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Fundamentals of Photography

Lesson 72 of 107

Light Management

John Greengo

Fundamentals of Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

72. Light Management


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:23:32
2 Photographic Characteristics Duration:06:46
3 Camera Types Duration:03:03
4 Viewing System Duration:22:09
5 Lens System Duration:24:38
6 Shutter System Duration:12:56
7 Shutter Speed Basics Duration:10:16
8 Shutter Speed Effects Duration:31:57
9 Camera & Lens Stabilization Duration:11:06
10 Quiz: Shutter Speeds Duration:07:55
11 Camera Settings Overview Duration:16:12
12 Drive Mode & Buffer Duration:04:24
13 Camera Settings - Details Duration:10:21
14 Sensor Size: Basics Duration:18:26
15 Sensor Sizes: Compared Duration:24:52
16 The Sensor - Pixels Duration:22:49
17 Sensor Size - ISO Duration:26:59
18 Focal Length Duration:11:36
19 Angle of View Duration:31:29
20 Practicing Angle of View Duration:04:59
21 Quiz: Focal Length Duration:08:15
22 Fisheye Lens Duration:12:32
23 Tilt & Shift Lens Duration:20:37
24 Subject Zone Duration:13:16
25 Lens Speed Duration:09:03
26 Aperture Duration:08:25
27 Depth of Field (DOF) Duration:21:46
28 Quiz: Apertures Duration:08:22
29 Lens Quality Duration:07:06
30 Light Meter Basics Duration:09:04
31 Histogram Duration:11:48
32 Quiz: Histogram Duration:09:07
33 Dynamic Range Duration:07:25
34 Exposure Modes Duration:35:15
35 Sunny 16 Rule Duration:04:31
36 Exposure Bracketing Duration:08:08
37 Exposure Values Duration:20:01
38 Quiz: Exposure Duration:20:44
39 Focusing Basics Duration:13:08
40 Auto Focus (AF) Duration:24:39
41 Focus Points Duration:17:18
42 Focus Tracking Duration:19:26
43 Focusing Q&A Duration:06:40
44 Manual Focus Duration:07:14
45 Digital Focus Assistance Duration:07:35
47 Quiz: Depth of Field Duration:15:54
48 DOF Preview & Focusing Screens Duration:04:55
49 Lens Sharpness Duration:11:08
50 Camera Movement Duration:11:29
51 Advanced Techniques Duration:15:15
52 Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance Duration:07:14
53 Auto Focus Calibration Duration:05:15
54 Focus Stacking Duration:07:58
55 Quiz: Focus Problems Duration:18:54
56 Camera Accessories Duration:32:41
57 Lens Accessories Duration:29:24
58 Lens Adaptors & Cleaning Duration:13:14
59 Macro Duration:13:02
60 Flash & Lighting Duration:04:47
61 Tripods Duration:14:13
62 Cases Duration:06:07
63 Being a Photographer Duration:11:29
64 Natural Light: Direct Sunlight Duration:28:37
66 Natural Light: Mixed Duration:04:20
71 Quiz: Lighting Duration:05:02
72 Light Management Duration:10:46
73 Flash Fundamentals Duration:12:06
74 Speedlights Duration:04:12
75 Built-In & Add-On Flash Duration:10:47
76 Off-Camera Flash Duration:25:48
77 Off-Camera Flash For Portraits Duration:15:36
78 Advanced Flash Techniques Duration:08:22
79 Editing Assessments & Goals Duration:08:57
80 Editing Set-Up Duration:06:59
81 Importing Images Duration:03:59
82 Organizing Your Images Duration:32:41
83 Culling Images Duration:13:57
84 Categories of Development Duration:30:59
85 Adjusting Exposure Duration:08:03
86 Remove Distractions Duration:04:02
87 Cropping Your Images Duration:09:53
88 Composition Basics Duration:26:36
89 Point of View Duration:28:56
90 Angle of View Duration:14:35
91 Subject Placement Duration:23:22
92 Framing Your Shot Duration:07:27
94 Rule of Odds Duration:05:00
95 Bad Composition Duration:07:31
96 Multi-Shot Techniques Duration:19:08
98 Human Vision vs The Camera Duration:23:32
99 Visual Perception Duration:10:43
100 Quiz: Visual Balance Duration:14:05
101 Visual Drama Duration:16:45
102 Elements of Design Duration:09:24
103 Texture & Negative Space Duration:03:57
104 Black & White & Color Duration:10:33
105 The Photographic Process Duration:09:08
106 Working the Shot Duration:25:29
107 What Makes a Great Photograph? Duration:07:01

