The Art of Lighting in Fashion and Beauty Photography

The Art of Lighting in Fashion and Beauty Photography

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If photography has been your longtime passion, you should realize it right now. However, as someone who is only starting, we suggest you take it simply at first. Good photography comprises of creativity and art of a multitude of people’s expertise with varying degrees of work. So, this is not just the photographer doing what he does. There are a lot of things going on in a photograph. It is not only the model and the photographer. However, as a beginner, it is not feasible to work with such a huge business acumen at first. Neither would you have that kind of budget for this if you are only starting off. But do not take this as a bummer. Everything starts with the simplest, and then you make your way to the more difficult work.

If you want to be a photographer in a particular niche, fashion photography is a lucrative one. This is not only a challenging field but would also get the best out of your creativity. Every fashion brand has its own website, and this demands a lot of photographers who are good at what they do. You must be aware of the multifarious industry that fashion is. There are so many clothing brands that even if you try, you would not be able to name them all at once. And it is only growing. This also implies that as a fashion photographer, your career would also be on the growth path for the times to come and you can even have a good chance to sell your art. This is the safest way and business idea to earn money.

Basic Knowledge About Lighting

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Since we have already dramatized the importance of lighting in fashion photography, it is high time that you learn as much as you can about the different ways it can affect your work. Photography is no less a work of art. This is why imagination and creativity play a great significance in it. It is a brilliant way of expressing different things which makes for the primary reason why photography is considered art. Photography is related to science more than you think it is. There is photography which deals which dentistry and dermatology as well. One more thing which plays a significant role when it comes to lighting and photography is physics. This does not mean that you need to be a Physics major (although you can be) to be a photographer. The reality is far from it. But what you really need to do is understand the different dimensions of how lighting accentuates your photography.

Photographers mostly work with two sources of light. For starters, we begin with one—going from easy to difficult. You have to make sure that you have got good control over the lighting in order to emphasize the features you want in your model. This makes it really important for you to learn the rules and follow them with due diligence. The right comprehension of these rules would also give you an understanding of that level where you would know when and how to break them when the need arises. This is how you can make your photography stand apart from others.

Frontal Lighting

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As a photographer, there are certain lighting techniques which you are bound to be aware of. The first would consist of frontal lighting. This one’s the easiest and basic lighting technique, which even non-photographers are aware of. But do not get carried away. This is only the beginning. You let the light fall directly on the object/model’s face, keeping the source of light behind you. This will give a stark illumination to your model, producing a magnificent look. This one could make for good photography if you are working with a model trying to display casual black dresses, for instance.

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Side Lighting

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The second technique would be side lighting. You place the lighting in such a way as the light falls on your model’s one shoulder, keeping three-fourths of the head facing the light. Such a positioning technique would help smooth out the differences between highlights and shadows. This enables some form of depth to the portrait, making the photography even more striking. A brilliant technique for fashion photography, especially if the person you are trying to capture is modeling for high-end fashion clothing, or for a vintage look wearing a corset. This technique also comes in handy if you want to photograph your model from a closeup. The side lighting would accentuate the model’s facial contours beautifully. This makes for an all the more interesting photography if your subject is modeling for skin care products such as a SkinCeuticals Vitamin C serum.

Natural Lighting

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If you want to create more authentic and artistic photography, make your model stand with the sunset as the background. This would create a spectacular contrast, something which would make for an incredible piece in your portfolio. When you are taking pictures outdoors, the sun would act as your biggest source. And since it is a natural source of light, you would have to be a lot more cautious with the varying angles that will help you in your photography. When placed behind your subject, it would emphasize the outlines of your model’s structure magnificently, and also highlight her lush hair. In such contrast photography, the edges begin to glow, producing a spectacular aureole. There is a change of color in hair and the grass usually, giving off a less sharp image. This is because, with such light flow, thinner objects become less visible and start looking more subtle to the eyes. If you stand across the light and have your model placed in between you and the sunset, you can achieve a perfect glow around the edges of your subject. This makes for one of the most advanced techniques in lighting photography.

Play with Various lighting techniques

The Art of Lighting in Fashion and Beauty Photography dancing in dusk

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So, you have reached from the easiest to advanced photography in a very systematic manner. Your next step would be to operationalize these techniques and be good at them. Remember what we said about following rules in photography? Learn them well so you can break and bend them whenever you think you need to. The next technique involving the sun is to use light reflectors. When it comes to the sun, you would want to go with the golden reflector. This helps in enhancing the brightness of colors as also inflict some amount of vibrancy in your photography. However, since the sun sets quite quickly during the dusk, you might want to be ready with your equipment and model beforehand in order to take full advantage of the bluish light. You might also want to make use of extra light to create a favorable balance between a flashlight and an ambient light. In such cases, you can use a portable external flash, simple light modifiers, and wireless control. Another most important usage of the sunset you can make is to create a silhouette of your model. The correct angle and lighting will help you make for an interesting detail in your portfolio.

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Find the Right Lens Hoods

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One of the biggest concerns of fashion photographers is when the bright light makes the camera go “blind”. So how do you deal with this? You cannot get rid of the light because the reason it is right there in your set means that you need it. Such a situation makes the photograph deteriorate in quality. To avoid such a blunder, you can make your model stand in the way of the sunlight. This way she is blocking the light from falling directly on the camera lens while also letting the light do its magic. At this point, you might also want to make use of a large lens hood and place it at an angle complimenting the sun. Here, you should know one thing that different camera lenses have the capability of “holding” differing amounts of light. So, you might want to research something about the kind of lens which you are using. It also does not hurt to use all the options you have at your disposal with your optics.

Dealing with the natural source of light is more difficult than you must have thought. But it isn’t impossible. You make mistakes, you learn. Another concern with such photography would be with the amount of exposure you would need. While your camera might not be that much fond of these conditions, there might be the possibility of your settings to go wrong. So, you would want to make changes while being on the manual mode. This would require you to fidget with your camera a bit and adjust the settings accordingly. Before you do, you can try taking some “draft shots” to really make an estimate of the kind of changes that you have to make in the settings.

Experimenting is the key to discovering unique ideas. So, you can try taking shots at different angles with respect to the light and discover some unusual portraits to go with your portfolio.

Author Bio:

“Jessica Smith has been writing for a few years now. She is a writer by day and reader by night. She was a very quiet child but writing always inspired her and that is why she began writing in her free time. She loves reading, be it a newspaper, a book or anything. She also loves cooking, traveling and dancing. She wants to be a successful writer as writing is her passion.”

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