Photoshoot Blog, 29th May, 2017

Party girl

Model Kellie Edwards wanted something similar to another shoot I'd done recently, so the challenge here was to recapture the particular things she liked about the other shoot, without overtly copying it. So, this meant changing a few fundamental things like the colours of light, the outfit, and the more recognisable elements of the makeup, and just sticking to the same lighting style and same bodylanguage and movement.

The makeup had to be something fun, bright, classic, something that implied going out to celebrate. Makeup artist Katie Wilson's style works well with Kellie's amazing cheekbones, we used a shiny contour to add sparkle (to work in with the shiny style of lighting), and bold red lips for the mood.

As for the coloured light, blue, so that it would read as "out at night", and magenta to make it a bit more neon / girly / fun. I very rarely point a basic 15cm reflector dish straight at the model, but that's what I've done for the two coloured lights here. The colour keeps them kind of muted enough, and the harshness actually creates a more authentic "nightlife" kind of feel. They're positioned slightly behind the model so that they don't really have too much impact on the lighting of the face, just adding atmosphere mostly into the hair and the very edges of the face, and some cheekbone shine in some of the images

The main light is just my usual 80mm octobox, which is basically the best of both worlds between a softbox and a beauty dish - it gives substantial shadow definition without being quite so brutally harsh as the beauty dish can be.

Finally, there's also a red light reflecting off the floor in front, just to lighten the shadows to make it less harsh, and to rebalance the tones a bit since my other colours are cooler tones. So this completes the blue / red / magenta / black palette of the image.

A floor fan provides a bit of movement and energy, just enough to lift the hair and give it some life, not enough to mess it up. Kellie's a pretty animated model anyway, so between the fan and the movement, the photo becomes a bit spirited and fun.

I wanted some texture in the background to give it some depth. That's actually a tulle skirt that I hung in the background, out of focus and underexposed back there so it's subtle. The blue angled was positioned to just fall a little on the skirt as well.

This was shot at F5.6 (to keep that skirt out of focus) with a 90mm Macro lens (my portrait go-to) on an APS-C sensor body.

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About the author

Jeremy Phillips is a professional photographer based in Perth, Western Australia, specialising in beauty, fashion and dance photography. He manages River Road Studios, a professional studio available for hire, and runs educational workshops and creative activities for aspiring photographers.

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