The biggest concern I hear from people who have never worked with studio lights, even if they own them, is that they are intimidated to use them. Although natural light can work beautifully in studio, knowing how to use studio lights will set you apart from other photographers, especially with the increasing boudoir market.
With boudoir photography becoming as popular as it is, whether you are shooting at your house, your client’s home or in a hotel room this is now technically your studio for the day. We cannot always depend on natural light to be consistent as sometimes our clients are only available for evening appointments and as we all know the weather cannot be controlled.
The two recipes shown above are very simple studio set-ups using 1 to 2 lights. The first set up is one that I use in studio often to get a great black and white look with a grey seamless backdrop (paper backdrop). I use two lights (position shown in diagram) with the main light at about half power and the backlight at the lowest power to just give a slight rim light around my subject to help separate them from the backdrop. The backdrop is lit by the spill coming off of the main light. This is partially why you want your subject at least 3-5 feet away from the backdrop. Between this and the backlight you will gain separation from your subject and the backdrop. As for camera settings I personally set my F-stop between 8 and 11 (depending on skin tone & desired effect) and the ISO at 320. Normally with a strobe set up your shutter speed will synch best between 1/60 and 1/125.
When working with studio lights it is important to check your white balance! For the strobes you can use the little lightning bolt and for the home depot lights you can use the “light bulb” setting. But as always adjusting your Kelvin temperature gets you the best results.
The easiest setup is one that will cost you under $50 to start! They are 600 watt halogen work lights that you can buy from any home improvement store. They do come with a metal grid over the glass, which has to be removed to keep it from creating shadows on our subject, but other than that you just plug it in and go! This set up can also be done with a video light!
I actually use the work light in all of my boudoir sessions and it’s one of my client’s favorite setups. They always love the images and it is an incredibly affordable option!
Another Blog Post by Kelly:
Written by Kelly Segre
Kelly’s photography career started many years ago in her father’s darkroom. With a love for film and timeless, classic images, she strives to bring this style into every session she shoots.
By creating an environment that allows her clients to feel sexy and glamorous before ever stepping in front of her camera, Kelly is able to get the most out of each and every session. Using simple techniques and literally showing her clients how to pose, Kelly is able to set a fun, playful and sexy mood for her clients, turning a girls night out into a sexy boudoir session!
Kelly will be leading a shoot on this topic at PartnerCon 2010. Learn more here!