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Conquering Crappy Light

Lesson 26 of 32

The Next Step Slideshow


Conquering Crappy Light

Lesson 26 of 32

The Next Step Slideshow


Lesson Info

The Next Step Slideshow

The next step let's pull up a stool lindsay can feed some questions in this because she might have some insight into him or we might just stumper and she's like how the heck you get that shot don't little happens we'll see uh next up reflectors this is something we've been dealing with every day I'm going to kind of ease into this here this shot how do you think it was lit one five oh one reflector on a very very bright day kind of back lit on the high line in new york city simple is that without that reflector look at the back of this guy's shirt in hatton everything see how quickly the highlight transfers over from highlight to shadow very hard lights sunsetting backlit we don't with us the other day all we did was take the diffusion material it now softened the quality of the light but it's still silent with that direction and then like lucy discussed you don't need multiple reflectors if you've got a five and one I just had her hold the material just the loose material down there s...

o we've got side lighting beautiful soft like a big soft box from under lighting so it's like a beauty shop we're gonna step it up a little bit bigger than go to scream because we kind of tease these a little bit here I went down in ecuador not long ago and I had a photograph just some stuff for a retreat center some yoga studio some teachers it was just kind of a really neat, very zen kind of environment so I got the wanted to get some soft shallow shots of them performing out there so this was a thirty five millimeter one point four sigma shot wide open but the problem was it was very seidlin I had overhead big overhanging kind of porch there and there was a narrow little slit of light so it was like lindsay put the people in the door and that was just like coming in from one direction I was dealing with that so I had to go ahead and bounce a lot of that life back so you could see the other half of them otherwise all these shots would be totally backlit you would not be able to see this happening all we'd be looking at silhouettes here so really quickly I was able to travel super light with the six by six scream jim frame and we're using the white side the silver side was bouncing too much light back you was too harsh the white side is very soft barely perceptible so we're able to get that shot there there's no no sir yeah that was just one prime lens and one scream jim I would very light here because I wanted to kind of tread lightly just because the environment and I didn't have an assistant lie down with me, so having locals help and that's how I decide when I should on a location for a commercial jobs that I'll get decide whether I'm going to bring again I don't use the small flashes, but whether I bring the studio strokes on location or whether I'm using natural light is a how much might try not to disturb the environment um but also what's kind of the field that I'm going for and sometimes if it's going to be a very quiet ends and yoga retreat, I'm thinking it's going to be easier for me to modify the natural light you can absolutely get that field with flashes, but for me I don't have toe work to get there it's already natural light so already looks like natural like so basically I can see I like this shot I put this one in here because of the shooting down you can see the split lighting there without the reflector the second half her face would have been pitch black so that's, why that one's in there? This is great too that's a great question because there's a yoga instructor, one of the teachers here who has a really, really strong practice and he's really athletic some great pose and stuff, so I used a strobe to kind of car from out a little bit more, which will get teo so these air just out takes from a lookbook I shot in central park a couple weeks ago I was like one hundred ten degrees with you don't wanna go swimming in the reservoir there so it's kind of miserable and hot so I didn't want to be lugging all these strobes around and stuff, but I did have two assistants who weren't opposed to holding screams for me so you're noticing how natural all of this looks remember how heavily backlit if you just take a photo like this where you can see things in the background, she should be underexposed well, she's not under exposed because I had an assistant with a giant silver reflector there bouncing light back so the first two photos you saw I didn't have that scream there, but I'm just going very slowly go over here these are some of the resulting shots that we got without any strobes basically what we did as I have that one scream back behind her, catching that really harsh sunlight and softening it so the light hitting her is equivalent to that of a six by six foot soft box rather than really, really, really hard backlighting and then I was having my other assistant on the front catch that direct hard sunlight remember lindsay was saying with that backlight and you can get in a lot of juice out of a silver reflector so look up there on her face you see the quality of the light hitting her from the face that kind of flattens evens it out. I had my other assistant with a silver six by six panel catching it and just it's like spotlighting back on her. So we were able to light full body looks with just to scream jim super light. And then yesterday when we had issue with the girl who has blond hair and it was going so overexposed if I were shooting that safe for a commercial job that's and I couldn't get in the shade or a portrait I would have somebody hold one of those one of those try grips above their head with a diffuser just to cut down on that light, soften it and make it not is right, which is the same thing as he's doing here just