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I wanted to give you a “Behind the Scenes” look into creating one of my fashion images.  I am going to cover: LIGHTING, GEAR, TIPS for ON-SET, and how to get the BEST IMAGES from your PHOTO SHOOT. My name is Jodi Jones. I am a fashion photographer based out of New York City.   I have been working full-time as a fashion photographer for the past 12 years.  My work has been published in numerous magazines worldwide including: Vogue, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitian, and Time Magazine. I have begun this year to start teaching the craft of photography to others. Along with my workshops on breaking into fashion photography, lighting, and the business of fashion photography, I have also created this blog I call “DIARY” and an exciting new section called “FREE EDUCATION” where I share with you all kinds of great techniques for creating a successful fashion photography business.  Here I peel back the curtain and take you behind the scenes of many of my photo shoots.  I will show you how I create an image, and how YOU CAN DO THE SAME.

The Shoot

Here is a recent photo shoot I created for a client.  My client, Oriett Domenech is a very talented fashion designer from the Dominican Republic.  I have worked with her for the past two seasons.  Last season I worked with her in creating a lookbook for fashion buyers, images for her website, an advertising campaign, and a creative video for her runway show.

The images below were just shot of her latest collection: FALL/WINTER 2013.  Since photography is the art, science, and practice of creating images by recording lightI will show you how I created the light for these images.

 

fashion images with broncolor lighting

 

fashion images with broncolor lighting

 

Casting

A lot of beginning photographers assume that to get magazine quality images, you have to do a TON of POST PRODUCTION RETOUCHING.  While this may sometimes be the case, it certainly does not always apply if you pay VERY close attention to the LIGHTING and all the little DETAILS on set. The first step always when organizing a fashion shoot is to choose the best model you can get for the job.  For this reason, I like to be involved in the casting process.  It’s important that the model take good care of her skin, hair and nails.  All of these things will show up in the photographs.  For the shoot I will discuss with you today, we cast model Anna Fuller, of Muse Models in New York.

The Team

Secondly, choose a very strong supporting team.  For this particular shoot, the producer/stylist was Oscar Montes de Oca.  Oscar and I have worked together many times, and what I especially respect about his work is that he understands that it is not the retouchers job to “fix” the clothes.  A good stylist makes sure that the clothing looks as good as possible on set. Being a good fashion stylist is not just about putting an outfit together, it is much more than that. It is important that the stylist understands proper tailoring and can work their magic quickly on set to show off the garments to the best of their ability under a variety of lighting.  I say this because many times, a moody side light can bring out details in a garment (good or bad) that we don’t quite notice with our eyes, but will show up on film.  Also, I always expect the hair/makeup artist to be standing just off to the side of the backdrop “set” with a few essential tools watching the model pose.  It is their job to make sure that when the model moves and the hair gets messed up, that they can step in and fix it quickly.  No shoes on the backdrop though, socks only!

Here is a “before & after” example so you can see what one of my images looks like straight out of the camera before ANY post production:

 

Photoshop before and after

Concept

For this particular shoot, I discussed the concept with the fashion designer, Oriett Domenech beforehand and we both agreed that we wanted the model’s skin to be slightly desaturated, but any colors in the clothing needed to POP.  We also chose the direction of having the model pose very strong as if she was a drill sergeant or captain.  A very sexy captain indeed.  I also liked the idea of having the backdrop be a bit gritty in contrast to the elegant, sleek clothing.  One thing that was a must was that the clothing needed to be  well lit to show all the details without being flat or boring.  We still wanted some shadows.

 

fashion images with broncolor lighting

 

fashion images with broncolor lighting

 

Lighting

For the lighting, I chose certain tools that I thought would best accomplish the look I was going for.  I used a total of four lights to achieve this look.  Remember, MORE LIGHTS DOESN’T MEAN BETTER LIGHTING!  Many times I light a shoot with just one light.  Every time you add another LIGHT, you also add another SHADOW.

Here is a “behind the scenes” shot of me doing a lighting test with my model, Anna.  She is still in her street clothes for the lighting test.  Adam Rodriguez, my talented videographer is shooting some behind the scenes video footage of the shoot.  Shot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

 

behind the scenes of a fashion shoot

Here is a lighting diagram my awesome intern created for me:

lighting diagram for oriett domenech

Gear

CAMERA – When shooting for a client that has such amazing detailing and texture in her clothing, I couldn’t imagine shooting any other camera than medium format.  A medium format camera with a digital back, and an 80mm lens.  While the extraordinary detail in the garments may not translate here in these web images, seeing them in print and on my large iMac the quality is quite apparent.

