Making of - Black Beauty Set II

Written by Manuel Faessler
Hi folks,
As I get asked how I make my pics regularly, I want to start a series of making-of blogposts to explain my light-setups, camera-settings and post-processing. This is the blog dealing with the second set of the “Black Beauty”-Shooting with Moregha.
As I’ve explained in the previous blogpost already I’ve switched position of the first set shot on that day, and the first set explained here, so this is the first set we shot.
The first basic thought when planning this set was, that it should be as easy as possible for the model (as she is a newcome). With this set she doesn’t really have to concentrate on the light and can focus on her posing and expression instead. This is a set with the biggest possible “freedom of movement” and the direction in which she faces is not that important as well ... as long as she doesn’t look in the complete opposite direction, everything is fine.
The second thought was to create a “favourable” light, but nothing boring ... so I didn’t want to use a softbox or the standard beauty-setup (Beautydish + reflector from below).
As you can see on the setup-pics (made with set.a.light 3D –, I have set up one flash (profoto B1 – 500Ws) with an umbrella (profoto Umbrella Deep Silver L). Important (at least for me) is the “deep” form of the umbrella as it creates a way more beautiful, crisp and concentrated light than the “shallow” standard-forms. I’ve set up the flash a little bit above the models head, about 15-20° sideways from the camera-axis aimed at her chest.
I’ve worked with a black background again to create a dark, emotive portrait-series without much distraction. Again I want to advice those of you who work in a smaller or bright studio, to use some black light shields to block out reflected light. As this setup again works with the light-fall-off, too much reflected light would destroy that look.
Camera settings
I’ve used my Canon 5D IV for this shot instead of my typical studio-camera (5DsR) because I thought I could use that dynamic-range advantage this time. Those of you who shot with a darker skin model know what I’m talking about ... 😉
As this is a classic portrait-setting, I’ve used my Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art lens and for the really close shots my Canon 100mm f2.8 L Macro. The aperture was set to f8 or as I like to call it: my idiot-proof aperture ... as I don’t have to worry too much about focusing and can concentrate more on the model instead. The speed was set to studio-typical 1/160s and ISO100.
Conclusion/ final thoughts
As written in the beginning, this was my starting-setup to get the model into “the flow”. It was mainly thought to be easy and uncomplicated, without being boring. I really love to use this light for portraits, as long as they don’t have to be beauty-shots ... I prefer to use softer light-sources for that. This setup is only suitable for portraits as the light falls off pretty quick below the chest.
That’s it from me ... if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to aske ... either here as comment, or via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you try this setup, I’d really love to see some of your results!!

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