Light Shaping Tools for Professional Photographers



Lesson Info

Shoot using One Reflector

Jason, come on over. How you doing? Well. How are you? Good. Thanks for doing this for us today. Let's move you-- Let's move you right about there, I think. Maybe a little bit more. Let's put you right about there. Why don't you come around the front here, and just go ahead and have a seat and put one foot up on the stool. Let's maybe turn you-- let's start off with turning you this way. Interesting thing, when you pose women and men, there are some rules in posing that we'll talk about as we roll through the day, and for tomorrow too. With men, you can pretty much get a way with doing anything. With women, there's some very specific things you can't do, and that you shouldn't do. But with him, and with this color top, we have no problem doing pretty much whatever we wanna do. I would say, let's turn you a tiny bit further that way. And then, from your waist, just lean over your belt a bit. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And bring your head to me, just a little. And just let the top of your hea...

d roll over to the side. Right there. John, can you just bring that this way a bit? And let me make sure our tether is and that's hooked up. That sees that. And let me turn this guy on. You got my handy-dandy meter? Yeah. How's the height in this? It's gonna need to go a little bit higher, I think. Not too much. Yeah, right in there is gonna be good. We see those eyes? Yeah, that's gonna work. Interesting thing about working with John is I didn't have to tell John, "John, where's my light meter?" He's already found it, it's around his neck already. That's what I like about John (laughs). We've done this a few times together. A few. All right, let's try one right there. Here we go. And if you'll notice folks, I'm taking my meter reading with the dome of the meter aimed toward my light source. The reason here is, this incident dome literally gives me reality. As long as I use it in such a way that there's no shadow on the dome when I make the exposure. If there's shadow on the dome when I make the exposure, I got myself a problem. Because I'm gonna get a little bit of overexposure. So aiming it toward the camera is fine, if my light is within 45 degrees of my camera. But if I'm going around a little bit further, you really need the meter back toward the light source itself. It's 16 even. Well there ya go. I love 16, 16 is my favorite number. So we're shooting at, I've set my shutter speed up to 1/ just because it's my de facto standard. Tony, Just a quick one Tony. You always keep the dome out in these circumstances? It's a great question. I do. And some people don't. I've just always found that I've had better luck with my dome in the out position. If it goes in, I think it was designed for flat art copy. In other words, if I've got a copy, I do a flat art copy of a painting, for example. If I recess the dome, it's very exact. So, I can lay that on a piece of copy board and move it around, corner to corner, up and down, corner to corner, and I can get exactly what the reality is on each of those exact areas around-- With a face, I can fudge a little bit and it's a little bit more forgiving. But I'm still gonna get an accurate reading. So, the dome out seems to work. The only challenge is, sometimes I'll have top light that's causing me a problem, and I'll just need to stick my hand over the top of it, just to make sure there's no stray light hitting the top of the dome. But, for the most part. Yeah, for the most part, what I'm talking about is with the dome. This is the Sekonic 758, and I have the ability to turn that in this way or bring it out this way. So, bringing it out, to me seems to make sense. And I get good true readings. You're doing a differential measuring, so you have two or three lights. You always keep it out? Always. One to the next, to the next. Always. Okay. And I make sure-- And that's a good point to illustrate. If there's multiple lights on the set. I've already established, right here, the exposure on Jason's gonna be f/16. With it right as his face, aimed at the light. Bam! F/16. Now, if I aim an accent light from back here, for example, this way. I want to make sure that that light doesn't effect that reading for that light. So I'll make sure that this light is hidden and I'm not getting any hit on that dome from any other sources. It just gives me-- It just makes me-- Think about it as tenth accuracy, one-tenth accuracy. I wanna be accurate. I want my exposures to be accurate. So I can do it that way. Okay? Okay, so... Let's shoot that. I don't know why that's giving me a 2.5 aperture instead of-- Here we go. Okay. I'm up there at f/16 now. Yep. I think I'll go ahead and set this-- Actually, I'm just gonna leave it horizontal for this screen. I think it's easier to read. I'll just leave it horizontal. Know that if it feels like it's a vertical shot, I would have probably shot it vertical. Jason do this for me. I need ya to sit up real good and straight, and then kind of lean forward, right over your belt. Interesting thing. I always say that. Don't tell people to lean forward, because they'll lean right at you. I don't want a lean at me, I want them to lean right over their belt. And then just let the-- let your head turn to me, just a bit. Yeah, now the top of your head over right there. Right there, right there, right there! Now you're cooking, now you're cooking. Boy I tell ya, these young, good looking guys. I tell ya, I have no patience for this sort of thing. (mild chuckle) Let me just scoot right in here. Great! Great! Great! I just got my new glasses and my diopter's a little bit wonky. (camera clicks) Here we go. Good. Let me just set that right there. Here we go. Good. Let's see what happens. So The interesting thing about photographing men-- I think I'm shooting raw, so I'm just sending the raw files over. They'll take about a second or two to get over there. But, what's fun about photographing men, especially, is-- Can I open up the-- let me open up the develop module. Can I do it this way? Oh! Well let me just-- I just wanna hit the develop so I can-- I just wanna see my histogram. That's the main thing. There we go! And I'm not seeing histogram. Where are we? Anyway, the main thing here is I can't see the finished screen from where I'm looking, but you guys can see the exposure looks pretty terrific. The color balance looks pretty terrific. There ya go. Now we got histogram. Now, let's talk about-- let's talk about the picture. In terms of quality of light, I'm not sure that it's the greatest yet. But in terms of quantity of light, how's the exposure look? The exposure looks pretty good. I didn't try to second guess the meter. I did exactly what the meter told me to do. Color balance, what do ya think color balance looks like? Looks pretty darn good. He looks like he looks. