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DIY Lighting

Lesson 1 of 2

DIY Lighting Part 1

Kevin Kubota

DIY Lighting

Kevin Kubota

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Lesson Info

1. DIY Lighting Part 1

Lesson Info

DIY Lighting Part 1

This is a little different the first time I've done this d I y class and it sort of was kind of a natural because I've always been a d I y kind of guy from when I first started my photo business over twenty years ago uh I started in my garage like probably a lot of you do and I had no money for lighting equipment had to borrow money for my mom to get a camera didn't have a camera because my dad's hand me down camera just got stolen when I want to start my business I'm going to do this so basically I had a a loner camera from my mom and then I decided I'm gonna build lighting tools I studied read up how to make lighting tools what type of lighting, what consists of good lighting and what the lighting works angles of reflection and all this kind of silly stuff that's kind of the geek that I am and I said, okay, well I'm gonna build some stuff because I can't afford to buy it so I started my garage and interestingly enough it worked pretty good so what I thought it be kind of fun about th...

is class is that we can emulate very, very high end professional lighting effects and looks but using really low in d I y stuff which is there's a certain pride you khun taken using crap to make really beautiful photos, you know, right? I mean, so sure anybody can get you ten thousand dollars for the pro photo gear and make a nice image, but if you take crap from home depot and make a nice image that's pretty impressive and so I think that's kind of fun and one of the other things I realized over the years is that these d I y skills that I acquired even though I acquired more gear and professional level lighting tools, which I'm not saying don't buy because eventually going to want nice gear that's a little more convenient, but you pick up the skills that enable you to think on the fly and to fix things on the fly and two rigged things on the fly or if you can't buy something, then you make it, I'll show you some examples of that as well. So that's in a nutshell, why I think di wise so important no matter what your level it's not just for beginners it's great for beginners but it's actually anybody everybody needs to know howto tweak and modify whatever they have and there's a funny story when I was just getting started in my wedding photography career years ago, shooting with possible I'd get over those square cameras was really were with and a few weddings and my mentor that taught me to shoot weddings said you put up a mets flash on top of it, we pretty much welded it to the camera because it never came off. It was a phil flash and we use it all the time, and that was basically he balanced that flash with the daylight, phil flash everything. So I want to shoot a wedding one day and two shots into the wedding. My flash died dead. What the heck am I going to do? I don't have any backup equipment because this is my hobby, but I don't have to haas obliged to metz flashes, so I called all of my friends to see if I could borrow equipment save me, come down to the waiting and he wasn't home s so I figured, okay, what am I going to do? I'm gonna have to make this work so immediately I started to look out of desperation for anything that could bring about light anyway could modify existing light. I've always relied on just this flash on camera, so I never had to think about bringing light in or using light, existing light reflectors and things like that, so I actually we get like the bride do brian portrait and I would get the groomsmen, take off your jackets lineups I have all their white shirts. To make a reflector for me because I had no idea how to light them so I had a line of guys here with their white shirts taking their coats off in a bribe would be here you know that she's got this nice reflected light from them bouncing in and then I go and find a table cloth on the in the dining area to the magic trick yank the tablecloth hold that up and I was finding all kinds of ways to light this thing and funny thing is when I looked at the images after getting them back it was my favorite wedding because I had finally stopped relying on this stupid flash on camera and start to look for ways to modify the leg. Fortunately today I don't have to worry about guys in white shirts because I have a new friend my friend is reflect our yes reflect or goes with me everywhere wait and then she has a she doubles has white on the inside too so we can bond with white or silver if you need a little more punch so don't go far reflect or we may need to save the day again later on all right, so that's kind of how I got I got started and I got really excited about d I y and what I could do uh with my smile two hands and fuel cheap goodies I want to show you a quick slide show um actually an emoto thank you an emoto they're one of our sponsors for this program this week right the whole week we've been using them for years they're awesome and was kind of funny because when I heard the animal was a supporter uh okay I'm gonna confess here I haven't actually done a lot of the uploading and making videos myself because my wife and my assistants always do it like I should probably know how easy it is to make a video it animal before I go and talk about it and I always say love enomoto I love the videos but I'm not actually making them my assistants did so I just this morning went up uploaded crabs image on my computer uploaded them made a little video is easy you get done animal videos it's stupid easy I can do it anybody can do it it's great so uh I want to show you this little quick video to show you some ideas and the different types of lighting that we'll be talking about too oh wait wait no wait wait thank you. Thank you, minamoto you know what's crazy too is all those images on there for made with this plastic bag and this flashlight no, I knew somebody would fall for that it had to be kenneth don't ever use a green plastic bag d I y so why do I why we talked about that? It makes you more resourceful, gives you ideas, helps you learn about light and that was one of the cool things when I first started doing d I y projects, but I had to think, how does light react when it goes through a certain subject through a substrate like diffusion material, a sheet, plastic glass mirrors, what happens to the light? So made me really start to understand and appreciate the qualities of light which are important no matter, no matter what you're doing, right? Um, one of the things I found out is that it leads to good things and here's one of my favorite stories you guys have heard of lens, baby, this is a this is the original nobody's ever seen this original prototype lens baby with a lens duct taped to the front of vacuum hose? Uh, this is what my friend craig strong, who invented the lens baby at one of my workshops in the boot camps actually asked him to come and talk about something, and he said, I don't know what to talk about. It said, well, you've been playing with garage sale lenses and things like that you make all these little d a y projects just bring one of those and share it, so he brought and we set up the night before and basically duct taped together lenses for everybody in the class to play with the next day in the workshop. So everybody had one of these crazy handmade lenses and had a blast, and he realized he was on to something. And it evolved into what we now know the lens of a which is a worldwide phenomenon, which is the very cool articulated ball with focusing and everything like a pro lands. But this is the original with a duck tape and vacuum hose from home depot. So this is an ultimate d I y turned into something amazing in a project