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Lighting 301

Lesson 6 of 26

Double-Diffused Main with Added Rim Edging

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

Lighting 301

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

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Lesson Info

6. Double-Diffused Main with Added Rim Edging
Pye shows how to use a scrim to open up a light source and create softer light. Pye also uses a second light source as a rim light to add detail to the subject as well as other objects in the scene. Post-production instruction is included in this lesson.


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Lesson Info

Double-Diffused Main with Added Rim Edging

Okay, So in this video, we're jumping back to Seth for a really cool tutorial and technique. Here's what we're gonna do. I'm gonna show you guys in this video how you can open up a light source to create an even softer light source by simply using a scrim or diffusion fabric. And we're going to do it by ourselves, which means you can do it by yourself. In addition, we're going to add another light and this go around, we're gonna use that secondary light for a rim or a kicker. It's a light that's going to basically edge out our subjects and add additional detail into not only the subject but into objects within the scene. So I want you to pay attention to that, because we're going to review that as we go through the video. And finally, we're also gonna do a bit of post production showing you how we got our final black and white as well as how we got this final colour image here. So I want to switch this up just a little bit. We still have the bike in the same position. Seth is still in ...

the same position. We've incorporated helmet now, and we still have that light from the sun. It's getting close to kind of noontime, so we have a little bit of direction of light, but it's coming down pretty directly overhead, which is great, because we can utilize that. We have a lot of shadow on this item. What I've done is I've set the camera up just a little bit lower than Seth. So we're shooting up on him. You guys know from photo one on one that this is all about creating a little bit more strength in the subject by shooting up onto him and giving him a little bit more of a dominating kind of stature over the frame. So with that rim on this side, I want to do something a little bit different. I want to show you guys what this scene is gonna look like with a kicker. We're going to set up our first light, and we're gonna do it in a way that's a little bit different than what you've seen thus far. Then we're going to set up a second light. So did I say kicker? Okay, so the first light is going to go with the sun. The second light is gonna be our kicker. Then I'm going to show you how the scene is gonna look with depth because we're gonna shoot it with an N D as well and show you kind of like at a shallow depth versus at a full depth. So first, let's just start with our composition. We've got that dialed in in terms of like, what I've done in the frame is I've placed Seth just directly between the pole and the gas pump with the background kind of being that ceiling above him. We have a nice amount of kind of this depth at the scene is falling behind us, and it's kind of going off this side. It creates we're shooting on almost on this, like, kind of angle that creates depth going left and right. So that's gonna be important, because when we show that to the field, it makes a big difference in the composition. All right, so base exposure is at 1 200 F 11 and low. I s O. Because we don't want to use any and these yet. I just want to get this shot. Let's go ahead. Seth chin down a little bit, and then let's go. We think glasses off on this one. So I'm gonna see the light kind of coming to the eyes. That's cool. I like that. Uses a prop piece. Perfect. And then chin and everything perfect his eyes on the camera with that one right there. What we have here is if you look and analyze the light coming in on Seth right now, you can see that the sun is kind of acting as a rim on this left side, catching the left side of the face. We have a lot of Phil coming in from this side. So the ground is really bright and hot on the side, and it's filling in the face and look to the right. We have shadow over here. That means the natural light direction is coming from the right because the shadow is gonna be casting blues back up into this side, and it acts as a nice Phil. But we've placed them here because this side is gonna naturally brighter. So now we're gonna do is we're gonna bring in one single light. And I wanted to be a nice soft wrapping light place behind and angled almost at the direction of the sun. So we're gonna bring this guy in mhm and this Go around, we're gonna look to create a very, very soft look with that light source, so I'm gonna follow our same rules as before. So let's look at Seth Chin angle into the camera. Chin goes this way a little bit south, more, more, more right there. And what I'm looking for is that highlight all the way across the bridge. See if Seth pulls his chin back to this side a little bit south and just go a tiny bit this way. I want you guys to watch for that. You guys, Do you feel that set? You see the little feeling, A little highlight just right on this nose right here. That's gonna look odd and awkward when you guys are are using that in your shot because it's it's unnatural to have, like one spot of light. It almost looks