It's not the lighting that makes this shot successful; it's the production.
Riding a bicycle like this one is not a skill that top agency models are trained to do. Finding the bicycle was diAcult enough!
In reality, two big guys held the bicycle up while the model used steps to get on it. She didn't peddle anywhere. Later, using Photoshop, I removed the two men.
Lighting the model was accomplished with the main light high at a 45-degree angle coming from the right. It was an undiffused Profoto beauty dish on a Profoto Strobe. It is a punchy light, and you can see its effect on her face and on the ruffle of her clothing before it falls off on the legs.
A great model, props, hair and makeup go a long way to making your lighting, and therefore your photos, look good.
On the opposite side, at a 45-degree angle, was a large softbox acting as the fill light. The background was lit separately, which presented an entirely different set of challenges. Those are covered next in the Much Space Needs Much Light section that describes a trapeze photo.
Michael Creagh: http://michaelcreagh.com
Model: Valya M at MC2 Model Management, New York
Job: Susana Monaco Resort Catalog
Camera: Hassleblad H3D 39 MegaPixels, 80mm lens
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