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Live Shoot: Studio Lights

Lesson 8 from: From Capture to Print

Rocco Ancora

Live Shoot: Studio Lights

Lesson 8 from: From Capture to Print

Rocco Ancora

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Lesson Info

8. Live Shoot: Studio Lights


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Advantages & Pitfalls of Printing


Demystifying Color Management


Understanding Bit Depth


Best Color Space to Work In


Importance of Image Capture


Live Shoot: Natural Light


Live Shoot: Studio Lights


Lesson Info

Live Shoot: Studio Lights

Basically, I'm looking at, you know what I'm gonna do with light and light direction. I'm using a very big softbox here because I want nice, beautiful even light. I want the light to come from the top and I'm gonna place this softbox further away from our model because I'm gonna work with the feathered light that's coming off the edge of the softbox. So, you're gonna get this nice, beautiful throw of light that's gonna spill out. And then what we do with the second light, we've got no modifier on it except a grid. So what the grid does is it's just gonna push light in one direction and it's gonna give us some, hopefully, a little bit of light just in one particular area. That's optional, but once again, I like to throw a little bit of light onto the background just to give me that separation so that we, yeah we get a nice shot. So let's turn that on. That was a bonus. Yeah. (laughs) 'Cause this is not a lighting class. Not a lighting class. That was a bonus right there. Yea...

