The Right Power for Each Scene


Lighting 201


Lesson Info

The Right Power for Each Scene

The right power for each type of scene now that you all know the basics, we can walk through these things with a little bit quicker speed. So we're going to walk through a family session that we did and talk about the lighting used in each one of these scenes and basically how they differ. Each one of these scenes is going to require essentially a different amount of flash to get to the arrived effect that we're trying to go for. So it's gonna be kind of a cool little demonstration that I want to show you all let's, go ahead and get started. So in scene number one, we're shooting this in bright midday sun well, it's not midday it's like maybe three pm for pm so afternoon sun to get this effect, the only thing that we need here really is just some directionality to the sun. This is like three or four hours before sunset and so we have some direction there and you can see that the shadows just kind of travelling this way. So what have I done? I've placed their sides to the sun mainly bec...

ause the background in the scene is really quite nice, okay, so if we turn and we put their backs to the sun that we end up shooting like this parking lot and that doesn't look too good. I don't know most families would probably not wanna frank a picture of them in a parking lot who knows you guys tried out let me know how it works for you so we chose this background because it was obviously the better background but the sun is coming from the side which gives us more of essentially a rim or edge light rather than say a back or hair light coming from the back side but that's okay, we just need to add some flash to this so what do we have set up? We have our pro photo speed ring with the bull d b twenty two so we have to bolt maybe twenty two's again we're firing around half to one quarter power in total we need roughly two, fifty one seconds of power. I chose this option because he was set up and I didn't have btu's at the time they were not available to me. Uh well actually they had not been released at that time but I had I had this guy. I would have used that guy because you get two hundred seconds out of that with one point four second recycles pretty fantastic, very quick re cycles, great light quality and very good consistency but we got great results too from just are simple pro photo v b twenty to set up with our speed ring and the pro photo three foot octa okay so here's that set up and now what we're on is the cannon eighty five one point two l again I'm not going to go into why signal has not come out within eighty five yet we've hammered that point home already we're at one hundred a second at f one point six so two hundred six thousand kelvin with a five stop and deon okay it's midday bright sun were shooting wide open and so we're going to need a five stop any filter to cut down the light or hss we don'thave hss with these guys because we're using pocket wizards so my preference is always nd filters anyway, so we put on the five stop so you can see these two top shots. This is the exact same scene by the way these two top shots we get a great background look, we get great light bounce, we have a really nice images just that they're left in the shadows and they don't look necessarily awesome themselves, so all we do is pop off that strobe from camera left and on these shots were putting down about two fifty one seconds, so running the bolts at around one half to one quarter power depending again on distance from the subject ok, so we need quite a bit of light that's equivalent of four to five pocket strobes, so we're adding a lot of light in these scenes and when we get closer to him, I got enclosed for like these q shots is he kind of, like, played around with mom and dad's hand and so forth we can power down a little bit like one quarter one eighth, even if necessary, just because when we bring that light and we have, you know, inverse square law, I don't need to talk about that. You guys aren't you know about it, I hope. Okay, so that's, how much light we're putting down in this type of a scene now in this scene, obviously we're trying to kind of match the brightness of the sun, right? At least the rim like that on their faces and that's, why we need two hundred eighty watt seconds of power were also is in terms of the light direction lighting from the left side because I do notice that there's a little bit of ambient light coming from the left side, and I want to leave the right side just available for that rim and kind of have a nice shadow, but we're not going with a very dramatic light notice that we're not going really far to the left side it's a very subtle like we're going for a loop lighting, even on mom's face is leap lighting. And the reason is because I don't want necessarily a flat light that's going just like them directly in the face but I do want a little bit of direction but not so much that looks dramatic I want that natural look and going rembrandt on a shot like this is going to be too dramatic so I want just a little bit of direction loop is the right light pattern for me for the kind of look that we're going for here okay? And I love this shot with him kind of looking towards the light source