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Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Lesson 3 of 22

Lighting Approaches Part 1

Joel Grimes

Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

3. Lighting Approaches Part 1

Lesson Info

Lighting Approaches Part 1

This is kind of I call it three light approach. I have no idea I get emails all the time people want to put a name to it so they'll say that joel grimes edgy lighting or whatever I don't know what you could call it clamshell uh, let's see what does another name out there? Butterfly lining clamshell uh get up, get a lighting that's what we call it I don't know there's a there's a name you can put to it. I don't really care what the name is, but what happened was and I'm going to explain this on saturday is when I when I did that one edge light with that one boxer well, also in my head, I thought, what if I put two edge lights and then got an overhead light? What would that look like? And that's how my three heads like three light approach came right and so it's a really fun lighting and here's. Why it's really cool and number one in bill's death number two? If I do composite it's a lot easier to put it into a background, at least for me. And so I didn't know that the beginning I didn't ...

wasn't that smart, and I didn't realize this lighting technique was sort of take off people are using it but I'm not the first to ever do three lights like this I'm doing I get this email from a guy who said, well, back in the eighties, I did this thing make fine, I'm not trying to take credit for it, not just doing it, but here's, the beauty that I've got here's the beautiful thing that I've got that a lot of people don't do I take a certain technique and I repeated over and over, I beat in the ground and I get people to email me all the time they say when you're gonna move on when I feel like it, I'm not ready and so I've built a brand with this light okay, so most people give up after a year it takes about three to five years to build a brand so here we have three lights. Okay now so I wanted I would take you through a couple portrait's with three lights. This is very edgy. Okay, so it's their small modifiers this is too small boxes and a beauty dish overhead. Now that beat it just could be under the small box. You don't have to have around modifier overhead so let's go back to that. I kind of skipped over it. Why would I pick a round modifier as my overhead versus a rectangular square tess light now? So does it mean that I have to use around modifier because that's the thing to do no, you can use a square box or erecting a boxes overhead and you get a little box who cares? But as a general rule, we have sort of traditionally said a round modifier overhead gives a more pleasing catch light in the eye. Now when it comes to your cattle, I don't think it really matters they don't really care the cows really don't have input on what square or rectangular or circular, but a lot of rita cher's actually have made catch light reflections and they just drop them in so you don't you could do it later if you really wanted to but let's just say as a general rule hate rules but as a general principle like principles better if you have a round modifier overhead, you have a nicer catch light but beauty dish now she's turned up into the beauty dish, but look how dark it is down below, right? Because that would fall off is really sharp because it's so close so I'm gonna tell you right now it's hard to believe this but that beauty dishes about that far from her face barely I know it's not more two feet guys that's about two feet it's about their I'm shooting just underneath it and I use wide angle is this so traditionally people say hey, how can use a wide angle lens for a portrait? I love it, I don't really do long lens stuff for much why is that? Because I'm drawn to what I like doesn't mean you do it just that's my way, so I'm with a really wide lands yes, her shoulders a little bigger, she could be careful with whiting a lens, but I love that because most of what I do when I drop in a background composite, I love that wide angle background, so I need a little wide angle feel in the front to give that expanse to make it look real. But here's to three lights, small modifiers being in fairly close, they're not too far away. Maybe the edge lights are about five, four feet back. Casey, I watch the next one here we have a beauty dish overhead, but the beauty dishes now about five feet from my subject. So look how harsh it is lot harsher, and I have my big big I call my large west kats they're about eight feet back, maybe maybe not quite ten, but about eight, eight, nine feet back, so they're harsher, but yet look at the distance the lights lit all the way up the side, so if I had a small modifiers at, say, five feet I get a pretty good edge, but it wouldn't cover the whole body, so I ask myself do I want the edge to go a whole body now you get stripped like people e mail me the time. What about strip light? Strip lights are great, but they're going to be a little narrow and there will be a little harsher than I say a box that's bigger so how much surface light are you blasting onto someone? How close are they so strip likes are great. I don't own strip lights, but um but I can get the light to go from head to toe by beginning bigger modifiers backing him up so that's three light approach there let's look at another three light approach here is sam well, no ok, same boxes on the backs of the large boxes in the back, but they're really close just out of the free and then I have a five foot opto overhead at about three feet two feet, so if it was five feet it would be a little harsher, but I moved it in a for close like get just underneath it and then I have a phil carter neath but all this shadowing curvature of values it's not by accident, I'm not brilliant, but I've haven't idea of what I want and kids because I know how to go harsher how to go softer and I moved my lights around to where I get the shadows just right bam I'm in on my nail it so not by accident now I do something's by accident but most the time when I'm lighting I know where to put the lights and with the value in all that because I've done it so many times and I practice it and the more you understand this the easier it iss just go that's a little too hot fix it and maybe by your power output but really it's more by the size of the modifier and how close it is how far away so that's a three light approach now watch this one here's three light approach to and this is obviously a composite here but I've got my two seven footers is my edge lights pretty close with a five footer overhead really close with a big fat bounce underneath so I'm blasting all sorts of light onto my model really close now I would have never thought I would do this picture but because I understand the bigger the source one day I thought wow you know this girl comes in she jessica she's just absolutely gorgeous she's the other girl that's laying in the water over here she's a really amazing model who happened to move to seattle and so I was really mad when she left l a but the point is is that she had a lot lighter skin so I was thinking what would happen if I got really soft light and then with my photo shopped techniques like the skin a little bit and create an image and here's what I love ten years ago this party would have been accepted there's say where's your mid tones so I want to create an image today that people go wait a minute we're talking about this on saturday wait a minute you're breaking some rules here I love it so this kind of breaks a lot of the rules but the fact is is