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Crazy Stupid Light

Lesson 9 of 12

Live Shoot: Natural Light

Scott Robert Lim

Crazy Stupid Light

Scott Robert Lim

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Lesson Info

9. Live Shoot: Natural Light

Lesson Info

Live Shoot: Natural Light

We've been given this little area, uh, maybe twenty by twenty area to shoot in, and although this is an amazing place, a lot of times your are constrained to a certain area and you have to just work within that area and so that's what this is it's like, uh, we got this small little playpen to work in and let's see what we can do a lot of times, they're not given the most ideal situation, but you got to make the best of it. The first thing that I do when as they come into a situation, I kind of, uh, there's a lot of things that go through my mind. First of all, I kind of get the media ring in my mind or what might camera settings are going to be, and this situation actually there's a lot of light in here, there's a lot of natural light because this a whole wall is just window window window, and also we've kind of got some studio lights a little bit too that's adding to the mixed, so I would probably take a couple of test shots and, um, since we're shooting natural light, I can't want to...

shoot a low aperture I'm going to use a standard lands it's just a twenty four to seventy two point eight because that's a very, very common lands I was thinking about putting my fifty millimeter on, but I think I'm gonna use the lens that a lot of people have and see what we can do with that. Um and as I look around, I kind of figured well, two point eight and I usually would start at if I'm indoors usually I automatically assumed okay, I'm going to put it on eight hundred eso and the reason why I would choose a higher so because if I'm shooting natural light I gotta keep my shutter speed up because I don't want blurry images so um I'm thinking in my mind, well, if I could keep it around one hundred, uh hundredth of a second, that would be great and I think I would we find the general rule for shutter speed is whatever millimeter your your lenses that should equal your shutter speed, so I'm shooting for um uh twenty four to seventy so even if I was at seventy if if I'm zoomed out at seventy than my minimum shutter speed should be around one seventy eighth of a second that's a general rule depending on you know your steadiness is of your hand, a lot of people go half of that as they're like, you know, hey, yeah that's I can hold it if it's half of the millimetre that my lenses so in this case if I was shooting at seventy millimeters uh maybe I can squeeze out thirty fifth of a second also if you have image stabilization that also helps too but you should always be aware of that because there's nelly worse that like you know, doing a great session and you start shooting home and this is great and you keep going and then you bring it into the computer and goal I shot that whole session at a tenth of a second and you're killing yourself and you know you luckily you find one or two in there and with some photo shop you get it sharpened up but believe me I've done that plenty of times so that's those are the things that I'm thinking of kind of my metering first but in this situation there's a lot of life so I'm thinking uh s so one hundred s o two hundred I don't know a cz we get into it all kind of justin but I want to make sure that my service speed is around one hundred why not more scott? Well because what happens if I want to use flash also so I can't go past my flash think speed so I'm going to kind of constrained myself to those parameters then I kind of look around and I see where is the light coming from where's the light coming from class the window right and so ah ah good way to kind of figure out where the light is coming from I don't know if you know this you could do the hand test so you can put your hand as it's a face and you can move it and you can see shadows on your hand and then that's the shadow that you'll get if you put place your subject there and you can kind of moving around and I can see that probably this area over here would give me the most trauma because I see the most shadows in this area here because if I look at my hand I could see maur shadow on this side because the light's coming from this end but I don't like the stuff that's around there so I'm not going to shoot around there and I would see right here I don't see any shadows so right here I've got the even lighting so if I want really even lighting I can place my subject here and then over here I've got a bit of shadow here but it's all pretty good and then what you do is you can kind of ah uh taken assistant or somebody let's see let's go desert okay and you remember what we talked about natural light and finding good places where that is is looking for catch lights so if lana can you I mean I'm sorry okay and I she's got cash lights here can you move over here ci's got if she moves her face that lace has got real beautiful cash lights and let's go over here this area I like this area here because it's a little bit cleaner on there's less clutter and gear back there until your face this way and I see she's got beautiful cash lights in her eyes this way so in this particular situation everything is pretty good so if you're a natural light shooter you anywhere around here is great um and then after that uh the lighting situation what I kind of do is look for structural design um like structural elements that might look getting composition and the first thing I noticed was this bay window here that's curved has some very very nice lines there so I'm going well I'm gonna incorporate that in there somehow uh and it also has a reflection on the ground which can be cool also and then another thing is when I pose subjects I um it's very hard for a subject to just free stand and pose for you not unless she's a trained model so I'm usually always looking for props what can they sit on? What can they stand on? What can they lean against and class look around here if we're shooting in this general area here where some places where we could lean a uh, model which will be one of you guys columns right so I love columns and so I go okay, we got columns there we've got good light over there we've got some interesting background over there that's really cool then I actually look on the ground and I see hey, this is a pretty cool pattern on the ground it's very modern it's got a water feel to it and I go well if I put somebody on the ground here and that way I can eliminate the clutter against the wall back there I can isolate my my, uh composition my background eso it's cleaner and simpler um you can use the ground and also you can use the ceiling so if you're kind of struggling for a place to find a very clean background look down and look up and they're a lot of times you can use those areas and it will be less distracting and from a composition point of view it might create ah less cluttered composition for you and then I look over here and I go wow that's beautiful out there um but it's very very bright outside and if I wanted to kind of get alcatraz out there and my subjects I'm going well shoot we're at f eleven right now we'd have to shoot it f eleven pump a lot of light in and um that might be a difficult situation to do uh right off the bat, you know, so we're going to start off in natural light first on dh, maybe we might at the end, work into that situation of shooting at f eleven and trying to get everything in there, but for right now will just kind of ease into it and do what we know best and everybody when you start off, especially with the wedding, don't start off with your grandiose idea that save that for last because you're not a lot of times. That idea that we have is an idea, and we have never done it before, but in the beginning we want to build confidence, so start off with the most basic things find good light if you have good light uh, more likely than that, you're going to get a good shot. It might not be the most stupendous shot, but it's going to get a could clean shot and you can live with that. You can make your going to earn a living with that, and and so start off with small start off basic start off what you know on dh, then build up and then also the client will also have a lot of confidence if you start that way too, and what I love to do is if I know if I have never met my client before. And let's say they're uncomfortable with posing and this whole thing of taking pictures if I take a good picture I show it to them because I want to get them excited because a lot of times what we see in our camera is not what they see because they're seeing everything with their eyes and it could be quite different like if we're stopping down and creating more drama and adding light and then they look at it looks completely different than what they're ice is there right? Wow that's awesome and they start getting excited they start building confidence you're getting confidence and start moving forward and there's