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Building and Using DIY Lighting Gear

Lesson 2 of 27

Three Essential Lighting Styles


Building and Using DIY Lighting Gear

Lesson 2 of 27

Three Essential Lighting Styles


Lesson Info

Three Essential Lighting Styles

So let's, start talking about some basic lighting stuff, so want to go over before we start building stuff? One of the cool things is that if you have some basic it's important lighting knowledge and know some concept, some of this might be reviewed, but some of it is something sometimes new, even for a lot of experience photographers then you realise ideas start coming to you to build stuff like when I'm in the home depot or I'm in a harbor store, even in a gag store, you know, get stuff like this, I'm looking at stuff with a whole different set of eyes now looking at it like, oh, what kind of photo thing can I make with that? In fact, that was it's in my other bag goes at this store last night, and I saw this rainbow prism thing that you put in the sun and you bend it makes this rainbow of thing, I'm something. And what if I could put a flashlight or speed light through that project a rainbow prism? And how would that look? So I bought it and try to realize it's, you really need the ...

sun this color spectrum of the sun to make it work, some people take outside and try and see if it'll do something I don't know, but everything becomes a photo tool of some sort and that's what's kind of fun is when you understand light, then you can start to think of ways to create something that nobody else thought of. Ok, so let's talk about three essential lighting styles first, while we're going to a real brief through this, then we can start working right after this. All right? So three essential lighting styles the first one being you're large and luminous window light and this is a really important one to be able to create anywhere because it solves most photographic problems. If you have people that have bad skin or heavy faces, even thin faces, no matter what, you can pretty much work with that with the nice large window light it's very flattering to almost anybody on dh it's just beautiful from photographing babies too full size people, big babies, adult babies, whatever large and luminous is beautiful say so here's an example of a scrim large and luminous window light and this is one of the projects we're going to create because I think everybody should have their own window light scrim hey, whether you buy one or make one there's, no excuse because there's so much you can do with it so here's an example let's used here see the speed lights behind the scream it's also reflecting a little bit of sun, but this day we were shooting it was actually the clouds are mostly overcast, and then little son pockets would come so I don't want to depend on that son. So when it was shady and it was the light was just dull, boom! You turn that flash behind her, pops through and get a beautiful, beautiful light. So the cool thing about it is you look at it still has, you know, shaping to her face, but it's soft it's very, very soft. When you balance that with the existing light outside, it just becomes a seamless transition, but that sort of directional soft light would not happen naturally. Comptel the sun is actually peeking through in the back and hitting the edge of her, making a nice little edge light. So we're depending on the sun on lee for edge light and the scrim as our main light lighting her face, and it turns out beautifully, yes, I am, uh, wanted to let folks know like my life. Well, first of all, we're going to come take the table away away, since we're done with our every digging away, very kid, somebody get hurt this time that's, right or fake hurt as the case may be on and light my life says it would be great if we can see pictures taken with his homemade gear and just so everybody knows that's exactly what we're gonna be doing over the work of these two days is not only building but then also photographing and with that light that we're creating so we have daniel who's going to be our model throughout two days and so that's that's exactly what we're gonna be doing yes good thanks for asking that question you know we are going to build and then shoot with everything so we have a model for the next two days we're going build we're going to start off with a simpler lighting and work our way up to something more complex at the end of the day we started using all the tools that we make and start using them together so between after every build and I show you how to make this thing I'll show you how to use it and show you some good lighting techniques as well. So even if you're not making any of this stuff you're gonna learn a lot about lighting in the next couple of days anyway so thank you for bringing that up all right here's another example of using this scrim this was shot in a cave and this is kind of funny we were shooting, you know, try to find always going to find interesting places to shoot so my friend says, you know, why don't we do a boudoir portrait in a cave all right, that sounds good to me so we found a lot of a cave that's underground pitch black have to hike kind of way back into this you know, to get to a clear spot in this cave here and so we're setting up and we brought candles you know told lie rounds are models lying there and we've covered her up here but she was out like a bear skin rug and she's got the slinky outfit on and she's lying there you know, kind of half naked on the thing we're setting up candles and this family comes hiking from out inside the cave they had been in their hiking in this cave you know why I don't know they're in there I don't know but like two little kids and mom and dad and they're coming out and here we are surrounding this woman half naked with candles all around her you know going on this although gundam is on level and so they kind of stopped and like she grabs the gate like come on buddy let's go they scurry on past us and it was you just uh what do you say? You know come join the say on whatever so they scurried by but we've continued to set up the shot but was really very simple set up other the candles and getting down there but it was just the big scrim held above her horizontally one speed light you can see him holding the speed light above and a speed light way in the back of the cave, pointing forward to create sort of a sunny glow so that's