The Studio Shot (right)
For M.A.C. Senior Pro Artist Gina Betelli.
Camera/lens: Nikon D3x camera and 60mm f/2.8 Micro
Lights: Two-light setup with Profowto Strobes
Location: 500x Studio, Dallas, TX.
Modifiers: Mola Beauty Dish for mainlight, Magnum
Profoto Reflector for hair. The Mola mainlight created this
gorgeous, soft-yet-contrasty light, which Dixon finds preferable to softboxes. The mainlight was positioned to her right
at a 45-degree angle (meter reading f/8), making the left side
of the model’s face brighter. The small catchlight in her eyes
and soft shadow on the right side of her face was heightened by the placement of a black V-Flat to her right. The hair
light was positioned behind and to the right of the model
(reading f/11), making it brighter than the mainlight.
Post-Production: Beauty retouching, cleaning up hair,
brightening the eyes and desaturation of the skin.
On the location shot, Dixon complimented the ambient
light to make it even more flattering to the subjects. “We
had beautiful sunlight, so we were able to add a reflector
to make the subjects pop in the image,” she says. “Had it
been an overcast day, I would have probably added an HMI
to spotlight the models.” With location light being unpredictable, extra gear and a backup plan are essentials.
The studio is ideal for commercial shoots highlighting a
product or model, since every aspect of the shot—
direction of light, output, brightness and background—is controlled and every detail of a subject brought into focus.
While it’s easy to see the fall of light on a subject outside,
in the studio Dixon relies on her meter. “I meter every
part of a face or product to see exactly where the light
and shadows are falling,” she says. When using strobes
she usually shoots at f/8. “The lighting I choose,” Dixon
says, “ultimately depends on the subject, the client and
what feel and look they have in mind for the shot and
the story or emotion that we are trying to convey.”