that really works. So if nothing else do d I y because you make up of the next great invention for the photography world, and if you do, I need to get it first to see you guys know I got dibs because I put the seed in your brain, right? So I get the first copy. Whatever you invent, what are you giving up when you do die? Why, of course you're giving up the convenience of professionally built stuff, maybe the longevity, the quality of it. So you do give up something, and eventually you're gonna want to upgrade to the full fledged version of whatever it is that you have, um, or maybe not maybe going to happy with what you made yourself so you do give a little bit convenes and the other thing is another old story. When I first started, I built my own soft box big one four foot six foot out of wood, big frame put translucent material in the front black things. He was really heavy, so I put pulleys and the ceiling toe pull it up over this in my garage and I could angle it this way that by adjusting the police when we another so be, like a ford facing or down light. And I had one of my first model sessions in the garage, which is really embarrassing by the way to bring some young girl into your garage you gotta walk to the house then. So she's under underneath this big light bank and about five shots into the session, one of the hinges came loose on the sitting. This single herd on fell down just about hit her in the head and I was I would have been bad start my career. I've taken out the model so that's one of things you give up in d I y things fall apart the worst possible moment but it's worth it you know that we died so it's fine. All right, so we're gonna start building stuff pretty soon I wanted let you guys know there's a pdf that has a a list of all the tools and I'm using my d I y tool kit which I'm going to show you guys right now all the pieces as instructions for building the things they were going to build so of course you guys in the audience can download it and people at home if you just go to the website it's on your screen right now fill that out and we'll send you a pdf and it's all kinds of great deals and discounts you have my lighting notebook just a quick plug on that I'm pretty proud of it if anybody's interested in learning all about lighting this was a amazon award winning book so check out the light notebook if you want all right. Okay. So let's talk about your tool kit no d I y self respecting person can be out there in the world without their own fancy tool kit and what's in a toolkit well let's see what's in a tool a tool kit so first of all duct tape right? Yeah, you can get dragon duct tape they're in your aces in my books double stick tape you never know when you might need some double stick stick something up to the walls gorilla pod not really um accessory but these things are great put flashes on them you can put other holders on the end of these so these air designed to hold cameras primarily but I find them awesome for just holding flashes and actually if you wanna impress your people at the weddings you can actually hear you got your camera walker on your weddings and shoot like that he got a little ariel light behind you you don't do that stuff, but I've done I've done stupider things that wedding's actually but this is true story what I did at weddings for table shots you guys love doing table shots of weddings yea, right like the worst possible thing you could do is table shots nobody's you walk in the middle of a conversation people are like photographer what you know so I walk in and my assistant behind me with this behind my head like this and walk to the camera and says she's leaving the light at the back of this you know, to make a nice big soft box I just walk around tables hi everybody, you can't help but break crack up even if you're laughing and meet some immediate I still get good smiles right? Somebody hey smile, smile, smile table trying to galore yeah love table shots and we got some reach and then it's like, oh member is looking at you it is jesus, so it works pretty well for a groupie thing as well as making beautiful life, okay, what else is in the bag? Flashlights we'll talk about flashlights. We're going to actually do some really cool lighting stuff with just flashlights in the second section later on today. So I gotta have flashlights. Dude, you gotta have your tool, right? Leatherman tool multi tool. I gotta have that with a knife on it and still some pliers and you gotta have a scissors. That's the main thing is having with scissors. You can cut hair, fabric, whatever got up. And I keep that my little bulges on this address. Okay, I got a record perik orders really handy. This is a high strength cord. It's just used for everything by the bright colors because I'm using it to tie things around in a setting where people don't not see it. We'll see it better by the camouflage it's kind of dangerous people trip over it, hang themselves and stuff like that. These are kind of cool to these air suction cup clips. If you ever go to someone's house and you wanna hang fabric over the windows that could take a sheet perfect d I y thing, right? Get a white sheet hanging over the window to defuse it. He's using little suction cup clips. Look, um, stickum and they have little clamps and just hang your sheet to that over the window and that perfect right, so that is like total ghetto but you get the most amazing light because all you do is hang a sheet over a bright window and you got the most amazing light I mean that's it that's all you need in life and you know little food and that that's it beautiful light it's always have those handy what if I could climb this no work want to do that like a ninja okay um oh zip ties got a zip ties um actually have a funny story about his ties next haven't exploded I was just um peru is as mentioned much teach you and I got asked to speak in peru to do ah half day lighting class and before you know they asked me said sometimes you got to ship all your lighting gears tell us what you need and we'll have it all ready for you our manufacturers have this stuff so I said okay, I need um I need an octa box three foot doctor box with amount for speed lights I need a large collapsible scrim I need a silver white portable reflector lights stands um some other things whatever. So I'm thinking they must have used like google translate because what they got was I don't need nothing so when I got there they had nothing from you to do a full day lighting class so we scrambled together and I'm fortunate one thing I could get was when the un instructors had an octa box and so I did steal the octo box, but I had zip time my flashes into the speed ring to make them work. There is no mountain for my speed lights we got a rolling coat rack, you know, rectangular pipe coat racks that they rolling on the lobby of the hotel we stole one of those I said, go ask housekeeping we can borrow a sheet we got a sheet housekeeping duct taped it around the clothes rack like a big scream out of that, I went to the lobby and they have those poster signs you all over for this way to the convention stole one of those signs, which is white on one side. Pull that out of the hole there, use that for a white reflector, basically went around the hotel and it stole stuff to make lighting here out of and it was all rigged together. So it's perfect for me, it was like the great the greatest day because it was like, okay, I can do this, I can make this work. You know, I'll come with no gear and teach a whole lighting class with stuff I find in the hotel lobby, you know, but zip ties I had to have those on hand cause that was great the class went great and we got everything done and all the techniques recovered, um, and the images you'd never tell they were not using professional stuff other than the fiasco going on behind the scenes. Of