like a white spot. So when we adjust the chin angle, we want to pull it to the side so we get a full edge light along the nose, so it kind of chisels out features as opposed to just parts of them. So that looks actually really good. I'm gonna go ahead and place this up there and let's just go. We're at 200 or 200 shutter speed F 11 and low, I So, which means I might as well start this guy at full power and just see where we're at. So I'm gonna go ahead and go A is at full power. I'm gonna turn be off. We're gonna start with our one light. I take this on and off sometimes because the, uh, exposure comp sometimes on these new cameras, little bit odd when you place it on. It doesn't give you, like, a exposure view in camera. Okay. All right. So I love the direction of the light. If we look at this, it looks fantastic. And what you'll see is if you come close, Carlo, you can see how it's blinking directly over his face because we've turned the highlight alert on and you can see that we've blown a little out of the face detail, right? That's okay. Because what I'm gonna do is I actually want to soften the light just a little bit further And to do that, I'm gonna use a scrim when you're working with FLASH. It is so critical that you're using the highlight alert specifically for situations like this. Because imagine this when you're looking at a history ram for this photograph. In fact, let's go ahead and pull that up so you can see the history ram for this shot. So here we go. We're looking at the history ram, And when you see that hissed a gram in camera, it doesn't give you enough information to know that these highlights up here. These whites are actually blown out on his face because there's not enough of them registering to really see a spike over here in the whites. This is where your highlight alert is absolutely critical for moments like this, so that you can see that a small portion of a very important area of our shot is actually blown out. So make sure you're using your highlight alert. So, with a smaller scream, what I'm gonna do is basically just bring this scrim right up here just before the shot. So right before the shot, I'm gonna go right here, notice that it's not blocking the sunlight. I don't want to block that sunlight on him. I want that rim. I just want to soften the light further by diffusing this light source. Okay? I want you to pay attention to what you're about to see, because I'm about to shoot and be my own lighting assistant. This requires true ninja like skills. It'll come to you, but just take your time, okay? Don't hurt yourself. Take your time. It's all I have. So we can do this. Since it's just us. We can do this on a timer. It's going to be a little bit tricky, but we can get it. So go ahead and adjust the angle of the face right there. Let's go ahead and make sure that's set up just like the previous shot. You want me looking at camera? Yeah. And just scoot a little bit out this way right there. Perfect. Solid. And then bring the eyes into the camera there. Yep. That's it. Okay, So we're gonna do is get our focus. I think we do in two seconds. Let's try it in two seconds. Okay. Eyes right in the camera. So I bring the chin down a little bit and chin angle this way, a little bit. There you go. Mhm. Oh, look at that. What would it be like? Messed up? It's like Nope. Didn't work. That's it. Let's pause for a moment and study the difference between those two shots because you might feel like that soft box by itself is already good enough, and it is going to be a really nice and it's going to be relatively soft because we are bringing it close to the subject. But take a look at these two shots Now on the left, we have just the mag box and on the right. As you can see, we have the mag box, then going through a scrim. Once again. This is a simple way that you can open up a light source an additional level to create a softer light, and you'll notice that it also does cut down on the amount of light because we're still shooting at the exact same power. What I want to do is let's zoom into the photograph to analyze that overall light pattern and look at the difference between the overall softness of the shop. Yes, we have dramatically brought down the brightness, probably by about a stop of we've lost about a stop of light. But look at the shadow transitions. So look at this relatively defined edge right here versus the softness that you see on this shot right here. Look at the way that the highlights respond in the whites of his beard and compare that shadow transition edge along the shirt to this much more natural and softened edge with that larger light source again, a simple way to create a larger light source. Even when working by yourself. Just drop that scrim right in front. Now, keep mind the larger light source, the softer the light. So that means the closer that that scream gets to the subject, the larger is going to become so you can control that depth and distance. And again, just simply use that composite technique that we talked about earlier and we showed you how to do back in the first video. Look at this as well. Look at the shadows and transitions on other objects in the scene. So here we have a very defined shadow on the gas pump in the back, whereas on the right side that defined edges gone. We end up with something far more natural in the image. We don't see any other shadows being cast and even over on this right side. Look at this. Look at the difference there. So on the right, we end up with an image that doesn't