Making of - Black Beauty Set III

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 third set of the “Black Beauty”-Shooting with Moregha.
As it is more and more important for me to choose setups with seemingly natural light, I try to use one-light setups more frequently. This doesn’t make the setups and shootings more easily or less interesting, as you can do loads of variants with just one single light-source ... especially if you use some “passive” accessories along with the light (reflectors, light-blockers).
For this setup, I wanted to get a relatively soft light, without losing plasticity too much. I just wanted to raise the bar for Moregha a little bit and focus the picture on her expression and posing instead of some dramatic lighting.
As you can see on the setup-pics (made with set.a.light 3D –, I have set up one flash (profoto B1 – 500Ws) equipped with a big softbox with both diffusors mounted (Profoto Deep Octa 120cm) to the side and above my Model. I’ve used a technique called “feathering”, which means I aimed the flash not on the model but in front of her (you can see that on the second pic) to achieve a homogenous light, but with a great fall-off nonetheless. To support this, I’ve used a black light-blocker on the other side, to eliminate all reflected and ambient light.
I’ve used a white background, which I’ve pulled down until right in front of my position, so it acted as a reflector from below as well (as the flash was set high enough to light the floor too). This reflection added to the “soft” look and diminished some of the harsher shadows.
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 ... 😉
The lens was my trusted Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art with the aperture set to f5. The other settings were studio-typical ISO 100 and 1/160s shutter-speed. Nothing fancy, but still a small enough depth of field to get some sort of sharpness-falloff.
Conclusion/ final thoughts
This setup is more or less my “go-to” setups as soon as the model is “warmed up” and feeling comfortable with the shooting. Despite the one-light and the softbox, the position of the model is very important ... if the model steps to far forward, she’ll be way to bright, if she steps back too much, it’s the opposite. One of my tricks to handle that problem is to work with a bar-stool or chair ... that way, the model keeps the position.
Despite being a simple setup, this is one of my favourite lights to work with, as it is not distracting. The picture just focuses on the model, the expression and posing, and not on the light ... without being boring at all.
The only thing I wouldn’t do is to use this setup right at the beginning of a shooting, as it isn’t that easy to set up, you need a good model with great expressions and she doesn’t have a great deal of freedom to move.
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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