Beauty lighting with MOLA dishes

Here's the first result, one light + reflector

While I rarely shoot straight beauty on principle, yesterday's gaffufuled art-creative presented me with all the ingredients glam shooters crave;

- A flawless model
- A fantastic MUA
- A one-of-a-kind location

All together, this was too great an opportunity to pass up. After some head scratching and mulling over long forgotten lighting ratio formula's I quickly remembered precisely why my studio strobes tend to sit on the shelf collecting dust. Oh well, what's that someone once said about creating art from adversity? Because of the limitations imposed by the high shooting angle (shooting down on the model in the swimming pool), a standard Rembrandt setup was impossible (although the subject's features screamed for it). I settled on a single dish orientation, within the optimal focusing range of my MOLA Setti beauty dish (approx. 4') and directly above the subject. This, in effect, provide me with half a Rembrandt set up. This set up also increases the liklihood of unwanted shadowing under the subjects face so I oriented a reflector at a low angle to help overcome this.

Second result with background light added, two lights + reflector
Owing to the lack of ambient light in relation to the output of the strobes, I suspended my second beauty dish (a MOLA Demi) on a boom positioned approx. 6' above and just behind the subject. Hoping to emphasize the aqua-marine colour of the water in the pool, I angled the background light downwards and increased the output of this light 1 stop over the key light. Both lights were controlled via remote triggers.

Shooting strobe lit scences with a modern DSLR presents some unique challenges and opportunities. Reflective light metering, for example, is something I have never been terribly fond of relying upon except when absolutely necessary. Perhaps this explains the puzzled inquiries I get when I produce my trusty handheld incident light meter. One of the opportunities, of course, is the realtime capture data provided by modern cameras. Learning to read your histogram is a small achievement (did you know that the linear data presented by most histograms allows for 1 - 2 stops of exposure headroom?).

Knowing how to read what the histogram is telling you about your particular scene is something all together different. That's where raw knowldge meets learned skill.