Getting Crazy with the “Whip Pan”


Lighting 201


Lesson Info

Getting Crazy with the “Whip Pan”

Getting crazy with the j p whipped this is one of our linenger's a kind of signature effects that we do on shoots and it's really cool and fun effect and by the way I'm sure there's a ton of other photographers that have done this to we don't claim to have created this technique although I like the name that we came up with for it whip pan because it kind of reminds me of what we're doing with the shot we're kind of whipping and panning the camera so this is one of the coolest part's about really understanding lighting understanding lighting means that you can create images now in any scene you can create whatever look whatever you want to make you could do because now you understand and you've mastered letting that's the whole point of lighting one one two one three one four one is to get you that point where literally you could be shooting in the middle of parking lot and still create amazing images that is no different than the whip and this is one of those just amazing images anywh...

ere type techniques at least anywhere at night um you could do this during the day too, but it's going to require much larger strobes which we'll get to later on but you might remember this technique if you watched lighting one oh one we use this technique a lot when we were on the dance floor now on the dance floor we use it a little bit differently where we're actually using on camera flash and we use that on camera flash to directly flash are subject to freeze them while we slow down the shutter speed and create motion in the background right? And for those types of shots generally were using rear curtains sink this go around, it gets a little bit different we're going to use first curtains thinking I'm going to talk about why but essentially the whole concept here is to take a scene that has something bright some sort of light in the background and toe add motion that well, freezing the subject now there's of course some tips and this this technique in general is kind of overall just a giant balancing act and that's why we save this for the last tutorial because it is the most complex techniques so far in this tutorial siri's all right, so let me show you we have the sigma thirty five millimeter art, which I actually put on my camera for this tutorial we ran the shutter speed at one fifth of a second f two eight is a one hundred and thirty six hundred kelvin and this is just handheld, so we're just slowing them shudder but I'm keeping it hand held just so you guys can see roughly what the background looks like and what our exposure looks like this is that same shot now but this time I'm adding a whip pan motion so what ideo again this goes back to you know ideally with types of shots like this we're doing panning motions you want to hold the camera in a good way so that we kind of create the type of motion that we want teo so the best way to hold the camera is with the elbow tucked in the chest like we did in fact everyone a one hand goes underneath the lens and then basically you're goingto control emotion like you can do any kind of a pan that you want you can whip it left to right you go top bottom you can add some kind of waves and motion into it you could do a twist you can do whatever you like whatever motion you think is cool but this one was created by simply whipping from right to left or left to right so it's a horizontal whip that goes across now if you have ah lens that has stabilization you can get a slightly more kind of stable line so just a straight line if you turn on stabilization if you want a perfectly straight line and you don't have stabilization then throw it onto like a panning tripod basically okay so just use the panhead and just pan on the tripods left and right is you take the shots that's what I did here so what? We done this. Okay, so what does this look like now? Now we're taking this light and we've dragged across would get this really cool motion and effect. Now well, we have to do is add light to it to freeze with the pose and freeze our subject in the frame. This is where we get over to that balancing act and let's start going through the process tips because you kind of understand what I mean is we go through it. So composition attributes will. What are we thinking about here? Our main, the main component. The main compositional attribute for a whip pan is what slow shutter speed do you like how I waited for you to say that I kind of waited just so you guys could think about it for a second. Hopefully I gave you enough time. And he said, slow shutter speed that is the first compositional component. Okay, so we know they were going to slow the shutter speed down and generally a shutter speed from around one tenth of a second to one second is good for a whip pen. And what really matters here is how far you want those trails to go and the overall brightness and exploded the scene. The dark of the scene the slower you might need to go with your shutter speed you might raise that the eye is a little more as well, but the brighter the scene that this the quicker you go in there so to speak again for me the ideal motion is created right around one fifth toe one quarter of a second. Okay, so that kind of one fifth that wasn't very mean one fifth to a half second is pretty ideal generally when it gets to one second unless you're on a tripod or doing something it gets a little bit too long but that's just my own preference but anywhere between one tenth and one second is great for the length of your weapon. Okay, so let's let's talk about sink speed for just a second now we know of course that air sinks speed is totally fine because we're less than one, two hundred second were far less than one, two hundred seconds. We're not gonna have an issue on that side, but do we want first curtain sink or rear curtains? Think and your first inkling especially if you watched lighting one oh one you might think oh, this is a moment where I need to flip recurrence think on remember that the on ly flashes the only off camera flash they're gonna offer rear curtain sink are ones that offer full feature capability so you have full tl capability they will have recurring sink like the photo ex metro system or say for example on the larger side you have like the pro photo be too and be one system with the airtel remote but regardless do we want first curtain sink or recurrent sink? Well, let me just turn on the camera. I'm