Many photographers may hide their techniques as secrets or publish them in paid tutorials or reading materials. Everything I know, I learned for absolutely free, but I’ve learned with a lot of patience and hard work. I’ve soaked everything in like a sponge and then used it to form my own process. This may not be the process or setup for you, but I know it works.

This set was for Z Salon & Spa, a local salon that has a great marketing strategy. When they asked me to shoot some images for an updated look, I gladly obliged. 95% of the models on set that day had never modeled, which was fine, but it definitely struck a challenge especially with beauty shots. The biggest obstacle was to shake the nerves and get the models comfortable in their space. First up, a striking young model, Abigail Taylor. She was nervous, but I cracked a few jokes and she seemed to immediately carry on. She had never stepped in front of the camera before, but by the end of the day I was handing her a business card for more work down the road. We managed to nail the shot below within 15 minutes of her stepping in front of the lens and it turned out to be my favorite from all the images we snapped.

My techniques aren’t all that complicated.

I wanted the red of her hair to really explode off the white backdrop and the shape of her jaw line and shoulders to really have the angelic sense. So I setup two lights on the background at full power for a real backlight blow. The with the addition of the soft hair light overhead and the heavy white beauty dish everything came together at once. The silver reflector right under the chin completed the puzzle with a perfect glamour fill.

While you can see the difference between the SOOC(Straight Out Of Camera) shot and the processed image, it isn’t all that crazy. It always feels good to get it right in camera and that’s exactly what was done here. The post work is simply the icing on the cake.