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Creative Studio Lighting

Lesson 2 of 12

Understanding Direction and Distance

Lindsay Adler

Creative Studio Lighting

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

2. Understanding Direction and Distance

Lesson Info

Understanding Direction and Distance

Ok, lovely mano and I wasn't say is just too tall for you but no, not at all uh okay I guess I'm just short today all right for offense um and we're gonna kill one of those lights did you know I think we were going tio okay, cool check on that. Okay, so I moved my pt dish over here and so we're going to kill one of these lights so that you wouldn't get confused there's a difference between the modeling light and whatnot ok, so I'm actually thank you can you unplug the two back lights? All right, so I hate to be weird, but doesn't this light? Well ok she's beautiful but businesslike already look like magazine like already like see the glow of the late their beauty dish most of the time is what's used in fashion magazines, cosmetic ads, editorials and so will the next time you look at a fashion image of beauty image if you look in their eyes, if you look at the catch lights, you'll see a circle in a circle you see two circles and that's what a beauty dishes and so we're using the white b...

eauty dish here all right? So the very first element that I talked about was quality of light right kind of got that checked out figure out what you want so the quality of light were using here it's in between it's not super soft but it's not harsh it's a white beauty dish right? So let's talk about the next thing direction of light there two main directions of your light exercise three but we'll talk okay here's the directions were light you can have based on your subject you have the direction left and right you also have the direction up and down and you also have the distance hey the drawl directions of light that are going to change what your photo looks like so let's start with one of them just get it out of the way distance okay four distance the further back you bring your bucket you take that bucket of water and you back up the more that it spreads out. So if you have a large group of people and you're trying to evenly light that group of people you back your lights up so no everyone has even light on them. The problem is when you back that light up the water spreads out a lot more and less of it reaches your subject. So usually you have to pump up your light or have more water and your bucket more water in your hose to actually reach them but a lot of times for light if you lose the quality you were trying to get, which means a beauty dish a beauty dish how it functions it has a beautiful sweet spot then I'm going to show you kind of the watch for this week but there's a sweet spot of light that by the time you take this kind of flat pan and you back really far up and you throw it the light just goes everywhere and you've lost that contrast you've lost the sweet spot because the light is the water isn't even really meet meeting your subject so that distance it's going to depend it also depends more on the modifier the beauty dish the distance makes more of a difference of soft box you were in umbrellas you back it up and it's still soft butt maybe your shadows aren't defined so just kind of keep that in mind also if you've got that bucket now up close it looks kind of little look bigger if I back way up it starts to look smaller you're making your light source or your bucket appear smaller and so smaller light sources are more contrast e okay, so just like another thing to kind of think about as you're working in that equation so the soft walks that's here that's big and broad and soft is smaller and more contrast e and less broad further back but the light spills more so it's trying to figure things out there so try to think about water one of their water comparison if you've ever had the issue where there's a shadow on your background that you cannot figure out how to get rid of I don't know I had that problem all the time a shadow is a dry spot from a bucket ok, so if you try to pretend that you have a bucket, where would I have to throw that water from so that I wouldn't have that dry spot where I wouldn't see the dry spot I could have the dry spot hidden behind the subject or off of my frame so if you've ever had it just just came my light I'm thinking of it as water it's a bucket where can I get it so I don't have a dry spot that would be the next little piece of advice there. Okay, so let's go over what? We got that distance okay distance that you have so we've got the distance the next thing I want to talk about his height that is probably the biggest thing people overlook its height makes a huge difference the problem that I have seen many times in the past and if you look straight straight ahead okay is more or less light like that it's not bottom light okay it's not bottom like there but the shadows going across her nose is going over here that's not usually flattering on most people it put the highlight on the side of their face and it makes everything look a little bit wider light that comes from below is bottom light monster like creepy but by the way I'm going to do that later to make a creepy set up so breaking the rules is awesome except for we're not talking about that yet okay so you don't want flat like like it doesn't mean that doesn't look like it's below it looks about even but even is not good you want a little more shape so what I'm going to dio as I'm going to raise that light up and as I raised the light up it's going to carve out her cheekbones it's going to carve out her jaw line so if you can think about this you have the light coming from above it cash shadows underneath things all right now the question of how high it depends like and that's I hate you if it's true with any lighting because as he raised that light up what it does is adds more to mention to her face she has got amazing cheekbones oh my god just amazing cheekbones so as I raised the light up it'll cast shadows underneath them and they will look more defined which is really good but at a certain point it's too high and you get shadows in the eyes all right here's here's a couple things to think about people get very unhappy with you when you raise that light up really high and they have a large nose I guarantee you because as you raised the light up, it'll cast a larger shadow from the nose which makes the nose looked larger and also if that lights higher up what's closest to the cameras, they have a large noses there nose to the highlight will get large on their nose and they for freak. I don't know if anyone's had that situation, so I know when someone walks in with a larger nose to my studio, I'm keeping my light lower not this low but not high well, another thing is as we raise the light up it's great because adds dimension but adds dimension to everything. So if somebody comes in with deep set wrinkles as you raise that light up, it adds dimension to the face into the cheek bones into their wrinkles. And so maybe you want a little bit more of a