Studio Glamour
: I am really comfortable working in the controlled environment of a studio. I always say what ever works best for you, “Just Do It..” As I mentioned, my style is far more fashion oriented so I do not tend to shoot a lot of glamour in the studio these days. Subsequently, many of the examples are commercial or art. They will also serve as some of my more difficult lighting scenarios. I will include them here regardless of the genera.

cierra_4679max-large Viva Las Vegas. Several years ago on my 50th birthday I made my first trip to Las Vegas. I had two shoots scheduled, but managed to play a few days as well. I Won BIG! I dreamed up this concept during the long ten hour drive back home to Sacramento. (I just really hate flying with studio equipment and all of the extra security these days.) The story behind this shot is pretty easy to see.

This time I believe it’s me who is being cheated but honestly who really cares… My model, Jessica DeAnne, had a lot of fun with this concept and her enthusiasm really shows. We were able to tell our story and came away with this cute, sexy shot at the same time. In addition to the fashion and beauty shots we both came away feeling very successful from our first shoot.

When I have a cute concept I try to keep my lighting simple so not to distract from the model. In my Viva Las Vegas project, I used 2 stripboxes at 45 degrees from each other and at about 10′ from my model…

The light just to my left was configured as my main and the opposing light to my right as fill at one stop under. This allowed for some depth while keeping it simple and focusing the viewers attention on Jessica. Exposure Details: the left stripbox (main) f-11, and the stripbox on the right (fill) f-8. The model was 10′ off the backdrop and I added a slight pink hue to the background later in photoshop.


Since I provided security in comfortable surroundings the models are always happy. Your makeup artist has plenty of room and power so she is happy. Everyone’s work flows very smoothly and very quickly. Studio work is very productive, at least for me anyway. Shooting Glamour on backdrops gives you the opportunity to use your lights more creatively. You can play with angles and build sets.

Another Hair Shot.

When Jessica came to me with another hair shot idea I cringed, but heard her out and I’m glad I did. This was quite unique and a little more complex to shoot. I ended up upside down on my back shooting upwards towards her. At one point, the Beauty Dish was cradling on my stomach, until I finally managed to prop it up with sandbags. We wove 3 very long red wigs into her hair and she bent at the waist over a fan blowing on full power. This is similar to a jump shot. You’re going to need to shoot about 40 or 50 images in order to end up with the perfect one. It’s all luck.

I could have shot her laying on her back and then flipped the shot upside down. The pose would not have been as flattering for her. Remember what I said, “ALWAYS pose you model in a flattering way!” This shot was very painful for both of us but works so well in the final image. A modeling agency director once told me,”If there is no pain, it wasn’t worth the effort.” I have always been happier with the shots that took a toll on my body, than I have been with quick Click shots.

Working with professional models offers so many advantages. Let’s take this shot of Danielle, for example. She uses body language to assist in the conveyance of sensuality and she does this quite well, I might add. Dani is someone I rarely need to pose. She is aware of what poses flatter her. Of course, this makes your job as a photographer so much easier.

I really hate to admit this, but I’m 53 and have been shooting since I was 16. In the past four years Dani has done more glamour shoots then I could ever dream of. You simply can not beat that kind of experience when it comes to model selection. This is what I refer to when I say over and over, throughout this site, “You can create a professional portfolio faster and at less expense by hiring experienced models, makeup artists and hair stylist than you with the endless TFP/CD shoots.” This is especially when you take into consideration driving around, gathering props and supplies and scouting locations. Not to mention the endless time you’ll spend finding interested models.

Lighting Details Examined:

Another hint on finding models. You will have far more success finding willing participants on website that charge a membership fee to all, such as Free sites such as ModelMayhen and iStudio, are far more popular and rightly so, but IMHO these sites are 90% dreamers. They are hoping to be discovered after posting a few lousy webcam shots. Most of the “models” (and I use that term loosely) will never reply to a photoshoot request from a regular Joe, unless he is offering some ridicules dollars, + an MUA, + Outfits, + a stylist and so on and so on. The site charging for memberships seem to attract those more serious about their profession. I have never had a letter to a model go unanswered on OMP. While noting it’s sometimes “No”, I still received a professional response. The Official Website of DrDave

Posted in Category: Tutorials

About the Author

Posted by: Dave in: Tutorials on: March 27, 2010
I'm a Northern California Professional Photographer, based just outside San Francisco. I specialize in commercial product advertizing and architectural. I have been working with Bay Area modeling agencies for more then 10 years, shooting portfolio development for models and high-end makeup artists. I am highly creative and always unique. I shoot cutting edge projects, both in the studio and on location.

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117 Responses so far.

  1. Mark Jennings says:

    Its my hopes after you release your beauty dish e-book, that you will expand on these 3 articles and release a glamour photographers guide :)

    • Dave says:

      Hi Mark,
      I have already started on a “Shooting Glamour” eBook, so someday soon with any luck :)

      I had a scheduling conflict with my publisher and had to bail on her. I hope to get the Shooting with a Beauty Dish, eBook back on track asap..

      All the best

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