Love to play with light. And I tend to be on the right side of the histogram - the bright side that is. Where pixels blink in joy. Which means that I usually disregard the factor that shadow shapes the form - an object, face or body. But I couldn't care less. In particular when I am shooting women. Shadow is supposed to make something interesting. Sure thing. But then again, as Tonino Delli Colli once said: "How can you dare to hide something so wonderful in the shadows?"
The image above was taken in a hotel room that also came with a wonderful bathtub, so we took a chance and added water to the menu of the day. A fine bath in an upmarket hotel, its staff being surprisingly positive towards photogs and their entourage - means they are not treating photo crews as pariah or infectious plague. I do however sometimes wonder what they may think of us behind their pleasant smiles. Some strange person, dragging tons of gear into a room, accompanied by a stunning young lady. And then some more people, dragging even more luggage upstairs. Only to emerge after some hours as a bunch of happy and relaxed people? Sometimes I really do wonder*.
Lighting was is simple. Nominal on ISO and a slightly higher shutter speed to avoid too much ambient light. An Elinchrom Deep Octa high and pointing down, slightly angled to avoid reflection in the water, to lighten the room and to control contrast. Main light was a ring flash, for some directional quality.
The ring flash created the slightly artificial porcellain look of the model's skin, by playing with the ratio between ring and octa the appearance of her skin was altered to taste. Note that I never attach the ring flash with its wobbly connecting rods. Either I just hold it in front of the camera or jam it with the lens hood - for the sake of a quick work flow. Didn't want to have wrinkles on her skin.
The bed shot followed a similar pattern. This time the Octabox was serving as the true main light and a gridded strip box was firing from above, pointing down, contouring her body. The ring flash was disassembled from the lens, handheld and pointing down on the bedsheet, right in front of the model. Shutter speed was slower, and ISO higher to catch some of the ambient, in particular the bed lamp behind the model.
Nothing fancy. Just a lot of light. Which I tend to like. And no shadows on a girls face - just like Tonino Delli Colli advised. And he should know - as he did the camera work for Sergio Leone. Remember Claudia Cardinale in Once Upon A Time In The West? Yeah. That's him.
* Maybe less limping and drooling would also help. But this would be just too easy ... Esmeralda!