Here's my analysis of the lighting in the photo Marcus picked. ;)

Marcus J. Ranum wrote:
> - The image is dark but she's clearly separated from the background.

This effect is tricky. Which is why I picked this image. ;) There are 3 typical ways to achieve that halo of light she's standing in:
- use a background that has a spotlight area (you can buy these pre-made)
- use a spotlight on the background
- shoot the basic image to the desired color of the background and achieve the halo effect in photoshop with a circular gradient fill

> - I like the way her skin is pale; almost washed out. She could be
> some kind of sexy vampire luring in her victim for a late
> night snack...

The paleness of the model could be accomplished by:
- using a pale model
- using a filter that "bleaches" the model's skin tones, such as a red filter (which means you have to hand-color the image back from black/white)
- photoshopping the skin tones out

> - Is she wearing bondage cuffs?! I didn't NOTICE that when I
> picked the image...!!

You dirty old man, Marcus!

> - The lighting kind of surrounds her like a soft cloud. It highlights
> and haloes her, which pulls her excellent form up off the
> dark background and gives the image a lot of impact.

I've attached my analysis. To tell the truth, I am not sure whether
the spot on the back is a photoshop effect or a light effect. I suspect
photoshop because when I get it in photoshop and fiddle with the
gamma, the transitions of the "blob" remain extremely smooth.
Either way, it's nice.

This is a very complex lighting arrangement! It's hard to tell if the photographer used soft boxes or some other kind of small
directional lights - my guess is small softboxes because the skin is so smooth (since softboxes have diffusers they tend to fill small shadows in the skin, hence the "soft")

If you look at the image you can see where the photographer played his tricks. The giveaways are the:
- light on her shoulderblade - you can tell the direction of her face light by the shadow on her shoulderblade
- light on her butt
- light on her thumb
- light on her ear

I make this at 4 lights and a backdrop! See how the photographer made the image look really simple? This
was NOT a simple setup!