Lighting 201

Lesson 29/64 - Bare Bulbing with Large Groups


Lighting 201


Lesson Info

Bare Bulbing with Large Groups

Bare bulb flashing for large groups, and I know that still sounds a little bit dirty, but really it's not talked about lighting here, folks, get your heads out of the gutter. All right, so is it possible to bearable flash with large groups? Absolutely. And this is a fantastic technique. Why? Well, not necessarily, because this is the ideal technique for lighting large group shots like this. It isn't isn't the ideal technique, it's not my favorite technique, but what it is is its a great skill to put in your took it and your skill set for situations where you're basically in a pinch, you might be early on in your career where you don't have medium strobes and large strobes. You only have these guys you might be in situations where you're at a wedding or an event where all you brought with you was your pocket stroh's, because you can't take anything larger just because of the day in the setup, in the timeline and so forth. Either way, this is a technique where, when all you have is just ...

pocket strobes, you can still do a great job of lighting a group and getting a fantastic image from it. Now this particular image is from our workshop from the fdr bahamas, and we were this was actually f stoppers, bahamas two thousand fourteen and we were demonstrating this technique. Now I'm going to show you later on our ideal technique that we use for weddings, and we're going to go through an actual wedding set up for that. But for this shot, we had the entire class stand together, and you'll note a few things and here's just a couple tips starting off with this type of a shop when you're working an event or a wedding, or whatever it is that you're shooting and you're dealing with a large group like this get your light approximately set up correctly before you start actually working with the group, I want to have my flashes on there stands I want have everything roughly set up. I want to have everything good to go. We're all on your news make maybe fine tuning adjustments that might only take ten to fifteen seconds, tops, ok, otherwise, what happens is if you pose the group first and then you start doing these things, then the group kind of gets antsy, they get frustrated, they watch you going through the entire thing, it can get stressful and so forth. So ideally have someone stand in, get your setting, get everything roughly set up, then start working with a group and they'll think you're a rock star because you didn't waste any of their time. Now what we've done here is you'll notice that the front row is down low and the back row is going to be standing up what we're looking out for is basically shadows we want to make sure that shadows are not being cast in a way that our front row is basically blocking the back row now if you're dealing with a wedding party you know usually it's composed of like same or kids and kind of more tall people and more short people in stone so four that's not just all adults so this one is all adults and so for the type of a shot we do need to have like a front row versus back grow so you can use chairs if their kids you can have them stand infront you know if they're taller you can have them going the back and you kind of stagger and basically work people between shoulders we found that this technique works best with basically one two or three layers of people but beyond that unless you're you know I mean beyond three layers of people he gets really really difficult basically if we're dealing with three layers we might have the first group be sitting on the ground the second layer might be sitting on chairs and then the third group might be standing behind or you might stratified just based on height if you have, you know a really ideal kind of group height either way that's kind of the first challenge challenge number two is that we need to make sure that we have enough light and ideally, I'd recommend that you do this type of a shot with three flashes. It's going to really depend on how large the group is, but if we're dealing with, say, fifteen to twenty people, three pocket strobes is idea we're going to show you why in just a second. So let's walk through the overall process and tips for this scene now compositional attributes were shooting at f sixteen. Why? Because number one, I want to keep it simple. I want to not worry about sink speed. I want to have a good exposure in the background and this also preserves my depth of field. Yes, I do like to take a group shot with a wide open after two, and we're gonna get to that later on. But for this particular shot, I wanted to keep it simple. Not using a neutral density filter. We can keep the shutter speed below one, two hundred of the second, and so our sink speed is good and we're ideal on that. So we have death. The field. We have six b we have proper exposure. So sing speed is that one wanting to the second worst solid ambient light exposure isil one hundred so total combined is basically we have a cannon twenty four, seventy mark two we're at one with sixty second f sixteen and one hundred and five point eight okay? Or basically fifty eight hundred kelvin okay, so with that setup, we're good and we get a decent ambient light exposure where basically it's not too dark, but it's not too bright it's kind of nice just brighten area look where we're not blowing out our highlights, that is the look that