Over Powering the Sun - Part I
Overpowering the sun part one if you ever wonder what my titles rhyme is because I do it intentionally because it makes me feel good about myself I'm just saying okay so the number one question I get is how do I get beautiful vivid colors in the sky how do I do that? So I thought let's start this off with a bang let's start it off on the right foot and let's just cover this question right from the top the way that you get vivid colors in the sky is by doing something that we refer to as overpowering the sun and here's what that means let's take a typical scene okay? This was that shot that we mentioned in lighting one on where we shot jill right on the beach and we have this beautiful sense and this is what we'll see with our eyes we can see jill and we can see this beautiful sense and we can see all this great tone and we take the photo and jill is pitch black right? Or we expose for jill and we brighten up the image and then all of sudden our background goes pure white and we see not...
hing back there and we're like man this looks so much different looks so beautiful we see with our eyes but then we take the photo that just doesn't look good this goes back to a concept that we call dynamic range and the cameras basically have limited dynamic range, meaning they can only capture so much of the tone information in an image if your subject is in the shadows and you have bright highlights in the scene, your camera can't see both of those and what we essentially need to do is add light into the shadows toe balance them out so we call this overpowering the sun because what we're trying to do is to get our subjects brighter then the background to get them brighter than the sun if for on ly just a split second when that flash is firing okay, so that is the goal and when we could do that when we can balance that out, then we get a very beautiful image as you can see here with the shot of jill now in lighting wanna one we showed these techniques are basically here were bouncing off of us silver reflector and going into jill and we get this beautiful fantastic light and it looks great and that was with our on camera flash with an on camera five eighty x two we just bounced the left went right in with silla reflector through a speculator light right under you jill and we were able to overpower the son why? Because there really is no son right? The sun is actually set and we're shooting this at dusk okay and that's great dusk is kind of the ideal time when you want to modify a pocket strobe a small flash, the ideal time to do it is dusk. Why? Because if we did that during the day, you don't have enough power to get to your subject. If we took this exact same shot and I bounced to the left right onto my subjects, you would see absolutely nothing you would see no light at all. Why? Because this scene is just too bright. So in this type of a scene when we're shooting midday, we're shooting sunset. We're shooting any time during the day when we want to overpower the sun, and we're trying to do it where you remember we're trying to do with little pocket strobes, right? These guys little pocket strobes when we're trying to do with these guys, what do we have to do? We have to use bare bulb flashed techniques, and so what we're doing is basically placing the flashes off to camera left, we're firing bare bulb and will use one, maybe even two flashes to get enough light onto the subject again, that part goes back to inverse square law. We talked about the distance of the light to the subject in lighting one of one if the distance of that flash the subject is closer, we need less flash power. Whereas if the distance is further back, we need a lot more flash power and that fall off is at a rate that's quicker than you would generally think so in this scene, we're using tufo tex metros plus is there at half to full power, and they're stacked side by side next to each other. Now, that's what we essentially need to do tow overpower sunlight with just pocket strobes, and we're going to talk with the settings on this one in just a moment, but I want to bring up something really important at this time and say that just because you take flashes with you and this is a mentality that we're all going to get into, especially when you first start learning about these different tricks and techniques, what ends up happening is you take that gear with you on the shoot and then because you've taken it and because you have it with you, you feel like you're forced to use it, and what ends up happening is that you give up the good shot for kind of a crappy shot, okay? Because we end up using these techniques just because we have the flashes were abusing them, even in situations where we really should, even when the light is beautiful to begin with and that's the example and I have right here. In this scene I took a quick shot just a silhouetted shot of the couple because I want to show this point of how just because you brought flash adding it in a way that's not very good is not going to add to your image now, of course there is a way I could add like to this image word look great, but that wasn't the point. What did I do with this one? We placed our flashes in the scene and we fired from I think the left side right into them with a photo of me jos plus and look basically the same settings right one sixtieth f one point four, two hundred and we we turn our beautiful warm light into this puppy direct flash kind of looking image. So the point being is that just because you have this gear just because you have the ability to overpower existing light doesn't mean that you should always do it, okay, we'll talk about that mohr as we go forward, but I wanted to present that before we dive into how this specific image was shot so let's start from the top with our process and our tips we're gonna work through those eight steps and show you how we arrived at this image now the first thing that I wanted this scene was