h Some lighting secrets. Let's do that. Here we go, guys... The glamor side of... (laughs) A bit more of that (mumbles) Yeah, maybe a bit more. Okay. Okay. That's it. Yeah, that's good. That's good guys. We'll work with that. So it's great. So let's have a look now, so I'll get my camera, and I've done some exposure tests earlier so we know what we're going to be shooting at. (Man) So as you're setting that up I'm going to ask a question. Yeah? I always wonder about best practices. Are you keeping in mind how to not crop as you shoot? So, for example, a close up will be taken in camera as a close-up and you'd never do a full body shot, then say to yourself I just want to close up and crop it. So the idea is to crop in camera as much as you can. There's a very good reason for that. What you want to do is you're going to maximize all of the pixels and the resolution. And that's going to once again set you up for success when we print. If you can imagine this monitor here in front of us, if that's a, say, 24 megapixel sensor and we're using the full 24 megapixel and cropping accordingly with that, and that's the resolution we have to work with. But the minute I need to crop that in half because I want to create a half-length out of a full-length then I'm working with a 12 megapixel sensor. I've taken half of those pixels away because I'm not using them. And then if I crop even further, I'm going to a six megapixel sensor. So when I'm trying to print and create that nice, beautiful print like we saw earlier, in the class, it's not going to happen, because then I need to really interpolate a lot of pixels to make things happen for me. So the idea is to really knuckle down and say, okay, I'm going to crop in camera. And this is the decision I'm going to make, and this is how I'm going to do it. So be brave about it. One more quick question. When you switch lenses, does that necessitate a recalibration of the color? Does that affect it at all? With this, that's a very good question, because with this color checker, it comes with software where you can write profiles for your camera lens combinations for a particular lighting. So you import the color checker target into lightroom and then it actually writes a profile for that particular camera. Now what we're showing today is a very simple approach, but yeah, I'm going to do another one of these for this particular lens, definitely. Because every lens is going to render color a little bit differently. So let's do a test first for exposure, making sure. So Jess, just get you to turn darling, a little bit that way. Yeah, that's it. Foot forward. That's good. Lovely. Just bring your hands just around on your... That's it, good. And just bend the elbows a little bit. And chin up. Great, gorgeous. Good. Let's have a look at that. Let's guesstimate, as we say in the classics. Yeah, it's pretty good. Good guesstimation. So exposure is good, I think, let's have a look at the histogram. Yeah, I'll probably open up a little more. By doing that I'm going to increase the flash power, because I'm shooting at 2.8 so I can't open up any more, and plus I want to shoot at 2. because I love the background the way it is. So light A, we're just going to increase the power, just by two-thirds of a stop, let's see what that looks like, histogram-y-wise. Yeah, better. The idea here for me, what I like to see, generally, is a gap away from that left hand side, which means we're not clipping any shadow detail. So the shadow detail is still there. The minute this is bunched up hard against the left hand side, what happens is, you know, information has been clipped. So you are clipping information, and then you're trying to push that information out, and you're trying to resurrect it from the depths of the abyss, which is not a good way to go. Remember, our goal is to print, so we need clean files to be able to do that effectively. So let's get the color checker target. So you know how it works, so we're not going to do the whole thing again, but I'm going to use that later when we do the post-production class. Let me just come in a little bit closer, and watch out I don't kill myself with... Beautiful. Let's have a look. Yeah, just do one more. Good, come in a little bit closer. Can I just have the histogram up on this. Yeah, that's good. So I've got my color checker, and yup. Okay, let's do some shots. So Jessica, I'll just take that off you again. Thank you. Here we go. All right, so the hand there is good, just turn your body that way a little bit. Good. Head back this way. Chin up a little bit more. Good. That's great. Eyes to me though. Chin up and eyes to me. Good. Beautiful. That's great. Awesome. Come forward a little bit more. Yup, that's it. Keeping things simple, good. Slight lean forward and chin up a little bit. Yeah, that's nice. Good. Beautiful. That's great. Awesomeness right there. I'm going to just change things up, I'm going to get you to take a seat for me, so let's bring that stool back on set. So I'm going to get you here, about there, and we're just going to lower this down a little bit. There we go, high-tech. Okay, take a seat for me there. Sort of pretty much...pretty much front on. And I'm going to get you just to lean forward into me. That's it, good. And just turn your head that way. That's great, awesome, good, chin up a little bit. Scary stuff, this is. That's good, turn your head that way, that's good. Chin up. Great. Let's have a look. Can I have that histogram again? Beautiful. The light falling from the top, and it's creating shape and shadow, which is good. That's it. Just a fraction more just on the light. Let's do that again, Jess. Just turn, that's it. Just cross your legs one over the other, just the front part. Great good, and just bend the elbows back. That's it. Good. Just turn your head that way. Good. Nice. Very nice, as they say. Good, that's it, one more time. Eyes down this time. That's it, good. Beautiful. Okay, let's change it up a bit, I'm going back to the 105. That's great. Beautiful. Chin up? That's good, we'll just have a look at that first. That's good. That's exactly... This lens is so sharp, so amazingly sharp. Good. Okay, so now we're going to do something else. I'm going to turn the flash off and we're going to shoot in the worst possible lighting scenario that you could imagine. We're going to do low light, tungsten, high ISO, so we're going to turn down the studio lights so the only light we have on the model is going to be the tungsten light from the modeling lamps, okay? And that's a nightmare for any camera to be able to deal with. Okay, that's good. That's awesome. I'm just going to move this back a little bit more to get the right affect of what I'm trying to achieve. That's really cool, so we just some back light, about there. Cool. Gorgeous. So let's increase our ISO up a bit. Let's see what we get at 800. Spot meter. Great. Let's have a look at that. Yeah, so we get a nice, beautiful orange cast. And we get it looking the way that we want it to look. So I'm going to shoot this, and then we'll change the pose a little bit for this series of images. So I'll get you to hold that again. While I'm doing a lot of my studio stuff, I love a lot of the time shooting just with the modeling lamps, shooting very high ISO, shooting very shallow depths of field, like I'm shooting at 1.4 now, just focusing on the eyes. I just love that kind of look and feel to the image. Good. So we'll look at that and make sure it's correctly exposed. Yeah, look how happy she looks, amazing, isn't it? See, everyone has an X-Rite who's happy, right? Let's have a look at that histogram again just to see if I need to... Yeah, I'm going to open up just a fraction more. That's great, thank you Jess. Nice, now this is the sort of histogram I'm looking for. Check this out, guys. Look at that, see? It's a happier approach to getting things right. And I'm going to open up just a fraction more actually. Okay, let's do that again. So I'm focusing on the color checker. Okay. And here now we're going to see a serious histogram. We're starting to move that histogram away from the depths of no return. So that's good, I'm happy with that. 