The Seven-Inch Nude
Using Conical Reflectors And Grids
This image is lit using a Hensel Integra 500 Pro Plus monolight with a 7-inch conical metal reflector fitted with a 10-degree grid. The flash is turned off and only the tungsten modeling lamp is used. Notice the camera angle is almost perpendicular to the angle of the light source.
The rule for most glamour photography, when it comes to lighting, is the bigger the light source, the sweeter the light for your model. This is especially true when photographing women, as larger light modifiers provide for a softer, more flattering quality of light, however, in editorial nude photography, I like to break the rule when I want more dramatic photos that involve provocative and deep shadows. In fact, it’s not uncommon that I use only one light with a 7-inch, conical metal reflector attached then fitted with a metal grid—usually a 10-, 20- or 30-degree grid—to create my editorial nude photographs.
Usually this type of light set-up, the metal reflector plus attached grid, are reserved for edge, accent or rim lighting in glamour or portrait photography and the light is placed behind and slightly off to one side of the model. This type of accent lighting is commonly found in Playboy style photos.
With editorial nudes however, just one of these accent lights becomes the main light, though with a varied angle as it’s placed to the side of the model. Once the light is placed in an appropriate side location, I will walk around the model to see how the light lands on the subject. Even though some would call this side-lighting, I can have the model turn her face into the light if necessary, provided I shoot from an off angle and not a straight forward angle often used in glamour photography. The concept isn’t about the face as it’s more about the form of the body and the message I’m trying to convey with my images and the intermixing of the light and shadows, or chiaroscuro.
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