on a smaller scale. Yes, so this right here look at the detail on her hair. When I first walked in this location and took the shot, she was a silhouette and her hair went nuclear. So we totally lost detail, so I knew I had to do both. I had to build up the shadow and conquer the highlights, and the easiest way to do that is just kind of net it down or scream it down and then build it back up with something could have very easily built this back up with a strobe in the front would've given me a little more consistency probably because we're dealing with clouds coming and going but choosing to go the natural light route was a lot more again and quicker to set off quicker to get out of there either way I probably would've done the diffusion behind like lyndsey mentioned so we didn't lose the hair detail because you can also lose the details on the edges of the dress and the whole point was to show off these outfits yeah and this is coming from my room to if he was showing a light colored dress in that one example you can't have it all out if I'm photographing photograph clothing not acceptable yeah they want to see the dress that's what you've got hired for so here's another example of kind of using a scream and just a small reflector okay so you don't have to go on by a bunch of screaming jim kids maybe invest in one and we shall have reflectors already this is the hollywood sign we saw at the very very beginning here did the same thing super super bright and nasty quality of light you see here in the pullback photo where the reflectors actually missing her how we change the quality of the light coming down but it still looks like those guy and girl photos we photographed yesterday with that overcast alight I basically took a direct sunlight bad lighting situation made it a soft, overcast like bad lighting situation and then with the aid of the reflector brought it into her face and got a more pleasing direction of light so again, this is a natural light approach I did not pull apartment for this shoot this was we shot for three or four days in all over l a beverly hills, the goon in orange county so I did it wasn't able to pull permits for everything on a last minute basis that's why we went natural light um, smaller footprint really easy to get in and out, so, like lindsey said, sometimes you just want to break it down and run out of the house for a permission don't recommend that get a permit when you can, but in this case we just knocked it down made one bad light another bad light than fixed it. So the next thing here is high speed sink because of any questions feel free to throw matt, but I speed sync up here. This is what we did with the gentleman you guys were in the bad high speed sync photo previously we could see you guys in the background, I don't mind seeing y'all, I don't want to see like all these stalls and, you know, overhangs that kind of stuff in this photo, so for me this wasn't working I had an on camera flash filling her in because it was a very sunny day in new jersey but everything was too distracting so this was out one two hundred fiftieth of a second at f twenty two and then this right here is at one point four at probably one four thousand for one eight thousands of a second again a long time ago a soon as I got my camera I went into the menu after reading my manual you like that little job there read your man you will figure this one out turn on auto f p mode and never think about it again you set your camera just like you're shooting a natural light it'll automatically turned this function on and off for you and candidates in actual flash I think it's custom functions six on most cannon flashes but again refer to your manual for that for sure so you can quickly go from this to that without thinking and the cool thing is if you're shooting aperture priority all you would have to do is go to two point eight and it will do the math for you and give you a fast shutter speed to get the right exposure and your flash will switch over so this is great front camera running gun I like to use this for artistic effects too you see all that dreamy side stuff on the side there I've really got to get one of your texture pax um but this is not a photo shop texture that is shooting through two slats of a white picket fence. If I was at f twenty two, that white picket fence would be in focus and I would have to white lines blocking my scene. I'm shooting at one point four with high speed sync so this is that photo one naked speed light one trigger one point for at high speed sync so that's probably again at like one four thousandth of a second there you could get really creative with it. You can knock down the background, get the coal out of focus effect in the front and this right here was again two seconds later but look at this location. I used a number of different techniques here. This was just high speed sync. This right here is basically finding open shade lindsey, come talk to us about this. That building was casting shade on her. The rest of the beach was direct direct really bright light but it's no there's, nothing overhead so we get a nice direction of field like pushing and everywhere around to wrap her so that's how we get this beautiful fill light all around her and then over here I also have a high speed sync flash up there that allows me to get a fast shutter speed so I can shoot at one point four eighty five millimeter lens to get that shallow depth of field and then if you look over in the bottom I have a silver reflector down there against a propane tank just leaning there. There was no assistant on this job I literally got a backpack, a tiny low pro two hundred sling bag and a small stand bags so my backpacks about this big swings around and I had a little scream jim case with one light stand one umbrella and that's it and I hopped on a train went to jersey and that this model out here for the shoot um so there's a couple