Skip to main content

Lighting 101

Lesson 57 of 65

Case Study 4 - Family Portrait

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

Lighting 101

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

57. Case Study 4 - Family Portrait


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Chapter 1 Introduction Duration:01:26
2 Why Just One On-Camera Flash Duration:04:22
3 5 Reasons to Use Flash Duration:10:37
4 Common Flash Myths Duration:06:51
6 Chapter 2 Introduction Duration:01:36
9 Flash vs. Ambient Demo Duration:06:42
13 Understanding Flash Duration Duration:08:37
14 Chapter 3 Introduction Duration:01:34
15 5 Common Key Light Patterns Duration:08:38
18 3 Primary Subject Patterns Duration:05:27
19 Light Qualities Duration:09:56
20 The Inverse Square Law Duration:07:50
21 Inverse Square Law in Practice Duration:08:21
22 Corrective White Balance Duration:10:02
23 Creative White Balance Duration:05:47
24 Chapter 4 Introduction Duration:01:58
25 On Board vs. Hot Shoe Flash Duration:05:57
27 TTL vs. Manual Control Duration:08:12
28 TTL vs. Manual Recycle Times Duration:04:43
29 Flash Power & Zoom Duration:09:18
30 HHS vs. ND Filters Duration:12:29
31 FCS vs. RCS Duration:07:11
32 Chapter 5 Introduction Duration:01:38
34 Bare Bulbing Done Right Duration:11:42
35 Grid Snoot + Direct Flash Duration:06:43
36 Mini Beauty + Direct Flash Duration:06:08
37 Ring + Direct Flash Duration:07:52
38 Understanding Modifiers Duration:09:24
39 Direct Flash + Shutter Flash Duration:09:07
40 Chapter 6 Introduction Duration:01:55
42 Silver Bounce Duration:14:27
43 More Light Silver Duration:11:02
44 Soft White Bounce Duration:15:41
45 Overhead Bounce Duration:11:39
46 Overhead Bounce + Fill Duration:09:42
47 Event Bounce Duration:12:42
48 Chapter 7 Introduction Duration:01:38
49 Natural vs. Dramatic Light Duration:17:43
53 Chapter 8 Introduction Duration:00:43
54 Case Study 1 - Dramatic Sunset Duration:09:45
55 Case Study 2 - Desert Sunset Duration:10:04
57 Case Study 4 - Family Portrait Duration:08:21
59 Case Study 6 - Working Angles Duration:07:22
61 Case Study 8 - Less is More Duration:07:16
62 The Good Karma Jar Duration:01:41
63 Favorite Feature Flashes Duration:05:52
64 Favorite Manual Flashes Duration:21:35

Lesson Info

Case Study 4 - Family Portrait

All right, So casestudy it Number four. I'm gonna do away with the obnoxious Kool Aid Slash Slim Jim Man. Oh, yeah, thing. And let's just talk about Family Portrait's when it comes to shots like this, while it looks very simple and looks very natural and candid and so forth, there are a lot of things going through my mind, particularly cause we're dealing with family portrait, and we're dealing with Children any time we're dealing with Children. There's a lot of additional things that I'm thinking about because you don't necessarily know how much time you have when you're shooting kids. If you've done a lot of family. Porter, do you know that whenever kids are involved, you're essentially on what I refer to as borrowed time? You're on their time, and when they decide they've had enough, they've had enough. That means that we need to move quick. We need to do things that are very fast, very efficient, and we need to keep them involved and engaged at the shoot. Otherwise, when they decid...