gonna slow this down a one second we're going to use a one second shutter duration just for the sake of this demonstration here. Now if I have first curtains thing turned on the flash gonna fire now and then it's not going to do anything at the end of the frame right? And I add my motion if I have my recurrent thing turned on the flash is gonna wait so I'm gonna fire and the flash fire just before this closes so compositionally what does that mean for us? If we have rear curtain sink turned on and we want to freeze the subject with the flash then I need to move my camera into the correct place with correct composition with the couple and everything at the end of the motion right? So I would need to fire there's the couple and I leave it right there for the end of it but if I use first curtains think aiken place my composition where I want with the couple in the frame that I want and then once it fires, I just add the motions to the shot afterwards for this particular type of effect for a whip pan it's easier to use first curtain sink. Why? Because we can compositionally frame everything the way that we want it and then we simply add the motion afterwards we add the motion toe whatever we need or do our twist but we could compose the subject and everything in the frame where we want it fire and that's frozen and then add the motion afterward, just remember that whatever emotion you want is going to be basically inverted it's going backwards. Okay, you'll know this by just practicing it a couple times, but if we use rear currents think it becomes very, very difficult time that motion with the shutter speed correctly where you land just in the right spot with the right composition for the couple at the very end of the frame. Okay, that becomes almost impossible. So for this particular shot, we use first curtain sing, which is a feature that actually any every manual flashes going by default fire first garden sing so you don't need to have a full future flashes for this effect, you only need a full feature flash when you want to do recurrent sink okay, so here comes the balancing act ambien exposure is that f two eight for your aperture and I saw one hundred for this particular scene, right? So this is f to a I so one hundred this is after a I so one hundred after a I so one hundred after eight this is after you and I so four hundred actually for this particular shot so this must have been much darker background this is where the balancing that comes into play because what we essentially need to dio we need our background to be just either the same brightness or a little bit darker then our subject okay, the goal is that our subject if the background is so bright, it'll it'll basically and a polling attention away from your subject so we want the background either the same brightness or a little bit darker than the subject just to kind of bring attention into them so we need to expose first and general what I'll do is I'll expose first to get the background the right level of brightness and to get the shutter speed to the right level of exposure and the right speed for my motion and the effect that I'm going to create. Then I go to my flash and we get to balancing that flash with the ambient light the problem is that if your flash power is too high remember what we talked about earlier we need a flash duration not earlier remember we talked about lighting one oh one with flash duration when your flashes at full power, the flash duration is relatively slow, so the flash does not freeze the subjects like you might want if we're whipping the camera back and forth and we wanna have a sharp overall result in effect, we need a fast flash duration. Why? Because the longer that that flash last on the person's face, the more it's going to show up in the effect as we pull across the image so we can't really be firing those flashes that one over one power because the flash duration, how one over on power might be like one to me the second we need to get it down to one, five hundred one one thousandth of a second below that, and so that means that we need to generally be around one quarter of a second flash power and lower to get the best results from this effect. Otherwise you're going to notice that your subject has streaking and that do the flash duration being too long. So that's where this balancing act comes into play because we know that we can't power up the flash over one quarter of a second or, well, sorry, one quarter power, we know that we don't want the background to be too bright because it's going to overpower the subjects, so we want to make sure that we kind of balance that background used the so to kind of balance everything and then make sure that your eyes those at least high enough, that you can also shoot at one quarter flash power or lower okay, so let's talk about real quick, the light direction and quality cause you'll notice that there's a kind of different setups with each of these shots typically for light, direction, quality, we're doing bearable, flashing, and we're placing it directly behind the subject and basically, if you want to create this effect right where it's kind of like they're glowing and you see just outline of their faces and so forth. The flash is directly behind their bodies, and what I like to do is aim it. If the guy's wearing a white shirt, you aim it into that white shirt and it blooms so it's just behind the girl's shoulder and it's aiming into the white shirt and is blooming up and it's lighting both their faces and you get the reflection off of each other's faces, which is basically their skin lighting each other up. Okay, if you want a rim light, then you place it, for example, further behind the subject bare bulb going directly into them okay, so that's that's about like ten, fifteen feet behind the subject, going directly at them to create that outline of their shape okay, if you want to, somewhere between you can always places somewhere in between. This is, I believe, like five feet behind the subject. Over here on this side you can also use modifiers on the flash one my favorite modifiers for this type of effect is placing it close to the subject and using the fund on using the gary phone lights fear or a light sphere of your choice on the flash, pointing it straight up and letting that that dome bloom the effect out and you get this beautiful kind of highlight behind them, so that's the light direction and place it behind them. Generally, we're doing this bearable, but