techniques open shade, high speed sync and also bringing in silver reflectors for that fill in the end result photo is one with a lot more control than you would have shooting in the shade around in the direct sunlight. So here's high speed sync plus the tri flash bracket just because I wanted to be like a technical smarty pants and be like I wonder if if I can beat the sun. So I totally did this photograph at high noon in the middle of the street during like the backstreet here with just a couple of speed lights and here's the set up if you look on the left it's f two point eight wide open one two hundred fiftieth of a second way, way, way, way way over exposed I just basically doubled my shutter speed all the way to one a thousandth of a second and just have some black fabric behind her and you can see how with a three speed lights and high speeds think I was able to beat the sun into submission like this looks like a low key image that you would shoot in a studio with one light maybe on a black background so you saw this a little bit ago and maybe one of the first slide shows jesus the more commercial images that I shot fourteen thousand feet up in breckenridge, colorado um here's an action shot using high speed sync at probably one, two hundred twenty five hundredth of a second to freeze all of the snow again a couple speed lights so basically this is what we hiked up there with one model some snowshoes, a snowboard one umbrella or like an apollo orb that try flashback it one little reflectors so again like it right? I don't want to hike thousands of feet way above sea level like I'm a florida boy used to sea level if I get to that altitude, I mean, I'm barely breathing like I'm reason so I wasn't gonna carry a bunch of gear so that's what we started with we basically found a location that kind of put her face in the shade you know so there's like common themes going on here we turned her back to the sun so her face was in the shade gave us an easy thing to start with we turned on our flashes and are in our pocket wizards there and we basically the one on the left is just the fill from the snow in the reflector lindsey talked about how much phil we got from the concrete will snow is an awesome fill light and then the image on the right is when we turned on the speed lights so they were just a kiss to give us the direction of light this is that I hiked over there first to make sure the snowbank wasn't gonna go anywhere but my assistant is standing on the edge of a nine hundred foot cliff essentially and that's a point. And if you look over this way you can see the valley down there in the ridge that's borias passed the really famous place in breckenridge it's beautiful year round. Okay for the high speed sync the words yesterday it has to be on t ell yes. Okay, so in control it manually or tt l but it has little se t t l technically on the back of your flash just letting you know that the communication is there, but you could still control it manually in a way, you're that's how you're able to pull that sky and otherwise he'd be trying to do the whole exactly yeah, so that's, why shoot manual so yeah, high speed sync you, have you khun do manual with the pocket wizard flex team tt one the many tt one rather and then the zone controller I just switched over to manual motor maxed out the power on him, or I can go up and down with it so you could do teo or manual power. Okay, so I've something very important to say we went out in the audience, this is getting more advanced, right? Everybody should try to get eric to come back and do three days on stuff like this. So basically, if you were here to learn about conquering crappy lighting situations and this is going in your head, don't worry it's not like you didn't get the basics, and now this is something that you're lost. This would be something that you could easily turn into a three day class, but we wanted to dio is give everyone an idea of how, like he just said, oh, that sounds familiar, it's the same ideas were building on that's why I wanted you to realize is the things that we use in our fashion photography in my case and commercial photography and hiss it's building on the same concept as we're using all the time that I've been using since I was photographing high school senior portrait's and weddings and all of that but it's taking it the next step for higher production value more gear more production a little more effort so just so you know if it's a little overhead no problem invite him back or just focus on those basics that we covered the rest of the three days this section kind of parallels lindsay's book coming up your books on inspiration this is to be like I want to take crappy light like this on the right and this is to inspire you to learn all of these things and apply them in different ways and grow your kit and grow your technique and everything's you can go on top of a mountain and without losing an assistant to a cliff in five minutes get this shot and then hike back down so this isn't the place to experiment you know this is the place where you can get up there and one thing I didn't want you to notice that shot notice natural phil is not always good look at her face it's natural phil from the bottom so this is a problem I see all the time with people is they'll say I'll look a sidewalk hit by the sun but the sidewalk is this big and they said the person right on top of it and it bounces right up underneath your chin you got to think if the sidewalk is a little bit further in the distance or extends that's when that phil is better versus right underneath them with a narrow strip because it's going to be narrow so gives you more of a beam from below another comment yeah so that's why this is why we brought that light in overhead just like we would bring in a silver reflector and raise it up above their head and that's how I would have conquered that situation there is I know granted I