Rules of Lighting


Building and Using DIY Lighting Gear


Lesson Info

Rules of Lighting

One of the lighting rules that I learned early on a commercial photography, but I think some of us know because of experiencing light in our lives and looking into mirrors. But you may not exactly know this the angle of incidents in the angle of reflection. It's one of the first things you learn in photography school and just to review simply it means that let's say you're looking at a mirror shiny surface. If the sun is a pure a thirty degree angle to this to this flat, shiny surface or a light source, whatever it is, and it hits the surface, the reflection that you see is going to come up at thirty degrees on the other side. So the incidents, the angle of incidence being the light is the incidents and the reflection is the same thing. So if you remove that son lower and hit that reflective surfaces, the reflected image will be lower as well, so it could be down at eighty degrees boom, boom, thirty degrees, forty five degrees, ten degrees, whatever that is, it changes. So say we broug...

ht that down lower. The reflection is lower as well, so this is really important to keep in mind, especially you're using reflectors for phil light or bounce light. And I know that people don't understand this because I've worked with a lot of assistance photo assistants who have their own business and they're assisting me and they still don't get it because I'll see them place the reflector a totally wrong angle like you know what that bouncing into her face, you know? And they have say we're filling your face here and I put my reflector exactly here on my light sources over there the most light is going to bounce boom right back into the light you know you'll get some from price spill from the side, right? He is with me but if I turn my reflector now this way and the light sources there and goes boom, boom and the most lights gonna bounce right back into his face so you have to pay attention to where is your light source? And then what the angle the reflector is so that you can now being that light right back and you probably experiences if you hold the reflector you know those disks and this sign and you move it around and you're trying to find that okay there the lights on their face once you find that lights on their face if you look at that your face reflector your son you're going to see that that angle is equal probably your plane reflector and that's why it's hitting your face and so we don't always realize that that's what's happening we're just moving around to find that spot but if you realize that then it makes a lot quicker first of all free to get in there and place it pretty close to a hundred percent the first time and you know what to tell your assistant you know say just wiggling around we get some light on my face and that's something that you do is like moving it's not it's not I don't see the light move it and you're you don't know where to move it but it seems you know that you're like ok so I've got to be up here angled like this and boom there's the being right on her okay the next rule is distance versus size distance meaning the further away light sources the harder it is the closer it is the software is the larger it is the softer it is and the smaller it is the harsh reviews so let's meet in the ask you guys this so is the sun is that a hard light source or soft light source? This is a question for you is the sun hard or soft? I would consider it soft depends on it is really and where it is in the sky too ok so but that's a one in the afternoon I'm standing out full sun no clouds is it harder soft probably be a harder line on very hard light source right let's say superman goes up grabs the sun, flies it up to the earth and we're all not burning because we have protective gear on of course right safety first remember that caitlyn safety first okay, so we have protective gear on here comes this on right up next to the earth and it's now ten million times bigger than the earth blowing up in the sun is no longer dot in the sky but it's all you can see all around you is the son that was a son harder soft light source it's super sav it's the softest light source you're ever going to see because it encompasses pretty much the whole world beyond where you could even see it's just giant soft soft light everywhere of course then the red blisters and the skin start to appear and then we blow up but in the meantime you're learning something is that that same light source went from being speculator and the hardest, sharpest shadows you could imagine to being the biggest, softest, smoothest light you can imagine, but the light source didn't change only it's relative distance his position. So you remember that same thing when you're using your light modifiers is if you've got something it's looking a little harsh just coming closer with it and I was softer, right? Just think of the sun here's your here's, your soft walks and I see this happen all the time too of students we get a big soft box and like ok, so the soft box and he set it up way back here but it's a big light soft box, right it's going to be soft, but not back here. Not if I'm lighting him from here with a three foot soft box that's going to be a pretty harsh light, but it seems I bring this soft bucks there right next to his clothes. I