Beauty lighting – Two reflectors bouncing light back onto the model

Beauty lighting is similar to the lighting set up of the Butterfly lighting, but uses three light sources.  The key or main lighting is provided by the softbox lighting.  This positioned close and to one side of the camera between 20 degrees away to the side of the camera to introduce some contrast and shadow to the model’s face and raised above the subject so the light shines down at approximately a 45 degree angle on to the forehead and face.  The model faces the main lighting and then turns their head to face the camera, to the subject.  On the other side of the face add a reflector to provide some soft fill in lighting to the other side of the face.  A second reflector is placed low to bounce light up to reduce the dark shadows created under the chin, nose and around deep set eyes, but the bounce light will not be so strong as to remove the completely the shadows.  The shadows are needed to give the face definition and the photograph to have some subtle contrast.

In my demonstration photograph the main light was placed on the left hand side of the model’s face, a reflector was positioned low also on the left hand side.  The second reflector on the right hand side I feel could have been better positioned further round to the right and placed so that more light would be reflected on to the model’s right side of their face.  I could have reduced the ISO light sensitivity so that the left hand side of the face would not be so highly exposed, and it would show more skin tones.

The details of this photograph.  Camera Nikon D3100, ISO-3200, aperture F-Stop f/7.1, shutter exposure time 1/80 second.





An alternative to the reflector is the use of a fill-in flash.  The use of a fill-in flash is that it gives additional light to a subject that is not well illuminated or the subject is in it’s own shadow because the light is coming mainly from the side or backlit subject.  The ideal is to use the flash to throw light on to the subject, but the light not to be too strong that it removes the the shadows thrown by the sunlight or other studio lighting in a similar way that the reflector gives additional soft lighting.

The use of fill-in flash should not be so bright that it bleach the colour of the subject or generate unwanted reflections that dazzel down the lens or red eye of the model.

butterfly with lit background

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