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Simplifying Light and Location

Lesson 7 from: How To Create Beautiful Portraits By Simplifying Light

Audrey Woulard

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Lesson Info

7. Simplifying Light and Location

Audrey will bring viewers into the city, and show you exactly how she makes light and her location work well in the images she creates. She will show you how a very small, and busy area can have a big impact and why.

Lesson Info

Simplifying Light and Location

So this is one of those hidden gems that I love here in the city. The thing is, most people will walk directly past it and they won't see the hidden charms that reside right here in this area. So there's beautiful lighting that is filtering directly down into the shadowy area that makes up that balance between ambient and the stroke that I would bring in. But I'm also able to bring in the charm of the city. Now, here's the thing to show you something that I love to have with in my background that aids into the entire look. So stay tuned. So, I wanted to begin this segment off with Audrey cam. I want you guys to see exactly what I see. The key takeaways for this segment is the ambient lighting, the location and how they work together. Now there are a multitude of reasons why I love this particular spot and I try my best to mention all of them to you because once I bring in the stroke guys, it's going to be the exact same thing as we did previously during this course. Now there is enough...

ambient lighting that is located in this area when I can get some pretty decent shots using just my camera and no portable reflectors at all. But that light that's located at camera left is so important to me. So now let's talk about that, like why is it? Well, you know, you'll look at this and you're like okay, like why? So I really want to point this out and just kind of let you know, kind of how I see things and hopefully it will all make sense. Now, do you see how that sun is beaming down on that building that's located at camera left? Well, it's a white or light coloured building, it acts as a beautiful reflector. Remember white reflects light. Now it's shining directly onto that very spot that I'm usually in into that shadow area. Remember black subtracts light. So those two things coming together creates magic. Now remember small details, big impact. I will also come over here when it's later in the day and those street lamps come on and their yellowish and then they'll shine on the viaduct which is also kind of yellow in color and create like a really cool gold tone at top camera left. Now let's go back. What's a camera? Right. We've talked about camera left so much, but you've got great ambient lighting that's over here, but it's not as intense. That goes back to that inverse square law of light. So I'm located over here so it's not as intense. Now this is what's behind me. It's nice ambient lighting that will expose for the face, but more importantly, it's like you said, it just doesn't look like a great location to my clients. So they are usually wondering like why do I want to be on the side of a car? Like what's the point? This doesn't look pretty and I want them to think that because when they actually see the images, then they're thinking they think they're magical because they couldn't envision that shot. Not to mention this is like a little bit of a, like a little hub for Uber drivers or um, you know, like the door dash. So they tend to park and wait there. So when they have their daytime running lamps, when they pop on because they're under the train tracks, it creates a really cool room light that shines onto the subjects that I'm photographing, so small details, big impact again and again and again with this location. Now I am a little picky about the time of day that I'd come over here mostly because that son is pretty intense um earlier in the day, of course, but this is what it looks like. That son is high in the sky and this was captured around like 11 30 12 in the afternoon and it creates these hotspots on the street that I am not a fan of. I don't like hotspots on the ground in any image that I take. Um I try to keep things as dark or muted behind my subjects as I possibly can now, just in case you can't really see what it looks like. Let me show you another view now, yep, this is Berkeley, this is with a, this is during another shoot that we did um a little while ago and you can see those bright spots that are on the street because that son is located at camera left high in the sky and those bricks in the blocks are going to create just like bright light behind them. And I just find that it's just distracting for my taste. Now. Sometimes people will look at this and say, well, Audrey, I don't see what you're talking about. It doesn't look bad to me. And that could be the case, but let me just throw some color in here. So I decided to color in the areas of that's all kind of that I considered hotspots. That takes up so much of the frame that I just think it's just distracting. So if I can avoid it, I will avoid it. And um, you know, picking the correct time for me to come over in this area is really, really key. So sometimes people say, well why don't you just turn them around and maybe you won't get that in your image? Well, I don't think it works like that when you're photographing the city because there are blocks and in the break in between every block is gonna be a sliver of light. So here you'll see kind of of that that light on the ground located at the top, not at the top, but kind of in the middle of the picture at camera left. And I also am not a fan of the backs of cars. Um uh in my image, especially when they're that close, I just find, although I am a fan of chaos, I like my chaos a little further back and not so close and I guess in focus if you will. So let