As part of our last course we were lucky enough to get professional model Mikaela along to participate in a session experimenting with lighting set ups and poses.

We decided to use a continuous light source so that everyone was free to shoot without waiting to use flash triggers or for the flash unit itself to recycle. We used a Pixapro LED 100D MkII unit with a deep parabolic soft box to create a soft, enveloping light. Some use was made of a reflector to bounce light back into the subject.

A black background was employed to contrast with the model’s hair and complexion. We tried a variety of lighting arrangements. I thought one of the most successful was rim lighting with a profile shot and some light bounced back onto the shadow side of the face. We also tried some long shutter movement shots with Mikaela twirling a scarf. These gave very striking results, as seen below. We fired a flash during the movement to gain a semi strobe effect.

We had great fun and learned a great deal! I was thrilled with the results that were achieved. It was a demanding scenario in which to control exposure to gain atmospheric effects while picking the right moment for facial expressions.

Many thanks to Oliver Pilter, Sean Morgan, Julia Canham, Paul Birch and Gemma Tarrant for kind permission to showcase their images here. Well done guys! And many thanks too, of course, to Mikaela and her agent Hayley.