How to shoot sexy: Behind The Scenes of 'Lens Flare Lingerie'

A couple of weeks ago I posted some shots from a lingerie studio shoot Lens Flare Lingerie and after some great comments some people wanted to know how I'd put together the shots. So I thought I share the processes that went in to creating the images in this post.

The basic idea and premise of this shoot was to create a sexy, sultry but classy lingerie shot, something seductive and provocative without being cheap and run of the mill lad's magazine shoots.

Key Info:

Model: Carolina Le Borg

Studio: Millwood Photographic Studios, Stalybridge

Photographer: Andrew James

Camera: Nikon D7100 with a Sigma Art 35mm F1.4

Edit: Retouch and Colour Adobe Lightroom 5 and Adobe CS6 for lens flare elements

Lighting wise to produce this shot there is a large soft box, slung overhead on a large tripod with a boom arm so that the light is suspended over the model. This shoot was only lit with the one light and for this particular shot was lit with just the modelling lamp from the Bowen's Gemini 500R strobe unit. Here is the lighting diagram which shows you the simple one light set up in it's basic form.

In the photograph below you can clearly see the soft box positioned directly above and slightly behind the model. It's positioned low down to avoid spill light and keep the light tight within the area of the backdrop. It's positioned just slightly behind to add some shadow and shape to the front of Carolina's face and to avoid really harsh overhead shadows. The modelling lamp itself is covered in a thin layer of diffusion material to soften the light. The lighting needed to be soft in order to flatter the models curves but create some areas of shadow to give that sultry smokey look. The light from overhead sculpts and accentuates the models body, by wrapping round but generating shadows to create an air of mystique adds to the allure of the shot.

Having fun and putting the model at ease is really vital during any lingerie shoot. The model is at their most vulnerable wearing next to nothing and this could be the first time working with a particular photographer. It takes some courage to remove your clothes in front of total strangers, then add to the fact you have a camera and lights to attend to as well, can create an awkward working environment if you are not careful.

This the first time I had worked with Carolina so even though I was changing settings on my camera and testing the light I was chatting to her throughout. I can't remember what we were actually talking about here in this test shot but we were having a laugh during the set up procedure and building up that working relationship.

In post production I decided change the white balance from the warmer tones to the cooler blues and teals. The modelling lamps glow a warm orange colour by definition and although this is giving Carolina a lovely golden tan all over it was not the sultry look I was going for. I chose to cool it down and work more with the teal colour pallet. I also spent some time gently airbrushing Carolina's skin, removing marks and blemishes and correcting marks and rips in the backdrop. In this unused shot from the collection you can see some of the primary edits made in Lightroom to bring in the blue tones I was looking for.

The final stage was to add some lens flare elements in photoshop. I used these to create an almost voyeuristic touch to the shot as if the viewer was seeing something they shouldn't. It adds to the mystic of the shots some what, creating a classy seductive atmosphere that oozes sex appeal. I also chose to edit these in a more cinematic aspect ratio closer to the anamorphic scales used in films. Once again I feel this lifts the images slightly and heightens the cinematic quality of the images.

The finished final images

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Andrew James - Cheshire & Manchester based Commercial Product, Fashion and Wedding Photographer

© 2020 by Andrew James Hargraves.