that just lit up his face and a look gorgeous cute little shot this is jordan jordan so good looking okay, so now we get to this next scene now this next scene I have imposed underneath this beautiful tree I'm using the tree for a background we're on the signal thirty five art now we're shooting on the wider because we have a a beautiful backdrop overall we take our first shot one, two hundred second f one point four is a one hundred at seven thousand degrees kelvin this shot is just dim enough so this is much much later in the shoe and the sun is actually set behind the mountains the sun hasn't set so the sky is still very bright but it's at least behind the mountains and so we don't have to deal with like direct light so one tenth of a second and f one point four we actually get that kind of nice brighton area lifestyle look where our background is still nice and bright we still have all of our shadow detail but our subjects are just a little bit too dim right? So for this scene we lit from the right side even though mom is placed you know, on the right so we're actually leave a little bit of mom's face in the shadow normally the rule is toe light into the girl's face right? So for this shot though when I was looking at the shot we have a strong highlight along the right side of both their cheeks and the main light in the scene is kind of coming more strongly from right to left even though they look very flat it felt like basically that I had a brighter right side the face then left side of the face and I wanted to even out that highlight basically on the cheek we can even that out by essentially reducing the contrast and we reduced the contrast by lighting into that side so I'm gonna light into that side and what you end up seeing here is that we reduced the contrast which makes that basically makes that edge or that rim light on the side of their face just more subtle overall so that's why we went with that direction but notice that I'm not going very directional okay dad who's the furthest from the flash is still lit via loop lighting mom whose cheek is turned into this signs away from the light is still pretty close the loop lighting maybe a little bit rembrandt but not a lot of shadow on their faces at all so I'm being careful that even though we're lighting into the guy's out of the face I'm not wanting to leave the girl I'm not wanting to leave our female subject in you know too much shadow but you can see how it doesn't really nice job of basically just kind of softening that hard hard highlight that if we live from the other side the shadow transition would be on the right side of the face and then you would see a very stark contrast between the shadow and basically lit deep shadow and then you see that rim light on the right and so I'll be very bright and very noticeable so that's kind of the direction or the reason for the direction that shot now overall right one hundred second f one point four is a one hundred and seven thousand kelvin and we're not jelling okay? I'm sorry we're not we're not putting on a nd filter on the camera so we don't need to run a very high power setting on our two by three on this one we're using the two by three a reason to buy three yeah, we're actually using the two by three in here I think I said earlier that we using the three foot octa I think this was one of the times that I took out the two by three actually perf for the three foot octa so as far as like quality they're almost identical but I just like the shape that I get in the catch lights a little bit better octa versus the soft lock the two by three but either way they're both great modifier so regardless it's it's very subtle tiny tiny difference between the two and if you were to ask any photography probably couldn't tell the difference if you took put them side by side except for the catch light but so here we have that to buy three soft box we're running now one sixteenth power okay, so that's not a lot of light we could actually do this at one sixteen power on both of these, you know, bolts that basically is one eighth power so that's like yeah that's like one pocket strobe essentially of light okay that's like fifty to sixty watt seconds light so we could actually do this with just a pocket strobe because we're putting down a very subtle a mental light about fifty to sixty watt seconds worth of light or one single pocket strobe at full power worth of light through that modifier again, we're working in the shade here, and we're not trying to overpower the sun at all. I'm leaving the backgrounds very bright, I'm leaving them up there because I wanted to have that natural and lighten area look, because it's a family portrait, after all, and that's the look that I want this to have, okay? So that's see number two now, see, number three, we're just shooting jordan by himself, and basically, I started this out on an eighty five to the candidate e five one point two l and then I was standing so far back and realizing I'm not really getting any background, I'm shooting it f to, I'm not getting any of this, you know, ground in the back. So soon I went to a fifty millimeter art, the signal, fifty million art, and I opened it up to one point four, and I shot horizontally. So that way, I got more background kind