How Do You Light Rock N Roll Royalty ?

Capturing The Queen Priscilla Presley With My Nikon
It is no secrete by this point that I'm probably the only photographer that has done more portrait shoots with the stunningly beautiful Priscilla Presley then any other.
While having this opportunity is very exciting it can also be nerve wracking. With each shoot that I do with Priscilla I need to try and change it up with setting and looks. Lighting with Priscilla sometimes gets a little tricky as she has very fair skin and with photographing people with fair skin you can get very washed out photos and not so flattering color tints and hues. Now the fact that Priscilla is just so beautiful you can never go wrong with any photo even if she was green. But I prefer to make sure I light as best as possible.
Lets talk about this image I shot for a lifestyle feature magazine with Priscilla.
My camera settings are as follows: Nikon D800 f-stop f/10 - Exposure 1.160 sec. - ISO 2000 focal length 100mm
The doorway I shot in had had lots of shade over it. It was a very bright sunny hot day and was about 2pm the sun was very strong so it did reflect some good light towards the door. As always I seem to light backwards as I felt it was very important for this photo to feature everything that was happening behind Priscilla as well as her as my subject.
I start with getting my setting so I can see detail inside the house and let it fall off as it goes further back. When I do this I will have someone stand-in for the talent so it gives me an idea of the overall shot. Once I was comfortable with the background I now work on lighting my subject. Because there was lots of light spilling by the doorway I need to just fill with a strobe flash just enough to get good light without flattening out all the great depths that were happening. I used a large soft box that was pushed further away from Priscilla and up high above my head point down towards Priscilla.
Now with such fair skin I need to be sure to not loose all my detail so again I will always under expose my photos so I can bring it up more in post.
Now that I have my talent lit and my background where I want it I need to ad my back accent light. This is were my photo really changes and makes this big and powerful.
For this I used my small 25 watt strobe on a very thin stand directly behind Priscilla. It is completely hidden in the shot by the subject. With just enough power I lit and outlined Priscilla just right. If you over due the back light you will blow out all the detail in the hair and that will spill over the shoulders and other areas. As you can see the back light also sent some interesting lines onto the front door. The balance of back and front light creates very interesting highlights and shapes all through the photo. If you took away the back-light this would be a completely different photo.
I really love working with accent lights and color. People are always commenting on how colorful my images are and that is no accident It is very well planned. Also another thing is I shoot with my color settings on my camera to Neutral and under saturated by one step this way I have full control of the colors later in post.
Don't be afraid to play around with lights, strobes and mixing light sources. Hope you give it a try and get the satisfaction I get from it. happy shooting - PEACE - Christopher