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Shoot: Wrapping Natural Light Around Couple

Lesson 17 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

Shoot: Wrapping Natural Light Around Couple

Lesson 17 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

17. Shoot: Wrapping Natural Light Around Couple

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of this lesson is engagement photography and how to utilize natural light to create different effects.


  1. Can you use this lighting setup outdoors?

    The instructor recommends using this setup for studio-based shooting rather than outdoor shoots, but it can still be done on location with the help of portable modifiers like the Westcott Apollo Orb.

  2. What is the benefit of using natural light in photography?

    Natural light can create a beautiful, soft, and natural effect in photos, especially when shooting wide open.

  3. How does modifying the scene with flash affect the overall look?

    The more you modify a scene by adding or taking away light, the more it will look manipulated and unnatural. It is important to find a balance between flash and ambient light to achieve a natural effect.

  4. What should be considered when positioning the subjects in relation to the light source?

    The instructor advises keeping an eye on the shadows and highlights on the subjects' faces and adjusting their positioning accordingly to achieve the desired effect.

  5. How can you improve the lighting on the face when shooting into the light source?

    Using a reflector, such as a silver one, can help catch light from the window and push it onto the subject's face. This can enhance the overall lighting and make the face a more prominent part of the shot.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Posing Guidance for Him


Posing Guidance for Her


Foundational Posing


Posing Touch Points


Couples Body Language


Posing Three Point Check


Posing Tips with Demo


Lesson Info

Shoot: Wrapping Natural Light Around Couple

Okay, let's do this. So Jason, let's clear these guys. And if you want your flashes to match, like, if you want that modifier to match a gigantic light like this, you would need to have a modifier like that if you want it to be identical. What's up? (woman speaks off mic) Oh. Cool. Do you want me to say that again? So basically, if, you know, if you're comparing this light source, and you're like, oh man, my softbox still isn't that soft, you know, as this, that's 'cause your softbox isn't that. And so, but this is all in relation to the person. So if a person is standing right here and that's the light source that you're using on them, we could still get that same softness. The light just has to be closer. So we gotta bring that softbox closer in so it is about relatively the same size. Cool? Let's open this guy up. Let's start doing a, we're gonna shoot for a different look right now. We're gonna open up, and we'll put these guys on the other side. Perfect, guys. Yeah. So my questi...

