Understanding Lighting Diagrams
In this session we're going to learn how to read a lighting diagram. And more importantly, we're gonna learn how to create one. Now, this is a method that I've sort of made up over years to keep track of my own photos, because there's nothing more frustrating than looking at a photo that I created years ago, and wondering how the heck I did that. And so this is just some wisdom that will be passed on to you, some tips. The other thing is, this class in the bonus materials, I do have a bunch of different lighting diagrams for every setup that we're doing, and so you can understand what the heck all the different things on there are. Now, I'm gonna be drawing this free hand on my iPad, and it's gonna look pretty nasty, but it will work. So please forgive my horrible drawing skills. So the thing that we need to learn is how to translate what we see here, to a piece of paper so that in five years if somebody says, "Oh, I love that, can you do that?" You can pull out that lighting diagram a...
nd remember it. Or if you wanna share it to somebody else, how that works. And so what we're gonna use is one of the features of a Sekonic light meter which is EV, delta EV. So delta, mathematical term for difference, EV, exposure value. So what's the difference in exposure value between one light and another? Now, I went into this in great detail in my Studio Lighting Essentials class, part of the fundamental training here on Creative Live. So if you haven't seen my other classes, we mentioned this in the last intro, we go into all of that in those classes. So we're gonna apply what we've already learned. So the first thing I need to do is go into my meter and clear out the memory to make sure everything is cleared out. And I've done that. We need to start then with the key light, this is our key light. So what I'm going to do is I'm gonna begin drawing on my little iPad here. This gonna be a piece of paper. So this little dot it's Theresa, and I have a key light. So there's the key light. So I'm gonna label that key... Oh man, that handwriting is so bad. So key... And because it is the basis of everything that we're going to be doing, we call this nominal. In other words, the foundation, the starting point. And so I use a symbol from my technical days. It's a little zero with a slash through it that just says, "This is the starting point." And so that's what that is. Then I might write down what this is. This is an LR Chrome RO Deluxe. So I'll just write down here RO deluxe, and then the size, and I don't remember what size this is but I think it's maybe 80 centimeters, something like that. So what you're using, the size of the thing that you're using, and then the position in relationship to your model is all all good, but we also need to know our exposure value. So I'm gonna come back here and I'm going to meter this. Now, remember back in Studio Lighting Essentials, I showed you how to use the light meter with the Lumisphere down, so you can see our Lumisphere is up and down. We need it to be down for this because when we meter, we only want the light that's coming from our key light. So to do that, Lumisphere down... I'm gonna stand to this side of Theresa, I'm gonna point the the meter to my key light, get a reading, and that reading is F8. There it is F8. Then I can push this other button right here. Oops, I'm sorry, I pushed the wrong one. I have it backwards in my head. So I'm gonna do that F8 and I'm gonna push this button. I'm looking at a screen and everything's backwards. And that puts that in memory, so F8 is in memory. and then I have another little button here. It's right here, it's called Delta EV. So it's the Delta EV. If I push that, what the meter will now do is when I take a meter reading, the meter is going to tell me the difference between what I have in memory, which is my key light, and what the light I'm metering is, the difference in stops. And so, before we do that let's go back to our lighting diagram. We need to put it in our fill light. So that's another LR Chrome RO Deluxe. It's a little smaller. So I'll put that over here. So I'll say that's a RO DeLuxe, and I don't know how big that is, but let's say small. And then what I need to do, is I'm gonna meter this... I'm gonna meter and hold, and then I'm gonna come back over here and show you that it says negative 0.9. I think I have that off, just a tiny little touch. Yeah, so I know from my own experience that that should be negative one, negative one. So it's one stop less than my key light. So I'm going to put that on my lighting diagram as negative one. So the difference between nominal, which is the zero with the slash, and my fill light. is negative one. So I don't even have to know what that is. So, oh, the other thing I didn't write down is that the key light is metered at F8. So I'm gonna write that down, F8. So I don't have to know of what one stop from F8 is, I just have to know on Delta EV once I meter this and it's at F8, then I just meter this till it says, "One stop less adjusting, left, and right." And all that kind of stuff. Again, this is all in my Studio Lighting Essentials class. So the next thing we need to do on our lighting diagram, is let's add in our two kicker lights. So we've got a kicker here, and we've got a kicker here. I hope that you're a better at drawing than I am. And we're gonna say this is a strip light, and it's about a three by one. So I don't remember what exactly I used there strip three by one. And then what's the difference between that