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Thread: Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

  1. #1

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    Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

    Hello!
    A Plus Size Lingerie Company hired me to photograph their new collection.
    I am a really young photographer (16 year old) and I am still learning studio ilumination, so I have many doubts on how to organize my light.
    As said by the contract, I will have to take photos for publicity and for the online store (each piece on sale on the model's body). As I said before, we will have plus size models and I think it is import to work well with volume.
    My idea was to put a umbrella in 30 degrees and a softbox in the other side, 20 degrees. To create a good definition of the hair, I think that a reflector on both sides behid the model will create that effect.

    What do you guys thinks? Is it good? What would be better?

    Sorry about my english, it has a lot os mistakes. I am brazilian and still learning the language, I only have a FCE .

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Studio ilumination for lingeries - Help!

    What camera gear do you have and what are you trying to accentuate, the models or their clothing?

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    Re: Studio ilumination for lingeries - Help!

    Hello Joaona (did I get your first name right?),

    Don't worry - your English is a LOT better than many around here

    To be honest, I find requests like yours a little "around the wrong way" in my opinion, in that normally one would expect someone to learn their craft and then get hired to do a job ... not get hired first, and only then learn what's required. Doing it the way you are is a bit like jumping in the deep end whilst wearing lead boots in that it's probably going to be one heck of a struggle to keep your head above water - there are just SO many variables; ...

    - What backgrounds are you going to use?

    - What lighting do you have available to light the background?

    - What lighting do you have to light the subjects?

    - What light modifiers do you have?

    - What lenses do your have

    - What tools do you have for white balancing, colour profiling, and post-production?

    - What lighting will be needed to light the subjects in a flattering way.

    I like to think of myself as a fairly experienced studio photographer - I have a large fully equiped studio - and something like this is something even I wouldn't find "a walk in the park" (to do a professional job anyway). Sorry if this sounds somewhat "negative" - I just want you to know what you're getting yourself in for.

    I'm not sure I fully understand the presentation that you need for the clothes, but to give you an idea, when I'm shooting full-length shots I typically use a white seamless background - lit with 1 strobe either side - with a pair of large strip lights to the front and either side of the subject, and sometimes a 5th light firing into a beauty dish on a boom arm for a hair light.

    Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

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    Re: Studio ilumination for lingeries - Help!

    Thanks for the replies!
    So, I will do a checklist for Colin's questions:
    -I am going to use a white and black background. Black for publicities and white for the products.
    -I am actually renting all my equipment, so I can get anything I need for the background light and for the subject light. If you advice me which kind of light is the best for each one in this situation, I will thank you a lot!
    -The same thing for light modifiers, however I already have two reflectors.
    - I have only a 18 - 55 mm. Still saving up to buy lenses (my camera is a Canon 600D).
    - I have white balance cards, so I can define a basis through percentage of grey. For post-production I have an iMac with Photoshop and I know how to treat images.
    - I think that strip lights and an umbrella can do it.

    And I am trying to accentuate the clothing on the models. Even the focus being the clothing, the models are plus size so I have to work well with them, the clients would like to see who they don't want to be inside those lingeries.

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    Re: Studio ilumination for lingeries - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by joaonavarrete View Post
    Thanks for the replies!
    So, I will do a checklist for Colin's questions:
    -I am going to use a white and black background. Black for publicities and white for the products.
    -I am actually renting all my equipment, so I can get anything I need for the background light and for the subject light. If you advice me which kind of light is the best for each one in this situation, I will thank you a lot!
    -The same thing for light modifiers, however I already have two reflectors.
    - I have only a 18 - 55 mm. Still saving up to buy lenses (my camera is a Canon 600D).
    - I have white balance cards, so I can define a basis through percentage of grey. For post-production I have an iMac with Photoshop and I know how to treat images.
    - I think that strip lights and an umbrella can do it.

    And I am trying to accentuate the clothing on the models. Even the focus being the clothing, the models are plus size so I have to work well with them, the clients would like to see who they don't want to be inside those lingeries.
    Hello Joaona (did I get your first name right?),

    When you're using a white background then you'll need to light it with (preferably) 2 seperate lights. Set the exposure about 2/3 stop above normal (some say go a couple of stops higher, but that'll cause issues with fine detil such as hair) (that's assuming you're using white seamless - if you're using a white sheet then sometimes you just HAVE to go a couple of stops over to blat the wrinkles).

    When you're using a black background, over-expose the subject slightly (assuming you're shooting RAW) - that way when you reduce the exposure in post-processing you'll be able to clip the blacks to a true black a lot easier. Also, try to get sufficient seperation between your subject light zones and your background to avoid cross contamination (or they can take a LOT of time to fix).

    If you're shooting in a studio, you'll normally want to shoot at around F11 @ 1/125th @ ISO 100 to avoid ambient light getting into the shot.

    In terms of lights, personally, I have 5 Elinchrom 1200 W/S strobes and a number of reflectors (measuring from about 3 feet in diameter to 4 that measure 8 feet by 4 feet), but I also use snoots / barn doors / a variety of soft boxes / umbrellas / a selection of grids / a selection of gels / a selection of reflectors (for the strobes) - and also have a variety of props available. There are just the "tools of the trade". Unfortunately, I really can't give you any advice on how to use any of them until I know the type of image that you want to create.

    The type of lighting that I'd use on a slim model is completely different to what I'd use on a plus size model. As an example - on a skinny model I can use butterfly lighting where the face is illuminated evenly because - although that lighting will add weight to the face - it's not a problem with a slim model. On the other hand - the more weight that a model has on her face, the more you need to make the light directional and contrasty so that it doesn't accentuate the true width of the face. You also have the same lighting challenges with the rest of the body shape. To be honest, lighting & posing a plus size model so that she doesn't look plus sized is really a job for a very experienced photographer.

