Shoot Using Grids with Reflectors
Let's put the grid on the background light.
You want to--
Maybe the 20.
Yeah. So this grid, let me grab one of those and hold it up here and talk about it for a second.
Here, I'll get it for you.
What's interesting about the grid is the grids are designed in such a way that when you put them in place, this is a 30 degree, this is a 30 degree grid, and when you put them in place, basically they're restricting the light, so light will always come out of any light-shaping tool, and sort of follow the pattern of the shape of the tool, right? So light will come out and kind of follow that same shape as it comes out. With a grid, what's great about that, is that it prevents that from happening. The grid doesn't focus light, and there's a little bit of a misnomer there. Some people think it focuses light. It doesn't focus anything. What it does is it prevents light from spreading like that, when it comes out of a shaper device. All it does is make the light do this. So it can ...
only come out straight. What that means for me is it makes it more valuable for me, so now I can position my light right where I want it. And it goes no place except where I want it. So like for an accent light, if I'm back here with an accent light, especially one of these small hard reflectors, if I used one of those from back here to highlight his hair and his shoulders perhaps, with that light here, there's a pretty big danger I'm going to get flare into my lens. But when I put the grid in place, that closes that off and it snoots that, not snoots but it pinches that off, so as I position it this way, right there it's hitting my lens, and right there it's no longer hitting my lens but it's hitting him. So it's a really useful tool. Get a set of grids for your reflector. Your standard reflector heads, zoom reflector heads, whatever you're using, get a set of grids. 10, 20, 30 degree, and they allow a little bit more spread, and a little bit less spread. But they're very, very valuable tools that can really help you a lot. So, I think they're pretty important. So what we're doing here, as you can see, we're just going to put a little burst behind him here. Um. I want the burst to be a little bit brighter, so I'm talking it up about a stop. And I'ma raise it up, 'cause you know, he's a giant. Okay so, let's get back here and take a peek. Yeah I think I raised it too high, didn't I John? Sorry, drop it back down. You were right, I was wrong, I'm sorry. Maybe another two inches down. There you go, good, good, good. Jason, you look pretty good, buddy. Nice, nice, nice, great. Nobody moves, nobody moves, woohoo. (laughs) You, you're laughing at my woohoo. (laughing) So what's fun about this again, is we've got, we've got a little bit of variety that you can add because of the grid. And you can also do something that's kind of, kind of wonky and out of the way, that's kind of fun. Let's take that grid and put it, let's put it up really high, yeah let's make a diagonal slash of color, and take it up, take the power up to about maybe seven, 7.0 something like that, take it up. So what I'll do is, with the grid, I can almost get theatrical about this. If you've got a background, a muslin background or a drape or a velvet wall or a curtain, something like that, with something like this, all of a sudden I can get it real theatrical looking, by putting a grid in place, taking it that up very, very high, and sending it down at a bit of an angle, it just creates a cool swash of light, kind of a diagonal splash of light across one area of my photo. And then just pivot it to the left slightly, John, to hit the wall, I mean the background, even a little bit more, yeah right in there. So it's designed in such a way for here, in the position that it's in, it's kind of helping to, in one way, it's directing the viewers attention toward his face. It's driving the viewer to look at him and no else, right? So if I shoot it like this, we'll take a look, and I powered it up a little bit on the output, because I know I was going to lose some from the distance and from the height. So we now are just going to have this great little splash of light coming down. And then we can put another one on the other side, maybe down below, skimming light across. And imagine putting color color gels on those, and making this, put a little bit of a fog machine, or put a little diffusion in a can, you ever heard of that? You can buy a can of diffusion in a can. tss-tss, two little sprays of that, and it puts a mist in the air that just hovers for a while like smoke. And you send color lights through that, all of a sudden, he's on Broadway. (laughing) That's what it looks like. And so you put a little red gel up there, and a little purple gel down there, and we've got magic happening all of sudden. So it's kind of a cool, kind of a cool thing. Let's do this, John, let's go ahead and turn it from its position.
Let's go ahead and turn it, and let's get a little edge light on him from that, coming back toward him. When you place this accent light, what it's doing in this position, he's against a dark background. This is just going to separate him a little bit on this side and I ideally might want to put one on the other side too, but I don't want to get too cliche with it. I'm mostly, and mostly I'm not trying to create masterpieces today, as much as I'm trying to teach you something along the way, so we're going to try to keep it moving, but ideally, you know, I might have one on that side also. I might want to mention, if it looks like I'm hobbling around a little bit, I've been in a cast, big boot thing, since Super Bowl weekend. I just got out of it and my ankle's a mess, so I'm still hobbling a little bit, but I'm getting along a lot better than I was a few weeks ago. So yeah, let's measure that if you would. If you've got the meter there, and just aim it right back there, and again he's careful to make sure that this main light when it fires, doesn't hit that meter, the dome of the meter at all.
So then go ahead and pivot it toward him a little bit more, 'cause it should be brighter than that.
Well, I can bring it up. I brought it down quite a bit.
Oh you did, okay.
Oh, let's try it there.
All right. So on that 16, ideally I want this to be about a little bit above eight, 8 1/2, 8 2/3, f/9, f/10, somewhere along in there, maybe even f/11 would be good. Here we go, nobody moves, nobody gets hurt.
That's getting closer, go up three tenths, three or four tenths. There you go. I think we're there.
Yeah, I think we're there.
Okay let's do it, let's shoot one. So the placement of that light is critical on a couple of points. One, I don't want it to come around the corner and hit the tip of his nose. That's a little bit of a no-no. I do want to try to get his temple and the edge of his cheek and it gives me, it gives me shape, form and true dimension of his face. Does that make sense? Can you just push this one little wild hair back on that side? You did it, yep. Well there's one more but--
There's a lot of wild hair.
