Introduction to Using Multiple Flashes

Lesson 17/27 - Demo: Key & Background Light Setup


Introduction to Using Multiple Flashes


Lesson Info

Demo: Key & Background Light Setup

Lets go to key light with background light. So you can stay right there. Drop off the camera, try to keep that USB cable connected well. So in this case, what's going through my mind is I like that background. The background's pretty cool so I'm gonna light it. And so I need to light it to get the effect that I'm after. It's brick, I like the texture of the brick. The brick is actually kind of cool. In order for that texture to kind of come out in the photograph you have to side light it. You need to light that brick with a low angle light. In other words, that background light should be something like this. Where the light is basically sweeping across this showing me the texture and the detail, the valleys and the high portions of that. So we'll do that and then I'll show you another way to light that backdrop with a snoot where we really constrict the light to a small area. So let's try this, see how it works. I think that previous shot was maybe slightly bright. Just a tiny bit, 1/3...

of a stop too bright. So I'm gonna drop down another 1/3. This is what I love about digital. In real time you just sit here and go, a little brighter, little darker. Okay here we go, let's see how this one turns out. One, two, three. Interesting huh? So the light on her face is still, I would say good, it's a good exposure for her face. Not too intimidating. I maybe could use a bigger umbrella to wrap the light around her face a little bit more. How about that backdrop, the background? Too bright, not bright enough? I see a lot of meh in the room. It's not really that appealing, I think maybe what we could do is reduce the power of the background light a little bit because right now it's a little overpowering. What that'll do is give me a little bit more texture. I like the fade from brightness to dark from right to left. Sometimes that's good. If you didn't like the fade, well then you would need to add a second background light. So I'll just drop down the power of that a little bit. I'm currently at 1/8th, I'll drop it a full stop to 1/16th power. Good, we're still connected. Okay, one, two, three. You know what, I put you on the wrong side of the frame. One, two, three. Okay, good. A little bit more moody. You see a little bit of texture there in the brick. Again, just experimenting. Maybe a different color, like a gel on that backdrop. A gel in the background could look kind of cool. Why don't we show you what a snoot would do for that background light. So right now, we're shooting that umbrella, the lights going everywhere. Like I said earlier, it's kind of a light grenade. So let's use a snoot to keep the light in a very specific area. So this one I've got a Nikon SB and I've got that yongnuo radio trigger here, and then I've got the snoot there on the top, and I also have the grid on the snoot to keep it an even tighter area. So I'll throw this on a light stand. I'll throw it on this one. And yes this is a background light, but I may not actually put it in the background, I might put it at her body position, or sometimes even front. It just depends on how far that snoot throws the light. Some flashes when you buy them they have a modeling light and that modeling light can be very helpful. I can actually push that modeling light in position the light as it throws on the wall. This is probably gonna be pretty hard for the studio cameras to pick up but there we go, see if that works. So this one is at 1/16th power, minus 2/3rds. Let's just see if it works. What do you think, gonna work? Sure. You gonna leave the other one on too? Oh, thank you. It's always good to have a model whose intelligently watching your photography, make sure you're doing everything right. Yeah I need to turn that one off. Power that one down. Thank you. So, let's see how this comes out. It's fun. Oh, cool. So you see now, the position of that light is just a little bit off. In other words, I would like it to be right behind her head to kind of create a little bit of a halo behind her head. It's a little bit too low so don't move at all, okay. Did you move? And I'm just gonna position this up with the modeling light on. Let's see how that works. Notice also how that snoot doesn't give me a perfectly round background light. That bothers me a little bit. I might actually take off the grid in the front and see if I get a cleaner circle. One, two, three. Okay, positioned about right. Now what I'm gonna do is I'm actually going to take the grid off and see if I get a rounder, or more of a circle there in the background. You know when I was starting photography, I always assumed professional photographers kind of just thought in their brains what they wanted, they set up the lights, they took the picture, and they were done. And it wasn't until doing this for a number of years that I realized this is an iterative process. Take a shot, take a look, take a shot, take a look. And it's okay to go back and forth. Hopefully your model's okay with it too. So now we took the grid off. Interesting. So one of the things we're noticing is that this flash, the Nikon flashes have kind of a rectangular head. Let me grab this, can I reach? There we go. This rectangular head, even though we are going through a snoot, is still giving us a little bit of a rectangular light. Sometimes that's why we use something like a pro photo because a pro photo actually has a round surface area on the front and you can actually get a perfectly circular background light.

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