look nearly as well, I guess flashed. It looks like there's much more production value in that shot versus the one on the left, which looks like it has a little bit less intention. Now let's keep going and see our addition of the next light, which is going to edge out our subject. We got it. And what that did was so I didn't adjust my power settings on the last one because I knew that throwing the scrim over that is gonna knock outs on the light. And it did knock out some of the light, and we got a really nice shot. Here we have the scream a tiny bit in frame, but it looks really fantastic. So all we're gonna do now is before we get to that hole depth thing I want to add in my second light source. You can use virtually anything for this light source. But what I'm going to use is another mag box set up. So that way we can kind of cast a nice, slightly softer light over the overall scene. So I have this set to Group C, and we're going to place this right back here, so special. Yeah, where it's not going to be in frame. Let's see. Let's just look at the frame and composition. All right? So we're gonna do is pull this guy just out a little bit. Big gust of wind. We're stepping in. Mhm. Fortunately, we're right by the side of this thing, so should be right. Oh, still in a timer. Okay, Perfect. Let's pause for a second. Because now, with that kicker or that edge light up, I want you to see the difference here, we can see it. I mean, you can see it all over the frame, but I want you to look at certain areas of detail, namely, look at the face. Look at how that kicker kind of ads, that splash of light, that really shapes the face a little more by adding a little highlight onto the skin as well as the beard. We can also see it kind of finishing and edging out the the collar right here and adding a little bit of light onto the jacket itself. It just adds dimension and shape to everything. We can see that highlight in the in the logo of the bike. We can even see a little bit of light in the background as it hits the gas pumps and everything. It just adds a lot of shape and dimension. And that's exactly what we're looking for. With this technique. Let's go ahead and dive back in. Not really. Let's get your position right on. That looks good. I want to open up the other side of the glass is actually how would it normally be? Yeah, that looks good. Perfect. Bring that chin angle. That's it. So we have that place over there. I have set that to full power because notice how far back is on the scene. I'm gonna bring his chin over again. I still want that light to kind of edge out the nose and we're gonna let that kind of cast a light over the right side of the scene. Don't worry too much if you get some kind of shadow spill in the areas that we don't want necessarily. We're gonna We're gonna fix that in post. I might just bring this over a little bit more. I hate that word. Fix it in post, by the way. I'm sorry. I should never say that again. Ever. Yeah, we're gonna do a composite. So it's not really fixing it in post. It's just really layering it and kind of perfecting it. Okay, so this is still set up on his two second timer. What I'm gonna do so we can get everything into one shot is we're gonna get our focus. I'm gonna get our pose nailed. So, Seth, bring the chin up a little bit. A little bit more war right there. Perfect. All right, brother. Mhm. Where did that same little trick? Okay, yeah, one more time. Beautiful. Now we got this super cool kind of edging effect going on where we can now see reflections kind of being cast across like the bike we can see, like the second light across the faces. It creates like a kind of jawline highlight. It looks fantastic. The only thing we need to do is let's go ahead and turn this off and get a plate shot real quick. So I'm gonna grab my plate and we've got this shot. So this is where I would say, play around like you've got this all set up, get your different shots and different angles. What I want to do in the next video is actually demonstrate how it's gonna look with a shallow depth of field. And then we might even go as far as maybe adding in a flare. We can do that flare and post. But it would be fun to add in a little flair on this left side of the camera as well. So let's go ahead and move on. I'm often telling you all to get your lights set up and then to keep shooting. Don't just get that one shot. Once your lights are set up, you're free to roam, to think, creative, to shoot tight, to shoot wider, to find different angles. I do this because, as you're going to see in this specific video, that's usually when I'm getting my favorite shots. After the lights are set up and I'm just thinking creatively and getting different images. That's exactly what happens here And in fact, our final image that we're gonna be post producing is one of those shots so kind of looking down and bring the hands up like you're kind of adjusting the glasses or something like, look, kind of down to that side, actually. Like it with your right hand. Good. Yeah, Your guests. That's cool. Go ahead and take them off. Bring the Iceland camera. That's sick. And then let's let's incorporate the actually, just you can lean on to the bike or do with something whatever you want. Yeah. No two. Yes, yes, Looking at the camera with that. Mhm. Yes. That is so bad asking it's time for posts. So go ahead and make sure that you have these two raw files loaded into light room. We're gonna work through both of them because I think there's some really interesting