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How to Create an Editorial Fashion Shoot by Roberto Valenzuela

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Model: Renée Murden @reneemurden

Canon Explorer of Light and LA-based professional photographer, Roberto Valenzuela, is back in the studio to show how he uses StellaPro Reflex S lights to add drama and dimension to his editorial fashion shoots.

Welcome to our second video with StellaPro!

In this video, we’re going to change things up quite a bit. We’re going to use the same StellaPro Reflex lights we used to enhance natural light in our previous video, but now we’re going to create a fashion-style editorial shoot.


The Setup:

We’ll start off with ambient light for our first shot. For our second shot, we’ll use a Reflex S light as a fill light to illuminate the whole scene and give the model a pop, lifting the shadows of her dark shirt and pants. To diffuse our fill light, we’ll be using a paper towel. Why paper towels? To create beautiful light as simply as possible. For the third and final shot, we'll mount the Reflex light to a gridded Profoto beauty dish with the StellaPro Profoto adapter, combined with the fill light from the previous shot.

For the pose, we’ll prominently feature Renee’s bent leg to create sharp angles and give the shoot a distinct fashion editorial flavor. We’ll be draping her dark hair over the arm of the couch to block out the pink a bit, so it doesn’t become a distraction.

Shot 1: Ambient lighting

Here is the first image captured with the ambient lighting of the room:

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.8, Shutter 1/200 s
ISO 400, Aperture f 1.8, Shutter 1/200 s

To give the ambient lighting image a fair shot, we’ll turn up our shutter speed for our next image. 

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.8, Shutter 1/80 s

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.8, Shutter 1/80 s

After increasing the exposure, the shot looks better, but it’s still flat with no drama- no dimensionality.

Fort the next couple shots, we’re going to do two things:

  1. Lift shadows with a Reflex diffused by a paper towel as a fill light.
  2. Add a Profoto beauty dish using the Reflex S light and the StellaPro Profoto Adapter.

Reflex allows you to assign your light to different groups and channels, as expected with any strobe. You can easily control each light individually from your Profoto trigger. The Reflex S light has multi trigger compatibility: Profoto, Elinchrom, and Godox - which is amazing. 

The main light will be in Group A, while the fill light will be in Group B.

Shot 2: Fill Light Only

For this image, we’ll turn on just our fill light and point it towards Renee's black shirt and pants to lighten those shadows up a little bit.

Here’s our first shot using only the fill light:

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.8, Shutter 1/160 s
ISO 400, Aperture f 1.8, Shutter 1/160 s

Let’s try changing my aperture from 1.8 to 1.6 and I'll increase the power on my main light for the next image.

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/160 s

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/160 s

Now let's activate the Digital Burst mode on our fill lights to get even more power and see how much we can lift those shadows.

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/100 s

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/100 s

Beautiful!

Shot 3: Fill + Digital Burst with Beauty Dish

For the final shot, while the model remains in this same pose, we’ll add the second Reflex light with the Profoto beauty dish. This will become the main light- the punchier light- it adds drama and that contouring of the face.

These lights are versatile; they allow you to pair them up with a variety of different modifier adapters from top brands, such as Profoto.

Let's bring our Reflex equipped with a gridded Profoto beauty dish. The reason why we’re adding a grid is to control the beam and focus the light on the model’s face, not the wall. 

We’re doing this totally beautiful full-on commercial shoot with a little bit of a fashion flavor with just these two portable lights and some paper towels. 

This is why I use these lights, to keep it simple. I can create what I need in any environment.  Sometimes you just don’t have the time, space, or energy to carry everything, so this is perfect.

We’ll start by placing the main light, equipped with the beauty dish and grid, right over Renee’s nose and lips. Then we’ll add in our fill light directed towards her pants.

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/100 s

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/100 s

I can see the shadowing on her face, it’s starting to contour. Let’s bring the beauty dish a little closer to her face, just to make it pop.

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/100 s

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/100 s

Now we have the shadowing we want, and the hair light is hitting her perfectly. 

Let’s try keeping our main light at the same angle, but lowering it a little more towards her lips.

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/100 s

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/100 s

Oh, that’s it. That’s the one. 

Let’s take another ambient light shot with the same camera settings for comparison. 

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/100 s

ISO 400, Aperture f 1.6, Shutter 1/100 s

Night and Day. 

Simplicity at its best. In this photo I used two Reflex lights, one with a Profoto beauty dish and the other modified with a paper towel. Both on Burst mode. That’s it.

We could have done this with the continuous LED mode too; that's what makes these lights great. You can use one light on a lower output and aim it where you want, and then use the Digital Burst to put the full output on the subject when you take the shot.

In our next video, we’ll show you how the Reflex can shoot 20 frames per second at full power. Even if your subject is moving, blinking, whatever- you’ll never miss a shot.

Roberto Valenzuela with Reflex S BTS

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