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Shoot: Full Length

Lesson 12 from: Introduction to Flash for Dramatic Images

Mike Hagen

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Lesson Info

12. Shoot: Full Length

Next Lesson: Shoot: Hard Light

Lesson Info

Shoot: Full Length

Well, I've got at least one more photo scenario I wanna show you. One of the most important things you can learn when using One Flash is how to photograph a full length portrait. Typically, when I do full length portraiture, I'm using multiple flashes. And what I will do is I'll use a soft box up here and then a soft box down here. And then even sometimes a soft box over here and a soft box over here. So you really want to illuminate everything from the head to the feet. And lets say that you spent or we spent a lot of time really developing your wardrobe. And these jeans are high fashion jeans, and they're worth you know, a thousand bucks. We really wanna show off everything about his whole ensemble. We don't want a lot of light or brightness change from the top to the bottom. You want it to be consistent lighting over all. If you look at most magazine photos, if you go into your local department store and you see full length photos, you'll see that the shoes are well lit, and so are ...

the pants and legs, and so is the torso, and so is the face. Well that's really hard to do when you only have one flash. Especially when you're using small diffusers. So like if you have a small umbrella, like my little tiny 40 inch umbrella, or maybe a beauty dish, that ain't gonna cut it for a full length photo. So I wanna show you how to create a full length photo kind of like that one shot I showed you earlier today, that gal with the tattoos. I did that with my giant umbrella, and then a big old V-Flat. And so let me show you how all of that works together. Again, we're gonna do somewhat of a dramatic photo, so it's gonna be a little bit darker tone overall. To do this, I think what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna call Jake forward and help me out, to roll out this muslin. So gonna get a full on seamless, I'm gonna have you move off set just a tiny bit. And while Jake's doing that, I'm gonna get the giant umbrella ready to go. Full length portraits take a lot of planning and effort. And they require a lot of space as well. Make sure I don't hit you in the head. Alright, we're clear. Alright. Yeah, it doesn't quite go as long as we want. Why don't we drop it down a little, I like the way you think. Let's drop it down about a foot and a half. About right there. That look level everybody? That side needs to go about six inches. Right there? Okay, sweet. Yeah, nice. Okay. I think that will work great. And I'm gonna collapse a lot of this stuff to kinda get it out of the way. And we're gonna pull over our V-Flat. See, for the cameras, what would work best? Would it be best to have the V-Flats over here on this side? Or to have the V-Flats over here? You don't care. (laughs) We'll do that, we'll block everybody out. (laughs) Now we're gonna pull over the big old V-Flat. And the term V-Flat really stands for V and then a big old flat reflector. They're made out of foam core, there we go. And on the inside, is white. So you can see what we're gonna do, this is gonna be a nice full length illumination. It's gonna reflect from up high and down low. You can make these on your own. They don't cost a whole lot of money. They're somewhat flimsy, so be careful that they don't fall over. But if they do fall over, you're not gonna really hurt anything. So we'll put this over here. Like that, and why don't you come over here Jeff? I'm gonna get you positioned first of all so everybody can see what I'm doing. Yeah, so we're gonna stand on the backdrop. It pains me sometimes to stand on the backdrops because they're so nice, but that's what they're for. Everything's designed to be used. Here's the idea. The big old honking umbrella is gonna cast light onto him, and onto the V-Flat. And the V-Flat, because it's so large, is gonna cast light back onto him on the shadow side, okay? And to make this happen, we'll see how much light we get onto the background. I'm thinking it might tend to overexpose the background. But with one flash, it's all we got. Alright, I know I'm blocking off the audience here. You guys will just have to bare with me. I'm gonna throw my flash onto there. And I already know that I'm probably gonna need a little more oomph, a little more power, I'm at a quarter power now. I might have to go up to half, but I'm gonna start with a quarter. And then I gotta get that diffusion dome on there. So it spreads light all around the inside of the umbrella. Okay, excellent. Now, for positioning the V-Flat, what I wanna do is I wanna make sure that the light, that the V-Flat is close enough to him that I will fully illuminate, but not so close that it fills in all of the deep dark shadows. So, why don't you move that way three inches, yeah, perfect. He's a photographer too, so he knows