the image we got there from that so the speed light shooting right into the lens is an interesting technique sometimes you don't think, why don't my speed like shooting right into lens? But look at the cool kind of a starburst affected it works and it doesn't really take down the contrast very much in fact, that could use a little soft contrast in the shots had been really matter, but it added a nice little interesting, almost like she's in the mountains or something lying on top which another interesting when you think about now top the mountain that could be good shot. So yeah, so it worked out pretty good a little tip for you if you do something like this, bring a fire extinguisher because we kind of not going to say we let the model on fire, but we sort of literal fire, you know, caught up a little bit on fire, we put it out was all good. All right, so the next type of lighting is going to be your medium diffused now we're talking anything about like a three foot octagon, a three foot soft box roughly the size is perfect medium diffuse and this is probably going to be one of your most used tools because it creates directional light adds nice shaping shadows and it needs for phil or total main light it's kind of useful all around so here's an example of using this outside and what we did this one I'm using a neutral density filter to allow me to have my background dark and my shutter speed to fiftieth so that I could get the most power out of my flash that's a little trick we don't we're going to going outside to shoot this class but it's a great trick to know if your speed light user you're going outside if he was a neutral density filter it's make sure your whole system more efficient than using high speeds thank you guys from the with high speed sync on the camera how you can shoot it above your optimal shutter speed maybe don't know this, but high speed sync sucks a lot of power out your flash to do that high speed sink so you end up having reduced output from your flash. If you put a soft box on your flash, maybe a big soft box and you go outside and try to use that in full sun, you're going to find that you can't get a whole lot out of that high speed saying, well next time try with a neutral density filter but the neutral density filter on set your sink speeds to fiftieth or whatever. Your cameras optimum sink speed is two hundred two. Fifty. Dial that neutra density so that your background is where you want it used about a stop less than than normal exposure. And then you can use your flash and you're gonna get about one to two stops. Mohr power from your flash, which is pretty much what you need if you're using a soft box or something on there. So the cool thing is you can shoot saying f one point four one point eight if to whatever big apertures in full sun that's, kind of what we did here, I want to use a very large appetite is to make that background painterly like that. So the light on her there's from us from a three foot lock the box, not from the sun here's. Another example of using that in the studio, this is shot with a lens baby again. We talked about that earlier. The d I y tool gone big and the lens baby, of course, lets you change your plane of focus. I have just one eye and focus. He really just boom, go right there, it's a beautiful effect, but this is one octu dome. But above the medium diffuse and I love it because again look at you have directional shadows you have shadows which you want shadows. Shadows are important, but you want them to be flattering shaping shadows. Okay, here's, another ah, great ideas to take your pop up this this is one of the things that every photographer should have and it's hard to make one of these that pops up and it's just such a cool way t use this, pops up folds in stuff in your bag. This is one of those things where I suggest you buy one. You know westcott makes great ones about companies make these, but the thing that I discovered is that if you put your flash behind that and hold it off about an arm's length behind it, you have this beautiful soft box like light and I've done this at weddings and events for years. My wife hates it because just to hold this thing and it's blowing in the wind like, stay still no closer, farther statement and she's got no, just change the zoom and getting it just right is it's kind of a pain which led me to develop a d I y project, which I'll share with you guys too a little bit, but that makes a beautiful either a phil light or remain like supplementing the existing light so it gives you again a nice soft box quality light, nice catch, lights in the eyes and can be used indoors outdoors as a main light in the studio, whatever. So, again, if you don't want to deal with those big boxes, you pop up, and you gotto do with tons of arms and big speed rings, and then you've got, you know, compacting it doesn't go very small, then this use what you've already got, which is this pop of this you already got that use that our next type of lighting is crispy and direct, and this is, of course, when you have, like, a spotlight, maybe a grid spot or even direct flash, and the main thing with this is learning how to use it properly, because this can go wrong really fast. You can really screw up a portrait if you're not using a crisp direct like nicely on their face. Ok, uh, I use this. This is said if we wanted to create more of an evening lounge e kind of feel with this portrait of here, but we didn't have the evening to shoot it. We called in middle of the day when they were not open at this restaurant, and so what we did is we use a neutral density filter to dark in the ambient light and you can see on the top of the frame. My assistant and her monkey toes ability here is holding that just a single speed light with a grid spot attached to it. And I'll show you how we can make something that works pretty much the same. You don't have to buy anything if you want, and amy it's straight down, sort of a butterfly style lighting and the main thing with crisp in direct light as you follow their nose, think about follow your nose for the most part. No, sometimes you want to create cast shadows that dramatic, but you need to be careful when you're doing that it's going to work. But if you think about follow your nose and if the model turns here that red stuff on my nose again. Speaking of following the model turns here, you move it there. If the model turns here europe here, alright she's looking