flatter light with someone with a lot of wrinkles. Consideration on the other end of the scale is when you have the late lower let's say that it was for wrinkles you had the light lower and um, keeping it lower you're trying to fill in the wrinkles now and make them have left definition but let's say that somebody has a very heavy face it's a rounder or heavier face when the light is low you've aluminum you've eliminated your your definition, your shape so now their face will look round and flat and heavier because everything's lit if it's from the front so if you have a subject who has a heavier face and wrinkles, I mean, you know, a soft box a little bit higher up with phil would be something that I would do, what I'm trying to fight against it I want something softer so I don't define the wrinkles I'll raise it up a little bit but not too hikes I don't want a lot of shadows and maybe I'll fill in just a little bit if the shadows still looked dark so it's like you got a pick and choose what you're trying to achieve and I'm thinking eventually a class that will teach is something like that how to analyze a person to figure out what lights best for them and break it down because that's that's definitely something like in that situation I get the one a lot if you've got heavier bride and anybody grew and like how to pose them based on like where's, they should go for the camera will hand if they have different skin tones and hot how do you break that apart? Everything's fighting against itself? All right, so I'm gonna move this like a little bit more in front let me know if you can't see but I'm going to have us watch when I do this watch her cheekbones and her jaw line. Okay, and watch how they raise it up. It gives more dimension. All right, of course I'm super short, so I can't see anything anyway. All right. Let's see renny as they raise the light on serious, your cheekbones pop out. So it's flat cheekbones, flat cheekbones, the other one that's really good. The other reason this is nice is that as you raised the light up, it'll make lips look fuller. And what I want you guys to all be aware of as well is here in the studio, we have summation, mayas and other lights. This shadow on that side of her face would be darker. And when you shoot it, it'll actually darker. So I will shoot a couple frames. But also, if I put the light down low she has very minimal shadows underneath her lips as they raise the light up. Watch her lips look fuller, fuller lips get a lot bigger. So it's a balancing act because if I raise a lot of really high now she has shadows and rising. No catch lights it's going to depend on the person's face because I still want those catch lights, but I don't want it to be too flat. So it's really going to depend and I would say for her I'd photograph somewhere around right there because a little bit dimension maybe a little bit higher so I've got the nice cheekbones nice gian line I still have catch lights in her eyes and it's not too dark um in the eye sockets I want to make sure it was you guys able to see that okay, everybody good? Can I have a reflector, please and keeping the whole thing over and I'll just grab the silver so in the meantime a question from freak was what about a soft lockbox? Will that also need to be placed higher in the same reasons? Yes, same exact reason a lot of people will have a large soft box and this is this is a problem I ran into is I had a large doctor box with low ceilings, so actually the middle was lower than the subjects when they were standing, and so it gave me bottomley a little bit too much. Bottom line that's what you might consider if you've got a huge octa box we're tryingto light an entire group you might want to go a little bit smaller so you could get a little bit of a higher angle maybe the four by six foot and then turn it lengthwise so that you can get a higher up angle but then evenly like the group it's all trying to figure out what solution works best for you so I'd recommend something like that. All right, so for her, just to tell you how I break it down is all right, so I figure out what's going to be the best light for that subject based on how deep set their eyes are and something like that. So if as I raised the late up, then we'll go to reflector this is how I think of it guys, I often don't use the reflector not a lot, but it depends if I'm trying to go for tough and manly guys love women look tough and it's really funny because people think that, like, when I photograph women that they're the most excited no, the guy's air ten times more excited than the women a lot because they don't think it's their excuses to dress up and look hot, and now they don't feel bad because, you know, if guys post too many hot pictures of them from their iphones, then we start to tease them. So now this is like an excuse they got their portrait session it's really true, no guys get all right, so lighting her like this, then I will add a reflector for guys they use you don't add anything if they need a little bit of help for example, they have really dark um wrinkles and I just I need to fill the man a little bit then I'll add white because await reflector it just fills in and softens the shadows a little bit basically if you watch right here in her eye sockets maybe they're a little bit dark and it's a little bit too dark for what I'm going for if you watch right it just lightens up those eye socket puts a little bit of catch light and fills in the shadows a little bit so for me I usually do white if it's a portrait for guys I might skip it and then if I'm going for glam or like high key or I'm looking for something a little sexier than all you silver and so the silver really fills in those shadows the problem you can run into is overfilling the shadows that it flattens it out if you're trying to have a dramatic picture so what I want youto watches every angle makes a difference and so my recommendation is that you don't have your subject hold the reflector because if they're sitting there and they do this in this like every single angle I mean every angle makes a difference um did anyone see the lame is ads that they had when it was out it was they had like a knocked a box really, really, really high so there were dark shadows in the eyes but they took a reflector and they had instead of flattening the light because that would be that would defeat the point of les miz they had it really low so if you see if you guys can barely see tiny catch lights in the bottom of their of her eyes so what they did for the late mrs they wanted that shadow but when you raise the late up so high now there's no catch lights and we want to see catch lights so they put the reflector at an angle that it just put tiny catch light so we'd still see life in their eyes but it would keep the drama of the picture so we're going to do something like that probably a little bit later in other words, get a stand westcott makes stands I think they're like sixty seventy bucks that'll hold a reflector something like that you can also make mom hold it I mean, I used to do that because I didn't have that and you know what the problem is