can, uh, that's a beautiful, soft shaping light on his face, right? So keep that in mind that if you've got if you've got us what you think is a soft light and it's not soft it's probably too far away that's all spring a little closer and positioning to will help, too. Hey that's really important because I carry that all the time, the same thing I'm working with somebody and they've got this this this light source and there they this's must be soft as a soft box wise, innit? Soft we'll just go with soft box doesn't mean it's always going to be stopped if it's sitting next door in the neighbor's roof it's going to be like the sun harsh, okay, so think of the sun think of moving the sun toward their remember superman find ways to remind yourself of these things because if you have these old things in your mind all the sudden you become a lighting expert that's kind of cool parties when you have nothing else to talk about you could just oppress people with how much stuff you know about lighting right? Okay the next rule of light is key otto school on a chiaroscuro is more than just a fancy italian word that rolls off your tongue but this is a good one to have it parties as well if you could throw this out smoothly cattle school cattle school of the strike that's right let's go to let's go where we can work on that you're laying let's try no come on, thea store oral no, not that you're right that now this traitors keros carol okay that's better that's that's probably like the best of the three but now I think you're the best if you have a good work out of it can we go to dinner tonight? You guys, we're going to practice this together just walk up to me go yeah. Kyoto school mama mia okay, so chiaroscuro is a fancy way of saying really cool shadows basically it means that the's beautiful shapely shadows think of mona lisa mona lisa because lighting is really about shadows not light about creating beautiful shadows evil way I have been victim to this when I first started and you see a lot of studio photographers we don't have a lot experience. They think that lighting is just blasting your subject with as much light in their very flat you know? You see sample pictures, they're just pretty much flat there beautifully, evenly exposed you know, they're lit, but the lighting is not interesting. That's not lighting that's just illumination. I want to turn some lights on, but if you want the lighting and the photograph expense, we want mona lisa think mona lisa style shadows out of school. Okay, we're timeline out of school. Give me some work with me here being I'm trying teo teo chiaro schools girl skaro okay, all right. So think of your soft, shapely shadows from this image here. I really loved the field. This one and one of the interesting things about this was shot in the middle of the day, right, son? Uh but I used my neutral density filter dial down the background tremendously. So there was about two and a half stops to dark, maybe three stops, even with the new true density filter still keeping my shutter speed it to fifty than I could use my speed light in a medium soft box as the main light on her face and again, we're coming up right about here the perfect angle to shape someone's face and jaw line drops a beautiful soft light on her shaping on their chin and cheeks which is which what you're looking for generally when you're lighting ok so here's the here's the set up there this this is a scrim like we're going to build and it's primarily to block the sun it's it's adding a little bit of phil light but not too much but mainly because the sun would peek through and be super bright and then we go behind the clouds and back and forth and so was messing with my messing with my mind and some like we could just block that son I don't want any of it you just put that up there just in case the sun popped out so really most everything is this is the main light the existing light is the phil light and that's something we're also gonna play with is using your existing light is your fil so you don't have to think about I'm gonna have to have a main light and a feel light and whatever background like use your existing light as the phil whenever you can and then you just it's one light lighting all right here's another thing that lot of people don't understand we'll make sure we're on the same page is this light power power to the lighters so light power means that for every let's say f stops you haven't s stop to say f or I'll bring it here one speed light theoretically is f four you measure it right and you want to have one more stop but the rule is you double it, ok, so one more stop at another speed like that to give you five six what happens if I had another speed? Like, okay, we're adding another speed light what's one more I've stopped from that actually you're right eight is one have stopped, but he's wrong because I would have to double it to get a fate, so if I have three lights, I'm now getting f six point seven, which is be five, six and a half basically all right? And this is important to know too, because when you're thinking about he's got one speed light it's all you're using and you're he's a gated full power, especially you outside about to the sign and your full power and you barely have enough and you're saying, I just need one more f stop out of that. Uh, now you know you have