When approaching any form of beauty lighting, it is important to know your subject’s facial structure, skin texture, and color. Therefore this week in Zeferino Professional Lighting we take a closer look on this subject. How does the light naturally fall on their face? What is the shape of their forehead, nose, chin, etc.? How does the light change as the subject turns? You’ve probably built up a few default lighting setups that you can rely on, and that’s fine. However, since every face is different, you will need to tweak your setup and create a “rulebook” for the shoot. Then you can adjust your setup to suit narrative decisions and atmosphere, all the time knowing how to bring out the best from your models.
The first port of call is to check previous shots of your talent — either still photography or video — to see how other DPs or photographers have approached them. You don’t necessarily have to like the way they’ve been photographed in the past, but it will certainly help inform your lighting decisions. So, study their characteristics and get to know as much as you can about their facial structure prior to meeting, and start to develop a sense of what has, or will, work for them.
The next stage is to set up a test shoot. This isn’t always possible, but is strongly advisable getting some time with your models/characters if you can. It’s a chance for you to study how light falls on them and make informed lighting decisions on your shoot. It’s all about getting to know what does and doesn’t work so that you can reduce the guesswork or variables on the shoot day. Move the light in all angles from left to right and top to bottom to get a sense of their facial structure. Study the texture of their skin when you hold the light at harsh side angles. Make sure you also study the effect of an edge or kick light and see how the texture of their skin is affected by varying angles.
The next stage is to choose which beauty filters will work best. Both the Roscoe Beauty and the Lee Cosmetic sets are fine. However, is all about finding which filters match the skin tone of your model. These packs contain a wide range of colors and clearly not all will work, so it’s good to try out a range making a note of what seems to flatter her skin. Some scenes may well require a different tint, so it’s always good to know if there are a few different tones that flatter your model.
Always make sure you have some kind of storyboard and shot list so you can prioritize your schedule and tick off the shots as you go. This should ensure you have enough time to implement your lighting rules and have enough time to spend on the most important shots. Always make sure you have a thorough location report, keeping sun positions in mind. The Sun Surveyor app, which is available on both Android and iPhone, will help you in this task.
Re-storyboard: when you get back from your location scout, check your storyboards and make sure they still make sense! Then make sure you draw up lighting diagrams, even if these are just sketches. It helps a great deal to show your crew where and when fixtures should be placed. This just saves time and helps get you ahead of the schedule! Shot Designer is a very helpful app that can be synced with your phone and desktop.
In the following video we can see an insight on Coleman Douglas Pearls Behind the scenes: