Purple Robe

On January 21st, I did a fashion test session with the lovely Tiffany,  for Book a Look: DMV Virginia Dress Rentals. I was shooting a sheer lilac purple ruffled robe, similar to what you would see the  femme fatale would wear in old film noir films.  For the first part of the shoot I went noir style lighting, keeping it low key and mysterious building up that mystic of an heiress on her third husband. Then because this type of robe seems to always be used in maternity and boudoir,  we went the fashion direction to show its versatility and escape the standard styling box. 

For this session I used:

Photography Equipment

Canon 80D


2 strobes

2 c-stands

1 Backdrop stands

Savage Focus Grey Seamless Paper


72’ Umbrella with sock

Bell reflector


Barn doors


Leather chair

End table

Decanter set

The set up

For this session I wanted to start with the femme fatale and film noir look, glamorous yet dangerous. I also wanted to keep the background clean and smooth, so I used Savage seamless paper in Focus Grey as the backdrop.  I placed a leather chair in the center at a 45-degree angle, then placed a small end table next to that, with a decanter set on top. For    and placed two posing blocks in the center of it.  I positioned my first strobe (main light) with the bell reflector, 30-degree grid, and barn doors at the edge of the seamless to my left.  I angled this strobe so the light from it would hit the model sitting in the chair.  The second strobe (fill light) was placed at the edge of the seamless to my right, angled so it would almost be straight on to the model and provide a bit of fill to the shadows. (See photo below.) 

Set up

Camera Settings

For this session I used ISO 100 with an aperture of F8, and shutter speed of 1/250s. My focal length ranged from 18mm to 90mm with most of the images being taken at 28mm.  By keeping the same camera setting throughout the sessions, I just adjusted the power of the strobes based on the look I was trying to achieve during that portion of the session. 

The Photos

During this session we did three different moods/vibes with the robe, while staying away from the boudoir and maternity (which we couldn’t do) looks that are usually done with this type of robe. I started with a more noir  and low key look and we built from there.

This first photo I’m showing in both black and white and color. I personally prefer the black and white as it portrays the noir mood better, while the color one shows off the robe and jewelry better.  For this image I used the light setup discussed at the beginning of this blog, and adjusted the barn doors to control the spill of light.  I like short lighting in this image which helps add that air of mystery. In  post  productionI cropped the image and cleaned up the spots where the backdrop stand was visible. I did all the basic edits of balancing white balance, exposure, and adjusting for skin tone.  I also added a light vignette to the image.   I then took the color image and converted it to black an white. In the black and white version I re-adjusted the shadows and highlights to ensure details were not lost to the shadows. 

This next image is brighter and moves away from low key.  I envision this image being one for some advertising campaign possibly for clothing or perfume.  The other fell I get for this a movie star, possibly before stepping out onto the red carpet or general editorial shot. I used the same setup as before, just raised the main light a bit higher, and turned the power up on the fill to get a more even light with lighter shadows.  In post production I did all the basic adjustments then I cleaned up a few  spots on the dress as it was very unforgiving. No one likes seeing undergarment lines.  Plus I did  a little bit of dodging and burning to smooth out texture in some spots and highlight the texture in others. I then cropped the image and added a very light vignette. 

Now to  contrast to the previous image.  The model changed from the purple dress to a black bodysuit with black knee high boots,  which moves the image a bit closer to boudoir, but in a place of power instead of pure sex. I kept the power on the main light basically the same from the previous image just closed down the barn doors a bit. Then I reduced the power on the fill light, to create the spot like look, and still have a bit of detail in the shadows.  I particularly like the strong pose of the model looking towards the main light with her hands up at her head, the strong stance in her legs and the slight curve in the torso. Sexy and in control. In post production I balanced the image, paying special attention to the highlights and shadows.  I then cropped the image and added a medium vignette to add to the spotlight feel. 

This last image does not have the purple robe because the model asked if I could take a photo showing off her physique and using a black hat she brought with her.  I was all for it, I like when women are confident in their bodies.  I went  for a bit of a traditional image, keeping the lighting very similar to the previous image but putting the face in a bit of shadow. You’ll notice the light hits her left side and wraps around to her right side, and there is a strong shadow on the ground behind her. Again I went for the spotlight look.  I did have the fill on just to ensure I didn’t lose her legs to the shadow. In post production I balanced the image, and then converted it to black and white.  I then went in and brighted the model’s face just a touch to slightly bring it out of the shadows. I then used some frequency separation to smooth out the skin slightly and remove any minor blemishes. I also got rid of some seams in the bodysuit and smoothed out a few wrinkles in the fabric.  I did not change the model’s size or use any liquefaction. The model is really well toned and obviously in shape. I then did some light dodging and burning just to bring out some of the highlights and shadows to highlight the model’s physique. I then cropped the image and added a medium vignette to the image. 

Overall I felt this was a great session. Tiffany was amazing to work with and knew how to work the robe.  I highly recommend working with her if you get a chance. I also like that we were able to get a variety of photos that are not traditionally seen with this type of robe. You can see the whole set here: Purple Heiress Robe


Model: Tiffany  (Instagram:@wiffanyt01)

Dress: Book a Look: DMV Virginia Dress Rentals (@bookalooker)

Set Design: Heather of Munchkin Photos (Instagram: @munckin_photos_by_heather)


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