High Key Lighting Part 1


High Impact, Low Fuss Lighting


Lesson Info

High Key Lighting Part 1

I wanted to show you a couple cool high impact set ups that you can do on white and for those who just tuned in the whole point for me doing this segment was not to show you like normal or typical portrait lighting but instead to do something a little bit funkier a little bit different let's use modifiers in a different way and so the keys modifiers I recommended you have would be a soft box, a beauty dish, silver reflectors and then grids for them and then there's like other modified like things you can play with reflectors and stuff but I mean if you've noticed I'm talking a little faster than usual because I've had this I could easily be a full day course and I could really dive into everything about lighting but I've got this next segment I have forty five minutes to do so I've been talking fast but there's so much you can do with three modifiers and three lights like endless and there's a lot you can even do with one, so I've decided to switch over here and we're going to do some ...

high key set ups all right, so I'm gonna give you a little bit different feel still high key still dramatic turn off my main light for a second and let's talk about first and foremost something that I really thought was difficult um lighting a white background white I don't know if anyone else has had that same issue but I had a small studio space and I would always have wait in the middle and then gray up top in in the bottom and I have to photo shop it which is particularly difficult if somebody's hair over laps apart that's me photoshopped so I just wanted to do a quick demo on some tips for lighting a background white now when I look at a big you know the high end set they've got multiple lights stacked flagged off pointed at away background and I don't think many of us either have the space or you know, four extra lights to point at a background so let's see what we can do with these so these are the silver uh dishes they do not have grids in them all right? So as you can see let's go to the bucket of water example here as we can see you can see what part of the background gets wet right from throwing a bucket of water at the background it's just hitting that center spot and so I'm sure you've all had pretty much this exact situation so something you can do to help yourself out is whatever space you have in your studio try to back those lights up because it's a bucket of water the further back I bring it when I throw it that light that water spreads out more so I'm gonna try to bring it back further and what I try to do is I tried to point one a little bit higher and john, could you point one a little bit lower and so yeah, I will definitely have a little bit more uh in the center that will be a little brighter will fade off, but it kind of evens it out and by the way, let me just put these issues that full or okay, what your power like six oh six okay, let's, just do both at six seven. All right, so something like this all right? So it's going to be close? Uh, what is what's also good is you don't want to have anything that restricts the light like you don't want to have grids on because that'll give you that same spot effect if you've worked with pro photo, I'm working the pro photo five hundred watt seconds here. If you guys ever noticed that you have these sliders like you can put it on the modifier on two different length, so if I put this at the very end and clip it, this will actually focus the light more because the water is forced out in one direction, the lights forced out that way, if I pull it back, the light spreads out a little bit further so often I'll put but that yeah sure although it sounds good it has different numbers on it the lowest is what for so this will actually increase my spread of light so if you're using any type of dishes at home make sure that you're not using deep ones because deep ones are focusing the light which is working against you for trying to spread the light out uh you could do for example bear ball but the problem you have is if you just have bear balls is you'll get lens flare kicking this way so if you wanted to you could take the bare bulbs and then just put the sina foil on the side towards the camera so you're getting as much spread every direction towards the white background but then you're making sure you're not getting any lens for towards your camera so that is one way to start with lighting a white background okay so I would like to have my lovely female model out here please all right so what we're gonna do is we're going to like this for drama and I'm not going to turn my main light on quite yet and I'm gonna add this okay all right and I'm gonna have you step out that great about here now when working with a bite white background the more space you have the better as much as you can separate them from the back because then you're actually lighting them in different planes and so here's a good example if the camera can get this and you guys can't quite see it but the light over on the left hand side I have here it is late ing the side of her arm and also the side of her dress because it's kicking light this way now the further and you don't have to him the further I can bring her out the more it separates her from that spill of light if I don't want it spilling on her if you're working in a small space that's where that senna foil becomes awesome or if you don't have sent a foil kind of one of the black piece of the cardboard the foam core yeah so if you don't have a cinephile for example but you do have a michaels or in a seymour near you like uh if your international just like a craft shop, if you just take a piece of foam core and he put it on a stand or you can find something to try to block that off. So if the camera can see, I've got that spill of light on the side of her body, but if I can put a piece of foam core in between her and the light now it puts them on different planes and it blocks it off so that's something that you consider if not you can try like a little bit to angle it but then I have light spilling over here that I'm losing so it's kind of a trade off thank you. And so this is what I actually in truth in my studio this is what I actually use I use a set of barn doors uh like I said, when I travel, I usually use tinfoil because it's easier um but barn doors what they let me dio is I can focus the light I can block it