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Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Lesson 4 of 22

Lighting Approaches Part 2

Joel Grimes

Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

4. Lighting Approaches Part 2

Lesson Info

Lighting Approaches Part 2

Now I'm gonna go back to something I get emails people they'll say well I only have one light I'm waiting to get money to get another light well guess what with one light joke and I say this one light one camera one lens even rocked the world so I got to my boys are now learning photography ones is doing more still and he just ordered some lights but he had one light for a while and he'd call me up and we talk and well away from my life they don't take the one light go out in practice with one light because we are human beings we want have all our equipment then we want to take pictures just slowly build up the one light the beauty dish is literally about that far from my subject really close and you say how is that possible? Twenty four millimeter lens I'm shooting underneath it he's leaning up against the wall boom that natural then yet is pretty much what comes out of the camera it's kind of fun one light so here's a sixty inch umbrella your source but I'm outdoors some allowing a l...

ittle of the ambient I'm watching this shadow the shadow the shadow the shadow I'm watching that I can position my overhead the higher the overhead goes up the longer the shadows the lower goes down the short of shadows it's not by accident that I get my shadows perfect why? Because I've been doing this a long time and I'm watching where it goes so you can position your light up and down to get your shadows perfectly I can always feel in it's true but get your shadows perfectly then if you want to soften a little bit you fill in and this was outdoors and so allowed me to get the ambient to fill in so here's an over half that was a thirty inch what I say sixty inch I don't know but now here's a five foot octo now she got her eyes closed but and she's got ourself kind of covered here but you see a little shot on her lip but again I've positioned my box to give me the exact shadows that I want now I had a beauty dish on before this and the background was a dark gray and well as I was sitting there thinking I want a lighter great boom put a five footer back to that little bit shot my picture that's what I got I like the gray so that's the beauty of having a couple options in oversights here's a seven footer about seven eight feet from my subject leaning against a white wall. Obviously I knocked it out into composite but still a shadow a lot softer because this bigger source but relatively the same quality of light is before maybe not because it's about stats backed up now if I take this seven footer burton put a five feet away a lot softer so that's fun overhead light so now we're going along here we've got a spot so I'm just taking a regular hood that comes with your flash you're strobe I put a ten degree spot on it tape it up so there's this a slit so my modifiers what a half inch by eight inches pretty damn small right okay look what happens now I take and put the subject up against uh the um I don't want a seven foot octo but it's a modifier so I turned white and all I do I don't have to use a flash meter folks all I do is bring the power up until the wrinkles and the fabric disappear and you got a perfect white and then that little spots going right down the middle and it's about that far from the subject so that's fun here I use it again in a workshop I left my edge lights up and turned him down really low so I have a little bit of edge light on her um but that spotlights now but a little bit further back but it's about two feet from her bam just a little slit eight inches by half inch smack right on her face kind of fun now in photo shop I did add the little glow and the background so that wasn't even done with the light okay simulating direct sunlight this is kind of fun so we see a lot of this you see, photo was doing this to shoot outdoors and all that stuff or in a studio that's a kind of a cool look it's a real harsh look but it is a white a white background and so not being the smartest guy on the planet when I decided to try to simulate sunlight I thought how am I going to figure out the distance to run my light in my studio to simulate sunlight right now let's go back to our principal if I want to simulate the son I have to make my source the same size of the sun so I've got two options I can take the splash outdoors, get a thick pair of sunglasses run it up then walked back until the sun in the light of the same size measure that distance there's your perfect simulation of sun or you could take a shot and take your hand take the sun may be on a white wall take a picture watch the edginess of the shadow go into studio have your assistant back it up until you get the same edginess and then you gonna simulate son I found that out with an eight inch reflector to get a good representation of what would be simulation of sun is about twenty eight feet from my subject now you see I don't have a studio at twenty eight feet no problem and I just got back to mexico no problemo you get a smaller source right so let's not do a mathematical equation here but let's just say in theory someone going to send me an email joel on your math is all wrong I don't care because I'm not a mathematician but let's just say if I cut my source to four inches in theory it could be half that distance I don't know how to test it but get a small source round and you can get the simulation of sun but here's the thing remember that twenty eight feet spreading like this whole studios will be lit right good or bad I think good because what I do is I take a lot of phil put him on a white sweep let's let's go look at some images here's eight twenty eight feet back boom look how sharp the shadow is no phil cards nothing but just bang really harsh shadows there is a floor and there is a ceiling but it's not white that was inside of a huge beautiful house here is a model laying down on a white sweep so goes up I got too big for by eight flats wide open