nothing worse you know I remember this doing weddings uh where the whole day you just don't feel you're in the groove and you're like it gets all the way to the reception you go I don't think I took a picture one good picture the entire day you know of course we always say that but there's tons of good pictures that we take it that I could I remember my very first weddings I would I would you know, rush home and break open my tamra put it in right away and loaded and see if I got any good pictures and then and then if I saw a few I can okay I can go to sleep now itself but really I mean that's what happens to a cell we want to make sure that we get some good clean shots start off simple and then build up to the complicated okay now I'm looking at this window here and there's a lot of light coming through I am not going to worry about the background at this point I kind of like this light coming through here on dh maybe if I could get a silhouette shot if the backgrounds in there fine if it's not great but I like these strong lines here and they're kind of like window blinds that guests and so I'm looking over here and I go well, I look at this door I know that's kind of cluttered because they've got some horizontal lines and vertical lines but if I look over to the side here I've got some nice or the side over here I've got some nice clean horizontal lines and I'm thinking, wow if I put somebody's head in the middle there that's compositionally that might look really really strong and if I just create a silhouette that might be a great shot for me um and then I'm thinking, well, you know what? I could probably open these doors up uh and then pulls the subject out by the rail and do that type of shot there but we might have to have a couple students hold those doors looks good and so we'll kind of save that for a little bit later you always have to remember about temperature and keeping your clients very comfortable the worst thing you can do is shoot a session in the cold it is really hard and it's really taxing and so like when I do my workshops, I always say, hey, we're going when it's warm and never when it's cold because when it's warm and comfortable you can get a lot more out of your client you khun go longer and it's a lot easier sell when I opened that door there feels a little bit chilly so I ain't going I'm going to end with that because I don't want to subject my client to that right away and make them cold and feel uncomfortable, especially in the beginning, okay um and then I'm thinking waken do some natural light shots here and then maybe later break into a little bit mohr sit sophisticated lighting uh, where we might incorporate I know this is a natural light segment, but you know me, I have to go drama and maybe we'll rig some flash in, you know, actually, this is the most nerve wracking for me because like I gotta shoot natural light old gosh, right? Because I'm new stuff I'm so used to just creating what I have in my mind this this is a new challenge work with what you got, so okay so we'll do that, but we're gonna have fun today we're not going to get nervous, we're goingto make tons of mistakes because we're just trying things okay? And that's, how you have to do you have to be free and easy rely what you know on, but then when it comes game time, just try to go out and have fun. That's why it's important for you to practise, practise, practise, practise so that the techniques are like the back of your hand, so when it gets to be game time, you can let the game come to you and just flow with it. And, you know, they talk about that in sports all the time, he's, letting the game come to him, you know? But that I think really that's what it really means is that he's, you know, highly skilled basketball players are so skilled in their basics and their fundamentals when it comes to game time and there's a little wrinkle or there's a situation that is not quite what they're used to, they could be creative and they can and learn how to go around that and successfully accomplished their goal and that's, what I love about wedding photography is that every single week you are in a new situation and you've got to figure it out, nothing is consistent it's very challenging, but it at that at the same time it can be very rewarding and it makes us into great photographers and I figure, you know, I kind of say you need about fifty weddings to pretty much see it all s o you know, if you're just starting out in your career, you know, every wedding that you go to your going to say, oh, man, I just really screwed up that section there, but you're going to go home and then you're going toe analyze it and you're gonna learn from it and the next time you go out, you're gonna learn how to conquer that particular problem. Um, and then pretty soon, whatever situation you're in, you'll be ableto have something some go two shots that you can do all right, so this is how we would like to work it out. I'm going to go around and do some ideas and kind of just, you know, do some basic things and start off with natural light, then maybe add the flash in the back or something, but basically the main light was going to be natural light and then students okay, you thought you were out of the clear yesterday you are not okay, you're gonna have to think of one idea in this little area that you want to accomplish okay and hey, we're just having fun here and just like yesterday, whatever it is we can figure it out and make something work right? Okay? And if we have to pull out more flashes or whatever any light will do it okay, well, we don't have to stick to all natural light if you don't want to but try to use natural light is your main and keep it simple just try to do it doesn't have to and I made hey, we're not here to outdo each other we're just here to practice in tow learn and if you want to keep something clean like I said before it's better to do something very clean and basic one hundred percent correct than to try to do some over the top idea and do it like eighty percent correct because that one clean shot that you do one hundred percent correct is gonna be a classic it's going to be something that's gonna be enduring it's going to be something that's gonna make you money, okay? So sometimes as artists we get too fancy and we're trying to hit a home run all the time hit singles go single, single, single, single maybe a double here and then maybe at the end of the day when you're feeling really good and the score is ten to one and you're ahead, go for it all all right okay does that sound good? Okay, so let's uh let's see let's use uh robert how's about that he's looking pretty good he put a tie on today so all right, so let's have him kind of so we got robert over here can't we? Uh I didn't bring a strap and so how I like to do it is I liked it actually pose for them first that way I whether you're a girl or a guy I still like to pose because I need to feel the situation right? So I looked at robert like I'm looking strengthen looking cool and I'm looking oh yeah okay lines let's go let's try something over here so I like this column here so robert stand over here. I'm going to shoot over from this way and so how about if you kind of, um kind of leaning up against here because I know the lightest coming this way right? What's my general war rule nose teo light right? So do you see a short side shadow on my face? Right? So that shouldn't be happening, so I'm feeling the situation okay? Strong relaxed looking over here. Okay, so, um when you're posing a guy okay and when you tell them toe lean against a pillar ah lot of times this is what they're going to do for you, okay what's wrong with that how do you correct me? Yeah, okay so un rigid it what do I supposed to do, huh? Weight on one leg put all my really down one leg right and then left the other like that the other leg down jesse don't generally give a little bit more will be a war where you get like, a nice bending the knee okay lata lt's this look, I know something about their right something that like okay, this is the key to this pose you almost got it right? Okay, the shoulder that you put the er you lean against the opposite hip must be pumped okay, see that because eileen, I did this on purpose because I wanted to make it difficult I leaned it this way that doesn't work for you, right? So you lean against the boat and then a lot of times I don't like to smash the shoulder into the column like to put it slightly out so you could see me right? And so what they'll do is they'll come and they'll lean like this for you, right? Because they think that's exaggerated but you really need you need this see that when you've been posing a lot you actually do this because you're very confident yourself, like I could look lazy and I know I look good but your client will do this for you but you really want them to do this that's a big difference and that's why I always say pop the hip girls, guys whoever popped that hip you have to exaggerate and sometimes when I talked to a client I say this is going to feel uncomfortable but believe me, it looks good