5 Simple & Sensual Lighting Set-ups

My Favorite Five! is going to be a new recurring feature on my blog. So to kick her off, here are my absolute fav gorgeous go-to lighting scenarios whether I’m shooting Fine Art Nudes, Boudoir, or Portraiture… These are easy as pie, just like we like it!

Scenario No. 1
Easy & Flattering Natural Light On Location

Here’s how to do it
Model is about 6 to 8 feet from the window, so it’s not too harsh or contrasty. However depending on the light quality that day (and the weather!) you may need to move the model closer to the window. For the most flattering and easy lighting set-up, angle your model slightly towards the window (or slightly behind the window for some nice edge light). Position yourself adjacent to the window. This is my favorite look. You can try collapsible reflectors to bounce or reflect the light from the window back into shadow areas of the subject. I mostly prefer not using the reflector, because I love shadow! The above pic is without a reflector.


Scenario No. 2
Easy Studio Look with Natural Light while On Location

Here’s how to do it

Model is on a grey seamless paper backdrop or black muslin near a window – again, the distance she will need to be away from the window will depend on the quality of light that day (as well as time of day). This is a nice side-light that highlights curves! I love doing this easy set-up to help create variety while in a hotel room or other interior location. I’m often in tiny spaces, so sometimes this whole area is only a few feet by a few feet, as was the case with the above shot.


Scenario No. 3
Natural Light Backlit, Optional Continuous or Video Light Fill

Here’s how to do it
This is another favorite look – totally easy and gorgeous. The backlight is natural light from a window, and if you overexpose a stop or two, you will be unable to see where the outline of your model’s body begins and ends, so I love using this one with plus-sized women since it’s very flattering, as in the pic at the top of this post. If you need a little more light, you can add a continuous or hand-held video light turned up just enough to give you a little boost from the front – I just eyeball this and adjust to taste 🙂 The above pic was taken with just available natural light.

Scenario No. 4
Studio Strobe with Softbox, One Main Light on Grey Backdrop

Here’s how to do it
Ok, this is the easiest thing in the world, and I love all the variety you can create with just one main light using different placement. It’s important to note that you must use a grey backdrop and not black if you only want to use one light. Once you use black, you’ll have to add a second light as a hair light to separate your subject from the background. (Although honestly, I love the look of disappearing into the backdrop and do that often – see Scenario 5 below). In the shot above, the light is placed off to the side for contrast and just higher than the model because I wanted drop-off as we got lower down her body.


Scenario No. 5
Studio Strobe, One Main Light “Feathering” on Black Backdrop

Here’s how to do it
Remember when I said just a second ago to use the grey backdrop so you see separation between backdrop and model? Well, forget that! I love the look of disappearing into the background and again, this is extremely flattering to plus-sized women since you can’t see where the body ends – it just disappears into luscious shadow 😉 Place the light with softbox slighty away from the subject so they are only lit by the edges, a technique called “feathering.”

There ya have it! Simple, easy, budget-friendly and GORGEOUS –everything I want my lighting to be 🙂

I’ll be demonstrating all of these techniques and so much more as a part of my awesome new Online Boudoir Photography Workshop! Participants will join me behind the scenes during video demo’s and watch me shoot models, clients, plus-sized gals, and nudes…. ooooh how much fun is that! So sign up and grab a ringside seat to the action!

IMPORTANT NOTE: You have less than 24 hours to sign-up for the special rate! Price goes up at midnight tonight EST – so Register Now!