Crappy Lighting Conditions: Fluorescent and Mixed


Conquering Crappy Light


Lesson Info

Crappy Lighting Conditions: Fluorescent and Mixed

Let's go into the for the really bad ones. Okay? The rial misery is fluorescent light. So fluorescent lights okay, you know fluorescent it's green and ugly and you see the direction of light is not too good community fluorescence or directly overhead. So that's it's not good and it doesn't have a lot of like good contrast it has contacted you bad not a lot of good before wait, so let's take a look how I break it down so tell them what we were talking about where we shot this. So, um, we wanted to find the ugliest, oldest fluorescent bulbs we could find, so we found a basement lying somewhere in brooklyn that the florist involves they've probably been there for fifty, sixty years or something evidence incredible so you can see the image on the left was just it was just awful and we had a model with red hair and fair skin and stuff, so I mean, she was pretty susceptible to all the nasty like cast we could count put on her so that's the image on the left on the image on the right is basic...

ally a simple color correction using the great card so didn't change anything in the camera. This is now setting ourselves up for some postproduction s o that great card is a neutral eighteen percent gray and then when we go into photos off light room aperture and stuff will show you on day three how you can then balance that uh and save yourself this kind of agony so if you're on the back of the camera here you're like oh my god it's all green lindsay's going to teach you how to fix that here in a couple of minutes and then on day three will teach you howto use a reference like that to really kind of dial back in your white bounced a where you have pleasing skin tones and this particular one we said as a last late yes it's a last july collapsible it's about this big and it actually collapses up really tiny like the reflectors it's got like that kind of same kind of little snap and put it in a little pouch and then you see the cross hairs on it it helps you get focus that's nice because a lot of time in this dim fluorescent room it's difficult to get focused we kind of talked about how you know camera bodies alone can help you there and uh well we have a section where we help you get focus and crappy light anyways but well one of the things your cameras looking for when it's trying to focus is contrast and so if you have your focus point on the center of a spot focuses on civil rights issue the paper yeah searching so that's why they add the crosshairs they're so that's that's one that I like versus just a solid piece of gray I find a little bit hard to focus on one of those. All right, so the first thing you do at least get a great card in the scene if you can't add a flash and you can't modify the light, at least get something so later on, you can neutralize it in post because it's really hard if I look at this scene, I mean, maybe maybe in those the exercise equipment, if I didn't have that, that might be great, but they also might be a little bit blue, and then it will mess it up if you try, so get a great card in the scene, um, something that we both use and we're going to go over this in more depth in the next section is we both use this, which is a passport color checker we'll go in a little bit more detail, but this is a souped up version of ah great car, because it doesn't just neutralize the scene helps you create color profile of the scene, which isn't isn't actually the same thing because one is just neutralising out the overhead color, the others actually. Defining the colors in the scene, what they should actually look like. So one of them basically telling you what real white should look like, what your skin tones, you look like, what that white shirt or should look like. The other one is kind of defining like the intensity and the vibrance of, like, the blues and the greens and the colors, because a lot of times we'll get, like, a little bit of a shift. Then I do a lot of catalog work and stuff and like me, a teller story neons come out really, really weird sometimes, saul photograph e commerce stuffs, you go on a website, and you're like, ok, I want to buy this shirt, you see the photos of the model wearing the shirt, everything on a white background? Well, I had a client who was a good client of mine and loved me, so they'd forgive me for this one hoops, but we were shooting and they had bright neon tank tops like neon pink and neon orange, which were difficult to see regardless. But when I photographed him, I got everything done. I didn't think to make a custom profile, and I exported before I did that, and they delivered all the files of all the colors and all the clothes look great except I got an email and they're like, wait a minute, do we shoot the wrong way should racks and racks of clothing is a day like sixty seventy, eighty looks on its mind I mean she's like do we pull the wrong shirts? I thought we photographed the neon pink ones we sent me some orange files from the other day like we had a mix up like, oh my god let's find those files I go back and realized I hadn't applied my color profile