I’ve had several people ask about the lighting setup and details behind the Beverly Hills Style shoot that I’ve posted to 500px and Facebook recently. Rather than answer each one I promised that I would provide some details here on how the photos were taken.

The majority of people believe the photos are taken with natural light, which is partially true. While the room had wonderful north facing window light, the volume of light was simply not enough for the look I was going for. Given that I was travelling light, all I had to augment the window light was two Nikon SB-910’s and two Lastolite Tri-Grip reflectors. The last thing I wanted to do was blast the model with a harsh flash and wipe out the soft light from my window, so I made use of the only diffuser I had with me, a Lastolite 9 in 1 umbrella. As shown in the diagram below, the umbrella was put into shoot through orientation and the two SB-910’s were mounted on the stand, one with a cold shoe umbrella holder, another with a Justin Clamp. Finally, two reflectors were placed camera right to fill the shadows in just a little bit. 

As far as technical details go, once again things were kept quite simple. The camera used was a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 lens at f2.8, 1/200th and 200 ISO. The two speedlights were set to slave mode and TTL at +1 EV and triggered via the popup flash on the camera.

In post each photo received a slightly different treatment but there were some common elements. Each one started with some skin and hair cleanup and sharpening and brightening of the eyes. I then corrected the contrast further through a Pro Contrast adjustment in Color Efex Pro 4 which helped to bring the subject out. I finished up with some dodging and burning of the highlights/shadows and cross processing through selective colors adjustment and curves adjustment layers. In the case of the above photo, I also brightened the left side by using a soft brush and painting white on a new layer that has a soft light blend mode and applying a Gaussian blur. Finally a little bit of monochromatic grain and desaturation was added to each photo to finish them off.