Introduction to Using Multiple Flashes

Lesson 15/27 - Demo: How to Setup Multiple Lights in the Studio


Introduction to Using Multiple Flashes


Lesson Info

Demo: How to Setup Multiple Lights in the Studio

So what I want to do for the next few hours... So I'm gonna work you through the process of putting together a multiple light studio. We're gonna start simple. We're gonna start with two flashes, and I've got a bunch of different scenarios for how to use two flashes. Here in the studio audience, you guys, if you have an idea or if you have a specific type of light modifier you want to see, just call it out. We'll bring that light modifier in. To start out, I think I'm just gonna start using two umbrellas. We'll keep it really easy right at the beginning. What type of scenarios are we going to use? Or what type of scenarios are we going to light? I'm gonna show you how to use a key light with a fill, so we're gonna do key and fill. We're gonna do a key with a hair light. We're gonna do a key with a background light. I'm gonna show you what a clamshell lighting scenario looks like, and then we'll talk about this concept of Rembrandt lighting. You'll hear this a lot in the world of photog...

raphy. Rembrandt light, it's a very specific light where we get this kind of triangle of light on the cheek, and I'll show you how to create that. Because we only have two lights, you're not gonna be able to see the full effect of a big studio lighting production, but that's okay. That's what we're here to learn. We're going to be using the bricks... The brick wall over here, today. I'm gonna mix that up a little bit. So, let's go ahead and get started. To start out, what I'd like to do is I'd like to... When I bring the model up, I'm gonna have the model start out maybe right up against the wall, you know? Just to show you what it looks like to have someone against the wall. You don't always have to have your subject six feet away, or 10 feet away, okay? Sometimes it actually looks good to have someone right up against the wall. It can create a neat shadow effect. You can do lots of interesting things with that. So, we'll start out with the key light and the fill, with the person against the wall, then I'll do the same shot with the person moved about six feet away from the wall, so you get a feel for how that works. The wall here is white, okay... The background color, the background brightness, should play a big role in how you decide to position your model in the studio. Brighter backdrops will reflect light. They will become a part of the photo. Darker backdrops will fade away. If I used a black backdrop, like this black... I have a roll of black seamless over here. We'll use that in a little while. You can almost put the person right up next to that and you won't even really see the backdrop, so... Be thinking about whether or not you want that background to be included in the photograph as well. With that, I think we're ready. Let me pre piece together the lighting equipment first. Actually, why don't we do this? Why don't I piece it together while we have the model up in the scene with us. So, any of the four of you desiring to have a stand up, brick wall shot? (audience member mumbles) All right... She's in the brick house, love it. Up against the wall. Up against the wall. All right, did she commit the crime? Who knows, all right. So just starting out you can just stand there. You can even relax for a minute or so while I get the lighting set up, but I like to have you here positionally, so I can talk about how to put these lights in. I've got two umbrellas to make this really easy today. I've got the 42 inch umbrella here, and then I've got the 32 inch umbrella there. So, which one should be the key, and which one should be the fill? So now I want to introduce this concept of designing light for the subject. Okay, so as you're looking at your subject, the person here, you need to be thinking... Well, what do I want that photo to exude? Does she look tough, craggy? Is she soft, gentle? Does she have a nice smile? Is she young, is she old? What do you want the photo to look like? A lot of times that's through a dialogue with your client. So, let's just say that we want this photo to look... I don't know. Fun. Fun. Okay, fun. So, festive. So this is a brighter photo overall. So in general, the lights are gonna be brighter. I'm gonna use more fill. I'm gonna use a brighter fill. If she was more serious... If she was darker, heavier countenance, I would not put a lot of fill on maybe on this side of the face. It would be this deep, dark shadow. So I can change the mood depending on the type of lights that I use, and the brightness of those lights. So, we're gonna do fun. We're gonna do happy, and we'll use... Just because I feel like it, I'm gonna put the fill over here. So this is gonna be fill. Hi, fill. And this is key. Alicia, key. All right, how close should they be? Oh, you know, close-ish. The rule of thumb is that you position the light about as far away as the largest dimension of the light. 