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This shoot was developed for a number of reasons. The manufacturer of the butterfly corset wanted some lifestyle imagery to supplement their standard e-commerce images. I also wanted a studio project to make use of the Elinchrom ELB 400 and this would be my first studio use of the kit. I subsequently used the ELB 400 for high speed product photography to great success, but that’s another post 🙂
The third and most important reason was to help Sadie rebuild her confidence as a model after previous bad experiences had seriously curtailed her gregarious nature.
Whilst the imagery was to be a boudoir inspired setting, it shouldn’t be too risqué. It’s basically a product shoot after all. I had to try and hit an acceptable balance between being alluring enough to create an interest, without losing the product itself.
In the above image, I placed an ELB 400 with an action head frame left and firing from the B port at an output of 2.0. The head was firing through a 140×100 wafer softbox, coupled via a EL adapter mkII. It was originally further back, causing Sadie’s left cheek to be much darker than I wanted. By moving it further forward, towards the camera, the contrast on her face was reduced quite considerably.

The second ELB 400 with action head was placed frame right, and again connected by the B port at an output of 1.5. It was firing through a Lastolite 90×90 EZBox and EL adapter mkII. This light was merely to provide sufficient fill to reduce the contrast on Sadie’s arm, hair and the corset, stopping them going to a very dark shadow.

Finally, I used a tint speedlight in the table lamp. This was set to an output of 1/128th and firing through a CTO Gel and diffusion dome. I had a minor challenge trying to get it fire in sync at first, but resorted to piggybacking the Skyport plus transmitter on a cheap transmitter that fired the speedlight. Probably not ideal, but needs must, and all that!

I wanted to use a shallow depth of field, ensuring attention would be naturally drawn to our isolated subject. To this end, I chose to use the Nikkor 85mm f1.8 at f2. Hence the low settings used with the ELB 400 units and the speedlight. Whilst the studio wasn’t particularly bright, I wanted to ensure I had full control of the lighting, with no influence or contamination from the ambient light. I therefore shot at a shutter speed of 1/250th sec.

Nikon D4 1/250th sec ISO100 85mm f1.8 @f2

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Exact same lighting setup and camera settings as the first image.

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We moved to the dressing table for this image, allowing the corset to become a much more dominant feature of the image. I was mindful of the detail and colouring of the corset, and wanted to ensure they were easily seen, along with the texture. The ELB 400 left of frame was switched to a 140cmx30cm stripbox with honeycomb. As it was closer to Sadie, I turned it down to 1.3. This provided our main light, and also created the texture on the corset as it skimmed across Sadie’s hip.

The ELB 400 on the right of the frame was also switched to another stripbox of the same size with a honeycomb. The output was reduced to 1.0 and was angled to create the highlight along the satin ribbons of the corset.

Nikon D4 1/250th sec ISO100 85mm f1.8 @f2

These are a few additional images from the day:


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Unusually for me, I managed to have the foresight to ask Joe Lord to provide a behind the scenes video, for those that prefer to see the work in progress etc.



Model : Sadie Rose Speight (Sadie has since started work with Rogue Model Management)

Assistant/Creative Director : Hazel Riddle

Videographer : Joe Lord

The ELB 400 units were provided by The Flash Centre

Many thanks to all involved

I provide training via Focal Point.