Personal work: Studio beauty

I love me a beauty shoot. I like the technical challenges it involves – and I’m still working at defeating the spectre of slightly frizzy hair or interesting skin textures. When I saw a casting call from makeup artist Lynn Docherty, seeking photographers with whom to collaborate, I readily replied. And so, with Cipriana Sequeira on board as our model, a simple studio shoot was born.

Simple, because we didn’t want to stump up for a studio. Instead, I set up a black seamless backdrop in my living room, put a beauty dish on a boom, slung a reflector underneath for a classic clamshell light, and added a hair light / rim with a gridded speedlight. We used the same setup for both looks, since what we wanted to do was make Lynn’s makeup sing, whilst also capturing the warm caramel glow of Cipriana’s skin.

For the first look we concentrated almost solely on the lips – a gold gloss over a royal blue base. To make the metallics in the gloss pop I used the zebra (gold and silver striped) side of the reflector and tweaked it to ensure that there were plenty of warm specular highlights on the lips.

For the second look, Lynn wanted to focus on eyeshadow, complimenting the yellow scarf that she used to wrap Cipriana’s hair. This look was all about getting the beauty dish in exactly the right spot: too straight on and it flooded Cipriana’s face with light; too harsh an angle and you lost the nuances of the eyes, cheeks and lips.


And for once, I remembered to get a team shot…