on the camera can you just pop that hip out a little bit more and that works okay, so we're this way and sometimes for a guy right there thinking stand up straight pop the hip right what's wrong with that looked ours the light okay, yes, a guy and confidence confidence means yes, I see you and I know I look good and I'm looking this way I'm looking over here and that way the whole rule with that is always you got it along date the neck, you know, that's the worst thing but if you look at in fashion magazines it's all about the neck and elongating it and so when you lean forward it helps you do that. And even if you like for me, right, I got a little I'm fifty years old, right? So I'm not like eighteen anymore, but when you stick your even though it feels funny when I stick my neck out like that, I actually look thinner and better, but it feels so weird but it's because you're elongating the neck okay so robert I want you to kind of lean over here pop this hip that if you could slightly lean forward a bit and look over into this direction we'll see if we get a shot that's my so okay what do you think how can I just this a little bit typical guy know you're ninety where you okay okay what's going on okay he's squashing his shoulder so you're going to kind of lean on your shoulder blade a bit and you can pull your back this way you khun okay his feet are wrong because therefore pointing this way right so you always kind of start with the base first because remember what I said if the base is correct everything falls into position so if you can kind of mirror me and put your feet more this way okay that already is looking better right even more let me see okay uh okay yeah lean back a bit okay, well, you want to put your you want to put your hip out this way, right? Yeah, yeah that's looking better. Okay, good. Um okay, good, just relax, okay, okay, wait, go, axl, this is what happens to go back and stand normal, okay, and then go back into that he's more relaxed that way because you know why he feels like I cannot move I've got the perfect position this is where your client feels okay is this good right so when I captain come back and I just reset it again sometimes I make him do it two or three times so they get a little bit more comfortable and they're getting into the flow okay and so now he's looking pretty good all right I get catch lights in his eyes then I'm gonna look through my camera here and I'm gonna turn your face this way a bit and so what I'm doing with my I'm finding his sweet spot okay and most likely it's the three quarter profile well there's not posing but anyways I'm turning the head and I'm making um him looked at my hand and I'm using you follow my hand with your head down up over so I'm training him see that so I I am getting exactly what I want by me doing the finger thing or the hand thing okay so chin down over this way uh say I'm just I am doing whatever I'm just trying to find his sweet spot here right look at me with your eyes and what do you looking for as you're moving them around to find that sweet spot what how they look best right I can notice that he his right eye is actually smaller than his left eye so actually if will if I in a real situation I would put his smallest I towards the camera first so it would even out but in this case I'm not because you know we're shooting in this situation and depending on the angle of the face, I have basic rules that I use as a three quarter pose but this is a lighting courses not posing, so I can't really get into it I have diagrams and say start off here and so that's what I'm doing, I'm starting off in my three quarter pose profile shot where that edge of the eye lines up with the the line on the cheek and then because most people look good in that particular headshot okay on then from there you gotta tweak it because let's say that there you know, depending on their chin, maybe their chin is a little bit small so you raise the head up a little bit or down according tio how you want it to look okay, so but he looks pretty good so to face this way bit yeah, right there love it and see that positive confirmation I'm giving them I'm just not letting him hang there, turn it right there when they shoot the picture I'm like when it hits the sweet spot, I'm give him confirmation yeah right there is looking good right now he's feeling confident, right? Okay and since I have live you I know that my exposure is right now I have to chip back and forth so that's cool and so now I'll have uh have a look at me and then I'll say okay look over there okay and then give me a little bit smile right there just so you're kind of like breathing through a straw all right there you go shit back then I'll start shooting uh portia itwas look back over this way or looked right past my ear that's what I like doing a lot of times okay with your eyes look at me you know how I said with your eyes look at me because if you say look at me they turn your head and then they're all out of position so I use that a lot with your eyes we could make all right then I'll uh he's kind of post right? So I'll give him more of a hero pose and I'll shoot up so why don't you just look over that way right there treat something clean you know that he isn't really doing that much right? But I'm getting a variety of shots because the lighting is good he's posed good I'm just having them look at different things and then um yeah actually look down down that way ok and put your chin up just a little bit and actually look over here right here look over there and smile laugh look at me and you that nice good look over there and smile like you see something funny there you go great all right good so I got some nice clean shots I know I can live with that right and I want to relax just stand up again because I know he's been sitting in this position for a long time how they come and help see I like that shot so he did that naturally cycle ooh I like that gonna hit the rewind button and say go back to that okay and so it's something really basic it's uh nothing really too fancy but I've got some kind of cool architectural lines behind him the light is good they're um and weaken maybe try toe swell should we spice it up I don't know let's don't spice it out let's just keep it kind of clean for right now we'll go back to that area and do something really saucy uh okay so say something basic did he move at all but do those shots looks like there's a variety of things that you could use that's what a wedding photographer does once you've got the light once you got imposed you try to maximize that sucker because how would you like to move the dress every single time you take a picture right you've got to maximize the situation she lied you sure so wide just do the whole thing changed the expression all that kind of stuff all right so now we're going to do give robert a hand now we're going to come back here and let's actually um lives use uh desert does ray know about if you sit down on the ground okay actually you're right I'm gonna demonstrate you're going to like this stand on up ok, so what I want you to do hopefully I can do this without this um I kind of like this area with this blue so if maybe if her head ends up in this area that might be cool so I'm gonna have her do uh a basic shot when people are sitting on the ground and I call this the roll over and so what it is I'm sorry to put my back to the camera but I have to because I can't don't let's see actually could do it this way because my mike's here but so what you do if it's the cameras here okay? You have him sit with their knees like this and you simply have them roll over like this, okay? See that and then arch the back look here and so this is a very basic pose that works every single time you can't lose with it okay? And you're creating this v here and you have a rollover and so I'm gonna have you just pull over here maybe gonna look over here you're gonna be just kind of free easy you know hey I'm in san francisco that's gorgeous outside wow okay so let's see what we got I might have to line you up so I can get your head in that area there here yeah and I'm shooting down you just roll over and your hip oh across that sea that looks nice yeah okay your boyfriend's gonna like he's okay to move up a little bit yeah because I'm trying to get fit her head in that circle there okay uh that's uh uh just go back a bit okay good roll over like this yeah you actually I like putting that leg if you can on top hold on top and over a little bit yeah, but what's comfortable too mrs you look good okay so perfect right there and I am trying tio what I'll do is no I like that right there and I'm trying to move her hand away from her body a bit so I can open her up in the long gator okay yeah wow you take a lot of pictures on no you don't look very natural okay, I got even lighting here it doesn't matter where I turned her face is gonna look it okay, so um turn your chin this way this way down over here mr right just a little bit turned your head tilt your head a bit too much right there. Great. Ok, and put your chin up just