Beauty Lighting Setup

My friend and fellow photographer, Jessica Capron recently asked me to do a writeup and lighting diagram for her company's blog. She works for Calumet Photographic's social media and runs their awesome photography blog, Parallax. The blog is taking a large focus on education and becoming a community for photographers. I'm so honored to be asked to be a part of it!  

To create the lighting diagram, I used this online program...which works incredibly well! It's' an awesome tool to use to record your lighting setups and to share them and educate others. I'll definitely be using this again on my next studio shoot and for future blog posts!

Check out the complete writeup here.


his is a very simple and classic beauty lighting setup. I have a medium gray seamless set up with the model set at least 5-6 feet from it. This, combined with the two black panels, allows me to separate my light on the model from my background light. In this particular shot, I chose to not light the background separately and let it drop out to a nice grey-black gradient. If I decided to light the background, to make it a lighter grey or white, all I would have to do is set up a couple more Speedotron heads behind those panels. This would allow me to control the lighting on the background separately from my subject.

My favorite light to use in beauty shoots, and many other portrait settings, is the beauty dish. It offers a clean, directional look that is dramatic, but, the light still wraps around the subject. In this photo you can tell that I used a beauty dish by those beautiful round catch lights in the model’s eyes (one of my favorite little nuances the beauty dish creates).

I have the beauty dish positioned above my camera mounted on a outstretched arm of a weighted C-stand. The beauty dish is in front of the model, slightly above, pointing down onto her face. This positioning is how I’ve created the slight shadow under her chin.

 Lastly, I have a black card placed on either side of the model, acting as negative fill for her face, this brings in those shadows underneath her cheekbones. I like to do this because it defines the facial structure and also makes the photo a little more dimensional and interesting.