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Inside the Home Studio

Lesson 24 of 31

Working with Light Qualities and Quantities

Tony Corbell

Inside the Home Studio

Tony Corbell

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Lesson Info

24. Working with Light Qualities and Quantities


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Lesson Info

Working with Light Qualities and Quantities

you know coming off of the working in the home segment uh it occurred to us that we don't really have we did basic lighting segment earlier in the week and we didn't really get to talk much about lighting as much of in depth as I'd wanted to for this last segment so I thought let me bring hedley this is hedley by the way hedley p dellwood hedley I got a and electronics store years and years ago twenty one years ago he was in a showcase with a pair of headphones on and then he was over another showcase another part of the store with a pair of sunglasses on and then another case with something else on and anyway he was a prop in a very high end electronics store that no longer exists and I told the guy so great I want one of those and he went oh you want the headphones I said no I want the head and he said well the head's not available it's that's a prop and I'm what I know and I really want that prop but we can't sell you prop eyes had come on sure you can surely there's a price at whic...

h you will sell me that hit and he went I'm gonna get in so much trouble if I do that I just can't just tell you props I said you have any more in the back well yeah and I said okay I'll tell you what I'll do I'll give you a hundred dollars if you'll find me one of those heads it's eighteen percent great it's half shiny and half dull it's it's a sexual it's a little him and a little of her it's perfect for a proper for me to test and photography and so he left the room went in the back storeroom and came back took the hundred head in the bag all right and says here get out of here and don't tell anybody where you got it so I'm not going to tell you that got its start from me so anyway I'm not gonna tell you where I got it but this is hedley peed elwood and hedley has been hedley because I just think he's a great name del wood which is the name of where my first studio was located of in a place called dellwood mall in midland texas and pee because he is just a cool letter for a middle name for a middle initial hedley p dellwood it just had a great ring to it so that's hedley what I hope to do here is just show you some things about like qualities not quantity well that's that's coming up right after this we're gonna talk about this meter but first let's talk a little bit more about like qualities on dso in order to do that we've gotta be able to see what we're doing we've gotta be able to have a discussion and let's let's uh let's create a little bit of a language of light if we if you will and I think what we'll find is that as you start using light especially artificial light more sold maybe even an ambient light you have so many options when you're in a studio especially a home studio work small you have so many options on where you place lights what size they are what type they are what shape they are and all that really does play into the overall feel and sense or type of like quality that you exhibit and your work so I think that it's something that we need to have a discussion about it's not gonna take a long time but I just want to dig into this a little bit so with your indulgence let's let's talk about hedley don come on in and if we could if we could get the booth to kill the overheads to kill the overhead lights uh perfect perfect perfect so they kept on a spotlight on me so they can see me when I'm turning in talking to you guys but mostly you can see how headley's no longer lived by the and it's only by the modeling lamp from the uh from the small light source so can you just bring it over this way don let's just bring it around toward me and a little bit further a bit further and let's just take it up about another six or eight inches and if you'll notice uh as any time we move that light uh up and down and around well you know what just loosen one side just take it up with that kind of quick look att the subtle changes of how he looks just with different heights uh as you lower the height a little bit lords on lower lord or right under there now we're lighting a lot under the eyebrow forget anything else on the face just under the eyebrow that doesn't look right to the normal human eye because we never see light under the eyebrow so now bringing back up a little bit up up up up up up right in there now we're starting to see some shadowing under the eyebrow but we're not maybe quite a ce high as we want with our catch lights where the eyes they're gonna cancel it's going to be placed in the I don't know it's kind of a subjective thing but getting something like this a wig holder a small mannequin head or a woman head just joking about that uh I think it would help you a lot because you need block off those afternoons to go in and test for yourself and I think it does lend uh itself a little bit more conducive to work in this now you want to work and you can find that little subtle things that you can't find out in a class you're going to find out a lot more than I'll find out because you haven't done this yet go ahead and raise it up and down a little bit more and then I want you to bring it to me a little bit closer this way you had not come down down down right there frere back up this hill right there freeze look at that small amount of light under the left eye it's almost what's known as rembrandt style lighting where rembrandt did like to have a little bit of a light area right there uh some painters like that shatter to be really pronounced some painters didn't like it at all some liked it very very soft just as in photography most fashion glamour and editorial and even commercial photographers like their light sources sometimes smaller than most in the portrait world people kind of like a heavier softer look so it all depends it's it's all such a so it's such a personal thing you know just bring that around toward camera little bit done right in there and I'll notice the highlight on the chin now becomes a little bit more pronounced because at this position the chin the rounded nous of the chin is a little bit more on the speculator angle to the light source so from the light to the chin back into the lens and so I've got to know that's gonna happen when I'm photographing someone let's say someone with darker skin especially dark skin I'm going to see the highlight quicker than a wood with light skin or someone with a little bit oil in their skin I'll see that highlight quicker does that make sense and I think I've got to be a little bit mindful of that when I'm posing someone and lighting a face because I need to know that's gonna happen if you move that back around a little bit that lights that highlighted chin gets a little bit lessons right there it's a wholly different different highlight there's a thing that I call the mask of the face in the mask of the face is simply this it's five points it's right between the eyes on the forehead the tip of the nose the tip of the chin and on both cheeks that those five points that's the mask of the face how you choose toe light the mask of the face has a lot to do with the type of face and the type of image you're doing but be mindful of those five points because they do show ah highlight so it's a small subtle thing toe kind of keep in mind I do like that glamour local spring right in front and now come back to me about a foot yeah now raise it up just a bit tip it down just a little thing just linda stand over maybe just be good enough yeah right in there this is a really nice look it look it look what just happened there all of a sudden I know he's blocking a little bit of the camera angle with the stand but a little bit of impact they're on in this glamour type lighting where light is in line with the nose and up a forty five what it does is it several things it does fill in imperfections in the face