Ambient Light Part 2
So you folks at home, that is it, because unfortunately, our studio audience is looking at a back-lit monitor so it's gonna be very hard them to tell the fact that there is a definitive line of contrast in her face between the left and the right. So to give you guys an idea, my lit side 6.3, and then over here, I'm at 2.2, okay. That's huge, 5.6, 4.0, 2.8, 2.2. That's over three stops, like an eight ... That's an eight to one, that's like eight to one. Roughly, if I round it all out. However, she looks great. She's got these beautiful features that that contrast ratio just makes her face absolutely sync. However, there's a little bit of drama that's added to it, right. So you have a question?
I notice that you did a light meter just a little bit over this way so pointing towards the light.
Was there a reason you did that instead of like under her chin?
Okay, so that's a great question. I noticed that you put the meter towards the light. Is there a reason why I didn't put ...
it under her chin? Let's do it.
Yeah. Look at the results and then understand why I did it the other way, okay. So here you go, I'm gonna meter here. I've got 6.3, you guys are looking at 6.3 right now. If I meter under her chin, I'm gonna get 4.0. And if I do 4.0, all of a sudden, it brightens up and I lose that contrast.
Okay, first thing is I'm gonna worry about my subject right, I'm gonna meter for the subject but the meters only gonna give you a reading for what you want. I want that window therefore I meter that window. And let everything else fall into place. Remember there's two types of readings, right? There's incidental reading and there's reflective reading. And what is incident reading? Incident reading is real life, incident reading is real life. And what that means is it's only gonna give you what you want. You get to tell it what it wants. You just got to understand what that number means. Okay, so, if you wanted 4, hey that's great. It can be four but you lose that contrast ratio. So I'm gonna meter here, always towards the source of the light. I want the source of the light because when I meter for the source of the light, and then I change my settings back to 6.3, I get that shape. I get that sculpting shadow. Okay, one of my really really close friends and mentor Tony Corbell, says, "You don't light for light, you light for shadows." You light for shadows because shadows is what will make your image beautiful. It's not getting rid of it, it's actually creating shadows that helps sculpts your picture and sculpt your subject in a way that allows you to make a wonderful image. Now here's a cool thing about photographers. Photographers that know their craft and know lighting can light better than any videographer that I've ever come across.
Yeah, exactly. Most videographers and people who do video, don't understand lighting that I've come across. In the city world, it's different story. But we're talking about videographers here who rely on things called zebras and false color and histograms. You rely on a meter, you're always gonna be right, and you're always gonna be accurate. What's your question?
So my question, cause I'm a little confuse on the source of light. Source of light is the window. Correct?
So when she was facing us, we talked about where do we meter. And we talked about metering for her face. But if we're always metering towards the source of the light, wouldn't have the answer have been just meter behind her?
So that's what kind of
Okay, so that's ...
throwing me off a little bit.
Yeah yeah yeah yeah, so let's actually, let's pull you over Daniel. Okay, so we have to understand what we want. If we are is so ... There's always things that I will say to do and there's always that one instance that it won't really actually apply unless you stop for a second and think about what you need. So the question was, "Well Victor, you said to meter for the source of the light." well, if I'm listening to you about metering towards the source of the light and she is back-lit and that's the only light source in the room. Theoretically, wouldn't I just meter here? And get a reading of 5, 6, and set my camera to 5, 6? Not really because what I'll do is where actually gonna do that. So come back here, give me some room here. Alright, I'm gonna move my camera and hopefully you won't lose my feed. So, Javier just make sure that cables can't get kinked. Okay, great. Okay, so I'm gonna set my meter to 7.0. Alright, so do I do? If I'm metering for the light source in this scenario, I'm gonna set the meter for 7.0. Okay, that's 7.1. What happened? She darkened the heck down, didn't she? So we have to know that in this situation, we are back-lit. So that rule of metering towards light source goes completely out the window because I need to make sure I can make an image of not the window but of her. But did you noticed what happened to the window? It kinda darkened down, right? Everything darkened down. So if I wanna make an image of her, that's your first questions. What are gonna make an image of? I wanna make an image of her. Well, am I back-lit? Yeah, I'm back-lit so I meter for that backlight, she's not gonna be exposed properly. So I need to expose for her and if I wanna expose for her, I'm gonna get 3.2 on her face. Now watch this. It's magic, all of a sudden she's lit up again. Now, in a back-lit situation, what you're gonna find? Give me a second, don't move honey.
