-cake so to speak,

but what do we need when we want to photograph latex,

in a way so it really comes across as latex?

Have a look: We want, or we need specular highlights,

something mirrored in the latex, like over here and over here,

something like a tall, slim, but big, bright lightsource, which is mirrored.

This is one thing, the specular highlights.

But then there are other highlights as well.

If you have a look over here at the chest area, this is not black.

If that would sink into black, then it would not look like latex.

There's a whole lot of soft, diffused light, directly mirrored in here.

This is also a sort of highlight, but from a really huge, soft lightsource.

How can we do that if we don't have huge softboxes or something?

Well, pretty easy. Let's have a look at the lighting diagram!

Here's what we did:

We had a white sweep, an endless white background

and next to this white background there was also a white wall.

The model is standing somewhere in the middle.

This reflection that we just saw on her latex,

the hot specular highlight, that is a piece of styrofoam.

It's quite tall. It's 2 meters tall and 45 centimeters wide,

white styrofoam, pointed at the model,

and to light that we fired two speedlights against the styrofoam.

Both strong speedlights, guide number 58 on 1/2 of their power.

That is a lot of light which is just reflected to the model.

But what about the other big diffused area on her chest

and everywhere else on her latex suite?

Well, why not use the white wall over here as a bouncer?

So we fired a third speedlight onto the wall at a distance of 1.5m

and also on 1/2 of it's power.

It's on a lightstand firing right into the wall,

it bounces back and it's mirrored in the latex suite of the model.

The camera is roughly 2m away and it's on ISO 200 and on f/8.

So that's a setting which still produces quite good quality

with all the light bouncing around in the room.

This lighting setup with all the light bouncing around is quite flexibel.

You can shoot the model in all sorts of angles and positions.

The main point is, you have to care that some of the

reflection of the styrofoam is still visible in her latex suite.

Only then it's really looking like rubber and really looking like latex.

If you have such a setup where all the speedlights

are running on such a strong setting, on 1/2 of their power

and you are shooting with two photographers,

then please make sure to watch the batteries of the speedlights

because if we zoom in into one of the photos over here,

then what you see is, somehow the reflection of

the styrofoam is broken in the middle.

So either the batteries failed or the zoom of the

speedlights was missadjusted, but

this can happen when you have two photographers

both "draining" from very small speedlights.

Allrighty, nevertheless, you should team up with your fellow photographers

and you should shoot together with them, do something creative

do something where both of you learn.

Let me know how it went!

Put a comment under this video, if you like it,

if you think it got useful tips for you.

Click the "like" button, click the "+1" button

and please come back next time. See you then again!

I wish you good light!

Subscribe here and don't miss any video!

Simply subscribe to "Photo Talk" and be the first one to receive a notification whenever a new video is added here. No spam. Every eMail features an unsubscribe link in it's footer in case you don't want notifications anymore.