and it also enhances cheekbones it's the first time you start to see contouring from the cheek because now under the cheek we got shadows when that light source is lower than that and on one side with the other side we don't see those those those shallows under the cheeks and some people that have great cheekbones that's when they're sailing there's someone there some figures especially models that's what they want to sell us great cheekbones or high cheekbones or whatever so that light source is a really good decision for that sort of that sort of a look and that sort of a face there are faces that are a little bit more oval and a little bit more round you can do yourself a favor wedding ring that back around to where you were a little bit as I like less of the face I'm narrowing the face so as I introduced more shadow I'm seeing uh more slender rising of a face whereas if I'm really lighting the face fully increasing the size of the face a little bit does that make sense okay so so this is a this is a pretty good illustration for me hedley is just great for this kind of thing now if you're looking to hedley straight on this way from the camera you can see how we've got great year I and and the cameras either video cameras I gives you great detail into headley's right side of the face where it's lit it looks great song go ahead and drop that down a little bit lower for me lower lower lower lower still and now let's take him right back there about where the stand is and and watch what happens as he moves away from us back it up just a little bit away from him right there now in this position notice how bright the highlight appears if your exposure is consistent on the video cameras not opening up you'll see that when that light source moves around even at the same distance that highlight appears considerably brighter and that goes back to the whole thing that we talked about the first day with that law that farley's law the skimming of that light coming forward toward the camera's position this is where it's perfectly illustrated because visually what you see is that life brighter but if I measure it it's the same brightness as it was appear and that's where you get fooled in terms of exposure with accents and hair lights most people I know that have a hairline in their studio their hair lights air hot they've lost detail in the hair lights have blown out the hair because there's shooting there last of the same exposure they're shooting their subject that and it's too bright they got back it off a least a stop maybe a stop and a half so in order to bring detailed down and hedley here I've got a power that guy down at least a stop maybe a stop and a half okay but you can start to see that uh as as as it moves further around and leaving get broader and broader go just a little bit more and right there just picked up another half stop of rightness and I'll bring it back around toward this way just a bit john a little bit more now I'm starting to see a little detail now come on around just a little bit more and now the deed now the highlights are starting to go away now it's starting to look like a exposure on the face you know consider when you're lighting from one side consider uh had a great great friend named don blair who sadly passed away a few years ago and don used to always call his accent light the garlic light because they always said garlic is great if you have just enough of it but it's so easy to get too much garlic and with accent lighting it's the same thing there so often is opportunities for you to have great accents that you overdue and this is like so what he would do is he would bring his main light around this way around the front and then his accent he would put it over john back over there like you're moving back toward the background no just you just just walk back there like back there were john's positioned that he would put a second light on the same side as the main light and he would leave it at the same brightness as the main light just so it looks like the main light goes from back there all the way around to the front then it would be a second secondary light and it's a little kicker like this a little bit of a kicker but it's the same like it's a light coming from the same positions so it doesn't trick the eye if you've got lights coming from too many positions that human eyes like wait a minute human eye knows that outdoors light comes from one direction you know clay blackmore in washington d c area great friend of mine clay says you know god let the whole planet with one light why do we use five in the studio one one light's pretty good if you control it right so anyway so I think this is a this is a pretty good illustration of of house size also let's talk a little about size relative to distance so let's move him and lauren down just a little bit lower if you would there you go and swivel him toward me a little bit so we don't block the camera there you go now just bringing in a little tiny bit closer right there now look how large and smooth and soft this highlights are in the shadows if you can keep the same angle and just start moving him back further and further away now all of a sudden the shadow's getting darker the shadow's getting sharper the highlights or getting shiny er he's getting shiny or keep going keep going keep going now there's a look now there's a shine on the tip of the nose keep going keep going just keep going john going back a couple more feet everything about now we got a highlight on the cheekbone now we gotta highlight over the eyebrow now there's one over the left bridge right bridge of the nose all those masked points of the face are now getting a highlight we're in control of those you guys were in charge entirely of the highlights and the shadows in the world of three dimensions of contrast we have the truth the true subject and then two things that aren't true the brightness which is broader than the true subject and the brightness which is darker than the true subject and we're in charge of all three and if we miss that were in charge of those two in control we're in trouble the one in the middle of the true totality headley's gray I'm in charge of properly exposing him but someone with light skin sung with dark skin their skin should look like their skin should look dark I'm not in charge of that but I am in charge of those highlights and shadows and I could make the shadows as sharp as I want I can make the highlights as small as I want or as big and soft as I want and this illustrates and go ahead and bring him back in john sorry it just illustrates to me all the controls that I have and so for me this has always been a a good little lesson in understanding the control of like quality let's let's take that light source on and you want to take it maybe off the stand and let's go up pretty high with it and hand hold it and let me just move that stand out so you don't stumble into it um if you just if you move him up up and over now write down move it down just a little closer right there look how soft that is now raise up just raise your hand up up up up up up up up up now starts getting shiny so if you've got a guy that's got a little bit of hair follicle challenges of from the top sort of like me these days I hate that about me these days uh the last thing you want to do is use a small hair light on my head our own hedley said if you're gonna put in a light up there at all you better use a big soft source because of the last anyone is a shine up there in a highlight up there can you just go ahead and put it back over there and keep it the same distance from him now just go straight back toward the background keep going keep going keep going keep going right there you see the little highlight now that comes across so what that what happens from there is if I've got a big source up high coming down and it's soft enough I can also like the shoulders of my subject so I've got this beautiful soft like quality on hedley but I've also got soft highlights on the shoulders so in an instance like this I want that light as big as I can get it uh it might be easier for you to go and put it back on the