It's okay. Alright. So the back-lit situation, you can use that back light to affect, can't you? What does that look like? Looks very dreamy. And if I am back-lit, let me grab in a reflector really quickly please. So if I'm back-lit and I come in with a reflector, Can you see how that affects the image a little bit? Okay, now, if I use a reflector in this scenario, we'll talk about this in a bit. And I put it right under her face. Okay, and that's like Alfred Hitchcock, right. Okay, so Javier do me a favor and just move it up and high. So here she's moving up and he's gonna ... Can you see how the light change in her face?
See how the light change in her face. We haven't even used the light yet. We're just looking at how light falls. We're just looking how reflector can affect an image. And we went from here and all we did was move it up and higher. And can you see how that started to affect her face? Now here's a thing, okay, so I'm gonna leave Javier there and now I'm gonna read. Why, why am I reading? Because I wanna make a picture of her. I wanna forget about this light source because it's back light and I wanna measure the light falling on her face cause that's what I want an image of. What's my key light? What's the source hitting her? The reflector's the key light. So where do I point the meter? Towards the reflector. Towards the reflector, 3.6. Let's do 3.5, boom. I got myself an image. Now take the reflector off. Less compelling, put it back up, more compelling, right. So we just turned a situation where we were back-lit. So let's that reflector off, we're back-lit. The meter said, "Hey victor, that's your reading cause you've measured for that backlight which we shouldn't have done." We should have looked at this and said, "Oh, she's back-lit. I need to measure my exposure for the subject." We should have measured here to get a reference exposure so we can see what's happening. And then we toss in that reflector and we don't toss it in low so we don't toss it in low because it makes her look like a character from a horror movie, right. We move it to the side and we lift it up high. Okay and get that reading. And we point it to the light source. It tells us 4.5 and we've got ourself an image. And I know the question, "Well, victor, initially before you measured it and it was like 3.2, why did you measure it again and it say 4.5? Isn't the reflector the same thing? Well, it's the same thing but this reflector is flimsy isn't it? It's all loosy goosy so he's gonna move it, it's gonna fluctuate. So if you would back up, can you see how that light source sort fall off her face? Now if he brings it in closer ... Bring it in nice and close, real close, real close. Okay, now we've got that shadow back. Now, we have that shadow back. The quality of light will improve as you get it bigger or bring it closer to your subject. That's the inverse-square law, you live and die by that law. If you want good lighting, you make the light source bigger or you bring it closer to her. She looks beautiful there, I've got a beautiful shadow right here. I've got a nice highlight here. With this shadow now, I can do stuff. I can make her look like something. Okay, you don't light for highlights, you light for shadows. And that's what makes good lighting. And you do all of that with ambient light. We didn't do even break out of light at this point. I'm really passionate about lighting, can you guys tell? So how are we doing in the chatroom, any questions so far?
Is that a joke?
Because we have a couple of pages. Looks like we have a question here. So audience to start.
So in terms of you're doing an interview with her, would you still use an assistant holding it even though he might get tired or something like that or would you rig it up somehow?
Okay so the question is if I'm gonna ... If this is really truly an interview, are we gonna use a reflector like this? Yes and no. Human light stands are awesome. Because they can look at the subject as your doing it and if they know what they're doing, they're gonna do their best to keep it steady. Now, this is a really flimsy reflector. There's other types of reflectors out there that are a lot more sturdy. And their like framed up with like a metal frame. You know, they're all out there. So you can change the reflector to a more sturdier one and it will give you a more stable light source, okay. But our reflector, I mean I use reflectors all the time when I'm doing ambient stuff. It's the only way that you can actually make an image that's worth something because if you don't have reflector, you have no way to control or shape light at all whatsoever. Okay, so, what we're gonna do here is I'm gonna move the camera back, I'm gonna keep Daniel right here. We're gonna shift our set the other way, okay. Cool, so while I'm doing this, because we've got a lot of questions in the chatroom in the chatroom. What do we got?
