I usually don’t shoot nude or bodyscapes. Not that I don’t like them; it’s just that I have not found the secret sauce to make the pictures come out glamorous. Recently, I started to understand what makes bodyscape pictures stand out – shadows.
You see, bodyscape pictures are all about curves. Without proper combination of shadows and highlights, the picture tend to turn out flat and uninteresting. To make it more intense, there must be more of either brightness or shadows for good contrast.
Take Elz’s pictures above for example, I placed the key light (Einstein with softbox) right next to Eliz. This creates a high contrast image which emphasizes the curves of her body. But, camera right side of the picture becomes completely dark with shadows. Emphasize shadow, I added highlight; I placed another light behind Eliz. I think it comes out pretty close to how I wanted it.
In the past, I would have placed a key light to the left of the camera (about 45 degrees aiming towards Eliz). Then add a reflector or fill light to the right side of the camera to light up the right side of the image. This setup probably would have worked well for fashion of beauty; but it is not quite right for glamour or bodyscape.
Lighting for the next set is more of what I am used to. A classic fashion setup. One beauty dish to the left of the camera; plus another softbox on the right side for very slight fill.
Side lighting a subject brings out the textures since it throws shadows; this can be seen clearly on Eliz’s dress. This is particularly true for beauty dishes since it produces really fast fall-off. But, care must be taken to point model’s face straight to the light; else all the imperfections will be amplified.
Picture below uses almost the same setup; except the beauty dish is moved closer to camera axis.
Here are some quick natural light shots we did outside.