stand now john but here's the thing that to think about in your studio's even in your home studios and you've got a small small area if you've got room to do a family of five in there which you probably do maybe a family of six even in your small studios think about this if you can get a small source and bounce it into your ceiling at the right angle from behind so it goes up at an angle say forty five or close to a forty five hits the ceiling and then bounces down on your subject's hair and shoulders the further away that light is from the ceiling the larger the light source appears because you're lighting a larger part of the ceiling then a big soft frosted highlight comes down it life everybody's shoulders and if you've got dad and granddad and that sun from college and they're all wearing a dark navy blazer like this now I'm gonna have a big nice soft highlight on their shoulders get it and a soft hairline in their and their hair we've got to get clever you guys this is not a motion picture set on motion picture said there are so many people involved in lighting these scenes there is so much equipment it's available to him we gotta get these people in we gotta get him something we've got to get him out but we have to give them the best that we can in terms of quality like quality is a big big part of that we have to we have to recognize size relative to distance we have to know those four controls of light additives attractive transmission diffusion we have to know all of that stuff was subtracted reflective sorry we have to keep all those in all those in minus kind of skiing that it's anybody snow ski when you first learned of snow ski do you remember how difficult it was oh my gosh it's like okay so you have this vicious snowplow and your and your talk to ski and you've got this monster v wedge thing and you're going downhill and then you gotta keep in mind okay there's the fall line okay I got the fall line now I want to turn that way ok wait on your downhill ski okay I got my weight on my downhill ski walk I'm starting to turn we'll plant your pole oh yeah plant your pole ski around the pole we'll keep your knees bent wait don't forget the phone line oh now now I'm gonna cross the hill this way now we're gonna go back that way okay ready keep your knees bent okay wait on your outside ski okay plano plant your pole don't forget the fallen you got fifty things you've got to think of until you get better scheme and the better you become the less you start thinking about that and pretty soon you're putting headphones on and pretty soon you're listening to the white album because it's what we listen to him whisky right but you don't think about all that and in photography it's the same thing the maura and the maura and the more you do this the more this becomes second nature to you and the results of the work that you're doing will become second nature and you'll walk into the scenario and I'm looking at your light skin and I'm thinking I gotta work in the world of shadows and I'm looking at somebody's african american skin I gotta think about the world of highlights you know it's um it's an interesting it's an interesting field force to be in because we have to be on our toes all the time and I love that part I love a challenge that comes from no place you know I mentioned a couple of days ago some of us were talking about my friend dennis reggie in atlanta one of the world's leading wedding photographers and when once asked in a seminar dennis was asked if he likes to go scout the locations as some of these monster monster celebrity weddings that he does big time expensive lavish events at some cathedral in europe and he's like no I don't want to go scout that because that takes away my edge it I'll have a plan in place if I go scout it and if I get there in that room's locked I'm I don't know what to do next I would rather just go empty and find it when I get there I think that's pretty clever once you know how to ski you don't have to have a map to tell you you can stand on top of a hill go I'm skin that and off you go is it a black diamond a double black diamond doesn't really matter because you know how to ski maybe it's green maybe it's blue maybe it's red okay so john for just for fun yeah everybody's probably seen enough of headley's right side let's just take a look at the left side for a second just take that around behind him and then stop about half way and let's just look at him from behind their silhouettes are great you guys silhouettes are so easy to pull off by the way I did a video while back where did a silhouette with my subject right against the soft box and worked out really really well but let's go ahead and move him on around just keep on going and right about there stop and go any thank go back just a little bit further back toward the backgrounds on yeah right in there if you'll notice right there you see how that highlight is hitting the tip of the nose and there's just a little bit of a highlight on the nose so do this for me just move that light back just a tiny bit more more more until that disappears now what you can do go ahead and bring it back to me a little bit right in there it looks pretty good on the ear it looks pretty good on the temple and down the cheekbone because it gives me true shape and dimension on my subject but I really hate that it's hitting the tip of the nose so if I move that light any further it's going to be in my shot so I can't do that but what I could do is I could just tell my subs you just move your head just a tiny bit to the left that's a little right right there that's it good just haven't moved her head a little bit but you gotta keep that nose from getting hit by that accent light and it's the same thing with your hair like if your hair light is too high over your subject it's going to hit the tip of the nose from the top move that hair light back further and it won't interfere with what the light looks like on the tip of the nose in the area that gets light like that that's a stray light will sort of increase in size if that matters you know what I mean I think that one of the most important things that I ever did for myself and for my career was get hedley because I seriously have spent hours and hours and hours working with hedley and going and getting another light bring on a second like bringing on the third light bringing on one of the top bringing in a checker chart bringing in a great I've tested him with so many things and and literally when I'm testing equipment he comes out and poses for me and he doesn't need a lot you know he never says anything I like that part he'll just sit there and be quiet if if one of you guys come along you got you have input for me I don't want any input I just need to figure it out yet another thing I like about a manic in his expression doesn't change so you know you don't get involved emotionally with the subject that's right we're joking that I could look at books from the nineteen sixties that is studying photography and I remember the models in them but I don't remember the concepts that were happening then you lose you do lose sight of the concept here you keep side of concepts and I'll recommend to you two when you're doing some testing give yourself one added little bonus and that is I know that when you shoot like you might shoot this and say I'm f eighteen that reads f five six and you might write that down in a notebook or keeping notes don't do it what you should do is get a small white board a small dry erase board that size and write on it exactly what you did and put it in there next to him that way your notes are in the same frame with the picture so you can see what you did when you look at the picture does that make sense your notes and your pictures were never in the same place so you're looking at pictures going how'd I like that I don't remember on that one right so write it down is to get in the picture you know I've been thinking about taking notes since the nineteen seventies and I never actually group down every out books that are empty yeah I'm the same way I got all these ledgers that randy he's all these journals that are empty