a bit and the rule for shooting a portrait is that you need the angle of her face has to match the angle of your sensor. Why is that? What happens if she puts her chin down chin down and that angle is different her forehead looks bigger then our chin she puts her chin up her chan looks larger than it actually is, but depending on the face structure, we might like that. But in general, where you start is the angle of the face meets the angle of the sensor and then you'll know that you're in the right proportion for the face. Also, another thing you want to do is don't go and shoot this at twenty four millimeters. Why there's goingto look just orson so what's the millimeter in general said we shoot at fifteen, right? So what I like to do is just zoom all the way, okay and put it at seventy and I compressed the image. A lot of people like the eighty five millimeter lands. A lot of people like the seventy two, two hundred. Uh, it works, so I'm gonna go all the way to seven any ongoing compress that image and it should look pretty cool, all right, and right there looks awesome on and I am slipping below fiftieth of a second here um so shame on me but um we're gonna take the picture anyways and see if it's sharp so I light is changing on me bit so I'm gonna move my it looks a little bit brighter on there than it is in my camera so what I'm going to do is I'm gonna put my eyes so up to two hundred why I'm shooting at a fifth fortieth of a second right? So if I were to have without even looking at in my camera or doing a test shot, what would I change my shutter speed to give me an equivalent exposure of that if I change much my risotto two hundred what do I got to set my shutter speed to make it look exactly like that? A d a right because if we're allowing more light to come here we have tto allow less light over here makes sense and then I met eightieth of a second is that still within my flashing speed so I could still add flash to this if I wanted to, right? Which makes me happy when I think about flash but uh we're doing natural light here maybe we might add a little special sauce later, okay, so now ok let's take a couple shots, so why don't you just, uh you know, you're just looks good anywhere so um turn your face a little bit this way yeah right there like that that's good line this up a bit good and then you really will smile good with over that way yeah that looks great with your eyes look at me when you face a little bit this way looking you're out with your eyes projection of just a bit like there yeah and so your client actually will start to understand where those sweet spots are after you after the session because you keep stopping at the same place and then all of a sudden they know where that is not unless they're very vain person and they look in the mirror all the time and they know where their sweet spot iss and sometimes I play on that if they know because they keep gravitating to this one look of whatever I go okay they must really like their look when they look in the mirror because they keep going back to that position you know especially woman because you're doing your makeup every day you're constantly looking at yourself in the mirror so you yourself tend to know what that sweet spot is sometimes if the person is you know likes to look at themselves a lot okay I'm not saying that you do I'm just saying on feel in general's okay good I like that feel right there nice right? And that's another thing if you use your comedic humor to break up the situation because then you're gonna let that emotion out you're going to release the tension and it's not all serious and the easiest way for me is usually I just make fun of myself or something like that on dh er you seems to work okay so now tried different angle is going to shoot this way just while she's here in the light I know there's background issues and things like that but just were different looks look over there, smile over there and I'm kind of ah center focus and composed for you because I'm so old school I started with the cannon eighty one you know? So that's just the way I I just like having gotten rid of that and so I'll try shooting at this angle because maybe this looks better here uh okay do you face this? Live it yeah, right there. You kind of lean forward a bit. Yeah, so you kind of elongating your net? Yeah, right there. Yes. Okay, um look down this way yeah, okay, another thing with hair as she turned, I'll stay there. That was great as she turns this way there's some hair hanging down here so it looks like she has a beard so that's not good so you gotta always you know, a good assistant will realise that and check that for their photographer so as seconds you need to be in the game right I'm glad you're not facebooking right now because you're there really for the photographer and to make that photo look good and guess what he's going to hire you again the images are and you're learning to so if you are a second stay in the game and try to allow that photographer to get the best possible shot all right great um let's see here let's try uh smile good let's try something just to add a little special sauce uh let's bring in a flash yeah yeah do come down to this right and so my my shutter speed is at eighty eighth of a second so we within flashing speed I've already metered it doesn't she look pretty meter pretty well like a mid camera it looks a little bit darker but well I don't know oh no that looks right ok so let's add a special sauce here and let's turn this on and what flash power should I set this at if I want to ask him flash behind her uh where's my little jill's here sorry what what flash power should I uh should I set this at this kind of a trick question doesn't matter right? You got it right because the main light is already figured out this is for fun this is for whatever we want it to be but since I'm shooting at two point eight at s o two hundred according to my chart that's hardly any light at all so I'm going to start it off at sixty fourth power and then we can go from there um so that's the thing and I'm going to pretend like it's a warm like so I'm gonna pick some sort of gel that has a warm tone to it and this looks pretty good here, so to get out this ring and I don't know if you guys can see this but this's thea jail color here and you know, I don't know exactly what color this is, but it's orange because they have different types of cto one eighth, one half full, this doesn't look full, but, um it looks orange enough to me, so I'm not really exact on that. I just want some orange light, okay? And what I do is test it first because I don't want to oppose my subject and not get them all in perfect position and they're not have my lights set up, so I always get my light um done correctly and then that's the very last thing, so okay, somebody want to just hold this fire this behind on her head, you can just stay back there a bit out of the out of the way yeah, uh, maybe you can come in a bit closer uh, this way over and you're going to fire it right at the back of her head okay so I'm just going not even having your pose right now because I'm doing a test shot okay just to see what it looks like and then when I get something that I sort of like see how as that little rim light there so we could we could do a few of these shots right and it's important when somebody has black hair can you bend that arm a little bit this way yeah we had uh I'm thinking about maybe having it right here. Okay perfect nice okay and it has that nice little edge to it see that I don't know if we could go back to the shots without it um can we go back see even though that looks nice but you know and then go to the last shot uh that but you know what the clients not gonna pick that shot clients gonna pick this one why her ex for grandma likes that shot I guarantee you the mom grandma's going toe say that one you could have the best lighting in the world but you know that shot's getting picked so your job is to get that with that lighting okay because you don't when it comes down to it that's the one they're picking uh that's the one you know one of the baby that's when they yet and then your website is something so anyways let's just take a few more so that's why I like it taking a couple more right that like and now I think there's some shadow coming in behind her a little bit but I just want to get to the idea of see how easy that was to add a flash I mean, I didn't know it was simple there's no fear. Okay, now let's do something crazy let's just bring it up to like what power you tell me it's that sixty fourth right now what do you want to try it at quarter power let's? Just bust it out, okay? Let's pretend like this is a really strong like coming in behind. Okay? Let's, just see what I have no idea what it looks like, right? So this is going to be a surprise to everybody, so we'll see. Look, looks pretty cool, huh? Looks like there's some strong son back there. Maybe you could step back a bit right there beside that again. Uh turn your face. Which way? Let's go this way. Yeah, right there. And I like how that