Lighting is one of the most important elements to achieve a successful image in a scene like this because it allows me to add dimension to the frame, control the mood of the image, and direct the viewer’s eye. There is no right or wrong way to light a scene—it’s all about the mood you are trying to achieve and story you are trying to tell.
For this shoot I utilized five studio strobe lights, a more complex setup, so that I could help create dimension to the scene. Let me take your through each light and its role. And remember while I typically use powerful professional strobe units in the studio, much of this could be achieved with small Speedlites, although you might be using higher ISOs, and/or wider lens apertures.
#1: Main Light
The main light on my subject was a 20” white beauty dish, located slightly to the left of the subject (from the camera’s point of view). This created a beautiful light on the face that helped draw attention to the model and helped her emerge from the colorful and busy scene.
#2: Overhead Light
This extra large umbrella provided an overhead light that sculpts the scene. Although this light is not essential, it tends to give more dimension and cinematic quality when lighting a scene.
#3: Fill Light
My fill light was in the very front of the scene with a zoom reflector and a magenta gel. By adding a magenta gel there would bring a pink tone to all of the shadows in the image. This helped unite the subject and color of the background (see below) so that every element of the scene had pink/purple tones.
#4 & #5: Background Lights
For this set I used two background lights. Each were bare bulbs (to allow the light to spread over the scene) and included a magenta gel. This gel would create a wash of color over the entire background.