Demo: Rembrandt, Fill & Hair Light Setup


Introduction to Using Multiple Flashes


Lesson Info

Demo: Rembrandt, Fill & Hair Light Setup

So with three lights, in my opinion three lights is really the minimum. If you're gonna do studio photography, you need a minimum of three lights because three lights allows you to do the traditional key, fill, hair or key, fill, background. So let me just show you a real traditional key, fill, hair setup, not too much difference in this, but in this case I'm gonna try and show you the Rembrandt and give you a feel for what that Rembrandt looks like. I'm gonna end up using this one, but for now just pull it off to the side. I'm gonna go vertical on the orientation on the soft box. This will be my key light. Alrighty. So I'm gonna get kind of close to you and I just want to show the camera and everyone in the class what the Rembrandt does. So do you mind if I get close to your face? Alright. Cool. So the Rembrandt we want a triangle of light right on her cheek, okay, right here. And what's gonna cause that triangle is the shadow from her nose, so the shadow from her nose is gonna spill ...

over on her face and create a nice upside down triangle right there. Why do they call it Rembrandt lighting? Because Rembrandt the painter, the portraitist, had this traditional look where he would put his subjects in front of a window light and position their head in just such a way the light would touch and kiss the cheek right there. So Rembrandt. So this one is going to be our key light and this is going to cause the Rembrandt effect and do to that, I'm gonna have you look straight ahead. Nose this way a little bit. Too much. Right there. Okay cool. Positioning matters in this case. And then I'm going to push my modeling light, well, that's hard to see with a single pulse. Ah, we'll end up just taking the picture and see if we get it in the photo. Trying to position it just right. So you can see it's almost at 45 degrees and it really depends on the prominence of the person's nose. And you're never gonna tell your subject this, you know, oh, you've got a nice, big honkin' nose, Rembrandt's gonna be easy on you. No. Everyone's nose is a little bit different and so just paying attention to the nose shape and size will help you position your light. That's the fun thing about me teaching these classes, I get to say things that I never would say to an actual client. Key light, fill light, and then I'm just gonna leave that background light just as it has been, because I like the look of that. And I'm gonna reduce the power on this guy down to really low, maybe 128th power. And let's take a picture. That wouldn't have happened if I was using my spider holster. Good product placement, right? (laughter) Alright, here we go. (camera click) Okay Rembrandt. Oh, cool. We got it. So if I take off, if I take away the fill flash, you'll see the Rembrandt light much clearer, but you can actually see it. Can you see that triangle? It's on her right or our left, there's a little bit of a triangle on her cheek, and we'll see it a little bit more prominently here if I turn off my fill flash. Okay? One, two, three. Great. Yeah, we see that triangle of light on her cheek. It's just along the top and right down to about where her mouth shows up, so that's traditional Rembrandt lighting. And you want to be careful with your fill flash in this scenario, that your fill flash doesn't wipe out that effect, if that's what you're after. So I've got the fill flash here at 1/128th power, but I might actually move it farther away and a little bit higher just so it doesn't impact that look as much. I'm at the minimum power possible in this flash and I want even less, so I've got to move it physically farther away and to get a little bit more of that Rembrandt, I'm gonna move this thing a little bit more off axis, push it out that way. Okay, this is your last one. Here we go, one, two three. Sweet. Nice. And as we take apart these photographs, you see there's a little bit of a shine underneath her right cheek. That's coming from the hair light. I'm gonna move over to the monitor on the screen and point something out. So this is the Rembrandt look. We're trying to get this triangle here, and we got it. But this light right there, what is that from? That's from that background light. That's from our shoulder light, so I probably need to move that back father away around the back so we don't get that. I'd really like that to go more into deep shade. So three lights. You can do a lot of work with three lights. Still not a full studio, but it gets you that much closer. Let's open it up to questions. I did have a question that had come in earlier as we were talking about, starting to talk about the key lights and the fill lights. How do you decide which light, which side to put your key light on when you're starting? Okay, perfect. The answer is sometimes it doesn't matter. You know, some people don't have any feature on this side of the face or that side of the face that you need to think about. You know, especially young kids, a lot of times young kids don't necessarily have a good side or a bad side. I've heard other photographers say, oh yeah, almost everybody, 92% of people have their best side is their left side. I don't know if that's the case either. What I typically do is I'll look at the person's face and I'll just think through my mind, is there anything there that might be a little bit objectionable? So maybe it's a mole. On the other hand, if you're Chris Crawford, whatever the Crawford gal's name, Cindy Crawford. The mole is a part of her personality. It is who she is and so you want to include the mole. Other people not so much, so if there's something there, like for example, I have a little, tiny birthmark up here on my cheek. Most people never see it, but I do cuz I was born with it. Well I don't always like to show that, so I want that to be the shadowed side or the darker side, and then I'll light this side. And if I'm a model, this is like my gig, what I do, I'm a model, I will tell the photographer, try to shy away from this side of my face. You know, the worst thing you can do though, as a photographer, is to go up to your subject and go, oh, there's a mole on your face. I'm gonna put that in the shadow.' No, that never sets things off well in the photo shoot.

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