light is is kind of lighting her shoulders and it looks, uh, like uh, some sun's coming back there and then guess what let's raise up my shutter speed to give it a little bit more drama that answers the question me perhaps that connie d was asking it's got keeping him his camera settings the same with and without that extra flash yes, they're exactly the same see how easy that wass because my flash sink was under it was eightieth, right look att two point eight eightieth so it was exactly the same there's nothing changed, but now I'm changing it because I want to add more drama and make it a bit darker so what am I doing? I'm raising my shutters I could do it in a lot of ways, but I'm raising my shutter speed a bit because then the lighting from behind will kind of everything will be the same and I'll just I'm not sure my flashing speech so I will goto one twenty fifth year okay, we'll try it again um in your face okay, how yeah like let me see right out let's try that one and I'm making it a bit darker so what happens is that light wraps around her a bit and it has more of a glowing feel to it because now the light from behind is wrapping around or and I'm making it darker here in the front and so it kind of has that that's more my style I would love to shoot like that that probably the very first thing that I would go too, but since I'm I already need my mind kind of know my style I can arrive at it real fast, but I'm just showing a walk through and experimentation that you could do um but you could figure out your if you might like the other style I don't know it's up to you, but I tend to like that drama in there. So look at that. I mean, come on. Really was that heart that what we just did here waded our hand. We found that the most even light was right here, right? Because if I if I use my hand, I could see shadows on my fingers and on my wrinkles because I'm fifty years old, so my hand is really wrinkly and I can see that there's hardly any shadow right here. So I got the best light right here. So I set my camera to meet her for right here, making sure that my shutter speed is under two hundredth of a second and then we just add the special sauce we add that light we started off with just a little edge light. And then we brought it up to a quarter power and made it a lot stronger. And then I wanted because there was so much light wrapping around, I said, well, why don't I increase my shutter, which what eliminates mohr ambient light okay, so I'm eliminating in making it darker the ambient light but the light from behind it almost kind of raps in front a bit so we can still see her face or even sometimes justine photoshopped you know you can bring it up a bit and get that shot so we can even go a little bit further. I'm not sure about my classic speed here uh but we'll try it one sixtieth then what? Some limitations that want to ready good um and now that's looking a little bit too dark on her face for my for my taste without adding more light onto the situation we could well, it looks okay right how's that love question from a meet abu dhabi is wondering about the shadow that's in front of her cast by the light behind her yes bother you at all. No, because that's what naturally would happen if there was a window back there and the sun was coming through then that's fine, but he might not like that. So what would you do you khun you have to do. The obvious thing is you have to add more light into their right but what's gonna happen is that it might light her up too much, but if you can isolate the light and maybe I don't know so that's the that starts to get really complicated now uh to get one little shadow out but it naturally looks like that way so it doesn't bother me I would have to just concentrate some light in this area and then I would have to be concerned with that light bouncing up and hitting your face and then remembering everything over again so for me to get that shadow out if I wanted to reduce it less power there so that's all becomes ah a sense of style okay if you don't like that strong saddle there if we reduce the back light there's going to be less shadow but then there's going to be less flare around there also but that's your that's the beauty of photography it's your personal choice and what you just need to know how to get and to arrive there so if your thing is I don't like that shadow then you need to know okay, what are my options? I could either add more light there or I have to add less light in the background okay? And that's knowing the tools no winton tools to complete your vision right practice practice practice that's great. Any other kind of questions while we're doing this let's take a look do we have any from our studio audience for starters? Thank you really I like how we started with natural and then we just kind of seamlessly brought in flash and it really wasn't hard at all no, like you just makes me feel like I could totally do that like if you just want to add a little okay, because we're going to make you do it right now I just want to give it another comment from some other comment from michael said I just wanted to let scott know since participating in this class my confidence with flash is boosted so much that no only am I planning to shoot more with flash actually bordered three more flash units yes change from me, right? Yes. And your big boy bar? Oh, yes, I gotta have that big boy bar. All right, um great. So let's see, christine uh, let's, do you have an area where you want to shoot in natural light in and what she wanted to do? Did you want to use column or okay, don't your artist I know you're an artist. You got a crazy idea in your head right now, so I gotta tame you down a bit. You don't like more than you can too, right? Well, christine is thinking about it looking around one more question just about this shot before we weigh perhaps photo says I don't understand why you would use the cto with the natural light if he just used no gel the rim light would look more natural uh, yeah what do you guys how do you how would you answer that reference? Yes, I mean the back what is just kicker it's just for extra sauce basically so if I mean I prefer that style to a more natural look so I'd probably not gel it but um this is a signature style so makes sense okay when I wanted to look like the sun the sun is not clean light when his son is setting at whatever six seven, eight o'clock it's, orange light and so that's kind of the feeling that I'm simulating in my mind I've got a post processed away already so in my mind I'm going I'm going to use that orange light and then I'm actually not going to keep it clean like this because I'm not mr clean I'm going to give it an overall orange tent overall just a yellowish or orange or something like that so that's already been in my mind and because my signature style is all about color using color and I think you shouldn't know things the correct way to do things but don't get hung up on the rules now if you like that just because somebody told you that that's what it should be and you actually like it then that is fine but don't feel that that's the rule that you have to stick to because the photographers really if you want to separate yourself you're gonna have to break some of those general rules to sell sofrito exercise. I mean, some people might like purple back there are blue or whatever. I don't know, but just for your mind. Okay. Great cast. That's beautiful. Thank you. Ok, alright, christine give you get along with this take I'm gonna limit you. Okay? I'm gonna limit you, teo either here or over here because I just demonstrated those two things. So you're just going to do something really basic and then you're going to add flash okay, don't be thinking of five flashes right now. Now that you got so much confidence, I'm gonna tame you down, okay? And this is this is because I want you to think real world situation. Okay, in the real world, it's really hard to execute a grandiose idea when you're not, uh, highly experienced at it and that is, you know, I see this all the time in workshops. Uh, like people who are highly artistic, they're always wanting to hit it out of the park, hit it out of the park, but as working photographers, we gotta just tame it down and then build it from there. And so that's what I'm trying to suggest to you right now just keep it simple, and then we'll add some sauce to it yeah because if you did the home run first and then you fail at it I would just be like oh, I just can't do anything that will ruin your confidence plus sometimes you only have what one minute to shoot your subject good groom where you're bright so you don't you want to make sure you put money in your pocket before you go and do something crazy right okay so uh you know I feel like since we just got here like maybe we should try ok again you can do the late so let's how do you like my idea I'm going to use a guy because column and structure is strong strong architectural lines really given masculine feel so that's why I did the woman over here that's why I did it I didn't make the throb do