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Back Lighting to Create Interest

Lesson 30 from: Lighting 201

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

Back Lighting to Create Interest

Lesson 30 from: Lighting 201

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

30. Back Lighting to Create Interest


Class Trailer

Chapter 1 Introduction


Welcome to Lighting 201!


OCF = Anytime/Anyplace


Chapter 2 Introduction


Wired, Infrared or Radio?


“Pocket, Medium, Full Strobe?”


Our 3 Favorite Flashes “Pocket Strobes”


4 More Flashes “Pocket Strobes” Worth Looking At


Our 2 Favorite Medium Strobes


Understanding Radios Part I: Channels & Groups


Our 2 Favorite Radio Triggers


5 Simple Steps to Trouble Shooting Radios/OCFs


Fantastic ND Filters at Any Price Range


Our Favorite “Sticks”


Our Favorite Ultra-Portable OCF Light Modifiers


12 Mounting and Must-Have Lighting Accessories


Gear Setup - Setting Up a Light Stand or “Stick”


Gear Setup - Setting Up a Monopod Light or “Boom Stick”


Gear Setup - Setting Up a “Medium Boom Stick”


Gear Setup - Setting Up a Manual Flash “Big Boom Stick”


Gear Setup - Setting Up a Full Feature Flash “Big Boom Stick”


Chapter 3 Introduction


8 Steps to Perfecting Each Scene & Image When Using OCF


Over Powering the Sun - Part I


Over Powering the Sun - Part II


Slow Down! Watch the Details


More Power Without The Power


Adding to Existing Light - Part I


Bare Bulbing with Large Groups


Back Lighting to Create Interest


Getting Crazy with the “Whip Pan”


Chapter 4 Introduction


The Flash Modifier You Already Own


The Oh-So Powerful Umbrella


Large Group Shots with an Umbrella


Exposure Balancing via Lightroom


Portable Softboxes - Westcott Apollo


More Light Control, Just Grid It!


Dusk + Modified Pocket Strobes


More Power? Medium Strobes FTW!


Perfect It In-Camera. Then Photoshop


Adding to Existing Light - Part II


Adding or Enhancing Light Direction


Our Ideal Group Lighting Technique


Incorporating Flares with Flash


Cutting Light, Grids and GOBOs


Chapter 5 Introduction


Fog + Flash + Grid = Dramatic Change


BYOL! The 3-Light Setup That Only Requires One Light!


What About the Fill Light?


Backlight + GOBO + Fog = Magic


Drawing Attention via Light Shaping


Visualizing Lights & Color Shifts


Mixing Ambient + Gobo w/ Flash


Better Light Can Change Everything!


Chapter 6 Introduction


Subtle Refinement = Massive Difference


Great Light Changes Everything! Part II


Manually Triggered RCS + Shutter Drag


The Right Power for Each Scene


Dodging and Burning via Light In-Camera


Subtle Light for Natural Portraits


Light Modification & Simple Compositing


Expanding Your Photographic Vision


Lesson Info

Back Lighting to Create Interest

Backlighting to create interest I love this second sorry didn't mean to freak you out there is kind of loud I love though this technique because backlighting is one of my favorite things to do to simply turn a scene that looks completely ordinary into something absolutely extraordinary and that is your job as a photographer then more often that you could do that in front of a client and you go see look at what this looked like before and now look and then they look at the back of camera like holy cow that's amazing you're absolutely fantastic you're magical and that's the exact I think that you want now we all know we all know there's no magic here it's all about the light well that is kind of magical lighting is magical in general so when does backlighting in these have two scenes work out for your benefit we generally want a backlight and create a rim light typically when we want to do one of two things one has decreased separation between the subject and the background so for exampl...