right at cameron might want have it directly above camera. So having an assistant either with that on a pole, which is another one of things that I use instead of a light stand as much as possible, is just an extension pole. Then that assisted can move that light and your mobile and you can put it wherever you want and that's where she turns her face and you want to try some this way something that way but when the lights right there so that's a great way to work with that type of light ok here's another example of using a crisp in direct this is a beauty dish and we're actually to make a make our own beauty dish that works pretty pretty awesome and cost about six bucks or something so that works as good as the commercial ones but crispin direct on emulating sunlight this is ah engagement hsu often have themes in our engagement shoots so we say you know, talk to my clients and it's okay what do you guys what do you love to do and they were both in this bebop dance class there in this you know that's what they love to do together so well, how about we do something that's sort of like a you know forties theme and you guys there you know she's got poodle skirts, you have approval skirt no, he will make one so we've actually made a poodle skirt but stitching of my assistant did I don't do it stitching on poodles on a black fabric making a skirt out of the whole thing and so he created this theme so the story was we're going to be runaways you guys were lovers and you have this you want to get together, but your family doesn't approve, so you get into your old truck and you're going down the highway running away in the truck breaks down and you don't care you just getting back a truck and you make out and you grabbed your luggage and you're going to run down the highway side, this whole scene in my head playing out, you know, this romantic little fantasy, and it turned out that it worked out great and because they were into it, they love the styling and it worked for them. But that's that's one way that I like to do especially engagement portrait because there's so much fun stuff you can do. And if you think about, you know, that's different it's not the typical let's go stand next to the tree, hugged the tree and smile kind of, you know, portrait. Now, if there's any wrong that maybe if trees or something there arborists and they love trees, you know they're going to get the trees and they're sure that's great. But if you if you talk to the clients, I'm kind of taking a tangent here, but I think it's important. A sales perspective if you want to sell engagement porch it's a lot of truckers have a problem selling a lot from them because it's sort of like the prelude the foreplay to the wedding and they don't really expect him to buy a whole lot, you know? And then they don't they don't really make too much off it, but you can if you make it a really cool theme, I could make an awesome album in itself, you know? You could make a whole story book out of this this play that you've created here, so basically they're just did a whole variety of shots from different parts in the truck in the back of the truck, bold vintage luggage that we just borrowed from ah secondhand store in town truck I borrowed from my friend so the whole shoot was pretty much cheap was very all die why asking, borrowing and making stuff, making her skirt and then shooting out in the street we had a whole serious, but I want we're going go through it all okay in that same cave that we shot, we wanted to do a bridal portrait after we got into the k without this kind of funds let's do a bridal portrait this is direct crispin direct on dh then I'm using a little exercise trampoline another good tip is those exercise trampolines coming really handy actually sometimes bring himto weddings and if you get the little flower girls balancing on that thing if he had a grumpy flower girl that's crying grandpa you know grandpas and grumpy and he doesn't want to cooperate get him on a trampoline I mean you know grandpa loves to jump just like everybody else so this is one direct light boom on her face one delight in the back of the cave to light through the dress ok so we can come up with some like an angel with the wings so as he's jumping those things are fluttering but it's really just one light but she has it has be following her nose if we're to work on her with her face okay if she's turns a face that way and you have these cross shadows and it may not look quite as good might be dramatic and they work but really if you want some it's flattering needs to follow her nose there's another classic style we're going to create a portrait kind of like this tomorrow with our model very hurrell style I'm gonna show you actually as we work through these images to I'm gonna actually shoot put them right into light room and show you how I enhance the image is so kind of give you a little insight to my thought process we're shooting from color black and white whatever so we'll shoot him pop him right in the lighter immediately do a quick little tweak on its. You'll see the whole process, from lighting to posing, to capture, and then the final editing and making image radio to show the client ok in the whole process. So this is their chrisman direct. Again. You have to follow her nose if you want that butterfly lighter. But it's, not the only way. Course. Remember, these just rules and rules are made to be broken.

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.


Geo Montecillo

Super good course highly recommended it will help you get started on a low budget, yet creating wonderful images. Is there a link to west got?

F8 and be there

This was an awesome fun class! So many great ideas on how to achieve various lighting effects on a smaller budget. You will save the price of the course most likely by making one softbox (or whatever) yourself. Highly recommended!

Adrian Martinez

Going into my 4th year of photography, I finally built a photo studio in my home and after purchasing some lighting gear and other accessories, I decided to buy this course for additional ideas - GREAT class! I learned a LOT and was very inspired to be more creative. I especially liked that Kevin didn't joke too much or stray away from the course very much at all. Yet, he was still very entertaining and very informative. I'm putting so much of what I got form this class into action right away! This course DEFINITELY pays for itself - right away!