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Susan Rockstraw: Creating A Name For Herself In Beauty Photography

Beauty photographer and high end retoucher Susan Rockstraw shares her self taught photographic journey with her Elinchrom kit from the beginning.

“When I was a teenager I owned a tiny pink point and shoot camera and I loved taking pictures with it. I didn’t realize then I could make a career out of it.”
Susan studied at New Mexico State University for dual degrees in Photography and Graphic Design; starting her photographic journey in the darkroom and photographing every genre.

“I shot weddings, events, portraits, and some creative work. I then found beauty photography and immediately knew it was for me. I love getting up close and capturing skin texture and makeup.”

“One of the biggest challenges in college for me was finding a subject. I tried using Model Mayhem but I had a hard time finding people who would show up. But after I started building a portfolio of work I started to find people that were more willing to model for me. Then about a year after college I started working with a full team of hair, makeup artists, and contacted models to do more creative and fashion photoshoots.”

When asked about her lighting lessons in school; Susan explained that it was something taught only once or twice - so she took it upon herself to purchase lighting of her own and request for an Independent Study class. “I did some research on lighting kits, and I kept seeing Elinchrom’s name pop up. After seeing the photos people were creating with it - I decided to buy it.”
“I purchased the Elinchrom D Lite 400w two light to go set and ?I asked the teacher if I could get credit for a whole semester if I could use my lighting kit and create my own assignments for school credit.? I really loved playing with styles of lighting and different subjects.”

Since then Susan uses two Elinchrom ELB 400 head kits and incorporates a beauty dish for almost every shoot. “It really brings out highlights on the face and adds a lot of pop and contrast.” She also often adds in the Rotalux Octabox 53 with the new Rotagrid and the Rotalux Deep Octabox 39".

“Because I have low ceilings in my studio I have had to really learn how to control the light. I had to learn how to direct light and use grids and flags or use v-flats to control the light as much as possible. I learned this from lots and lots of trial and error and watching tutorials.”

“Besides trial and error and trying to learn things on my own, the one thing that helped me the most after college was attending workshops and conferences. Getting out and meeting people was key for me. You can sit behind a computer for so long that you get in your own world so it’s important to get out and attend things and meet people.”

When asked about advice to give to fellow photographers Susan responded with: “Never stop learning, always try to keep learning. You never know what others can teach you.” and “Always listen to others. ?If someone give me criticism, I still listen and take what I can out of it.

We’re excited to see what Susan creates next!

To see more of Susan’s work you can visit https://www.sue-rocks.com or find her on Instagram at @suerocks_photography and Facebook at Susan Rockstraw Photography.

  • D-Lite RX 4/4 Softbox To Go Kit

    $799.99More infoAdd to cart

    D-Lite RX 4/4 Softbox To Go Kit

    EL20839.2

    The D-Lite RX 4 is one step up in the Elinchrom studio flash family, offering a robust case with ergonomic handle for harder working with larger accessories. With 400Ws, these units are ideal for small business applications, portraiture and for everyone interested in the most creative lighting. These Swiss designed and tested units will not only give many years of reliable service and pleasure, but also make it extremely easy to upgrade your lighting as your interest and need grows. The Skyport remote control built into the Elinchrom units offers cordless triggering and control of power from the camera, and control of all functions from many other common devices.

     

     This set includes the latest EL-Skyport transmitter Plus. A strong and robust design which enables photographer to simply trigger and adjust flash power up to 200 m (656 feet) away, optimize reception by its swivel functionality and is powered by AA batteries.

    $799.99
    QTY
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  • Rotalux Octabox 135 cm (53")

    $289.95More infoAdd to cart

    Rotalux Octabox 135 cm (53")

    EL26647

    Very popular among beauty and fashion photographers, as they prefer the round catchlight given by this softbox. When using Elinchrom Lights you can make yourself a great folding beauty dish just by removing the front and inner diffusers and adding one of the optional deflectors avialable in the popular Elinchrom deflector kit.

    Another innovative feature which distinguishes Elinchrom softboxes from others is the lightweight dedicated speedring, which utilizes knurled, spring-action sockets to connect the stainless rods which form the frame of the box, to the ring. This allows easy assembly of the box in a de-tensioned state. The user then simply pivots the sockets 90 degrees until they lock into place to tension it for use. The 53" (135 cm) Octa shape features a large surface area which renders a "wrap-around" light quality especially when used at close range. It is ideal for shooting portraiture or fashion.


    Shape

    The 53" (135 cm) Octa shape is ideal for head-and-shoulders portraiture for a group of people, as a hairlight for groups or for reflective products and glassware.

    Quick Setup, Breakdown

    Lightweight, dedicated speedrings utilize knurled, spring-action sockets to connect the 8 stainless rods which form the frame of the box.

    Storage

    Fits assembled but de-tensioned in the included case, ready to set up again in seconds.

    $289.95
    QTY
    Add to cart

  • Rotalux Deep Octabox 100 cm (39")

    $289.95More infoAdd to cart

    Rotalux Deep Octabox 100 cm (39")

    EL26648

    This narrow shaped Deep Octa reduces the spread of light and offers sharper shadows compared to standard sized octagonal soft boxes. It provides a very even diffused light over the front screen and a very direct crisp light when used without diffusers to give a beauty dish look.


    The Elinchrom Rotalux Deep OctaBox 39" diameter softbox emits a more focused soft light than most OctaBoxes when used with its included inner and outer diffuser. With either, or both of the diffusers removed, this box acts like a super-large reflector for your flash head. Another innovative feature which distinguishes Elinchrom softboxes from others is the lightweight dedicated speedring, which utilizes knurled, spring-action sockets to connect the stainless rods which form the frame of the box, to the ring. This allows easy assembly of the box in a de-tensioned state. The user then simply pivots the sockets 90 degrees until they lock into place to tension it for use.The 39" (100 cm) Deep Octa shape features a large surface area which renders a "wrap-around" light quality especially when used at close range. It is ideal portraiture.


    The 39" (100 cm) Deep Octa shape is ideal for head-and-shoulders portraiture for a group of people, as a hairlight for groups or for reflective products and glassware. Because of it's deep shape when the light comes out it appears more "punchy".


    Lightweight, dedicated speedrings utilize knurled, spring-action sockets to connect the 8 stainless rods which form the frame of the box.

    $289.95
    QTY
    Add to cart

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