on is would you replicate this with C-stands and fabric outside, or is this something you would only do inside, and would you do it for engagements, or just weddings? Good question. I would probably not do it for either. The reason is, I would do this for studio stuff. Like, if we're doing, like, studio-based shooting, you guys can do this. You can do this on location. It's just that... I'm sure the reason you asked this is 'cause, like, when you're outside on set and you're doing this, it's difficult to set up these stands. You have to take bags along with you. You have to do all that kinda stuff. And that's where this guy comes into play, which it's a perfect time to actually show. This guy's, like, my favorite to-go softbox, and this is the Westctott Rapid Box. Or, no, sorry, this is the Westcott Apollo Orb. I have both of them. We'll show 'em both off. But this is an umbrella that you stick the flashes through and point it toward this, and you get a perfect softbox, like, on location. You just need one assistant to be able to hold it so that it's not gonna blow over, 'cause even when you put stands down like that, this is like a giant sail, so it'll blow over. But this is a very easy to do, it's very, pretty inexpensive compared to all the modifiers out there. I think it's, like, 150 bucks or something. But, so these kinda setups, like, I'll give you an example. For that fitness shoot that you guys saw, we did this setup. We actually put up gigantic strobes, and we put, like, two levels of cloth in there because we didn't have a window light and we needed something like this, so we put up a bunch of strobes behind these cloth and created it. So that's, the shot that you saw with her, like, doing a crunch, that shot was that technique, okay? It's great when you're staying in one place and shooting for a while, but you can see that it takes, like, five minutes to set up, 10 minutes to set up, and it's a lot of gear and moving pieces and so forth. But in general when you're outdoors, you don't need that stuff. You can find everything that you need with you, you know, on set and that kinda... So let's do this. I'm gonna turn these guys off, and let's, can you help me move all the, let's move everything to the other side. I wanna shoot, I wanna get a nice sample set of images of just using the natural light in this room, 'cause when we get into the next segment, we're gonna start doing flash modification of stuff, and I want you to see how different you can make a space look depending on what you're doing to it. So with this, I'm gonna have you guys come over here, take a step forward. Come forward a little bit. Perfect. Keep coming. Perfect. Now go into a close pose, guys, and then hold hands in the center and take one small step away from each other. Great. Perfect. And let's have... Travis, take a small step towards your lovely wife. Perfect. And... I'm just gonna bring this over here. So when we shoot wide open, I wanna give you guys this little heads up, that the more you try and modify a scene, the more it will look manipulated and unnatural, meaning that as you take away light from something, and we're gonna show this to you later on, as you take away light, then it starts to look like you've modified it, versus when you use majority of the light and add a little bit. So we call it the flash to ambient balance. The more light we add and the more that we take away from the scene, the more it looks like we've done something to the scene, okay? Versus the less, the more natural effect. So what I'm gonna do right now is I'm gonna shoot for this scene and we're just gonna go natural light. And this is a cool scene. Like, this kind of a backlit scene is great for several things. You can do silhouetted shots. You can do close-ups. And if we shoot wide open on a prime, you're gonna get this beautiful blooming effect that comes in around the subjects that looks really cool. Okay, so what we'll do first is we're just gonna do a little... Let's do just a silhouetted shot. So I'm gonna have you guys... I'm gonna use my live view, 'cause why not cheat if you can? That's my rule. I have a lot of rules. Okay. Perfect. Look toward each other, guys. Beautiful. They're gonna have these little highlights on their cheekbones and stuff. It looks fantastic. Oh, and guess what I forgot to turn off. All right, one more time, guys. Perfect. Right there. Okay, I'm shooting at 1.4. I'm moving around just a little bit just so I can get them basically centered up in this scene. And so you're gonna see that... I don't really like that first shot. I would actually shoot this scene like that if I wanted to go with natural light. I wouldn't try and add to... Because shadows are kind of like a beautiful thing, right? Like, this is what looks really cool, and it is having this highlight along the cheekbone, and if you actually look at the last shot where the flash has fired accidentally. Let's see what that was. Okay, the flashes are pointing that way, right? So they came back as a flat light. So look, it flattened out the shadow in the face, and, like, what made it cool in this shot, it kinda removed, which, that's not what we wanna do. So I dig that. I would love to get a little close-up shot, and go for a peck right on her forehead. Pull her in to you. Perfect. Pull her in tight around the waist. Perfect, just like that. I love that. Fantastic. And there's a little bit of... Oh, it's that guy. Do you think we can turn that guy off for a second? There we go. I saw... You guys'll see this. Do you see this shadow going across the face like that? No likey. Me no likey. Okay, and then what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna move you guys just a little bit to one side. So let me move you guys over to this side so we don't have that gigantic bar going right between where you're kissing her. Right, perfect. We're gonna actually frame you right over that square. So keep going a little bit more to... Right there, perfect. And then pull Danielle into you. Beautiful, just like that. Perfect. Okay. Fantastic. Now what we can do is adjust our exposure for a little bit more of a bright shot, so I'm gonna go up to one 400th of a second. Beautiful. Perfect. Now, Danielle, I want you to, we're gonna actually utilize this light a little bit. So what I want you to do is see if we can get... I love the way that the light comes... So if we have you looking straight like this, and then let's put you, brother, let's have you actually reverse. So what if you turn towards the window, like how we talked about. Perfect. And let's have you open up a little bit towards this side and look towards her right there. And Danielle, I want you to keep your chin towards him. Perfect, just like that. And then open up the shoulder a little bit, Travis, just so we can kind of get... There you go. A little bit more of your profile in. Perfect. Danielle, kinda smile as he's thinking about saying something to you but not doing it. (laughs) Look down a little while you're smiling. Perfect. That's gorgeous. Okay, I love that light wrap on the face. There's one thing here that I like to do is I try to be careful of where the nose crosses over the face. With Danielle, she has a pretty flawless nose, but if someone has a little bit of a larger nose and you wanna de-emphasize that, don't let it cross over this other side of the cheek, okay? So you don't let it cross over that line. So you keep it, you basically turn her chin a little bit more so it stays on the inside a little more. Okay, that looks fantastic. Let me get that one more time. I love that smile. Travis, say something soft and sweet in her ear. Perfect. Perfect. Go for a peck on the forehead. Beautiful. Fantastic. And then this is where the light... One of the things that I wanted to point out is notice how the light on their face is pretty bad, right? So I'm not making them look into the camera. If the light on the face is not the focus, if it's not good, we just close the eyes and keep it away from the camera, basically, so that way we're not seeing it. As soon as she looks into the camera, watch this. Danielle, look into the camera now. Perfect. Oop, I think that was misfocused. Oh, I think you asked me if I was focus recomposing, too, Catherine. Okay, as soon as she's looking into the camera, then it looks like a not very well-exposed shot. Okay, so we can change that by bringing in a reflector, and if you did, let's bring in the silver. Hug into him again and then bring that in. We're gonna catch this light right from the window and push it right into her face. Bring it in close and tight. We want as much light as possible, but it's still a silver, right? So it's gonna bring a lot of reflections and stuff. So what I would do before we do the shot in real life is have 'em use a little bit of dabbing cloth, like, a little bit of matte cloth. We do this because this simulates kind of a cloud. This is like an overcast day where you don't have direct light. So whenever you don't have direct light, if you're catching light from the shadows, you use a silver. If you're catching light from direct sunlight, you use a white, so that way you get, you don't blind your people. So come out towards this side a little bit and then angle it towards her face. Perfect. And now, Danielle, you can kind of look up towards me right there. Perfect. Travis, stay down on her right there. Perfect. Okay, and then relax for one sec, and you'll see that this'll be a much better shot, right? So we need to, if we're gonna have the face as a part of a shot, we need to light it so it's part of the shot. And what I would do here is adjust a little bit of the angle so that we get a little more light into the eyes just a bit. But that looks pretty decent.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Pre-Shoot Videos
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Presets Installation Guide
Gear Guide
Favorite Software
Lightroom Presets

