Glamour photography focuses on the depiction of a model with a strong emphasis on sensuality while today’s trends increasingly lean toward a more natural look at the same time.
That’s why I want to present you my thoughts and ideas in this Glamour Lighting Tutorial.
“The Play Together” (Overall Approach)
The difference between taking a typical portrait shot and creating a glamorous shot involves a few simple yet carefully implemented steps:
- the light setting (and positioning) for glamour photography must be flattering
- the skin tones and structure softly lit and…
- the make-up truly professional.
The lighting must produce an appealing and sometimes romanticized vision of the model.
Although I also experimented with dramatic lighting…
While posing plays an important role in creating the glamour look, the other key element is definitely lighting, which is used to sculpt the face and body, set the mood of the image, and keep the viewer’s eyes on the subject of the portrait: the model.
Glamour Lighting is Paramount Lighting…At Least Somehow
Glamour lighting setup is based on a lighting arrangement invented decades ago. It’s the so called Paramount Lighting (also referred to as “butterfly lighting”) that features the characteristics of a traditional feminine lighting pattern by producing a symmetrical, butterfly-like shadow beneath the subject’s nose. Applying this technique leads to a greater emphasis on beautiful skin and high cheekbones. However, you find it rather seldom in use for male photos as this method has a tendency to let eye sockets and cheeks appear somewhat hollow.
My Glamour Lighting Approach – Behind The Scenes Documentary
Today’s typical glamour shots are done with soft flash sources of various sizes, so the butterfly pattern is not as obvious as it was in the old days of small main lights.
Glamour Lighting Tutorial In Detail: My Setup
The main light is placed high and directly in front of your model. I normally use an Octobox with a diffusor. This produces – as mentioned – a soft, small, symmetrical, butterfly-shaped shadow under the nose. The actual shadow should come to an end between the upper lip and the nose itself.
Whenever I need to create an image where a model with, for example, dark hair stands out against the background, I prefer the usage of a hair light. However, a hair light also works great to accentuate blond hair and emphasize its highlights – after all, the mood to be created in my photo dictates the lights I will use. I either work with a standard reflector and a narrow grid (honeycomb) or a snoot.
Rim light should best be used in a way so that it surrounds your model’s frame – with emphasis on her upper shoulders – while at the same time illuminating her back (imagine the line where shadow and light encounter one another). Now, in order to prevent light from flowing over your model’s skin, set the light output approximately 2/3 of a stop less than the main light source.
I often go for that with a strip light, using an additional fabric grid. If I need a harder and narrower light, then I apply a standard reflector either with barn doors or a grid.
Gels – Warm & Cool
Sometimes I add gels to my accent lighting in order to add warmth to the scenery. This method covers the model in some color, similar to the warming effect of the setting sun. Accent lights should be added according to your personal taste, but I do my best to apply them whenever I feel they could improve both the mood of the image and the look of the model.
On the other hand – if a set is basically already warm toned (fireplace and wooden scenery), I very seldom make use of a bright blue gel in order to create a visual “counter balance”.
But not too strong as I do not want it to look surreal in any kind of way.
Glamour Lighting Set with Dominika, Czech Playboy Model
I created a set with the sexy Dominika to show the specifics I talked about before.
Please take an intent look at all the details like colors form the different gels (with background variations), shadow casts and soft skin structure (no Photoshop work here; only eliminated some blemishes & spots)
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!