Skip to main content

Set Up On Location

Lesson 24 from: Film Photography with Strobe Lighting

Sandra Coan

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

24. Set Up On Location

Next Lesson: Know Your Film Lab

Lesson Info

Set Up On Location

When you go into a client's home, how do you set it up? Well. This goes back to what we were talking about in that video I was showing, where I'm like, "Okay, this is what I do when I'm mixing it "with ambient light." So when I walk into a client's home, I first of all figure out where do I wanna shoot? Where am I going to be setting this up? What am I looking for? Most of the time it's in a bedroom or it's in a living room. I like working in bedrooms because it gives kids kind of a contained place where they can still crawl around but they're not running through the halls and I know that I don't have to chase them. They're gonna be right here. I kind of set up there. Now in this situation, I walked in these people, this amazing home. And they had these floor to ceiling north-facing windows. And north light is one of these things that photographers talk about all the time, because north light is just so pretty, it's so ideal. It has this kind of glowy quality to it. It's always the sam...

e, it doesn't change. It's not like south light where it will change throughout the day. North light is beautiful, but guess what? We live in Seattle. (laughs) And sometimes, even with beautiful floor to ceiling windows, north light, there's not enough light. So I walked into this house. They had this super fun wallpaper, this gorgeous room. And I went in there and metering was getting like a fifteenth of a second. That's not gonna work with two little kids. So I knew I was gonna have to bring in my lights. I did what I know that I need to do when I'm mixing studio light with ambient light. The first thing I do, is I look at my natural light because I'm always trying to mimic that natural light. I always want my images to look like that. And what direction is that light coming in? And then I put my strobe on the same side as the windows. Because I want people to look at this and have it just look like it's that natural light that's coming in from the windows. If I were to take it around the other side I'd kind of cancel that light out and get much flatter images. So I just wanna play on what's already there. I just wanna boost what's already there. And so I bring my strobes around this side. Bring them here. I have them at that 45 degree angle at the end of the bed that I talk about that I basically shoot everything in. And that's it, that's my setup. And then we ended up doing the entire session there. It was really fun. So baby. And baby on the bed and it looks like natural light. Pretty window. By the way I didn't bring in a reflector or anything, this was just that one light setup. Easy, easy. Got baby and brother. No problem. Got mom in on the action. And what is also fun about having the light there at that end of the bed. I didn't move anything the whole time. But I was able to move around the room. So that stays the same, again I always kind of treat my strobe like it's just a window. I'm not gonna be picking up my windows all the time and moving them. I'm gonna move my body and I'm gonna look until where I see the light. So it's great, so I can shoot here, at the end of the bed and get this pretty light and get these pretty shadows. Or I could come around to the other side and get mom and baby, where light's here, so it's kind of more coming at them and get more of the room. And if you look real hard you can see a reflection in that picture of the softbox. That doesn't bother me. Really, really easy to do. I want you to know that you do not have to have a studio to do this. You can go on location. You can go into people's homes. You can build a little studio easily. You can do it not too expensively. Expensively, is that a word? (laughs) It's totally doable. And this is how you would do it on location.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Discount Codes from Richard Photo Lab
Studio Gear List
Color Film Stock Exposure Tests
Black & White Film Stock Exposure Tests
Great Photo Labs
Noritsu Frontier Comparison

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Wow! with a lot of online stuff out there one can become rather overcome with too much information, however, the way Sandra presents her courses is just perfect! Her honest and simple and easy to understand approach was just what I needed. Not once did I think she was just going through the motions, she really loves what she does and it shows. To be able to rewatch and rewatch was also a key for me. Since I have dyslexia I have to take things one half step at a. time. After completion of the class I had a new found confidence when using strobes. A must have.

Micah Hewett Images

Out of all the classes I own on Creative Live, Strobe Lighting with Sandra is my FAVORITE! She is an incredibly kind and gifted teacher. She explains everything on a simple level and then gradually build to more complex issues. I am 100% happy with this course. Thank you Sandra!!


Do you own a film camera? Then you NEED this class. I knew I *kind of* wanted to try shooting with a strobe, so I bought this class as some encouragement. But honestly, I half expected to do the class and not actually buy the strobe (because strobes are scary!). But as soon as I finished this class I IMMEDIATELY bought a strobe, umbrella modifier, a backdrop, and seamless paper (in Storm Grey because I basically want to be Sandra.) I felt so empowered to shoot with strobes and film and suddenly what had seemed terrifying now seemed doable. My very first test roll turned out great after following Sandra's easy tips. Now that we're in the winter months, I can shoot indoors with my film camera and strobe! Thank you, Sandra, for so generously sharing your knowledge with us and for being such a great teacher! And to anyone even remotely considering this class, DO IT. There's no way you'll regret it.

Student Work