course, these things are pretty cool. Little benji's. Use these a lot. Have you ever seen these get a home depot or the gadget stores? But they're like giant wire ties. You haven't very sizes, but they come in handy just for kind of quickly attacking something to something else. Um, I use these like to put a flashlight on toe, pole or whatever, see what else clamps in all shapes and sizes. These I just got this in home depot is like a bag of twenty of these or something for six bucks. Seven bucks like three different sizes. Small, medium, large. These are the best things to have in your camera bag. Superglue. Of course, you never know when that would come in handy. I also like to just kind of collect little various clamps when I see these at the camera stores or most of our knock off cheap things. But they worked like this is a clamp the clamps onto a pipe and we start making stuff with the bbc, you can clamp that on there and then attach your flash. So it works pretty well if you want to just to clamp it on to whatever light stand you don't have the actual mouth, you just clamp that until light, stand like that and touch a flashlight onto it. So, it's, nice to have just little gadgets like that. You see those over there, um, in your bag as well? It kind of just collect those things and there's a lot more that you could include in your bag. I have ah, stands for my flashes that attached to quarter twenty thread, of course, you could stick those on just about anything and a few extra bendy. Um, angle mounts for your flash on the light stands, but whatever else you can think of it, you want to kind of build your kid around the gear that you have no carabiners are always nice to have just ninety nine cents of the hardware store. Get a few of those on their great for attaching ty cables them and hook it to something for a quick release set up. All right, so actually get a posting, my balog asking people what's their favorite d I y tips one I want to read you guys from some of that submitted this, but that was kind of cool, cool in here, just pull this up here, so this guy was named spin doctor qin if you're out there spin doctor qin thank you won something I don't know what yet but I'm gonna give you a prize for my favorite d I y thing says I've always wanted to be try shooting with a slim light box and that's such uh strip bank you know those are right last summer I bought a tower fan which was shipped in a thirty six inch high by ten by six box not wanting to waste anything I built myself a d I y thirty six by ten inch light box I use different sized paper clips to hold the cloth in place piece of thin white cloth wider than the box aluminum foil tow line the inside of the soft box black spray paint for the exterior and my trusty chinese flash gun and trigger I first cut a hole for the flash spray painted the outside the box line the inside with oil but the cloth of the box and security with the clips of the flash gun and trigger and I've got my very own d I y light box so great uses a fan box which is perfect and that's the way I think to whenever I see a boxer of thing or a pipe you know this is really weird I'm not sharing this with you guys please don't tell anybody but I think this way but yeah, no nobody I'm always looking at things is what else could it be used for? What's another purpose for that how can I stick that in my bag and use it for something someday so keep those things in mind as you're searching out the day all right? I think we're ready to make something weird my clicker dicker to go okay let's start making some stuff who wants to help build all right, okay, so one of the first things that we're gonna make is one of the most useful tools you can have the photographer and that's a scrim right now what a scrim is because I've heard a lot about this week probably and you can buy collapsible screams I have some from photo flakes from westcott and they're great but they're not cheap they're not expensive but if you're going to make a bunch of um which I like to may actually have a ton of them and I could make a whole wall of light so so you want to emulate this window light but you don't have it why not make a few three four of these nice scrims line them up together put some flash heads behind it and you've got this amazing big soft wall of light um which on the cheap to make these hundred twenty bucks each these screams about twenty bucks each okay rather than going out buying four hundred plus whatever they cost uh I've used these that we do projects where we have a bunch of photographers together doing charity photo shoots and everybody needs a scream we all wanted to have a nice lighting for a family portrait just get together we'll build scrims have a screaming building party you know why not get drunk and build scrims yeah come on so well you need to build a scrim you need some pipe all right these are good for jousting take you on buddy oh he's got some good moves all right about to you all right we're gonna cut some play and we're going to cut from each pipe to thirty foreign sections and a thirty six and a half inch section okay tape measure and a sharpie so once you measure off thirty four thirty four thirty six and a half we've got uh and what are you measuring that right that's like thirty four sixteen yeah taking into account what having micrometer over here let's measure that exactly thirty four thirty four, thirty six and a half you know well the hacksaw alright, you can start slicing you can use these to cut a proper things up if you need to get off the floor a question mark coming in for you from enjoy er where did you learn stand up? I've been walking since I was two years old d I y comedian you guys let me solve this thing dad you yeah you're doing a good job good idea ever told or something I got to clean this up here and by asking you if you're a comedian right before you did I didn't know I got it don't do this at home kids like a cheeseburger let's break for lunch you guys on our way before you're joking you're joking yes you don't go for lunch don't go anywhere I do smell like a cheeseburger that's all right baby doll whether what he's cutting away okay those cut let's do another one do another one thank you so pc has a lot of weather cutting this here immediately to share some other things that have made me the peace pvc uh first of all there's a certain type that you should buy and it's on my list in the pdf when you download it you khun see but this is three quarter inch and it's called schedule forty and schedule forty I have no idea why it's called that but it simply means it's thicker walls four hundred eighty pc so it has thicker walls means it doesn't spend as much if you buy the other ones it's like I think the higher schedules or the thinner ones um then they're to flex and they don't really hold up very well so make sure you look for the schedule forty three quarter inch pvc preferably without kitchen coming blood it was real blood! I'm a fast healer thanks so other things that I have made with that bbc you guys too this is my version of the finnish scrim which we'll get to a minute here but you can make just put the corners get some short one serious about a three foot uh make yourself just a reflektor small like a mini scrim but actually put silver material from my friend reflect or onto this I'll make us a little framed reflector thing that big which could also be you know, one of the things the bbc is you do have to press fit it together so that's kind of a pain to take apart when you're done um but again it's cheap you know if you're not waiting for someone or someone not waiting for you to finish what you're done take it apart it's not that big a deal here's your frame, your fabric I see a couple different ways to put the fabric on there here's reflect or shirt and this is basically just it's kind of a stretchy like