probably would never ever take studio strobes to this location and a million years but for my style let's say we're doing a fashion shoot then I would have used reflectors and tried to build the scene that way but if you want that rich blue sky flashes would be like a way to go in this situation so it's knowing I am not in any way shape or form saying that naturally always wins and we joke about the competition that's not the case at all when I need to use flash I use flash it's knowing like if the client wants to see that look I'm not going to use my usual techniques it's knowing what it's that's why for this reading class we covered every bad lighting situation because you never know which one you're gonna have to overcome so it's the same thing here? Yeah, we do a lot of joking back and forth, but when you're working professional, we basically have were hired for our vision but were given a task or a problem to overcome. So it's basically the best approach for the job. So, I mean, I showed a lot of natural light jobs. Lindsey is an amazing I mean, what you've done with third again, the brown color gear used I've never touched in my life sometimes, so I mean, it's just learning all these techniques and bases to build on, and then we kind of just use the approach that fits the job our, you know, our budget and our timeframe. So that's, why it's cool that we got together on this to kind of teach you both perspective so let's keep inspiring you and they go to lunch and let you chew on this and they're gonna get to the post processing so gels really quickly here I have a model with a light in front of a boring white wall. I didn't like the white wall, so I turned on a blue gel on the background wasn't exactly what I wanted still, so I found a grey wall turned her around the gray wall didn't over exposes quickly. It was it wasn't like the blue sky that overexposed and went white, so I was able to get a lot more color saturation of that, just putting the gel on the floor, china into a grey wall or lowering some great paper or a great bed sheet. This photo right here to jails make what would be a normally flat lighting scenario look interesting, because now we have highlighted shadow with color rather than highlight and shadow with tone so it's like another dimension, and we're telling, where you where did you create this photo? The snout, fun in a living room and like tiny, like ten by ten living room. This right here is a couple speed lights with gels. This is them in the front. This is when we turned our model around, and now they're in the back and all we did was ofsome smoke into this tiny living room with, like, an umbrella apollo up top here, there's one more, so we're going to get the full body there. Basically, this was supposed to be mimicking a club, but the club we were going to shoot in was horribly lit dark dungeon stank like we don't want to shoot in there, so we shot in a living room in new york, which are usually small living so big strobes here this is a runner shop that I've seen in my portfolio this is too pro photo pack so these air twelve hundred watt second plus lights these are big rental house commercial studio lights at a fifty inch west got apollo on one side of pro photo to buy three inch in the other and then a ring light on my flash for a fill and I balance them out with the ambience that that would look natural but again I had to deal with the same issues of getting focused with backlighting which was a bear and then trying to balance her out with everything so I didn't lose all the exposure in the back so and this is how I would conquer most of situations for the type of work that I do I'll be taking my serious drugs on location with battery packs depending on which brands that I'm using and it looks balance but this would normally be a silhouette so that's the goal of my lifestyle work a lot of the time is to get the most refined polished image I confined but make it look like it might have existed there on ly were masters of crappy light now so we know that doesn't look like that here's a b boy oh man he's I think he's right now like a number one break dancer in the world so I mean this guy rocks um but this is basically a shot of that I did of him on a dock in florida and the freezing cold this last winter I've got a strip bank in the front with an ellen chrome ranger head and I've got a beauty dish in the back that's the resulting image looked like because I basically used those big strobes and a fast shutter speed toe lower down that light to make it look really dark and that's how I got the purple light in there and you can't do this with your off camera flashes this is something that I would do all the time for when I did a lot of high school senior portrait's and what not I would use this effect so you know this don't think that for this particular one you have to have serious trouble for this it just made it a little bit easier because I was able to um uh you see the heads there, I could freeze the motion a little bit and then overpower the sunlight a little bit easier but one hundred twenty four to seventy to fifty five six like this is all stuff that we talked about using the pocket was there plus threes kind of like someone plus x is they were just sending a signal fire um some coop o c stands for heavy duty because we're in the mud and a boom arm so here's some more shots of that freezing motion okay this guy was awesome seymour lifestyle shots or some static shots of him there's one more this guy is amazing we got another shot of him doing it upside down buddha head standing on a sunken doc in the water like this guy was incredible um here's that yoga instructor down in ecuador I wanted a different feel for some of these look where he's standing look on the ground shade he's an open shade so I waited for the sun to kind of set because if I put him out there it would have been blown out highlights super dark shadows so