to ensure that all of the colors were true blue true pink or whatever and they had shifted somehow or at least appear to shift on her monitor from like orange pink, so it was like it was a big mix up I was able to go back in we'll talk about how to do this in light room and photos basically just verifies that the blue is really blue when you take the photo from the shirt to the print to the computer and keep it all along the way because there's more than just orange and green and blue in a color shift there's actual true fidelity to these colors. So if you doing color critical work something like this is a must have so this is what you're going to see you're going to see us and the first thing that you want to do when you walk into a fluorescent room is try to neutralize the scene could be a custom white balance we shall talk about or at least maybe trying your fluorescent preset something to get it so it doesn't look green but the problem that we still have and you see in this picture is look at the quality of light on her face there's no contrast there's no illumination there's I mean there's no direction of late it's just flat low contrast to not flattering so minds think could be ok get the color right and then lets out a flash when you and a flash however, since you fixed the green your flash will look the wrong color and so here's here's how I described this when you are in a fluorescent lit room and you apply your fluorescent preset the opposite of green on that scale is magenta so basically what it does is adds magenta to that green to make it look gray okay but you have your white flash or now when you entered your white flash because it's adding magenta everything your flash looks magenta cause it's just adding magenta to neutralize things. So what you have to do is you have to actually mess up your flash by making it green which will look right now because it will add the magenta to the green it will neutralize everything out so what you need to do is you need to gel your flash I've got these. Yeah, so road makes a really good joke. It, uh they just actually came out with these through a lot of like professionals complaining, like, hey, we want something that just has corrective gels in it. So they hooked up with this, and if you see there on the screen, it actually says, you know how, what? How it goes from, you know, a warmer to a cooler. In this case, the green adds just the perfect amount. So you should cover most of your fluorescent needs. So like, oh, here we go. So, like lindsey said, basically, we want to neutralize the color. So if we just have ambien the room, we want to go ahead, neutralize all of that because it's the same color by setting a white balance but the messes up our flash so we want all of the light in the scene are flash and the ambient light to all be the same ugly color green. So when we do our white balance, whether it be through a preset or a great card, anything else it's everyone's on the same page talking the same language. So this is basically a really scientific dialed in guide to making your perfectly balanced white flash. Looking ugly off color but then it looks good anyway so we're going we'll take another look at this you'll get to see us using in action but again this particular kit is rogue by expert imaging it's a color correction kit and it has uh, rubber bands to test your flash when you can just buy gels but this is made specifically for color correction and tonight's benefit yeah, you guys most the time we get so excited when we get our first speed like we take out the speed like go hunt for some batteries and throw the rest in the closet never look again most your flashes have a basic correction kit, so go ahead, look in the box again you probably have a starter kit so one or two jails, maybe one orange and one green, so if you're like, oh my goodness, I have to go shooting event I really want to try to apply what you guys were saying because everyone looks green or orange in my photos look back in the box, you've probably got some starter ones. The benefit to this is you have different variations of them you have multiple of um they're a little easier to attach their go on multiple different kinds of speed, lights or big ones small ones off brand whatever so little more versatile and definitely more in depth so we've neutralized the scene by applying you will talk about either custom white balance or are fluorescent preset so it neutralizes the same we've added a gel tour flash so that that matches but we also don't want to just do flash on cameron who's going to talk about that later flashing cameras usually not so flattering so the picture we ended up with in this scene actually eric took this pictures in the bottom right is he bounced the flash off the ceiling with the green gel so it basically gave you nice, beautiful illuminating bounce off the ceiling so this is a huge difference between the top left and the bottom right for direction and color, you know, almost like we added another fluorescent bank just what we wanted it in front of her on the machine. So this is the first picture and that's where we ended up, so this would be the same thing for the fluorescent lit volleyball