Back in February, I joined a Meetup group for a Qi Pao shoot at the Waterfall Building. The Qi Pao is a traditional Chinese dress that today would most likely only be seen at weddings.
The Waterfall Building is a fantastic venue near Granville Island. It has a, yep you guessed it, a waterfall in front of the building and has a unique window sloped side. As a result it lets in a lot of ambient light.
For my lighting setup, in order to keep it simple and maneuverable with lots of models and photographers, I did a 2 light setup:
- Main light: 2x speedlights inside an umbrella softbox. I use 2 lights to lower their power and speed up the recycling time. This is placed camera right at around 45 degrees to the model.
- Separation light: 1x speedlight inside a foldable speedlight softbox. This is placed at 45 degrees to camera left behind the model.
- Fill light: Ambient light
I like this type of lighting because it allows one side of the model's face to fall into shadow, thus creating the illusion that the face is slimmer. Of course, one of the most important things is to communicate where your key light is pointing so that the model focuses on posing towards that direction. If the model's face turns in the other direction, then it will fall into darkness.
Another important thing to note is the depth of their eye sockets or how far down they tilt their head. You'll need to lower the key light to compensate, otherwise you may create deep shadows. But these may work depending on the emotion you wish to convey. Like this one below:
One other method of creating the slimming down solution is use of clothing to hide body features such as arms or legs. In the two shots below, I asked the model to move her dress to adjust her dress so that only one leg was showing. Otherwise, with both legs showing, it would make her look bigger since we are naturally drawn to skin tones.
As always, please take a look at the model's, MUA's and hairstylist's websites! Each photo has been credited.