to put another speed light also at full power to barely squeak out one more stop, but if you're too f stops behind and he gets crazy, right, so here's, for example, got it one have stopped doubles your light to f stops requires doubling twice. So if we're it f four with four lights and we need to get to f eight, which is only to have stops more that's how many speed lights we're gonna need? Just go to f stops higher. All right, so and this is that it's expensive? Yeah, but it could be speed nights or could be studio lights. You know, the laws of the same one have stopped means double whatever you had before. Where this comes in really handy is when I I'm using to speed lights inside of, say, a doctor doom or whatever you're outside and I'll tell my assistant what the speed lights set out to say they were both at half power. I said, ok, I need one more after I've stopped out of this light. So what would you do? Right turn both to full power not, you know, add another stop the one about me and I had another stop to both. So you're thinking you mind while I'm getting to have stops on the on the flashes, but effectively it's only one f stop to the camera, right? Because you have to at half. That's going to keep it keep in mind especially when you start using multiple speed lights together to light something which we do I do a lot and I think you guys will if you're getting comfortable speed lights will start to do that to to speed lights is great because it gives you faster recycle time also is a back up so if want to be like, failed and didn't go off for some reason at least you're going get half of an exposure rather than no exposure right which you can generally save in post production so it gives you a little insurance and it also of recycles faster and it less wear and tear on your speed lights too less full power blast to give him the longer they last all right, so I gently try to double up my speed lights when I can't even if I don't necessarily need to all used to but we'll talk about that as we start shooting as well but you got to know that that power of light rule otherwise it gets confusing how you adjust okay, another question that people always ask us how do you balance your flash your ambient light? This could be in the studio which will do some we're going to use some of the studio lights and throw in our own light with the flash and how do I balance and use that studio light a lot of times we think I'm just gonna override it blasted the flash and and ignore whatever ambien is there and that's fine if you can do that but it's sometimes it's easier to just use the studio light and say well this will be my feel light and then I'm going to control the main light with my flash but how do we how do we then adjust either one of those special in your outside as well so there's simple rule for that as well basically if you're using flash and ambient if you want to adjust just the ambien the son say for example but you don't want to touch your flash flash is good that's when you go to your shutter speed ok in the back your flash or even back your camera and that will adjust on lee the ambien light right because shutter speed doesn't affect flash long you're not going into like a eight thousand shutter speed here within this the shutter speed range to fifty if you want to just both I mean everything's too bright everything's too dark you want the flash to go up and the army in to go up vice versa go down that's when you can tweak your aperture were I so because that will affect both at the same time equally right they're with me okay if you want on lee to affect the flash meaning your background your and the light is great but the flashes too bright, flash to dark main lights, not where you want it that's, when you would tweak your flesh, power and that's, the only thing that's going to affect just the flash, not in your camera. You can't change a thing in your camera. That's going reflect only the flash. You have to do it on the flash power itself. So those are the three basic rules you need to know. And that helps toe simplify. Balancing the two, which I think is a really good skill beginning me. I've seen advanced photographers who still don't get this and have a hard time figuring out how to get what they want. Balancing the two different lights. Sources.

Class Description

You don’t need expensive gear to make professional quality images. In Building and Using DIY Lighting Gear, Kevin Kubota will teach you how to create lighting and photography tools with affordable and readily available materials.

Kevin will walk you through every step of building your own light modifiers and photo gear and show you exactly how to use them, with live models, for beautiful effects. You’ll learn how to:

  • Work with speedlights and mix natural light with flash
  • Shoot portraits in the studio or on location with DIY gear
  • Set up a simple commercial lighting shoot

Kevin will share essential lighting concepts that will improve all of your lighting choices. You’ll learn techniques you can apply to all the gear you use – whether it is from a manufacturer or your tool shed.

The right gear makes getting your best shot easier. Whether you use natural light, speedlights, or studio strobes this class will show you how to augment your gear with affordable, handmade tools to get even better results.