lycra silver white fabric I got the fabric store just meandering through there and oh, this is nothing is in my kit that I didn't mention here because they were clipped under this is tarp clips so tarp clips are really nice if you want to attach the sheets to something um they get these at home depot or whatever and there they're basically designed to hold the edges of something the their tarp or fabric and they lock type and then you can tire hook something to it like that okay so this what I've done well done did you cut all three of those cut to that's okay way we're good okay so let's figure out which ones are which size okay so we got thirty four thirty four don't you spread those out to the thirty four thirty six is we'll come back to this he's ready to rock and roll with this so way want to lay it out so that you have a thirty four thirty four in between a t thirty four here thirty four there same on the other side thirty four thirty four and then across the middle will be our thirty six and a half is okay so have thirty six of the top thirty six in the middle of thirty six the bottom and the middle bar a lot of people ask me when you have that bar in the middle doesn't cast a shadow or something it doesn't really casting a shadow because they're usually lighting it from a distance that it's going to defuse completely you won't even see that middle bar at all unless your subject happens be like inches from the bar you might see a little cash shadow of life just gets enveloped in the light coming out of the front of scream who bought rib I didn't want I want to know very extras um it's okay keep building there's no extras of that he's right one's got like a funny it's different I could get a knife and just trim the inside out maybe let's do some d I y to the d I y when on creative live live you got to do what you gotta d'oh d'oh d'oh d'oh d'oh this's what I need my catch up right now yes questions well a lot of folks in chat rooms were asking again for that link to get the list of all the things that they're loving watching you use so that is a bota image tool dot com slash see live d I y yeah but initials dot com slash see out I'm sorry the live feed I want and once when you put these on what I suggest you do is that you glue some of the corners but not all of them all right and that makes it easier and then what I'll take is my sharpie and I'll make a little arrow next to the joint that's not glued so you know which one to pull apart otherwise you just keep struggling and pulling everything apart and it's not necessary to really go because they hold together pretty well but it's nice to keep the joints on one section or the other if this doesn't fit on that don't worry about me too long to leave this out I could work on something else but teo still to take you okay, so what he's going to do then is we're going to run cord through the middle of the frame and the court is just to help keep it the pieces where they need to go it's not gonna tension it actually pulling it together so much as it just keep the peace of there so what you laid on the ground boom it falls into place all you do is press fifty ends and you're good to go so this is just a korean elastic cording we're gonna run this through the inside of all the pipe here hey, if he cuts himself is it my fault or your guys is full? He did sign something right? I didn't sign anything so he better be doing it nothing so close but yet so far owers story is don't get the ones that have bred in the mirror and I just got mixed into the batch when they purchased these all the others are normal but okay that's good point thank you can I buy the ones that don't have threads because you're not screwing it up? You're screwed if you have the bread but your press fitting it in and you want to be ableto pull it apart easily so just a press fit and they hold pretty tightly without having to be permanently attached so it's fine so while he's doing that let's do this so we have everything in place so this is what your scream is gonna look like so we'll run from court now through the entire perimeter of that so here you go. You could help me with that. Well, max is working away on this we can go to the interwebs as well we owe you tell us again what we're making here good good work guys how he got it he got it waken glue that one two good you gave us the dimensions again while he's doing that yeah, the dimensions you need three ten foot sections of the three quarter inch pvc that's what you're gonna buy? They're like a couple bucks each you're going to cut the first two into thirty four thirty four thirty six and a half the third one we only need one mohr thirty six and a half from which we have they cut it all up. I was gonna make swords of the rest of that third one but we won't be able to now run all my fun so that's all you need really is this cross ones are thirty six and a half doors of imagination photography says you just need a pipe fitter in your bag to threat the pvc pipes another thing to add to my bag yeah put that on my list that means certainly something that you could do is to thread the end so that you would screw them on to attach them but then I'm not sure that would be much quicker but that was a good suggestion look at these amateurs assembling this thing and making a mess tell us what we're doing now so he's ah he's got that court almost all the way through he's gluing that crazy piece of shit to shave just to make sure it stays together a little bit there uh it's almost almost complete so why they're doing that? The third part of this is to take your fabric and this is uh just parachute cloth also called ripstop nylon that I bought at the fabric store and it comes out you can get him different densities and such this one's about right for a nice diffuser fabric cheap once the frame is done just layer fabric underneath it cut it just a little bit larger with scissors he's got the uh ninety thing you throw that over him oh sharpe uh and then you're going to stitch a piece of elastic across the corner this is what holds it on real simple but just right across the corner there if you guys can see a little stitch already pre done this one we're not going to stitch one here because my sewing skills are nothing to behold so no need for me to sit here and try and so in front of you guys yeah, so okay, perfect. So he's got it all together so what we want to do is to kind of pull this so that it's just a little bit of tension it doesn't have to be a ton of people a little bit of tension and tie that often in slices you I see. So what again? The elastic is not to hold the whole thing together but just to keep the pieces in the right places so he's going to pull a little tension in the elastic and then tie it off into a knot then we should be ableto hook it up. This looks gross, you know, actually, we're ready. We're just gonna I call it done with this thing right here then went in and out there you go and he perfectly die wide this wrapped a little put some glue on the net reptile gaffer's tape on the corner and then you know not to touch that corner. I've been good all these pieces now that it's all assembled here, you just make sure that you're peace is there in the slots properly and there's your frame, okay, who? Nice job guys took some fabric on there if you hold that book that around the corner up there on the bottom and she's ready to diffuse ok, so cheap light, relatively pain free little bit of blood. Not much. I would suggest making a couple of these because as I mentioned before putting them side by side just one two and then light from behind either one speed lighter to speed. I'm gonna speed lights today again to go completely getto the simplest, cheapest way we could possibly like orcs cream? Yeah question. Bring it up. If you wanted to make this a free standing device because, you know, we don't