Shooting with a Large White Deep XL Umbrella


Light Shaping Tools for Professional Photographers


Lesson Info

Shooting with a Large White Deep XL Umbrella

So what we wanna do, this is the extra large, deep umbrella that's a white surface umbrella. This is a big honking umbrella. This is a nice big, big source that will light up the world. And that's what it's really good at. If you're in a small studio and you're trying to control light, do not get one of these. If you're gonna be in a area where you need to light a big area or a lot of people, this is the guy you want on your team. Man, he's terrific. So what I'll do is, we're gonna light up Stacy here in a sec. Let me put that on. It's already high on that one. So I'm thinking, as I was changing my power, just so you'll know what my thinking is, as I was changing my power, I'm thinking, "Oh, that's a good high ratio. "That'll be nice. "Oh, but my background might be a little too sharp." But I looked back to see if it was wrinkled. So that's the way my brain was working just then. Sorry, I just thought maybe somebody might wanna climb in there and see what's going on in there. There's a...

lot of little small things going on. Okay, so, Miss Stacy, come on over and let's light you up with this big, honking umbrella, my big brelly. Let's put you right about, let's move you a little further away from that background, right about, there we go. Maybe even a little bit more this way. There we go. And then, John, we'll just back you up a little big further away. I'm gonna move this guy back over a little bit further. Okay. There we go. Good, good, good. Yep. Okay, and go ahead, John, just for fun to start off with, go ahead and bring it around toward me a little bit more. There we go, there we go. And let's go a little higher and then we'll need to get a reading real quick. The thing about these big sources are that they are, as all the tools are, they are designed for specific things. Lighting a lot of people, lighting a big area, but what they also do is they eliminate certain problems. Like with her, I can shoot pretty full-length with this light and not have horrible shadows on the ground. And I can also get light pretty close to being full-length from her head to her feet with even exposure. And that's pretty important. I mean, it's certainly important if you're shooting something that I've got an ad for the shoes or the jeans, the skinny jeans or whatever it is that you're shooting. You've gotta make sure that the tool matches the usage. So, that's the point. That's why you have to have so many things. That's why one soft box doesn't work. You gotta buy, you know, 10. Okay, three. Small, medium, large. Yep, I'm ready. You ready? (beep) 11 1/2. Perfect. So, I'm gonna take it down. (beeping) Okay, there we go. So now I'm gonna shoot at 11. Okay, so, I love you're standing exactly right, her feet are perfect, your hands look great, your hair looks, you look good. Well, thanks. No problem. Just bring your head, just your head around a bit. A little bit more, right there. Good, good, good. And watch what happens when you see this background light up on her. I'm gonna come in pretty close for this first shot. Here we go, here we go. Okay, good. Woops, sorry. Eleven, right? Yes. Okay, here we go, good. Great. Great, great, great. I heard another beep somewhere. Is that this one beeping? The beeps, yes. (beep) That's the only one beeping, okay. It just sounded like I'm hearing one from over in another corner there. I hear an an echo in the (mumbles). Yeah, it's an echo. That's what it is, it's a weird echo thing. So that looks a little bit hot on the monitor. Well, but I powered it down a little bit. I didn't power it down enough. On my screen it looks pretty good, though. Let me just look at the histogram real quick. And you can see the histogram. I've got some pretty good detail in the histogram. And I certainly do have a good gap on the right side, so I'm not in danger of clipping anything, but I just think she does look a little bit bright. So I am gonna pull down about a third of the stop, so I'll just pull down the power. There's one-tenth, two-tenths, three-tenths. So, I'm just giving it a little bit less light by one-third of a stop. Okay, and now just bring your head, that's it right there. Great. A little sparkle in your eyes, my dear. Good, good. Nice, nice. Now, I'm gonna pull back a little bit. Just gonna glance at this one. There it is. I like that better. Okay, so I'm gonna back up just a little bit more and show a little bit more of her. Watch out behind me there, boys and girls. Here we go. And let me just see. John, can you take a reading? So, go ahead and get a reading at her shoulder and then one, yep, right there, here we go. (beep) Good. Eleven, two. Okay, go on right there, perfect. And aim it more toward the light. There you go. (beep) 8 1/2. So, I'm losing about a half stop, maybe three-quarters of a stop. So now, if we can just tip it down a little bit further. It's not really adversely affecting her face if I tip that big a source. So I can tip it down just a little bit more and I can more evenly alight that. Now, you can lower that too. I mean, I can lower the light source down, but when I do that, then I lose the nice 45 directionality, which has created a nice depth and dimension. And I do like that depth and dimension. It's something that's pretty important to me. So, I'm a pretty big fan. Okay, we all set? Okay, here we go, my dear. Let me take a look at ya and bring your head around again. And bring your shoulders to me a tiny bit. That's it right there. Good, nice. Let's just do one with your hands. Just let your hands go straight down. That's perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Here we go. Great. Let me just check my sharpness there. Good, good, good. Great. Got it right after she blinked. Did you all see that? Okay, so how's our background looking? It's looking like it looks. Right, it's looking like it looks. That can be a big thing. It can be an important part of this. It means that if you like the density of your background, if I use a source this large, especially