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Lighting Techniques for Hollywood Glamour Photography

How to Make Hollywood Portraits
Model: Kristabelle

Model: Kristabelle

Be sure to watch the Hollywood Glamour Photography Video for this shoot HERE

Photography Lighting Techniques are sometimes huge mysteries, at least to the beginning photographer. Sometimes to the seasoned pro too, only because maybe it was such a simple setup that it just couldn’t be that easy, right? I know I am that way sometimes when my friends tell me how they lit a set or how it was just one light or it was ambient light. Lighting has always fascinated me and when I decided that I wanted to take pictures like the people who’s photography I liked, that’s when things changed for me.

I had gone to New Orleans, just after Hurricane Katrina for Convergence, a gathering of Goths for the sole purpose of partying, music and having a great weekend, only much more. I had my Canon 20D and was taking pictures the whole weekend because NOLA is such a beautiful place and there’s so much to photo. One memorable part of my trip was the swamp tour in a boat; the swamp fascinates me, is beautiful and I will be back to photo the swamp again as I am drawn there.

Friends who know me say I sold my soul to the swamp witch we met, because this was the turning point in my photographic career. I had attended the fashion show for convergence and gathered the designers and models together to take some photos. When I got home to San Diego I made a gallery and put them up online. A few days later I looked at the gallery again¬† and said “These suck!”.¬† That is when I locked myself away for a year and studied nothing but lighting.

Nowadays people come to me and ask questions about lighting, I guess they say I am a go to guy when it comes to certain types of lighting, so I always share my knowledge of lighting with people when I can. Here are some lighting diagrams and techniques I used for a few images I shot a couple weeks ago with Model Kristabelle. I also have a video I will put online when I get it edited.

Model: Kristabelle

Model: Kristabelle, Black and White

I met Kristabelle at Ink n Iron 2009, as I contacted her for a shoot for the promoter as she was a finalist for the pinup pageant. I had also seen her on my friend Johnny Angel’s Myspace page which is where I originally seen her. Below is the lighting diagram for this shot. If you have any questions please make a comment and subscribe to the comment as I will answer your questions there.

Lighting Diagram for Model Kristabelle on Chaise Lounge

Lighting Diagram for Model Kristabelle in Black and White

Model: Kristabelle in Color

Model: Kristabelle in Color

I decided to show this image in color as I really like the tones and the scene, I like it so much that I am going to print a limited number and sell them here in case anyone is interested. Below is the lighting diagram for this set, it’s similar to the previous diagram with the placement of one light to camera right instead of left.

Model: Kristabelle in Color, Lighting Diagram

Model: Kristabelle in Color, Lighting Diagram

The previous two shots and lighting were done with Fresnel Focusing Lamps. They are a hot light and the same type used in the old movies of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. They are what some of the great photographers used for their portrait sittings in the old days of the movie studios, and it is what I use in many of my photos, because I want a certain look and color tone.

Model: Kristabelle in Archway, Black and White

Model: Kristabelle in Archway, Black and White

This shot was done in the archway of my studio where I hung a curtain in the archway to create a backdrop. I lit the model with 2 mini monolight strobes. The archway divides two rooms and I put one strobe above the curtain in one room, shining down on the model behind her. I put the second strobe with a modified softbox in the other room in front and to the side as you can see in the diagram.

Model: Kristabelle in Archway

Model: Kristabelle in Archway Lighting Diagram

The modified softbox is actually a Photoflex Litedome XS, the part that’s modified is the egg crate grid to control the lighting direction. They don’t make a grid for the XS, so I had to get the one for the next size larger and cut it to size and sew the Velcro back on. Actually I stapled it. I used this XS softbox with a grid, because I like the way it works. People might say the box is so small why use a grid on it, it’s because I like the way it causes the light to fall off around the edges and helps to create sculpted shadow and lighting.

I hope those diagrams made sense and they help someone. I know when I was first starting out things like this really helped me and I was glad someone would share something like this with me. If you have any questions please ask. I am more than happy to help.



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