one light set up

Maiden Makayla

I have been wanting to take a historically based portrait of my niece Makayla for awhile, ever since I took her photo for the Exposure contest last year. I feel like she has a particular look that is quite timeless and ethereal and I thought it would be interesting to play with.

We found a Renaissance Maiden costume online (I cannot sew, and I don’t really know anyone who can) and so we decided to set up my lights and try taking some photos today. It wasn’t ideal – the weather has been crazy here, and it was really, really windy. There was nowhere really inside that we could set everything up, so I ended up having to try to make space on the patio outside. In between gusts of wind, we hung up the brown material backdrop and weighted it down to stop it from blowing everywhere (did I mention I really need a proper setup? I really need a proper setup). It was kind of misshapen, and what little sunlight backlit it in such a way that you could see the railing behind the material. I just hoped that I could stand Makayla on something tall enough so that she was in front of part of the material that didn’t have any shadows, lines, or weird looking creases.

My sister helped by doing Makayla’s hair and getting her ready, and then helped hold down the light (so windy …). I just used the one light setup with my Elinchrom Rx4 flash head¬†and a 66cm softbox, camera left, quite close to Makayla to diffuse the light.



I had actually planned to try a butterfly lighting setup, and I probably will next time since I have already convinced my sister and Makayla that we should try again when it’s less windy.

I was actually quite surprised how the photos ended up turning out. I think I was better at directing Makayla this time; still not perfect, but everytime I’m doing it I think I’m improving. There are definite poses I had hoped to do that I didn’t get to, so I will try them next time.




I really like how rich the backdrop material can look with a light vignette in post. I very lightly adjusted the temperature and added the vignette, but other than that they didn’t require a great deal of editing. I knew roughly how I wanted them to look, and I thought they turned out quite well!








Makayla is actually really, really patient with me photographing her which I’m hugely grateful for. Now that I have done this style once, I can try again hopefully with some different poses and maybe an alternate lighting setup.