I put him in the shade so I had him or even exposure and then I, uh here's some more of these right here and as a note, for example if he's going for something like a little bit more peaceful and a little more quiet but he still wants to define him he put him in the shade to make a little softer but then use the flash build back up where's let's say that you're doing kind of the calvin klein underwear and you can put him in the direct sunlight because you've got that just raking if you wanted to or instead of having the flash just fill a little bit you pump it up and really increase that direction of light so here's some shots here and basically I wanted to kind of carve him out, but not in such a way that it was really hard, hard, light, so I used a five foot octa bank here, um, and actress was basically put off camera enough to get me some shadow detail and stuff, but that one right there is the set up five foot octa using an off camera strobe um, you can use a number of different strobes they're all plugged into like the three pronged thing in the wall there power plug, but you gotta power him somehow when you're on location. There's expensive options, more inexpensive options. I really like the alien be many vagabonds, that guy right there, if you want to kind of zoom in on that it's ah mobile battery pack that has usb port so some days I'm on set and this just basically charges everyone's iphone on set other days I'm on set discharges, studio strobes, alien bees pro photo ellen chrome whatever you've got, whatever monta block you've got, you can plug in and power it there and that's how I'm able to get these shots on location without running two hundred two thousand feet extension cord and people ask me the difference between well, why would you buy the use or rent the really expensive packs? Verse is this biggest one well in the biggest ones recycle time yeah, the bigger with the bigger the pack, the more expensive is the faster you're gonna get that recharge these do the job but I'm having a conversation with my subject in between pulses like the more power the draining the longer we got really quickly here we'll jump in a couple more this is now using those scream gyms that we love and a five foot doctor bank that you just saw so here's the lighting set up we're using a scream to defuse the nasty heavy backlit light there look at how thin the whole beach and sky has blown out it's super bright but we don't want that to be blown out on our model we're using a little silver reflector I didn't have to scream jim kits here I had two pieces of cloth and one kid so I had another assistant holding the loose over reflector and another one holding the diffusion material and the five doctor became a key light and I have controlled highlights on her I have nice phil on her and I have a nice soft direction of light on her and I just was one strobe and if you like this look something you should try to think of in your head is what he's doing is he's compressing the range of exposure that's what this look is which that just means try to make the highlights look dimmer and the shadows look brighter, more or less and that's what gives you that it looks real but sir real at the same time because you'll be able to get everything in one in one exposure without being hdr which gives you other problems so this is the beautiful natural way to do this just keeping your head was darkened down highlights bring up shadows so really quickly here this is like a little light trap. Lindsay uses these over and above with two reflectors if I used him on the side here used a key light to light her face that was my five foot octa and then I was bouncing with the scrim jim on the side and another little reflector underneath to kind of get all that phil otherwise she would be backlit if I had tried to expose for the blue sky she would be a silhouette that I wanted to see all that detail here's a runner shop that I have I have it one light or two lights rather um again think about that where the sun is coming in over his shoulder that is a silhouette shot again I love to shoot into the sun but to do that I have to kind of knock down some of the son and to build up the shadows so I had a light over to camera left in a fifty and soft box lady in her and then I had a scrimmage into came a right to reflect sunlight back in for a fill, and the only reason you saw another light in here is because guess what? All those backlit trees became really dark, so I had to throw light back there in the background, light them up so that's just some examples of using scrims, reflectors, big strobes, high speed sync but all of these air based on the same crafty light fundamentals that we've been looking for open shade, turning people's back to the sun, balancing your lights out there all built on the same foundations because all of those photos were taken and what with over the last couple of days we're calling crappy light, so I just wanted to give you some food for thought and what it's capable of when you take it to the next level with bigger dear and get more comfortable, these techniques and again my pitches so I'm allowed to say this now, so I'm gonna go back a couple times this year so you'll see me on created love again I have a couple things, but yeah, this is invaluable, so let's listen by eric back because he's great great teacher and the being of the control, the light like this can give you amazing results that you don't see from the average photographer around the corner. It takes a lot more finesse, but it's, definitely not out of anyone's, relevant, just takes a little bit more knowledge and practice. So thes foundations give you what you're looking for. You look for that. You know what problems to solve. So we learned a lot of last two days, but now we're gonna come back for with some photoshopped tips and finish it off for you.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers

