Beauty Lighting Setup by Madeline Northway
Madeline Northway is a freelance fashion, portrait and wedding photographer based in Chicago. Her work is clean, colorful and pulls inspiration from vintage fashion styles and photography.
- Canon 5d Mark III
- Canon EF 24-105 mm F/4 L IS USM
- PocketWizard MultiMAX Transceiver
- 107 ft x 12 yards Gray Seamless Background
- Speedotron 1205cx Power Supply
- One Speedotron 102 Blackline head
- Beauty dish
- Two 12×20″ Black Scrims
- Two black panels
- ISO 100
- 1/125 s
This is a very simple and classic beauty lighting setup. I have a medium gray seamless set up with the model set at least 5-6 feet from it. This, combined with the two black panels, allows me to separate my light on the model from my background light. In this particular shot, I chose to not light the background separately and let it drop out to a nice grey-black gradient. If I decided to light the background, to make it a lighter grey or white, all I would have to do is set up a couple more Speedotron heads behind those panels. This would allow me to control the lighting on the background separately from my subject.
My favorite light to use in beauty shoots, and many other portrait settings, is the beauty dish. It offers a clean, directional look that is dramatic, but, the light still wraps around the subject. In this photo you can tell that I used a beauty dish by those beautiful round catch lights in the model’s eyes (one of my favorite little nuances the beauty dish creates).
I have the beauty dish positioned above my camera mounted on a outstretched arm of a weighted C-stand. The beauty dish is in front of the model, slightly above, pointing down onto her face. This positioning is how I’ve created the slight shadow under her chin.
Lastly, I have a black card placed on either side of the model, acting as negative fill for her face, this brings in those shadows underneath her cheekbones. I like to do this because it defines the facial structure and also makes the photo a little more dimensional and interesting.
For more work by Madeline Northway visit her website at www.madelinenorthway.com.