Fashion Photography Tutorial: The Calvin
Simple, classic. This Photo setup is easy to learn yet effective enough to be a staple offering.
The Approach: Consistent, Forgiving, Flexible shooting
Some of our most popular fashion work is easily replicated. The lighting style is very consistent and forgiving. As such, it remains a favorite year after year. While we often alternate with back-lit and single light setups, the key elements remain the same. Our preferred approach is to use a strobe with a large parabolic umbrella and a diffusion modifier for the key source, a large v-flat as fill and (if needed) a hard back light (if desired).
Essential Photo Element: Consistent Lighting
One essential element of the look is to keep consistent light on your subject. Using as large of a light source as possible (remembering the inverse square law) allows for quickly altering framing from closeup, mid, and full-length composition. This aspect allows for relaxed, authentic posing. Rather than being as directed and crisp as one requires for other looks, this requires immediacy and authenticity. It is imperative to have a basic understanding of body language. You want to find a relaxed openness with an underlying strength and individuality. This look is an iconic style for a reason, as it's easily accessible yet difficult to master.
The Flexibility: Simple Adjustments, Big Variation
By feathering the key light, it is possible to achieve several variations on the overall theme simply by changing your shooting angle. Staying closer to the key will achieve loop/Rembrandt patterns in broad lighting, but the setup is also favorable for short lighting.
While studio photography offers many options and lighting patterns, this simple setup is a good 'first look' strategy. It doesn't require much mid-shoot tweaking, it's incredibly forgiving, and it suits a relaxed 'get into the day' posing/emotive style that we love to shoot. We'll often utilize this look to break the ice and get into the flow of the day. Let us know if it's just as effective for you!