3 Fashion lighting tips for the Studio

I get a lot of questions from other shooters about my lighting, so I thought I'd pass along a few basic notions of how I start to light a shot.
Grace lit by 86" PLM camera right

  1. Softer is Better is one thing that will make your post work much easier. Using a soft-box will reduce wrinkles, make zits fade away and create luscious gentle shadows across the model's face.
  2. Fill in Shadows with another strobe or even a reflector. I prefer a lighting ratio of about 2:1, where the fill light is half as bright as my key light. A reflector sort of does that automatically due to its distance from the light being reflected.
  3. Head to Toe should be fairly evenly lit. With many soft-boxes, the fall-off is so steep that it may require another light aimed at the legs and feet so they're not lost in shadow. One of the coolest new tools I've gotten is a parabolic reflector (below). This is an 86" focused beam of light that can be scooted back more than a dozen feet but still provide an even, soft wash of light from head to toe. 
AlienBee Parabolic Light Modifier (PLM)

That's it for now, so keep it soft, crew! 

~Paul Lara
LARA images
Award-winning photography
Boston, MA