'Cause I'm going to use that a little bit later, okay? And I'll take that off your hands. Thank you. What I'm going to get you do, we're just going to change things around. I'll get you to stand, that's it. And just to the side of the, um... Go this side, of the stool. Just put one foot up on the stool, just on the very edge. Just with your heel perhaps, just turn your back towards it. That's good, perfect. And just pick up your dress, and just hold it, just simply hold it. That's it, perfect, like that. And chin up a little bit more? Chin up, gorgeous, gorgeous. Beautiful. Fantastic, let's have a look at that. Is nice. I like. This one I like. That's beautiful. (laughs) Crack-up. Good, that's it, just bend those elbows a little bit more. Good, beautiful. Chin up a little bit more? Good, without falling (laughs). Great job, great job. You'll definitely get a round of applause after that one. Okay, that's it, good, nice. Hold it there. Good, that's it, eyes to me. This is difficult work leaning on a stool (laughs). That's so awesome, it is. Use your core, Jessica. Use your core. Nice, good. Just turn more towards the stool. It's okay, no that's good. Yeah, that's it, closer to the stool. That's nice, good, good. I'll move back, get ready for the shot. Okay good, nice. Chin up a little bit? Good. Good. Just turn your head more towards our audience. Eyes down. Good. (laughs) That's so awesome, that's it. You can do it. You can do it, you can do it Jessica, I know it. Jessica, use the force. (laughs) Okay, that's great. This is the last one and then we'll change it. Good. Good, nice. Good, beautiful. And now what I'm going to do is I'm going to get you just sitting at the front again. Yeah, good. Just bring your hands up to your face. Not quite so much, so, just more, bring your arm across, I'll show you. I used to be a model in my previous life. A model airplane. So just into there, just something a little bit more... Okay, gorgeous. And just in the eyes, into me, good. Lean forward and chin up, chin up and lean forward. Good. Good. Eyes down. Good. I think we've got enough content for us to play with a little bit later on. Yeah, I love these images, they've got a real sort of, with your outfit, a little cabaret feel with the tungsten light, which is maybe something that we're going to go for a little bit later. That's the basic fundamentals of getting it right in camera. You note that it was always about the exposure, it was always about that histogram and how we push that histogram, you know, away from the depths of darkness to be able to get as much information as we possibly could on that sensor, and you'll see the benefit of that a little bit later on as we delve into post-production and what we're going to do with these images. The color is no longer an issue, even though these are quite warm, we're going to play with them later on and get the best possible skin tone that we can maintaining what we've done with the tungsten lights, of course, and the flash, and of course the available light. So controlling color with the X-Rite color checker. I find it really useful and it's certainly been part of my workflow for a very, very, very long time. And then of course taking care of your histogram, turning off all your special effects in camera, all your picture styles that the camera manufacturers put in there to apparently make our life easier, but we want to take control of that. We want to take control because it's all about that final print and how that information translates across to that printing process which we'll delve into deeper and deeper as this course goes on and on. Drew, questions, I'm sure you'll have plenty. We do, yeah we do have some. Rodell asks, where do you draw the line between shooting for max information for post-processing versus getting the right lighting mood in camera? For example, theoretically you could flat light everything to eliminate shadows and create your final shadow light ratio in post. So how do you decide? For me, that balance is, shooting with a highlight alert, making sure that my highlights aren't being killed, so I'm putting enough information where I needed to put. And also creating mood with light, see, doesn't mean that you need to flatten everything. Because you still want shadow, you still want highlight. Provided that when you're exposing, you're exposing a highlight for what it is, a highlight and not a midtone. So a lot of the time when photographers create moody lighting, that mood is fantastic, but you'll find that a lot of those highlights are actually midtones, so create the highlights with your lights, create your shadows, and making sure that your shadows aren't going to be three to four stops away from where you need them to be. If you do need information in there. This is the disclaimer, if you do need information in there. It could be a shot where this was, per se, a black background, and I don't need any information here, I don't need it, then what's our histogram going to look like? It's going to be hard up on the left because there's nothing here. We'll that's fine. You've got to make the decision of, what's in your scene, what's important to you, and how you are going to eventually print it. You have to be able to get to a level, and you will get to that level, that when you are confronted with a scenario, a scene, a thought, an idea, you can actually see it in print before you press the shutter button. You can see what you're going to do with it in post-production, you know how you want the image to feel because you can convey that emotion of how you felt when you shot it, that is the key. To be able to bring it back and say, okay, this is how I want the print to look, let's work backwards from there. I want shadows that are deep and rich of detail. What does that mean? I need to give the shadows room. I need to give the shadows room to breathe, I need to be able to put that in. And then create the mood by bringing that exposure down in Photoshop. What things, things that look quite bright at the back of camera when you do bring them in post, they look very, very different, and you're able to darken and lighten and create mood that way. Let me see if I've got this right. So when you use the X-Rite, when the situation changes, each time the situation changes, that's when you photograph it. But you don't actually use it until you get into Lightroom. That's right Okay, all right, I just wanted to clarify. As long as you've got (laughs) As long as the shot is there on your card when your download it, and your images are up in Lightroom, we'll open them up in Lightroom, there they are, awesome, fantastic, click on to it, correct, and move on. So at a wedding the way it works is very simple, I get to, say, preparations of the bride. I'm in a hotel room, I'm using available light, the bride's going to be there, I'll quickly go there, I take a shot, stick it in my pocket, and then shoot the scene like it would normally happen, and I'll keep shooting. And then I'm going to do something creative then. I might close the blinds, introduce some flash, and maybe some tungsten light or shoot with some LEDs. Set the first shot up, bring the light in, hold it up, click it, as long as you're in the right light. You're in this light that you're actually lighting the subject with, do it, move on. You then concentrate on getting the shot, communicating with your subject. Get to another scenario, you're now walking outside, you're outside, okay, and the lighting might be a bit tricky, because you've got reflected light off buildings and so on, or you're in a shady lane way that you want to be working with, it's going to be quite dark, you take that out, you do your test, and you move on. A lot of the times, though, cameras do do a good job of getting color right. When scenes are quite average. Average scenes. But when you get challenging situations like when you're dealing with mainly tungsten lit environments, and there's a fine line between cleaning that tungsten effect right out, or maintaining some warmth, and to what degree do you want to maintain that warmth. A camera can't really decide that for you. Unless you shoot with a kelvin pre-set where you can dial in the color temperature exactly and get it looking to roughly where you want it be, but then again it's still a guess, because your camera, the back of the screen isn't calibrated, it's a guesstimation of where you want to take things. So for me, it's about capturing the information, the information that I need, making the decisions about color, and about tone, in the post-production stage.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Rocco's Photoshop Actions
Rocco's Printer Evaluation Files
Color & Luminosity Seperation Action

