Here's some images from the last shoot I did just before I took my Christmas break. Rebecca Dore stopped by the studio for a portrait photography session, but we actually ended up getting some really nice beauty shots as well...
Rebecca was great fun to shoot with. Very bubbly and chatty. I knew beforehand that she was a little more interested in beauty modelling, so after a little warming up with portraits I got set up for some beauty shots and this is when Rebecca really started to shine. I'm really happy with these images. Especially the last one (which also looks great in black and white), I think that one will make an appearance in my portfolio very soon.
EDIT: I've had a lot questions from other photographers via email about what my lighting setup was for this shoot. So, being the super nice guy that I am I've provided some diagrams and a brief description below. Enjoy :)
First off, I use Elinchrom Quadra strobes. They have a maximum power output of 400ws but can also output as low as 8ws (as low as most speedlites), which played a huge part in why I chose them. The fact that they can output at such low power settings means that I can shoot at wide apertures (to get a nice shallow depth of field) even when in the studio. But then when you ramp them all the way up to full power you can shoot at f/16 or f/22 depending on the situation you're in. So yeah, they're pretty versatile.
They're also super portable. The flash heads themselves have a weight of practically nothing and the battery and pack are very light also and can be slung over your shoulder with a handy strap when on location. You also get plenty of shots per battery charge. I've had my lights for about a year and I can only remember fully depleting one of my batteries once in all that time. And that was a shoot that lasted almost eight hours.
Anyways, onto the diagrams...
This is a very simple one light setup that I usually start my shoots off with as a bit of a warm up for both me and my subject. I used a Westcott 7 foot Parabolic Umbrella with the optional white diffusion cover. I think the two together cost about €130. I basically use it as a cheap alternative to the much more expensive 7 foot Octa-boxes that are on the market.
I lowered my ISO to 50 and blocked out the ambient light coming into the studio using cheap IKEA blackout blinds, then used a really low power setting on the light to achieve an exposure of f/1.4. The resulting shallow depth of field and the fact that the light source is huge, gives the light a very natural look.
Again, in this shot I'm trying to achieve a natural looking light. This time feathering the 7 foot umbrella, I position it in front of Rebecca, a little bit above eye height and angle it so that the light fires horizontally in front of her, instead of directly at her. There's an 8 x 4 foot white V-flat at the opposite side of Rebecca which acts as a huge fill light. Basically I'm creating a big wall of indirect light right in front of the model. The fact that it's indirect makes it all the more soft and natural looking.
Here's the setup for the rest of the shots. Again, it's a very simple, standard beauty lighting setup. I used a white 70cm Elinchrom beauty dish with a silver internal deflector and the white diffusion cover or 'sock' as it's sometimes called. I am sitting directly opposite of Rebecca and the bottom of beauty dish is just about touching my lens.
Underneath is a Lastolite silver Tri-Flector which will bounce the light from the beauty dish back up to fill in the shadows, essentially surrounding Rebecca with light. I brought this up as high as I could and angled it as close as I could get it to Rebecca's face without actually getting it in the frame.
I shot with a mixture of a 50mm lens and an 85mm lens and shot at f/8 for some and f/2.8 (again, for that shallow depth of field) for other images.
Ok, that's it for now. I should hopefully have some new portraits to share early next week. If you want to comment on these images, feel free to anonymously abuse me for being a hack in the comments section below, or you can not be a pansy and come at me on my Facebook Page.