e if our subjects have dark hair and the background is dark then back letting them khun create that separation we want to make sure we don't go too far because if you go too far just looks like their hair's on fire that's generally not a look that you want unless we're talking about lighting for a one or lighting three one four one were we made michelle's hair look like a common fire which is kind of a cool effect. All right that's on my mind right now but we just shot that yesterday, but so that separation is one thing point number two when we want to back light is what we have basically for lack of a better term actually, this is a pretty good term. This is like a scientific term airborne particles whenever you have airborne particles generally back lighting is going to create a really cool and interesting and dynamic effects in your image. What are airborne particles will for example, water if it's raining if you have a fountain like in this case, if you have some sort of a spray will oftentimes take spray bottles on shoots and we'll create our own missed in her own rain, which we'll get to in lighting three oh one anytime you have fog or smoke or anything like that if someone's smoking and taking a drag on a cigar if you put a light behind that smoke that smoke just like blooms and it looks absolutely incredible so anything with these airborne particles the first thing I want to pop in your head is what would that look like if I back with it and to keep things simple and straightforward take a look at this this was shot with e sigma theta mu later art at one hundred with second f one point for is a two hundred at four thousand kelvin this's just exposing for that natural ambient light here you can see the flash did not fire we have that kind of we have this really cool curve fountain in los angeles downtown los angeles that sometimes on sometimes off it's kind of either miss but when it's on it looks fantastic so I placed a couple inside of it and that's that shot and actually took that I do it all the time we'll take that shot and then I'll turn the flash on the flash is already placed behind them already got everything set up I did the test shot already it's all set up and good to go but once we turn that flash on then look what happens to that background we go from this to this now this isn't a generally a shot I would take on a real engagement session unless I was trying to show editorial but this is why because what I do is I go look at this check this out this is this is what that scene looks like right now as you see and I shone that image I go but watch what happens when I take the picture of the scene and then I show them this and then of course they go holy cow that's absolutely amazing and that's what we want so what are we done here well, for composition and attributes I used the first thing on my mind is I want to use a shallow, shallow with field and the sigma fifty millimeter art lens. I have the eighty five right now on. This is not the art but it's still a great lens. But there are serious is absolutely credible. Talk about lenses that are tax sharp, even when shooting wide open. So f one point four is wide open, you don't get any wider than that. At least not in that winds and it's still attacked our image. And I wanted that because I want the book in effect in the water. I want the depth in the water where we have small book effects in the back. We have larger book effects in the front water and we have this soft overall look to the image. I want that so that's, the first thing that pops into my mind is I want that because I need that effect for the water. Well, now that we're shooting, this shot has taken basically in a kind of dusk. So it's not pitch black outside but it's dark enough. We're in an area that's like under shade too. So it's fairly dark, so we don't need to worry about sink. We don't need to worry about high speed sinker, neutral density filters, and what we're doing is we want to keep the annual exposure fairly dim. Okay, so we're at one, two hundred a second. So two hundred, this is that one, one hundred per second and is a two hundred. So I basically sped it up by two stops. We wantedto one, two hundred and then brought the ice it down to one hundred for these shots. Why did I do that? Well, the thing is that you can quickly ruin a beautiful shot like this by allowing too much of this crappy ambient stuff in your background into your frame, right? It would make the background more busy. It would add a lot of green tones to it just wouldn't look great. So I want to deepen that dark. Always see in the background here is just this is actually a storefront of a store that is completely empty, so we see cement and like the green lights and everything, it doesn't look good. So we darkened down by two stops so that we can barely see anything behind that light of, you know, what's going on here. Then we have our foe tex metros it's placed at one tenth. Power is placed right behind the couple and it zoomed to around. You can go and, like you could go anywhere for this type of a shot too. Eighty two one oh five, you go fifty, I zoomed in around eighty millimeters and you can see that based on how tight the highlight pattern is behind them. Why? Because I want to create a natural vignette in the image. Okay, so what that does is depending on your zoom. If you want the entire image from edge to edge to be the same brightness than you use a wide zoom. Ok, so a twenty four millimeters the zoom on this it's just going to the lights just going to fan out in every direction and it's going to give you basically bright edged ahead if you want to get more of that kind of been yet it look, you zoom it in and the further you zoom, the more that been yet you're going to get because essentially the light is going telephoto, right? It's tunneling down. We know that from lighting one on one, so we're zooming in. Probably this is around eighty millimeters were at around one eight tow one sixteenth power. And again, this is the beauty of being able to use the odin right, my camera, because once that's place and I have a couple there, I just make a couple quick adjustments up and down as necessary in the power till I get to that point that I wanted, where doe I want the brightness I wanted to wear, basically that hottest points in the image, the brightest points of the image are just behind the couple or just around their faces, and I don't want those points to be too blown out, so I wouldn't want to do is retain most the color in the droplets, you'll know that you've gone too far if everything is just blowing out from edge to edge, and you have too much, you know, you want to create that contrast, the contrast, the beauty of the image is created from having these bright points against a darker background, and if everything is just right, then you don't get that beautiful contrast in there. So you want to make sure you get to that right power setting? We also don't want to create, like a giant explosion behind them, where it just looks like everything goes white, okay, and we do a couple different shots, a couple different angles, this is an example right here, so I love this shot this is fantasy we shot a couple different images you know when I'm doing shots like this it's it's all kind of when it comes to the post it's all about the profile and so forth so we basically get them kind of closing in on each other going for kisses things where they're facing in and not look into the camera cause their faces obviously are not lit so for the test shot we revealed good power to one one sixteen were to talk about making sure that it's not too powerful light color we left the flashes