You got it (laughs) you got it, there you go. There you go. I think you got it right there. Real slightly bring your head to me, just a tiny bit. Right there, that's it. Don't do a thing, that's great. I'm going to do that same picture, I just want to come up closer now. Man, he's tall. (laughs) So here's the thing, with my camera, if I want to exaggerate his tilt, instead of having him do it and be uncomfortable, I can just go like this. I can do it just a little bit with my camera, and introduce that little bit of a tilt right there. Fold your arms for me, just fold yourself together right there. Yeah, right in there. And let's just turn your shoulders that way a bit now, bring your head back this way. Right there and your tip, right in there. Good, good, good, good, good, great. Now John, let's do one more thing. Oh that's coming in nice. Yeah, you guys seeing that accent? Interesting shot. There's a picture that Mark Seliger did, a very famous picture of Kurt Cobain, that breaks every rule of photography that I ever learned, but it's a great picture, because it's of, it's not a picture of someone, it's a portrait about someone. And it's about, and it looks like Kurt Cobain. It just looks like him. And basically, you want to pull this around that way? And I'll tell you when. Around more, more, more, more, more, more. Keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going. Right about, a little bit even further, John, and now I want you to tip it down a little bit, and then we're going to go higher. Right like that, yeah. Now go still a little bit higher with it. Great, great. So I want you to turn your head a tiny bit to the side, let your head tip over, and just let your eyes kind of close for a second like that. For just a second. I don't know what your pictures need to say, I'm not sure what you're shooting, but I do know that you can create quickly and easily, and control a mood, and make something happen that's totally different than what you might have planned initially. If that makes sense. I think small sources have a right to exist, and I think they're great for this type of thing, where I'm really trying to chisel out his features. You know, you can chisel out someone with really sculpted features. You need those shadows. You don't need the soft, comfortable, warm feel of a diffused, big soft box. You need that edge to the light.
So Tony, I know you said that in the bonus material, you have materials how to cover all sorts of face shapes, and what not. So can you walk us through of your thinking, so for example, he has a very long face, so if he comes in and he doesn't like it, and he wants to minimize that in photographs, what would you do to do that?
Yeah, so the first thing is, I would probably tend to raise his chin just a little bit, and not let his, when he ducks his head down, I'm afraid his face is going to even look more long. So I'm going to try to keep his head up a little bit, or maybe lower my shooting position slightly, I think would help that a little bit. And think in terms, too, about your highlights and your shadows. If I want to minimize, like for example, if he's got a long slender nose, the last thing I really need to do is draw attention to that. I want to light away from that not into that. So think about the trouble things and think about, it's almost like people have a weak eye, a lot of people have a smaller eye and a bigger eye. Do you put the smaller eye closer to the camera, or the smaller eye away from the camera? Most people say put it away from the camera. I tend to think the smaller eye would look better if it's closer to the camera. Because now it looks like they're closer to the same size. If I've got it closer to the camera. And it might even be better if I can use a longer lens, and get back a little bit and kind of compress that whole feel a little bit even further. So it is a matter of getting in the camera room and spending some time doing lots and lots of testing. The one thing that photographers need to do is find friends that are good looking friends, that you can shoot and test on all the time. That are willing to come in, and for pizza and beer, pose for you for a while. You know, you do that, you can really do some good. So okay, Jason, we got you for now.
Take a little bit of a break, and we're going to grab Mona here in a second, and drag her over here, and we'll put the beauty dish on her. One of the things that I learned early on, one of mentors was always telling me, you know, you've got to pay more attention to the details, pay more attention to the details. I didn't know what he meant by that. What he meant by that is simply this: if I'm going to do a headshot, it's Tom?
If I'm going to do a headshot of Tom--
Good luck. (laughing)
Okay, I'm not going to do a headshot of Tom. (laughing) But if I was going to do a headshot of Tom, from here to here, I don't have a lot of troubles to worry about, I've got his shoulders and I've got his head, and the position of his head. That's about the end of my troubles. If I back up to 3/4, now I see his hands, and the way his hands are positioned and posed. Now I've got to deal with his hands, and I've got to deal with the way that he's sitting, 'cause I don't want to shoot into the crotch, I need to turn him and reposition. Then if I back up a little bit further, and now I'm showing all the way down to his knees, and well now I've got to deal with his hips and his legs. Now if I shoot all the way back to here and do a full length, well now I've got to include the feet. Now we add a second person. So you've just exaggerated your, you've just raised your diving difficulty from the Olympics, just went from 3.7 difficulty to 7.4 difficulty. Just because there's so much more stuff you've got to pay attention to. So the quicker you can get with your tools, and the more automatic things become with your tools, the more you can pay attention to the details of your posing of your clients. Without losing time. And that's the key, is to be so efficient with your time, they never know how good you made them look, you know? I'll tell you one thing. One of the great tips I learned about photographing couples, this is one of those stupid little nuggets of couple posing that you'll always remember. Any time you're photographing a couple together, align one set of eyes with one mouth. What? Right. Align, if I've got two heads, and I align somebody's mouth with somebody's eyes, their heads are almost perfectly composed. And it doesn't really matter which one's which. One might be seated, one might be standing, or then one might be hugging, they may be moving in this way but align his mouth with her eyes, and the portrait will almost always work. And the head positioning is just great. But you got a 6'4 guy and a 5'2 woman, and they're like this, don't shoot them standing. You've got a problem you can't overcome. You better let him sit. So he's down here and she's up here leaning in, and her mouth is aligned with his eyes. Makes sense? So many details, right? Oh my gosh, somebody just show me where to put the lights. (laughing)