Macro Beauty lighting in Bangkok…..
This was one shot from a series I shot whilst out working in Bangkok. I’m going to take you through my inspiration, the set up/equipment and post production involved.
Whilst living in Asia, i lived on the beautiful island of Koh Samui, Thailand and commuted to Singapore & Bangkok to shoot. I used to get around the island on a moped and one day, whilst “exploring” (being lost in the mountains) i stumbled across a sign for Paradise bird park. Anyone who knows me will realise that this is like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey………i couldn’t not go and i’m so glad i did. I paid my entrance fee and was given a hand full of bird seed and lead into the park where i was “greeted”/ attacked/ suffocated by THOUSANDS of tropical birds. They smothered me which created a scene which wouldn’t look out of place in Hitchcocks, The Birds.
The colours were like nothing I’ve ever seen before, metallic, rich and deep. It stayed etched on my brain and it popped to the forefront when i was asked to work with the make up team to develop the concept for this shoot.
We cast a Thai model from Wilhelmina Bangkok for this because she had near flawless skin, which for beauty is pretty important unless you want to spend hours retouching………..only to end up with skin which looks like a melted Barbie doll. The make-up team did a phenomenal job translating my idea and giving beautiful, dewy skin with the metallic eye colours i wanted.
I shoot most of my work using a Macro lens & for this i settled on the Canon 100mm USM with my trusty 5D mark iii body. Even if not shooting mega cropped in, i find this lens gives me an incredible sharpness and skin texture.
For lighting, i used a Lencarta smart flash 2 with a silver beauty dish to emphasise the metallic tones in the skin and makeup. This was attached to a boom arm to allow me to work freely underneath the light source and set up around 3 feet from the model, angled at around 45 degrees to give me the hi-lights across the nose and the flattering shadow under the lip, nose and jaw line.
The backdrop was black and i also enlisted four black poly boards to completely cut out any external light sources which would soften the shadows and possibly affect my white balance as i was shooting. One was placed either side of the model and i had two behind me, creating a black box around myself and the model. I prefer closing the set wherever possible: theres always lots going on with other models, hair, styling and make-up and this can really distract the model whilst they are working. I also don’t like people looking over my shoulder whilst i’m shooting……….instead, hoping that they trust me enough to know that ill ask if i need their expertise on set. 90% of the time i shoot tethered to my mac, so this acts as the clients portal into the set without actually being within mine and the models space.
As i said earlier, this model had the most phenomenal skin………the stuff dreams are made of from a retouching perspective so very little was required. The few tiny blemishes were soon removed with dodge and burn, the skin slightly desaturated and the eye make up was given an extra boost with added saturation and some playing around with the individual colours in Lightroom.
The thing i spend the most time on in post is usually the crop- it can really make or break a shot.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my first ever blog post……. you can see more from this series on my website www.tonylebritton.com, Instagram @tonylebritton and do get in touch with any other questions……..i’ll always get back to you.
Over and out!!