Laura Tillinghast Photography: Blog en-us (C) Laura Tillinghast Photography (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Thu, 24 Aug 2017 19:52:00 GMT Thu, 24 Aug 2017 19:52:00 GMT Laura Tillinghast Photography: Blog 120 120 Improving Complexion In-Camera As a beauty and fashion photographer, my clients count on me to make their products look good. Whether I am working with a jewelry or cosmetics company, a new product release or a corporate head shot, I need to deliver high quality results every time.

My clients are often working with a strict deadline so it's important that I always deliver images on time. One of the best tricks I have learned to save time and impress clients is to improve complexion in-camera using strategic lighting. The less I have to retouch after the shoot, the faster I can deliver files and maintain image fidelity. It's important to keep in mind that the more you retouch, the more you lose detail and clarity.

I often have clients on-set with me previewing my images as they are being captured. With that in mind, I want each exposure to be as close to the final product as possible. To minimize blemishes, fine lines, wrinkles and texture, I use reflectors to bounce more light onto the subject's face. As light bounces away from my subject's face, it minimizes imperfections and creates a brighter overall appearance.



For maximum effect, I place the reflector directly in front of my subject, laying flat. In terms of height, I place it between the subject's waist and rib cage. This technique works best with clam shell lighting where the key light is directly in front of the subject but will also work with an off-set key light.

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In the before/after examples below you can see that adding a matte silver reflector softens shadows, minimizes under-eye circles and improves overall texture and brightness.

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You can substitute a white reflector in place of matte silver but the effect is not as dramatic. In the example below you can see the effects of a white reflector on the left vs. a matte silver reflector on the right. The matte silver brightens the complexion a bit more while the white reflector is more subtle and understated. What you prefer comes down to personal preference but in general this technique works the best using mate silver.


There's another big advantage to this easy technique. In addition to brightening complexion, adding a reflector adds a second catch light in the eyes. This adds more sparkle and enhances your subject's eye color. This effect is more dramatic when using a silver reflector as you can see in the close-up below.


I like to use collapsible cloth reflectors as they are easy to transport but there are lots of materials that can be used for reflecting light. One of my favorite reflectors is a simple white foam core board. Foam core is affordable and easy to find at craft supply stores. For a matte silver surface, I purchase a few feet of bubble foil insulation at my local hardware store and use Gaffer's tape to secure it to the foam core board. It's inexpensive, lightweight and easy to use.

I hope this tutorial inspires you to give this technique a try. Leave a comment on how this goes for you if you give it a spin. Thanks for reading!


]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) free lighting tutorial laura tillinghast lighting lighting advice lighting tutorial photography instruction reflection reflector step-by-step lighting studio lighting Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:20:00 GMT
New photo class! Editorial Storytelling and the Art of the Visual Narrative Untitled-1Untitled-1 I am happy to announce that I have a series of upcoming workshops that I will be teaching this fall and winter at Keeble&Shuchat Photography in Palo Alto, California. The first is a 2 part class on creating a visual narrative and using imagery to tell a story. 

On Saturday, September 27th we will start the day with a presentation on visual themes and view numerous examples of successful editorial stories to serve as inspiration. In the afternoon we will head over to a nearby location to put what we have learned into practice and work with a creative team. All the editorial elements will be in place such as a professional model, hair, makeup, wardrobe and props. Each student will work from a shot list and have the opportunity to photograph three outfit changes with the model and set. With 6 final images at the end of the day, students will have a week following the shoot to complete their post processing. The following Saturday, October 4th, the class will meet again in the afternoon at Keeble&Shuchat to view and critique each student's editorial story.

The class has a size limit so be sure to sign up now while there is still space: SIGN UP HERE

I hope to see you there!



]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) editorial editorial storytelling lesson lighting lighting workshop lighting workshops photo class workshop worshops Fri, 19 Sep 2014 01:13:45 GMT
New Photo Contest!
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I am excited to announce that I will be judging another photo contest for ViewBug! The theme of the contest is Laying Down which I am very excited about. Submissions will be judged on creativity, originality and in concordance with the theme. The first prize winner will receive a portfolio feature on the popular Blog All That is Interesting and a ViewBug storage hub.

All details of the contest are available here. Enter up to 2 photos by September 4th to be considered. I look forward to seeing your entries!

]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) ViewBug competition contests laying down photo contests photography competition Mon, 29 Jul 2013 16:00:00 GMT
Summer/Fall Workshops 2013 Slide

I am excited to announce my new workshop schedule for the late summer and fall. As part of this year's classes I will be teaching a Power of Light workshop, hosted by Photoflex. This class covers the fundamentals of lighting by starting with an understanding of the basic lighting principles of brightness, direction, contrast, color, as well as the hard and soft qualities of light. The workshop then builds upon that knowledge to show students that whether it’s one light or ten, lighting is about creating depth, form, richness, texture, and mood.

