Demo: Clamshell Two Light Setup


Introduction to Using Multiple Flashes


Lesson Info

Demo: Clamshell Two Light Setup

Let's do a key, and a fill, and a reflector, okay. Maybe throw in a low reflector, see what that looks like. And then I'll have from the studio audience, maybe you guys have a different lighting modifier you want me to use. We'll throw that on there as well. So we're gonna do key, we'll just keep this as the key, we'll bring in the other umbrella as the fill. Okay, so kind of a traditional split light setup. I'll turn this on now, bingo. And now, we got these two highs and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna bring in a reflector underneath to make this photo even brighter, happier, more festive and joyful. And to do that, there's a variety of ways we can do that. You can actually hold it yourself, so sometimes I'll have the model hold it themselves just like this. And when they do hold it, just bring your elbows in, just like that, okay. Versus this, that doesn't look so appealing. But this looks nice. So just keep your elbows in, hold the reflector like that or I could also have someone in...

the audience hold it, but for now, maybe I'll just have you hold it. Yep, cool, nice. And then I'm gonna have you point, if you can, this is a little bit weird, but I'm gonna have you point your hips and your feet towards the key light a little bit. Yeah, there you go. Yeah, (hums), cool, right there. I like it. Good. Take a picture. Oh yeah, what's my, can you see what the power setting on that one is? No unfortunately. Okay, no worries, we'll just take a picture, see how it turns out. Great. One, two, three. (camera clicks) And point your nose right towards me. There you go, one, two, three. (camera clicks) Okay, you can set this down. Oh, I left the snoot turned on. Ya gotta keep me honest. (laughs) Just wait till we add four and five lights. Oh no, too many lights! Okay, bring it up a little bit. Right there, down a tiny bit, right there, got it. Alright cool, nose right at the camera and here we go. One, two, three (camera clicks). So this lighting basically what we've done is we've created almost a clam-shell type of lighting arrangement. Clam-shell is when you have a light above and a light below. This is really soft light. It hides all those imperfections in the face, all the divots and wrinkles and all the stuff that happens in peoples faces. So this softer light can often be used well for beauty lighting, that type of scenario. So, there we go. Alright, you can grab a seat. We'll have someone else come up here. And we'll shoot with a different modifier. You guys have a request. Take away the fill light and then use a softbox with a grid coming across the back of that brick to really get the accent of that texture. Okay, I like that idea. So, to repeat what he's saying. We're gonna use the umbrella still as the key light. We're gonna kill the fill and then we're gonna use the softbox with the grid to really have a good directional light. I love that idea. So, we'll give that a try. So the softbox with the grid, lets see here. How can I do that quickly and easily? (hums) Maybe what we'll do is use the octa with the grid rather than the softbox, cause that's already set-up. I think my grid is over here. The key is to figure out where the corners of this thing are. And I always mess it up. That looks close enough and it just velcro's in here. Its really simple, really fast. And while we're doing this, you know what, I think I might bring in a really big umbrella just to get a different feel for the photo overall. Are you cool with that, okay. Alright, there we're gonna do the grid. Throw a flash in there, so we'll throw this one. Take my snoot off. And that's gonna go right into the back of this. Cool. And this one's not quite fitting perfectly. Try to bring this up so you all can see it. There we go, see its a little bit high. Just because different flash, little bit higher. Most flashes have a slightly down position. So if I move it slightly down. it looks like that's gonna work just fine. Okay, good and we'll position that, I gotta turn it on. So this one's on and lets see, what was I at before, around a 16th power I think and I'm about a 16th minus two-thirds. So we'll call that good. (clears throat) And we'll position it here against the background. About like that. Cool. Now this isn't gonna be too different than the umbrella cause its still sending light from out here and light in here, but it might give us kinda a stronger look overall. We'll see. Okay, we'll throw this big guy on there. So the 42 inch, put that away. Put on the six footer. And this one's the silver one, just to remind everybody. Big, bold and beautiful. Okay and I'm at one-eighth power here, lock that guy down. And I've got my diffusion dome on the flash so it covers the whole interior of that. So, you want to be the model for this one? Sure. Can stand about right here. Because this is so big, I don't have to position it as high overall. Its gonna illuminate a lot of his torso. Cool, looks good. For this one lets have you point your hips into the light. We'll shoot one into the light and then one with your hips the other direction. And I'm gonna have you move that way a little bit. Perfect. Trying to get space on that background light. Okay. All the settings are still the same. Shutting off all my other lights, making sure they're all off. Cool. One, two, three. (camera clicks) Okay, we'll see how that one turns out. Oh, where's that coming from? That's our grid, that's our gridded light. It kinda looks like the snoot almost doesn't it? Remember earlier how I was talking about how the grid allows you a lot of direct control over where that light goes. Compared to that previous shot that we did with the umbrella where the light went everywhere. So, we do have some control over that. I would say I need to move that grid back a little bit more. So let me do that. Here you can hold my camera, watch that cable. This is where c-stands can help. Sometimes c-stands allow you to stack your light-stands on top of each other. And I'm gonna reduce the power on this just a little bit. I was at one 16th, I'll drop it down two-thirds of a stop. Okay, thank you. Yeah, I think this is gonna be better. Okay, here we go, one, two, three. (camera clicks). Nice. Okay, we evened out the exposure a little bit by moving the light farther away. If I had a little bit more space back there and a little bit more time in the class, I'd probably move it back even more. But that look is really nice, I like that look. With his black shirt and kind of a shadow off the side of his face. (mumbles) Yeah, now you got yourself a headshot man. Let's do it again, but lets have you point your feet over towards Kenna. Back up, three inches, right there. Yeah, cool, yeah, that's nice. Okay, one, two, three (camera clicks). Super. Ha, okay so this was a little bit of a darker look. So I moved his torso away from the main key-light and by doing that it darkened down that whole front of his body, so I can make it even more mysterious. Even a heavier, darker more foreboding look. Compared to the previous one where I had him look into the light brighter, happier, smilier. Cool. So that's two lights, using two lights. You see you can do quite a bit of work with just two lights. Now if you had only two lights and you wanted to make it so maybe he didn't look so dark on that shadow side. An easy way is to bring in a reflector. So I'd bring in that 42-inch reflector, hold it there and light it up. Alright cool, why don't you grab a seat. And we'll throw it to Kenna and see if we have any questions on two lights. So, like a couple of questions had come in, actually when you where showing us the snoot. And the questions were around would you zoom the flash within the snoot and would that have any impact. Yes, it probably would, I like that thinking. In fact, I think I could probably show that in real time by using the modeling-light. Trying to think of how best to show this on the house-cameras. I think if I bring this over here and I get close to the wall, lets just see what that looks like. So, the zoom setting is at 20 millimeters. Okay, so the zoom setting on the flash is at 20. So its pretty wide angle and you can see our circle there is kind of oblong. Is that coming through? Alright cool. So lets do now, zoom, I'm gonna change the zoom. And we'll set the zoom at more telephoto. As telephoto as it will go, which is 200 millimeters. Same thing. So more zoom means that more of the square shape is going through the end right? So, what we're seeing is that we want it to be a wider angle zoom. So, I'm gonna go back to widest angle this will go, 17. Then we do one more thing, pull out my magic diffusion panel. Most flashes that you buy these days have a little diffusion panel that you can pull out from inside the flash-head, like that. And that will cause it to diffuse even more. So lets see if that gives us a rounder, better, snoot look in the backdrop. Try not to break anything. Okay, cool and the same scenario here. Oops, here we go. Yeah, that's a little bit rounder. Something else you might consider is tissue-paper. You know putting some tissue-paper barrier in there just to get a rounder circle. Right on, that was a great question. One had come in from Linda Virro who had said can you try the reflector on the background to even out the background light. Would you ever, like in this scenario, would you ever be able to use a reflector for that reason? You could use, well, you could use-- I understand what she's saying, put the reflector on the other side of the frame. Maybe but not so much. What I was trying to get here for this wall, was I was trying to show the texture in the wall. And what we're noticing is that there's a brightness difference from left to right. Its just a fact of using one background light. That's just gonna happen and that's why I said earlier if you want to do real studio photography. Guys, often times have five lights, two of those in the background. If I wanted to illuminate the background evenly, then I really have to have two lights back there or one light and one big old honking reflector, that reflector isn't going to be as good as a secondary light. So, my recommendation is not to do that, my recommendation is to put another light back there to even out the lighting overall.

