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DIY Fashion and Editorial Photography

Lesson 3 of 31

Natural vs Studio Lighting

Amanda Diaz

DIY Fashion and Editorial Photography

Amanda Diaz

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Lesson Info

3. Natural vs Studio Lighting

Lesson Info

Natural vs Studio Lighting

Training your eye to notice and observe light even when you are not shooting is a good thing to practice. When I started out, I did not have money to purchase lights or equipment I had to use what was available, and this is why I'm such a natural light shooter, because I just I mean, if I had the money to buy light's, a problem would have started that way, but I didn't, so I had no choice but to learn how to shoot in various lighting styles, so I'm going to go through a little bit of siri's here, of of my photos with light little lighting diagrams, I made the graphics myself, so I don't know for sure if I was allowed to use style lights or something, so I just kind of does it don't laugh at my graphics anyway, so this is one example this is sun flare self explanatory. Um yeah, and this is just a portrait shot. Um, I shot it f one point eight fifty millimeter lens that s o the sun was just dropping. We lost it about two three minutes later. Um, in this photo, which I will talk about wit...

h models later she told her to move I didn't ask her to pose, I said, just move like I'm filming you, I just want to like stay in the line of the sun and just you know and we got this shot and it was like one of my favorites no reflector the next one is um diffused natural light this is another favorite way I like to like things this is a parking garage late and it conserves a massive soft box and make beautiful dramatic light so it's almost like there's a window there because this time I'd say maybe a cz bigas this room it was the model you know say that it ended right here at the carpet the model she stood a little bit back and it just created this whole contrast of light around her on her and in the back it kind of dark and everything out and so it just I don't know I love this kind of light it's very dramatic and yeah so there is that it's just a big huge it's just it's like a big huge soft box um so street lights it could be really pretty um you adjust your I s o and shutter accordingly because it's at night and it's you know you got the noises it goes up and everything but it helps it adds to the photo like I think the noise adds to the photo when you're doing things like this um so I was just three little bulbs just special that's all the little street lights around her and yeah there's glass oh yeah sorry and I shot through glass so she was like in a bus shelter so that's why you're seeing the brok my saying that right you're saying that in front of right to go through and google how to say that for off early but um um so the that that's in front of her and behind her just to add to the photo this lighting was shot on ly with candles so this girl we were at her parent's house we just finished a shoot I have nothing to do with this I'm like hey let's just quickly you know what it's like to a bathtub shoot real fast we had some don't know where we got those flowers I think I brought um but the I don't know they're from the dollar store again I think and the rose petals were from there and report some milk in the tub and I we got a bunch of tea lights and the on ly lighting in this whole thing is tea lights all over the room all over the bathroom it was really hot though like it was stinking hot like why oh my god I can't believe how much heat that produce but I think we know yeah like two dozen of them and they're all over all around the edge of the bathtub and I don't know it just created a really pretty light so these are the ways I've had teo be creative and use what I could without spending the money so ah hi harsh midday sun we made it work light is pretty much above and behind him a little bit and it was such a such a break day I have the shutter one eight thousand the I s o is on lois I could get one hundred because I still wanted to shoot it like a low temperature like two point oh on I used my eighty five this is more window light this was taken in my little basement with a small window maybe like about that big high above and directly in front of the model so the window was like right behind me and she was in front of me like this no other lighting was added no reflect or nothing and the shutter had to be quite slow when you do things like this and it's not enough like obviously you know we have to slow the shutter down and be really, really still in bring the iast so upright uh this one again this is direct sunlight it can emulate expensive fashion lighting setups but it zero cost I love direct sunlight is another lighting setup that I used over and over. You just need to know how to get the mall to pose for the correct effect because when you're shooting in hard sunlight you don't want these dark shadows happening here um so if you guys now that I'm telling you this you'll look if you ever see me doing photos like this, their chin is always slightly up like this or like this because the sun is so high up and it's you don't want you know I like shadows but not all the time right? So you don't want any like, dark I mean if you could make it look good that's fine, but um yeah so what their, uh their chin is usually slightly up if you can if you want to use hard sunlight same thing eight thousand shutter lo ia soul um and you can probably put a filter to even make it a little easier on yourself but I don't have one I just do it this way um just yeah just remember even if you wait a little later in the day maybe around two three o'clock it's still bright sun but it's a little dimmer and it's a little lower so their chin doesn't have to be like way up there right now just wait a