an umbrella, because of the nature, by the way the light comes out of that thing, it comes barreling out of there, it goes all over the place. Scott, if you were standing over there by that footstool, that block, you don't have to do it, but I'm saying if you were, your exposure on you is gonna be about the same as the exposure on her. It gets light everywhere and it's great. It's also terrible. So, right? Any questions about that? Grab a mic. So you've certainly focused on the use of your light meter, and yet what you just did was your light meter gave you a number and you looked at your image and said, "Oops, that's not right." And you still have a lot of space between on the right side. I do, but here's the thing, and the reason I've got the space over there, I'm okay with that space. There's nothing in the scene that's anywhere near white. So, just because I've got space over in that histogram doesn't mean that I necessarily have to stretch my exposure all the way across there. I just felt that her skin looked a little bit lighter than it needed to look. That was a subjective decision on my part, so I just brought it back a little bit, by one-third of a stop. Okay. If I was shooting this for the company that made that dress for a catalog, in frame number she would hold the little colored checkered passport. That's right, card. And then I would go through the motion of exporting to the preset to the color checker and then I would do a one-click adjustment and I'd be dead-on. So, you wanna be absolutely accurate on exposure and color with that kind of a use. But I just felt that her skin was a little bit bright. And it might not be. And she might like it that way. You know, there's a lot of women that like light skin and they don't wanna get out in the sun, they don't wanna tan. That's okay, nothing wrong with that. Okay, so, interesting thing because it's so big, and because it sends light everywhere, we all have a tendency to use it in ways like this. But we can also bring it in and bring it in and bring it in closer and closer and closer and work it like we would any other big source and it gives unique looks too. And we'll do that in just a second. I'm gonna lower this just a little bit, maybe about like that, and I wanna do one more and I'm gonna back up just a tiny bit further. And I'm not gonna clean up the floor and the wrinkles and all that kind of stuff, but I do want to just show you, and we talked about this yesterday also. As I'm photographing someone full-length or close to full-length, or whatever, as I move further and further away from subject, I get a little bit lower and lower and lower with my lens so that I'm never looking up or looking down at my subject. I wanna look straight in. I feel that they will be less, there'll be a less chance of foreshortening their length if I can keep my camera pretty flat coming in. Does that make sense? Kind of? Okay. Okay, here we go, here we go, Kiddo. You look good, you look good. All right, one big source, one big honking umbrella. Full-length, there we go. Histogram's coming up good. She looks good. We got her feet well-lit. Everything looks pretty good. So, it kind of proves a point that you can do this work with one source. Let me just do this and... So, we got good exposure down there. I don't have any worry of anything blocking up down below, anything like that. Yes, ma'am, question. I just wanna clarify that when you do back up to do a full-length shot, that your goal is to keep your primary focus point, for example, like at her waist or chest line area, just so she fills the frame fully and equally. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. And, again, the reason for that is I don't want to have my camera that or that. Now I will say this, one of the fun things about shooting full-length that really gives a unique look and people can't figure out what you did, if you've got a long enough lens... If you've got a 300 or longer, if you've got a 300 mm lens or a 400 mm, I can get all the way back and shoot a full-length and I can get down on the ground and skim across the ground and my camera's slightly looking up, but the viewer doesn't know that I'm looking up slightly because the focal length compresses everything to such a degree that you won't even know that I'm looking up and there's a cool, cool shot. And it's a cool, cool look that nobody ever sees. They're like, "How did you do that?" Well, I'm a half a block away on my stomach. But they didn't know I was a half a block away on my stomach. All they know is they have never seen anything quite like that. And what that does is, think about being outside on a sunny day and I've got my diffusion panel and I'm doing a head-shot for Stacy here with my panel. Well if she says, "Oh, I need a full-length also." If I back up to do the full-length, let's say I've got a big panel so it's all the way to the ground. Well, the problem is I've got a light area out here that's not diffused on the ground and then I've got her standing in this shadow-looking area that's being diffused. Well if I go back and do a full-length from back there, I'm seeing the light area and I'm seeing the dark area where the panel is. Well, if I can get back there on my tummy, I'm skimming across the ground, I'll never see it. Make sense? Problem Solving 101, that's what we do. That's our job. You think you're photographers, you're not. You're furniture movers and contrast controllers, that's it, that's what we do here at Photo City. We move furniture a lot and we have to control contrast and we're problem solvers. I mean we are digging our way out of problems all the time. That's what we do, that's what our job is. I'm gonna bring this in a little bit closer. Let's let her sit for this one, John. And I'm gonna bring this in quite a bit closer. I love these big sources, you guys. I mean, you can obviously tell that I'm a fan. The bigger the better. When I saw this Douglas Dubler shoot with this 15 foot gigantic, enormous light source in New York with his gray reflector, I've never seen a picture as pretty coming out of a camera. And he shot it with a 15 foot monster satellite. It