Yes, Okay, so let's go with one from Photo Mark FL. The problem here is choosing which one to ask cause there are a lot coming in. So for Phot Mark, would it better light with a white reflector instead of the silver? Why are you choosing the particular side of the reflector? So I'm choosing silver because I'm partial to silver. It's aesthetic. It also has to do with intensity. So I will either go white or silver. I rarely if ever go gold so we're gonna use the gold in a bit and typically gold for me is just a little too warm, you know. It's all purely aesthetic in taste. So my look when I shoot with ambient light is silver reflector, sometimes white. That's what I use and it's purely based off of what you want, okay. So let's bring out that silver reflector. Sorry the gold reflector's popping your side. So the way that this reflector works is there is a silver side to it, okay. And then, on the other side there's like a gold white gold side to it. Now, there's a ton of different reflectors out there. One is like full gold. There can be white with gold speckling. I just like silver a lot because outdoors in the sunlight, it throws really nicely and it doesn't color the light. I don't like coloring my reflector at all whatsoever. I like it just silver. That's just me, I know plenty photographers that would disagree with me. But that's okay because what sets us makes us different. What I care about is how you use the reflector. So Javier would you hold that for me? Let's go ahead and get this framed up. Okay, so the first thing I want you guys to realize ... Where did I place her? I placed her at the back half the light. If I push her up forward more into the space of light that I want, I'm gonna have a more ... As my colleagues would say, I have a more better time. Okay, so we've got 5,6. Okay. Alright, cool. So here we are, I've got wonderful shadow here. I've got a great highlight here. So what I'm gonna do here is bring Javier. And we talk about the direction of light from this reflector a little bit right. So I always try to get my lighting high. And you wanna get it high and usually start it somewhere to 45 degree angle. Simply because that's what we're use to seeing. Light falls high from high. So you wanna replicate any kind of light fall from up high. You guys look at the studio. All of the lighting in this studio is falling very high from very high. And there's a reason for that. Because it's flattering, it looks right to us. And because it looks right, it feels right, okay. So in this case, I'm gonna go ahead and come in here with a gold reflector. Okay, you guys see how, when I come in with that gold reflector, how it lights her up and it adds that warmness to her face. I don't, it's not preferable to me. Some people love it, okay. And I'm not saying either way that it's bad or good. It's just I don't use gold. If I flip it to silver, and then use silver. Can you see how it just matches what I'm actually got on the other side of her face? So the other light on the other half of her face is just match a little better. Now in terms of reflectors guys, I know you probably know this. But don't do this, right. What am i doing? (audience laughing)
You're flapping it backwards.
Yeah I'm reflecting the light back up here, okay. But a lot of times we aren't thinking, we are moving too quickly and we do this. When we stand over here and we try to get like a reflect on her face, okay. Light's only gonna be reflected if I get to the other side. Now good rule of thumb, a good ... Just to make sure you never make that mistake. Where is my shadow? Where is her shadow? Her shadow's on this side. So, before you even break out of that reflector, look where the shadow is. Stand in their shadow and then reflect it, okay. That way, you always know, that you always know you're gonna have a light source to reflect, okay. Alright, so, come on Javier. So what we're gonna here, is we're gonna learn about contrast ratio. So flip this over for me. Okay, and we're gonna come over here and I think my lighting changed a little bit. Yeah it did, a second. Yeah. Okay. So, did you guys notice? I noticed that the lighting changed so I gotta do another reading. You've gotta be very aware when you're using ambient light. That it will change, it will definitely change. So in this case, I got a new reading. I open back up and now if I take this reflector away, I notice, see, I still have that shadow. See how great that shadow looks. Bring it back. Alright, so if I bring this reflector in close, I'm relying on you Javier. Okay, I'm gonna bring this reflector in close. Make sure she's nice and lit. Okay bring it nice and close. Okay, so I'm at 5.0 and get a reading here. She's at 4.5. So 5.0, 4.5, 4.0 I'm barely a third. If you were would have backed off, keep backing off, okay. See how that change the shadow on her face? Alright. I'm at 4.0, that's 2/3, back off a little bit. Okay, cast some more light on her, okay you got it. 3.6, that's two to one. Okay, can see that? Guess you see what I'm doing? So you can actually shape your light by how much you bring in this reflector and what you do, you light for shadows. You cast your light and then you put and you dictate how much shadow goes in there. There's another thing you can do. This is called the V-flat. So Javier let's go ahead and get rid of that reflector. And Let's bring this V-flat over, okay. I'm sorry you guys. Hopefully you're gonna see the screen but what we're gonna do is where gonna put this V-flat black right in here close to her face.
Oh yeah, that's great.
Okay. Okay, now what we did here was we deepen that shadow. We deepen that shadow, didn't we? That shadow just got super dark. Because when you stick black next to a subject, when you stick black next to a subject, black absorbs light. And if you guys, come on up and take a look at this.
Okay, come on and take a look at this. So here, we've got all of a sudden so much more shadow depth. Alright, Javier we're gonna move it that way. And now, it's back, right. So I'm gonna move it back. Okay, get out of frame. See how that deepened her shadow?