Lesson Info

Light Management

Alright, the next section we're going to get into is light management. So before this we were just dealing with whatever we go during the day, you know, what was the sunlight? What was the day light? Now we're gonna start getting in and controlling the lights ourselves to really get the exact results we want. So, when it comes down to light management, we have different light sources. We have natural light that we've been talking about, we have our continuous lights, and these are lights that are continuously on all the time, and then we're gonna have speedlites and strobe lights, and so we're gonna start with natural light and we're going to work our way into speedlites and what we can do to control it. So with natural light that's out there, there's not too much that we can do with it. We can either diffuse it or we can bounce it. When it comes to diffusing artificial light, we have things like soft boxes, and if we want to bounce the light around, then we're gonna have reflectors an...

d soft boxes and so these are some of the tools that we're gonna talk about in this process here. So this is kind of a quick preview of what we're going to be doing throughout this, more clearly as we go through this, the different steps. First off, there's no flash, that's a real simple way, just dealing with the ambient light. We're gonna be able to add some diffusers in and that'll help break up that light a little bit and make it come from a larger light source. We could use, with or without, the reflector to add light into the shadowed sides and that's gonna help fill in those areas that are really dark. We can add in flash for those of us who have built-in flash on our cameras. Not the most helpful thing in the world, and we'll talk about why it's limited as we go through this. You want something a little bit better, you can do an add-on flash, and all the manufacturers make a lot of different add-on flashes, but once again, you're limited by the placement of that flash so close to the lens that you're shooting. So one of the best things you can do is get that flash off the camera, and as soon as it's off the camera, and it's not physically connected, you need to worry about all the different options for triggering the flash and so there's going to be a variety of ways, very simple basic ways that just tell the flash when to fire, to more elaborate systems that will tell it how much to fire, and give it much more information, and then there's all sorts of tools that we can use for holding that flash and getting that flash in the position that we want. There are a number of cameras that do have wireless options that are now available that will send the information for you, but they do have their limitations over certain distances and through things that might block the light. There are more expensive remote triggers you can get that get you much greater range that you can shoot through walls and over great distances that'll help you trigger flashes in unusual locations. And once that flash is off the camera, then you can just put in on a simple light stand to put the light exactly where you want it, and then you can bounce it into a reflector and that's going to give you a much larger light source, and then if you've gone that far, you can just get a more powerful flash and that means, if you have a more powerful flash, you can shoot it into a bigger umbrella, so that you can get an even softer light, so you can just keep taking this one step at a time and then you can plug it into a power pack so that you can use an even bigger umbrella, and so this starts this endless rabbit hole of studio lighting equipment, and we're just gonna take it one step at a time, seeing how much difference each one of these steps make, because every photographer says "okay, that's as far as I need to take it." There's a lot of photographers who talk about just working with one light, and there's a lot that you can do with that, but there's a little bit more that you can do with two and three, but then it slows you down, and it's like the rest of equipment in photography, yes, more gives you more options, but then you have to make all these choices and it can slow you down and so you need to find the balance for where you want to be and what works best for what you're doing. Alright, so if you're going to work with no flash, this is great, because it has no extra equipment besides the camera and the lens, unfortunately you have to deal with conditions at hand, and there's really not much you can do about it, if it's dark out, that's all you can do, you're not gonna be able to add light to this scene here, and sometimes adding flash into a scenario doesn't really help it out, it's not really the type of scenario that works well with flash, and in other cases, you know, maybe it's dark out, but you can use another technique for capturing that image and doing something interesting without flash. Alright, let's go outside on a bright sunny day, which is a terrible time for doing portrait photography, but we're a class and we're learning how this works. So the problem with bright sunny light is that we get these dark shadows in places that we may not want really dark shadows, and so this is in front light on a bright sunny day. If we were to shoot side light, this gets to be really hard, there's a lot of skin tones we aren't able to see anymore, we're blowin' out that area, and it's just become very very bright and the sun is just too high in the sky and it's too bright and the shadows are too dark and we can't shoot both correctly and