This photo was actually taken in a small passage between the living house and a factory, where the owners had a small company in the past. Today there is a house for a family and a Photostudio at the other side. Everything is old and made of wood. In fact, we did a photography workshop in the Studio there and Angelina was our model.

After the workshop - I think it was about 6pm in summer - I asked her to create a few pictures in the old part of the studio. It is upstairs. Not suitable for a workshop. Everything is full of old furniture and stuff. But perfect for me and her to shoot. And the light up there was just perfect.

The window was like a hexagon. But pretty simple and old. The sky was a bit cloudy and the sun already at the other side of the building. So we had perfect indirect light through the window. The background of this picture is lit by another window. There is the entrance of the family house as you can imagine the door there. Because of the small window, we had much more light into her face and less light at her body. This gives a bit more detail into the body part. And very important for a good painting of the shape is, that she's turning the body a bit away from the light source, so we have more like a side-light on her body.

The face is turned towards the window, and that gives us a soft and beauty light and wonderful shadows to her face. The very good thing is the contrast in the overall composition. Where she is lit up by the light, the wooden background is dark. Where she is dark and in shadow, the background ist bright. So we have a perfect contrast on each side of the model and so she pops out of the picture.

For this picture I wanted a backgound that is already blurry and a tack sharp model. Because the eyes are in line with the body, we can easily have her in focus and blur the background. With an 85mm Lens, this was not very difficult. It was my Sigma Art 85mm on my Nikon D800e body. But the picture is not as old as this Camera body may seem to guess. I just used this Camera for many years, because it gave me exactly what I was looking for in my work. Usually the best combination for me was the Leica Summicron-R 50mm for this camera. But for this picture, I chose a different lens, for the reasons as described above. The 85 gives a faster fall-off in blurring the bokeh than the 50 does.

Angelina is booked very often for lingerie shots. I can totally understand that. But I love to take pictures with her, where the sexyness is not in focus. Even if it is a lingerie picture and it is sexy of course, I love her mood she gives me through her face. Thats what makes the difference for me. It is not a sexy mood there. And that combination gives the image more depth than a picture which tells just "I am sexy". For me it is important to tell "I am a woman, a human being". The respect for my models is very important to me.

In post process I optimized contrasts and did some dodge and burn to support the already created shapes. I do not like to do very much post processing but to make the image pop, I have to enhance the contrasts.

So as you can imagine from the text above, I travel light. I just carry my camera and two or three lenses with me. Sometimes a reflector too, but nothing else, if I shoot on location. Always with me - my 50mm prime lens. And most of the times a 35mm and / or an 85mm. Thats all. It's kinda funny when people ask to help me with my equipment if I arrive at a set, and I grab my bag and tell them: "Thank you I already have everything I need!”

Whats important:

  1. The contrast from left to right - background dark / model bright and model dark / background bright.
  2. There is a gap between the waist and arm, which shapes the shape even more due to the strong contrast between the background and the model.
  3. Light. Nose to light, body away from light.
  4. Bokeh. Keep the model in focus and blur the background so that the model stands out.
  5. Model. Cross the legs so that the shape of the body becomes narrower at the bottom of the picture. Weight on one leg to tilt the hips a little. That gives shape to the body. Pay attention to the bottle shape. Just have a look at a coke bottle. This is the shape we want to achieve - a narrow waist.

And always show respect. Being honestly interested in people in front of the camera is the key to beautiful pictures with a mood.

There are regular tutorials in my PROGRESS Magazine and tips for light sets in my e-book: Set-up’s for the living room