his mom if she's bored and on her cell phone and like it's not really any better than them holding it um station considered that, but the other thing that I wanted to show you was a tool that I would recommend and you're all everyone's gonna hate me for this, okay, I recommend this tool it's called a trife lecter this one that I have right now is this continued and everybody unless you're in canada still has them um this one this particular brand is called the last delight trife lecter I'm gonna bring it over here this is called a last delight trife lecter um it was about one eighty with the basin with the reflectors but what's great is you put the reflector in these little clip e things and you can actually hold multiple and I'll explain why once you clip it in there now if you watch every angle is taken care of and for one eighty then you never have to worry about do I have an assistant who's gonna hold it in something like that? So if you can find that last light reflector what you want is the silver the silver on one side white and the other um but I know that in the sometime westcott is coming out with one that used to have one they're coming out with a different version anything that's a trife lecture that does something like this or make your own I hate this like seriously. As soon as I bought this and I started loving it, they discontinued it like two exception maybe mass emails to tell them to bring it back because I love this thing, but I know that it's still in canada fueled in canada okay, but any way you can take every angle for the reason this matters is why have a try reflector here, let's say that I'm shooting this and I want silver underneath for little catch lights in her eyes to fill it in, but this shadow side of her face it's a little bit too dark for what I was going for, but I still want a little bit of shadow. I could put silver underneath and white on the side, and if I ever want multiple, I don't need to have three stands cause three stands off a sudden, she feels like she's a trapped animal, and they can't get out and it make cities or so if you can get something like this, it definitely does help, so I'm going to snap a few shots so that we all have something for reference. So I grabbed my camera well and the reflectors so you can see what we're talking about here for different qualities of late. What's your thoughts on using gold reflectors, eso gold reflectors, solid gold I never, ever, ever, ever you is to slide out, never use gold ever. I do have a silver gold mix that, if sometimes used at sunset and another one that often can help is if you have an african american skin tone. Where maybe the skin looks a little dollar it's missing the warmth that you would like to have in it. I've seen people use silver and gold mix um, in my fashion work, I used to try to make their skin look like steely, like dark anyway, so it, like, defeats the point, but that is something that people use, so I would say silver gold mix or I don't know if they call ic sun fire or something like that, depending on the brand. But what happens if I put a gold reflector underneath? Now? The light under her chin is orange, the late under her chin is yellow, and then you have the correct light from above, so it's, it looks weird. Um, but I will say, I've also seen people that do, like, really sexy glamour have you some some gold because unlike the highlight on there but is now gold and warm and I guess that's why I don't really dio I don't really do that type of photography, but I have definitely seen that, and I've also seen people actually gel lights so that these curves are all nice and warm colored and toned, I just don't do that, I'd rather use like a blue or do something like weird versus sexing. No no it's not like I can't do sexy photographer can I swear so I'm starting off with one light bring this over here and back so have you come over here for second entangled and in a second I'm gonna go over wanna go over meters and color checkers in a second we're going to start with that and david you have your meter pickle profession since make sure everything is awake and functioning okay can I ask you a question about metering since we haven't talked about it yes yes so liz from north carolina asked can we talk about me during the light you would need to do that every time you change lighting direction and subject position is that correct? Yeah. So for meeting in general if you actually keep the power of the light the same and the distance of the light the same you don't need to meet her after the first time. So dave, do you mind describing the meter for me? Thank you so let's just talk about it anyway while we're here because I kind of need to meet him I shot clearly like he needs to be fixed. All right, so you have a meter here and I'm just gonna hold it up all right? Um this is a new meter that I just got this iconic meter and I like it because it's like my phone meaning it's touch screen uh leonard it's fun but actually has a lot of really, really, really interesting capabilities in a commuter for ambient light it can also meet her for your strobe they also does meet oring from movies like cinematography things like that but really what you d'oh is you match your camera settings so you're s o u set and your shutter speed you said so I'm going to show you something I shudder speed here and I'm not gonna go into this whole exposure thing in the studio since I'm not mixing ambient and studio some of the guys later this week are going to cover that so I'm just going to tell you, for all intents and purposes here your shutter speed doesn't really matter to shoot on the higher and so like if your cameras things that one two hundred maybe she don't want two hundredth or one one twenty fifth um all you're trying to do is cut out overhead light from registering we are in a dark space it shouldn't really be too much of a problem with that registering the picture when it becomes a problem and this is what the guys later this week we'll talk about it if I'm shooting out like a thirtieth of a second that long how long that shutters open? Well actually record some of these lights, so I'm going to set it and I have, um one, two hundred uh one, two hundred of a second I s so one hundred all right, do you wanna be my holder and as you're explaining what what you're doing because you also just tell us the camera here using and the lens that you're using uh I'm using a cannon five mark three and the reason people are usually confused is because it has this case on it and what the heck is it? It's a protective case from delk in and the reason I had it is I don't need to buy teaching um this march I guess it was end of february beginning of march and the one of my friends had a house of blood and he went out to shoot in the desert the day before me and he came back with a non functioning hasa wad. Yeah, so I went and bought one of these things it's not going to protect it completely from the sand, but it's a little bit of a protective case that people always like what the heck did on your camera? So have that cannon five mark three and I'm shooting a sigma seventy two