you can also do with a little bit of light modification. Use the magma that fund on whatever you want. Whatever you got that's totally fine. So your test shot is basically gonna reveal whether your ambient light balance to your flash exposure is correct and whether your shutter speed is decent for the type of emotion that you're trying to create. This is what we mean by this is kind of the ultimate balancing act. This is why this entire coast of course, focuses on just one off camera flash because there's so much there to kind of master before we move into multi lights set ups okay with the light color and the white balance well for these types of shots one of my favorite things do it generally we are jelling, okay? Why? Because we have light backgrounds or we have backgrounds that are running around three thousand thirty six hundred kelvin at night time because you're using those nighttime lights so I don't necessarily want the flash be blue, although if that's one of the effect that you want to create, you could do that and I'll create that blue to kind of yellow contrast when I like to do here is gel and sometimes I'll double jail so sometimes will use to cto jails stacked over the front of the flash because it makes the light basically mohr warm or more yellow than the ambient light. So what we end up with is just this super warmth over them and then kind of a slightly less warmth around everything, so it kind of just for me it draws attention in kind of a cool way were used color to draw attention into the subject okay, so generally will use double ceos for some of these I think almost all these air double this is a single cto these are both double cto jails and then we're one eighth to one quarter power one sixteen twenty why? Because the flash is right up against his chest here where it's pulled further way they're over here we're at f to an s o four hundred were using a one second shutter and we have a tripod, so we're basically using the tripod were whipping it across with a slower motion are just to get not not necessarily a slow motion, but we're whipping it across because there's less lights in the scene, and so we need more motion to be able to capture that, and we need a longer shutter speed reel to catch that. So here we're firing a one on one sixteenth wanted power. Why? Because we're at s o four hundred remember how it's gonna affect that? Okay, once you get everything set up once you got it, all right, what we're going for with these shots anytime you're backlighting, anytime your rim lighting any time you're it's creating these silhouetted type effects again, we're not lighting the face properly where you want them to look into the camera, so when we pose and we shoot, these types of shots were posing them facing each other, we're dipping their heads and foreheads against each other, closing their eyes were having them look at each other, generally looking each other. If you can see eyes, it might look a little bit weird, so just keep that in mind. Um, we're having them go for kisses were keeping their profiles open so we can see their outlines of their shapes and so forth and making this about them. If their eyes are open and they're looking in the camera, it's the first it's the easiest way to ruin the shot completely because you're not properly leading the face and the first area distraction is going to be the fact that there is not correct lighting on the face, so your pose in these types of shots is really everything, because we want to make sure that we're using a pose that's appropriate for the lighting effect that we're using. Okay, so we post the frame we shoot whenever you're doing this kind of stuff used different motions, so this is a tripod whip pan, so we have it on our photo globetrotter, and I'm just loosening the top head and just turning it, so I'm just spinning it back and forth and taking a few different shots. This is hand held, and all we're doing is twisting, twisting and moving the camera. Ah, and again, where we have our photo, mitre set up with the two time cto, and then this is again another tripod. So again, we're on army photo or pulling it across the scene. Anytime you want these straight lines streaks like this, you need to be on a tripod, otherwise, unless you have image stabilization. There will be a little bit of waving us a little bit of lines kind of jagged ness to the lines, all right? So last thing just when it comes to that light, just analyze it a little bit closely, zoom in and take a look at it. When shots like this, for example, you might get it almost spot on with this shot, I might go into photo shop later on and just adjust the highlight on her chin. You won't want to make sure that those highlights those shadows are falling in the right places or that if they are just a little bit off that they're fixable in photo shop, sometimes to get it perfect, it might take too long. This is a, you know, a five minute fixed it just kind of clone some of that off there in photo shop, but getting it right in the scene, it might take twenty minutes so that's, where you needed the side on the balancing act there between getting it right on camera versus what's, a quick and easy fix in post, by the way, look at the shadows, look at the highlights with each one of these shots that you take and just analysed closely and last tip is tried different motions I love doing tons of different motion, different facts you consume, you could twist you, khun whip. You can do whatever you like with these types of effects. This is one of the funnest types of techniques to just getting wild, getting crazy and getting amazing images out of it. And of course, imagine just showing these images to your client. They're going to like, what the heck, how did you just these were literally this was literally in front of a parking lot. This was just in front of this area with, like, nothing there on and this was in front of the actual building here with all sort of people inside of it. And they were like, we won't get the secrets from, you know, just kind of know that we were there, and I'm like, well, there's also, two people inside of it let's do this, and for them they know that they're still in front of seekers from these lights air still, that building behind them. And so it still has that meeting there. But they have this really cool shot of it and it's something that really made them happy. So go out and get crazy with the whip.

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.