without their jails on okay, so basically are flashes are shooting at fifty five hundred kelvin the ambient light around them is around three thousand degrees kelvin so what did I do? I dropped the ambient I dropped our white balance down to match the ambient light so we're at three thousand kelvin on the shot and what happens is the background now that fifty five hundred kelvin flash turns blue. Okay, now we can exaggerate this effect even more, putting even more yellow light on them and then pulling it down even more but this effect is already great. I already like the look I like where there's a little bit of warmth in their skin from that natural ambient light and then we see that blue in the background it looks absolutely fantastic okay the couple is posed directly in from the flash and what I want to make sure that happens here is that essentially one oppose the couple in the way where they blocked the flash and so this is going to come down to the height of the flash generally I found that the best height with a shot like this is matching too about the girl's shoulder height so right about here that way it's concealed just behind them and I can basically put that light directly in between them and light where even light what we want to make sure is that if the light is kind of pointing a little bit towards her or if our camera angle is a little bit biased on one side you end up with the either a brighter highlight around the girl or a brighter highlight around the guy and if it's too much it could be too powerful so we want to do is place that flash just a height where it's hidden behind where they're kind of connecting right there amy up a little bit toward their faces and making sure that we choose an angle where that light is kind of hitting both them fairly evenly on both sides of the face okay analyze and make sure that you don't have any unpleasant lighting on their faces we showed you an image earlier when we're talking about basically slowing things down and looking at the details where we had a very unpleasant highlight that was hitting the side of her cheek and the chin and so forth that was partly due the light direction and also due to camera angle correct those things a just make sure that you have a nice rim light that outlines their shape in their body and their form but it doesn't create unnatural and unwanted highlights in a way that looks unflattering okay and that's it we have their entire bodies covering everything now when they do that you end up this beautiful hi connors image and this is virtually directly from camera I showed that in this image and just blew their minds straight out of camera and I'm like wait till we get in post and that's the beautiful part when you get in post this image right here was slightly blurry and you might have thought like when you look at it you might just throw it away because it's not tack sharp but any time you have an image like this where it's kind of telling a story in an implied way you don't necessarily need tax our focus and in fact for this image I almost feel like it's stronger for this particular look with that slight bit of blur behind it it allows us to focus kind of just on this effect that's going on it allows to like focus on the emotion and everything else about the scene rather than having that sharp point right on their faces now, not saying to shoot all the images blurry, I'm saying, when that happens, you can actually once you start getting used to it, you can start doing it intentionally and shooting things a little bit blurry or a little bit, you know, out of focus just to get that kind of a look, and I found that generally once you get in a post production, what I like to do is flip it the black and white, and then I'll exaggerate the effect along the edges of the image, so I actually exaggerated that out of focus effect along the outside of the image, so it's still kind of pulled attention the centre, even though they're not tack sharp there, the black and white kind of takes away from you when you turn an image that black and white allows us to focus more on the overall, I don't know, I guess the emotion of the image rather than certain technical details like color and sharpness, which I find that whenever something's in color, I'm looking at color and sharpness before I look at anything else, so I love that look to that also one little tip it's really fun to play with flares when you get this kind of a set up, and this is how you do it. A flare is basically where we allow part of the flash to essentially peak through the background, so if our subject is here and the flashes directly behind them, I might move in just a little bit where that flashes peeks out just a little bit from the couple and then fire the shot. Now a couple things to note with a flare oftentimes they're very much overdone, okay, flares are great when they're done in a minimalistic type approach, and they're not done kind of all the time and done in over the top way flares can become distracting when they're done that way because basically what a flare is going to do. It's gonna washout contrast in greek create a highlight point right where that flare is and that highlight point's going to draw attention in. So for example, if I put a flare in the corner of the frame, my couples right here, my eyes, automatically go to the corner of the frame where the flare is because it's the brightest place, but if I use the flare kind of creatively, maybe place it right between them, maybe place it right here in the corner where the hair is, then I can draw attention visually into the image, create kind of a cool washed out effect and an interesting look. By just moving a little bit with the camera, just kind of shifting and allowing some of that natural flair in when you block the flash completely. When basically my subjects so here's the flash, when my subject blocks the flash completely and there is no flair. Then we end up with a very high contrast and very saturated image. When there is a flare, it's gonna wash out and de saturate the image, basically, ok, it's going to reduce a little the sharpest, too, just kind of keep in mind what those effects have. All right, so that's it for this tutorial. I want you all to take this effect. Take this look and go out and just absolutely amaze and wag her clients and do the before and after image so you can show them in camera just how awesome you are.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lighting 201 Slides

Ratings and Reviews


Pye is a god. His teaching style is really engaging, breaking down everything you could want to know about each example in a fun yet detailed manner. The course is absolutely jam-packed full of great information and fantastic inspiration. This course, as well as Lighting 101, give not only a perfect foundation for anybody learning about flash from scratch, but also have more than enough tips and advanced techniques in them to help experienced flash users seriously up their game. Cannot recommend it enough.

Lê Tiến Đạt

I'd like to say thank you to SLR Lougne, Creativelive and especially Pye for creating this wonderful Lighting series. Pye has a great sense of humor and he is also a great teacher. He expains everything in tiny details. I love his creativity, all the tips and dedication. Recommended!

Karen Ruet

I'm watching this live and am seriously considering buying this course. I really like the examples and all the information. Pye is super generous and easy to listen to. I also appreciate the talk about gear and am happy that Pye is giving us options for different price ranges. Thank you, Creative Live.

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