things that we can talk about for each one of these. So let's go ahead and start with the close up. That bearded shot with all the great detail that we're gonna use, uh, and creating black and white. So I'm gonna go ahead and grab the raw file and I'm gonna reset everything else you guys can see it as it is now again, For those that are using visual flow, it's as simple as this select black and white. All you're gonna do is reduce the exposure a little bit and then dial up clarity. And this black and white mix is already creating a perfect mix that is going to really differentiate it from light room. Okay, so the lighter and black and white is kind of dingy. I don't like it because the black and white conversion that you get in light room. If I were to keep everything and just reset this and just press V and dial it down a half stop, this is the comparison. So on the left side, you just end up with a lot more detail. Sorry it flipped to the right side once I did the wo Do we need to see his beard that close? I think not me thinks not. Okay, so you can see the black and white conversion. There is just not as strong. So if you're gonna do a black and white from the ground up, which that's what we're gonna do here, uh, make sure you're not just going with the standard black and white conversion. That light room is giving you. So let's go ahead and do this. Let's grab that image. I'm gonna reset everything out and we will start with our baseline by pressing V to get to just that basic black and white. Now, usually, what I like to do for my black and whites is in the black and white mix. I'm actually gonna raise the Reds a little bit to get the skin tones to pop kind of above everything else. But let's not worry about that yet. Let's do this. I want to dial my exposure down just a little bit. Let's go ahead and add a little bit of shadows. Let's go ahead and add a little bit of blacks. Let's go ahead and start pumping up clarity to really increase that mid tone contrast. And you can already start seeing the image kind of pulling together and really starting to pop. Okay, so now what I'm gonna do is in the black and white mix. If I brighten the oranges, let's see here. Let's see if the black line mix will actually know it'll flip me back. Okay, So what we'll do is this. I'm gonna press V again, and we're just gonna adjust it manually. So if I adjust up the orange is what you're gonna see is the skin tones will actually pop really nicely. So I'm actually gonna bring the oranges and the yellows up a little bit and oftentimes will actually pull the blues and the aqua and the purples because those are often the tones that you see in the sky. So if we did see tones in the sky, we can actually drop those and create a more dramatic black and white. So this is really it. Now, from here, I'm gonna pull my exposure down a little bit. If you wanted to have a slightly flatter look, you can lower contrast if you want more kind of that super high contrast Look, you can raise it, but I tend to kind of go with a slightly more flat look with my images. And there's one more fun thing. If you don't want your black point to be completely black, just raise that edge on the tone curve a little bit up. And I'd also recommend that if you're doing that, drop the highlight point a little bit down. Now, what this does is it turns the white point to a bright grey and it turns the black point to a dark gray. Okay, now you can add a little bit of contrast back in by kind of dropping the tone curve a little bit, maybe raising it up here and the highlights a little bit. But using this technique, you end up with a really cool and subtle fade, and I would recommend keeping it subtle. That lends a lot to images like this. And I might even, like, say, for an image like this. It's a perfect candidate to add a little bit of grain into, But what I'm gonna do is just pull the black point down a little bit. Some around 2% is usually what I like. I was going to bring the shadow point down a little bit, and we end up with this really nice black and white that I think looks absolutely fantastic for Seth. Okay, so now let's go over to the other image that we want to create. So we're gonna go down to this shot, so let's find our raw file, which is this guy right here and you'll notice if we compare the raw. There's not a whole lot that has changed here. What we have done is we've kind of drawn in a little bit of a burn around everything to kind of pull up and into him. We've revealed a lot of detail. We've added a little bit of color in the highlights and in the shadows, and that's really it. Okay, so let's go ahead and just do that. Now, again, this is the same soft light preset. We're just going to work from the ground up. All right, so let's just jump in. So right now everything is reset. What I'm going to start with is my shadows. Let's go ahead and raise shadows a bit. Let's go ahead and raise blacks. And now I'm gonna go ahead and start adjusting my clarity up just to give it some punch. I'll go ahead and bring exposure up, and from here, I really want to get that radio filter in. And we're gonna do probably a couple radio filters here, so I'm gonna start with one. We're gonna go ahead and dial the exposure down, and I'm actually gonna do another one. So let's drop another radio filter directly over him again. And what I might do is actually shift this one a bit down. So that way one is directly over his face. One is kind of more over his body a little bit, and we're gonna pull down into the entire