Recently I had the chance to work with Leah, a fitness model, on some portfolio photos. The idea was to shoot some images that showed her feminine side as well as her commitment to fitness and strength training. After talking, I thought for a while about ideas that would work for her in that theme. One of the concepts was to do an homage to the famous Robert Mapplethorpe portrait of Lisa Lyon, a female body builder from the early 1980's. I showed Leah the image and she agreed it would be a fun challenge to take on at the shoot.
Leah was extremely patient as we set up the shot. It took myself and the stylist adjusting the veil about 20-30 times in-between shots until we were able to get it to make the correct shape around her face. The lighting was an Octodome in front of the model and a large Softbox behind the model to fill in the background for separation. There was also a silver reflector behind the model's head to bring some fill light into the black fabric.
In comparison, it's amazing to see the amount of strength and beauty both models brought into the images. Leah has very sculptural, romanesque facial features so I made a decision to keep the lighting at a lower angle in order to make sure her face was lit. Leah recently got a tattoo of a peacock feather on her left shoulder, so I added one as an element to give the image a touch of her personality.