hundred two pointing lens. Okay um and I don't what's can you read the actual psychotic thing or let me see it quick it's the light master pro l dash four seven eight d r yes it's like there do one that's cool all right, so um would you hold that in front of her face and where you want to hold it is in front of her face straight ahead so that it'll get that light okay you don't necessarily need yet necessary turn it toward lee towards the light you're getting kind of over exposure there. Um where's answered this question lindsay do you use the meter okay that's like the question that I get asked all the time and I'm kind of shaking her head to get that um okay well sometimes okay here's when these things more matter and we actually grabbed the color checker I'll just do you have it I'm gonna address this right now all right? So cause I know I'm going to get the questions and I'm doesn't say I'm not I'm not a technical like super weenie and all that stuff however sometimes you actually need it and it matters so let's talk about when it matters let's say that I am photographing for a catalogue well I've gotta have the color of that clothing exactly correct it's got to be exactly on have you ever noticed that color's changed based on your exposure a red as you have a higher exposure will look what sometimes it looks got a gamut red it looks really, really red so for something like that I need to have my exposures completely perfect and I need have my white balance completely perfect so how do I do that? So two ways they would do is I would use something like I have here called an x ray passport color checker it is something to have you have the correct weight balance so what you do is you take once you get your lights set you just need one shot just one take one shot and you want to hold it in front of your subjects face and you want these up to the great part the great swatches at the bottom you want that on the bottom? The reason is is this actually comes with software that you can plug in teo light room and it will automatically read those points and automatically give you correct color balance about you having to do anything so that's that's why? And it recognizes it only if it's like this um and so what you can do is you take a picture of this with your lights set and the ones you bring it up in light room you can select one of these great points with your white balance color dropper and it will neutralize things all right? The reason this is often a problem where I've had what this help solve the problem is I have a lot of african american clients, a lot of them, so I'll bring them into the studio photograph a dark skinned person with I don't know a red shirt on a black background and my in camera white balance on auto or whatever gets super confused and usually it reads warmer skin tone and warmer sure and then it everything looks kind of blue or magenta I mean it goes all over the place so my recommendation to you is I sent my white balance in my camera on flash okay? It looks like a little lightning bolt on flash but I'm shooting raw so it's just making sure I have consistency throughout my shots it's not really setting my white balance but I make sure it's consistent I grab a picture of the color checker and then when I select that neutral point I can sync it up with all my other pictures in life from so I mean, you just do it once it's not a big deal, you know? And then you can fix it later on it's really hard if you're not good with trying to figure out what's not quite right with that color versus just having it just just get some kind of neutral point it's easier and then the meter it make sure that I'm right in the correct exposure and it's also just helps me get in the right ballpark so I'm not like embarrassed fiddling around for a while in front of my client and don't have pictures that are like way over exposed that helps do okay so when it's put in front there finish that would be why um can you turn it down a little bit back there for me backs and tell me what it's reading at and I guess I can grab a picture of the color checkers make sure it's right? What did baxter okay, and and dave will you do a test run quick with that. This one is twelve seven which twelve? Seven it's still up towards the sixteen range have you put it down a little bit? Okay, one more. Okay, perfect tend to this time um and something that if you you can dial your packs down you can also move your light further back, but as you move your light further back you spread out the late more. So you're changing things so I'm going to set my camera here when a test one on f eleven first look straight at me let's make sure we're looking good. Perfect. I'm happy. All right, she's gonna load and I'll grab a picture of the color checker here. So I'll be able to later have a better color bounce because if you look and by the way, just as a heads up my screen that screen looks about two thirds of a stop right in the camera just so you have a little bit of an idea um but if you're looking there she does look okay for soul she is super pale but it does look a little less saturated so now that I have that color checker I can make sure have your skin tones if I want them I usually don't if anyone knows my work I have like like I'm like who pure white skin with absolutely no warmth whatsoever guess so you must be into that that's why he's a fan that's why I got it wait, I was saving that one what I want ok, I didn't fire you, baxter. All right, so what I'm gonna have you dio is I'm gonna have you grabbed that reflector and I'm going to have one more of these and I'm gonna have the guys compare them so I'm going to lower the light first and I'm just gonna lower it real quick and I'll have you do reflect their second so look at one where the light is lower okay good let's raise it up a little bit too where I like it which I think is about but right there good perfect great at me okay good now baxter add some fill in for me and do white on that side of her face for me really close it's a little hard to see in this room because of the bright lights right there that's sure that ok good ok so if you'll just bring those three up for me, and so what you'll see is you'll see the light lower on the first one and so there's like less definition to her face, so see how you don't see her cheekbones as much, whereas you do see her cheekbones there and if you look, her lips look flatters, see how they look fuller here and then here, if it's a little bit too dark with the shadows, you out of phil card and so it's, usually about what I'm trying to achieve and then let's just do one wants out of silver and the silver I must have rolled right underneath your chin, let's get even, catch lights underneath, perfect and a little bit lower back so I can see right there and so, depending on the angle, normally, silver for me flattens out the face, but I had becky put it at an angle so that all it does is it fills in a little bit, but it just adds another catch like so that's that whole, like I could flatten out the light, it could move it to the side, but instead of just going toe pop, the little catch lights.

