Some of my newest beauty work was created with Canon’s brand new 5D Mark IV. I love to experiment with creative makeup and colorful gels to craft beauty images that pop. In this video, I take you through the entire image-making process including concept, gear, tethering, lighting diagrams, before/after retouching and more. You’ll get an overview of the pieces that work together to make an eye-catching beauty image!
Concept & Styling
The concept behind this image was to put the new Canon 5D IV through its paces by creating an image rich with color to really bring out the detail that the camera produces. The colors would be a mix of striking makeup and colored gels on the background. Hair stylist and makeup artist Johnny Gonzales and I collaborated heavily on this shoot to ensure that the images had the right amount of color pop without looking to “clown like”.
The model for this shoot was essential for pulling off the look that I had in mind. We selected Daria for her wonderful smooth skin (Tip: When selecting a model keep in mind that someone with better skin means less retouching after the fact!), long neck and fantastic beauty features.
As already mentioned, I was testing out the brand-new Canon 5DS Mark IV, with its quick focus, ability to capture rich colors and more than 30 megapixels of detail it was going to be perfect for this beauty shoot.
For beauty photography, I generally work with two lenses, the Canon 70-200 2.8, (used more for head shots) and the Canon 180mm macro for even tighter and more detailed shots.
Tethering is an essential part of my workflow. It enables me to quickly visualize what is really going on, instead of relying on the back of the camera, which we all know always looks better and may appear in focus when it’s not. By tethering, I get the real deal up on the screen super-fast courtesy of Tether Tools TetherPro USB 3.0 cable directly into Adobe Lightroom. I can check the focus, lighting and even apply quick styles to help me visualize the end result.
Furthermore, my creative team can examine the images to catch potential problems before it’s too late and so we don’t all have to huddle around the back of the camera and interrupt workflow.
The lighting on this shoot was absolutely key to the concept. I used my go-to kit which consisted of 3 Profoto D1 Air 500w strobes. The first had a 5-degree grid on the face to give me a focused and very precise area of light, just to the center of the face. The beam of light would give me the impact and drama needed for the shot. For light number two I used a zoom reflector and 20-degree grid with a magenta gel on background. This allowed me to transform my thunder grey seamless background into a nice glow of pink which helped to separate the subject from the background and benefited the overall theme of the shoot.
Finally, another strobe with barn doors and a blue/purple gel was used on the shadow side of the face. Using this gel allowed me to add colorful undertones to the shadow area of the image, giving an even more saturated look to the shot.
Posing is equally as important for beauty images as it is for fuller length shots. In some instances, even more so since subtle expressions can make or break your photo, such as elongating the neck or creating better lines in the shot. (Side note: If you want to avoid the most common posing mistakes click here for a free checklist on my top 5 posing pitfalls).
Retouching is part of the creative process and helps me achieve that high fashion look. Since I was using very harsh and high contrast light I knew I would need to perfect the skin in post-production. There are many ways to do this, but I chose to utilize dodging, burning and frequency separation techniques in Adobe Photoshop CC to create that final polished images.
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