Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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What lighting setup would need to be used to get the glow on the skin as in the sample linked below? Not in photoshop, pantyhose or heavy oils, but the proper lighting? The skin is very well lit, with a soft glow.

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/100826/19/4c771cd533147.jpg

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In general, you can check here: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/14711/… –  rfusca Aug 12 '11 at 16:45
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3 Answers 3

It looks like a fairly hard lightsource camera right, with a softer but less powerful light head on (behind the camera), possibly a reflector. Look at the model's left leg, there are two distinct specular highlights, from two lightsources. Also appears to be a hard light with a tight beam lighting just her face from high up camera left. This light is casting a hard shadow under the model's chin.

All lights are gelled warm, contributing to the glow, and balanced with the ambient light coming from the sunset. Everything else is makeup, oil and Photoshop!

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Mostly just a lot of light. The "glow" comes mostly from that the light is totally unnatural in the surroundings.

From the lights and shadows on the model you can deduce two main light sources, one moderade from the front (to the left of the camera) and one brighter from the side to make the highlights:

subject   -   -  - light

  |   \
       \
  |     \
       camera
 light
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A couple of comments. The lack of blue in the water may come from the lateness in the day and the backlighting by the sun, but I'm suspecting the color balance in camera was tweaked to produce very warm tones (say, 6000K) and lots of light gelled to color correct the model back to something other than bright orange. This kind of setup is often accomplished with beauty dishes and/or ring lights (although the latter are hard to gel). An octabank may be in play. The octabanks are popular because they can provide such a large light source, while still focusing the light on the model. The ring, because it is at lens level, can fill in micropores and produce an amazing glow. Beauty dishes above, and just slightly off-axis are great at making skin tones jump. The trick, as noted, is to make this happen with lighting and not in post. Me? I'd hate to bring something like an octabank to the beach, but I've seen it done.

Out of curiosity, do you think this image is as-shot or are you suspect there was post processing but wonder how it might have been done with proper lighting?

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whilst true in general, I see no evidence of ringflash use in this shot, or octoboxes for that matter, the light is in general hard, and the fill isn't that soft, given the conditions they're working under (near crashing waves) I would imagine a small softbox was used. –  Matt Grum Aug 12 '11 at 19:36
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The OP asked "What lighting setup would need to be used to get the glow on the skin" and we all tried to deconstruct what was used. Beach shots are, as I noted, adverse conditions. An octo would be a pain but the shot was lit from knee to head and a single small soft box would have trouble with this. The ring was an "icing on the cake" thing. It would totally make the glamour aspect of the shot and it can be taken into hostile conditions so long as you mind the cables. Plenty of ways exist to make the shot shown. These are suggestions -- and better tested in easier conditions than the beach! –  Steve Ross Aug 12 '11 at 20:16
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