always have somebody there to hold it. Would there be a way to make some feet? See, I know you're going to get to it. I knew it. So to make you can make legs for this there's other pipes that we already cut up, we could use those actually, you could do it a couple different ways I've shown on my website before some of you might have seen where I attach to pipes like this into a v and then one vertical and that makes the nightstand and you can use your clamp I had here my bag clamp right on in a toucher flash to it, so becomes a flash stand and stand for the frame at the same time. Really cool because these bozos cut my pipe up into the wrong sizes, I can't make that everybody could see another way, which is almost as good, just kidding you got I was completely I was completely unclear in my instructions I take full responsibility for their screwups. Okay, so here's another way to make one that comes off and on easily you take a t fitting like we used on the side here and you could it but not in half okay, you going to cut it just a little bit more than half so that it's like a c shape until that all right if you could it directly in half it's not going to stay on orjust clipping come right off so it has to have some tension here utility to use that so we can attach that to a leg you have legs easy if you wanted to do the you just need one more vertical pipe and you bring those into the middle clam peas up higher pulling together here make another t split like that right here and make your your vertical pipe and then you can just use that as your flash holder as well. Okay, so it's like an all in one then it's one unit you just pick it up boom you move it where you want it super easy you don't have another light stand and a separate scream and it's all in one so I use this uh, kind of set up if I'm going to clients homes they don't have nice window light you don't have a lot of room to set up stuff and you want something that you could just packing one little shoulder bag instead of a beautiful light great for baby's head shots, one or two people. If you go horizontal with it, you can do a small group of people four five just hold it up higher. You put some light stands on the side and shoot one or two feed lights from behind it. It's a gorgeous group light as well, like a big boards on the window. It's really, really versatile that way. All right, so let me show you that one real quick, and then we'll actually use these and lights and stuff. So this fabric here way in see, we have a couple hands from you over here to somebody else coming help lay this fabric down. This is one other way to attach fabric on the fly. You don't wanna sew anything, so I've cut this fabric just a little bit larger, and then I put the clips, see where they are, two on each side, and then I ran a little piece of elastic through you see here through the holes in the clips, so basically kind of pulling him in here in the corners, so go and run that elastic through all the clips clip there keep that on the inside kind of lay it over the side like that this is where the carabiner comes in handy because you khun just make a loop in the in the elastic and then quickly clip it off and on so there's your silver reflector if he reversed that you have a white reflector so this could be used for your filled by our whatever you want to do white side or silversides either way okay. All right. So let's uh let's do something with uh oh this is my extra do you wantto I'm gonna give you a souvenir pass the baton, my friend pass it on. Um who wants to be my model? Oh, volunteer awesome. Good way. Have a chair and bring one of the chairs michelle over there. All right, so first things first there's a headshot let's bring that chair right about here and one of the let's just go back to basic lighting. We'll talk about lighting instead of the screen for a minute here. Um uh another idea now, uh hinged something okay? Lighting when we talk about just lighting in general uh, one of the techniques I'd like to share that works pretty well when you're using these type of reflectors or diffusers is a concept I call ear to hear alright from here to here and from here to here means that if I place this light the back edge of my light source my light box could be an octa box whatever in a line with the back of her ear her ear for front year for good here and I bring it towards me towards camera which is here and if I take into consideration the angle of my lens so if you say your lens has a v right it's seeing with a telephoto I've got a v that goes like this boom for head shot right you want your light source to be from her ear pointing towards a camera along that v I can imagine that so if I'm using a telephoto my v my light source would be somewhat like this because that allows all of this surface area all the light here to wrap and soften that side of her face it almost makes its own fill light I could add another phil reflector but I don't really need to want a little more dramatic but soft this works beautifully or I could add a phil reflector on the other side but you really don't need to but remember that concept from here to here and it worked with almost any type of light source that you're using you're going to get the most out of your light because it will wrap around her face if I'm using a wide angle lens my view is gonna be somewhat like this right same concept just outside of camera view starting somewhere near her ear coming towards the lens to here following my lens v gives me a really great light okay, so just kind of a concept of thinking doesn't mean obviously you're gonna have times when you want complete sidelight when you want front light but if you want just a nice beautiful portrait lighting remember ear to hear okay all right let's get this thing set up um why don't you want to hold this horizontally up in the air grab somebody to give me an a a system mondo when you guys anybody somebody hasn't helped you see it you're you're special you don't do anything right so we're gonna just suspend this unto thee here we'll use some clamps take my arms off ok, I'm gonna clamp that onto here thanks. You wouldn't clamp that so that it's holding the scream and it'll uh yeah it'll work you could grab me one one more light sandal put that over here good to have a clamp out of my bag over there that right there two hands you got them go. Yeah it's fine because it's going to stay on that hand is hopefully okay, so this is kind of what we're looking at assuming that I'm gonna shoot from right here all right and I'll just throw a speed light behind it could you grab me that stand right there but the way a little bit and I'm using a pocket wizard teo mounted to a speed light I'm using the titi won tt five combination the pocket wizard this allows me to control the power from the camera position that's going to run back and forth again. This is a little more expensive, so if you have the basic triggers and you just a one, stop up back there and your system changes the light. So what you want to do with the with your flashes to set your zoom on your flash head so that it covers the area behind the scrim and not much more? You know what I mean about setting a zoom on your flash head? Yeah feel like anybody left way, teo? Yes. Ok, you guys feel free to yell and talk all you want in my class. I'm not one of those mean teachers. It doesn't. Well, I'm glad you asked. What that means is you can adjust the wit of your spread of your light on the zoom on the speed light itself, and so we're going to set that up. I'm going to set this speed light controller to channel a just another tip for you guys when you using multiple channels here in the speed lights um one is always my main light I can control three a, b and c power from my camera uh, is always my main light. So I set the receiver with my main night to channel a bee would