frame. So this is almost like a general vignette. This is a vignette that kind of goes directly for revealing the face. And I might pull in a graduated filter as well top down just to darken a little bit the top of the frame. Now, if you want to be a little bit more precise with this, you totally can. If you wanted to, you could just grab a graduated or sorry, just the brush. And I'm gonna use my mouse to kind of just increase the size of this and then just paint over essentially the top of the image, making sure that your flow is up, actually. Okay, so we would just paint over the top, and then what you can do is hold down, alter option and paint it essentially off his face right there. Okay, So either one of those methods totally works, But the point is to really pull in the the overall tones into him, and it already looks really good. So we're pulling in and create that natural vignette which once again follows the light that we've added into the shot. Okay, so what I might do here is just add a little bit more warmth like that. We're gonna go ahead and pull in the split, toning another. My favorite tricks when I'm a split toning is to add colors that are already there in the scene. So I'm gonna add some of that warmth that we would see up in the up in the building itself and for the shadows. I'm gonna actually add in some of the blues that we might see in the sky a little bit. But again, we're just going to pull the saturation down. So all I'm doing by the way to do that is clicking into the this little panel of color are little palette. Then, while I'm holding down the mouse, I'm dragging it into the scene. So it's a fun little trick that you can use to get and pull colors directly from the image itself. We're gonna go to 15% for the saturation that I'm just gonna dial this now up and get that balance. Now, if you look at the before and after on this what it essentially did Was it tightened up a little bit of tones? Okay, so all we're doing and I'm gonna bring it up a little bit more into the highlights. All we're doing is adding a bit of warmth, and it's such a subtle shift. But when you see that full resolution file without the you're gonna see a little bit of, uh, down sampling from the Kodak itself in the video. When you do it on your own, you're going to see the colors get kind of tightened up a little bit. As everything sort of pulls together. It creates a really nice finalized look. Now, the last thing I'm gonna do is I think it deserves a little bit of extra burning. So I'm gonna go ahead and add one more burn from the left to right right here. I might put in one more burn from right to left over here, and that looks really cool. I like exactly where it's at right now. I might just tweak my temperature a little bit. So let's see. Temperature right about here is nice. We get that nice blue tone, the background If you want to shift the hue of the blues to get more of that teal, you totally can as well. You can also shift it to be a little more purple for this shot. I might even shift it up a little bit and Hugh and then just pull down a little bit of saturation. We got to a really cool final image. This image looks straight up like Rick from walking dead. Does this not look like walking dead? All right, Alex is like, Alex just did like a which for him is like, Yeah, man, this looks like that's That's like, Alex is not very emotive. So just take everything. Alex doesn't amplify it by, like, 200. Okay, See, he just barely chuckled right there. And that meant that that was super funny because he just barely chuckled. There's one last thing I want to do. Um, I have this little brush in here inside of the retouching presets for visual flow packs. But again, if you don't have it, that's totally fine. What you're gonna do is just dial in these settings, so you'll notice that the contrast highlights. Just pause the video and dial in these settings and save this out as a brush. What this does is it ends up punching up, you know, some of the detail that you'd find in, like, clothing and everything like that. And for a shot like this, it really adds a little bit of extra punch to your subject that makes them pop from the scene. You will notice that once it drops over skin, it can be a little bit over the top. And so what I'll usually do is paint this on rather vigorously, and then I'll hold down alter option. I'm just gonna minus it from skin. Okay, so we're just gonna minus it from areas of skin minus it from his hand. Don't worry about that. It's okay. There's a fire. That's fine. You know what? We know Our priorities and our priorities are to continue to teach you guys photography. Even if we die. Right, Lex, Alex feels the exact same way that I do. I know he feels the importance of this is far beyond our own lives. Say yes if you're with me, Alex. It sounded like you were forced to say that, but it's okay. If you want to tone down those settings, you can hold down, alter, option and click and drag to the left to kind of tone down the overall contrast adjustment. But I love that little extra pop and kick that we get to the image. It looks really great. So here, once again, before and after really fun little image and, by the way, notice our nice little rim light and the way that it kind of adds a little kiss of light to not only the beard, but then also the scene itself. Like everything around him, we see that nice little edge light on everything that really adds a lot of shape and dimension to the image. That's it. Let's move on to the next video

