The Fashion industry is one of the largest and most lucrative industries in the world today, and only keeps on growing. A day doesn’t go by where we don’t see fashion brands advertised on billboards or television or another source of media. But to make sure that we remember these brands rather than just see them, creating the perfect picture is incredibly important. Making sure it stands out and is noticeable is the only way to grab the attention of potential customers and to help drive a business forward. In the Blog, we help create the perfect set-up for fashion photography and look at all the equipment required in order to achieve the perfect shoot.
The PiXAPRO STORM 600 is one of the technologically advanced and professional Studio flashes that we currently have available. The STORM 600 has a maximum power output of 600W, with a Guide Number of 76m (@ISO100), creating incredibly powerful and concentrated lighting. Each unit makes use of Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) technology to help offer the best possible lighting available. This technology helps to offer incredible fast recycle times, that can range from 0.9 seconds at full power all the way down to 0.05 seconds as the power output is decreased, making it fast enough to keep up with most Multi-Burst modes that common DSLR cameras now have.
The flash durations are also super quick, ranging anywhere between 1/316s all the way to 1/28984s (in High-Speed Sync), making them much quicker than the average Studio Flash unit. The ability to adjust the power levels of the STORM600 from full power possible down to 1/128 power, helps to better suit the requirements of any fashion shoot.
One huge positive for the STORM 600 comes in the form of a unique function it has called ‘Stroboscopic Flash Mode’. The Stroboscopic Flash feature causes the STORM II 600 to fire multiple low-powered flashes in rapid succession. Combined with a slow shutter speed, it’s possible to capture a sequence of images of a moving subject in one exposure such as the one in the photo above.
This could be great for Fashion Photography as it could allow the capture of moving clothing, such as dresses, to help the image come to life. For Fashion Photography, it is recommended to use multiple lights during a shoot as there are multiple benefits to this. The first is that with more lights, it helps to offer more light coverage, not only on the subject but also on the background and larger area. The other benefit is that with more light coverage, it helps to remove any unwanted shadows that may occur, helping to make the subject stand out more and become more appealing to the eye. For this particular style of photography, we would recommend using 4-6 different units at a time.
As many photographers may know, having to stop a shoot in order to manually adjust all the lights can be daunting, especially if there are multiple lights being used at the same time. So, finding a way to adjust all of the lights at the same time from your camera is incredibly convenient, and that it where the ST-IV trigger comes in.
The ST-IV trigger is a 2.4GHz Radio Transmitter that can be used to control up to 5 different groups of flashes at the same time and has a transmission range of up to 100m, making it much easier and giving a wider range of work space. The new and improved large backlit Dot-Matrix LCD display helps to make it much easier to use and much simpler to understand exactly what the trigger is doing at that specific time.
One function that comes with the ST-IV trigger is known as ‘TCM Function’. What this does is enables the user to take a shot in TTL mode to attain the correct exposure and then convert the TTL power levels to display on the LCD as Manual power levels. This helps to give a rough guide of what is required for a shoot, but then still allows the user to adjust the settings to what they deem the best fit.
Another function of the ST-IV Trigger is that it is part of the PiXAPRO ONE System and this system is used to help the Trigger communicate with the lighting being used. So, in this case, the ST-IV Trigger would be able to communicate directly with the STORM II 600 units as they all have built-in 2.4GHz receivers, making adjusting and controlling the lighting much simpler. We would definitely recommend using on of these in you set-up to help control the STORM II 600 lights during the shoot.
The 225cm Tube Stand is a heavy-duty light stand that it more than capable of holding not only lighting, but any accessories that may suit a given fashion photography shoot. Being made from a combination of Steel and Stainless steel, the stand is strong and durable, allowing it to hold up to approximately 30KG of maximum load capacity, whist only weighing 5.5KG itself.
