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Commercial Photography: Thriving in a Competitive Industry

Lesson 9 of 12

Lighting Set up and Explanation of Shoot

Joel Grimes

Commercial Photography: Thriving in a Competitive Industry

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

9. Lighting Set up and Explanation of Shoot

Lesson Info

Lighting Set up and Explanation of Shoot

Alright, so what we'll do here is a simple set up um and I've been kind of going back to my cross light look, I did this for twenty five years so one light cross light is probably the most beautiful light on the planet in fact, I didn't talk to recently and I said called it the most beautiful on the planet and it's called you know, the rembrandt kind of lighting cross like right and there's a lot of names that people use for it so I got in trouble on facebook I posted an image and I called it, you know, cross light and I got chewed out uh by someone they said you know, I was not shooting it correctly well, I can tell you this that I started doing this in nineteen eighty three four cross light and I mean, I did it for twenty five years almost everything I did was one like cross like so I've done this a lot when I went to the three light edgy light that I've been doing the last you know, eight years or so and then now I'm kind of going back to it but there's a really fun things that were...

dio so my goal today is not only to explain what about like, this is leslie are beautiful model and she is gonna look good I'm telling you already shot just a couple of quick frames to see if everything's working but my goal is this when it comes to you know, a studio full of backgrounds I've had all sorts of kansas backgrounds custom made campus backgrounds I made my own you could buy him you know now there's a lot of companies out there but because we're in the digital age and with photo shop and all these really cool things were photoshopped one thing that is a little kind of side thing that I'm working on and that is if I photographed on a neutral gray background that background or that gray when I take it into photo shop I can use a blini mode like over layer soft light and I can attach any texture to it so in essence I can have one background in a studio and have thousands of options for textures later and I'll show you how to do that so we're gonna do what we do our goal is to create an image of leslie taking over the photo shop I'll show you how I do that process so it gives you a set of tools in uh you know, for your clients that it's just fun and it's like ok, yeah well kind of background you want we can change it up and um I'm gonna show you also I do a lot of my own backgrounds but I'm gonna show where I get some really cool backgrounds now when it comes to lighting it plays a big role in my uh you know, my work flow and you know I'm color blind and so uh that's not a mystery I mean, we're not cia secret I've been sharing that for years but because I'm color blind eye look at lighting more important than I say color right? So light is very important to me how light strikes the face and so, um I've made it my goal to sort of I would call master lite figure out how it works in the last eight years I mixed it up and I'm grown like crazy and part of it is, um we've got mohr modifiers on the planet today than we've ever had before more options good and bad so the good is we have us options the bat is what option do I use what's the best modifier, right? So it's confusion so have you ever watched a behind the scenes of your favorite photographer and they're doing something and you're going, why are they doing that? Why did they choose an octo box over a rectangular box? Why they put an overhead while they're doing sideline? Why did they do this all the stuff? And so when I do lighting I teach lighting I want explain it so that a third grader could understand it and I believe it's that simple so well, maybe not third grader maybe an eighth grader it but it is simple, so I always say, I'm taking the mystery out of lighting and I'll explain the basic number one rule of lighting and that is the bigger your source your modifier is a sword also that wall over theres a source this floor is a source um, not counting all these, you know, hot lights in here but everything can be a source. So yes, this is, you know fabric and you got a light in the middle of it, but it's a source so the size of your source and really shipped how far it is from your subject determines how harsh or how soft your light is. That's number one rule number two rule is how much ambien or bounce you have back coming back in the scene can either the more bounce the softer it gets so I have a source coming here, but if I have a white floor and I'm allowing this to hit which that's not going to hit a lot but it will little bit that's going to bounce a little bit now have a phil card bouncing that's going to soften it, so the more bounce or soft our bounce or reflected light coming back into the scene ends up softening the overall look, so if I put this let's see, this is about three feet from her I create a very beautiful soft light if I back it up toward that wall I have a lot of room but I back it up is going to get harsher and harsher and harsher that backing away if I move it closer it's going to softer softer if I add a second light which we have one in case we have time we'll do that that's going to also make it bigger, right? So two big soft boxes make it bigger source was a softer so you get the rhyme to reason here and that is if I want to soften it up I get either a bigger modifier or move whatever I had in or at a little bit more extra balancer ambient coming in so a big four by eight sheet of foam core on this side is going to be softer than that that just whatever size that is has two feet by four feet or whatever and if I move that in and out it's going to change how much bounce coming in out so I use foam core I use regular I have the pop reflectors anything give me little bounce someone you're outdoors there's a lot of ambient usually right lets you at night um and so your shutter speed determines how much and me it comes back into your seat so you watch photographers there filling with their ambien all the time or their shutter speed to get either more softer, you know, or if you were part of sun that's a whole another problem that is determined you can't go above your sinks be unless you do high speed, sinking, whatever so all these variables that come into play when you go and start created image, but if you understand the basic rule of thumb in the bigger the source, your relationships, your subject, the softer or the harsher, the light so people ask me all the time how far is your soft box? No, no, they'll you know, cia picture how far your soft box robin, you're saltbox, how far was it? I know I don't really know what you have stopped. Well, I know my stop usually because in a studio environment, typically I'm at seven point one, but I don't care about my f stop necessarily I want to be a sweet spot of the lens unless I'm doing a wide open shelves at the field scenario, but my settings aren't that important to me. I don't know, I don't care what the output of the strobe is. What I want to know is what does it look like when I take a picture so people know what your what your output in your strobe I don't know how far away I don't know I moved it into I like the light I backed it up until like the light I put a phil card until like the light so you see where I'm going here my intuition plays a huge role not the technical measuring of everything I don't use lighting ratios are to use a flash meter I I'm going to show you a history graham I use a history for one reason and that is to determine the value of the grey that's it to show you how we do that in a minute but I never use a history graham or a flash meter or lighting rachel's or I you never see me with a modern light until I do a demo so have modeling light on here but I never use them on like what's the mom we're going to do if I could focus in here I don't care about a money light so you see what I'm doing is I'm allowing the monitor on the back to tell me if I'm on or not make sense so that's the key the lighting so here's what I would say you know you know what? I'm kind of confused people say what about speed lights? What about you know students drops I'll explain a little bit the minute it's here's you want one lighting you grab I don't care any modifier grab a subject and go out and start shooting doing in a dark you know controlled environment take it out in the hallway taken under a porch take it out on the street taking under a tree in a park you just go and play with that modifier that's it and also you go there's some patterns