Class Description

Working from home is a great way to minimize costs, but it can be challenging to deal with the inevitable space and light limitations and it can feel awkward to explain to clients.

In Inside the Home Studio, Tony Corbell will help you address the logistical and practical challenges of working from home. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Work with low ceilings, dark spaces, and small skinny rooms
  • Market and sell in-home shoots
  • Store and organize your equipment.
  • Work with family and client schedules

Tony will help you come up with new ways to shoot in ordinary spaces by sharing real-life examples of home studio scenarios. He’ll shoot formal and candid portraits throughout the entire house, teaching you how to leverage each room for its specific uniqueness.

Inside the Home Studio will show you how to approach different photographic genres and help you make the space you have to work for your business.



Another great course by Tony Corbell. I loved this course. Tony is a great teacher, great photographer and great business man. He's enjoyable to listen to and a great teacher. He holds nothing back and shows how to shoot great pictures even in small shooting environments or on a low budget. I would buy again Tony's courses.

Penny Foster

Wow! Tony is fantastic! So many hints and tips, crammed into this great course. I shoot portraits out of a small converted garage, about 9 ft high, 9 feet wide, and about 19 feet long. Tony has shown me so many ways to make this small space work for me, for which I am eternally grateful. What this course highlights is that whatever small space you have, there are ways of making it work. You need to buy this course and watch it over and over because, every time I watch it, I gain more and more info that I missed the first time around. Brilliant!

Kat Ciemiega

Absolutely wonderful, I cannot praise the content enough. I value Tony's stories as much as the information he is giving away, because it puts the data in the perspective and practical context of the actions we take. Thank you for this class!