My friend Genessa asked me to help her out with some portfolio shots for her hair styling. I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out a new lighting method I had been thinking of. Basically what I tried to do was mimic 2 different types of sunsets in the studio. I didn’t want to make it feel like it was taken at sunset, but basically used the colors as the inspiration for the lighting technique. You can see below the pictures that I referenced when I started to construct the lighting, and you can also see the lighting diagrams. In the first shots with Ali, I kept it a bit more golden, and I put one of the backlights in a beauty dish just to soften it up a bit. You may notice that the third shot does not follow the same lighting as displayed in the lighting diagram. I initially had the lights set up that way, but wanted to get ali facing a different way, so I needed to switch everything around.

The same approach was taken with the shots of Hattie Watson the only things I changed were the gels to mimic the pink sunset and I moved one of the backlights a bit more into frame so I could get some flare at the tops of the image. On both of these shots one of the most important lights was the gelled light opposite my main light. It was a super low power, but gave just enough light to add a hint of blue to the broad side of the face. It gives you the illusion that the backlight is wrapping a bit more naturally around the subject.

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  • Nathaniel Dodson

    Great stuff, Justin! Nailed those shots! I really dig the two side-by-side, color photos where she is looking downward!

  • Rick Nunn


    You make me want to shoot in a studio, and I really don’t like studios.

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