be a background light. See, would be a hair light. General. Don't use much more than three lights, at least with this kind of set up. So I put on channel a so that it controls it. Uh, here. And the way you contest the zoom. This is set for twenty four millimeters right now. Just take a picture of the actual scream itself. Scoot over here from you. Just get a wide starting right in the camera. So I'm just having a bit of the scrim turn it on first fire. Okay, so I've got full coverage of the scrim. Uh, this is zoom was set on twenty eight millimeters that I've got a fairly close that gives me enough whipped on there. That's pretty much all I need. Okay? Question. But miss hip asked on a bunch of people voted on it. Can you explain again why that middle pipe is not casting a shadow? Yeah, because it's far enough away from my subject that all this light, everything. All this other light here is really just going to kind of coagulate around it, and you won't see that shadow. In my second section, we're gonna talk about go bows and shapes and casting shadows and this section after the break, then we'll make more sense why that doesn't really cast any shadow that you can see on her. Yeah, so that you're not being affected at all by all the natural light that is in the room that yeah, it's a good question we're just about to get to that point now, um, and actually would like to pull those down because we don't want to use the natural light, so if I could get anybody to pull those down for me e okay, danielle, we're not this is not really a model shoot, but no, sorry, I wouldn't really do that just argue chin that we're just a little bit, okay, so first thing was here to hear when we talked about that the second thing is follow your nose and this is just the kind of its more important, with harsh light than it is with soft light when the light is bringing is coming in towards her nose and I'm looking into the shadow side of her face that slims the face if I look into the bright side of her face, but she had her face that way, it would broaden her face maker look heavier. Case we're looking at short lighting is what we're going for generally doesn't have be looking completely that way but just kind of an angle a little bit and then you can give me a cute smile just right over here we go then did I even check my my power on this? No, I didn't and that's one of things somebody always asked me is how do you know what power setting well I look at the screen and I go is that too bright or dark right? Can you guys see all you guys can't even see right so it's too bright and my meeting system is look at the screen I meet herb I feel I don't care about the numbers I don't care what f stop that is all I care is that it looks good to me and what looks good to me may look crap to you and that's okay? Because I really encourage photographers to think with your heart to trust yourself you may want to reel high key photo and you like it bright maybe you're going to run some post processing you know it looks better dark or bright that's fine, I think this is too bright it's blown out and the skin tones I'm gonna drop this down quite a bit um shooting now f one point four with an eighty five millimeter lens in order to really soften that background um so you guys have kids at home can see that there too have a nice soft soft background and go again I dropped down the power now comes in ok so now we're getting we're getting to where we want to be there's too much ambient light so I'm gonna change I just I'm gonna change something pretty significant here I have my uh camera said aperture priority so the camera was adding the ambient light to the flash credited back to manual all right so there is a flash one two hundredth of a second s o four hundred uh f one point four and we have a beautiful shaping qualities so what I'm looking for in the light is something that has shadows we want shadows but we want soft shadows dimensional and do we even need fill light on the other side I don't think so right because this is putting so much wrapping light that it's beautifully shaping and shadow we still have detail it's not harsh shadows um that's not all you need is faras the light now if you wanted to add more we do have some fill from this stuff coming up ahead uh try to minimize that a little bit when I drop this down pick that up we're going to try to eliminate as much of the ambient light as possible okay my camera like it's gonna show up here so I dropped a little more ambient light and uh like in that now like the shaping of the shattering on her face things looking pretty good so let's do one more I'm gonna drop that probably the way a little bit more in the background but they're there and now there's the money shot down here we go we got money, money, money all right. Okay, so that by itself we don't even need phil if we wanted to have phil we'll bring in the other panel hold it up on the other side but honestly when I do head shots this and a background might and let's do that real quick um russ was in the bathroom for a long time this morning is he see don't you think somebody checked in to get a toilet paper roll from the bathroom? Yeah, I just need a toilet paper roll we could wake us we'll make something out of that he's done then you go ahead and grab that toilet paper we'll put something on channel b you got them? Oh yeah that's good. Great because it used her fresh. Okay, so I'm a big proponent of recycling toilet paper so I'm not gonna waste any of this way we could do a brook shade in shock with you I see her yesterday she's amazing I love her work but I don't know I couldn't pull it off I don't think alright recycle that alright so way need a little hair light and what looks like a little spotlight behind her so let's make a snoot why not a toilet paper roll I got duct tape right way got toilet paper everybody got toilet paper when you know somebody at the paper one of the other alright hold that um you don't have to make it fast he just enough you wanna cover the if you want this is going to make a pattern about this wide you know or so from this distance nice soft circle if you want something that's tighter use ah paper towel roll that's longer longer snoop that looks so cool is the best one I've ever made does the zoom of the speed light matter with that snowed on there yes you can get more output from it although it won't affect the look of it too much but you get the more output if you zoom in so I'm setting the zoom to the full zoom on this slight which happens to be two hundred millimeters okay if I use it just with zoom and not the snoot from that back their distance I've still going toe illuminate a pretty good area right? But with this on here from right about that corner there I should have a circle of light about this white right so let's do that real quick and actually gonna have someone just hold this just to save time so who's gonna be my scooter scooter point that at the back of her head and we make sure this is on channel one section b jump off a new she's she's going to get a prize gonna give you a prize at the end of the day okay make sure this is actually set right okay okay went back ahead I'll check the power we were at that light flashing in front your face good do you see little tiny rainbows and unicorns when you close your eyes I thought so again I have no idea what the setting was on that nice little hair light coming on so the the idea of this new is to keep the light focused on her hair not spilling down here not hitting the reflector not do anything else this is a nice little spot ok looks like it's could go probably a little bit higher and I'm gonna crank the power up just a little bit so you can see a little more and point right ahead ok she goes that might be a little high let's see that's pretty good okay so we got a nice little hair light now ghetto