Lighting setup for a clothing fashion shoot

robhollen

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Hello. A friend of mine who is a fashion designer has asked me to shoot a lot of her designs with friends who will also model her clothing. She would like the pictures to look similar to a catalog shoot. We will be shooting at a studio with a white backdrop and I am trying to develop the best lighting arrangement for this type of shoot where the emphasis is on the clothing rather than the person. The clothing are short dresses so I'm inclined to shoot 3/4 shots rather than full length.

I have five strobes (all White Lightning) and various modifiers. Right now, I'm thinking of following lighting arrangements:

1. White backdrop lit with two large softboxes, two black foamboards to control the spill. The models would be about 6-8 ft from the backdrop and the models would be lit with two umbrellas at a 45 deg angle from the model. The front lights would be feathered so it doesn't hit the model anywhere.

2. White backdrop with two large softboxes and the model is lit with a 45 inch white satin umbrella (I haven't figured out if shooting through or bouncing the light would be better). The umbrella would be placed far enough away to provide a wide light and be a little harder.

3. White backdrop with two large softboxes, one octobox in front of the model but positioned behind me.

Any thoughts on my lighting set-ups or any recommendations for other lighting setups?

Thanks.
 

Big Mike

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If you can get adequate coverage on the background with just reflector dishes, then I wouldn't suggest using softboxes for the background lights.
A white backdrop is characterized by diffuse reflection...and as such, hard or soft lighting doesn't really matter. Just make sure that you get even coverage.

Off the top of my head, I'd think that because you want to emphasize the clothes, rather than have artistic shots of the models, that a flat lighting pattern & ratio would be better. As such, two lights (one either side) would probably be a good start.
But I guess it really depends on what sort of catalog you want to look similar to. Higher end catalogs probably use more artistic photos, where the lighting has a deeper ratio and more visible shadows, making both the clothing and model look good/artistic. A 'lower end' catalog (or mail-out/flyer) type clothing shoot (Wal-mart, K-mart etc.) might just entail a simple flat lighting patter that clearly shows the clothing.

At first, I'd think that everyone would want to go the artistic route...but that may not always be the most practical thing to do. This is the type of thing that should be discussed in the planning stage, as they should want the photos to compliment the intended final use.
 

gsgary

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I think i would rather shoot them on a grey background, i think the white background will distract from the clothing, you can make the white background grey
 
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robhollen

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I definitely prefer a gray background (or at least not pure bright white) and more dramatic lighting rather than flat lighting. I'll have to find a way to convince the fashion designer to go a little more artistic route.
 

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