Less Is More: High-End Fashion on a Budget with Michael Corsentino

Posted by Peter Buijs on

In a previous article, we explored Miguel Quiles’ one-light setup using only on silver bounce umbrella. He has always been known to use as little equipment as possible during his shoots, so what he does is experiment on different light modifiers to better bring out the expressions and mood he wants on his photos.

Now, we shift our attention to Michael Corsentino — a fashion photographer who loves using equipment, a complete contrast to Miguel Quiles. Name any of the go-to tools that you need to produce magazine-ready photos and he probably has it in his collection. In fact, if you are a beginner in fashion and portrait photography, or even for shooting highend beauty collection, you will realize soon enough that your equipment collection needs to grow as your style evolves. Of course, this means saving up big bucks to make sure you get the best quality gear, and that might be a problem for some of us.

So what Corsentino did was look for ways to achieve the big-production quality of his pictures while using as little equipment to make the setup more affordable. If you are in the lookout to achieve Corsentino quality photos without making a hole on your wallet, then here are tips from the man himself.

H/T: This article is based on a video by Michael Corsentino

Building the set

In the video, he used three types of sets to shoot 2 different looks. For the first look, he used a one-light and white seamless setup; the only difference is in the third image, he used an additional two foamcore V-flats essentially building a white box around the model. For the second look, he created a sort of cove by using the silver insulation panels he had in the studio and taping them together.

Corsentino wanted to shoot a popular look in fashion magazines and advertising: full-figure, tighter images shot in contrasty light. Since he is going to use simple techniques and basic tools for most of the shoot, he needed to make sure that he get enough light source to illuminate the model even if he would be standing directly in front of it.

To address this dilemma, he used an extra large umbrella as a light modifier capable of spreading light that can wrap around him and shine on the model. Specifically, he used a silver bounce back umbrella since the strobe faces away from the model but instead, it faces into the concave that faces the model.

Corsentino used the following equipment for this shoot:

  • Westcott 7′ Silver Parabolic Umbrella (Model 4633)
  • Phase One DF+ with an IQ250 digital back
  • Schneider Kreuznach 80mm LS f/2.8 AF and 150mm LS f/3.5 AF lenses
  • Profoto 7A 2400WS Generator and one Prohead
  • Pocket Wizard Plus IIIs for triggering the lights
  • Sekonic L-758DR light meter

His camera settings were ISO 100, 1/125 shutter speed, f:14–16.

Then it’s all about the angle!

How the photo will look will depend on the angle that you are shooting. There are not rules and techniques for that, all you need is a vision in mind and a good eye to execute it. Much of photography is about playing with light. Regardless of the cost of the equipment, a photographer should still be able to achieve the look they were envisioning at the start of the shoot.

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