In addition to the Power of Light workshop I am continuing my popular introductory and advanced studio lighting classes. Check out the schedule and details here. Class sizes are restricted so register now to secure a spot. Hope to see you there!


]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) beauty lesson lighting lighting workshop lighting workshops workshop Thu, 18 Jul 2013 15:38:03 GMT
New work featured on the ZLife Blog One of my favorite clients to work with is Zumba, Inc. As a regular contributor for their health and fitness magazine, ZLife, I am able to keep up on all things Zumba. If you have not checked it out, you can view the online articles here. I highly recommend that all Zumba enthusiasts check this magazine out!

Recently I shot images for a feature on hair chalking. Yes, that's chalking. I did not know anything about this but now I am a big fan. Hair chalking is an easy way to add color to your hair and the best part is that it washes out with 1-2 shampoos. Check out the newest article on the ZLIfe Blog for tips on how to chalk your own hair:

]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Beauty Feature Chalking Hair Chalking Z Life Magazine Zumba Wed, 30 Jan 2013 21:00:00 GMT
Photo Contest! Enter your best insect photos! I am excited to announce that I will be judging a photo contest this spring for ViewBug! The theme of the contest is insects which I am very excited about. If you enjoy shooting wildlife and macro images, please do enter your best images of insects. Submissions will be judged on creativity, originality and in concordance with the theme. The prizes are great! The first prize winner will receive a Pico Flex Dolly and a ViewBug storage hub!

All details of the contest are available here. Enter up to 2 photos by March 1st to be considered. Also please vote for your favorite images from March 2 - 16.

I look forward to seeing your entries!


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]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Tue, 29 Jan 2013 02:00:00 GMT
Lighting Lesson - Part 2 I am excited to announce that the second part of my lighting lesson for Photoflex has been posting to their Lighting School site. In this part of the lesson I take this lighting style a step further and add color to the sparkling background. You can check it out HERE

If you missed it, part 1 of the lesson is available HERE

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]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Photoflex Photoflex Pro Showcase beauty lesson lighting lighting lesson lighting school Fri, 18 Jan 2013 00:15:00 GMT
Lighting Lesson for Photoflex I am happy to announce that I recently became a part of the Photoflex Pro Showcase team of photographers. I am thrilled to be working with Photoflex as I am a big fan of their products. If you like to use reflectors, I highly recommend their 5-in-1 LiteDisc, I always have a few at every one of my shoots. I am also a big fan of the Triton Flash system as it is easy to take on location and adjust to the just right amount of power.


As part of Photoflex's online Lighting School, I recently produced a 2 part lighting lesson. If you are familiar with my work then you know I really enjoy shooting beauty images. For this lesson I went over how I create a specific beauty look with a sparkling background. You can check out the first of the lesson HERE. The second part will be posted later this month. Hope it's helpful!


]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) beauty lesson lighting Wed, 09 Jan 2013 15:45:30 GMT
Product review for Zenfolio's new Product Spotlight Blog I recently had the pleasure of reviewing a backdrop from Drop it MODERN for Zenfolio's new Product Spotlight Blog feature. Please check it out when you have a chance, it's a quick and easy read:


]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Backdrop Review Drop it Modern Mermaid Backdrop Product Review beauty lesson lighting Tue, 30 Oct 2012 15:43:38 GMT
The advanced lighting workshop was a blast! Following the success of the introductory workshop, the advanced class was no different. The class was completely full, with a great group of photographers. We had a fun day working with Photoflex lighting, the Profoto ring flash and Drop it MODERN backdrops. We made some new friendships and all learned a ton.

Once again I need to thank the wonderful sponsors, Photoflex, Zenfolio, Millers, Keeble and Schucat and Drop it MODERN. I could not have pulled it all of without your help so thank you so much.

Check out the following gallery to see some of the awesome images created by students who attended the workshop:


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]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) lighting workshop lighting workshops workshop worshops Tue, 04 Sep 2012 17:30:00 GMT
The Introductory lighting workshop was a great success! On July 21st I held my introduction to fashion and portrait lighting workshop with a great group of students. Topics ranged from lighting a white background to classic beauty lighting to natural light diffusion. We had a great day!

I want to thank Beata Pevny of BZM Studio for taking dynamic behind the scenes images during the class. Check out a few of my favorites below as well as a few of the final images from the lighting lessons.

A huge thank you goes out to my amazing sponsors Zenfolio, Millers, Photoflex, Keeble & Schucat, Drop It MODERN and Shoot Dot Edit. The Zenfolio studio was the perfect space for the class and the wonderful lighting equipment provided by Photoflex made my job very easy. You guys are the best!