little longer but I love this kind of like it's like it's very it's it's used a lot in high fashion editorials yeah ninos they don't bring any lights some of them so this image was taken on a cloudy, cloudy winter day it was phrasing this poor girl was freezing it was like well, for us it was like minus thirty, so I don't know what you guys call it zero I don't know anyway, but it created a clean, crisp field to the image editing played a part in this again I cooled tones right down um and it's just yeah clouds that's it on so the next one uh this is the sun setting down on the right side so the sun she's sideways the sun is there and I'm like right here on your other side I had an assistant hold of reflected a balance light back harder this why she's so shiny and because the sun was setting it's bouncing off it's going right onto the ground so it illuminated her a lot and this is the same park aid parking garage as I've used over and over again. This is the same one with the girl with the doves in the red, and it was just in a different spot. Um there's another set up, this is, um, clamshell lighting beauty dish with the grid and uh this one it was just a white backdrop, another version of clamshell lighting that's the way I do it, I don't use two lights, so clamshell lighting if you guys don't know it's like it's meant to be like a clam shell and sometimes people use to lights or they use, I don't know, there's different setups. I've seen a few different versions of doing it, but I use and I know this is weird the way I did this e couldn't I don't know, I couldn't figure out how to make the diagrams, so anyway, she's sideways and the reflector is right here, a big silver reflector, and then the beauty dish was just like right above her, and so, yeah, yeah, I said there's two sometimes people used to beauty dishes sometimes they used two umbrellas sometimes use a beauty addition umbrella it's just there's different ways you can do it. I just like doing it this way because I'm not I don't like using a lot of lights the most, the least I can, you know, if I can do it like the minimal way I will. Um, this is part of an editorial we had done in my basement again saying what the previous they're all like in my basement, usually anytime we see studio work its most of time in my basement but twenty two inch beauty dish with great again, same set up, but with a gray backdrop and no reflector, so the beauty dish was like, I think, it's ninety degrees on dh. It with the grid, it just focuses straight onto it doesn't spill too much, so the light is just sort of there's this halo around her and beauty dishes like one of my favorite lighting modifiers, I use it as much as a possible if I mean, if I'm using any kind of lighting setup, this site was created by having the model face an extra large soft box with two diffusers overtop mixed with a blue gel for fill light behind beside her. So I had her turn to the beauty. Teo, I'm sorry to the soft box in the soft boxes, pretty big like it cools like probably from the models and need to just about above her head. I don't know what you're that's our butt, and she faced the light, and then I had a ah one of my flash like my count and five, eighty or something, I had it on that thing I did remember anyways, I had the put a blue gel there just to create sort of like a different toning. I use a lot of blue when I use gels. I like blue, I don't know, I put it in there a lot, so so these lighting setups are the same things I do over and over and over again it's always one of these things you're I'm not goingto you guys are just going to be bored with my ladies set ups because I don't I don't get all into like I have eight lights and it is not just there I just now it's not for me okay so I'll just quickly had do a little run down of my um the way I feel natural light versus studio light I like I said I'm a natural light shooter probably about ninety percent of the time I'm still learning lighting like studio lighting so um not true liked I will like I said because I learned to shoot with only natural light I always I will always prefer it over studio lighting always I just love natural light it's so close to what are I see our eyes see in real life and it helps convey feelings in a special way I think I don't know it's just something about natural light to me it's just different ah whole different vibe in the photo but um for natural light I feel like it the benefits are um you know depending on depending on the light you know like sun versus cloudy right so it's soft and flatter into the skin is a lot easier when you're trying to edit because it's not a stroll it's not this harder light so with things like that I just feel like it just it makes the skin very creamy uh I like it I like it for that reason um there's like I showed you all the lighting examples previous um the various lighting styles it has so I uh I have so many different ways there are to see a lot of people they feel like they're there there's not but there's so many ways you can combine natural light together to you know like him you could put the girl in front of the window and then have you know, the sun coming through it just around the corner and there's different ways you can play around with natural light and so there are various ways you can do it it's easy to work with once you're used to the various lighting you did not need to fiddle with sliders, cord stance and all that stuff so that's good for me I'm I'm perfectly happy doing that in natural lighting confused indoor and outdoor it's um you can use window light like I said it's really beautiful and adding reflectors could help balance the light around more evenly fear inside say it's raining on I'll fight you don't have lights that khun still create a really nice light inside um it's limitless shooting environments and when you're shooting natural light