1 Light Set-up: Beauty Lighting with Madeline



I get asked a lot about how to photograph beauty and how I set up my work station. I'm very basic, to be honest. What I found is that when I go to Chicago and leverage the use of the studio assets, I always love to shoot in my black enclave set up.

With Madeline as my model, this set up was incredibly beautiful because the black V-flats made her hair and skin coloring incredibly beautiful and crisp. Of course shooting a red head is a huge plus! I took two (2) V-Flats and created a box for Madeline to sit in. The edges of the V-flat came as far up as the seat she was sitting on so that I could get that crispy look throughout the image. If you don't have V-Flats, you can hang velvet fabric to absorb the light and produce the same results.

I didn't use any reflectors because I like how my shadows fall underneath her chin. I've never been a fan of everything being perfectly lit from all angles. It's a personal preference.

As for my beauty modifier, I use a Mola Demi 22" as my single light source modifier and I literally sit underneath the beauty dish. The beauty dish itself is probably arm length plus about 6 more inches from the model. It's a very intimate set up. My lighting system is the Profoto B2 and I only use one light. I've shot so much with the B2 that even though D4 systems were available, I still opted to shoot with my B2 kit. I just know my settings and am comfortable playing with my own equipment.

Here's my diagram on how I set up this shot: