Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Building Light for a Beauty Headshot


In the studio, it’s easy to control and manipulate the light. In this blog post, I’m going to show how I build up the light for a beauty shot, step by step. I have two Barbie dolls I use for  lighting tests – a brunette and a blonde, pictured here.  (Still hoping for good names for them – any ideas?)

Click on any of the images in this post to see them in LARGER size.

In the first shot above, I used one beauty dish, above the camera, aimed down at the model. This provides a very soft and flattering light for women. (This is normally not a lighting setup I would use for men.)


Here you can see the beauty dish above the camera, with a silk “sock” on it to further soften the light, and a black foamcore background behind the Barbie.

I liked the lighting in the first shot, but perhaps the shadows underneath the chin were too dark. So –


For this second image, I put a white foamcore board right under the frame, to bounce a bit of light back into her face. Notice how much softer the look is. Still using just one light.

Next step – the background looked too dark, so I put a small light hidden behind the Barbie, aimed back at the black background. Pretty subtle, but you can see the difference –


The background light helps to separate the figure from the background.

Then, to further soften the light even more, I put two vertical foamcoare boards on either side, just outside the visible frame. This give a very glowing look to the skin, but some detail and contrast are lost.


There were no Photoshop adjustments made to any of the images – they’re right out of the camera.

Whether I’m shooting a beauty portrait or a business headshot, the process is the same. I start with one light, gradually add lights and reflectors such as the foamcore, until I get just the right look.

Are you ready for your portrait? We can light it to get just the right look for you!

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

“Individual, Indelible, Iconic Images”


So – What is “White Balance” ?

by Blake Robinson

August 22nd, 2013    0 Comments     Add Comment
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Sara one

What is White Balance? The name should really be color balance. Have you ever taken a picture inside, in flourescent lights, where the faces look green? This is a typical white balance problem. The camera is set for a certain type of light and the actual light – the color temperature of the light –  is different.

In the image above, from my recent shoot with Sara, I asked Sara to hold up a white balance card. The grey in the card is middle gray or 18% gray. After the shoot, in editing the image in Lightroom, I sampled the gray color to determine if my color was true or not. In this case, I was very close. I took the minor adjustment that Lightroom suggested and applied it automatically to all the images of our shoot.

In the studio the color temperature of my lights is 5500 Kelvin and I set my camera white balance setting to 5500K as well, so usually the color is right on. If I’m shooting outside, or inside at a location where there’s a mix of flourescent, tungsten and natural light, I’m going to use a white balance card for sure, so I can achieve true colors in the final images.

Capture0002too warm-Edit

In the image above, I’ve taken the same picture and purposely changed to white balance to an extreme level that is too “warm.” The skin tones can get too yellow and orange. However, there may be times when you start with a white balance the is “correct,” but you decide you want to warm up the picture slightly – that’s a artistic call. In this picture, I’ve gone too far.

Sara three

Here’s the other extreme – Sara is too “cool” is this image. With point and shoot and DSLR cameras, setting the white balance for auto usually works well in most cases. Or, on a cloudy day outside, for example, using the “cloudy” setting generally gives a good result. But most of the time, even with the right camera setting, I’ll adjust the white balance some while editing the picture.

This can all be a little confusing at first. If you have any questions. let me know!

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

“Individual, Indelible, Iconic Images”




Be Positive: An Extraordinary Girl

Nicole is an extraordinary young woman indeed. This high school junior has a serious, life-threatening disease. She’s doing well now, but was very, very sick in the fall.

Nicole wears this pendant on her necklace: B+, Be Positive. From what I have leaned about Nicole and what I observed when I was photographing her in the studio, this is not just a nice idea for her – it’s a way of life. She is one confident, courageous and determined young lady. I’m sure her attitude has made all the difference in carrying her through these last few months. Nicole got her pendant from an extraordinary organization, The B+ Foundation, Inc. Check out their great work in supporting kids with cancer.

When she got her diagnosis in September, she cried in the doctor’s office, but has not cried once since.

Nicole is always smiling. This, of course, makes the photographer’s job easy. She was a joy to shoot with and has a wonderful easy and relaxed way about her.

I did catch one expression that was not an open smile. The family did not choose this image as one of their favorites, because it is so unlike Nicole NOT to be smiling. But I liked the picture because it shows her self-assurance and strength. Her blue eyes and gold nail polish are pretty awesome too!

You can read more about Nicole’s story on the Blythedale Children’s Hospital website, Nicole’s Miraculous Recovery. Be sure to see Nicole’s video at the bottom of the article.


The evening after our shoot, I got a note from Nicole’s mom, which read in part:

” It was the best medicine to spend 2 hours at Nicole’s photo shoot.  I could tell Nicole felt really at ease with you. The pictures are so beautiful. Thank you so much for taking time to create a beautiful keepsake for her.  I have lots of photos from this time — of Nic goofing around, of her getting chemo, with groups of friends — but none that truly capture her inner glow and spirit, which you have so artfully done.  She came home and was bursting to tell her friends about her adventure.  Moments like these are precious to me. I know we will always treasure Nicole’s photos.”

This is why I’m a portrait photographer. It’s a true blessing for me to take pictures of – and to get to know – inspiring people like Nicole. She and her family are in my prayers – this day and always.

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.


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