the roll over no way want do you want to see robin wait can I have them just get in his life briefs or something and did you shave your chest okay, so maybe you know so you want to pick one of these studly gentlemen here? Okay? Yeah, I always kind of say to like think it seems that, um remind you of masculinity like think of geek you think menswear like think of any like, cool model like any celebrity that you're like cass guys cool also when you're posing a guy I'm going to interject here a little bit um what great lighting is split lighting and you know what split lighting is split lighting is like you see it kind of now half the face is illuminated and half is in shadow okay so let's try that thing where you're kind of out and you're on your back of your blade there so you don't scrunch your your shoulder okay I can see that his his his legs were wrong that's why it's not looking natural why is his legs wrong? Because they're straight it's like a twisted tree, right? So his feet actually need to be pointed a little bit more that way, right? And then no I'm not I mean can we even like prison with his back on you? Okay, okay that's better ok alright we magically now have cooler son transformed into the amazing aviator psych classes seventies when I was a kid yeah way bask in the glow of your cool in a way look right over here right there. Yeah keeping that just okay now like go back out like we said like I do, you should now go back way do yeah. Okay, great. So now you could do that too and what I what I like to do sometimes is I'd like to do that kind of that looks great let's take a couple shots like this okay and then I'll do a suggested post okay look actually this way what do you like what you like I actually look look past this year here I kind of like that cool maybe like put your gun down although their light is more on this side but he's got sunglasses it's a how about just looking straight at us so good yeah that's that's cool ok is the explosion look right in there you can wear your curious so cool because you can see the exposure right yeah let's taste it and see what it looks like you look just just uh okay great awesome. All right that's pretty cool yeah okay nice uh okay maybe okay uh flashlight off let's go all right, so um let's add some flash to this okay? Let's just try to see if we can blow some light behind him there although it might be difficult around that being but we're going to try it ah, or I could put I could be off to the side where I'm not seen actually do you want to get an assistant so let's uh what power do you want to set this at? Two point eight at when two hundred of the two let me just try according okay quarter power and if you could just stand over there in the sea if you're out of the frame like is she out of the frame? Um uh well yeah yeah I don't see you pointed at the back of his head right okay let's try to hit the test button uh that's what I always do okay we're good here uh ok neil can you tilt your head down uh lean forward a bit yeah there you go look better on camera uh defines us showing a bit more yeah I feel like youthful slouch go back go back okay there you go okay okay good okay now take a look at what's going on you're not you're not seeing what's going on and then you can see if you want to adjust it all right so you want to take it down a bit flash yeah just seems too okay so what was it's not bright on the left half of his face so what you could do teo even that out is you khun lower your shutter okay so go down to one hundredth of a second okay? So let's go down to a hundredth of a second there I let a little bit more light on the other the dark side of his face and then let's take the flash down uh one or two yeah uh yeah let's just see what that looks like maybe like bring the light so it's like you're like you seem split wait just just sit right down here you go a little bit more behind him yeah here I'll tell you you're in it you're out you're not in it go go back a little bit more to see in it no I don't see a because you go back more yeah yeah keep going on like okay now I'm starting to see you right there I don't see it okay straight all right hey did it work I don't say it's okay so it's going over okay so now we opened it up a bit but we got a little bit less trauma we got a little bit less flash I happen to like the other way but you kind of get the idea that what's going on okay so I have to raise issues so you could go back to one sixtieth of a second okay uh and then let's try that again fuck you and then let's bump it up one on the back todo uh yeah you know you just yeah okay let's try that because you're a little bit further behind and then what you khun try doing now just for a different position that might be something different why don't you kind of try to give him more of a hero look which means lower the angle of your you ever do that suit down low so why don't you try that sometime you know I'm gonna get you down lower I'm so we're making him leaving him or that a superhero because he's making time to see that is that different for you oh yeah and that has ten I do that with guys a lot um to give them a uh joe and so you mean you're already there you know it's just very easy didn't kneel down so now you might want to pull it so when you do that you might want to pull his chin down a bit more or having looked down if you're going to do that angle okay so he could look down this way yeah, look look over here yeah right there. How about something like wait see that see that hero's kind of feel a little bit more masculine but that's just a ni idea of what to do on but I think that looks pretty cool hey, congratulations get very easy exercise does it? Nobody else want to take a crack and do something within these two areas will just kind of keep it simple right now a silhouette perhaps this silhouette okay, so why don't you, uh get your glasses on? Okay? And, uh well I'm not sure if it's okay we're gonna try silhouette right here so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna meet her for the background um and we're gonna put you over here neil uh and yeah, come up a bit right wait go back a bit because I'm short so what am I doing? Go back? Actually, I'm really sure go back because I'm trying to put it in a way that was six feet tall he would be standing here but I'm like short so okay so now turn sideways you mean no not turn on use your head trying to get a profile shot okay on dh so this is all natural light oops my flash went on but this looks pretty cool uh just by itself right? So you got strong architectural lines there yeah, we're going to have fun right here. We're not going to stay with natural life for too long. I could tell you that right now. Okay, so uh uh it's very strong um and so fight okay, so we're going natural light I could literally make it riel dark like to do this too, right? And anywhere in between nothing's right? Nothing's wrong these air just completely two different looks on what you want okay, so personally I like that look with flash okay that's my style I know this is natural light audience do you do you mind me going to the dark side already way going to go there now I looked at I'm at two thousands of a second this is a good training right? I need an equivalent exposure but I need to pull it down under two hundred okay what's that video online? Well, because I'm that's probably like what if we go by sonny sixteen rule most likely that's like a eleven out there. So I'm taking a total guests looking out there that I should be in about a f eleven at, say, a hundred er ah hundredth of the er shutter speed and then if I bring my eyes so down to one hundred, uh, it should be pretty darn close. Oh, my gosh. Look at that, sonny. Sixteen rule it's gonna be, like, pretty much right on sierra. You know what it looks like in my camera because I have live you. Uh uh. You see, we were right on we used to sunny sixteen rule that's an example of sonny sixteen rule. You look out there, it's. Not super bright yet. Uh, look at the shadows on that railing. It's soft shadows but it's bright at in my mind I go f eleven and it was right on half eleven who needs a light meter? Okay, now I know, okay, now I know I'm at f eleven and I want a light his face up I want to do some nice side lighting right there. What power? You guys to have those cards I gave you that six feet away is half hour, right? Okay, so waken go, I might want six feet away why, instead of three feet that's a good question room here yeah so I could get more of his body in there so let's just set it up at half power you know, just for the heck of it I'm going to use this jail I don't know because I'm just feeling that right now I could be totally wrong but I want to just experiment and unleashed my creativity I could be wrong but who cares, right? So when somebody hold this six feet away from him right pointed out his nose and we're going to see what we get over there you're turning this way ok? Flip it the other way yep and you're gonna put that light right? Actually almost behind because I want shadow and I want sidelight