going on here I'm starting to figure this out and you're looking in the back you're monitoring, you're going, I'm on key or I'm not on camera I'm I'm on or not because your intuition is telling you so that's how you learn lighting is take a subject and repeat it in practice then one day you go you know what my three foot modifier is too small I need a bigger one you go on by a five foot he played with that for a while then you go I need a seven foot when you buy a seven foot I need a three nine on if you have big scripts this this the studio has a big white sweep here that that could be a modifier this wall could be a modifier you understand? So I always give an example if I take a piece of foam court I don't have let's do this one here's a large west cut large soft box this is if I was to buy one modifier to start with when it comes to rembrandt cross like this is it started with large soft box I use this for twenty five years this this exact size did a whole book on the navajo forty five thousand images one modifier one light um so they could start right here now if I take this and put it on and swap it out here this is going to be harsher than that at the same distance now I'm gonna do more love beauty headshot portrait today so I want to stop this I could get white so I get my biggest modifier but on a general you use for a cross like this a good light um and I did it really close as close as I can without is showing up in the frame so it's a good modifier a start um and it's pretty quick to set up pretty durable and it's not too bad outdoors in the wind this isn't really a tough to be outdoors in the wind but see outdoors I don't wouldn't probably need a seven footer because I have so much ambient this was perfect so at the same distance so let's say I have let's play I put this up a three feet in the studio it'll be harsher then if I put it three feet outdoors all the ambient the software all that lights coming in right let's have a super high six speed and a super you know powerful strobe then you can overpower this it make it look they like look like night time but that's pretty tough to do but one of saying is this is a good place to start so um if you already have this you're good now inside there's a baffle now when I was starting out in the early days the insides were white and then the manufacture came along and did silver and I was like what do I do? What silver do I was all panicky well ok so you see the baffle inside there there's a baffle inside there what that baffled does is I thought, well, that just softens the light right? Because now I got two pieces of the fusion of going through well that's not true what that does is that distributes delight because you have around source in the middle right? So they take the battle out the round source blast uh more light in the center of the box and and what happens is he gets weaker out here, right? So you're is great it out but she got really blast well so what does that tell you? You've got this three foot by what is it? Two foot uh modifier but you're blasting light the center so you really have a small modifier so the diffusion spreads out the light evenly it cuts down on your f stop though but it gives you a full distribution of light across the surface. This is very important because when I years ago used umbrellas, I would use umbrellas for group shots, but I would never use an umbrella for a portrait across light. Why? Because here's, my problem here's, the westcott seven foot umbrella they make the white interior, the silver interior, they make a diffusion. Um, so what happened is I used umbrellas this I never usually with this biggest have sixty inch ones, and I would put the light in here and I would zoom it down and put it in there, and I have a standard hood on and I would be blasting like the very center of my umbrella, and I put over an umbrella, I put it as a portrait, and it was really harsh. I'm thinking while umbrellas air, hurley harsh. Well, what I wasn't doing, it wasn't allowing the I like to spread out to illuminate the whole modifier, so the reason why I'm going through all this is that this is a this is a pricey this is the west cut uh, seven foot octo box absolutely beautiful you buy this, you'll have in a lifetime that's kind of pricy I don't know the exact price, but it's hundreds of dollars and, um, if you love a big source and you know you're going to use it a lot you by this but if you go you know what I'm on a budget and I'm not really sure if I like a big source you can get this and we're going to put it on john but basically you put this over and you fill it up and this becomes a seven foot octo and umbrellas one hundred boxes is like thirty bucks so four hundred thirty bucks you had the same modifiers this the on ly ki is this ok? The only key is it when you put your light in here pull it as far as you can take all the reflectors off so it's bare bulb or bear you know and then boom it hits us far as you can there are some manufacturers that produce strobes that don't have a very wide even with the reflector off I won't mention any names but it's not wide enough yet to buy a special adapter put on there just to get wide then you got a stroke but that long it's just it doesn't make any sense to me but you if you want to use this system you needed to spread wide then you have us even legal it causes bouncing in and out and it's evenly lets surface and have a seven foot modifier gorgeous light and so I use this a lot and I had these I had these before ahead this so once like hot, I love this light and you go out and invest in this but these will last is a pretty durable but outdoors the wind blows him over and you know eventually they're going to start oh, you'll have an accident a break these and blow over and they're pretty durable right? So you know, this is going to last a lot longer than this and you know, a ten year time period but these are very inexpensive I would probably start out with white interior if you're going to do the cross soft light do white thie umbrellas the silver's great just having you know outdoors with just a big almost like the you know like a big it is just a huge bright modifier that you could set up like maybe twenty feet away it really throws a light so the silver is great for that so I have the silver on I have the white so that gives you a servant a little bit of it of a background or a little bit of a a foundation or lighting I also have the extra large westcott boxes so they're bigger than this and so let me just clarify one real simple thing the shape of them bottom fire has this much to do with the quality of light that strikes a face you see that that zero what the shape does is when it reflects in something like the eyeball so if you notice when I do a lot of overhead portrait's I have a small around modifier like a twenty two of the beauty of this type or or the thirty six a rapid box that's around over and this so that the catch lights around in the eye but when it comes to aside portrait like this you don't have to have a rectangular soft box around sources good it's going toe and I always run a straight ninety degree and I'll show you wait a minute but so don't get caught up on the shape I did for years and so people come to me go oh my god I had this modifier from this company and it's like angel light I go well it's just a modifier so if I take this this piece right here is almost sorry jonathan undo this this is almost the same size is this pretty darn close that almost work john okay if I take this and set it up over here and just set it up right there take a strobe and throw light and fill the light up on this whole completely it's exactly the same car light is this soft box no difference it's just a source and so that's why lighting is such a mystery is because that doesn't make any sense right cause they're blasting light through here it's just a big panel light that's all it is so don't get caught up in the shape and when it comes to when it comes to, um, the name brand, I happen to love westcott. But here's what I would say. The reason why, like westcott, is because I put these together on the road two hundred times a year, term up term down and a good soft box will last you ten plus years. So you get what you pay for, right? But if it's aligned with silver or gold threading it's not gonna make you better picture, right, so so there are some manufacturers that make make it more expensive, soft boxes, but they're not going to give you a better picture, right? So don't get caught up on the gun, the shape and you know how much you pay for just cause you paid a thousand dollars for a soft box doesn't mean it's going to make a better picture. That makes sense, but we are human beings. We get sucked into things.