right? I mean honestly I I've used my very expensive tools my pro photo heads with grids and all that and doesn't look any different than this in the final picture it really doesn't the differences in of course your client may go you look stupid I'm not coming back here ever again but I started my business this way and I was successful I grew it and I think people kind of appreciated well when they see what you're working with and they get great results and like man that is more impressive sometimes and going to somebody with all this gear and the photos they're just kind of so so right so use what you've got to make it happen let me show you one more thing um thank you for that don't go too far I might use that again just one other idea for you guys background light drink milk thistle works great you laugh thank you very much. Okay cut this in half you can actually cut a little v notch here and lift this flap and you'll have more bounce this is designed to kind of throw light in a wide spectrum against the background and you know I came up with this from using looking at my existing expensive lighting tools like I have these special reflectors that air just like this basically go on this way so that light will bounce into it and spread across your background evenly so my mom I said hi thank you very much so that's basically what this does it just spreads the light from a close distance if you want to weaken duct tape that thing onto their it works like that okay so from a close say like this right behind her chair I could evenly illuminate this background for the most part all right so we'll throw that in there then I must tell you something one more before I get kicked out of here for the short term uh son put this on channel c same setup same spread my needle footy for this foot on the ground are background just kind of uh let you guys know I didn't I don't really think it needs a background light but I'm looking at this I like it a little darker because it's more contrast to her so I probably don't really want a background light but let's just see what happens if we we throw it on there to make a kind of a higher key background put it on little footy down the ground behind her no idea what the power said on but I'm gonna check okay snoop girl where are you soon somebody else hold it testing all your snoot skills yeah point at her head there you go back and they not firing the first shot I did okay so now we lit up the background evenly uh still have our hair light on there go back to the previous one without the background light and with so many things from a short distance you can illuminate a wide area with that reflector thing that's the purpose of that but think about that on your again, you want to go to a wedding to make a real impression you are on your head or whatever the idea for me this is me is that I'd rather make people laugh have a good time and a great images then toe look like pro, you know, like I don't wear black stuff to weddings and be all sassy I just be myself and I sometimes I use goofy things because it gets great expressions out of people puts them at ease in the studio when I can't joke with people and make them laugh at my silliness, but if I get great images from it that's all that matters into the day if you got great images that's all matters let me show you one more thing and then we'll take it breaks uh this is something again a d I y project and I'm pretty excited about of my own that's turned into some kind of cool, so I had this idea I use this use this in my weddings for years where I will take a disk like this and illuminated from the back we have like a beauty dish soft box effect I'm coming back around to talk to you guys in a minute here sorry I have to hide what I talk him so nervous, okay, so whatever do weddings is my assistant would walk around and we would do this fire this into the disc all the time so head shot boom bridegroom ok you guys kiss ready boom hey mom and dad get together boom kiss whatever bragging about side so this is like something we've used all the time but it's a pain in the butt when your assistance holding in the winds going you know and all that something so I started to think about what can I what's the d I y thing will be to attach this to this somehow and so I drew up some drawings and I sent it to a friend of mine but a three d printer and he made up a gadget for me with his three d printer that basically includes this ring which I've been you know, duct taped and zip tied onto a regular bracket for my speed light and these little clips here they go into the arms of this steel frames so you take your typical everybody every photographer has money there should have one of these and attach these little arms here. These clips just lock on real quick thes air tent poles from a went to the thrift stop shop fun old tent for for ninety five or something that was piece of crap took the poles out of it and use those for the uh section here one of the little section part go wei have a holder flash so now you have beautiful soft box lighting wherever you go he's hold one hand and it stays in place you could put a poll on here like we have ah mono pod this is typically how we use this for the monarch pot or something so that my assistant can get it up higher if they need to be oh waken do light from above like this whatever let's do a quick shot with this and then we'll be done with this little segment okay, who wants coming to be my assistant for the day? Another here we go. All right someone scoots this stuff out of the way I don't have any influence from that again this is one of those things that it's an extension of the d I y because we really made ourselves when we use a three d printer you guys pull the three d printers right where you can make plastic parts off a drawing this kind of kind of sketchy so don't like like this. Okay, yeah, it does are those clips from your tent kit? Are they some kind of theater that I designed these and he printed these in the freezer so the clips credit not the ring thing to the ring thing too so the white parts or what I made and the tent poles from the tent and this is just a standard bracket for a flash mount to whatever okay, so we're going to the same idea we're gonna bring it close kind of come from here to hear you hold onto that this thank you so kind of like that guy that's here to here and twisting your hand there we go we'll go here so kind of you pick up that way don't you raise your chin up just a bit more o was another flash doing was pointing at his foot so beautiful like there we go we turn that down a little bit you're looking right up into it there down but one stop from that case it's a nice soft directional light so simple if you're about receptions when you all get his flash on camera a don't use flash on camera that sucks it totally sucks that they're going to bounce it off the roof you know it's still going to be very flat create some kind of nice lighting your professional photographer doesn't be hard you know and you could you could use the tt l I'm not using a detail but you could use the teo wireless control you have to even think about the explorer I would like to do it manually um pretty simple that way as well okay um or that other thing you're doing good job by the way thank you very much let's get our snoop girl where snoot snoop doggy dog hey somebody else can snoop for me come up there and who wants teo illuminator under face okay, there you go and I'm gonna grab myself a chair excuse me while I go over here all right, so the idea is we're going to keep the same light we're going come from up there chin up that's going to light the back of her hair probably come back over here a little bit generally your hair light you want it somewhat opposite your main light general rule doesn't have to always be that way and it should make sure