LIGHTING – 2 Broncolor Scoro S 1600 Packs, 4 Unilite heads and a RFS Radio Slave.

The main “key light”: a Broncolor Unilite with a Para 88 light modifier was placed high above the model tilted down on her at roughly a 45 degree angle. I placed a silk difusser on the Para 88 to “soften” the light.

I placed a second light, my “fill light” also at a 45 degree angle to model.  This second light is in what photographers sometimes call position 2 lighting, where the light is slightly lower than the first position light.  I placed my fill light quite a bit lower, more at her chest level to fill in any hard shadows.  This second light is lower in power to the main key light.

The 2 “Background/Side Lights” are Broncolor Unilites with Umbrellas.  These were added to give a little more soft light on the background and also to slightly spill onto the model from either side to make her “pop” and give her seperation from the background.  I think these extra lights give the photographs that extra punch.

I chose Broncolor lights for this shoot because I find they give me the best quality of light and I find them to be really simple to use.  The assembly of the Para 88 lighting modifier is much quicker and easier to put together than most softboxes and this is the most diversified lighting tool I have ever used.  I can focus or defocus the beam to get the exact hardness or softness I want with the light as well as how much spread of light I want.

 

fashion images with broncolor lighting

 

fashion photography

 

For advanced lighting and photography techniques, I offer my Lighting Guide to Beauty and Fashion.  Click here!

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12 Responses to Lighting for Fashion – Tricks of the Trade

  1. Jamie Esther Lee Bruce July 2, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    I really enjoyed this post, I struggle with lighting because I only have my built in flash and whatever ambient lighting there may be at the time. I hate shooting indoors or on bright sunny days because of this. The model is beautiful and the clothing is as well.

    • Jodi July 2, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Hi jamie! Thanks so much for your comment! I shoot outdoors a lot as well. Yes, having some control with your lighting will give you so much creativity! Let me know if you ever have any questions!

  2. Charles September 22, 2013 at 3:36 am #

    The concrete backdrop is very nice. Did you do it yourself and – if – could you enlighten us a bit how you did it?thanks!

  3. Lally November 14, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    These are beautifully crafted photos! Now I have more ideas how to handle such kind of photography.

  4. Alex_Sablan December 24, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Thanks for sharing

  5. Richard Marcellus October 5, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    Thank you for sharing your thought process on this shoot. Explaining the concept, intent and staging is much for useful for me than just the technical details.

  6. Biju Mailattu Veetil December 28, 2014 at 5:36 am #

    Hi Jodi,
    Thank you for sharing the technical tips of this session, very useful for me to undesratnd the lighting pattern and other related know hows.

    Keep posting…:).

    Biju M V

    • Jodi Jones April 13, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

      Hi Biju! Thank you so much for stopping by my site. I hope you can find some helpful tips here! Let me know if you have any specific questions. Have you had the chance to check out my lighting ebook? http://jodijonesstudio.com/lighting-ebook

      xx Jodi

  7. Danny Campbell January 23, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    Vey nicely lit and post production work. I use 3 Elinchrom (2) 500 BXRI & (1) 400 BXRI. I would like to utilize them to the best of there ability. I shoot with an Olympus OMD EM1 and would like to hear your thoughts on how you incorporate mirrorless cameras into your photoshoots.

  8. Randall James May 1, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

    I enjoy photography not just as a hobby but passion. I am trying to grow as a serious photographer. I have done events such as special parties, weddings, group shots, and nature photos. Looking at your photos I see the quality shots I am looking for. I am scheduled to do a wedding in September and want to do my best work. I plan to check out the venues prior to shooting to see the lighting. Hope to talk more to assist me in the future.

  9. Sakthi March 17, 2017 at 11:14 pm #

    When we need sharpness in entire photo and of the details on the garment so what should be the aperture be kept at? Will shallow aperture of 2.8 affect the details of the garment?

    • Jodi Jones March 23, 2017 at 11:13 am #

      Hi Sakthi. 2.8 is a very shallow depth of field and you will not get everything in focus. If you want sharpness over the entire image you need to set an aperture of 11 or 16

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