A few months back I did a jewelry shoot for Bob Lynn of Lynn’s Jewelry. Bob is a jewelry designer, and had eight sets of jewelry he wanted photographed for display prints in his store, as well as for advertising purposes. So I got my chiropractor involved. Er…what?
I needed a studio-like space for the shoot that wasn’t too far from Bob’s store, because an employee would be coming over with $30k worth of jewelry (my estimate, based on the price tags I saw floating around). It just so happens my chiropractor, Logan Osland, has a large warehouse-sized space attached to his office, which he leases to a personal trainer. So rather than rent studio space, I arranged a trade: I made headshots for him and his staff in exchange for using his space, all on the same day. It was a busy day, as you can imagine.
I arranged for Sofia Giselle (above) and Tiffany to model the jewelry. Naz did makeup and Kris Young of Alejandro Salon (Ventura, CA) did hair. I think this was initially a challenge for both models, who had not previously done any beauty work. They weren’t used to the tiny posing corrections necessary to get a good beauty image, and whenever I said “put your chin up a little” or something like that, it was always too much! But both models soon got the hang of it. Shooting beauty images is often more like shooting still-life images, but with people as subjects instead of food or product.
We also evolved the makeup and hair throughout the shoot, to keep the images distinct and appropriate for the jewelry. There wasn’t time to do complete makeovers for each set of jewelry, but Naz and Kris did a nice job of modifying the basic look to keep it fresh.
I lit each model differently, so that we could have some subtle differences between the two sets of images. But I also knew that the images would likely be displayed as pairs, so they couldn’t be too different. All the images were shot using a ‘hot white’ background. But rather than use white seamless and fire lights at it, I instead placed the models in front of a homemade 7’x4′ diffuser panel (made out of PVC pipe and diffused with two layers of dress-liner material) and fired an Alien Bees AB800 through it. There are two set up shots below that show most of my lighting.
For Sofia Giselle, I set up a ‘brolly box’ (softbox that folds up like an umbrella) camera left and just a little higher than her face, with my Norman 200B in it as main light. Then camera right I put an SB-28 in a shoot-through umbrella, at the same height as the key light. The ratio between the key and the fill aren’t dramatic, as is typical of beauty lighting. The important goal of this shoot, other than showing how beautiful the models were, was to make sure the jewelry was properly lit and represented.
More text below, after some Sofia Giselle images.
This set up shot is not from the camera position. I was shooting between the brollybox and the umbrella shown on the left, toward the diffuser panel shown on the right. It looks like I’ve set up some sort of flag (the black thing, at the far right of the frame), but I have no idea if I used it or not. Here you can see Kris applying hair spray and Naz working on makeup. And yes, Sofia Giselle was actually wearing clothes for these shots. Sorry guys if I’ve ruined any daydreams.
For Tiffany (below) I changed the lighting set up to a more traditional ‘clamshell’ beauty lighting. You can see part of this in the setup shot at the end of the post. The Norman and brolly box was placed on a boom stand above Tiffany’s face (and a little to the left, as evidenced by the catchlights in her eyes, and the shadow of her nose), and an SB-28 was bounced off a white reflector (foamcore!) below. I like the edge light on her cheekbone caused by reflection of the background light in the image below.
In the setup shot below, you can see the main light, and just make out the bounce card down below (just to camera-left of Naz’s arm). And you can see a ladder too…I used that to get a little height when shooting the headshots for my chiropractor. I might have used it on some of the beauty shots too, but I can’t recall.