Demo: Full-Length Portraits with Multiple Lights


Introduction to Using Multiple Flashes


Lesson Info

Demo: Full-Length Portraits with Multiple Lights

Let's talk about full length portraits. We've done all of this torso stuff and head shot stuff. What does it take to photograph a full-length portrait? And because you're dressed so snazzily today, I like your shoes you have great shoes and jeans. Would you mind if you were my model for this? That's very kind of you. You look good. And we're gonna use the seamless one. You know what, I take that back. I think we'll do brick. 'Cause the seamless has the tape on the ground. And so for this, yeah go ahead and stand about right there. That's great. Okay, when we do full-length portraits we need to illuminate from head to toe. So the shoes are just as important as the pants which are just as important at the head and face. Okay? So it's hard to do that with one light source. You can almost do it with that giant umbrella if how tall are you? Are you 5'10"? 5'9", 5'10"? So that's too tall. That's too tall to do with a, let's say a five foot umbrella. Really you want the umbrella or the light ...

source to be about as big as the thing you're photographing. So if he's about a six foot guy you want about six feet of lighting to illuminate that well. One option is to use something called a V-flat. A V-flat is a very tall, I use corrugated plastic, you can use door panels, whatever, and you just hinge them at the middle. So what a V-flat does is basically it's about this tall and it kind of wraps around your subject maybe it's about four or five feet away. And you light the inside of that V-flat then you get a lot of light washing onto the subject. You really need big modifiers for full-length subjects. Well, let me show you how to do this if you don't have the big honkin' modifiers. I'm gonna show you how to do it with the soft box and an octabox. And really all we're gonna do is we're gonna stack them. Woop, I'll do this. Pull this out of the way. My radio trigger is blocking the rotation. So I'm gonna pull that radio trigger back a little bit. And because I like the look of the soft box as a catch light, I'm gonna have this one higher. About right like that. Then what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna pull in my octa and put it about right here again using my favorite little low light stand. This one. Okay And you can do this with umbrella's. Umbrella's work great for this. Smaller, like the 42 inch umbrella's. They'll work just fine. Yeah, so you can see we're just trying to get about six feet vertically of light. Okay, that looks pretty good. I'm gonna pull them off-axis a little bit more so my camera can get in there. Okay, power. I'm still at a half power from before so I'm gonna reduce that down. Go back to maybe 1/16. 1/ and 1/16. Super duper. And then our background lights. Let's do I'm feeling rimmy today. Are you feeling rimmy? We'll do that and I'll do a hard, kind of a hard rim. I'm gonna take the diffusion panel off and just kind of shoot it right at the back of his shoulder and neck. And power I'm gonna be We'll put it at 1/16 power as well. I could also use a snoot for this to keep the light even more concentrated. But we'll see how that works. Again I'm just trying to draw a line right to the back of his head. Okay there you have it. That's the full-length portrait scenario. I like the pose. I'm gonna have you go that way about three inches. Yeah cool. And I like the pose standing on that back foot. Hands in the pocket. That looks great. You've done this before. I know you're a portrait photographer. Yeah, you're on the other side of the camera. Oh you know what I've got a 70 to 200. I don't know if I'm gonna be able to get back far enough. Oh! Just barely! Just so. Okay. We are connected. Cables okay. Yep. Cool man. Here we go. One, two, three. (camera click) Okay we'll see what that looks like. You are not a goop. So, what do we gotta do? We gotta increase the power of the foreground lights. Oh! And I'm still at f/11. One of my rules in photography, I keep forgetting to follow my own rules, but one of my rules is anytime I change something significant on the set I just go back through and push all the buttons. Just double-check everything. It'll save you a lot of embarrassing moments like this one. I'm so embarrassed, I'm flush. Not really. So I'm gonna go back to f/5. and I'm at ISO 400, yep. And I'm at 1/250 of a second. And we're just gonna shoot that same thing again. And I can already tell that background that hair light's gonna give me a problem. Okay, here we go. One, two, three. (camera click) Take one more. One, two, three. (camera click) Okay that's better. I'm likin' it. I can Photoshop those light stand legs out. I'm a little bit tight on space there. I might take it again. If I did take it again I'd move the stand out. But that's okay. Let's zoom in and see if we got critical focus. Oh yeah, look good. We've got focus on him. And I don't know, is this coming through on the monitor for those? Can you see this bright, yeah see that right there that flare. That flare is coming from that background light. How do we deal with flare? I haven't talked about this at all today but we use something called a flag. And a flag is just something as simple as a piece of paper taped onto the edge of the flash to prevent that flash from coming in to the lens of the camera. Also using lens hoods is a big help for flare reduction. But in this case I'm not gonna take the time to flag it out but the idea is just take some gaff tape and a piece of black paper and tape it on this side of the flash and you'll eliminate any of that lens flare. So there's a full-length portrait. And we could also, we could add in some background lighting but that would be duplicating kind of what you guys already have learned today.

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