42 inch umbrella, about 42 inches away from her face, ish. So, that's about three or four feet away. So, something like that. How high should it be? Well, I need to be above her head so I get those nice catch lights in her eye. So bring this up about like that, and I want that shaft to kind of be pointing right towards her face. Now, the fill... There's a lot of variability with the fill. The fill can go all over the place. Fill can be low, can be high, can be far away, can be close, and again, we'll just see. If the photo looks bright and happy where it's at, then we'll leave it. If it doesn't, we'll change fill. All right, next I'm gonna grab a couple flashes. We've tested the flashes out. They all work, I promise. And what we've got is I've got my radio triggers, so I'm gonna turn the radio triggers on. I'll turn all the flashes on. The flash I'm setting to manual power, and just to start out, I'm gonna put them at about 1/16th power. Just a guess, but I'm feeling like now that we've got two flashes in the setup, 1/16th should be about right. So 1/16th power on that one, and then this one... Turn on my radio trigger. Turn the flash on, and go to control the power, and turn that one, also, to 1/16th. It's just a guess, and I've got them about equal power because she said she wanted a happier photo. Equal lighting on fill and key. All right, put those in the light stand. I'll turn it this way, so you can see what I'm doing. You know, with a studio there's all this fiddly stuff you gotta do, and it's just part and parcel of running a studio. Sometimes it's nice to have this set up before the client comes in. But for the purposes of teaching the class today, I just like to talk through it in real time. But ideally, you don't want the client sitting there waiting for you to put lights on the stand. Try to get it done ahead of time. You can see I've got the diffusion domes on these flashes to basically fill up the interior of the umbrellas. Okay, that's on. It says manual, 1/16th. This one's on. Green lights all around, and... Does that say manual, 1/16th? I believe so. Okay, (laughs) yeah, I think so, sure. May be time for new glasses. Yeah. "New glasses," she said. Okay, and we are tethered. So, I'm just gonna take a quick test shot and see how that goes. Again, I'm at F5/6... I'm at 1/250th of a second... ISO 400, and flash white balance. So, move that way three inches. Just the whole body that way, there we go. All right, show me that smiley, happy face. (camera clicks) Cool. And let's see where we're at from an exposure standpoint, and it's a little bit hot. So, let's talk through, real quick, what are the issues with this photo? Well, overall I'd say it's a little bit bright. We also have a lot of reflection in the glasses. See that reflection? So, let's talk about the brightness issue first. I'm just gonna drop everything down. I can do that two ways. I can go to each flash and drop them down in power, or I can change my ISO, and go from 400 to 200. And just to mix things up a little bit today, to show you the different options, I'm just gonna change ISO. So, I'll push my ISO button, and I'm just gonna drop that down to ISO 200. Those flashes are still at 1/16th power. Well, the next thing that we have to deal with is the reflection, and so we have to figure out how to get her glasses configured in such a way that we don't get the reflection. So, what I'm gonna have you do is I'm going to have you tilt the back of your glasses up, just like this. Just a little bit. Will they go up and stay there? Yeah. How's that? That's perfect, and then look straight at me. Okay. Keep your nose kind of pointed right at me. All right, shine that happy smile at me. (camera clicks) And another one... (camera clicks) I'm gonna have you move your nose towards me again. Right, right there. Perfect. (camera clicks) Okay, I took three shots there. Typically, when I'm shooting in the studio, I'm firing off rapidly, bam, bam, bam. Just because the expression changes so rapidly when you're doing portraiture. There we go. Mo' betta? A little bit of reflection in the side of the glasses there, but I'm okay with that. so, the solution, or a solution to dealing with reflection on glasses, is just tilt them. Just tilt them, just like this. That's so helpful, and then I had her look right at me because this flash from this angle would reflect off of her glasses and then go over there, versus when her face was, like, this way towards the flash. The flash was shining on that, and then going right in to the lens of the camera. So, that's good. So how do you feel about the happiness, the vibrance, the brightness of this image? Good. Okay, good. All right, now notice the shadows in the background. We don't have a lot of shadows there, fine, and the reason why is because we are using a little bit larger diffusion source, and I'm using two lights. If I turned off the second fill light, we might get a little bit of shadow over her... It's on the right side of the frame, on that shoulder. Her left shoulder, our right, as we view it. I'm pretty happy with that image. Let's take another shot. In this case... So this was key and fill. I'm gonna reduce fill, the fill light. I'm gonna drop that thing way down, really low. So, let's do this, and I'm just gonna push the power adjust button, and I'm gonna drop that down to 1/128th power. All right, so we were at 16th and now we're at 128th power. Bring this up just a little bit higher. You know what, this thing is wobbly on here. It's making me nervous. All right, tighten it down. Okay, cool. Same shot, different power in the fill. One, two, three. (camera clicks) Okay, that one's coming in... There we go, and you see what a dramatic difference it made. We dropped the fill light down pretty low. You see the shadow over her shoulder? I need the whole scene to be brighter, overall, the whole scene needs to be brightened up, right? Solution? ISO? So, I'll just bring my ISO back up to 400. I could also go to each flash and increase the power of the flash, but it's quick to do it here on the camera. Here we go, one, two, three... (camera clicks) Great. Did it feel like both flashes went off? I couldn't tell. All right, they're not beeping at me, but I think they both went off. Oh, yeah, they both went off. Much brighter on that one. So, we're close to the background, we got the shadow, now it's a little bit more of a darker, more mysterious look, because I made that fill light have much less power.

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