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. (mutual laughter) Jason I'm just-- it's just a thing. Ya look like ya look. I use, in my settings here, these lights are balanced for daylight. I don't have to second guess those or use a color checker chart in these frames with Profoto lights, because I just set my preset in my camera to daylight. These lights are set for daylight. And they seem to be reliable at full power, half power, quarter power, and all their different light-- lights across the board. They're all balanced for daylight. And they just work for me. So, I don't have to-- that's one more thing I don't have to think about, and try to test, and try to find ways to see if it's gonna make sense, and see if it's gonna work. It just works. So, in this case, it's a small edge light. It's a cutting light source. John bring it toward me just a little bit. Little bit more. I'm trying to look at that-- both of his eyes. I just wanted to look at-- I wanna take a good look at the catchlight in both eyes. (clears throat) Here we go. Good, good, good. That looks pretty good. Right there, good. Lense-wise today, I'm shooting an 85 1 4, The 85mm f/1.4 Sigma. I'm seeing great sharpness through this lense. I'm new to this lense, but I'm seeing really good things with it. And it's rapidly becoming a new thing that I kind of like a lot. So, basically, if I zoom in on his eyes, you can see-- you can see the catchlight in the eyes, which is a mirrored image of the light source. That's what a specular highlight's defined as. Mirrored image of whatever's creating the light source. So, it's a small source. It's very highly polished. Sharp edge shuttle from the nose. Highlight on the tip of the nose. Is it bad that it looks like it's a small, shiny source? A small specular source? No, it is appropriate for some subjects, in some situations. It does work. It works great with good, smooth skin also. And it works great for men and ready complexions it works really good. It works great if you've got a subject that's got one of those weathered old faces, and you just wanna bring out some grit in that face. Use a smaller source and you can bring out-- Think about the definition of what is texture. Texture is nothing more than light skimming across a surface creating little miniature highlights and shadows. Right? If I've got wrinkles, they're gonna be more pronounced than a smaller source. Especially if it's at an acute angle skimming across the face, than if I bring it closer to the camera and flat light something, and then all of the shadows and highlights go away. Interesting thing about wrinkles. There needs to be a discussion about wrinkles. How, in fact-- What do wrinkles appear as? What do you think a wrinkle appears as? Shadow. On light skin. On dark skin, wrinkles appear as highlights. Totally different discussion, because I've gotta control the shadows and/or the highlights. If I've got a couple coming in for an Anniversary portrait and they're celebrating their 50th Anniversary, I've gotta know that-- What's my first clue? They've been married 50 years, there's probably a wrinkle or two involved. Not something I wanna use with a small source if I'm trying to create a complimentary likeness. I'm gonna want a bigger source, probably closer to the camera, to minimize that texture. Now, if I'm doing an old salty dog sea captain, wearing a seafaring cap, holding a corn cob pipe on the coast of Maine, with a gray old grisly beard, I might want a small source to create more of that grisly look. So it's all about what is the intended use. What are you trying to say with the picture? Whatever tool you need, that's the one you need to grab and touch. I think this looks good with his face. I think it works pretty good. Now is it dark in the background? Yeah, I've got nothing going on here except the small source on him. We'll fix that. We'll work on that. Now, in terms of posing, he looks like he's falling out of the picture a little bit. So watch this. Jason, all I want you to do is take your right hand and push it out towards your knee. Little bit further. Little bit further. I just need to see a tiny bit of that back arm, that back shoulder. Now I'm seeing a little bit of it in the frame, and it just changed the picture completely. And it made it a little bit more-- it gave-- What my first mentor told me any photograph of a person, where they're sitting, and they're kind of isolated in the frame. You gotta have a base to the frame. Your composition needs a base. Well, now I've got a base. See it? You see the difference between the two? If I go back and forth from that one to that one. There, he looks like he's gonna fall over. There, he's anchored, he's got a base. So think about that in terms of posing one, two, three people. Give them a base, somehow, and it's almost like you're creating stability in the picture.

Class Description

Light is the photographer’s most powerful medium. Professional photographers know how to shape it and reflect it, divert it and redirect it. They can tame its harshness and coax it into a subtle glow, use it to dispel troublesome shadows or highlight a striking moment. 

Effectively curating light during a shoot can bridge the gap between mediocre images and truly captivating photography. All it takes to bend light to your will is knowledge of the right gear, and when to use it. Tony Corbell is a professional photographer and a master of studio lighting. Join Tony for this course, and you will learn:

  • How to use light shaping tools and their specific uses
  • How to creatively use reflectors of all kinds
  • How to use soft boxes, umbrellas, ring flashes, and other unique tools in the studio
Tony will draw on his decades of experience to teach you a full technical understanding of the gear you need to shape light to your purpose.