Which Lens and Shooting Space is Required for a Fashion & Beauty Shoot? Part 2

Part 2: Beauty

Doing Beauty shots is sometimes more akin to doing still life, as the lighting is over a much smaller area and thus may be approached differently than fashion.

The modifiers used and the placement of the model should be planned carefully if wishing to get something out of the ordinary.

I often build a mini studio around the torso of the model and use tiny modifiers to reflect light where desired as well as focal lengths that work well for this type of configuration.

I suggest setting up a frame where you can set up your reflectors around the model using small cardboard white modifiers of 3-9″ or 8-25 cm square as well as snoots and honeycomb grids to direct the light to the modifiers.  Use Hollywood Grids to be more dramatic and don’t worry about the light drop off.  That is what makes a close up shot have the contrast between shadows and highlights so interesting.

Of course if that is not your cup of tea you can still use the classic modifiers to kick light in to the subject, but the gradations will not be as evident.

I would recommend lenses allowing you to come in close enough to capture a lip, eye lash or eye detail.  Many non-macro lenses with close focussing capability will do the trick, but if you need to get in real close without blocking the light by your close proximity, a 70-150mm Macro might be the way to approach this kind of set up.  You can do wide angle close ups if that is the desired effect you want, but prepare your lights accordingly.

Also, try to prepare the back ground for any eventual angle you wish to shoot at. A mini “Cyclo” (Curved Back Drop) might be a good way to allow you to shoot within a 180° area around the model.  Make sure it is high enough to allow you to shoot up at the subject if so desired.

When doing Beauty shots, the make-up must be as perfect as what the make-up artist wished to accomplish.  I say this, as she/he may want a messy look.  None the less, the better the make-up the less retouching time in Photoshop.

Don’t be afraid to come in really close.  As one of my favorite Art Directors Jacques Michel Verger once said to me, “When you think you are in too close, come in closer…”

About Benjamin Kanarek
Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…