In this post I want to show you how to shot a fast and very alluring glam series with just one light and modifier.
All you need is a) a beauty dish, b) an “emotional” background, meaning some kind of pattern and strong colored backdrop and c) your model.

The last ingredient to boost the effect is a colorful outfit and the mix is complete.

All Key Topics in this FREEMIUM Video!

Beauty Dish & Usage in General

A beauty dish is a large, bowl-like reflective circular dish which ranges anywhere from 16 to 30 inches in diameter and is mostly used when shooting portraits and glam-style imagery.

Photography Light Modifiers - Light Quality for Glamour Photography feat Melisa Mendini

Creating a generally softer light is one of the functions of a beauty dish. Its coated interior which reduces basic highlights is what causes the light to appear softer in the first place. But if a dish has a silver coating, it will make light “edgier” and shadows more defined. Nearly all beauty dishes have a little panel that “floats” over the flash tube so that no direct light can be emitted from the reflector. All (scattered) illumination comes from the silver or white bowl of the dish.

The best distance to use a beauty dish at is around eight feet (2.5m) from the subject.

Placed at closer distances, four to six feet, the beauty dish can create what many refer to as the “liquid wrap” effect. If placed at farther distances, over eight feet, the overall effect of the beauty dish is more comparable to a “hard” reflective umbrella. The effect you are looking for with a beauty dish is a circular catchlight, which is a highly desired look both in beauty and fashion photography.

Beauty Dish used in this Shoot

Beauty Dish Light Former in Glamour Photography

The dish is a vital modifier in my repertoire and as said creates a light characteristic mixture between a softbox and a parabolic reflector, yet it’s much closer to harsh light on the spectrum.

The shadow transitions and high-lights have all rather sharp, high contrast qualities and because of this you will recognize that beauty dishes tend to accentuate every detail of your models – flaws included…

My dish in this shoot has a silver coating and this makes the light even “edgier” and shadows more defined. Additionally I’m going to attach a grid to narrow down the light beam and to better control the direction.

Fast Glam? What’s It For?

'Fast Glam' with Melisa Mendini - Glamour Photography - Result BTS

This set provides added value for any of your studio productions because of its super simple setup and fast shooting implementation.

If you have a bit of spare time left at the end of your shoot a shoot and a beauty dish ready at hand, just grab your model and take a few freestyle shots. You won’t regret it.

1-Light Setup!

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As mentioned before, I’m using just one light equipped with a beauty dish and a grid.

The light is placed in a distance of about 3 meters to the model and its direction is coming from above the camera’s axis.

Make sure that you don’t place the light too high as you will immediately lose the catch lights in the model’s eyes. In a glam-set that fully concentrates on the model and her expressions, catch lights are most important!

The grid helps to narrow the light beam and to give the final look a more dramatic touch, which in this case translates into an overall stronger visual coloring.

Working with Strong Colors

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Melisa’s nice tan allows me to go with a strong, colorful beachwear-set that stands out perfectly against this harder, more edgy light.

For the final emotion it is important that the background is of a complementary color or at least dark. Otherwise the concept of the defined, spot-on light gets diluted/lost.

Bold Posing Helps: Energetic Results

'Fast Glam' with Melisa Mendini - Glamour Photography - 004

To get the maximum out of this sequence, let your model strike strong, sexy, seducing and catchy poses. Go for a mix of them so you’ll end up having everything you need.

The action area is limited due to the narrowed light beam but if your model is great in acting then that’s no problem at all.

Melisa did a fantastic job once more and delivered super bold expressions.

The results are energetic, vivid and more than sexy!

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Behind the Scenes

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Tech Sheet

To emphasize again: This look is shot with only one light, the selection of a beauty dish is crucial and the interplay of colors and contrast makes the series shamelessly eye-catching.

  • 1x 400 Ws Monoblocs
  • 1x Beauty Dish Ø2.3’/Ø70cm & Grid, powered around 300 Ws
  • Nikon D700 (full frame)
  • @ 85mm
  • f/9
  • 1/200
  • ISO 100
  • “emotional” patterned background
  • strong outfit colors

Team

  • Model: Kristina aka Melisa Mendini
  • Make up & Hair: Aneta Lozkova – http://lozkova.cz/
  • Photography: Dan Hostettler
  • Behind the Scenes Documentary: Jan Prerovsky
  • Videographer: Peter Chmela

Fast Glam - Glamour Photography - 2D Studio Lighting Set Plan

BESTSELLER: 19 Complete Studio Lighting Blueprints (+ Training Exercises)

ESSENTIALS. Studio Lighting for Nude Photography feat. Jenni Czech & Melisa Mendini

ESSENTIALS. Studio Lighting for Nude Photography

Lighting Blueprint. Theory, showcases and exercises. Extensive theory part to strengthen your practical work. 19 all-inclusive case studies/lighting setups for 1, 2, 3 & 4 lights. Featuring Jenni Czech & Melisa Mendini. Sexy Women Photography at its best!

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