that I created by be having big sources in close okay? So three lights all different looks because of the size is and how close air in the fun you're not stuck they mix it up and do whatever you want wide angle lenses for portrait's about how wide are you on? I would say at least a twenty four or maybe a thirty five millimetre on a full friend that's pretty wide now you gotta be really careful the distance you have there's a point when you get too close boom things happened and so you know there there is a little bit of a trick now on occasion I will go in tow liquefy and maybe make someone's nose a little smart you just got a little too big right? I can cheat and you don't want to cheat when you're in school on a test but it's okay to cheat when you're creating images because you're an artist and an artist can get away with cheating so I have no problems two shooting wide angle portrait what type do you find works? Well, most okay for most athletes I wanted to look up why? Because that makes him look like a superhero. So when people describe my work I whole they say joel makes people people look larger than life superheroes so I want to go up a little bit but you gotta be careful with that with wide angle angie had their arms crossed like this these arms get big now there's someone who wants to be a big muscle bound person they're gonna wall hole hole I'm looking good now if you have someone like this with wide angle their biceps look skinny because it's further back so you haven't moved to this on the same plane but if you have someone's hand forward gets big so I know all that stuff by practicing and understanding a little bit of how to position and so but I love to do the wide angle effect that's just me I love it all right, so let's go with cross light now and we called cross light window light across light I have people e mail me it's not really cross like okay whatever um but in that broke renaissance time period the painter started to model their subjects with light and what that does that brought death into a two dimensional surface and we believe it's more real and so as a photographer let's go back as an artist you need to understand that billy depth is important in your image is one of these weigel wide angles because I'm stretching the perspective right so bill's depth so that's why I like wide angle debt the field can help give you the illusion of death lighting and give you the illusion of depth we're doing all this so the rembrandt cross is a good way to create depth now if you look on uh this girl on on her right cheek there's a triangle right there that's caused by cross light and my modifier moving forward and backwards until that nose and the rounds the cheek create the triangle it's very simple but most people don't get it you look at the picture it's like the moon right let here pure black so what we did in the early days is we what before I understood the rembrandt triangle we just put a big phil card oh too dark guild card but that's the danger could just putting light into black right I still want my blacks or my dark sides but I want that to rap with the triangle it's a gorgeous like it's the most classic light on the play planet and has been very popular and I think it's going to have a resurgence in the industry so in the future I'm gonna probably be going back to more cross light stuff I love it but I've kind of been in it for a while but I love this's old uh four by five pictures not dropped into you know photo job truly shot with a four by five uh I did a whole series of large format portrait's for about seven years all on type fifty five polaroid there's a great time period um but I had to move on and so that's why I abandoned that now here is, um the rembrandt cross light but two big seven foot westcott modifiers but umbrellas with the fusion so I'm just making a big window right? So what? What was go back to our theory for principle the bigger the source a relation of subjects softer light so the good news is is that when I use a big source bigger sources my model can do this it doesn't change much you have a small box in close you're the perfect light indigo it changes everything so bigger modifiers allow you to have your model move around so that's the good thing about she athletes if they're going to jump through the air you need to think about okay I think it landed on my modifiers knocking my life's over back him up but you got to get him know what you want the softest light you got to get big modifiers so these air two huge seven foot uh umbrellas hears the same thing beautiful soft cross light and uh that's that's the joy of of that looked across light and usually one I say one life but two lights making one big modifier and what happened was I was teaching a workshop and I was explained I offset my lights for years I offset my light in my modifier to give me a grey dated effect on my soft box and actually I don't think we have a little chalkboard thing, but I I explain it and maybe we'll do it on a set and that is that as the light the rembrandt light comes around the further you're pointed on the box because your box runs this way that distance is further to travel, right? So it's a weaker light so what happens is it gives you great aided effect well and I was explained this to my class and this lady says, um I don't have a soft box but I got two umbrellas could I do with two umbrellas? I have never thought of that and we did it and look beautiful and so today you'll see me often take two modifiers either soft boxes are umbrellas to get cross light and I can feather the one furthest from my subject up and down teo smooth out the rembrandt triangle so to modifiers make a lot you want to pull that in here I really feel like I'm a teacher now okay so what a whiteboard it's official joel so where should we put this right there okay so let's do this and I'm gonna take I think you just get a black here so let's say we're looking down on my subject I made at the aerial view so let's have a subject here that's the head not a very good head right shoulder's okay that's pretty built person okay so that and to say the camera's here so we're gonna make a little lens here in a camera there's my camera so if I take you have a thing to wipe your hair care if I take and put which most when you go to a class and you learn lighting here's a strobe and then they tell you to put it a forty five year angle so what's happened is life blasting you like that but for the most part the distance from here to here is about equal to the subject you get a soft light hate the rembrandt light and you'll notice this and I used to you know when I shot polaroids I'd show this for a class and we have the polar is lined up side by side now what happens is if you move your box here. Okay, there's, your strobe, then the lights blasting here, right? The light from here has a lot further travel in here. So it's weaker. So you get a rembrandt, all right, say a rembrandt, but you get a soft, great asian yet more tones. Now what I did, though, by accident is I learned to put my light here. So it blasted in here, and it forced the perspective more. And I got actually a greater rap. So I did that for years. Probably fifteen years. I had an offset bracket and my my strobes. So that allowed me to get in, do my and I do this. Like in my sleep, I got so good at it, but so that explains. But if you have, if you have to modifiers. So let's say we have a big umbrella here and a big umbrella here. You've got your, um, that's really lousy drawing here. But you got your lights there. Then this one is going to be weaker, but you can feather that went up and down to match the look that you want.