off so if the camera's over here I could just have this side close the block the light off from the camera but I can open this side up toe have spread of light so it's giving me beams to focus the light in all different directions. Or maybe you're shooting on a black background and favorite lip on a back black background where it's late in the floor and it's not he didn't want to let the floor, but you did want it to give you a rim light. You can use these to close it off of the floor, but then just like your subject, so they're really versatile and well it's a lot of fort of photographers either use the barn doors or they use stripped thanks like the strip soft boxes um I like barn doors because I can give myself like a sliver of light like really focused the benefit of the strip lights is that they give you more even illumination it's a little bit softer. Um, whereas with barn doors, a lot of times you get a hot spot, let's say, it's pointed here we'll get a hot spot from the head to the elbow and then really dramatic, like fall off, whereas strip banks will give you just a little bit, eat more, even light when you're trying to lay the highlight, so probably better if you're photographing a bride in a white dress, right? If you wanted to back a rim light for a bride in a white dress and have a hot spot right here and then will fade off, strip banks will give you more even highlights, right? So let's, take a look at what we have so far with her here. Uh, this light is not on, so I just wanted to show you all right something else that I don't maybe john, maybe you know where where did were two people that don't live in your city, get plexiglass for the flume tap plastics is a lot of plastic stores and in larger cities around the country got smaller towns might not have it, but plexiglass are awesome, and you're my sow in this picture. So you'll notice I'm still getting a little bit of great towards the top. Uh, like I said, I would still try to bring it up or point the light up more or I'll turn it up more and put a flag, you know, the sin, a foil, but I am getting a white background on either side, but this in the foreground here, okay? The fact that the white background goes grey there's a couple things you khun dio, if you have a big soft box that you're going to let her with from the front what's gonna like the background white anyway, so you don't care, but let's say that I'm going for a silhouette here and I'm gonna have lots of shape. They probably don't want that florida meagre that's I mean it's kind of muddying up my clean picture, my nice, clean silhouette. So what I do is I have a piece of clear plexiglass and I put the plexiglass on the ground, and what it does is it reflects the light from the background to my camera, but it doesn't reflect enough to bounce back onto my subject, and it just gives me just nice, clean, clean floor a lot of people will also use, like a white tile board. But I like the white plexi better. I mean, itjust gets a cleaner look and you can actually get a reflection if you wanted it to be so that's something that you might consider if you're shooting a lot of white high key and dramatic so just keep that in mind I don't have it in this shot, so you'll see that. All right, well, if I just turned my beauty dish on cool, I can get a nice, clean shot of her notice I'm trying to point it so that the center will be toward your faces that kind of toward your face or a little lower pretty close. All right, cool. Let's give this a try and I think that light's gonna be too hot. Uh, cool being short, I don't get this a quick test, okay? So noted it's gonna get a wider shots. You can see this notice in this instance, I have a white floor because I've added a main light in the front and it looks nice. I'm okay with that, but this isn't for me. This isn't necessarily high impact what's high impact is her dress and her look him and that's what puts kind of wow and clean about that, which, by the way, I'm gonna I'm gonna do a quick post, can you put your right leg over your left? Good like really far over and that up on toe and then I'm gonna have you put your right hand on your hip and arch your back a little bit and in turn your hips that way and then dressed flu thing it's super important I'm gonna give myself a little stress flew right somebody stick one more picture here like that beautiful so you could do this and that looks nice and clean that's cool um but I want more drama to this picture so can you help me add a grid to this? What I've decided that I want is I want to pay attention really to the light on her face and then I want the lower half of her body just be that beautiful shape because that is a gorgeous shape so I want to be drawn to our faith and the shape so what we're gonna do is we're gonna add a grid and I have a twenty five great twenty five, twenty five degree grid here, so what it will do is it'll focus light on her face and I'm also going to use the idea of the bucket of water, so not only am I going to add the grid, but I'm going to bring it closer so wanna try to get light just here and that everything else falling to shadow if you've ever tried to shoot in silhouette before and you could not get it to work here a couple reasons why if you have a white wall five feet out of the picture what's happening is this is a lot of light you can see this this light right here it's bouncing onto this background and onto here and it's bouncing over here and then it's bouncing back to your subject and let's say I have a white wall right behind john it's all white phil cards it's all white reflectors so if you're trying to get it so there's no light on the front of your subjects and you're having a problem you might have to use v flats you've got some flats over here and do you mind bring out one of these um you like you can get these arts and crafts george or you can make your own from things at home depot and what v flats are is they're basically four by eight foot pieces of foam core and one side white one side's black and usually take two of them together so you've got the white that you used to reflect and the black that you used to eat light so could you put the black out against that wall now this wall's far enough back that it's not going to be a problem but I just wanted to show you something that you could use for your space of and they're relatively inexpensive you could also hang white fabric technically, the best type of studio tohave