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Lighting 101

Lesson 19 of 65

Light Qualities

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

Lighting 101

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

19. Light Qualities


  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

Light Qualities

we have made fantastic progress. Up until this point, we've talked about our key light positions are secondary life positions, what their characteristics are, what they're great for and so forth. And now it's time to talk about like quality. When gave you a little hint of that when we showed you those key lights with diffusion and with pills and so forth. Now it's just focus on light quality sounds delicious light quality. Okay, so there's two main qualities that I want you guys to understand the differences between when we talk about light quality again, there is no right. There is no wrong. There is simply a best look or a right type of look for the situation for the subject, for the particular emotion that you, the photographer, want, the image tohave. Let's start over on this side between soft and hard, These air probably two terms that you hear through around fairly often. We've talked about it already, or we've actually kind of throwing terms around in discussion of images up unt...

il this point. But what these two terms actually mean and they get confused a lot between diffuse versus speculum. A lot of people think soft is diffused and hardest speculator, and oftentimes those two things do kind of coincide. Oftentimes, a speculate is also a hard light, but not always are they kind of one of the same. So I want to describe them separately so you guys can understand the differences. A light being soft or hard is simply talking about basically that transition from light to shadow that edge. Okay, now the sharper the definition of that edge and you can see here in this shot with Yoko, this was a direct last shot. I think this was with a gobo. You can see that that light right underneath the chin right there. The transition is extremely sharp. Okay, It goes from basically deep shadow, too bright light. Now you describe the sun as a very hard type of light when it's just direct noonday sun. That shadow toe light edge is extremely pinpoint, so it's either extremely darker, extremely bright. That's a hard light, A soft light. On the other side is a light that basically softly transitions from shadow to that light area. Wherever the light's hitting versus where the light's not hitting, so you can see on this side the softness between where the light's hitting on the chin and the cheeks and versus underneath the neck is much more gradual. It's a much more gradual transition from areas of light to areas of shadow. What creates soft versus hard light? Well, it's simple. It's the simply the size of the light in relation. And this is the key part in relation to the subject. Okay, so what does that mean? Well, a flash, this little flash rlp 1 80 in relation to Yoko is quite small. Okay, so when we're firing this and when we're shooting Yoko with direct flash and I think for the shot I think we were using the cannon in the 5 x for that shot. It's a very small light in relation to a rather large subject. But have you guys looked at, say, macro photographs like macro photography, where they basically take a flash just like this one in a position it right next to a bug like this. And it's this beautiful soft lighting. It looks incredible. Looks like just this amazing light. And you're like and understand its just a flash that's unmodified next to the bug. Why is it so soft. Remember, it's in relation to the subject. So a little bug place next to this flash like this. I mean, that's equivalent to me putting a giant wall a giant light that's like 20 feet high by 20 feet wide Next to Yoko. Of course, that's going to create a very, very soft and wrapping light. Okay, so it's always in relation to subject. Now, this is the other key point, remember? So the larger the modify that we use the mawr soft that transition from shadow to to highlight our shadow toe light is gonna be the smaller, the more hard edge is gonna be. There's one small little thing there that I need to mention. Well, the larger the diffuser or the larger this this modifier that's going to soften up the light, the more light loss you have. So when we're using direct flash, we get a lot of light directly on Yoko. But as soon as we started bouncing off of reflectors, as soon we start opening up that light and creating a larger light source, we're losing a lot of our power. A lot of our light intensity is dropping off just remember that the more you expand a light source, the bigger you make it through the software becomes, but then the less intense that light becomes as well, which we have to adjust for in our camera exposure. Okay, so let's go ahead and play this light back. One of the key point that I wanted to mention here is that a light source in relation to the subject, the size of light source in relation to the subject. That's also very much dependent on the distance from the subject. Let me give you an example of this Here is a reflector. Now let's say I fire a flash into this reflector and the reflectors place right here, and I'm lighting myself right now. This reflector is a gigantic light source in comparison to my face. Now, if I'm shooting and this is my light source, I'm gonna have a very soft and wrapping light around my face because this is such a large light source. But if I move this reflector 40 feet away, then really there's not much difference between the size of this life source and a small flash head that's maybe five feet away. So distance plays a big part in the size of a light source in relation to the subject. I mean, the sun is the perfect example because the sun is absolutely gigantic, right? The sun is how many times bigger than the earth Yet in relation to us here it's tiny. It's a little pinprick in the sky are little pinpoint Been prick You prick your skin. Not this guy was a little pinpoint this guy. So we get a very hard edge from it. So Distance plays a big part in, like that size in relation to the subject. Okay, so that's it As far a soft versus hard like you want a soft light. Use a larger light modifier in relation to subject. You want a harder light, use a smaller light modifier in relation the subject I'm gonna show you when we get to that direct flash shot with Yoko that well, the most interesting shot isn't always with the softest light again. Always comes down to the emotions, the look, the feel that you want to have and using the right tool to get there. So let me set this guy. Actually, we're gonna use this guy one more second cause I actually want to discuss the next point are like quality, which is diffused versus speculum. What does that mean exactly? A modifier that diffuses light. Basically it it opens up the light race so that when it hits a face or when it hits the surface of your subject, not a lot of that light bounces back into the camera. But a light that is more reflective as a modifier. Okay. And the example of that is this right here this silver reflector? This an example of a speculator type of light modifier? This light is going to be much more direct, and the light that it pushes into my face is gonna be basically have more reflective qualities to it. It's gonna have stronger highlights. It's gonna have more contrast. It's gonna be a harder kind of edge to it. That is a speculator light modifier versus this is a diffused light modifier. Each of them have their own purposes. When we want to create a soft and natural look, we use a light modifier that isn't gonna kick back a lot of speculative highlights when we want to create that more reflective look and we did this. So on this time we have Jill's little kind of porter session. We're going for a natural light. Look, we have Jill again in a swimsuit with kind of amore fashioning. Look with her glass on this kind of a cool vibe. And I used a speculator silver reflector here because I wanted that light to come back reflective. I wanted to create a harder edge to I wanted that more contrast. Look, because of the way she's dressed in the type of look the image has. But no, this a reflective surface. Amore speculum modifier is gonna kick back more light and create more highlights around areas of skin that might be sweaty or be a little bit more oily and so forth. So if you want a more flattering kind of light, you'd use a diffused modify, which is basically a mat type surface. It's a non reflective type surface. If you want a more kind of high contrast and highlight e type highlighting. Is that even a word type of light? Then you'd use a speculum or reflective type of modifier, and the more reflective that modify, the more speculative that light comes back the more Matt the modifier, the more diffused the light comes back again. It kind of relates to also the intensity of light as well. So generally a speculator light is gonna be a little bit harder in the terms of kind of way, the shadows fall off. But it also has to do with the size of that speculator light in relation to subject. So both these things kind of come into play. If we're using a silver a speculator light and it's placed close to my face and I'm bouncing off of it, it's still gonna create a light that has a gradual transition from highlight to shadow. But guess what? The highlights in the shadows are gonna be a lot more contrast. Is there gonna be a lot more so that is a speculator versus a diffused light. Hopefully, that makes sense. Hopefully, these to light qualities are kind of better understood now. Soft and hardness. The graduation from shadow toe light transition is all about size and diffusion versus speculator ity is all about whether the surface that you're bouncing off of is Matt or whether it's reflective. That's it for this video. Let's go ahead and move to 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 ...