of detail behind him. In addition, I wanted to use the natural been yet ing and just kind of that artistic component of the sigma, okay, so it had that beautiful vignette, it had that kind of really great look at one point four, and I wanted that I wanted to utilize that look, the one thing that I wanted to do was just maybe clean up a tiny bit of the highlights in the face by just evening it out a little more and threatening him up just a little bit more than the background very, very subtle and very soft amount of that light. That's what that's, what I'm going for here. So what do we do? We switched out from the eighty five to the sigma fifty millimeter art where one one twenty three the second we're f one point for s o fifty, the sun again has gone down for the most part, it's getting it's kind of right around dusk time. So it's it's pretty dark, but we can still shoot natural light just fine at you know we're at where I so fifty so it's not like we're running up toe, so eight hundred you know to shoot this so we have still a decent amount of ambient light and what I'm doing now is I'm using that pro photo the two by three are by soft box, we're placing it to match existing light, right? We're matching that direction of the ambient light that's coming in, but I'm putting it very close to our subject and then just shooting to essentially brighton and clean up, so when you compare these two, we have more even highlights we have more even shadows, we have him slightly brighter in the background, we have really great light quality all around, so we've essentially used that strobe to refine and enhance the existing light. Okay, so we're adding two existing light, but we're doing it with such a small amount, yet it makes a decent amount of difference in the final shot. So let's, talk backwards to see how much power we're actually using in each of these scenes. So we kind of note roughly the pocket strobe equivalence. So in this guy, we have to pull b b twenty twos at one sixty fourth power so let's see one over one one half one quarter, one eighth one sixteenth that's five stops already one thirty second and in one sixty fourth. So we're using one seventh of the total power of this guy. So that's maybe thirty one seconds and we have to them so that maybe fifty to sixty one seconds. So basically that's one pocket strobe worth of power at full power running through a modifier for this amount of light that were adding over here over here, let's. See, here we have the bolt, maybe twenty twos at one sixteen. Power each right, so one over one and we gotta one half one quarter one eighth, one sixteenth so we are four stops down in the total amount of light that this can put out so if it puts out let's, say, I don't know two hundred fifty two, three hundred watt seconds what does that give us? Roughly sixty to seventy. Why seconds of power, per. So we're running two of them, which is about one hundred, maybe one thirty to one, fifty one seconds of total power are being used here. What is that equivalent to roughly three pocket strobes? Right over on this side. We're running to these guys at around let's. Say we're running them at one half power. Okay, so, one half power means that we're running basically half the power on two units. So if both units, well, if each unit is basically, we'll say maximum three hundred watt seconds. That's, one hundred fifty per. So we're anywhere between two fifty upto three hundred watt seconds. Were the power here, which should be five to six pocket strobes worth of light. So, at this point, right here, using pock strobes is cumbersome. It's expensive. You need about five to six men to get this amount of light running them through this type of modified, although you could do bearable, but again, it's going to modify the quality of light in a way that probably isn't good for, well, it's, not really the kind of like that I would want for a family photo session, but on this side, with three pocket stroh's, we can easily put that onto one of our r westcott triple threat or under the cheetah three speed bracket, and we would have enough light for this scene. We'd also have enough light for this scene just with a simple westcott rapid box with one single stroke. Okay, so I want you to take away from this video just how much power using to get to the final result, and again, those results, our lifestyle results on this side and midday sun we need around three hundred watt seconds of power here. We need around one fifty here we need around fifty but that's for a lifestyle look that's, where we're leaving ambient bright, and we're adding flash just to balance and create a nice natural into the image. But if you want a dramatic look, we need to pump flash up even higher. We pull ambient down even lower, and so in those kind of cases, you're gonna need that much more power. You might need five hundred to a thousand watt seconds of power outdoors in mid day sun if you really want to just crush the background ambiance down further, but we'll get to those later on, in lighting three a one in four one. This is just to give you idea of the right power for each kind of seen the modifiers that are used and so forth, so let's head on to the next video 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.