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I usually love answering these questions, but am genuingly struggling on this one.

A model has supplied a moodboard of images for a shoot, and am genuingly struggling to work out how they were lit. They're all very similar (and mainly NSFW), which is why I've provided a single example.

I'm also unsure of copyright etc involving embedding, so have provided a link to the image rather than uploaded. The image is Aline Weber for Rabat Magazine by Xavi Gordo. (If people thing it's ok to embed, please edit the question).

My immediate thoughts are no shadows on the background, and a slight catchlight at the top of the eye, so I'm thinking a light above the camera (boomed in), the light is hard (highlights on the face), but not on camera flash hard, so beauty dish, possibly gridded due to the spill on the backdrop.

Due to no harsh shadows caused by an above light and hat it may not be that high OR most likely a reflector angled below the camera for fill.

Location of the spill on the background I expect there is another low powered light behind the model with either a fresno OR snoot, I don't believe this is spill from the key light.

Again these are my thoughts. I could be right, I expect I'm wrong.

  • So what is your question? You seemed to have answered your header in the body of the question. – Michael C Jun 1 '18 at 11:43
  • Also, a link to the whole set would be nice. A sample of one is not always definitive of what it is about the set that is common in all of them. – Michael C Jun 1 '18 at 11:45
  • @MichaelClark well stack overflow is always 'what have you tried' so thats my thoughts... If you concur then actually I'd quite happily just delete the question ("i ain't about the rep"). When i get five I'll see if theres a couple of other links I can share. – Crazy Dino Jun 1 '18 at 11:51
  • Also is there a filter I can just apply and this magically happens?... – Crazy Dino Jun 1 '18 at 11:51
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    I highly suspect what you may be "missing" is that in most of the images you seem to be referencing, the model has a healthy amount of oil on her skin. – Michael C Jun 1 '18 at 22:34
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Your question pretty much answers itself with regards to how the shot appears to be lit. I get the feeling, though, that you feel like there might be something else to this "look" that you are missing.

I highly suspect what you may be "missing" is that in most of the images you seem to be referencing, the model has a healthy amount of oil on her skin.

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My immediate thoughts are no shadows on the background

Simply leave some space from the model to the background. Then you can do whatever you want. Put a light to the background only, no light, add a cat.

slight catchlight at the top of the eye

Butterfly lighting.

As this is not just a head portrait, you probably need to have a higher than normal ceiling so your light is further away but at the same time higher, let us say 3m high.

No hard light

Or a softbox. It does not really matter.

possibly gridded due to the spill on the backdrop

Probably. It depends on the distance of the model. But the white silhouette looks a little fake, probably added in post. or make a mask for the background.

And yes, you probably already answered yourself.

But probably the best way to prove or disprove it is by two means.

  1. Ask the photographer.

  2. Or Make yourself a shoot like that... that would be a more interesting approach.

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