bouncing back into the scene and I'm standing on my snapple boxes with uh camera overhead and bam look at the shadows on her little eyelashes are those beautiful so this is a small modifier eight inches with lots of bounce but let's go back to her rule member out influence helps soften the light so here's a look you couldn't get with a soft box it's soft but harsh it's kind like that it's like a combination of things so how did I go this direction by understanding my principle I thought what would happen if I took a light twenty eight feet back and then just bounce all sorts of crazy filling that's what happens lots of fun it's not rocket science so that's the beauty of what we do is I can go and just take an idea and experiment with it and get a look that maybe nobody on the planet can get or hasn't gotten so that's what I do is I play play play play so when I have a studio just shot for client on monday and I say welcome to my studio today's gonna be one big experiment now hopefully it's not too much because I've I've got a history of shooting but when I go on shoot it's an experiment I don't know exactly what's going to happen because number one the model dark skin light skin deep eye sockets bulging eyes big nose small nose, big ears chin all these things that shape of face is different no one's the same a beard we got hair that comes over blocks the face I'd like that differently so I gotta go on through and sort of figure it out as I'm going it's an experiment and so the fun thing is because I know my basic lining principles I could get where I want to go I can make it happen you take a little bit but to me it's actually fun experiment so let's think about this if everything I did was the same every day kind of boring right? So I actually like the challenge someone comes in with a double chin well see, I wouldn't get this look better than what you know john and how long is the time for you for your ex my expert opinion yeah among doesn't take like a ballpark. Well okay, so the question is I mean, really do I have the luxury of unlimited time? No, uh I'm doing an athlete a high profile athlete celebrity athlete you may fifteen minutes so in that scenario I probably do a little bit less experimenting than I would in another but I say I got to get this done I got fifteen minutes usually I have all my life set up my sister's we've got everything in position and we have to make it happen so but even then until that person steps into the light I don't know how it's going to really look and when I will shoot him guys, we call them guys in ties, but you know, the suits, the ties, congressman, billionaires or whatever I've done, we sometimes we'd get someone the same height, same kind of build in a suit as a standard because I had five minutes with someone so I can't play. So you get your your your assistance in a white t shirt, you know, long hair, long, greasy hair just hopefully my assistants don't have long, greasy hair, but it's not the same. So it's always good to be prepared, but yeah, what even when I'm shooting a model, they have let's say, plenty time I try not to beat a model into the ground, I don't tryto I mean, I don't wanna wear somebody out, so I can kind of get a sense of if someone's getting tired so I'll keep on trying trying to get excited and they go getting tired, I'm like, okay, you know, let's let's, not push it too much because if they look tired, usually you don't get a very good picture, but I'm sensitive that, but I would say usually, you know, like it let's, just say this shot here, it probably took me thirty minutes of playing with a life before I got the light that I want because I don't know this is actually the first one I did with this look the next one gotta leisure you know, because I've done it once, so bouncing light back in is a good way to, um soften the light so that makes sense so here's what? I want you to do it I want to take away we're gonna go there next session we're going to go actually go to shooting but I want you to take this away when you watch a behind the scenes and you go last my favorite photographer well, my gosh, they're using an octa box I gotta run out and buy knock, box no, they have a big source, right? And if you have a schematic like I when I was early days, I get a book there's a picture of ah umbrella and they'll say it's ten feet away they'll have a little figure of a model like I you know, I don't a chalkboard type thing and you go to try and doesn't work why? Because they're not taking into consideration floors, ceilings faces different strobes, all those things that variables so you can't work off this schematic very dangerous when I shoot I don't use modeling lights so people always e mailing why aren't you using modeling? Well, here's why morning lights are to pete are supposed to be in a dh and helping you figure out where to put the lights right so why not use morning lights well number one the crowd cause a lot of heat not that much but enough okay so you know what your models sweaty number two I have some strobes I've had for fifteen twenty years you put heat on a stroll for fifteen twenty years it's not gonna last is if you don't put heat on it it wears that something down just like your car you know you get a lot of hot is always cooking in the sun in arizona you know don't buy a car near zone but it is you hate wears things down breaks things now number two but ultimately why don't use mom and life is because I want the monitor to be my influence not the modelling lights to make sense I wantto I need to bring that light up a little bit okay click it's a little too dark raise it up we're getting close that's why flash meter doesn't tell you where to put the light it can only tell you the amount of light value that's hitting that little dome that's all I can tell you so that's the problem of the flash meter is it doesn't make a creative decision for you you've got to go in your head okay okay so ej lightened me think okay and agile light should be a stop over than your normal so f you know, f nine I need an f elevens edge light, right or whatever. I don't think like that, but let's just say you do, but how do you know