Ratings and Reviews

CPR Photography

I think Pye Jirsa is one of the best, if not the best, instructor for photography on Creative Live. He is very personable, smart and approachable. He has a perfect blend of personality (comments, laughs, tangents..) to the amount of instruction. He asks the questions for you, because he knows you are thinking those questions right then. He's very good about identifying settings, gear, etc.. and not leaving us in the dark about how he "got the shot". He goes into great detail. His instructions flow, but are linear, which is helpful. He's very organized, and you can tell that he really put a lot of work into his presentations (slides, video, test shoots, live teaching, graphics, etc..) I have been listening to him for like 10 hours straight, and still haven't gotten tired of him. He keeps things moving, He's very funny too. Nice job, I've learned so much. :)

a Creativelive Student

This course was AMAZING. I'd say int he past year or two I've fallen into a slump. Uninspired by my surroundings and uninspired by my clients. As a result, it showed through my work. My posing suffered as well and more than a handful of times some of my shoots became more than awkward. Then I bought this course and watched most of it in the course of a day. I walked away inspired, blown away, and renewed. The next day I walked into an engagement session confident. I gave my couples a quick overview on posing and then we just had fun in front of the camera. Immediately afterwards they texted me about how amazing their shoot was and how relaxed I made them feel about posing. The photos turned out fantastic to say the least. I've since shot several more engagement sessions and each one of them has been amazing. If anything, this course should inspire photographers to think outside the box and provide you with the necessary skills to take incredible engagement photos. Thank you Pye and Creative Live! I cannot speak more highly of this course. I should also state I purchased Pye's Natural Light course on SLR Lounge: this course is a wonderful addition to that. If you already own the natural light course and are hesitant about purchasing this one, don't. Buy it and reap the benefits!


This is by far one of the best courses I have taken. Pye makes learning fun and easy to understand. I feel like I have learned so much throughout the course, that I have truly advanced my photography skills. I am so excited to get out there and try so many of the techniques that he showed. I would love to take another course of his. The pricing for the course doesn't even compare to how wonderful the education truly is, I really got more than my money's worth on this one.

Student Work