e they've had enough, it's over. And that was exactly the case in the shoot, because about 30 minutes into the shoot, she did something. I think she tripped or something. And she kind of hit her wrist when Mom and Dad were holding her hand and she got upset and when Caitlin got have said she just wanted to basically stop shooting and we couldn't get her back into the shooting, saying I thought, You know, it's really good that we moved so quickly and got so many shots at the beginning of the shoot because we actually have a lot of fantastic images for them, and it was only like we only got like, minutes of actual photos out of them. So here's some of the tips that I have a real when we're doing these kind of shots, we need to move quickly. And one of the things that I love doing is this whole reflector bounce technique is one of my favorite techniques when shooting images like this, because it is so fast and it gives you great results and it's so easy to set up. And when you're in the right type of lighting situation, you can get a good recycled time as well if you keep your flash power down just a bit. So how do we approach this scene? Well, when we got here, I saw this beautiful backlit area. I saw the grass. So and this is the funny thing. If you're looking at at an area of nature, if you're looking at it, head on with the light coming from behind you, Right? So the light from the sun is directly lighting that area. It's gonna look like bunk. It's gonna look really, really crappy and really bad. And it doesn't look good. And I always tell my clients, Oh, don't worry. You need to walk to the other side and looked back towards where the sun is. And as soon as we do that, like every single time you walk to the other side, turn around. You're like, Oh, my gosh, this is like a scene from a movie or something. Everything's backlit and looks so beautiful and that your client will think this guy's crazy. Awesome. He knows exactly what he's talking about. This area looked like junk. I would have never shot here. But as soon as he walked to that other side to look like magic, these are wonderful little tricks that make you look like a magician. I love looking like a magician. Magician pie. Okay, So once I get into that scene, we sit him down and again, I look in my life. I take my test shot right in this test shot. I have this beautiful background. And what am I thinking in my mind? As far as dramatic versus natural, I'm shooting family. I'm shooting candidates. I want natural. What does that mean? The background needs to be the background. Needs to be a little bit brighter. I'm not gonna try and under expose and politic him down and make it super dramatic cause it's not gonna fit the mood of our shot, depending on how dramatic you want. I'm sorry. Dependent. How natural. How bright you want the background. That's really a stylistic decision. That's up to you for me. I want a little bit of richness in it. I wanted some of the highlights were blown, but I also wanted to see some of the color in there. So this is the explosion I went with for my base shop. What is that exposure? I'm on the Sigma 50 millimeter, 1.4 art. This is the cannon 50 mil and then I have the camera, The camera set to 1 200 of a second F two and I so 50 inside the shaded area will with where the sun is. We don't need a neutral density filter dropping Isil 50 with enough again. I'm not concerned about the little loss and dynamic range because I'm letting things blow out. Anyway, I'm not trying to capture all the detail and go for a super dramatic shot. I wanted to be a little bit more natural, a little bit brighter. So this is the exposure that we land that at F two. I can still get them very sharp and create beautiful separation between the background. But I do remind them I remind Mom and I run. Dad, just keep your face is kind of close and not in front or behind of each other or in front of your daughter. Okay. From there, all I do is I have my reflector, Westcott. Five and one have a white over a silver in the shot, my assistance holding off to the right side. I've decided that I like the way that this looks and notice as faras lights go, let's count how many different lights we have set up here. We have the sun, which is coming in as a back light on the entire scene. Right? I've placed them naturally over the highlights in the scene. You guys noticed that? So the highlight areas kind of drawn right in this area. The image there's a little more highly on this side. That's OK. We're still good. It the trees on the side aren't as good, which is why I'm kind of focusing them over here we have. So we have their back, and like we have our kind of are just little room light that's coming in on the right side of her body right there. And we have a kicker coming in on the left side of his face right here. We have a soft Phil, naturally coming in from the right front of their faces. You can see it right here wrapping over each of them. The only problem is that Phil is not enough to be a main light right. But it still has there still a light direction present with the natural light in that shot. So rather than kind of override that rather than just kind of ignore it. I'm on Lee there to kind of boost and refined that. So I place my white over silver with my assistant just off to the right side of me, and we're bouncing in the same direction as where that natural light is coming from. We're following the direction of existing light so we can keep the shadows. We can keep the kicker and the rim and the hair lights and everything else the exact same way. In this final shop, we end up with this beautiful shot. I'm shooting tons of different images in this scene, getting different reactions from Caitlin for Mom from Dad, and we're getting amazing looking images. Have them stand up. We get shocked with her holding mom and dad's hand, and it's fantastic. We got a beautiful scene right after that. Caitlin sprained her wrist while mom and dad are holding her hand, and she is basically done with shot. But we've got 2030 great shots and this technique of bouncing were bouncing at roughly 1/ to 1/8 power. I can fire quickly every single time, get all the different reaction to all the different shots, and not to worry about my camera recycling now, because I am bouncing so close to where the camera body is my reflector is literally just right to the right side of me. I don't need to worry about my grid, okay? I can take the grid off, and I can leave it off for the shop because it's not going to spill forward. It's just gonna go right to the right side. I'm not trying to angle it and get any kind of super dramatic line is one of basic loop light. And that's what I have here. Okay, again, the lights coming top down. You can see as the shadows kind of extending down on each side so that we have a natural look to the shop so you can approach this scene a whole number of ways. We can change the way that our background looks. You want to be brighter, Great. Brighten it up, slow the shutter speed down or increase the isso and lower the flash power that mixture between Well, whatever you want the background to be, the brightness of the background versus the brightness of the flash is gonna yield the type of natural, more natural or going the other way. Going dramatic, more dramatic type image for this shot, natural or more natural or even more natural, is what's gonna look best. And because we're shooting candid, then we're shooting family. So hopefully that makes sense in all the kind of considerations that go into these types of shots and these types of scenes to make sure that we use all of the lights present. We only added one additional lighting the scene. Yet it looks like we have a three or four lights set up with everything that's going on here, and all we've really done is just thought about the light position worked with the subject placement and an Adderall on top of that. That's it for this video. Let's have the next one now.

Class Description

Lighting 101 follows in Photography 101's footsteps. Photography 101 takes students up through Manual Mode mastery and provides a foundation in natural light techniques and modifications. Lighting 101 picks up by teaching all about flash and light modification. But, just like Photography 101, we want Lighting 101 to be the most accessible lighting course available. So we teach you everything about flash lighting, light modification, ambient to flash balance, lighting patterns, off-camera lighting and even multi-point off-camera light setups. But, what makes Lighting 101 truly special is that we do all of this with nothing but your on-camera hot shoe flash. Every image shown and created in this course was created with a DSLR and just a single on-camera hot shoe speed light. 

Graduate to the next level of exposure mastery with Lighting 201, Lighting 301, and Lighting 401 with Pye Jirsa.



The best class for understanding light and lighting there is bar none. Pye is an excellent teacher and the quality of the material provides for a rich and very informative experience. Pye breaks down the fundamentals in easy to digest packets and then elaborates as needed. If there is one class that you watch this is it! Worth purchasing and saving for future use. I would also HIGHLY recommend downloading the saving the PDF of slides that accompany the videos. Again, and can't say it enough, this is THE BEST video to lighting on Creative Live. A must watch for the novice and the expert.

Simon Metselaar

This is the best thing that happened to me since I've been into photography. What a lifesaver. Unfortunately I already payed for some courses that are not Pye, but Pye just nails it. Amazing, and kind of a life hack. Thanks again :)

George Gan was well worth your training. I have learned some key lighting techniques from this training. His voice and training is clear except for his attempt at making jokes and should hire a new script writer for your Jokes...ha ha ha ha. With that said, if you are not a professional in lighting, you do gain a lot going through this training from front to end. Remember this is lighting 101 so don't expect too want more technical and complexity, wait for Lighting 201, 301 or 401 ...