- The Luminous Portrait: Capture the Beauty of Natural Light for Glowing, Flattering Photographs
- Lighting Design for Commercial Portrait Photography: Fashion and Beauty, Lookbooks, Production Stills, Magazine Covers
- Christopher Grey's Lighting Techniques for Beauty and Glamour Photography: A Guide for Digital Photographers
Probably the most important thing you need to get right in beauty photography is the lighting. Unlike commercial or creative portraiture where you can experiment with lighting to get various effects, in beauty photography the light has to be flattering. The model has to look good without exception. That doesn't mean there's no room for experimentation and you'll see that as we move along.
Lighting has to be adjusted depending on the model you're about to photograph. Beauty photography isn't and shouldn't be limited to working with professional models. Making a normal person look their best through lighting and posing is a true test for any beauty photographer. Soft, flattering light works for most subjects and it's easy to create with the right gear.
As a rule of thumb, the larger the light source, the softer the light will be. But you can also create soft light with a smaller light source by placing it as close as possible to the subject.
A lot of photographers underestimate the use of umbrellas. Many think of them as part of beginner's kits, but the truth is they can be very useful for beauty portraits. You can put an umbrella very close to a model's face and still be able to shoot without having in the frame. It's almost impossible to do that with a soft box unless you position it above the model's face, in which case you risk having a lot of unwanted shadows on the lower part of the face. Needless to say you can't use two of them but you can however work with two umbrellas.
(Success Tip #2:The secret to selling more photography with less effort)
They're easy to carry and set up and they give you enough flexibility if you want to get creative with light.
Here's a video from Adorama TV with photographer Daniel Norton explaining just how easy it can be to take your first steps in beauty photography.