I was asked by a model yesterday to help her recreate one of her favourite shots of Sasha Fierce (aka Beyoncé). It was an interesting challenge and I thought if she was brave enough to try the pose then I'd see what I could do about the rest.
First thing I noticed about the original was the use of an underlit white background but minimal shadows in the foreground. I decided to go for a large softbox above and just off to right of centre. I also got an assistant to hold a nice big reflector for me on the left side to make sure any shadows were softened up. Then the most important part was get down on the floor with the model and shoot from her level. I always find this easiest to do "commando crawl" style and lying on my front and use elbows to make a natural tripod for steadiness (not that it really matters at flash speeds).
The first couple of shots weren't quite right as enough light was escaping onto the backdrop to give it a distracting uneven toning. I fixed this using a gobo and by angling the softbox further forward and readjusted the exposure accordingly.
Credit must be given to AJ for managing to not only make the pose but hold it long enough for me to flaff around with the rights until we got something close to what she wanted.
In the post I didn't go for the straight black and white of the original as the sepia complimented AJ's skin far better.
If anyone can tell me who the original photographer is I would like to know though. I couldn't get it from google.
I am not trying to claim this photo as my own idea by any means at all. It was simply an interesting exercise in "how did they do that then?"