Class Description

Creative Studio Lighting is part of our special bundle Lighting Toolkit.

Join award-winning photographer Lindsay Adler for an introduction to the essentials of creating high-impact studio lighting with minimal fuss or expense.

Drawing on years of experience, Lindsay will introduce you to the basics of studio lighting and give you strategies to apply these basics in creative ways. Along the way, you’ll explore unusual light modifiers, crafty ways for working with limited gear, tips for ensuring that light is flattering, and more!

This course will inspire anyone ready to take their work to the next level, whether you’re a veteran photographer or just starting out.

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Justin Tui

This is my second course purchase from Creative Live amd im a short way in but already love it. Lindsay Adlers style of teaching is easy going and simple to follow along with. Her personal work is amazing too so i feel confident that im getting knowledge from a trustable source. Im definitely going to continue to invest in more content from Creative Live and I rock the podcast everytime a new ep comes out.

a Creativelive Student

I love watching Lindsay work, she teaches with ease as if it were a one on one session. Would love to assist her or at least attend one of her workshops soon. This course was very helpful as well as opening my eyes to a few things that were always there, but just able to see them, thank you Lindsay

Tracy Whiteside

Only 1/2 way through but I knew in the first module that Lindsay Adler is the best instructor!! So easy to understand, great demonstrations, LOVE HER!!!