I'd recommend four shots like this and granted, you can do whatever the heck you like. I'm just saying that when you expose these clouds to be darker and to be kind of ominous, stormy cloud look, when you get something that doesn't really match, because what do you have a front? You have this big group, they're happy they're smiling, looking my cheesy grin right there with my assistant davidson in my lap, he looks like my child, except for the fact that he is of a different asian descent than I am. You accepted that fact and because I would have had to been like eight years old when I would have had him as my son, that would be weird to either way. Everyone smiling and having a good time and then you create these dark and ominous clouds behind you and those two don't really fit together okay, so I'd recommend for a shot like this that you leave that annual exposure bright not to the point where you're blowing things out and not to the point where it looks dark and ominous all right, so like direction quality now here is the tricky part we're placing the flashes off to camera left and what do we use here? We used three vivid tar twenty five h v s those of those tanks that I'd say don't use anymore we also it's it's quite an expensive setup actually cause we use three pocket wizard as well. So combined together that's like leslie three hundred plus four fifty plus the one on camera it's like close to a thousand dollars worth of gear and we can get a much simpler setup and and this is again where we talk about do things you know invest in equipment is going to save you time is going to make your job easier because guess what if I'm using it now the faux takes odin with the old receiver up top or odin transceiver and I have three photos is off camera the ones that I'm using for the actual lighting I can now control all my power and all my zooms just from the back of the camp, which again, makes your life more simple. You don't need to have an assistant just there manning the power settings and so forth. But here is the goal. I want to create a light direction for this type of a shot. So for the shot would I'll usually do is look at where my son is. If my son is creating kind of a background in a rim light on the right side, I'm gonna light from the left, side's. That way I can keep my shape and dimension. Okay, so I want to keep shaving to mention kind of work with that. I don't want to flatten out the image, so I'm stacking flashes together, so we're taking three flashes. We're putting them. This is a shot where you need them on independent stands ok, is you can't use ah, westcott, triple threat or a cheetah bracket for this. You need them on independent stands. We need them placed up high. They need to be shooting at least from the head height of the tallest person, if not a little bit higher, so maybe six feet, seven feet ish. And they're gonna be angled down slightly. We stack them up together and this is what we do we feather the light direction on the three flashes so basically let's say that my my group is directly in front of me this is flash number one it's closest to the left side right so I'm gonna angle is a little bit to the left side I'm gonna leave this on a zoom setting let's say like around fifty millimeters and this is going to be as say one quarter power my middle flash is going to be it like say eighty zoom it's going to be feathered mohr towards the center and this is going to be at one half power and then that flash it's on the right side assumed that actually have three hands right now I can actually hold three flashes of one's my third flash is going to be aiming for the right side of the group it's not about one o five zoom and it's going to be at one over one power so what have we done right there? Well we've essentially balanced out the flash we feathered it and balanced it four the inverse square law because remember, any time you go to double the distance you're going to a quarter the power so essentially what we've done is as the group gets further and further away we power up the flash and we increased the zoom so we don't get as much light loss okay on this side of the groups are flash their place right here on this side of the group were using a lower power setting with a wider zoom higher power setting with a maur narrow zoom so more telephoto zoom on this side we have the most narrow zoom and the most power, so we're trying to create even distribution of light across them now by practicing this a couple times you guys can get pretty fantastic results just within a single shot just basically go out there said the lights and you're like, oh, that looks great always to do we don't need it to be perfect okay, you don't need be perfect what you want to do is get it within about a half stop range ok, so if these guys on this side or just a little bit darker than these guys on the side but it's about a half stop it's not it's not a full stop it's just a little bit darker that's okay, you guys can always make adjustments and so forth but what we need to do is get it to be approximately the same across the entire group. Then we could do exposure balancing inside a lighter were basically pulled a graduated filter that's anywhere between zero and upto point five of us stop to basically either darkened to burn down or to brighten certain areas of the image when it's a half stop when you're when you're brightening or burning by up to a half stop it looks very natural okay, it