Acupuncture Shoot Explained

[singlepic=313,320,240,,left]I recently did a small photo shoot to get a few acupuncture shots for both my TouchPhotography Website and for my stock photo portfolio. Let me take a few minutes and give you a detailed explanation of my lighting and setup.

I wanted some shots on a black background and some on a white background to create different moods. I started with the black background. I used my portable studio with a black cotton muslin. When a go on location, I prefer muslins over seamless paper because they’re easier to carry and not as easy to damage. The con side is that you get wrinkles in the fabric. You could always bring a clothes steamer with you to make it nice and even. I have one and I find it quite handy.

So here’s a diagram of how the lighting was set up using the black muslin. Yes, you’re not going mad…. I only used one 2′ x 3′ softbox. 🙂 When setting up lighting, always do it one light at a time and take some test shots. You might find out that that you’ll need at lot less than you previously thought! I wanted to create nice shadows and backlighting so one strobe was all I needed even though I had 3 with me.

My model was lying down on a massage table roughly 3 feet off the ground. I kept the light low at roughly 3 feet for the back shots to get some shadows on the back. For the face shots, I raise my light to roughly 6 feet to mimic a light source from the ceiling and to remove unflattering shadows. For the arm and hand shots, I asked Michaela to raise her arm at a 90 degree angle from the table. I put the softbox roughly 1 foot above her hand and I added the white reflector to capture some detail inside the hand and on the opposite side of the arm (the reflector wasn’t used in the back or face setups).

As for the white background setup. I used all 3 strobes. 2 were used directly on the background to overexpose it and make it pure white. If you don’t light your white background, it will look gray. The other strobe was tight on camera right to get an even fill. I really cranked up the juice on the background strobes because I also wanted the background to act as a reflector to create a lovely high key look and give some depth to the model’s skin.

As for the camera settings… most of the shots were at ISO 100, 1/250 sec. at f7.1. The f-stop varied depending on what I was shooting, which lens I used and the light’s distance from the model. I shot with my Nikon D300 and switched between my Nikkor 50mm and my Sigma 105mm macro. In studio, I usually use prime lenses (non zoom lenses) to get sharper and better quality photos.

Here are some of the shots from that shoot. You can check out all the shots here on TouchPhotoraphy.

5 responses on "Acupuncture Shoot Explained"

  1. Oh so you used 2 light sources on the background? That explains the effect 🙂 Thanks for the tip…

  2. Thanks for these interesting suggestions!

    Thank you!


  3. A great tutorial. Thanks for that…

  4. Thank you for the sharing of your knowledge.

  5. I love this! Thanks so much for the explanation and setup!

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