games of the fiftieth wedding anniversary and all of that everything in those wonderful high holes with crop. So this is where you would want to start as a side note if you guys have ever had a situation where you're taking pictures with fluorescent light and you see banding if you see like shadows and highlights that will only happen in the oldest of fluorescent lights like really, really, really old you're actually catching the light flickering doesn't happen with these now the modern if larsen's there much better but in case you ever had that which I hadn't he couldn't believe because he'd never seen that shouldn't forever and it's like one of those myths in the photo so I don't really have it it happened someone on the internet back me up that it exists okay oh it does yeah but eighty e was photographing from my friend at the reception and it was in like a v f w hall or something like that and makes sense and it was like green overhead light and it was flickering the solution to that just so you know is you'd have to shoot at slower than one sixtieth of a second because then it flickers multiple times and you catch the whole thing instead of you catching mid flicker so it's slower than a sixteenth the second the problem you run into is if you've got your seventy two, two hundred shooting at two hundred you're supposed to be shooting at one, two hundred the second are faster to avoid camera shake so you just kind of had this little game but just so you know if you're not if I'm not the only person out there who's ever had that problem um that's your solution to get around it all right um we're going to talk about this later just letting you know this is coming up it's an expert biscuits for custom white balances will talk about custom white bounce in general I'll show you how to set on cannon okay okay so we never wanted to know that we'll be just thing that later makes it really comes into play yeah so this is going to be key for this section a little later this afternoon we're going to be on a mix light and environment there's going to be a lot of lamplight and tungsten light and window light it's difficult because if you saw the great card the great card basically is a flat plane so well it's grateful for fluorescent room because there's only like one kind of light coming and hitting it well if I have tungsten light coming from here and blue window light coming from here the great cards difficult to get a good reading off of so the expo disc is something that basically has ray's a little diodes and there they gather light from multiple directions and then act is like a great card in front of your camera but mashing everything together so from mixed lighting like this it's ah it's extremely extremely helpful so the problem is your color cast in varying color temperatures eso think warm lamplight and really really cool window light and the solutions basically are to turn off our control the mix light this is really really hear what we're talking about mixed light first off guys so a window to the right. Super tan. Super not tan it's. Like we caught her at, like, two different seasons and just kind of superimposed them together. Um, not really what we were looking for. So this is a cool record store in brooklyn. Um, the first thing to do, though, is awesome. This is kind of like the whole were directing the scene thing. You're not always at the mercy of the environment. If you walk into a room there's a bunch of lamps on and there's a bright window light pick and choose your battles. You might be like I am loving this window light, let's turn off all the lamps. It's a simple is that so you can take control of the environment that way? We couldn't do because people were shopping in the record store. Yeah, so they weren't really cool with us turning everything off and shutting down their store for a little while. But that's quick and easiest way to do it. Okay? Or you can shut the blind. Say you want a really cool, moody photo. There you go. Walk him over by the lamp, shut the blinds and then set your white balance for that lamp. Uh the next thing you could do is move your subject out of the mix light so basically here we moved or towards the front of the camera store so we have all of that beautiful window light coming in and we set our white balance for that so our model is lit by all that beautiful window light and then you can see how everything goes a little orange for the background and sometimes I mean this is the fashion photographer but sometimes that warmth is ok I mean especially if it's a reception and they have beautiful warm tungsten late in the background candles and things like that it's supposed to be that warm mood you know always have to eliminate it and make it all the same the big problem is when it's mixed lights on that person's face that's where the is that that's not what you want and again this would be a simple is like you're saying if you don't need to balance out you might have them turn to alight so rather than having your face split like that just have returned for the window simple is that of course this half is going to be warm but you're getting oliver facing one even tone and then you can white balance for that