your immediate up just a little bit it's pointing kind of at her shoulder right back and then this one let's go silver side kind of late on your lap there were going to use that to this kind of kick a little bit into her eyeballs er scary not really. Okay. All right well have you kind of lean forward just a little bit chin up towards this light and go on with my finger out right here does that mean that's aiming at the floor? What are you doing because they were firing yeah, it did. Okay, there we go. Very nice. Okay, so that the silver added a nice little lift underneath that some sparkle to her jewelry her eyes the box itself uh nice it's a it's a directional but has shadows which is very important um then a little hair light all of which put together quite cheap question's obvious all this stuff has been used with like speed lights and flashes are there we're also going to be using like for the for people that maybe don't have multiple flashes or don't have flashes at all off camera flashes? Are there other tips you like natural light, natural or flashlights in plastic bags? Yeah, yeah actually on the next segment after the break, we're going to have flashlights and open the windows you some other things are going to make with natural light and say some other options as well, you could obviously step it up to studio lights, but then you're kind of in a different level already when your studio lights going by the accessories that go with it. This is really designed for speed lights what I'm showing you here, although any of this stuff could be used with studio lights or natural light, this is a perfect thing with natural light this without the flash work with natural light student doesn't work with natural light, but I think you already knew that. So yeah, we're going to cover some other even cheaper options right after the break too. Can you get a question? Well, yeah, I have a series of questions, so we're done with you thank you ladies and come on up through that one down, I think this right out here in fact, we had had a similar question about could you use lights like when you have the scream with with like a bare bulb light behind there or you know where the other types of things yeah yeah you could use a bearable behind the scrim thing with bare bulb was it throws light everywhere so in addition to hitting the scrim it's going to go to the ceiling and off the walls again what color they are so having the speed like kind of focused to just the size of the scrim keeps it pretty pretty tight you know that what you're seeing here is not going to be affected so much by light bouncing everywhere else great and that was a question that had similarly come in from sri photos who had said I'm still worried about the color cast with all those different types of modifiers will be hard to pick fix the white balance and post no it shouldn't they're all generally white although the use a bed sheet if it's dirty that is probably going to kind of yellow and then you have a white balance problem uh most of things I'm using like these air this fabric is a pre clean white the diffuser is a pretty clean way milk job pretty white so there really is not enough difference that it's gonna make a problem I mean you you could see yourself if it's a little bit warm because actually you have one of these diffusers that's old and kind of yellowed from years of use but I like it because it actually gives a little warmer light like all right here's a fine question from doors of imagined photography what is the most unusual location where you abused d I y didn't outdoor shoot where I had some people hold up a white sheet in front of the sun great light yeah where do you take stuff gosh everywhere I mean I've I've shot it's not really following my standup comic but unusual location came to mind was shooting in cambodia once um doing a story a documentary story on child slavery and we had to do a shot this privilege in a dungeon in down in the bottom of this hotel of these girls they were enslaved and we didn't really have much to work with so we you know on the way down there we started pulling people with white shirts bar fabric we got fabric to and kind of just stuck him up against the wall and bounced a little light onto that there my friend was holding his hands in front of the flash to make a be more you know like a gobo basically to break up the light to get a little beam of light so it was completely like that but the flash and just kind of okay put your hands right about there and that's good so we we definitely pulled together what we have we don't have any hero than our cameras and a couple speed lights, which is what I love about you that you can go from standup comedian tio humanitarian yeah, I try to think of something that wasn't a minute now pressing but no, I mean that's a thing kevin is that we have people watching from all over the world and the biggest question that we always get is how do I do that with not very much resource is not very many resources and that is why this class is so cool yeah, so cool let's ask we've time for a couple more questions how about this is from libby williams and people are voting on questions which is great what do you do when you don't have so many assistants so hold things on the fly I often shoot by myself sort on the luxury of so many people as well as having extra props on hand any thoughts you make you make friends on the spot? I'm serious weddings I asked the groomsmen I asked the guests hey, would you mind holding this for me when I'm on location to me passer by, sometimes they stop and they want to watch you say, well, you can watch I won't charge you as long as you hold something for me, you know? But I always have at least one assistant and sometimes more people were that's why I don't have all these assistance like oil only pay my wife everything, everything else people like, volunteer, they want to intern, you know that's about you can get assistance on the chief not if you're well known photographer, but even if you're just starting up photographer there's always going to be somebody who needs to learn from you if you offer them something they're willing to help and it's a win win total win win, and I tried it if I have anybody in turning or assisting me, I try to give as much as I can teach them to make it worth their time and then it becomes a win win, so, um, I don't know, I guess I don't have a problem getting people help, and it wasn't and it's, not now we're trying to say this is modestly as possible, you know, having a name now, it might be easier to get people, but I've always on that I'll always just be friendly. People would ask him and they help so stand up comedy, and then you could ask people help.

Class Description

Learn how to hack your photography lighting with tips and tricks from Kevin Kubota.

You don’t have to break the bank on expensive products to achieve professional-quality results with your lighting. In this class Kevin will show you how to build your own lighting gear for a fraction of the cost of commercial products and still get fantastic results. Kevin will take you through the creation of several essential tools and show you how to use them for maximum effect.


the best photographer on earth

Very useful stuff in this class! Not only does he teach you how to build your own lighting equipment, but he throws in a lot of good lighting techniques such as controlling your flash, background lighting, and exposure.And as always, he has a great sense of humor ;)

Amy Wong

I enjoyed the class very much. Kevin Kubota shows how amazing images can be achieved with some practical DIY lighting. Makes me want to get out there and try these options. He makes better images attainable through a little innovation and practical problem-solving.

Sandy Lockhart

loved it! he is funny and learned alot of tricks and tips