properly, and so it's just hard to get a good exposure in that time. You can shoot in backlight, and now at least the face is evenly illuminated, we do have some hot spots on hair, a little bit of a rim lighting effect going on, and that's probably the most acceptable of these three scenarios is that the face, the most important part, is evenly lit. Now moving out into cloud light, this is gonna be a good time to do general portrait photography because people are evenly lit and you don't have these hot spots and these really really dark shadows out there, so if you had to go out and shoot portraits with no other gear, just your camera and just a lens, then a cloudy day is probably the best time to go out there and do your friend's portrait or the office portraits or something like that. Alright, if it's a sunny day and we're willing to use just a little bit of gear, in this case a diffuser, a big white sheet of fabric so that it diffuses the direct sunlight coming in, the face will no longer have that direct sunshine on it, now we do have a bright background here the sun is shining it's an open park, but we now have nice, even lighting on the face, you can see the eyes, the features much more easily and so this is one of the reasons you'll see movies being made outside and you'll see these giant diffusers above their subjects, or when they're doing the evening broadcasts, the news, they don't want their subjects in direct sunlight, it's just a little bit of diffusion can really help out in these situations. With side lighting, it can work out as well, so we're just going to diffuse the direct sunlight coming in and so now that light is diffused and it's coming over much larger areas and we don't have those blocked up shadows, and it makes a big difference holding this sheet of fabric up there and they make these for, it's not that much money, it seems a lot of money for a piece of fabric but when it's designed into the right type of device, you can use it for many many years, and get a lot of use out of these diffusers, and you can handle them yourself, you can put them on light stands and so forth. And so that's where the light is going through the diffuser, now the other option is to bounce the light into the shadowed areas, let the sunlight just hit your subjects as normal, but now you're just gonna fill in the shadows. And so this can be another good technique depending on the lighting conditions, and so it's a pretty simple system, doesn't require any batteries, not a lot of technology in this case, and the biggest problem, if you are a solo photographer is holding the reflector and shooting the picture at the same time. They do make stands for that if you want. And so working with a reflector in a side light situation we're going to have light hitting a reflector and bouncing back onto our subjects. So our sunlight is still illuminating our subject and now what's happening is our shadows are not as deep as they used to be, and if you look deeply into the eyes, you can see the reflector inside, this big round disc reflecting light in there, and the reflector does need to be very very close in there, and the difference between using a reflector and not using the reflector is pretty significant 'cause if you get it in close, on a sunny day, there's a lot of light bouncing off that reflector. It can be very effective in a back lit situation, and that's basically because I'm holding a reflector in front of my subject here, lights hitting directly on to this, and bouncing straight back in and so it's got a lot of good angles that it's working with, you might say, to really fill in the shadows and look into the eyes again, you can see that reflector right at the bottom, which is giving us a little catch light, which adds a little bit of life to the photograph, and so that definitely helps out, once again on the back lit. So if you're doing portraits just a simple, around three foot reflector will do a great job. Now you can also use a reflector on a cloudy day, because clouds are just above us and if we wanna kind of kick in some of those lights into the shadows, we can do that as well, and that'll help out a little bit, it's just that a cloudy day doesn't have that intensity of light so not as much light is bouncing off that reflector, so you do once again have to keep that reflector pretty close to your subject for it to be effective. Alright let's jump inside for the moment, if it's inside and dark with natural lighting, you just gotta use a low shutter speed, right? Well, you're just gonna get blurry photographs if your subject can't stay steady, so the option is you set a higher ISO, well setting a higher ISO has its limitations and problems that we talked about back in these sensory section of noise, and so there's only so good of results that you can get in here, you can purchase faster lenses, but at a certain point, you're gonna need to add in some more lighting yourself, and so all of that was what you could do with just natural light, not even owning a flash, and so reflectors and diffusers can help out in many many different situations. So when you have a cloudy a day, how effective is negative film for creating some of that? Uh, not very much, not very much, it's really hard and if people didn't know what you were talking about, it's like if you wanted to use a black card to take light away, the problem is on a cloudy day, depending on where you are, lights just kind of bouncing from everywhere, and negative film would probably work more effective in a dark studio environment.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

