How to Create A Cover Photo Look

Studio portrait of a model

Various factors contribute to creating a cover photo effect, starting with an appropriate background, which you want to be as uncluttered as possible in order to accentuate your subject and, where applicable, accommodate cover text. While it is possible to etch your subject from pretty much any background, and superimpose it onto another, it is far preferable to shoot the best image that you can, from the start, like the examples included in this post that feature some of the beautiful models we’ve had the privilege and pleasure of photographing.

Using White Effectively

In terms of backgrounds, white always works exceptionally well, with the proviso that your lighting set up is correct. In our studio, we have the luxury of an infinity curve and multiple lights, so we can optimise our photo shoots accordingly. With a white backdrop, it’s most effective to utilize 4 lights with synchronized flash; two placed to the front and either side of your model, lighting them directly and the other two on each side and behind your subject, shining onto the backdrop to blow it out, resulting in a crisp white colour on the final image, such as this one.

Photo of model in studio

Beautiful Colour Backdrops

Evocative background alternatives can be achieved by reflecting light onto a white backdrop behind your model, while using a whole range of colour gels to create gorgeous glow effects, rather than flat colour, as illustrated by the image below. In case you’re not familiar with photographic gels, they look like heavy-duty cellophane paper and are available in all sorts of colours. A bonus is that they are far less expensive than backdrops.

Fitting gels over light sources results in the lovely colour wash effect. We set this up in our studio by using tall, white polystyrene panels, which we stand up in two pairs, one to either side of our subject and behind them. Each pair of panels is arranged in a V formation with the open end facing towards our backdrop and the light source shining into the corner of the V opposite to the backdrop, causing the light to reflect softly back onto it.

Photo of model posing in studio

Important Style Details

Of course, a cover look effect wouldn’t be complete without paying close attention to style details, starting with the pose and the outfit that your model is wearing, combined with expert make-up and hair styling that complements their colouring and contributes to the overall impact that you intend to create. For more about this, take a look at our article Magic of Professional Make-Up, where we share additional insight and images for your pleasure.

Have Fun and Be Creative

As with all photography, it’s especially fulfilling to play around with various ideas and set ups before your shoot, in order to stimulate your imagination and explore creative options. We wish you lots of fun and success experimenting with stunning cover photo looks!

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