Check out the following gallery to see some of the awesome images created by students who attended the workshop:

There are only a few slots left in the advanced lighting workshop. Sign up soon to make sure you get a spot! Hope to see you there!

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]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) lighting workshop lighting workshops workshop worshops Thu, 02 Aug 2012 23:48:00 GMT
Summer Beauty Story For this story I had the pleasure of working with the lovely Ashley again who came to the rescue when this shoot was about to be cancelled. Thank you Ashley! I also must thank Liz, my amazing make-up artist who helped come up with three looks on the spot. We threw in some feathers, some warm light, lovely make-up and hair and viola! A beauty story is born. Here are a few of my favorite images from this story as well as a few shots we did at the end for fun.

The rest of Liz's lovely portfolio is available here:


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]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Mon, 25 Jun 2012 17:00:00 GMT
What I like In addition to the article in this month's issue of Professional Photographer, they also picked my brain on the photo products and services I use the most. It was a lot of fun. If you do not have a copy of the magazine on hand, you can read through the Q&A below. If you have any other questions about my workflow that was not covered here, feel free to ask!

L.Tillinghast Q&A Page


]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Mon, 11 Jun 2012 17:00:00 GMT
Feature Article in the June issue of Professional Photographer I am excited to report that I am being featured in this month's issue of Professional Photographer. Woo hoo! It's their lighting issue so I got to talk a lot about my favorite aspect of photography. I had a great time doing the interview and thank the editors for doing such a nice job. You can check out the full article as a PDF here:

For those who want to learn more about how I do fashion and beauty lighting, I have workshops scheduled for this summer. All the details as well as registration information are listed here:

I hope to see you there!


]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Thu, 07 Jun 2012 20:22:57 GMT
New images! I recently did a shoot with a great backdrop from Drop It MODERN. The gorgeous black and white pattern inspired me to play with color and the intricate pattern led me to experiment with depth of field. Hair and makeup were done by the fabulous Liz Chang. And the wonderful Rebecca was on hand to help me out as well. We had a lot of fun and you can see a few of my favorite images from the shoot are posted below.

In related news, I also did a Blog post for Drop it MODERN on lighting. You can check it out here:



]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Tue, 29 May 2012 17:00:00 GMT
Summer Workshops Register now to attend lighting my workshops this summer in the San Francisco bay area. If you know me, you know I love to talk about photography and lighting. Join me in the studio as I share my methods and tricks for achieving dynamic and flattering portraits. Two sessions will be held, one introductory and one advanced. Classes will be small, up to 12 people per session. Also, there will be an optional portfolio review at the end of the day.

More information on what will be discussed, as well as registration, are available here:

Workshop Artwork

]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Mon, 21 May 2012 18:00:00 GMT
More website love! My website is really on a roll these days! I am delighted to announce that Professional Photographer is featuring my Home page in an article for their May issue on expert web design advice. Woo hoo!

"A good home page delivers a message to the reader and search engines. Laura Tillinghast Photography shows the photography in large format, with information supporting the images, but not competing with them visually."

Check out the full article here, it is chock full of great advice: Expert Web Design Advice for Photographers, May 2012

For those of you looking for an affordable service to host your photos and site, you must check out my provider, Zenfolio. They offer an easy to use interface and lots of tools to help you make your site unique and reflective of your own style. They have a 14 day Trial you can set up to see what you think. If you do decide to sign up, feel free to use my code Laura-20 to save 20% off of the first year's service. Enjoy! :)


]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Thu, 10 May 2012 18:00:00 GMT
Brand New Tear Sheet! Yay! Does anyone else love Zumba like I do?! If you are a Zumba fan, you may also love the magazine they put out, Z Life. It focuses on keeping fit, eating right and living in style. I am a big fan of the fitness tips and I have found some great recipes!

As a regular contributor to the magazine, I am lucky to get a variety of assignments. For this year's Spring issue, I created an image for an article on which foods contain vitamins that promote healthy joints. It was fun to work with such varied and colorful elements. Check out the article below!

]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Wed, 02 May 2012 17:00:00 GMT
New MpixPro/Zenfolio Ad For Rangefinder I have had the wonderful honor of my website being chosen to be featured in a joint ad for 2 of my favorite companies, MpixPro and Zenfolio. Both of these vendors are invaluable to my business and I recommend them highly.

You can check out Zenfolio's awesome and affordable web hosting services here: If you decide to sign up, feel free to use the code LAURA-20 to save 20% off of the first year's subscription.

MpixPro is my all time favorite lab. They always deliver amazing results with the fastest turnaround time I have ever seen from a digital lab. Check out their extensive product line here:


MpixPro Final Ad

]]> (Laura Tillinghast Photography) Sun, 15 Apr 2012 01:31:46 GMT