so she doesn't look sickly and you're trying to really pick the battles that are most important to you because if there's and you're looking at it and we'll talk about a couple other solutions, but really you've got to get that shot right, then you don't have anything else just at least make sure her face is all one color the backgrounds not going to be great, but it's a lot better prioritize the face, so if you have tio, make sure the faces evenly lit or one even color, but that's your priority generally to keep both eyes on the face consistent and I've seen him do this a ton and a lot of his work because he'll be shooting on location at a restaurant is a client and he's supposed to create ambience, and so he wants the, you know, the beautiful warm light in the background and the subject, but it's hitting them and so, I mean, I see balancing it all the time we did a cool a street shop the other night to where lindsay actually jumped in as a model and we'll cover that on a little bit, but same kind of thing we wanted that environment on the streets and then we wanted her just like looking like a badass on we'll see the picture is really I felt honored for you take my picture, we actually sent the model home, lindsay hop, then it was yeah, it was really weird, okay, so here we go, basically we're just moving our subject out of the mix light. Okay, so where you taking advantage of our beautiful window like, hear? The other thing we can do is really embrace it. So we got deep into the store here you see the picture on the left and we basically that is all of our warm light, okay? And I wanted the warm light but we're not in a hospital room where it's sterile white light were in old beat up record stores. I want a little more environment color to it, so we embraced that but remember, our quality of light is still crap. Now we have overhead tungsten lights instead of overhead fluorescent lights so we basically took a speed life orac you flash or any kind of small flash and we jelled it so rather than putting the green on there there's a cto which is color temperature orange and it's different intensities of this so this is basically designed to take that nice white light that you have at your speed light and warm it up to the intensity of a tungsten involved he would find overhead or in a lamp differences one of them's more clear so this is a full cut or a full stop. This is half and then you saw a little bit earlier on this piece of paper here that this comes with the kit how it really takes it down from a certain value to another value. So, I mean, you could do this by the numbers. If you're a numbers guy, go after guide number, you could get an exact kelvin value. I might nerd out on this kind of stuff. Yeah. Later. Like a bit of orange flavour in there. I think I need a little yeah. So it's, whatever your approach but it's all it's all to taste. So in this instance, we wanted environment. We kept it warm, so we made our flash warm, and then we use that flash to sculpt their models face because she was a cute girl with good cheeks and we wanted to show that off, hide her like we're in the ring. Very good movie. Very well. It was very artsy, black and white because that way, like, um q flash right here they rock, they make like q flashes, trios, all kinds of stuff. They're basically big boy speed lights, so a speed like here might have about fifty watt seconds of light. I'm gonna talk about this in the flash primer that's kind of how you measure the intensity or how much this is ableto throw down range or how much juice it has uh the queue flashes are cool because they're about the same size as one of these maybe a little bit bigger and they run off of a separate battery pack and they are three, four, five times more powerful so I keep one of those in my bag at all times and a bunch of speed lights if I need a little more juice are not going to be shooting all day I'll go to something like this it's a great solution to give me more power and more longevity out of it and that's for a lot of people to you're asking the questions well, how do I overpower the sun? I got asked a couple of that um you know, we don't have that its presentation, but a lot of times people end up having to double up their speed lights to get enough power output to overpower the son. A lot of times you can do it just with q flash very and I think we might throw in some of our more commercial work and stuff outside of the scope of this class where I mean I'll use three, four, five six speed lights multiple q flashes lindsey will use nice studio strobes just to get a kind of look like if you have to go outside of this, you'll get a peek at that, but the kid flash is nice because it gives you a little more power and almost the same size package was actually so many questions that have been coming from there that you were answering it a lot of problems out here and everyone's really, really excited about this class, so I wanted to pass that on to you let's, see md gilligan asked, do you have any tips for photographing dark skin tones and bright sunlight with minimal to no shade? Same will be the same ugo ideo okay, I'll say my difference. Um, one of the things that I will