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How to shoot a hi-key studio beauty shot for fair skin

Meggie Maddock

Meggie Maddock

Although you can certainly shoot a beauty shot with nothing more than the sun, shooting one in a studio with a beauty dish and supplemental lights can give you a stunning hi-key result, even with a model with fair skin and pale blond hair.

The trick is to use your light to definitely separate your model from a brightly list background, and use a beauty dish to bring out the features and fill in the face.

Background // In this example we used two umbrellas to light the background evenly, making sure the background lights were about two stops brighter than our subject. Feather these lights until the light crosses over the background as evenly as possible. Then flag the background lights so that none of the umbrella light is hitting the subject, and no shadows are being created by them.

hi-key beauty shot diagram

hi-key beauty shot diagram

Key light // The key light is the beauty dish, positioned far enough away that the light does not hit the background. Position this light up and behind the camera, and set it so that it is in the model’s line of sight of the face, not the eyes.

Fill light // Use a large softbox dialed way down and positioned far enough away that it does not light the background, and just gently fills in a little light around your model.

Reflector // Use a large white reflector (in this case just a v-flat) to bounce back a little light from the other side of the model.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Dan is an award-winning, Denver-based photographer, writer and global nomad. His work has appeared in magazine advertisements, editorials, and in websites, on billboards, and his books are available on[/author_info] [/author]

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