Ratings and Reviews

Roberto Valenzuela

I honestly consider many courses to be great, but optional. However, this course by Rocco Ancora is a MUST! It helps the photographer complete the circle of being a photographic artist. Our job doesn't end at the edit, it ends with the print. When your clients can hold and enjoy your creative vision physically, that is when the magic of being a photographer happens. I have been so fortunate to travel the world teaching and meeting some of the best photographers in the world. That being said, I can say with confidence that nobody can teach this combination of Photoshop retouching / fine-art printing better than Rocco Ancora. I believe in this class so much, I traveled to Seattle to attend this course to be part of the live studio audience. I have never done that before. But that's how important I consider this material to be. I am so happy I took the time to go and learn from the man himself. Now, I will get this course to watch it, dissect it, study it, and practice it. Very excited to see how the knowledge in this course will propel my career further. --Roberto Valenzuela

a Creativelive Student

I was fortunate enough to attend this class in person and got to experience Rocco's prints in person. The quality is absolutely breathtaking and a game changer, Learning these skills will really help my business in a number of ways. In the past, I have had a difficult time convincing clients to purchase typical lab prints through my studio, as opposed to buying them through Walmart or Costco where the quality was "close enough." Rocco's method that he shared in this class creates three dimensional images of unmatched quality and images that just jump off the page. The knowledge from this course will empower me to help run a sustainable business and thrive as a photographer. You would be foolish to not learn these methods and incorporate them into your business. Highly Recommend!!

April S.

I have invested time into learning Lightroom and Photoshop, my own gear, and my particular photographic style, but the one thing I am really lacking is a solid understanding about preparing an image for print, and the various print options (e.g., paper types). When I saw this course come up on the CL schedule it caught my eye immediately so I RSVP'd for the live broadcast. I was at work when it started and couldn't watch at that time. I do listen in from work sometimes, but after 2 minutes of listening to this course I realized it was one I really needed to watch closely and focus on. So, I stopped the stream after a couple minutes and bought the course. I have never done that before. I always wait and watch as much as I can in the initial broadcast (or rebroadcast) to decide if a course is one that I really should spend for. I knew right away though that Rocco was presenting the very information I was lacking and needed, and I wanted it! In addition, it was clear to me after looking him up online that he's a consummate professional with lots of experience and his delivery style even in just the couple of minutes that I listened reflected that. I already have X-rite ColorMunki Display and Colorchecker, a good monitor, and I have a photo printer (Canon Pixma Pro-100) but I'm lacking that technical understanding of color and know I'm not using my resources to their fullest. I use my Canon Pixma to test-print images before uploading to the print service I use. My method isn't ideal since the service uses different printers and ink, and paper depending on what I choose, but at least I have a much better idea of what my image file will give me in print form. After Rocco's course I believe I will be much better equipped to prepare my images and choose the options best suited to each image. I'll still test print if only because it's fun to see something on paper, but I expect the results I get from the print service to be much better once I really know how to put this knowledge to work for me.

Student Work