Class Description

If you want complete control over the image you’re taking, you need to use multiple flashes. Mike Hagen will take what appears complex and explain how to make it achievable to help get your studio lighting to an elite level.

Mike Hagen will walk through how to build your lighting setup with two, three, four and even five flashes. If you're figuring out what lighting gear to purchase, this course will help by showing you:

  • Camera settings and sync modes to capture the best exposure
  • How to use the various trigger methods
  • The different roles each light plays in creating your image
  • How to shape the light for the most control over your final image
  • How to build your knowledge comfortably from 1-5 lighting setups

Whether you’re shooting portraits, buildings, or products - controlling all the light in your image can improve your photography from good to GREAT. Mike Hagen will teach you how to light and create every shadow and highlight by using multiple flashes in your photography.


Marty Walker

This is really a fantastic class and at an even fantastic-er price. Well worth the money, and is a great help. The instructor does a very good job explaining the methods, light shapers, and effects they create. One of my favorite videos!

Jeph DeLorme

Mike Hagen does a great job of presenting what could be a complicated process in a way that makes it easy to understand and implement. Not only does he make it easy to follow along, he presents alternative solutions that don't break the budget. I have viewed several instructors and various classes at Creative Live and this would definitely be one of my favorites. I have to say, this class would be a bargain at 10x the price!

Tim Stapenhurst

What can I say about this class? Mike is great- not only does he give a thorough break down of all the equipment one could need but he also includes wide variety of price options for those just getting started. Aside from his thorough knowledge of gear, Mike provides an excellent and easy to follow bread down of how to build up the light for your subject. His lesson plan is super easy to follow and very concise as he slowly builds up from using 2 lights to 5 lights. He also demonstrate what I think is a much needed trait in a photographer and that is being cool under pressure, dealing with issues and not getting rattled and simply going back to the basics. Creative Live Nailed it with this class