me show you this. Um This was captured around like a four o'clock, but I do have my light powered by the seven and I wanted to overpower a lot of the ambient lighting. So you see the same setup feather that strobe ambient at camera left. Now I want to show you this one thing I love is that ambient light that reflects on the cars. It creates beautiful depth of field. And you see those little bulbs on that little overhang over there. The the depth of field in my images in this spot is just unmatched. Look at that. So you've got like, it's a mixture of gold and white and it just creates this like it's really just cool the fact that sometimes people just assume I used like a BocA overlay, but it's really choosing where to photograph, small details, big impact. So this is another kind of, you know, set up of that or example of that. I'm more backed up here and here. I'm able to use some of those cars to frame my subject and it looks just beautiful with those daytime running lamps. Now this image it was captured at around two o'clock so the sun um is not as intense as it was at around 12 noon. But I am still getting some of that, those bright spots at camera. Right? But not bad. Now. This is getting to the look that I want. Nice even lighting behind my subjects. And I'm able to really um you know, get that beautiful muted tone that I you know, look for. And I'm able to kind of switch up how it looks depending on how close or far away. I am just like here, I'm letting in a bit more of that ambient located at camera left. So I want a bit more of a natural um look with this image using those cars that are waiting and parked. Now here is, you know, the behind the scenes from this using mom to hold that light. I will use mom to my advantage sometimes. But if you notice that lights not as close, she's actually a little further away utilizing that inverse square law light again. So I pulled it back a little bit so I can let in more ambient to get a more, I guess natural look and not um, so dramatic, but still using that. That strove to really aid with creating some great looking highlights, which is what I go for in all of my images. So let's go out and shoot but it's really loud there. But I want you guys to hear it first. All right. Yeah. Nice. A couple more beautiful now this is what I'm going for. So now do you see you can even see some of the intense light that was located at camera left. But again, same setup. I've got that light feathered. I have it you know close up because I want to get um some nice soft light. But I also wanted to be a little darker behind her than it actually is. You know outside in real life. But I did want it to appear um a bit darker so I wanted to overpower the sun a bit more so that that light was powered at around a seven. And here is what I would get nice soft light on her but a little darker. So again going back um to how we have it set up and you know like I said those trains when they start coming from above it makes the sound quality. Not all that great but this is what I'm going for. Look at that, It looks like it's darker outside than it actually is. So you can see how that light is behind me, Still nice and bright, but totally intense. Look at that. Do you see how intense that light is? If I would turn her around, it look horrible. So just in case you don't see it here, let's fill it in with some color. And you can really see how it helps in terms of exposure but not for a background. So giving you simply set up of, you know what we're getting over in this area. And this is the beauty. This is the beauty here and again, mm setting up a shot where someone can't easily think that they can recreate it I think is a superpower. And sometimes I guess, you know, we tend to wonder if clients would care if you know what the area looks like. Like they have to see the pretty in order for us to envision the pretty, it really doesn't have to be that way. And in fact if you can find something that is beautiful that they can't necessarily see the level of trust that they will give you is through the roof. And because I do things like this and I produce results that the client wants, I tend to get, my referral rate is just really, really high because they think no one else is able to do it. I mean like it's kind of almost like I guess a bit of psychology but that's what they think. They, you know, they expect people to always want to, you know, um photographing something that is visually appealing to everyone instead of visually appealing to light. My motto. Light, First location. Second here I married Light and location.

Ratings and Reviews

Michael A. Gruich Jr.

My goodness! This class is like a breathe of fresh air in the morning. Vey easy to follow along for some very amazing results. Really enjoy the friendly presentation, filled with tips and clear explinations for working with light using a minimal setup. Thank you Audrey

a Creativelive Student

Audrey brings together and simplifies divergent ideas in photography. Finding beautiful available light (based on direction and quality) on location is her first priority. She then perfects the light using a single strobe on her subject. Her style emphasizes shallow depth of field using fast primes and high-speed sync, and her post-production is minimal. She offers a pragmatic workflow and a creative philosophy that values getting out in the field and making photos. The reliability, ease of use, and affordability of the newest off-camera flash solutions make this kind of dramatic portraiture accessible to more artists.

Yo Pal

Wow! I love her non-complicated process and the stunning results! I can't wait to use all I learned from her shooting on location as well as her editing tips. Audrey has a great personality and is a teacher I would watch over again. Will search for more of her classes. Did not want the class to end! Yolanda

Student Work