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In cooperation with our partners for memory solutions

Justin Bettman

Dodge & Burn Look

First, shoot as a part of Gen NEXT. Lighting a whole shoot with a single Para 133 HR and a Siros 800.

I just received my broncolor lighting equipment after winning the Gen Next contest and I wanted to try them out. I ultimately chose to get 3 Siros L heads (for on location), 3 Siros heads (for in studio), Para 133 HR, beauty dish with diffuser and honeycomb grids, Octabox 150, various reflectors with grids, and some stands. I had used beauty dishes and octabanks before but I’d never really used a Para so I wanted to play with the Para 133 so I could understand why everyone loves them so much. I contacted a booker, a stylist, a hair/makeup artist and arranged a shoot at my studio in Brooklyn.



Since this was a personal shoot, there was lots of flexibility to experiment and do what I wanted. For the first look, I utilized the natural light I had in my studio. While I love to light most of my images with artificial light, I often like to start a shoot with natural light to get the models comfortable.


After I got the first model comfortable, I moved her into front of the Para133 and started shooting on a 9’ white seamless paper. Everyone had told me the lighting from the Para was unlike any other modifier but after taking a few shots on a professional model, I totally understood what people were saying.

It was remarkably to me how it was a fairly soft light but the places on her face that I’d typically want to dodge and burn in post already had a “dodge and burn” look to them in camera. The shot below is lit with a Siros 800 with a Para 133HR (with the light de-focused) above and to the camera left. There are no other lights used in this shot.


Finished with this look, we did a wardrobe change with her into a beautiful pink suit that Tara, my stylist, had brought. I had Pauly wear the beret from the previous look since I was so in love with it. The beret became a common thread throughout lots of looks in this shoot.

For this look, I moved the light a bit more frontal to get flatter light on her. As you’ll see in her eyes, when the Para is defocused it gives a catchlight that looks like a huge ringflash. One other thing you’ll notice throughout this shoot is that since she is pulled off the background by about 2.5 meters and I’m only using a single light source at an angle, the background falls to a medium grey even though it’s white paper.




Coming to the last look with this model, I wanted to do a low key lighting setup while still using the Para. I put the light behind the model and to the left and achieved this beautiful low key look. I also put a 4x4 floppy to camera right to make sure no light bounced back on the subject. I love how on this shot she almost appears to be a doll.


I loved the beret so much with my first model that I used it again on my second model too. For the lighting setup below, I put the para right behind me angled down slightly.

Since the Para 133 is fairly large, you can stand in front of it and it won’t block too much of the light. Once again, I got beautiful catchlights in her eyes. I also love how the light feels so reflective and bright, something that I always felt was hard to achieve with just an octabox.


When I was shooting, I noticed that this model looked really beautiful when she gave me a “tough” look. I didn’t want to be cliche and have her with a cigarette so I gave her a match instead to hold in her mouth. I lit this shot with the Para above and to the right of camera.


Overall, I’m super happy with what I was able to achieve using a single light source throughout the whole shoot. When I first started shooting I always tried incorporating as many lights as possible, but I’m learning that sometimes less is more. I can’t wait to play more with all this new gear :)

Photographer: Justin Bettman Stylist: Tara Nichols
Hair and Make Up Artist: Jessi Butterfield
Photo Assistant and Behind the Scenes Photos: Andrew Mixter