As a photographer, you will need to master the technical basics of the camera and form an understanding of the kind of equipment you need. The Fundamentals of Digital Photography will also teach something even more important (and crucial for success) - how to bring your creative vision to fruition.

Taught by seasoned photographer John Greengo, the Fundamentals of Digital Photography places emphasis on quality visuals and experiential learning. In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to bring together the elements of manual mode to create an evocative image: shutter speed, aperture, and image composition.
  • How to choose the right gear, and develop efficient workflow.
  • How to recognize and take advantage of beautiful natural light.

John will teach you to step back from your images and think critically about your motivations, process, and ultimate goals for your photography project. You’ll learn to analyze your vision and identify areas for growth. John will also explore the difference between the world seen by the human eye and the world seen by the camera sensor. By forming an awareness of the gap between the two, you will be able to use your equipment to its greatest potential.


a Creativelive Student

Love love all John Greengo classes! Wish to have had him decades ago with this info, but no internet then!! John is the greatest photography teacher I have seen out there, and I watch a lot of Creative Live classes and folks on YouTube too. John is so detailed and there are a ton of ah ha moments for me and I know lots of others. I think I own 4 John Greengo classes so far and want to add this one and Travel Photography!! I just drop everything to watch John on Creative Live. I wish sometime soon he would teach a Lightroom class and his knowledge on photography post editing.!!! That would probably take a LOT OF TIME but I know John would explain it soooooo good, like he does all his Photography classes!! Thank you Creative Live for having such a wonderful instructor with John Greengo!! Make more classes John, for just love them and soak it up! There is soooo much to learn and sometimes just so overwhelming. Is there anyway you might do a Motivation class!!?? Like do this button for this day, and try this technique for a week, or post this subject for this week, etc. Motivation and inspiration, and playing around with what you teach, needed so much and would be so fun.!! Just saying??? Awaiting gadgets class now, while waiting for lunch break to be over. All the filters and gadgets, oh my. Thank you thank you for all you teach John, You are truly a wonderful wonderful instructor and I would highly recommend folks listening and buying your classes.


I don't think that adjectives like beautiful, fantastic or excellent can describe the course and classes with John Greengo well enough. I've just bought my first camera and I am a total amateur but I fell in love with photography while watching the classes with John. It is fun, clear, understandable, entertaining, informative and and and. He is not only a fabulous photographer but a great teacher as well. Easy to follow, clear explanations and fantastic visuals. The only disadvantage I can list here that he is sooooo good that keeps me from going out to shoot as I am just glued to the screen. :-) Don't miss it and well worth the money invested! Thank you John!


Dear John, thanks for this outstanding classes. You are not only a great photographer and instructor, but your classes are pleasant, they are not boring, with a good sense of humor, they go straight to the point and have a good time listening to you. Please, keep teaching what you like most, and I will continue to look for your classes. And thanks for using a plain English, that it's important for people who has another language as native language. Thanks again, Juan