outside, you have unlimited options of your backgrounds and scenery so you can pretty much go anywhere as long as you're allowed, right? No that's your sneaky about it like me all the time, but yeah, there's so many things you could do outside, you do not need to create these backgrounds, you just go look for them gardens and weird walls and ali ways and that kind of thing. Um, limitless space to work in if you're outside, you have so many options and backgrounds, like I said, and you're not confined to one one area so the model could move around freely when we're we'll get to that after do not go off too much. Um, the natural lighting challenges are unpredictable weather. It could be sunny and in the middle of a shoot start raining. So if you're in canada, I guess, but I don't know how you guys have it here, right? You know, start okay, so yeah, like that's the kind of thing that I can't stand, I get really upset and, like, traumatized when I have a specific shooting mind. I'm like we need hearts on like, a tomorrow is hard, you know, really bright, no clouds, and then I'll wake up when it's raining and I'm like, oh, my god, no like, and I have tio think fast and then just do whatever you gotta do to like make it work right? So that's the challenge of that unpredictable lighting conditions again same thing lighting khun b unpredictable it could be sunny and cloudy often on and during the shoot and you'll have to utilize your light at it as it is given when you can't control it. So like I said, you have tto figure out plan b if you had something and I don't know I don't like to cancel shoots doing this this way I've cancelled a couple times but by dealing with it and trying to recreate whatever it is that I you know had originally plant it's helped me tio like be creative, you know, it helps me to think of some other way to deal with things when there is no really other choice, especially if I had a model coming in from out of town and stuff like, you know, I can't there's just no way to change that. So um this is another one carrying props and equipment I hate that I hate doing that. This is a major annoyance to me, especially when I don't have an assistant I I don't like carrying stuff for home like I just like I said, I'm just I keep everything minimal, minimal lights when I'm editing minimal whatever it is, I don't want to deal with that so that's a challenge you will sometimes have to choose specific times in the day to shoot what you want like sunset for example you cafta wait all day just to get out there for ten minutes before the sun disappears because you want some certain shot so that's another challenge um now we'll go into some studio lighting benefits so um total control of your lighting and setting you have pretty much told control of everything you khun adjust turn up turn down move whatever you need to do so that's a little easier than when dealing with rather than moving light when you're outside you move the model to adjust to the light when you're inside you just fiddle with the light right? The time of day is not a factor it does not matter you could do it at midnight you can do it it twelve new and it doesn't matter private shooting environment it's usually a closed in private environment you did not need to worry about people walking by stopping and staring at the models. I get really annoyed by that being all weird and pervy in ha don't think hiding the models somewhere to change you have to push him back in a bush and like stand there and really no one's coming and it's just weird so we have to do that sometimes it's funny and versatility you can be really versed tall with your lighting going from super edgy and contrast it too soft diffuse romantic like you can change it up nicely that way many lighting combinations you can arrange the lighting just as you like for the shoot if you know how to arrange the lighting I've done bad lighting combinations when I started using lights and it was bad anyway so studio lighting challenges location permits if you are planning to use your lights on location because it's such a it's just more of a gong show when you're doing this right you will usually need to find out if a permit is needed in a public in many public places nowadays like it's, they're getting pretty strict on that so just be aware of that it can be very expensive studio lighting can get pricey it's not just lighting but also the accessories you will want to collect for them as well so you usually you get your lights but then what you need this you need that you all you need and it just adds up and it adds up fast so that's another challenge learning curves it takes time to learn studio lighting and the many methods to use them I'm still learning about studio waiting I don't know I don't know much to be honest, I don't I like I said I used my really dish my soft box I use large pair of balkh umbrella those are the three things I'm pretty comfortable with and so it's a big learning curve you really gotta understand light when you're doing studio so packing up unpacking, set up, take down, pack up, unpack it's the same thing over and over it's just a lot of work doing it that way it's very time consuming so you know, unless you haven't in home studio and you're always set up that's fine, but if you're moving around from location to location and you don't have somebody there to help, it can get a little bit time consuming that way thie other thing that's the challenges you need appropriate space for the lighting to be set up and sometimes a decent backdrop for two so you're gonna have to not just that you need backdrops on paper you need stands and you have to make sure you have appropriate workspace that's another one and um like I said, understanding ladies sit ups I want ahead of myself, but if you don't understand it, it can look bad and I've done it and it looks really horrendous