looks like the sky is subtly getting a little bit more bright it looks like the sky is suddenly getting a little more dark it looks like the area around it it doesn't look like it's been manipulated when you go above half stop of manipulation that's where essentially you you start to people to visually see it where the sky gets unnaturally dark, the ground gets unnaturally dark and so forth that process takes less than a minute inside of light room and weaken get a fantastic result from this just from bearable techniques okay, so for the test shot what we're doing is we're looking for shadows and we're looking for that balance across the entire group. Okay, make sure that your shadows number one they're not falling over places that would be, you know, distractions like they're not covering faces you want to make sure that the lights aren't placed so far left that you have people casting shadows onto each other's faces you want also make sure that we don't have strong shadows like if I'm lighting kind of too low, these shadows are actually going to go up on the people's chests and that doesn't look natural so watch the directions shadow look at the highlights and make sure that our light over the entire group is fairly balanced the other thing make sure these heads are placed close together like this even though that there there fanned out and spread you still want the heads close together. Why? Because when we zoom in we don't want to see duplication of shadows and if you look closely on this one, you can see even though that they're set really closely together, we still have a tiny, tiny bit of duplication there that's okay to that degree? Okay, this is still acceptable. Anything mohr is going to start getting noticeable basically where it looks like, you know, if you've ever been a stadium and they turn on all the lights and you see shadows coming off of multiple directions essentially what it ends up looking like is just multiple shadows being cast across the group. So watch for that next like color white balance we have a great look at fifty eight hundred kelvin so we don't need to do any jelling or anything like that. We talked about how it basically grouped it, so we have a front row in a back row so we have difference in height so that way it prevents again shadows and and dealing with issues like that ah, and then also let's see, we organise the group's front row kneels analyzed ok, so after you get your first shot so you got the shot, we're starting to work with different poses, different things like that again watch the shadows, heizo with every single shot I want you to zoom in not not every shot with the same pose in the same lighting, but with every shot where you change the group orientation the grupos zoom in and just give it a double check from shot to shot. Okay, now, for a group pose like this, I was kind of demonstrating something where in the workshop were saying that contact points basically these touching points were making coming with others in the group gives off a sense of mohr kind of intimacy and closeness, closeness if everybody's kind of not touching in there standing apart from each other, it looks awkward, uncomfortable so I had everybody like, you know, wrap each other up granted, you generally don't want people doing the same thing like all the girls on the side, I'll put their arms in that same shoulder that looks weird because they're all like to do training up don't do that, but they wanted to make a joke out of it. I don't know what the guys are doing the other guys are kind of all doing something different there that's great on this side, everybody's doing something different, this side, everyone doing something different the girls are demonstration of what not to do. Okay, so that's how we would light a large group like this up to twenty people you know you can even go a little bit more depending on how you stack and organized but with simple bearable pocket strobe techniques. One quick note a lot of people might want to direct flash that's kind of a scene or to cross light this type of the scene cross lighting is essentially where we have our group that's directly in the middle and we light one from the left and one from the right and we cross like the problem with cross lighting is that it's the exact same as flat lighting, so if we're no light directly with our front flash, we get that same exact lucas cross lighting because look what you have here with cross lighting, you have this light overlapping on this side this light over left on this side of your filling both sides of the face and what does that do? Well, it just creates a flat light. So ideally I like all the flashes to be on one side and to create this kind of looks so that way we can create light direction and have a better and more natural looking image overall because we've created that direction of light without it we lose to mention the face it looks like we've just flashed directly with the on camera flash, even if we're doing across light type, set up. So this is kind of my preferred way, getting the light on one side, going opposite of whatever direction the sun is going. Or if the sun is directly behind the group, you can usually pick out an angle where you have mohr natural light coming in and match that angle. So that way, you retain shadows on the shadow side. Basically, okay, we'll talk about this more as we continue on. So that's it for this tutorial. It's going to the next one now.