and our key light. So I'm gonna go back here, we're gonna meter this first guy here. I wanna meter and hold, and that says, plus let me get there before times out. Plus 05, there it is. Plus 05. And I'm gonna do metering on both of these. So that's plus 05, if I go to the other one, read that plus 05. Both of those are exactly the same, which should be. So I will write down plus 0.5. So that's half a stop, more 0.5. So now I have my relative values. I know that my key light is F8, this light is one stop less. My two kicker lights are half a stop brighter. I don't have to know what those exposure values are as far as the aperture values, I just need to know relatively what they are. Now the beauty of this is, let's say that you come in and you shoot maybe F10 instead of F8. You don't have to figure out well, what's from F10 and what's a half step more, you just do the Delta EV metering, F10, F16, it doesn't matter. And then you still go plus one, plus five, minus one whatever it is on your lighting diagram, and all the relationships between the lights still work. The other thing we need to know that's really important are distances. And so, I will use a tape measure, sometimes I use my arms, whatever I can use to me measure the distances. So I'm gonna go in here, and I measure it right off of the model's chin. So make sure you tell your model before you do this, that you're gonna like, "Is it okay for me to measure under your chin?" And hopefully they'll say yes, if not, then have to figure out something else. But I'll go straight from this tour chin that's 32 inches. That's the fill light. So I'll just write on here, 32 inches, and you might wanna make a little arrow, something like that. From our key light, it is four feet exactly, so I'll just write over here. That's four feet, four feet I guess I should put that here. It's very difficult to write with a pen on an iPad when you're being recorded. And then I'll go back here, these should be exactly the same. So it is from shoulder to shoulder, both of these guys are... Yes, so they're both four feet as well. So we have the same distance. So right on there, four feet from here to here, four feet, four feet, et cetera. The other thing you might wanna put on your lighting diagram is if you're working with vertical contrast, in other words, the way that the light is up and down vertically if that's really important, maybe a light is way sky high, you might need to measure how high this is. Generally speaking, when I'm doing a portrait, the center of the soft box is right on with the center of my model's face. And so I usually don't write those down unless there is a reason to put that on there. The other thing you might need to put on here is what kind of background you have. So on this one, you have background. So I'm just gonna put this and say, white, whatever you wanna put on there. The key is, in your lighting diagram, you want to add as much information as possible, So that years later, you can replicate a look. Or if you have a friend that wants to try something out you can give 'em that lighting diagram. They can try it for themselves. There are tools that are a lot better than scribbling in an iPad. If you're bad at drawing like me, there are online tools, (indistinct) lighting diagrams. I have a template an illustrator that I created where I can just drag and drop symbols, you can use Photoshop. Do whatever works for you... For years, I had a little notebook, I still have it where I just jotted bad diagrams like this, and I just created a whole little notebook of lighting setups. The other thing that I will do, is I will take photos front side back, if I can get an elevated shot, just so I have photos that correspond to the lighting diagram. That way, if I've forgotten anything, then I can go in there and zoom in and say, "Oh yeah, that was my ELC 500 that I used or that was this modifier, whatever. And so that works out. Now, in this class, we have this special little thing that will happen, and I want you to be able to pause the video and take a look at different camera angles, and see exactly how we've set up each lighting diagram In addition to the lighting diagrams that are in the bonus materials to help you understand how we we've done each of these things. But at the end of most of those setups, I'm gonna say, "Let's take a look at last looks." And so you'll see this thing come out like this. (bright upbeat music) Very good with you, like that music? That's pretty cool, huh? And so, the music is still zipping along here but eventually is it faded out? Not quite yet, it's still going, okay. It's their, okay. Once the music goes away, what will happen is, you'll see the final image from that session and then everything ends. But if you're watching this and you're like, "How was that set up?" You have your lighting diagram. You can pause on those last looks, 'cause it will go between different camera angles. And then you can see that plus the final image. It's just a little bonus thing that we've added to the end of each one of these to help you to see exactly how we've done each thing. And I hope you don't get tired of that little jingle, it's only 14 seconds, I think it'll be fine. Okay, the next thing you need to do is, we are gonna dive in, and we are gonna start shooting. We have over 20 different lighting setups, so Theresa, are you ready to go? Woo, it's gonna be awesome. Shayla's back here, so I think she's waving that she is also ready to go. The whole crew is excited and so we're gonna do that right now.