and walt from me doing that because I'm so self taught I learned from that so don't be afraid to try things because how else you gonna learn? I'll go into that a little bit later on um studio lighting challenges off yeah sorry subject is limited to lighted area so yeah so if you don't have a lot of options moving around you are covenants stay in one spot and I specifically in one spot like when I did these girls this girl here she just could not like she couldn't go one inch out of the way because of the way the light was and stuff you know single inspires mainly position on the light you have set up and so any time like say even if I had the beauty dish here on dh I don't like the side of the model's face we have to do all this rearranging not that I don't like it but I say this is the stronger side we have to do all this rearranging justo you get the beauty dish on the other side and adjusted and fiddle so I don't I'm not fond of that kind of thing anyway so building on an idea this is the next section you have an idea now what you sow here storytelling what is storytelling? This is a way of creating a visual story for the viewer whether it's through a series of images or just one like I showed you guys in the portrait shots like there's a little story to that one specific image or you can create siri's of um um creating an emotion mood setting her message the purpose is to look at the image, be drawn in and come to your own conclusion about while the audiences to be drawn into their own conclusion about the what the picture the message you wanted to betray so here is a sequence of images um yeah conveying your own idea through images so this one even though these are all single images they were all shot together we did that again this was in vancouver each image can tell its own little story so they are meant to be together but at the same time when you look at it you should be able to draw some kind of feeling emotion out of there you know what's wrong with this girl she's having a breakdown I don't know it just whatever it is that you're thinking the middle picture you know she's like in the water and it's just all like sad added those birds in there and yeah, you know you just have to learn to like it add elements even if it's not through props or anything but you know emotion I would think would be I would say is number one when you want to do storytelling in your photos single images again with each this is like a with each of its own story to tell so this is again another shot of my snow white girl this was because this was a story this was before she became the queen she's holding the apple here so I didn't show you guys the whole the whole trail of the photos but yeah so this was earlier in the editorial where it's the beginning and she's you know, standing there kind of lost and whatever this middle photo is I don't know if I left samples of this I think I did a later but the middle photo is the story I borrowed this from a designer yeah, she made us like uh I don't even know what that thing is called but it's got like medals and stuff like soldier it was like a soldier theme we made her hair like a nineteen twenties um type of the waves in her hair and this was her neighbor's horse were in her neighbor's yard she lives out on acreage and the story to these photos is that she her husband has gone off to war. And so this was the story and the whole storyline was about that she was alone and she was just looking off in the distance and so there is that and then the same thing again this girl here there was no real story behind this but just again the mood the mood was like was the emotion that I was trying to get do we want any questions or anything? So I think maybe we've got time for one or two questions you have anything in the room if not, then I definitely have some from online I think just because we talked about it fairly recently, we've got eric steal pixel berg and a couple others who are wondering about you mentioned how frustrating it is when you've got a chute planned and then it suddenly starts raining or you know or you plan on it raining and something sun shining s o the question is when you are planning out to shoot, do you have a plan b in mind or do you then come up with something on the fly because you've gotta have it happen? Usually no, I don't I'm so bad I don't that's why I get frustrated because I don't I just assume that everything is going to work out but I should probably start having a plan b so no, not really oh, I love it yeah yeah ok good, good get let's see um to have so many questions coming in and again a lot of these I know we're going to be talking about later s o we have let's see one from zo have u k and this is kind of a more general question for but for conceptual photography would you scout for locations or focus more on props to portray the genre? So I guess where do you start with your concept ing you begin with the location, you begin with the proper again with the model or does it just depend on every single beginning with the model it's always about, like I have to, I have to have that right model she has to be able to convey whatever it is I'm trying to do, so she has to. She has to fit that character just like when movies and tv shows are casting their actors their specific to a look that's, how I look from my models, they have to fit a look that I need, and from there I will start thinking up ideas for props. I'll start putting the elements together in my head that way, and usually location I either. It depends like I don't no yet or I might have an idea, or I start to think about how I'm going to do what everything is sort of, like, really random with me. It just depends. Yeah, yeah, is that good? I hope they got something out of that, but yeah, it's. Usually the first thing is the model. I have to find the right model before I can go further.