sad about at your nose right there sad about six feet about close enough okay close enough and then we'll figure out from there one, two, three popes sorry I didn't turn I turned it off just flipped that switch I didn't do a test before that was my bad close your eyes about it is that a half didn't look like it was that half okay let's try it. I'm it seems like it's underpowered but I don't know I could be wrong one two ready good yeah, it is ah, that gel it's terrible because he does have light skin so just pull it out let's try it again but it's okay I mean it's not that I would like that if it was sunset and and his background what do I got an idea keep the gel on just what idea I got I'm going to change the white balance okay so I'm going to make that super blue back there so what might should my white balance be you know what my y pounds was set wrong anyway so what the heck uh yeah okay I'm going oh no they're this light pole I'm going to go to the little light bulb which makes everything blew right so I'm putting a blue gel over everything and then his face is going to look natural because I've got orange right there now okay pull that light down a bit turn it sideways let's try it right there okay one oh man this looks cool one two three okay now it's a little bit weak so step in closer one two three good that's kind of cool right so now it's really blue his face looks normal right and I got a interesting look there now what we can do is let sandwich him with light okay now let's throw let's throw in another flash on the other side zack cool so let's turn this one on half power no, I'm not I if I want to match the light I should probably have ah gel there um to do that but uh for the sake of time let's just do that so you're gonna do the other and if he's actually if he's too close and you can't get the light behind what is my solution if I want to get the light more behind him and he's pressed up against the wall what what I what what I haven't do I would move them up a bit right, which means if I want to center him I may have to get higher but I you know I can always just do my live you here until screen and I just feel like this okay? All right so like is that turned on? By the way did I turn it on? Look, I'm gonna do a test want to everything off okay? Good. Okay, so now I'm going high because I have a tilt screen here I can position it even though I'm sure I can pretend I'm six feet tall and then I'm going to compress it at seven at seventy millimeters on want to ready didn't go off did that go off? Okay it's a little bit weak moving closer a lot closer right there let's try that. Okay, one two ready? You know what your left arm I need to see space in between your arms yes, go right there perfect because that creates a silhouette more right there there we go see now look at the arm position and that looks a little bit better right um but anyways look at that what we created that's pretty cool uh putting all those elements together so again let's review that what we did right there I wanted the sky a lot bluer than it wass so what I told my camera to do was put a blue it's like putting a blue filter over the entire sensor which means turning my white balance to what? The incandescent or the little light bulb so what that is is saying the camera saying, oh you're using orange light I'm gonna put more blue in there so everything looks normal but I'm an artist I don't want things to look normal I like that blue so I made everything blue if I shot it just like that his skin would be blue so in order to make his skin not blue, what do I have to do? Yeah so orange so I put orange on him and now his skin looks normal. Okay? And so we started off at half power we fired it actually what's happening is that you're the jail is going to cut down a stop that's why the power looked a little bit weak on that and so I moved the flash in to get me more power on the face and then I just added a rim light back there, okay yes, questions go outside and you did the incan yeah, but would it look that blue too so totally would weigh have tons of questions coming in from from the internet so this I may have been when we were down on the floor I'm not exactly sure but from gaza one sixty six if you move the flash behind the subject closer and reduced the power would that also reduce the shadow because of a quicker fall off so, uh it would shorten it yeah, it could yes, it would it would yes, it actually would it would actually, uh I think he was talking here. Yeah, so it would um I'm not too sure about that. Okay, yeah e think that was a thing because the shadow was right next to her you're still going to get it regardless, um with that shadow uh you control your whole here's another idea our here's another idea. If that saddle bugs you, why don't you point the light up instead of down? Right? So if that shadows really like who getting getting at you turned the instead of shooting down turned that light up and then you'll have a halo around that person and you have less shadow so a little bit of kind of more based question drew eleven says shutter speed eliminates ambient light but what does aperture eliminate? They both can eliminate ambient light ok but what ab censure does it determines your flash so the lower the aperture that I used the less flash that I need but what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to get the blue sky so according to the sunny sixteen rule in order for me to get this nice blue sky I have to be at eleven so that's what determined my aperture make sense absolutely yes robert you do ever bounced my flash uh rarely rarely because then I'm out of control with distance wise and I had to do a little bit of a trial and error and what bouncing the flash does gives you a big soft light but my style's a little bit more drama and direct light so but I will do it just to fill in light you know uh but really when you bounce you're making the light a lot bigger. Okay, good so I know that you mentioned this yesterday but there are several over the past couple days there are several folks that were saying that their flashes have a zoom yes tonality and so in these scenarios what would you have? How would you have handled that? Well, in general you don't want it zoomed not unless you want what will happens if you zoom it then you're only going to get this much cover you can make it stronger but you're going to get less coverage because the standard default for all flashes which might guide is based off is thirty five millimeters um and because I wanted to get his entire from waste up um that's why I was back a little bit at six feet but as you can see we moved it forward and I still got that right there um so you can see now the reason why I don't zoom is because all zoom it on a shot and it'll just be left there and then when I go to another shot and I'm trying to re calculate my power you don't let's say you're using three flashes on the next set up and two of them are zoomed and one of them aren't and then you're like then you do your according to the card you do it all and then your flash power is going to be all off because oh man one of those flashes assumed I forgot so if you do you zoom train yours assistant or train yourself after you zoom it go back to the thirty five millimeter default like make that part of your just your workflow always just bring it back because when you go on to the next shot then that card's not going to work and then you're the calculations of your life are going to be all off excess absolutely okay we have a couple different questions from people about still about jelling to control and change light yeah I knew to buy how khun orange negate the blue color can you elaborate a bit technically is it possible that I have orange ambient light with white balance and simulate sunset was he a raindrop photo using incandescent with a red filter flash so could you go through a little bit more in depth on the right color wheel on how that works um so I guess you know uh complementary colors make gray right so if you look at a color wheel if I said read what's the complimentary color of red green so if you mix red and green together you're going to get what gray gray is neutral so that's what we're doing we're using blue and we're mixing it with orange and it gets gray does that make sense which is neutral which means natural skin tone that's all that I remember on that basic is if you take complementary colors and combine them then you're going to get that yeah yeah I used the complimentary and so usually when I using gels when I'm deciding what to colors to use let's say I'm on the dance floor and I'm doing uh you know and I want to use instead of just white light and I want to make it look like a nightclub I'll use complementary colors and a lot that I use I tend to gravitate to now is a purple and a yellow which kind of works for me but then, you've got to be careful, because then, in my cast yellow skin, a skin tone on your client. So, that's. Why I have a phil flash with regular white light to negate that yellow. So their skin tone looks natural.