that? What if you have a light shirt or dark shirt or leather? Or absorb black dress, dark skin, all you can't just say my head's light's got to be one stop over or two stops over what my normal light is it's not enough information from me I want to know exactly and so there's no accidents when I shoot I say there's some found accidents, but ultimately I know where I'm going so that's the beauty of it is that you can get to that point was so my last slide, I believe right now if we still have it is that oh, stopping action oh my gosh! My last slide should be this we'll talk about stopping action maybe a little later that's just determining the strobe you have vs, you know, high speed sync. But, um the most important thing is that four inches can make or break your picture that's how critical line is for me and I'm after tiger's comes to me they've been shooting for twenty five years and they go wow that's amazing how you find tune it that much and we're gonna talk about this on saturday, I keep referring to saturday's just like the big day, right? But when I come on, we're talking about being an artist and how I see I'm color blind and I want to give it away were talking about our weaknesses and our strength, but the fact that I'm color blind, I'm not worried about certain things, but I am very in tune about how light strikes the face so that's kind of my world, I'll spend the time and getting the light right. I may be a really lousy wardrobe stylist and picking the right clothes of the colors, but when it comes to light, I know where my light needs to fall. And so think about this I've been doing this for how long I wouldn't give my age away, but thirty something years, but you've been looking at images your whole life to, but because I've repeated the process so much, I I am really good at picking out the perfect spot to put the light, just like when I was painting houses in college, I got really good at walking into a room and going, wow, they did a really lousy job painting in here because I had been painting for four years, you know, and I knew how to cut in a straight line. So if I saw slop, I pick it up, so I train my just like I've tree my for lighting, you can train your eye for that, too, if it's important to you so we're going to do is we're gonna go from here this session with a model, a live model, and I'm gonna show you how I think it's, my first model is a sports scenario, so let's go from there and then we'll have a good time. Fantastic. Well, guys, I hope that you are having much fun this morning as I am, and I'm sure susan is as well we're enjoying this, joel. We'd love to ask you maybe one or two questions before we weigh end out here. Fantastic let's, go ahead and start with one from uh, boby. Well, first of all, let everyone know there are a lot of technical questions that are coming in about light placement about your technique as you're shooting, so just let everybody know we're going to be shooting for the next two segments, then we're going to be doing even more shooting tomorrow, so we've got your questions saved and we'll watch as we're going make sure that they're all covered, eh? So go ahead and keep asking questions we're going, we're not gonna ask question about technique for right now but first well bogey one two three just a basic question joel are these continuous lights you're using or are you using flashes do you use both why you I'm a strong guy and there's advantages with using continuous flight and strokes however the beautiful thing about strobe is that I can overpower the sun outdoors continues light you can't let you have one of those thousand k movie lights that you know you have to have a generator that's the size of a semi to run it so no all strobe for the most part however if you have continuous lights you could put him in boxes in an environment like this where stark you can do beautiful stuff if you're photographing babies and their sleeping you know that little look continuous lights or work great for that and animals sometimes strobes poppin animals jump right so you might but I don't think you'd use continuous light outdoors on your cattle stuff could be very difficult so strobe on the stroke guy how about like the portable speed lights about those those like little guys to use does it okay speed lights our amazing except they don't put a lot of power you put a speed light through soft box boom you can't go very far back right so you're limited so you could stack them I've done that I've stacked foreign toe one uh soft box but at the cost of spac stacking four speed lights together michael, just get a light that you could just put a battery pack too. And do you know, using a studio and outdoors at same time? Very true. They're not cheap. No. Alright. Well, a peanut had asked if there's a base starting point for your flash power. A lot of people want to know that safe place to start. Okay, here's, something that's kind of a good thing to do and you change your s o to match. But when I set up my background lights, I don't want to usually have met full power. So I want to at least have half power with a range of increasing my power. So I got my subject there. They're set a half power. And so if I have to goto is a two hundred. I'll do it. So I have a little bit of range to go find tune up and down their full power. I'm you know, then I had to start changing my eyes so later and all that stuff. But so I usually have my background or edge lights start at half power. Or even sometimes if I know it's gonna be a really light scenario, I may start quarter power, my overhead light is gonna be down. I don't know how he stops. I've never looked because I go on like this. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, and I just do it. I'm up in power or down, but it's probably gonna be two stops less than my background, like at least, but don't go by that. I think the most important thing is to when you get your subject, I'm gonna show you the minute how I liked the middle part of the subject and balanced it, too. But I don't really care about the number. Output on my strobes means nothing to me.

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!