With Set Photoshoot 2018-02-15T10:05:31+00:00

With Set Photoshoot


This series of portraits was recently taken for a local client to serve as promotional shots for his solo musical project. His brief to me was that he wanted the photographs to not necessarily feature himself as the main focus, but rather of the beautiful surroundings with himself within them. He didn’t want the photos to be cliché or cutesy, and he requested that they were to be as natural as possible.

In the following steps I hope to show you what it takes to nail an outdoor photoshoot with as little equipment as possible, cover the difficulties you might encounter, and share several killer tips for working in the field—no pun intended!

Slightly duller and cloudier lighting can be the best to diffuse the light evenly, and even if the photos look dull in-camera you can always add the needed punch later in Photoshop. Remember—it’s next to impossible to bring back detail in a photo. This applies to blacked-out shadows and blown-out highlights, so ideally you’ll want tonal information in both ends of the light spectrum.

What to Use

Sean only uses three pieces in his lighting setup, in a delightfully makeshift fashion:

  • A beauty dish, lit around the edges rather than from the middle and diffused by a nylon “shower cap” cover
  • A three-fold reflector, taped together with silver paper
  • small mirror
  • Sean sets up his beauty dish at arm’s-length from his model to highlight the broadest possible amount of her face’s T-zone–that is, across the forehead and beneath the eyes, and down the middle of the face.
  • But the beauty dish shines downward, which casts some unwanted shadows under her face; rather than using another light from below, Sean sets up his reflector across at her chest.
  • Finally, he places the mirror atop the reflector to light up her eyes and sets up surrounding V flats to block outside light.