Lighting the nude

Posted: March 13, 2011 in Shoots in short

Don’t let anyone tell you this is fun. Well, it is, kinda. But it’s a load of hard work too, if you’re really serious about getting the lighting right and not just perving the babe.

The student getting on top of things

So there we were, my student and I, and in front of us, Violet from Vladivostok. No really, she’s Russian. Even speaks with that James Bond movie accent. And as you can probably tell, she’s not shy.

Neville joined me for a two-day workshop in nude lighting, a one-on-one course I occasionally present. Occasionaly because it is a heap of hard work, hot and cramped in my small studio. But totally satisfying if you get the lighting right, as in the case of the student”s results below.

We used two Bowens softboxes, mostly in a backlighting position, to allow the fall-off of light to the front of Violet’s body define shape. Since we used loads of black velvet cloth to absorb stray light, the fall-off was quite severe, and we had to judiciously add light to open up the shadows just a bit. Reflectors and a bare bulb light fired into the opposite wall did the trick. The trick was to keep the studio dark and use the modelling lights to define her body shape. It was critical getting the elevation of the lights just right. Too high, and the shadow camera side of her body receded too much, killing the effect, and too low and behind her, the softbox would start creeping into shot. A boom arm with the light on top helped though.

We also extensively used screens to stop light from the softboxes fall onto the backdrop and cause unwanted and distracting light blotches on the black background. The schematic to the right shows one such setup – the softbox partially masked off to darken that side of the studio, and another black screen on the right side of the model to deepen the shadow on that side of her body.

  1. ALYPIXIE says:

    Phew! Thank god Nomizana swapped days….

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