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.


Victor van Dijk

Besides all the more or less 'technical, theoretical stuff', the greatest thing I'm taking away with this outstanding course is the plain joy and FUN of trying all sorts of (crappy) lighting solutions!! Speaking for myself, and I suppose also many others, as an 'advanced beginner', I strongly tend to end up to my eyeballs in all technical nitty-gritty, gear 'n' stuff, that I totally mis out on all the sheer FUN of trying out, and often 'muddling through' all kinds of lighting setups! Such a joy to see the fun exchange between Lindsay and Erik! Really catchy. There should be more classes and courses like this, redirecting students to what it's actually all about: sheer creativity and fun! Having said that, Lindsay and Erik demonstrate that there is hardly any crappy light situation that can't be overcome by creative thinking. And more often than not, it doesn't have to be high-tech or difficult! They really showed an exhaustive list of crappy light situations AND their solutions. And I highly commend Lindsay and Erik for their fun energy, and even more important, pragmatism and frankness. I recommend this course to ANY photographer AND videographer, no matter 'beginner' or 'highly advanced'! Lighting is the basis of it all, and most of the time, it isn't perfect...! I highly re

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!!!!

a Creativelive Student

I hope I can tune in tomorrow. Erik and Lindsay, you guys were awesome today. Some of the things I needed some refreshing on but you definitely had a way of educating. I thought the demos were great and really validating. Light is a difficult thing to keep on your good side, especially with me, someone who primarily uses ambient and available lighting scenarios. This course is great and I'm planning to tune in tomorrow because I really want to see what you have in store for outside. Best of luck guys!! -Sim

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