Class Description


  • Master multiple off-camera flash setups for dramatic portraits.
  • Control light with flash modifiers such as softboxes, grids, and gels.
  • Master creative techniques like creating silhouettes anywhere, pin lighting. your subjects, backlighting rain, creating starbursts with diffraction, and much more.
  • Use various tools in Adobe Lightroom Classic to enhance the images created using the lighting techniques taught in this course.


This workshop is all about using multi-point lighting setups to consistently make any location look great and help you capture dramatic, creative portraits that will wow your clients every time.

Building on the skills learned in Flash Photography Crash Course, Lighting 101 and Lighting 201, we’re going to explore a variety of multi-point lighting techniques and look at different ways to further refine the way we light a scene. We’ll start with light stacking to create depth in our portraits before introducing rim lighting, backlighting, and other creative effects and applications. Then, we’ll incorporate motion into our environmental portraits via shutter drag and show you how to create composite images that would otherwise be impossible to capture. 

We’re going to demonstrate these techniques using a variety of highly portable lighting gear and modifiers. You’ll also find “power translations” with each lesson so that you can know the exact power settings used and recreate the same light using any flash or modifier that you already own. Follow along and see how we crafted all of the images featured in this course, from shoot to post, and learn how to fully realize your vision and bring it to life with your camera. 

The next class in this series is Lighting 401, where Pye teaches photographers how to create every natural light effect with flash, including golden hour, soft window light, and direct sun.


  • Photographers with a basic understanding of flash photography who want to elevate their lighting skills
  • Those looking to boost their creativity when shooting on-location
  • Any photographer who wants to stand out from the competition


Adobe Lightroom Classic 2019


Jackie Stewart

Lighting 301 is excellent! I learned so many new techniques throughout the class. Pye Jirsa is brilliant at explaining new lighting techniques in such an easy to understand way and his mastery of Lightroom is amazing!!! Loved the class and can't wait til implement the things I learned!!!!


I love the Lighting (101-201-301) courses; I have finally understood the concept of lighting and how it works. I have been referring to my notes and go back to all the courses with ease. One of the best courses I have done for myself and my biz; I am so impressed with my work and the lighting I can create.


Pye is a great presenter and is able to make understanding light easy. Now to practice and master the concepts taught. Thank you.