is black out, like everything black everywhere, because then you control every light, so the light bouncing off the background it'll just stop there won't reflect anywhere that you don't want it to, but black studios sometimes feel like dungeons there's probably not the best idea for, like, family portrait, so a better option might be doing something like this and just keep this in mind. If you've got a small studio space, we want white walls to open it up. White walls also affect your photography, so you might want something like that. Okay, so we've got that there. I've added the grid on twelve, john, add the grid on, uh, twenty five degree grid, and then, as I said as well, I want to bring closer to her to focus the light as well, so I'm going to try to bring it as close as possible without getting it in my shot. And even if it's in my shot, I could also photograph a photo shop about a leg if I needed to, but that's, probably, maybe right there is probably about as close as I can get it. All right, so let's, take a look at that perfect, great, and if you look up to the late, ok, cool, so what I notice is well, is that closed down a little bit so that background in the back is getting a little bit grey I'm gonna probably just point this light up a little bit more and turned up a tiny bit and I'm just watching I do this a lot to see how much it's hitting her arm and so the cameras can see it's hitting her arm a bit so this is where it can I put the senate foil on I think I wanted some of around their cool so I'm gonna put it here so that I can pull it back a little bit more turn it up but not worry about hitting her if the whole point because I want to have like a silhouette down the bottom of her body thank you cool when I go like thiss okay, so now it's not hitting her at all but I am getting that spread on the background got here alright, simply try one more. So can I put up the high keepers? The bright version in the version that we've focused the light in so it gives me a lot more drama this way if you have the tiled board, it'll be nice and clean it's just kind of two different shots however yeah patient henry grid numbers the higher the number is the more narrowly focused or wider wider bigger numbers or wider smaller numbers or tighter so like five degree greatest really small so this one's twenty five do they even make smaller grids for these? I'm not sure about beauty dishes most of them are in the twenty five to forty ring yet yeah usually I mean most of the ones that you usually have or the twenty five he says also up to forty um so I wanted to show you this real quick sorry why did all of you okay, so you got that drama but I don't have to use sir elton is off boy said it I don't have to use the beauty dishes the main light I can come over here and grabbed one of these silver dishes with the grid and like her like that so we're gonna go for super dramatic focusing light anything more of a ten or or a twenty years smallest someone pointed out that room are in the questions amber renee there's one thing that I noticed the most personally this is russ talking uh looks like the model has a rubber band on her wrist no, we wanted to keep it on there think it happens all the time I usually like typically before I do a fashion shoot we do a risk check right check out for that all right notice when I put my great on if I want it more focused I pull it out not back because back is going to give me a little bit more spread this thing's kind of staying in we'll see how that goes all right so now I could do the same thing but just have ah highlight on her face super dramatic I'm gonna shoot this next shot in black and white and it's going to give me that old hollywood look um what I test over here because I want to see see how there's a little bit of spill on her this is where I could go ahead and put on if I had another silver dish I could do that or I could put on the center foil or I could try toe pointed back just a little bit more think it should be okay though, so let me switch over to black and white real quick so you can see the look that I would be going for and the reason I like this is it gives me very timeless look, uh I mean, this could be hollywood it could be classic now or in twenty years thirty years just it's beautiful and the lights a little low for me so I'm just gonna raise it up a little bit, okay, so now if you look there's light on her face and it's dark here like that light is one hundred percent concentrated on her face and I'm probably going to have to just my exposure a bit but we'll test it out right? So monochromatic good perfect shape that looks beautiful good and when we're writing me good all right, so this gives me just it's all about shape and all about drama and really beautiful and her face is probably like a stop to right khun darken it down or you can go for that really bright um high contrast hollywood look when darkened down just a little bit perfect give me as much curtis possible pop that me up yeah, right there. Perfect. That looks great. So even though this is high key it's not really high key it's like high drama shooting on white but we've got a lot of shape so I'm using shadows on purpose because I love these curves and like I said, I'd have some kind of white board here if I could okay, so let's take this the exact opposite as far opposite as we can go from this and make it incredibly super high key. Okay, so that's what I'm gonna do uh I am going to keep you there, can I? She now take so I'm adding one thing to the equation uh, foam core these boards were gonna add this to this equation here. Can I have both of them out front here all right, so you can stay exactly where you are and I am going to blast my background with a massive amount of light like tons and we're going to box her in kind of beauty box style so can you have the white yes absolutely well come over here first you into the side first so I'm gonna box her in great right there is perfect okay okay guys enjoy the moment okay. Yeah course measuring a white do you light meter would you just go by heart and I a patient create question depends on how important it is if it's like an important commercial client then I'll go ahead and I'll meet her and I'll make sure that it's make two stops more and I will check on the history I'm shooting tethered to make sure that I'm not getting too much lens flare but it's so white if it's just for me I just shoot it doesn't matter it's like