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Exploring Low-Key Portraiture

Lesson 7 of 15

How to Create Separation

Chris Knight

Exploring Low-Key Portraiture

Chris Knight

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Lesson Info

7. How to Create Separation


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:12:53
2 What Is Low-Key Lighting? Duration:11:11
3 Bringing in the Subject Duration:05:01
4 Lighting Patterns Duration:19:21
6 Giving Your Light a Job Duration:12:07
7 How to Create Separation Duration:06:58

Lesson Info

How to Create Separation

we have the tools we know. We're saying, Let's bring that back to intent and we're gonna talk about separation really quickly before we shoot just a few shots here. So separation. What a separation do while when we are using Loki tones in the image, we need to figure out a way to differentiate between a subject and a background. We have to give the figure its own shape and weaken. Decide to do that intentionally or weaken. Decide to not have that separation, and that creates its own emotional response. It's helpful when you're shooting Loki images because it helps the viewers brain distinguish between objects, and it helps make things less look a little bit less moody. But if you don't want to have separation, if you want to make everything blend together, it could make the image look a little bit more mysterious. But it's important because it helps us understand the key concepts of controlling death. Now here to relatively similar information relatively similar leverages. Tonally, the...

left image used a rim light and a hair light hair lights just usually the rim life with high to create separation, whereas the image on the right the subject bleeds into the background. You've got no separation, and that gives you a little bit more of a mysterious look. Okay, and so it's all about what you're trying to achieve, how that is helping you tell your story. Now you can separate in a variety different ways. You can use tones of your subject matter. You can use background light, or you can use a rim and a hair light. And I just showed you the rim and the hair light as a way to do it. So let's talk about all of those now. So we first got separation through tones. You create contrast with what's in front of you, a ah textured object on UnTech stirred background, a dark object on a slightly lighter background. Whatever it is, this is using subject matter to create separation. My, we have that a little bit here, um, where his sweater is a little bit darker than the background, but it's not a tremendous amount, but you can create it through tone. Both of these air lit with very big sources that are lighting the background in the subject at the same time. Often times I like to light them both separately. But again, it depends on space. Sometimes you don't have a lot of space. You've gotta like both of them with the same light. Next, we've got the background light, which is what we already talked about, and you don't have to use a rim light like we did earlier. In this particular image. I have a light on the subject and I have a light on the background, and it's a little subtle light on the background. It's actually not meant to look particularly lit. It just meant to look like it's got a bit of a vignette on the background, and you don't have to use it a lot. But you can if you want to rim light as we talked about earlier, this was, Ah, dark tone image. He's on a black background. It's dark, so we used a rim light to give that little light all around him to create that separation. I like this picture because it's a pretzel in his mouth. He came with the Bresil. He actually showed up dressed like this. He's like I got a pretzel for a cigar like Great, we're going to use that actually, funnily enough. Same guy. Yeah, he's a character guy. I use him for a lot of different things. He should. He's got, like, a basically seems Henry, he goes because you give me any part of the world in any time period. Aiken, generally put something together like Great. What do you want for this? I don't know. Surprise me. Comes. He does Santa at Christmastime, obviously on then. Finally, we've got no separation and this has its own. This has its own response, and it has its own feeling when your subject blends into the background there, emerging from the darkness. And so it definitely feels different. And it's really again, not a matter of what's right. What's wrong. Some people always stressed the importance of separation, but it's really about what you're trying to portray and what you're trying to achieve. Okay, so these are the tools some curious. In the beginning slide, you have this gorgeous image that had this like very active background. It looked like maybe Middle East or something like that. When you are outside of a studio, how do you obtain that same separation or, like, really create that same drama in your character when you still have that active background that that was that was in there's in Morocco that was actually done with one light. Um, you're actually talking about I don't know if we can pull that up. It's from, I think, the second or third slide. So what it was it was actually right before sunrise. There was no light on what was what was behind him. And, uh, we had a portable oh cf beauty dish. The collapse will beauty dish. We put it on a light pole and, uh and, um, it's basically painters poll You put a little attachment on travel with it, had the little the little B two and then held it out and shot him right before sunrise. It was probably like six AM ish was pretty early. It's really early. Um, we had we had to haul it. I think like this several mile trip on camels in the middle of a storm in the desert. It was It was It was something. Yeah, this one here. So that was actually overlooking the camp that we stayed at the night before on dso the natural light behind him, and then I just shot with a very low shutter speed. I drug the shutter. I think it was probably 1/10 of a second, maybe even slower than that. And then the flash freezes him. And then everything was a little bit soft in the background. I shot at a really low aperture, so you didn't really notice any slight movement that was there. So it was just really all about controlling ambient light. When you actually go out into environment, it's important to remember that unless you're using high speed sink shutter speeds gonna control your ambient light, whereas aperture and I eso controls both but the strobes or app return I s o the shutter speed is gonna control ambient light. Obviously, you're limited by the sink speed of your camera, but but it will control that Ambien exposure. So if you want more light, you lower it. And if you want less light, you in Greece it and that's generally how you would just control it

Class Description

Embrace the dark! No longer be afraid of shadow and murky tones. Explore the low-key portrait with Chris Knight. Learn how to maximize the detail in dark imagery through lighting and post-production. Chris will take you from concept through execution covering simple (yet effective) lighting techniques as well as tethering tips with Adobe® Lightroom®. He'll also discuss how to develop the raw image and retouching tactics to make your image appear powerful and purposeful.


Brenda Pollock Smith

Thank you Chris Knight and Creative Live for another excellent class. I appreciate both the actual shooting and post instruction. Right before your eyes you will see how simple applications of light, shadow combined with post production can create gorgeous, dark images. Chris has a great relaxed manner, easy to follow while offering a ton of tips and tricks. I can hardly wait to try my hand at producing some hauntingly beautiful images like Chris.

a Creativelive Student

I don't have a ton of time to spare and largely catch segments of courses on short breaks. One of the things i like best about this course Chris's ability to communicate so effectively and efficiently. He covers a lot of ground in not a lot of time, but the course doesn't feel at all rushed. He's just a good speaker/instructor. One of the other reviewers mentioned that this instructor brings no ego to the stage, and I have to agree. He's a confident and competent instructor without being obnoxious. Rock solid course with terrific instruction. I will definitely check out more of Knight's classes.

jos riv

The detail and order in which the information for this class was presented was just perfect. It was like a perfectly prepared meal with each bite more delicious than the last. It had exactly what I needed to move forward with some of my techniques. So glad to have the class so I can enjoy/learn over and over.