when I say three inches I need three inches. We'll go about there, and we'll see what that looks like. Okay, I'm linking that. Next thing is I probably need to change my lens, because I've been shooting 85. And you've seen from all the photos we've been taking, it's pretty much shoulders and above. So I'm gonna swap out to my 24 to 70. For this full length shot. I could still shoot 85, but I'd have to go a long ways away. And sometimes it's better to stay closer. No impact to overall brightness. But just working distance. Okay, so this is my Nikon 24 to 70. I love this for, it's just kind of a general all around lens, don't use it a lot for portraiture, but I use if for full length shots and for family photos, where you have a larger group of people. Okay, you look good. Feel good? Great. Okay, I'm at F11, my shutter speed is at a 250th of a second, my ISO is at 200. I should be good to go, let's see what we got. Okay, my focal length here is about 60 millimeters. And you can see I'm about 15 feet away from him. Cool, here we go. Let's see how that turns out. Looks pretty good. Let's do our famous light room check here. And just check overall luminance levels. So my backdrop is around ten, his face is about 20s and 30s, so to your question earlier in the day, is it too dark? I would say it's a little bit too dark on his face. So I've got a few options. I can increase the power of the flash, but if I do I put more on the background. You kind of see all of these things that are playing off of each other here. So I will increase the brightness of the flash. I'm gonna go up to half power. And take the same shot again. And again, I'm splitting the height of his body, bisecting it for my camera height there. Nice, take one more. Good. Excellent. Let's go to full frame and just look at that all by itself. Not a bad looking shot, not as dramatic as I would necessarily like. It's not as kind of dark and heavy on his right side, our left. So I'm gonna move my V-Flat out. And see what we get with no V-Flat. And just for expediency's sake, I'm just gonna drop that on the floor right here. Okay, so same picture, a gigantic umbrella, no reflection on that side. Super, one, two, three. Good. Yeah, a little bit stronger photo there. I like the look on his face, and again I'm using my little mouse here, going around, the dark side of his face is around five, and the bright side of his face is in the 30s, 40s, the reds are up in the 50s. So that's all generally good. I could go a little bit brighter overall, but, I'm gonna fix that later in light room and show you how all that works out inside the software package. So let's also look down at his feet. As a full length portrait we need to make sure that his feet are exposed, and they are, his pants are exposed. If I had a smaller light source, we're not gonna get the full coverage. So, one flash, to me, I think this is pretty cool. One flash, one umbrella, and I've got myself a pretty good looking portrait. Which otherwise might take two or three or four light sources with smaller modifiers. So that's a great skill set to learn. Cool, alright. I'm gonna have you grab a seat real quick. I'm gonna move this off. I just had a question about the one you're comparing to a beauty dish, what's the inside made out of? Because I've seen them with white and with foil, and I was just curious about that one that you've been using. Yeah, this one, you're talking the Phottix, the round one, let me pull that out here real quick. That in the inside, if I recall, I think is just white matte. Let's pull this over here. And for soft boxes, how much of a difference does that make if they're white or silver inside? Good question. So yeah, let's look at the inside here. Pull this away from my microphone. It's silvered. And what about your soft box? The soft box is silvered as well. So why silver on the inside of the boxes? Okay, so both of these are silver. The reason why is because you want to preserve as much light inside of the device and then diffuse the light at the end point of the device. So, if it was white inside, it actually wouldn't, it wouldn't be as efficient overall. So silver on the inside helps it transmit more light outside of the modification tool. You can also use these without the diffusion in front, to create a very harsh, hard look overall. In fact, that's one of the photos that I actually wanted to create here, was to show a hard light, so why don't we just riff off of your question, and we'll use the beauty dish esque look, and use that as our hard light for our final photo of the day. I think that will help answer the question as well.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Dramatic Images Lighting Diagrams
Gear List for $100 Budget
Gear List for $250 Budget
Gear List for $1000 Budget

Ratings and Reviews


Another great course learned a lot about flash and the different modifiers. Very informative and easy to understand looking forward to the next one.

a Creativelive Student

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