Class Description

Find out what it takes to get noticed in the commercial photography world!

In Commercial Photography: Thriving in a Competitive Industry, Joel Grimes will share real-world insights on making it as a commercial photographer.

Joel has worked in the commercial arena for more than 26 years and in this class he will share the most important lessons he has learned. 

Joel will teach you how to:

  • Build a successful promotional advertising campaign
  • Win over Art Directors
  • Develop a strong visual brand and create your own trends
  • Leverage a bound, printed portfolio to win clients

Joel will also demonstrate how he creates his own iconic look. You’ll see how he blends Rembrandt cross lighting and and background textures in Photoshop to produce his moody, intense images.

Commercial Photography: Thriving in a Competitive Industry with Joel Grimes will help you gain your foothold and get ahead in the high-intensity discipline of commercial photography.  

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James Munroe

Very good course. Joel tells it like it is. Very cool photography & Photoshop tips that I'll use in my business. Thanks Joel and Creative Live for an awesome course! James

a Creativelive Student

Commercial Photography: thriving in the competitive industry is a very straightforward class. Joel is clear and to the point, breaking down step-by-step how he did it. From developing a portfolio to getting your name in front of people; from setting up the light to the post-processing thinking. I am so happy I bought this course. Thank you Joel Grimes for your time and expertise.