Class Description

This course is part of the Joel Grimes Bundle.

Commercial photography isn’t about mastering complex lighting ratios or obscure retouching techniques. Successful commercial photography hinges upon your ability to turn your creative vision into a polished product. In this class, commercial photographer Joel Grimes will teach you how to think of your photography as an artistic process, not a mathematical equation.

Joel, a commercial photographer with more than 25 years’ experience working for top advertising agencies, will reveal his signature lighting, shooting, editing, and marketing methods. Joel will teach you to trust your artistic instincts by demonstrating how he conceptualizes two different photo shoots: an edgy athletic portrait, and a commercial beauty shoot. Joel will also walk you through how to identify the right lighting to attain your desired result.

After transforming the way you think about conceptualizing, lighting, and shooting, Joel will unveil his creative compositing techniques and tips and tricks for retouching skin. By the end of this two-day workshop, you will have a tried-and-true playbook for creating works of photographic art that dazzle commercial clients.

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Fantastic!! He is so down to earth and humble. His work is unique an exceptional and he shares his techniques, experience, tricks, and best of all his life stories that took him to where he is now. One of the best instructors in CL. I love how he checks the ego at the door and just shares his art and techniques with us. I definitely recommend this course and I was lucky enough to get it at a great discounted price but it is worth its regular price imho.


He's my new favorite instructor, there are many CL instructors I really like but the second I watched and heard him I bought the course, love his style, love his knowledge and the way he conveys it. His way of Frequency separation is fantastic and pretty precise and takes care of a lot of flaws. Learned lots! Thanks Joel! Thank heavens I am not color blind ;)


Joel makes it easy to follow when it comes to editing and shooting. He is a wonderful teacher and very easy to learn from. I enjoyed the photoshop techniques he taught as well as his approach to lighting. My favorite part is his advice on business it's very motivating and inspirational. I thoroughly enjoyed this course!