A couple days ago, my 10-year-old daughter Aniya was involved in a little accident while at home which resulted in a trip to the emergency room and 15 stitches in her upper lip. Naturally, she was a bit bummed by the ordeal so I decided to do something to try and cheer her up. I decided to make her a model for the day.
The day after her injury, I had my wife do Aniya’s makeup while I set up my DIY backdrop and speedlites. I wanted my daughter to look grungy—almost battleworn. I wanted to make her look like a badass with a sweet scar. We dressed her up in some dark clothes, threw on some necklaces and some cool pewter angel wing earrings and started shooting.
I played around with a couple lighting configurations but I never used more than two speedlites. In fact, most of my favorite shots used only one speedlite. The goal was to create a dramatic, almost mischievous look, without taking away from her beauty.
All shots were taken with a Canon 7D Mark II and my Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 lens. I opted to shoot with a wide aperture to achieve shallow depth of field not only for artistic purposes, but also to blur any wrinkles on the background. There was little ambient light in the room and the speedlites, paired with umbrellas, were placed anywhere from 0-40 degrees to Aniya’s side, usually within a few feet of her. This made it possible to achieve dramatic key lighting while not allowing too much light to spill on the background.
The goal was to make my daughter into a beautiful badass. Mission accomplished.