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Behind the Scenes: Lighting Setup for a Dramatic Look

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May 09

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Shooting for a Specific Look

Because the wardrobe and headpiece was so colorful and large for this shot we wanted to the final image to reflect that dramatic look. We custom built a headpiece for this shoot using foam and our hairstylist attached fabric and wrapped the hair around it to form the base using lots of staples and bobby pins! We then added in all the feathers to complete the peacock look. The focal point for the final image will be all of the feathers so it was important to make sure our lighting showed it off well.


The setup for this was a little more complex, it was important to see all the detail in the feathers on the side of her head as well as prevent shadows on her face.  We used a beauty dish as the main light, a gridded reflector to scrape across the headpiece, gridded soft box for the rim light, and a v-flat behind the camera for fill.

Camera Settings

I wanted to make sure there wasn’t any lens distortion so I shot with a 70-200 lens at 135 mm, f/16, 1/125 at ISO 100. Shooting at a low ISO is always the best way to work so you don’t have to try and fix noise later.

  • dk

    Like the lighting setup and the explanation. Would be nice to see the result.

  • Thephotofather

    yes where are the images ?

  • Bryan Dockett

    LOL “the light hits that and fills the entire light with room”

  • Scott Kelbi Jr.

    Dude where are the images?

  • Lucia

    This was an amazing shoot and  A LOT  of fun!! Thanks for the hospitality and awesome experience. I cant wait for the photos to be finished. Thanks Aaron!! :)

  • Yo Mama

    Great episode Aaron.  Interacting with the model adds a lot of interest.

  • Amelia Fletcher

    We just did this shoot yesterday- images coming soon!

  • Bryan Petty

    Hey Aaron I can’t tell a difference, but I was once told by a “photographer” that anything under ISO200 is actually a digital change not an optical change (I hope that makes sense). I’m sure this depends on your camera body, but do you know if that is the case on average? 

  • Advait Sakhalkar

    In case of lower ISO settings (50 for Nikon, 100 for Olympus), camera shoots at 200 (in case of Olympus, 100 for Nikon) and under exposes it digitally. I hope that made sense…

  • Sebastian Ortiz

    Excellent BTS, Aaron.

  • Matthewallenmedia

    Are there any final images?

  • Peter H.

    Aaron, I’m trying to buy a good boom light stand. Which model is that to the right of the girl?

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