competition attributes I wanted depth of field that was the first thing when I protest and I'm like, this is an amazing scene. We have a beautiful sky. We have amazing rock detail. We have a son that would look fantastic in a starburst pattern. And how do you get a starburst? You run the aperture up, you closed down the so it makes it really tiny and small and your lights become starbursts. So at f fourteen, we get that starburst pattern wherever we can see a light source coming in that's, our primary compositional attribute that I want to set. Now, from there, I simply decide. Okay, well, what do I want? My shutter speed to be based on the ambient light that I want to have in this scene. Now, remember, if we want a more dramatic image, we cut ambient light down maur. If we want a more natural image, we leave ambient light higher. I wanted to go with a little bit more of a dramatic image here, but I didn't want it to be so dark that all of our detail in the rocks down here was clipped. Okay, I want to see the highlight detail. I wanted to see the water. I want to see all that stuff, so at one one hundred of a second. I got to that balance where I got a beautiful hist a gram where showed me I had most of my detail my shadows had all the detail in the highlights I had the perfect scene setup for a dramatic image and guess what? Step number two I've dialed in those two settings and look one hundred of a second is lower then my sink speed of one, two hundred of a second so I don't need an indie filter and I don't need high speed sync I could just fire just as it's so my sink is okay. All right, so we just discussed the ambient light exposure again. Sometimes I kind of do these things out of order because I'm used to it, right? I'm used to like going okay, calm additional effect ok, I want I want depth of field here. Okay? Let's see what my shutter speed is it all down my shutter speed first to figure out where my one miami in light and then based on that I'll choose or I'll go to sink and say okay, do I need to deal with in a nd filter or high speed sink in the sea so it's okay to go out of war every now and then it's okay to go out of order for that's just the way that you like to do things that's totally fine too okay so ambien exposure with f fourteen combined with one hundred of ah shutter speed and is a one hundred we get a darker ambient light exposure for a more dramatic effect and that's what we can see here light direction we place the light to camera left why because our general thought process when we're lighting a couple it's okay to leave the guy's face a little bit in shadow why? Because it's dramatic and with guys it's ok to have that more dramatic look in my opinion in our opinion it's not ok for the girl to have that more dramatic look at least it's not preferred we generally want the girl to have a softer look to have a more elegant looking to do that we want to fill light into her face so we're firing from camera left and the light's going just we're aiming it roughly about a foot above their head so we're raising the lie stand so it's slightly above their heads you always want your light coming from top going down when you want a natural effect to your light when you want to create unnatural light that's when you fire bottom up you create campfire lightning you create that unnatural looked a light we want a natural look here so we're firing top down to camera left which filled directly into her face gives him a little bit of shadow and uh and so forth okay tufo takes me jos at let's, go ahead and just look right here, so we have let's say we stack the multiple flashes. One thing to remember when you stack flashes, you need them to be close together if they're not close together, and I'm talking about inches like they need to be right next to each other. A six inch separation in those flashes is going to create multiple shadows, because now you have created to light sources, and when those shadows kind of go across and we'll show you, you could actually probably see a little bit of duplication of shadows in the shot if you're to zoom in close and look at it. But we'll show you guys an image with duplicate shadows because the flash is air placed too far from each other. You want to make sure you look close and avoid that keep the flashes close together so that it acts as a singular life source. Okay, where are we were at our test shot? So what is their test shot do when we take the first test shot? It actually revealed a shadow on her face and you don't see it in this image, but we'll show the image that you see it, it has a shadow right on her side of the face right there and what? That shadow caused by it's caused by his face, the back of his head is hitting the lights, hitting the back his head and casting a shadow right under her and it's so small that if I didn't zoom in, I would have been able to see it. Okay, so from that we just do something very simple. I just ask my subject, open up the shoulder a little bit, okay, just open up a little bit and then have her kind of turn a little bit. So we just rotate them a little bit so that his shoulders more open and now that light condition land right on her face without being blocked by his shoulder or his back of his head. Okay, so just take that test shot and just the light position or the couple's pose as necessary. Most the time I'll start by first adjusting the couple's pose, and if that doesn't work, then we'll adjust the position of light source. But more often than not, it generally works. It's adjust their pose a little bit, okay? Next once we take this shot, I really love you know I love warm shots like this and so often times I'll set my white balance up pretty high this is a fifty, five hundred kelvin or forty fifty four hundred calvin and I'll take the shot because I like that look and it came out warm like this and look beautiful and I thought that's that's perfect! I don't want to change the white balance at all okay, then