Lighting for Fashion – Tricks of the Trade with Jodi Jones
NYC fashion photographer Jodi Jones takes us behind the scenes for a recent photoshoot for client Oriett Domenech:
“I wanted to give you a “Behind the Scenes” look into creating one of my fashion images. I am going to cover: LIGHTING, GEAR, TIPS for ON-SET, and how to get the BEST IMAGES from your PHOTO SHOOT.
My name is Jodi Jones. I am a fashion photographer based out of New York City. I have been working full-time as a fashion photographer for the past 12 years. My work has been published in numerous magazines worldwide including: Vogue, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitian, and Time Magazine.
I have begun this year to start teaching the craft of photography to others. Along with my workshops onbreaking into fashion photography, lighting, and the business of fashion photography, I have also created this blog I call “CREATIVE SPACE.” Here I peel back the curtain and take you behind the scenes of many of my photo shoots. At “CREATIVE SPACE,” I will show you how I create an image, and how YOU CAN DO THE SAME.
Here is a recent photo shoot I created for a client. My client, Oriett Domenech is a very talented fashion designer from the Dominican Republic. I have worked with her for the past two seasons. Last season I worked with her in creating a lookbook for fashion buyers, images for her website, an advertising campaign, and a creative video for her runway show.
The images below were just shot of her latest collection: FALL/WINTER 2013. Since photography is the art, science, and practice of creating images by recording light, I will show you how I created the light for these images.
A lot of beginning photographers assume that to get magazine quality images, you have to do a TON of POST PRODUCTION RETOUCHING. While this may sometimes be the case, it certainly does not always apply if you pay VERY close attention to the LIGHTING and all the little DETAILS on set.
The first step always when organizing a fashion shoot is to choose the best model you can get for the job. For this reason, I like to be involved in the casting process. It’s important that the model take good care of her skin, hair and nails. All of these things will show up in the photographs. For the shoot I will discuss with you today, we cast model Anna Fuller, of Muse Models in New York.
Secondly, choose a very strong supporting team. For this particular shoot, the producer/stylist wasOscar Montes de Oca. Oscar and I have worked together many times, and what I especially respect about his work is that he understands that it is not the retouchers job to “fix” the clothes. A good stylist makes sure that the clothing looks as good as possible on set. Being a good fashion stylist is not just about putting an outfit together, it is much more than that. It is important that the stylist understands proper tailoring and can work their magic quickly on set to show off the garments to the best of their ability under a variety of lighting. I say this because many times, a moody side light can bring out details in a garment (good or bad) that we don’t quite notice with our eyes, but will show up on film. Also, I always expect the hair/makeup artist to be standing just off to the side of the backdrop “set” with a few essential tools watching the model pose. It is their job to make sure that when the model moves and the hair gets messed up, that they can step in and fix it quickly. No shoes on the backdrop though, socks only!
Here is a “before & after” example so you can see what one of my images looks like straight out of the camera before ANY post production:
For this particular shoot, I discussed the concept with the fashion designer, Oriett Domenech beforehand and we both agreed that we wanted the model’s skin to be slightly desaturated, but any colors in the clothing needed to POP. We also chose the direction of having the model pose very strong as if she was a drill sergeant or captain. A very sexy captain indeed. I also liked the idea of having the backdrop be a bit gritty in contrast to the elegant, sleek clothing. One thing that was a must was that the clothing needed to be well lit to show all the details without being flat or boring. We still wanted some shadows.
For the lighting, I chose certain tools that I thought would best accomplish the look I was going for. I used a total of four lights to achieve this look. Remember, MORE LIGHTS DOESN’T MEAN BETTER LIGHTING! Many times I light a shoot with just one light. Every time you add another LIGHT, you also add another SHADOW.
Here is a “behind the scenes” shot of me doing a lighting test with my model, Anna. She is still in her street clothes for the lighting test. Adam Rodriguez, my talented videographer is shooting some behind the scenes video footage of the shoot. Shot at Loft-402 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Here is a lighting diagram my awesome intern Sam Bynens (from Belgium) created for me:
The GEAR used for this particular shoot:
CAMERA – When shooting for a client that has such amazing detailing and texture in her clothing, I couldn’t imagine shooting any other camera than Hasselblad. The Hasselblad camera that I used for this shoot wasthe H4D-50 with a Hasselblad 50 megapixel digital back, and an 80mm Hasselblad lens. While the extraordinary detail in the garments may not translate here in these web images, seeing them in print and on my large iMac the quality is quite apparent.
LIGHTING - 2 Broncolor Scoro S 1600 Packs, 4 Unilite heads and a RFS Radio Slave.
The main “key light”: a Broncolor Unilite with a Para 88 light modifier was placed high above the model tilted down on her at roughly a 45 degree angle. I placed a silk difusser on the Para 88 to “soften” the light.
I placed a second light, my “fill light” also at a 45 degree angle to model. This second light is in what photographers sometimes call position 2 lighting, where the light is slightly lower than the first position light. I placed my fill light quite a bit lower, more at her chest level to fill in any hard shadows. This second light is lower in power to the main key light.
The 2 “Background/Side Lights” are Broncolor Unilites with Umbrellas. These were added to give a little more soft light on the background and also to slightly spill onto the model from either side to make her “pop” and give her seperation from the background. I think these extra lights give the photographs that extra punch.
I chose Broncolor lights for this shoot because I find they give me the best quality of light and I find them to be really simple to use. The assembly of the Para 88 lighting modifier is much quicker and easier to put together than most softboxes and this is the most diversified lighting tool I have ever used. I can focus or defocus the beam to get the exact hardness or softness I want with the light as well as how much spread of light I want.
Behind the scenes iphone shots taken by interns on instagram below: