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Photographing business portrait: the light and model

Several days ago we had a chance to do a photoshot for  good friend of ours, Lana Kravtsova (dreamfollowers.com). She is  true positive thinker and highly motivated business coach  as well as a great model:-) I was surprised how easy it was to work with her.
She was needed a few headshots for social media and business card, and I’ve  used lighting to  show her bright personality.

Studio lighting for a business portrait
Business portrait in a studio, straight shoot

Studio portrait, second look
Studio portrait, second look

After we were done with mandatory part, I’ve asked for a few casual shoots with her son  and they come up really nice:

Studio family portrait
Studio family portrait

Lighting setup was simple  yet highly functional for what I needed: One straight source (beauty dish) from top-front, two  spot beams (20 degree honey combs)  from the behind to highlight her hair.  10 degree spot on left side  making a spot on a backdrop to create a halo around model’s head. later I’ve added a reflector on the left (not shown on a lighting schema image) to slightly reduce shadow cast.

The beauty dish was covered with diffusion sock to make more even light spread.

Lighting setup for studio business portrait
Lighting setup for studio business portrait

Let me know what do you think, would be glad to see your ideas for such photography :-)

21 responses on "Photographing business portrait: the light and model"

  1. hello!

    thanks for sharing with light setup. could you tell us how big is your beauty dish, please? maybe in the future you will do lesson in pro-corner with model and this kind of setup, I hope:) learning from you is clear pleasure

    best regards


  2. Thanks for sharing. Your posts always add something to my work. Can you tell me the width of the seamless paper you are using. My thanks.

  3. Great setup, looks a lot like Jill Greenbergs Setup! Solid!

  4. What a great headshot! Just love the sparkle in her eyes. The “bright” bit definitely comes through. Always love seeing the setup behind the photo. Thank so much for sharing!

  5. Nice set up. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful portraits

  6. Very nice set up..thanks for sharing! One day I hope to have such a nicely equipped studio :)

  7. Thanks for providing a good example of the quality of light from a beauty dish. I noticed that you were using a diffuser with it which seems like it would reduce the specularity that they are known for, yet your shots certainly speak for themselves. I would love to see another series shot with and without the diffuser on the dish.

    I’ve been thinking about getting one, but they’re not cheap and I didn’t want to spend the money without some proof that it would give me a different look than the softboxes I already have. I think I have my proof.

    The shots really pop, and seem to match the personality of the model as you describe her. If you’re shooting for a client, and the client likes the shot, it’s a good shot.

  8. Many thanks for sharing these beautiful images with us. The lighting set up was also very helpful to me. Thanks again. theresa

  9. Great pictures. I like the lighting set up. Could you please list the make and model of each light. Also I wonder if the bright patches in the face could have been reduced by diffusing the main light (left hand foreground) with a softbox or umbrella.

    • Steve,
      I was using Alien Bees and White-Lightning strobes , they are basically the same units. I’ll post my review soon, it is still in production. As for a light, the main was a beauty box on top of the model. On a left had was a very narrow, 10 degree beam, which made a spot on a background. not used to highlight the model at all.
      I’ll post a photo from a camera raw, to show the real situation with the highlights on a face before post-production soon.

  10. Hi,
    I remember your name since you posted the necklace photos awhile ago.These were really excellent.I loved the idea,how you used the mirror and the lighting and the background,the tricky background.Very inspiring I must admit.
    Anyway,out of this session I liked the first one,in matters of lighting,expression and composition.The rest of the photos were “weaker” in my point of view.Again,in matters of lighting (the face is too bright,much too bright),expression and composition.
    I like your studio.looks so neat and clean.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Eyal,
      Thank you, glad I have something interesting here:-)
      As for a texture, that was the idea; soft and bright face. You guys may not understand this, but ask your wife/girlfriend, which photo from these three they like more:-) You’ll see what I mean.

  11. Hi,

    The first is my favourite of the bunch. The rest all seem to have large bright patches on the faces which look a little overdone.

    I suspect this is as much down to the skin-softening you’ve done – which is one of my bug-bears I’m afraid. The skin looks a little over-softenend to me, where you’ve lost the texture a bit.

    Otherwise, it’s a good light you’ve created. Interesting to see the beauty dish used so high, when it’s designed for a more ‘straight-on’ light. I will definately give this set-up a go.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Matt,
      You are right, we did some skin-softening while post-processing these photos, to give glow-like effect to a faces(s). Not much though, but the texture of the skin is gone, you are right:-) checked RAW photo again: I was wrong, that was the light, not a post processing. Girls like this effect, and I agree with them, no need to show a texture of woman’s face.
      Like I said: Lana is very bright person, she is glowing inside, really :-) You feel it at first minute you talk to her. So, the pictures should do the same.
      Thanks you!

  12. It was a great experience guys, thank you! And thank you for mentioning my site and my “bright personality”:). I am very flattered:) I love those pictures!

  13. Very nice pictures! I just find that the second images, the faces seem to be overexpose. Not sure, it may my laptop screen. Very nice setup too and your studio look like very clean. How you manage that?

    Thank you for sharing,

    • Frederic,
      thank you. The studio is not really clean, we cleaned a photo during a post production. In the real life, it is really hard to keep it such clean. Especially for me, I produce a mess around faster than anyone could imagine:-)

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