we start posing, framing and shooting now what we do here? Well, I take a variety of shots, so we do a couple different poses. I do this shot with them looking at each other most of if you guys do indian weddings and you shoot indian couples a lot of times they do not like to kiss, so we try and refrain from a lot of kissing shots because that's just a cultural thing, so instead of that I have them basically touch for it I'll still do a couple just for my sake just because I want them but just know that so having touched foreheads and what I'm doing is I'm shifting angle so for a couple of shots I'm shooting down lower and getting more sky so this top shot is me going lower and getting more sky this bottom shot is me lifting up a little bit, placing the sun just write about where their faces are. So just right between rember where f fourteen so any light source becomes a starburst and what I want to do, I want to create that kind of implied look, we're just god shining down on this relationship of glory well, a little more dramatic than that, it probably actually is, but essentially that's the look we're trying to create just this really dramatic look with the sun coming in and shining on this couple, and I shoot it angle down this time because there's so much beautiful detail in the rocks below and in the reflection casting, you know, the sky colors and everything like that. I thought it looked fantastic, so I shot with both angles. We shot with different compositions got several different images from the single scene with that same light set up again with every change. Okay, so number eight analyze as soon as I change that pose, and I haven't go head to head, you count your bottom dollar, whatever the thing is, I am looking closely at that shop because now that they're close together, I have to make sure that that light source is not being casting is not being blocked by anything, and the one thing I'm worried about is his shoulder right there. His shoulder. If that light position isn't held a little bit higher and brought in a little bit further, his shoulder would totally block the light from her body and that's what I want to avoid. Okay, so there we go. We got that shot. So last thing is that tip just because it's possible to overpower the sun doesn't mean it should be done and look that I rhymed again. And yes, I do feel good about myself because I rhymed again don't laugh, but yeah, that's what we talked about earlier this shot, you know that the natural light in this scene could be absolutely gorgeous and shooting as a silhouette has so much impact in this type of an image when we had that light, too, and granted, you know, like when I when I took this shot, I didn't try and create the same competition, the same everything, and you don't get everything perfect. I just wanted to demonstrate a point that a lot of times when we add light, we do the scene a disservice and just quickly getting that shot kind of prove that, you know, we did the scene a disservice by adam at light, and it really killed our shadows, and it killed everything that made the scene beautiful to begin with. If I was going to add light to this scene intentionally and to do it in a way that would really add to the scene, it would need to be a very soft amount of directional light that just kissed the side profile of her face and maybe a soft direction like that would just give his face. Look it's on the way we do that is we place a flash and this is more of a lighting three one thing that will get into later on, but we would need to gritted or snood flashes just very soft place in the back on each side, one to fire, kind of softly into his face, one to fire softly to her face. And it creates a subtle profile light just right along the faces. And we leave still most everything else in shadow that's how we would light a seem to retain that kind of looking feel to it. But I wanted to show this to you just in an example of essentially what not to do. Now remember, when it comes to modifying a pocket strobe, we're going to give you more demonstration of this whenever you modify one of these small lights it's fantastic during well, let's say, dusk when the sun has just set. But if you modify a pocket strobe in the middle of the day, you're not gonna able to see it, you're losing too much light output to be able to see it. So during the day when you need to overpower the sun with just pocket strobes, think bare bulb, think direct flash and just shoot it in a way that it doesn't really matter like these edges, you know, that kind of more defined shadows on them were shooting, so why that it doesn't matter those seven muses and what we would refer to as an environmental portrait if I zoom in close and take a shot and it was just a portrait of them close up with this kind of quality of light, it wouldn't look good, but with this angle it looks fantastic there's nothing wrong with that, so play to the strengths of the lights that you have if you don't have a soft light, don't shoot it close up as if it is a soft light, okay, that's it for this tutorial are step number one and overpowering the center rember that for each one of these tutorials, we're going to show you just a related pocket strobe gear list where we give you essentially some kind of budget options, these air budge options that we have used and would still recommend but recommended with some reservations there and we give you kind of are favor options on both the manual and on the full feature pocket strobe side. We're going to the same thing when we get in the medium strokes and so forth, so be sure to look at the gear list you don't need to buy, of course, everything on that list just kind of one item from each of the categories, as you can see fit. And as you see, you know how we describe what we're using in each particular scene. That's it for this tutorial, hopefully all enjoyed, and I was a bit of a doozy. But who's our first, and they're gonna get quicker as we go.