Class Description

Lighting 201 builds on 101’s foundational tips on simple, effective exposure techniques. Lighting 201 comprises 10 hours of education on advanced, off-camera flash lighting over nearly 20 different shoots. You will learn just how much can be achieved with just one inexpensive off-camera light source.

In this course, Pye Jirsa of SLR Lounge give you tips on how to:

  • Use light manipulation to turn extreme lighting situations like midday sun or the night sky into stunning background imagery for portraiture.
  • Develop a sense of placement strategy in shoots with complex lighting and limited, portable gear
  • Composite images in post-production to achieve the best possible light
Lighting 201 will also help you develop fluency in using the right light modifiers for the job, whether they be speed-lights, strobes or main-lights. 201 also features an in-depth exploration of the mechanics of professional lighting gear, and step-by-step walkthroughs of the gear setup for each shoot. Graduate to the next level of exposure mastery with Lighting 201 with Pye Jirsa.


1Chapter 1 Introduction 2Welcome to Lighting 201! 3OCF = Anytime/Anyplace 4Chapter 2 Introduction 5Wired, Infrared or Radio? 6“Pocket, Medium, Full Strobe?” 7Our 3 Favorite Flashes “Pocket Strobes” 84 More Flashes “Pocket Strobes” Worth Looking At 9Our 2 Favorite Medium Strobes 10Understanding Radios Part I: Channels & Groups 11Our 2 Favorite Radio Triggers 125 Simple Steps to Trouble Shooting Radios/OCFs 13Fantastic ND Filters at Any Price Range 14Our Favorite “Sticks” 15Our Favorite Ultra-Portable OCF Light Modifiers 1612 Mounting and Must-Have Lighting Accessories 17Gear Setup - Setting Up a Light Stand or “Stick” 18Gear Setup - Setting Up a Monopod Light or “Boom Stick” 19Gear Setup - Setting Up a “Medium Boom Stick” 20Gear Setup - Setting Up a Manual Flash “Big Boom Stick” 21Gear Setup - Setting Up a Full Feature Flash “Big Boom Stick” 22Chapter 3 Introduction 238 Steps to Perfecting Each Scene & Image When Using OCF 24Over Powering the Sun - Part I 25Over Powering the Sun - Part II 26Slow Down! Watch the Details 27More Power Without The Power 28Adding to Existing Light - Part I 29Bare Bulbing with Large Groups 30Back Lighting to Create Interest 31Getting Crazy with the “Whip Pan” 32Chapter 4 Introduction 33The Flash Modifier You Already Own 34The Oh-So Powerful Umbrella 35Large Group Shots with an Umbrella 36Exposure Balancing via Lightroom 37Portable Softboxes - Westcott Apollo 38More Light Control, Just Grid It! 39Dusk + Modified Pocket Strobes 40More Power? Medium Strobes FTW! 41Perfect It In-Camera. Then Photoshop 42Adding to Existing Light - Part II 43Adding or Enhancing Light Direction 44Our Ideal Group Lighting Technique 45Incorporating Flares with Flash 46Cutting Light, Grids and GOBOs 47Chapter 5 Introduction 48Fog + Flash + Grid = Dramatic Change 49BYOL! The 3-Light Setup That Only Requires One Light! 50What About the Fill Light? 51Backlight + GOBO + Fog = Magic 52Drawing Attention via Light Shaping 53Visualizing Lights & Color Shifts 54Mixing Ambient + Gobo w/ Flash 55Better Light Can Change Everything! 56Chapter 6 Introduction 57Subtle Refinement = Massive Difference 58Great Light Changes Everything! Part II 59Manually Triggered RCS + Shutter Drag 60The Right Power for Each Scene 61Dodging and Burning via Light In-Camera 62Subtle Light for Natural Portraits 63Light Modification & Simple Compositing 64Expanding Your Photographic Vision



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!


An excellent follow up to Lighting 101. 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. As with Lighting 101, this is a must watch class. Worth purchasing and saving for future use. I would also HIGHLY recommend downloading the saving the PDF of slides that accompany the videos. I look forward to Lighting 301 and 401 which are apparently in production by SLRLounge.