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inline preview version (published in this CNN article).

The catch light seems to show us a big window with people standing in front of it. But wouldn't window light produce a more flat lighting? There is a clearly visible value change from the ear on the left side to the dimly exposed light below her eye camera-right. Do they just use the window light to create an interesting eye-light and then light the face separately from some angle that is not seen in the eyes? Or do they use some modifier to feather-off the light on the camera-right side, creating that light fall-off look that adds beautiful depth to the image?

catchlight detail 1:1

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If you look very closely at the reflection in the eye, you see that the (camera) right side of the eye is not reflecting anything. This isn't due to post processing. You can almost make out what appears to be a person holding a rather large flag to prevent light from reaching the (camera) right side of the model. There also appears to be another flag being held high overhead.

enter image description here

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If you watch the making of video you notice that she's surrounded by black cards and when she walks forward on the set the light falloff increases very quickly. This is an indication of either a very close light source or a very bright one with negative fill cards on the unlit side.

PenelopeCruz To me it looks like the crew set up black v-flats and/or scrims between Penelope and the window so that when she moved around the set the photographer would be able to get differing amounts of wrap from the light. A lot of ways to skin the cat, if you want to experiment, the best way is to get a doll, a mannequin head, or a white hen's egg and walk around your house bringing it closer and further from the window to see how the light wraps around it. You can also position black cardboard closer or farther from the unlit side of the head to see how it kills any fill light. (Light works the same whether your subject is a full-size person or a scale model and inanimate objects don't get bored.)

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This was part of the 2017 Pirelli Calendar photoshoot. Pirelli posted a 15-minute "Making of" video on their YouTube channel. where one can see the exact setting and lighting of the shot.

The segment with Penelope Cruz begins at 7:26.

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If we accept the hypothesis that there is no postprocessing in the image to obtain a large contrast (light fall-off), then you would need to be really close to the light source.

In fact, the decrease of light power is ruled by a quadratic law (Inverse Square Law). The farther you are from the light source, the more distance you need to half the light power.

In my opinion from the scene you can catch in the eye's reflection, this distance is not so little. This is a good hint to suppose some post-processing was done...at least in dodging/burning some parts of the picture.

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    \$\begingroup\$ what about using reflector or second light? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 16, 2018 at 18:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would be super surprised if there is significant post-processing of that sort here given the photographer's clear skill with lighting and typical style / look. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 20:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Dodge and burn was done also by Ansel Adams that was a master in this discipline. Isn't it? \$\endgroup\$
    – AndroX
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 18:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Differently so. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 22:58

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