Okay, it sucks the light in. There wasn't anymore light into that side of her face. Like you're sucking it all in. So can use black as oppose to reflectors to get that look as well, okay. So that's the same, that's crazy. Because we just reflected light to get a ratio. Now we're taking away light so there's two types of lighting we just learned. Additive lighting and subtractive lighting. Additive lighting means you're adding light to a scenario and subtractive lighting means you're taking it away. So we did subtractive lighting here. Okay cool so let's go ahead and bring this back out and go ahead and put it back over there. Thanks Javier. So ambient light guys is really fun. It's beautiful to work with because the light source will stay the same and all I'm doing is just moving her in frame. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna take a couple minutes now and I wanna show you how she looks with different focal lengths and different lenses.
That's perfect Victor because we actually had a lot of people who are asking like what if I don't have a prime, does that change anything? What happens if I'm not using an L lens. Do I have to like change anything. So I love that they're asking that or could I do that.
Okay, so let's talk about caveats. What are we capturing an image of right now? We're capturing an image of a human being. Human beings look best when captured with focal lengths of at least, I'll sneak again a little bit. Of at least 50 and up. 50 millimeters and up, okay. Now depending upon the focal length. The closer you get to a subject, will actually distort the way that their face looks. So if I put a 50 millimeter lens or a zoom lens and I set it to 50 and bring it close to her, its gonna distort her a little bit. So we're gonna actually take a look here. I've got a camera, I've got a lens and what we're gonna do here is I'm at 200 millimeters right now. What 200 millimeters does is it takes everything in the image and compresses it. The longer the lens, the more flattering it will always be to any subject, alright. So I'm gonna do now is back it off to and Daniel won't you to come forward, come forward, come forward and stop there. Keep coming forward. Now in the same cropping of 270, can you already start to see how her face? She's got a very narrow face, already starts to broaden out a little bit. And that effect only gets worse as we change lenses. So I'm gonna go drastic, I'm gonna go to a 17 millimeter lens and keep her in the same framing and see what that looks like. Here you go. Okay, let's go to 17 and here we go. And Daniel, won't you come up here. Alright, keep coming, keep coming, keep coming, keep coming, keep coming. Okay and you're gonna, good, a little bit and keep coming, keep coming. Can you see how all of a sudden her face just broadens out and actually just cheat here and get you an exposure we can see something at. And you see how her face just broadens out? How it becomes less compelling? She's a very attractive girl but the minute I try to photograph her on a 17 millimeter lens, her nose gets bigger and it's because the lens is curved. And as you get closer to the lens, it's gonna accentuate the round features of your face and actually bend it. Even though it's a rectal linear lens. So that's why people have what's called portrait lenses. Portrait lenses are anything that's gonna create compression. Typically, people's favorite lenses are like 85s, 135s, 105s, 200s. And if you don't have L glass, L glass is just nicer coated glass. You can stand up, you can stand up, thanks, sorry. So all L glass is just nicer coated glass that handles contrast and chromatic abrasion and all that stuff better. Inexpensive glass, hey if you can make an image, you can edit it, right. I'm not gonna fault anyone for using a lens that they have because that's the lens that they have. It's better than not using that lens at all right, okay. So how did that feel? Did that make sense? So I'm gonna put my medium zoom on, okay. And what we're gonna do here is take this. Swap in, my 24 to 70. So most photographers have what I call the Trifecta. They've got a 17 to 35, a 24 to 70 and a 70 to 200. Those are, that's their Trifecta of lenses. And anyone who does weddings has that lens combination. So what I like to do is if I'm gonna use a medium zoom, like a 24 to 70. The most that I'll ever do is probably that in framing and then if I back her off a little bit, she'll look great in that framing, roughly in that framing. Can you see all the proportions of her body looks really nice? She's not boat out a little bit.
So what will be the lens is?
This is a 24 to 70.
At 24, at 70?
This is at 70.
Okay. So again, the way you look at lenses should be the same that you look at light. Does the subject look good? Do they look good? And if they look good and you have that eye and you've got that ability to determine if they look good, they're gonna think they look good. Alright, there's one last thing. Is I've got my tripod here at eye level. So what I'll do is I'm gonna switch back my longer lens. Okay. Okay I'm gonna switch back to my longer lens here. I'm gonna frame her up. Okay common honey. Alright, I'm gonna frame her up so let's go ahead and get her looking gorgeous. Okay, and then what I'm gonna do is I'm going to elevate the camera. I'm gonna lift the camera slightly. So if I lift this camera slightly. Okay, and let's relevel out the camera. And then reframe her. Can you see that they do to the image? It elevated her, she's looking up a little bit. It straightens up her neck. So if you have someone who's older who has lot of skin under the neck. You know, because once you get older things start to get a little bit saggy right. Just go ahead and do them a favor. Get your camera position higher. Let them stretch that neck out. If I were to get that camera even higher, it would stretch that neck out even more, it would thin their faces out a little bit. And be more flattering to them. Changing your camera position is almost the kin to changing their position as well, okay. So I think that pretty much wraps us into the kind of homestretch when it comes to lighting 101. And I really do think that it lay the foundation for what we're gonna be talking about later on in the day which is lighting 102. We actually start to bring out lights and we start to control the amount of light that we take and add to a scene. So before I can continue on, what do you guys think? Any questions? Thanks.