The ability to adjust the height of the stand from its maximum of 225cm to its lowest of 142.5cm opens up many different possibilities for lighting any fashion subject, and the footprint diameter of 104cm helps to try and reduce the space the stand takes up. The centre column is designed to be spring-loaded, which helps to provided any extra protection which may be needed when adjusting the height of the stand.
The sliding 5/8-inch baby-pin is suitable to attach all common studio lights to the stand, but it also comes with a 1-1/8inch junior-pin receiver, which can be used to attach much larger and heavier lights, such as Arri lights, if the fashion shoot is of a larger production. Having wheels attached to the legs of each of the stand helps to make adjusting the lighting on the subject even easier, and help reduce any strain of moving heavy equipment.
This Stand will be more than capable of holding the STORM II 600 Flash head, or any other flash head you require, as well as any of the modifiers that will be discussed later in this blog. The quantity of light stand would depend on how many lights you deem necessary for your photography.
This piece of equipment is ideal if you wish to offer even more lighting options that aren’t achievable with standard light stands. Boom stands are ideal when it comes to creating lighting above and directly over-head of a subject, as well as when the lighting is needed directly above or below the camera itself, making it perfect for fashion and beauty photography.
We have just discussed the 238cm Tube stand in the section above, so let’s look at the Heavy-Duty boom arm. This boom arm comes offers a distance ranging from 120cm to 220cm, to allow adequate lighting from any different angles. It also allows up to 8KG maximum load capacity, which is plenty for most common studio flashes as well as a wide range of different modifiers, due to it being constructed from tough and strong stainless steel.
As it comes with a durable metal hinge joint, it enables it to be mounted to any light stand which comes with a 5/8” spigot, such as the 238cm tube stand. Included with the boom arm is a counterweight sandbag, which can be attached to the opposite end of the boom arm, and helps to offer protection from the stand tipping over and damaging any fragile equipment being used at the time.
So, if you feel like you need additional lighting angles and to offer something different, this Stand and Boom arm combination, will be perfect. Again, this would depend on how many lights you deem required, but we would recommend using 1-2 boom stands for this type of photography.
When it comes to modifiers, making sure that you are using the right ones in the correct way is important to achieve the best photography. The 30x140cm Strip Softbox is perfect for fashion photography, as it produces a narrow band of light, which is useful for creating side light if you are producing full-length fashion or beauty photograph.
The Easy-Open mechanism is likened to that of an Umbrella, making it super quick and easy to set up during a shoot. The interior of the softbox is highly reflective, helping to maximise the light-efficiency and to make sure that no light is lost or wasted. Two layers of diffusion are also provided to help soften the lighting, to help it sit more gently on the subjects’ skin and the fashion products on display, and the included honeycomb grid is useful to reduce the spread of light and make it more accurate and direct on the subject.
When not in use, the softbox and all additional parts can be packed up and stored away in the included carry case, perfect for storage when not in use or when transporting equipment between different shoots.
For fashion and portrait photography, using an Octagonal Softbox is always highly recommended. They are often used a catchlight or attached to a light source which is placed directly above a subject. For the size of the softbox, we would recommend either our 120cm or 150cm octagonal softboxes, as these will be more than enough to accurate cover the subject with a soft and direct light.
Please note however, that the larger the softbox, the softer the light will be whilst also creating a larger spread, which is better for multiple subjects. The Octagonal shape of these softboxes also help to create pleasing catchlights in the eyes of the subjects. These softboxes share a lot of similarities with the 30x140cm Strip softbox previously mentioned.
They both have an Umbrella-like opening mechanism, which is very useful for quick and easy set-up during shoots, and they have a highly reflective interior to maximise light-efficiency. Two layers of diffusion are also included in these softboxes to help soften the light, and the honeycomb grids are useful to help add even more direction and to reduce the spread of light. The included carry bags help to keep all the parts together when not in use, or when travelling between different shoots.
