How did I light that? An umbrella, a reflector, and a strip box

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With Christmas right around the corner, my friend Lex C (MM# 2006439) and I started brainstorming what we could do for a Christmas shoot. She already had this outfit with a bow on the front. We thought it would be cool if we build a huge present box that she could jump out of. The trip to Home Depot was priceless when the guy asked, “What are you going to wrap?” Of course, Lex said, “ME!” Ahhh, good times.

As with my other “How Did I Light That?” posts, I just want to share with you how I set up to shoot certain shots, as well as walk you through a little bit of what’s going on in my head.

OK, on to the photo.

Main light

I’ve been on this umbrella kick lately because the room in which I’ve been shooting isn’t very big, so when I use a shoot-through umbrella, light just goes everywhere to make things nice and soft. This main light was setup above and to my right with enough power for me to shoot 1/200 f10 ISO 125 through a 50mm f1.2L.

Fill light

There were some harsher shadows from the ribbon and the box. So I added another strobe shooting through a field reflector with a 20 degree grid close to the ground, shooting up at her.  The light was on my left to balance the umbrella on my right. This filled things in nicely and I was happy with it. As for settings, I fiddled around with it a bit to get her face/skin lit the way I wanted. (PS – the bow might look flat to you in the bottom two. This is a settings/compression issue that I’m going to have to take a look into).

Rim light

For this first shot I had a strip soft box to the model’s left and up behind her, with a grid. It did double duty lighting up the box, as well as providing a rim light. This highlighted Lex’s right arm, but wasn’t what I really wanted.  We pulled the box to do a few shots of just her. When Lex turned into the camera a little bit (yeah, I know we broke a posing rule, but I still like this photo so  I’m okay with it), I was able to direct the light more and give her a nice hair and side rim light. I would have added another rim light on her left side, but there’s a wall right there so I didn’t quite have enough room.


I am Reuben. I take pretty pictures of pretty people for Glamtography. Please do not ask me to shoot nude or implied--I always wear clothes when I shoot ;)

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