SHOOT IN THE STUDIO
Capture nude portraits successfully in controlled conditions
This tutorial is based on a unique way to light nudes, using fluorescent strip lights as your main light source. This style of lighting is one of my favourites. What you need is four fluorescent strip lights, two large (150cm 49W) and two small (57cm 14W). one of the interesting things about shooting with fluorescent strip lights is that it can give you such beautiful wrap-around lighting. of course there are many other options available with this lighting setup; i quite often lay them on the floor next to the model, as in the final image here. i’m using a canon 24 to 70mm lens. i use this because it’s a very fast lens and maintains great sharpness when using wider apertures. for all my metering i use a Minolta flash Meter iii which i’ve had for years; i feel they’re the best on the market because you can switch between flash and ambient in a matter of seconds. although you can see a tripod in the set-up shot, i don’t actually use one, and also the floor light was not used – this is just to show the setup with the camera position. i always like the freedom of being able to move around the model fast, selecting better angles – it really helps the shoot flow too.
The first thing i do is sort out any props that i’m going to need and make sure that i have them on hand. for this shoot i’ve chosen a selection of masks/ rope/drum props.
DAY OF THE SHOOT
arrange the lights how you wish for different results, i’ve chosen a parallel setup with the lights level with the model. This adds shadow sculpting to the model’s body.
i often wrap around coloured lighting gels – again this gives you so many variations to use within your imagery. i generally prefer to use orange, blue and purple.
i generally use 125 at f2.8 to 5.6 with an iso of 800 to 1600, with colour balance set to auto. sometimes i set the camera to bracket so as to take three shots in quick succession this way i have the option to blend shadows and highlights later.
next we need to decide on an effective lighting setup for our intended image. as you can see i made two lighting setups, one standing and one lying down. The finished images reflect both of these setups.
EDIT IN YOUR STYLE
The selected images from the shoot were all then given my usual editing. This is to make sure that the final image is a recognisable stu Williamson image.
FINISHED IMAGE 1
What i particularly like about this image is although she’s lying down and the lights are on the floor next to her, it clearly looks as though she is detached from the background.
i chose to keep the image in B&W although i have selected a very light warm tone to enhance the feel. i have also placed a border around the image to give it an antique arty feel.