looked just like this, except it was 15 foot. Huge source, and you're like, "Why would anybody ever use one of these?" And I'll just show you one picture and you'll go, "Oh, I see why." I mean, it's a great picture. Okay, so, let me take a quick reading of that. Let's get a quick look at this. And I might be a little bit high with that still. Let me bring that light down a little bit lower. There we go, good. Good, good, good. Yep? Tony, will you tell us again what was it on her face that you saw when you said, "I gotta move that light down." Just now? Yeah. Her eyes are a little bit deep set and I was losing the catch light in her left eye. And so I felt like if I lowered that light just a little bit, (finger snap) I can sparkle up both eyes. And for me, if I can't have good, sparkly eyes, I can't sell the picture. So, that's all. I'm sorry, I should have mentioned that. No, that's all right, yeah. I'm glad you caught that because sometimes people do wonder, "Well, why is he moving that?" And I do need to be better about explaining what I'm doing. I forget sometimes how many people are watching. There's probably three or four, I'm sure. Okay, so, there you go, here we go. Ready, set. (beep) 16. Even? 16.1. Okay, fine. Sixteen, I have no problem shooting it at 16 you guys. Some people do, I don't. Now, again, can you just turn toward the light for me? And your chest, your legs, your hips, just turn way. Yeah, now, just like that and just turn your head to me a little bit. I'm gonna do two pictures here and you tell me which one you like better. Okay, so, here comes our first one. Oops let me get back up here where I was. Okay, just kind of lean forward just a little bit and turn your head to me, just a bit, right there. So here's the first one. Good. Now, let's spin you the other way. And, again, just a little bit further that way. Yep, and now just your head back this way. Leave your shoulders right where they are and just bring your head, a little bit more. Right there, right there, right there, right there. (laughing) Okay, so, let's take a look at this. There's the first one, there's the second one. Now, you tell me which one is she gonna like more. Look at the light trap on her chest. You think this is the one she'd like better? Right. So this is what I'm saying, but you see how it's a light trap? That's my problem with women posed into the light. By slightly turning her the opposite direction, all of a sudden I've got a shot that I can sell maybe, but with it flat in, I gotta do a lot of repair work. It just doesn't look right and it adds weight, I think. So, there's no reason to do that. I love this big umbrella and this close. You can come take a look. You can't see from over there. Come over and look at this. So, here's before. And just look at the hot spot on your chest and there's after. Totally different look, right? So, we gotta pay attention to all those kind of things. Man, there's a lot to think about, isn't there. You guys all thought you were gonna come in here and I was gonna show you where to put the lights. Sorry. There's more to it than this. Okay, so, let's get you to just lean again, just lean over. Yeah, yeah, yeah, just bring your head. Yep, and your shoulders back. Yeah, yeah, you got it. You got it, girl. Okay, here we go. Good. And let's just bring your head around a little bit further. Chin down a little bit, right there, good. Go ahead and bring your arms up, just kind of fold your arms together. There we go, great. That's fun. Good, good. Let's do another one of those. Bring your shoulders a little bit more this way. Let's just for fun, let's just push your hair back all the way. There you go. Great. Nice. Just clipped off your hand. Let me give you a little more room here. I hate when that happens. Great. Get one more of those. Good, okay. Exposure wise, I think we're looking good there. She looks good, blue looks like the blue looks. I think it looks pretty good. So, this thing will work for full-length. It'll work for two people. It'll work for five people. In fact, let's do a really fast picture. Let's pull that back, John, and let's get about three or four of you guys up here. We're gonna put you in the picture, sorry. You stay right there. You're the kid came home from college. (girl laughing) You just got home from college and they're all hovered around you and we're doing a family portrait. There just thrilled to have you here. Pull down your shirt just a tiny bit. There you go. Okay, now you guys just come forward a bit. Come in, come in, oh, this is good. This is good. I'm just gonna back up. Gimme a quick shot there, John. Here we go. 11. Eleven, so I'm gonna go to F11 I got no problem holding everybody sharp. Oh, this is good, this is good, this is good. Everybody looks so scared, though. Okay, the last you do when you do a shot like this at the very last minute, everybody just lean in, everybody lean in, lean, lean, lean. Good, good. We're happy, we're having fun, we're having fun. Can you come around the corner just a little bit more, Gene. Yeah, there you go. Perfect, okay relax. Go sit down now. The idea is this, you guys, it does sent light all over the place and it's real fun to do it this way. I just have so much fun shooting big sources. I just love it. I just love what they do.

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. 


Stefan Legacy

Bought this class on sale for 19$ and it was a great buy considering it was my first class I purchased on CL. Tony is an excellent teacher and demonstrates extensive knowledge on lighting and different uses of modifiers. Overall this is an excellent course for any one who is interested in learning studio lighting, this will give you a great detail of information.

a Creativelive Student

This is my first time watching Tony Corbell teach and work he was great! I am a natural light photographer and this class made me think about picking up some lights and umbrellas! You can tell he absolutely loves what he does. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

a Creativelive Student

Important information if you want to be a photographer. Great teacher, good pace!!