sometimes dio, um, is I will okay, all of this depends on the person's quality of skin and skin tone because you say darker skin suit, I mean, there's the entire spectrum, uh, quality of skin let's say, first of all, if somebody, um is outdoors on location and I'm using a silver reflector because I think they're a little darker and I'm trying to kick late in the reason a lot of people don't like that the thing okay, darker skin got to grab my silver reflector toe pop more light in the problem is a silver reflector has more contrast, and that contrast translates onto the person's face, meaning if they have room, if skin or if they have grease your skin or something, it makes that more intense. So sometimes it's actually fighting against what your impulses which your impulses thinking okay, darker skin more like you had a back it often said you's a white reflector sometimes that's going to be a little bit more flattering uh similarly um sometimes it looks better to use a silver gold mix I personally don't you I personally never use gold just the gold reflector like never I'm glad you brought because that's like gold gold reflected the last time one of those should have been used was probably nineteen eighty swimsuit calendar kathy ireland was like kind of in the middle of her heyday that might have been the last time you wanted to use the gold reflector, but yeah, this is great. This is really the pure gold on a lighter skin tone will make someone look like they just got fake big like, you know, a fake spray tan and with a darker skin tone, this is the only time like you bring it out at the time there's like a silver gold we've like you just mentioned it looks so nice and warms it up. Yeah for dr stanton sometimes when you're shooting in direct sunlight just because of the color temperature and the color of their skin they'll end up looking kind of cool and almost sayin issue to their skin tone like you actually see that they look kind of blue even though maybe it looks okay with the color checker their skin won't look right, so when you add the silver gold mix, it warms it up just a little bit so it's kind of called sunfire some brands or whatever that's the only time that really comes out of the kid. I hope that answered the question. Okay? Aaron asked any tips for large photographing large groups on the beach with no shade and no wind and I'll add to that no trucks and no wind, no shade, no okay, down the night on the beach, I used my scrimmage him on the beach a lot, and what you'll do is lindsey talked about this too is turning, turning their backs to the sun so you have the nice hair light you've got them all separated from the background. I grew up in the west coast, so I mean, we did get the sun behind them a lot of the time and then you just bring in that scrimmage him on the front, pull it way back like she was talking that bucket and you can just punch it all back. S o that's the key of no wind because those things are six foot sales, so I have I mean, I've had a shorter assistant who might have gone flying a look that on one of those, so I know this is going sound weird enough. I can quite describe it as well, but make sure that there's a lot of sand in front of them. Yeah, that's a fil, because you need to fill from further back, like the top of their face. If there's just sand below them and say, like you're on the edge of a parking lot, it'll actually creek bottom line, because you only have the reflector right beneath them instead of further back, which will fill in further up on their face. So it sounds kind of weird, but we're upstairs, checking out late yesterday, um, and there was a sidewalk, and it was reflecting the palmpilot. The sidewalk was only right beneath, and it didn't extend, so it was straight. Bottom line. However, if it were a sidewalk that extended out twenty feet, that would've been great, because it would have filled in the whole face instead of just underneath the chin.

Class Description

Photographers constantly search to capture that decisive moment. Unfortunately that moment seldom happens under ideal photographic conditions. In this class you'll learn how to quickly overcome all of the most common crappy lighting scenarios. With the aid of these simple techniques and minimal equipment, you'll be empowered to walk into any setting and emerge with beautiful imagery.


Julie Addison

I thought I understood about light before I took this course. How wrong could I be? I have re-watched this course over and over and I just love it. Quality of light, direction of light - so many crappy light situations. Learning how to actually set a white balance instead of purely relying on the camera presets and learning colour correction by the color checker was also invaluable to me. This course is so affordable. I would recommend it to anyone from beginner to advanced as you will get more out of it than you think. I love the way Lindsay and Erik work together. No right or wrong way - just showing the differences in their styles to accomplish the same end result. Well done guys. Now to have more courses by Erik would be great. Again, can't' thank creative live enough and Erik and Lindsay for this course. Love, Love, Love It!!!!