Class Description

When you think of conceptual, high-fashion photo shoots, you imagine budgets in the tens of thousands of dollars. Turns out, couture shoot concepts don’t have to cost more than $100. Join Amanda Diaz for a hands-on class that will show you how to concept, style, and photograph the images of your dreams.

This course will teach you everything you need to know to create high-fashion looks (including models, props, and locations) on a seriously shoestring budget. You’ll develop the strategies you need to carry out a complete low-cost, high-impact shoot from start to finish. You’ll also learn about creating a consistent, cohesive portfolio and develop ways to express your unique point of view in every image you capture. You’ll examine how a fear of criticism can unduly discourage you in the same way financial constraints do, and how to prevent those fears from holding you back.

From vision boarding to connecting with modeling agencies to shooting for publications and more, you’ll explore the tips and techniques every professional photographer needs to know.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Lightroom Preset Samples

Photoshop Actions

Texture Samples

Creative Shoot Checklist

Mini Posing Guide

Amandas Favorite Photoshop Action - Enchanted

Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Dan ilicak

Amanda diaz has given me inspiration and purpose. I wake up everyday inspired to create a beautiful image, atleast enough to hold your "aww" for a few seconds. I can relate to Amanda on so many levels as I also found myself in photography and never planned for it. Just like Amanda, I also started from scratch with nobody to help or assist me. If I had found this tutorial a few years ago, it would have speeded up the process of learning. Even today I call myself a professional photographer, this course still had a lot to offer me. I can blab on and on about how much I love and support Amanda diaz, however I will make it short and sweet by saying three simple words, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

a Creativelive Student

This was the best creative and most prolific 3 days of a tutorial. Amanda covered the entire spectrum of what every photographer who's trying to become better and bigger go through. I loved the part where she spoke about how to shoot in any lighting situation outdoors and a few indoors. She not only spoke about them, she went into full detail to help the novice or advanced level photog. Despite the tethering issues CL had with Lightroom, Amanda poetically commanded every day of her 3 days. Another point is that she did everything "her way", and not the traditional textbook style of teaching and editing. One prolific point is that NONE of the previous CL instructors touched the issue of drama, unwanted criticisms, or unprofessional things that happen in the industry, however with a brilliant stroke of quiet humility, and courage, Amanda did. I believe it helped everyone realize that no matter what level of photography you're on that it happens and you have to oftentimes "bite your tongue", or "turn the other cheek". It also pointed out that as photographers we should be doing everything to help one another to build our industry, vice tear it down by hurting one another because of the mindset of "competition". Amanda Diaz, and CL I salute and thank you dearly! Semper Fi! Mike