Class Description

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

Learn how to find the best light available in this CreativeLive photography course with Scott Robert Lim. The award-winning portrait photographer will help you master simple photography lighting techniques by using available light and small portable strobes, you can create amazing images on location and almost anywhere within minutes.

Scott Robert shows you how to shoot in lighting environments from extreme bright sun to dim light and partial shade. This course also covers how to use lighting recipes to maximize your shooting time and capture a variety of stylized images. Finally, you will learn to pull off crazy "one-shot" images with Scott Robert's amazing off-camera lighting techniques.

Class Materials

bonus material

Crazy Stupid Light Slides

Master Flash Guide

bonus material


Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I just finished this course today, and I'm so happy that I bought it! It's been on my wishlist for months, after watching it as a rebroadcast here on Creative Live. I absolutely LOVE Scott's approach to lighting. The way he explains how to light manually is so clear, and easy to understand; he also has a great sense of humor which takes the edge off of trying to get everything perfect the first time. I like how he encourages the class to just try new techniques, and if mistakes are made, that's okay, just adjust and keep moving. This has allowed me, as a perfectionist, to try his lighting formulas, with a lot of success. I'm so appreciative that as an instructor, he took the time to create a class that helps us as photographers to be more creative. Because of this course, I feel so much more confident as I experiment with light on my own, and then apply it to my work. I feel that I have all the tools that I need to create amazing images that really stand out. Thanks Creative Live for making this class available, it has changed how I shoot! =)

Jack C

This course is simply amazing, super good, and completely exceeds my original expectations! Scott is such a brilliant photographer and teacher. His way of teaching is of great fun, and he delivers the ideas so well. I learn really a lot from this. Thank you so much Scott! Creative Live is doing such a wonderful job!!


This is by far my most favourite course on Creativelive. It's inspiring, funny and most educational. I learned so much about flash and lighting and can't wait to practise all that I've learned. Scott is an enthusiastic teacher and his way of teaching just clicks with me. Highly entertaining! And it was fun to also get some posing, composition and other tips out of the workshop for variety. I 1000% recommend this course if you want to learn more about lighting in an inspiring way.