Did it help you guys look at lighting on a different way, ambient light.
Yeah, okay, so the thing is like we all look at ambient light and we all mess around with it. And we all try to capture images with ambient light. At I think, we all make the mistake sometimes. It's like well, that's the light that we have. Let's just go capture and make an image. No you still do a lot to shape that image and make it work. So how are we doing over here?
Great, let's just get, very quick clarification for Sir Calaray Jr. When you're talking here about focal length, that's 50 focal length or effective focal? Like are you working on a full frame here, crop sensor?
So I'm on a 5D Mark three, it's a full frame sensor and just so that you all or just not worrying about crop length and all kind of stuff, a 50, just use a 50 and up. Rather you're on a crop sensor or not. It's just gonna make your life more simple. Alright for that type of thing. Just take a 50 on and you just know that when you're using a 50 on up you're gonna make a good image. Okay, when it comes to people. The longer the focal length, the better, alright.
Alright, question from Nick. If I got a bad video and I'm editing the final video, may I fix the shadows in After Effects or other program?
Is there anything to do to fix something that you screw up?
Okay. So let's see you light incorrectly, right. Or you light not enough and there's not enough shadows. There's too much shadows, remember that first day. I showed you just a little bit a bump in a curve. How much noise was created on that image. There's a certain amount of latitude that you can kind of bump an image. So if I wanna darken the image or add shadows and that kind of, yes, you can do in post but totally within reason. It's not something that you'd wanna really mess around in post too much because you can really destroy your image. Get it right in camera. Get it right in camera as much as possible. That's why you use the meter, that's why you use this meter. Cause at any point, at any point in today, I was never guessing about what my exposure was. I was only caring about what they look like and what the number told me when I took the reading. That's where you wanna be. That's exactly where you wanna be. Because you will never be wrong, you will never be wrong.
So Smart Photo was talking about, he says, "The feeling of the image is really changing with aperture. So can't we expose just seeing the monitor and the picture style it has instead of measuring?" So I'm just wondering as far as just kind of to wrap this up. We have talked a lot about light meters and we talked about, you know, doing it the right way. Let's talk about experimenting and just winging it. And how often you do that or what do you think about ...
I don't ever wing.
You never wing it.
I never wing, I never wing. I never ever and I know you said never say never. I never ever ever ever ever ever ever wing it, I don't. If you wanna get creative and you wanna change your aperture, yeah, aperture is a very wonderful way of being creative. However, we should all know and learn what F11 looks like and what F2.8 looks like. That way, you can set your meter and light for 2.8 or 11. Alright, you should all know what that looks like. So when we start getting into artificial lighting or when you're looking at a scene like this and you know you want 2.8 but all you got is 5.6. We have a tool for that. So Daniel, would you come out quickly? I'm gonna answer his question. Javier could you please grab that scrim right there? Not, the circle one, there, that circular one. So I've got Daniel here and right now, let's make believe that she's at 5.6. Where's my light source? Here. What does this do? It cuts my light source. So now, I can get a reading at 2.8 if I wanted to. And these scrims come in like one stop and two stop increments or third stop increments. So you can control your light and still be accurate and still be creative and still rely on your creativity but still use the right tool to always be accurate. Now in terms of like coloring and picture styles, and that stuff, we covered it a couple of days ago. But if you take your camera file and you add saturation, you add contrast, you add sharpening, you add color tone, you add all of those things. You've just bait all the settings into that file and there was no way on God's green earth, you can take it out. So don't add stuff, do that in post. That's what post is for. You want the best file possible. And you wanna make the best image possible. And you do that by not baking stuff in and you do that by using a light meter. And you do that by knowing, okay, well, F11 is gonna give me an incredible depth of field. F4.0 is gonna give me a shallower depth of field. What do I want this image to look like? I want it to be shallow. Okay, if I want to be shallow, I need to light for that number on the meter.