I recently did a test shoot where I wanted to create a controlled lighting setup in the studio that evoked “natural” light. Achieving this involved using strobe lights to create a wide, soft light in my studio. Overall, the strobes provided more mobility and flexibility to the shooting process. In order to test out this new lighting, I called one of my favorite stylists, Chelsea Cutrell, and asked her to stop by with a few personal pieces to dress our mannequin (lovingly named Veronica).

We were really pleased with the lighting results, as we found that we had the flexibility to move Veronica around within the scene, yet still keep pretty consistent lighting. The garments that we placed on Veronica actually seemed to take on the shape of Chelsea, especially her leather jacket. After many of years, we found that it had formed to her shape, and this was visible even once it was on Veronica. As a result, we had a joyful surprise in discovering that we had actually captured a “portrait” of Chelsea – without Chelsea being in the photo!

Interestingly enough, the strobes and my camera settings canceled out any window light that came in; yet it still looked like natural light on-camera. This lighting scenario could be used in many different ways. I’m most excited to photograph real people, but I can definitely see where it will be useful for product too. Here is a sketch of my lighting scenario.