if it looks good which is most of the time it's just for me so that's good I'm not going to use this light okay so unplug it just move it out of the frame momentarily so we'd no we're not using it I'm gonna pass it off to you great and now we're gonna box for all the way in and you want to put it on the other you confer on the other side of that light if you want like flicka yeah perfect okay so this means nothing to all of you and I will open this up a bit for the camera is probably a little obnoxious. Um let's do this so here's what's happening in this photo is we're gonna blast the background with light and then all of that light rushes past her and gets tramped in these v flats and then it bounces back onto her and it's just super high key and very glowing. I love this for fine art nudes I've also fined for fine art nudes it's very safe feeling because you're blocked in it's not like you're exposed so I've shot a ton of fine art news if it's meant to be soft a cereal like the last one that I did, we had a garland of flowers wrapped around her for this setup that we did, um also from maternity sessions and then also sometimes for kids because again trapped them in there so we work pretty well, not a children photographer so this is like this's my go to thing this trap him in there try to get it uh, what's the hard drive on this one seven. Okay, awesome. All right, so what it's going to be is absolutely oh, can I have you put your hair back on this one? Uh, definitely in this one, the background has blown out you do not meet her this and expect it it's going to be so blown out that wraps around and it's supposed to be like so don't worry what this probably I've have a portrait of myself like this but doesn't work great with hair like mine because the background is over exposed that will kind of peace it apart a little bit it's not terrible um but just so you know um but I I love this for anything that's bright the red probably will still look good but I do like this when it's like all kind of cream tones and so I mean you guys are able to see and there's not exactly to be honest I'm not really the right way to meet her this because it kind of depends on how high key you wanted to feel you clock off it a little bit of kick on her all right that's perfect right there all right look at me you don't want to have a ton of separation between these two boards because what it will do is it'll put a dark spot in the center so it'll be darker around her face so basically a small as you can make that well the better but for camera sake we'll do this let's try just like that's beautiful and I was totally guessing weight don't want black might go back to color and I'm gonna shoot it for oh let's give this a try okay looking good but I wanted to be even brighter and I'm getting a little bit of kick from that side like the other one but let me see if I can yeah I'm getting a little cake hold on let's move it what I mean by that is this light it's spilling around the edge and hitting her so it's going to be extremely bright because everything's supposed to be wrapping around so I'm just gonna pull it back because now this is going to be a flag it's gonna block it off so I just pulled this light back still gonna light the background fine uh no I think it should be fine. I only moved in a little so stressing it stan okay about the exposure I like is about like this next one something like that it's like really soft in really a serial maybe a tiny bit braider you could go bright and go super high key I like that last posting and that was really, really elegant. Okay, maybe something like this so it just think high key glowing flat um this is something where if you were lighting this's my fashion photographer me talking I'm sorry are you guys we'll move awful. I would like if if I were doing this I knew like when I did this shot I actually, uh did shoot like this recently um for lookbook we heavily contoured the woman's face because this light is add flat as possible which means there is no light to help you give shape there's nothing to carve out the cheekbones if you look it is completely flat however there is some light to help you with the jaw line because the light is wrapping around from the background and highlighting the jawline so what we do is we heavily contour makeup the cheeks and then you have that nice jawline there so we can move this that people can see and we can take these totally out of frame I'm done with this set up. Thank you. Okay. Yeah that's a great move it's like the big reveal here. Okay, so that's what that hike you look is like um you can buy like home depot they have what they call him just the big insulation insulation boards you get a big insulation boards come from with black covering with white some of them are black and white on some sides and just use it like that to block it in. Um you could do it would just see um if you just have the foam core in the front let's say you only have to pieces it's still does work it's not as wrapping but it's still the same idea like it's still will give you the same glow roller white seamless drop down on your back up that way, we always get questions about where to get foam core and it's signed shops, party supply stores and are in seattle. A couple of parties, spicer's have four by foam core and sign shop seems to be the other way. Because if you try to order it online, it costs like forty dollars for the board. Sixty dollars for shipping. So it's. Difficult to get shipped.

Class Description

Ready to capture gorgeously-lit images without expensive gear or complicated lighting setups? Join portrait and fashion photographer Lindsay Adler for an exploration of high impact, low-fuss lighting.

In this course, you’ll learn how to achieve a wide variety of visual styles using basic zoom reflectors, a beauty dish, and a soft box. You’ll explore dozens of possibilities for setups that require three or fewer lights. This one-of-a-kind learning experience will give you the tools you need to create dynamic, beautifully lit images -- without investing in crazy modifiers or breaking the bank buying multiple strobes.

Lindsay will be using Profoto gear during this class.



Such a great class- second one i've seen from Lindsay and both were really informative! This one really helped me, i've always liked the idea of playing around and not being too hung up on the numbers- nice to see a pro taking the same approach and getting nice images.