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Justin Bettman

Mandy Moore


I had the opportunity to do a shoot for the magazine The Wrap with actress and musician Mandy Moore. Like most celebrity shoots, I had limited time with Mandy. She was so great and collaborative on the shoot, her whole team was fun to work with.

Since I only had her for less than an hour, I worked with my assistants to make sure that everything was pre-lit. That way, as soon as she walked on set there were only small tweaks to make and we could do 4 setups in our short window of time.

For the first set up, I shot outside on my balcony against a hand painted Gravity backdrop background. I’ve always been a big fan of the revealed location with hand painted backdrops and it worked out really well with Mandy. I usually like to use artificial lighting, even outside, but for this shot it was so perfect with the natural light, I didn’t need any strobes. I did use a smoke machine to add some texture behind the canvas backdrop, but I don’t think it did too much in this shot. To my left is a huge wall that was bouncing the sun, giving me the effect of a large super bounce.

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For the next setup, I shot with silked window light against a white background. As you’ll see, I had negative fill on one side to create some depth and dimension to the portrait. I love the catch lights you get with natural window light, it's something that’s so hard to re-create. 

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For the next setup against black, I started out with a Siros L 800 head through a beauty dish overhead. I decided I wanted to do upper body shots of Mandy instead of just head shots, so I decided to switch light setups. I switched out the beauty dish for 2 Siros L 800 heads with the 5’ Octabanks. They do a great job of creating soft sources that wrap well and mix well together. I tried some shots of her standing and some of her sitting to get a range of options for the magazine.


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The final setup was shot against a neutral background with Siros L 800 through a 5’ octabank to camera right and another Siros L 800 through a 5’ octa behind me. This ended up being the setup that the magazine chose for print. I love how large of a catchlight you get with a 5’ octa, it really gives life to your subject.