It is no exaggeration to say I love my life, career, and the ability to spend my life making beautiful imagery with talented people. It always feels like a dream to see my images in the major publications that I swooned over for more than a decade — Elle, Marie Claire, and now… Harper’s Bazaar!
I’m very excited to share my very first editorial in Harper’s Bazaar Ukraine. The images are rich, warm, and luxurious — and I’m excited to take you behind the scenes of the shoot to take a look at the thought-process, image-making and even the gear involved!
I’ve answered the question dozens and dozens of times in my lectures. “Lindsay, when do you use a gold reflector?” My answer, “Never. Never, ever.” For this shoot, I made myself a liar. I used not one, but TWO gold reflectors!
Why were gold reflectors appropriate this time? In this warm beauty editorial with makeup artist Griselle Rosario, we wanted to create a warm and very sunny look to the shots. The warmer, the better!
In fact, we wanted the subject to appear as if bathed in all directions in the warmth of sunlight. With beautiful pops of color in the makeup, contrasty light, and warm tones, this would be the ideal mood for this Harper’s Bazaar beauty editorial.
After selecting our stunning model Justine for her beautiful skin, sparkling eyes and gorgeous gap-toothed look, we decided we wanted a mood at that would be effortless and alluring (without being too dark, serious or sensual). The hair, by Damian Monzillo, would be tousled and the makeup would have fun-loving color choices.
With the theme of golden tones to appear like the sun, I knew I had to take my lighting a slightly different direction. I began by building in the background light. I utilized a Savage seamless paper beige background and lit it with two diffused light sources — a 3x4ft Profoto softbox on one side and a large umbrella with diffusion on the other. This would help give me even coverage over the background (which ended up only appearing in the edges of a few shots).
Next, to create ‘sunlight’ on my subject I used a single 7in Profoto Zoom reflector. This hard light helped create the poppy and high contrast effect I wanted for the skin to look dewy (even a bit sweaty in the summer light). I used a boom arm to be able to center the light in front of the subject and easily change the angle.
Finally, I needed to add a bit of warmth and welcoming sparkle to her eyes. This was achieved by creating a “V” of two gold reflectors beneath the model’s chin. These gold reflectors caught the light from the zoom reflector, and bounced warmth back to the model’s face. In addition to the warm tones and lightening the dark shadows (which would have been a bit too dark for the mood we wanted to create for Elle), the two reflectors also created a beautiful sparkle of two catchlights in the eye. This was especially effective when I had the eyes slightly in shadow, either from a shadow cast by the hands or the position of her chin (lowering compared to the light).
Here are the BTS and lighting diagram:
To give strength and elegance to our model, I shot from very low angles (WAY below eye level or even lip level). I wanted to elongate her neck and also imbue power from my choice of angle. One of the lessons I’ve taught in my photographic courses is that you usually don’t want to shoot SUPER low and close because it creates an ‘up the nose’ shot. In fashion, this rule is meant to be broken. In fact, you’ll often see this broken in more dramatic close beauty shots like you see here.
For the entire shoot I shot tethered into Lightroom (using TetherTools tether cable) so I could automatically apply a warming preset to the shots. This helped the entire team (including myself) better visualize the final look and feel of the shots. The preset I applied increased the contrast, clarity, and warmth of the image to create that summer golden look. By tethering everyone could analyze how their pieces of the equation was contributing to the end shot.
Furthermore, when I collaborate with talented artists I often ask for their feedback, and tethering helps me to do so. During the entire shoot we ‘star’ our favorite images and begin to lay them out as a story. That way we can analyze if they look cohesive without looking too similar. We don’t want the hands to be posed too similarly, or all the angles to be the exact same, but we did want the crops to feel cohesive. We analyzed the placement of hands, number of shots with hands, the angles of the face, and expressions on the face, the flow and movement of hair, and much more. We don’t just choose our favorite shots at random, but instead consider how they contribute to the visual story as a whole.
Shooting a beauty editorial is so much more than a few good shots. It is about the products, the mood, how it fits the magazine, and how the images work together to tell the story.
Here is the final editorial and images:
Free Golden Summer Preset
Love the toning in this shots? Here is the FREE Lightroom preset I used to get this sharp and golden glow!
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- Canon 5D Mark IV
- Canon 70-200 2.8
- Profoto D1 Air 500 Watt
- Profoto Air Remote
- Profoto L White Umbrella Deep with Diffusion
- Profoto 3x4ft softbox
- Profoto Zoom Reflector
- Tether Tools Cable
- Tether Tools Tether Table Aero for 15" Apple MacBook Pro
- X-rite Color Checker Passport
- Avenger D600 Boom
- Savage Seamless Background Paper - Beige
- Adobe Creative Cloud