    Hope this helps.

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    Re: Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by joaonavarrete View Post
    A Plus Size Lingerie Company hired me to photograph their new collection.
    I am a really young photographer (16 year old) and I am still learning studio ilumination, so I have many doubts on how to organize my light.
    As said by the contract, I will have to take photos for publicity and for the online store (each piece on sale on the model's body). . .
    I am actually renting all my equipment, so I can get anything I need for the background light and for the subject light.
    If you advice me which kind of light is the best for each one in this situation-The same thing for light modifiers, however I already have two reflectors.
    - I have only a 18 - 55 mm. Still saving up to buy lenses (my camera is a Canon 600D).
    - I have white balance cards, so I can define a basis through percentage of grey.
    For post-production I have an iMac with Photoshop and I know how to treat images.

    The most concern I have about this job are all the business elements: which are potentially problematic and quite dangerous to you.

    As a first question, could you please answer - in what country are you working?

    WW

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    Re: Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    The most concern I have about this job are all the business elements: which are potentially problematic and quite dangerous to you.

    As a first question, could you please answer - in what country are you working?

    WW
    Another business element worth discussing is the price for services a photographer should charge. There is always the danger of underselling your abilities to beat out the competition or overselling and putting yourself out of the market.

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    Re: Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

    First of all, I want to thank Colin. You are being really helpful.

    William, I live in Curitiba (Brasil).

    Guys, I know all the question about the market itself but I am trying to make something better for a company. This brand isen't something national, is just a regional brand here in my town that has a good number of sales and want to improve it's image quality. The last guy that the brand owner hired was a guy that photographed everything with a compact camera and with just the ceeling light. Also she doesn't have a huge amount of money, I have to do everything on a defined limit.
    Concluding, I think that this is a perfect occasion to try, to put myself on this business.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by joaonavarrete View Post
    I know all the question about the market itself but I am trying to make something better for a company. . . I think that this is a perfect occasion to try, to put myself on this business.
    Thanks for answering the question. I am not familiar with general business law or conduct in your country, but my concern still exists.

    In my country you would be considered “A Minor” and as such there are limitations on what business activities to which you can be a party to and also there are caveats (limits) for the other party, in your case the Boutique Owner.

    As you will be hiring equipment and charging for you services and frankly taking on a very large job albeit with very good intention, but very little experience: my concern is that you could be left with a debt beyond you capacity and also perhaps other problems.

    It is my opinion that despite your very best intentions and because of your enthusiasm you might not be aware of all the potential pitfalls within such a business dealing.

    I seriously suggest you re-consider how you approach getting yourself into the business of Photography, as this appears to be a very big piece of pie at which you are biting: perhaps the contract could be re-worked such that the Boutique hires the lighting gear and you get Portfolio Experience - quid pro quo

    It is unclear who approached whom - if you presented as a "Professional" and were touting for business

    I'd advise an Adult Parent or Guardian oversee the business dealing on your behalf.

    In any case, I wish you luck.

    WW

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    Re: Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by joaonavarrete View Post
    First of all, I want to thank Colin. You are being really helpful.

    William, I live in Curitiba (Brasil).

    Guys, I know all the question about the market itself but I am trying to make something better for a company. This brand isen't something national, is just a regional brand here in my town that has a good number of sales and want to improve it's image quality. The last guy that the brand owner hired was a guy that photographed everything with a compact camera and with just the ceeling light. Also she doesn't have a huge amount of money, I have to do everything on a defined limit.
    Concluding, I think that this is a perfect occasion to try, to put myself on this business.
    Hello Joćo,

    Sounds like a very interesting exercise for you -- I hope you'll keep us informed as to how you get on.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 27th April 2012 at 06:30 AM.

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    Re: Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

    William, I am aware of those things. I created this thread to talk about the illumination, not the business becase:
    -I am emancipated
    -In Brasil you can work and sign work contracts since you are 16
    -I come from a rich family and my client is with financial problems. I don't need salary to live now, I want to help my client! I am the only person that can help her with a good quality of image in a cheap way.
    -I already work as freelance Illustrator (there is where all my money comes from), photography is aditional. I am learning, isen't my main job. I think that photography will improve a lot my business.

    Concluding, money isen't my main concern now. I want to learn, not to earn.

    And I will post the results here.
    Collin! My name is John. Joćo is the equivalent of John in portuguese ahaha.

    Is Joćo Navarrete!

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    Re: Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

    Hi Joćo,

    I'd suggest popping along to www.kelbytraining.com - sign up for a month - and take a look at some of the many studio videos; they'll give you a ton of lighting ideas, as well as cover the equipment that you'll need.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by joaonavarrete View Post
    William, I am aware of those things.
    That is good.


    Quote Originally Posted by joaonavarrete View Post
    I created this thread to talk about the illumination, not the business
    That was understood.
    Sometimes respondents on this forum look beyond the literal and specific question which is asked: the intent is merely to offer assistance and to highlight points which might be overlooked or which could cause a mess – that is all.

    As previously mentioned;
    “in any case I wish you luck”

    WW

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    Re: Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

    This site is amazing Colling, thank you a lot!

    And also thank you William! I am sorry, I was kind of rude and offensive. Didn't even notice that when I was writing. Thank you with all the concern about the business, I appreciate that. However, as I said before my main concern with money is on the nibs not on the lenses.

    Thank you guys a lot!

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Studio Illumination for Lingeries - Help!

    I did not take any offense at all.
    Relax.

    WW

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