Photo Shoot + The Hollywood Abs Technique

Ok so this was our model Richard East’s first ‘portfolio shoot’ and entire shoot was not only done in the studio but also with Nikon SB800 Speedlights despite having virtually all of Profoto’s range of heads and modifiers available. Reason…nothing exciting I’m afraid, just keeping it simple, moving fast and also had another set already marked out for a shoot later in the evening.

For the first series of images I used a three(3) light set up as you can see from the diagram below with two(2) Speedlights to the rear and either side of our model Richard and then a third speedlight on a boom, above and to the front of him. This 3rd Speedlight was firing into a Reflective/Shoot Thru Umbrella that had been ‘closed down’ to minimise the spread of light coming back out of it and so add more direction and control so it would fall back onto Richard only and not the rest of the set.

The same lighting set up was used for a later part of the shoot with the only difference being this time we were shooting against a white backdrop that had been turned to a shade of grey by the position of the lights and their distance from it:

The lighting setup for this final series of images of Richard couldn’t have been simpler; a single Nikon SB800 Speedlight into a 60″ Reflective/Shoot Thru Umbrella placed camera left. Again the umbrella was ‘closed down’ to control the amount of light and it’s direction coming back out:

*You can see an example of what I mean by ‘closed down’ when I refer to the umbrella, in my ‘Invisible Black Backdrop’ Technique by clicking here.

So that’s the Photo Shoot side of things, now for the Post Production / Editing. Now rather than go through the entire editing process which I must admit apart from the technique below was kept to a minimum, I thought I’d concentrate on just one technique, and that I’m calling ‘Hollywood Abs’.

This is a technique I learned from Photoshop Guru Calvin Hollywood and it’s one he came up with and calls the ‘Dodge and Burn Technique’ because that’s exactly the look it gives but in a much quicker and simpler way.

So, I give you…the ‘Hollywood Abs’ Photoshop Technique:

Straight after Richard’s Portfolio shoot we had some time in the studio with an upcoming girl band to work on some promotional shots but needless to say it took them quite some time to get ready as they got a little distracted; geez some guys have it tough:)

Any questions or comments I’d love to hear them, so as always please feel free to make use of the comments section below,

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October 18, 2010 - 9:19 pm

Glyn - @DaveT…Cheers for that :)

October 14, 2010 - 8:36 am

DaveT - Glyn,

More great tutorials – I am learning so much from these. Thanks!


October 12, 2010 - 7:36 am

Glyn - @Richard… You’re more than welcome mate. It was an absolute pleasure working with and I look forward to plenty more shoots putting your portfolio together.

All the best to you,

October 11, 2010 - 11:42 pm

Richard East - Just wanted to say thanks very much for the opportunity to begin my modelling career. The images that you have created are fantastic and i can honestly say that i thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to the next session. 

Clearly a lot of people follow your work Glyn and i am humbled to be able to be a part of that. 

Thanks again,  

Richard East

October 11, 2010 - 10:36 pm

Glyn - @Allen…Thank you so much for dropping by and taking the time to comment; it means alot and I’m real pleased to hear the vids are useful.

All the very best to you mate,

October 11, 2010 - 10:25 pm

Allen Ross Thomas - Glyn -

Always love your setup shots and post processing videos. i learn a bit more with each one. Thanks for giving back.


October 11, 2010 - 10:17 pm

Glyn - @Tim…Thanks for the kind words and I look forward to catching up with you on Friday.

Cheers, Glyn

ps> You’re so right about the learning :)

October 11, 2010 - 10:15 pm

Glyn - @Keith…The PVC tileboards come into their own when doing the white seamless look as in Chanel’s shoot. There’s two reasons why I’m using it…1) The reflection which would be real hard to replicate in Photoshop for it to look totally realistic and most importantly…2) It gives a pure white floor as without it, it would be creamy / grey colour and would mean yet another light being used.

Hope that helps, but I’ll cover it more in Chanel’s post.

Cheers, Glyn

October 11, 2010 - 9:51 pm

Tim Pursall - Hi Glyn. Great post. So thats the PS Guru we spoke about last month after one of your posts!

Looking forward to Scott Kelbys Seminar on Friday although I might be out of my depth in the likes of your company. Still its all about learning!!


October 11, 2010 - 8:52 pm

Keith Hammond - ah so those were the very expensive tile boards you tweeted about the other week, it’s a good look.
Is there any reason why you don’t just add a reflection in post in PS

October 11, 2010 - 8:42 pm

Glyn - @Tim…Absolutely mate…lol :)

October 11, 2010 - 8:42 pm

Glyn - @Keith…Thanks for that Buddy :)
Re the flooring it’s two sheets of white PVC panels (not cheap) but works great when going for a white seamless look as in the photo of Chanel in an earlier post. I’ll be doing a write up of her shoot soon showing the flooring etc…


ps> You’ll have to ask Neal yourself…lol

October 11, 2010 - 8:40 pm

Glyn - @Tim…Thanks so much for that mate; means alot coming from you :)

October 11, 2010 - 8:32 pm

Tim Skipper - Don’t you just hate it? You bring one or more beautiful women and they focus on the male model with the buff body and completely ignore the warm fuzzy photographer! It’s like they don’t have any good taste. ;)

October 11, 2010 - 7:23 pm

Keith Hammond - another good post mate, nice and simple but with great results, just shows what you can do with those speedlights.
Whats on the floor giving the reflection on the black and the white backgrounds ?
I bet the girls couldnt believe their luck finding Richard in the studio.
Was Neal off to the side with his broom waiting for you to finish up :-)

October 11, 2010 - 6:52 pm

Tim Wallace - Great feature mate, as always loving the lighting setups and most of all the delicate use of tonality in conjunction with this to create a subtle but very effective body of work for the project. Real photography is alive and kicking and it just goes to show that its still a skill and a craft.
Well done mate

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