Light Shaping Tools for Professional Photographers

 

Light Shaping Tools for Professional Photographers

 

Lesson Info

Shooting with Two Standard Reflectors

So let's do this John, let's put that light on and let's put that on the background, and maybe pretty close behind him, and up fairly high, kinda between his shoulder blades, and let's set that, this is set to 5.0 power, let's set that to 4.0 power. Oh you smarty, you already did that. So this'll be a little bit of a below what I'm shooting at. There you go, yeah the free one, that's it, perfect, yup that's good. And let me just hit the test button, make sure that channel's set. Yup, okay good. So let's take a quick reading of the background, oh here, you wanna just grab that real quick? We just want a quick reading of the background, and I wanna read it a couple of different places. I wanna read it right in the center, here we go. 11.7. Okay, so what am I shooting at, do you guys remember? I'm shootin' 16, so I got 11.7 at the hottest point, well that's pretty close to what I'm shooting at, so what that means is it's a reality meter. That gray paper is gonna look like it's suppose...

d to look at its brightest spot. Now what that tells me is the rest of it's gonna start having immediately fall off to dark as we move over. So just go ahead John and measure again about six or eight inches away from center. Yup, right about there, it's gonna give me about an 11 I bet. 11 and a half here. 11 and a half, okay, go out a little bit further. 11.2. 11.2, a little further out. 80.9. Yeah, so I've got a falloff there of at least one full stop. If you want a greater falloff, just slide that thing forward a little bit. In fact, slide it six inches forward and let's pull the trigger and see what happens. Pivot the head John slightly, there you go, there you go, now we're good and straight. Okay, okay, we're good. Jason, you're a rambling guy Jason. He's got the best hair. (class laughs) I just hate that. (class laughs) Right? It's like come on, where'd my hair go? Alright, here we go, here we go, good, good, good. Great, great, great, great. Interesting thing about when you start doin' this stuff, you really do, you get to understand your tools pretty well, then you have to let go of the tools and stop thinkin' about the tools and start thinkin' about him. And I'll connect with him in a second, I haven't connected with him yet. But if you think about it, a lot of people don't know this, in photography, your clients are not selecting you because you're the best photographer in town, I'm sorry to break it to you. You have to be able to pull off the job, but all of you, across the country, everywhere, across the world, people are selecting you because of a connection they have with you, or that they want with you, or because someone referred them to you, or because they know you did a great job with so and so. There's a connection that has to be made here. If your pictures are great, that's even better, but it's because of you. So here's what the problem is, the problem is so many people that'll shoot like this, okay, here we go, Jason, good, bam, and then plug and look at the back of their camera, and hit some buttons, and then they say, okay, let's do another one, here we go, bam. They don't know what you're doin', but what they do know is you're disconnecting from them. Once you're dialed in, once you know what you're doin', stop all the testing. Stop looking after every frame and start shooting, and work with him, and start working with some great expressions. Jason you look great, let's try to kill one right here, here we go, good, let's check it, I just wanna look at the background real quick, make sure we like what we're seein'. I love what we're seein' so far. You seein' that background burst? It's a real comfortable burst. It's got full range detail, it's within the range of contrast that I can handle on my camera, or that a piece of paper can handle. It's got a natural built in vignette to it, and it separates him nicely from the background. Makes sense? Great, let's push it forward a little bit more John, just brighten that up just a tiny bit. I'm lookin' at my histogram, and I think he's down just a little bit, I'm gonna open up one third of a stop. And here we go, so now instead of f16, now I'm at f14, good, good, good. Okay, do this for me now Jason, sit up good and tall, and just fold your arms for me. And turn your head right to the camera, just turn straight into the camera, and now let the top of your head just go like this. Chin up a tiny bit. Hey John, can you move that background light over about three or four inches? I just got it in the frame. Right there, and there you go, with the cord, good. Good, good, good, right there. That is good, let's do one more of those. Little serious on this one, this is the I'm serious, I'mma knock you in the head kind of look. There you go. (laughs) Now let's do the friendly one for your new album cover, your new CD cover, yay here we go. Good, good, good, let your head tip over just a bit more right there. Interesting thing too, with a little tip of the head, you can turn a masculine pose, if you're not careful, into a feminine pose. With a masculine pose, I need him tipping toward the light, toward forward, what I don't need is let the head tip back this way just a little bit, now I've got a feminine tilt. I can't let that happen. Bring your head back over the other way. And then I can exaggerate that by having a ball head on my tripod, I can correct and fix that just a little bit right here. I got in real trouble one year photographing Miss Hawaii, she had these really long hangly dangling earrings, and I had this great angle on her face, and I tipped I way over here, and I'm shootin', bam, bam, bam. Well the pictures came back, and this was before digital. Pictures came back and the earrings are like this, it's like ah, you idiot. So that took a little work to get that straightened out. But that works fine for him. I think that works fine. His face isn't too shiny, he looks pretty happy, he looks like a rambling guy, I think he looks good. Good, good, good. Let's do one, John let's get him to stand up, can you just pull that stool outta there? And again, I'm just leavin' this, for the sake of the horizontal viewing, I'm just leavin' my camera horizontal for most of the stuff that we'll be shooting, but I would probably go to vertical for this. My goodness he's tall. My goodness, I missed that part. Okay, so I need one of those apple boxes over in the corner. (laughs) 'Cause I gotta get taller. It's not that I'm afraid of heights, but I don't like bein' this tall, I'm just sayin'. Perfect. Perfect. Just let me get over here. Now I got him. And John if we could just raise that background light. Let me just look right here. Yeah, why don't you go ahead and raise up that background light also, and I'll tell you when to stop. Go ahead, I wanna see a little bit of light between your arm and your tummy there, there you go, right in there, like that. That actually looks pretty good. I'm just gonna move my tripod out of the way for a second. And I'm gonna come back just a little bit more, sort of like that. There we go, good, good, good. I like this look a lot, can you just bring your head around a little bit further? I rarely like to shoot a broad lit side of the face, but with his face, it works. I wanna see your elbows bend a tiny bit, can you just raise your hands up a tiny bit higher? Yeah, but keep your elbows kinda out a little bit, yeah, yeah, right there, yeah. I know it feels awkward. Okay, I'll shoot one vertical, because I need to. Great, great, good. Okay, relax for just a second. So let's talk about this. Is this a usable portfolio piece for him? Is it too dramatic? Does it need to have light in the shadow? What do we need? The good news is, when you are in the studio with a client like this, you're havin' a collaboration, and you're talkin' about it. We couldn't talk about it much in the world of film. We couldn't look at their images, we couldn't do a quick, easy review, unless we were shootin' a ton of Polaroid instant proofing. So this gives us the ability to do some things that we never had before. Digital, I think guys, was designed to save you time and money, and if digital is costing you time and money, then we got a problem, you're not doin' it right. Somethin's wrong if you're spending all of your nights editing 'til midnight. We gotta find ways to make some of that work a little bit smoother.

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.