Some Fashion Photography shoots may contain multiple subjects at a time, meaning that the lighting being used needs to be able to cover a large area. In this case, using the 160cm Parabolic Black/White umbrella would be the best option to choose. Due to the size of the umbrella, it helps to spread the light over a larger area than standard modifiers, whilst also creating a soft and even lighting on the subjects.
And unlike standard umbrellas, this one comes with a removable diffusion, which can be used to further soften the light. The Fibreglass frame helps to make it much stronger and more flexible than tradition metal framed umbrellas, which makes it less susceptible to breaking or bending out of shape. The 8mm shaft that comes as standard with this umbrella makes it compatible with a wide range of different flash/strobe lights from many lighting brands.
Whilst using a Larger Parabolic umbrella is great for multiple subjects, if you find yourself with a single subject, using a smaller umbrella can still be very beneficial. Using a Translucent white umbrella is ideal whenever you wish to dramatize surface textures, which is perfect for fashion photography. They still offer a soft lighting on the subject, but by choosing the larger of the two options, it can be made even softer.
Another way of softening the light with these umbrellas is to slide the shaft of the umbrella so that it is further away from the fabric. These umbrellas are both lightweight and durable, due to the use of ribbed, fibre rods instead of standard metal, helping to protect them from potential breaking and bending. The 8mm standard shaft means they can be used with a wide range of strobe/flash lights from a wide range of different lighting brands, and the included carry bag makes it easier to transport between shoots and helps to keep it protected during storage.
Beauty Dishes are becoming a very popular choice for Fashion photography as the name itself helps to explain. The 70cm Beauty dish helps to produce a soft light, whilst adding a little more contrast compared to the lighting offered from a Softbox, which is perfect when it comes to accentuating facial features or simply just pulling out more details in your image. Another benefit to using a beauty dish is that it also produces pleasing perfectly round catch lights in the eyes of the subject.
The Silver interior of this beauty dish helps to provided a cooler and more contrasted light compare to using a beauty dish with a white interior. Included with this beauty dish is a shower-cap styled diffuser, which helps to create an even softer light source on the subject, and a honeycomb grid which helps to reduce the spread of the light and to offer more control of the direction. Using at least one of these is a must in Fashion photography, as it is perfectly designed for this type of photography.
Another modifier we would recommend using for Fashion Photography would be the 5-in-1 reflector kit. This kit comes with 5 different reflectors, all sized 80x120cm, and each of these has their own specific use and benefit. The Black reflector absorbs light and prevents uncontrolled reflections falling onto the subject. The Wavy/Soft Gold reflector helps to offer a warm and fine light on the subject, characteristic of the light produced by the sun. The Silver reflector helps to increase contrast and highlights, which is perfect for accentuating details and facial features of the subject.
The Translucent reflector can be used as either a standard reflector to bounce the light back upon the subject, or as a diffuser in order to soften the lighting if it is deemed to be too harsh. The White reflector produces a more natural and soft diffused light on your subject. Due to the size of these reflectors, this kit is ideal for full length portraits, which is perfect for fashion shoots if you are trying to show a full body outfit. They can also be folded down to fit nice and neatly into the provided carry case, which helps with storage and transportation. Included in this kit is a reflector arm, which can be used in order to hold the reflectors in place consistently, so not to lose the perfect lighting between shots.
The reflector arm has clamps on each end of the arm that are used to hold the reflector in place, and can be tilted and angled to achieve the best lighting. It can be attached to any light stand with a Standard 5/8” Spigot, but also included in this kit is a stand that works perfectly. It can range from 75cm to 240cm, helping to get the best possible use out of the reflectors, and is lightweight so adjusting to suit your shoot will be simply and easy.
So, after reading this Blog post, we hope we have been able to give you an idea of what is necessary to achieve professional Fashion photography, and given you some products that you could potentially use in the future. With the products listed above, you will be able to achieve the highest quality photography in no time.
For further information or product recommendations for Fashion Photography, please click here.