Something told me that I really needed a Beauty Dish for a certain type of portrait photography – which is simply a 22″ white pan reflector that fits most strobe heads. The dish generates a natural reflection in the eyes of your subject making it ideal for portraiture – you can see the round reflection in the model’s eyes. That said, it’s not as easy as it may seem, taking a portrait with only one light – I have seen tutorials where the model holds a reflector to bounce the light up and soften shadows under the chin. The light goes quite high up on a stand and right against the wall, a diffuser makes the light less harsh, an effect I prefer. Without the diffuser, the images have much more contrast. I decided to push the contrast afterwards, but with the diffused light.

I intentionally moved the camera with a slightly slow shutter, about 1/20 or 1/30 to achieve a softer look. There’s an example of an image or two that is sharper. Diana was very patient while I fussed about with the light and camera settings. We had a bunch of pussy willow branches in the studio, which turned out to be an interesting element for Diana to hold, to add to the story of the image and perhaps make it more atmospheric than a straight forward portrait. I’ve often felt that a beautiful photo doesn’t have to be sharp or in focus [and – this isn’t an excuse] it’s just that there seems to be more romance in the softer images. Try explaining that to the editors I work with.

Some of the images remind me of 4AD record cover designs (This Mortal Coil), a look I always loved by photographer Nigel Grierson and the designers at 23 Envelope.