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Lighting 301

Lesson 10 of 26

Hollywood Two-Light for Subjects

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

Lighting 301

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

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Lesson Info

10. Hollywood Two-Light for Subjects
Pye starts with a traditional two-light setup often associated with old Hollywood studio portraits and then adds a second shot to create a unique double exposure. Post-production instruction is included in this lesson.


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Lesson Info

Hollywood Two-Light for Subjects

the Hollywood to light. Now we're gonna go ahead and push those lights horses back and light the other side, which you're going to see in the video. Now, this tutorial is one of my favorites inside of lighting three because it demonstrates so many different things. In addition to the lighting setup, we're actually gonna be shooting two separate shots and doing a post production double exposure. We're going to make this very easy, very simple. And the benefit of this, as you're going to see in the video, is it would have been impossible for us to get this shot in this scene. Okay, So as you see the final image, many things happened while shooting, including a bunch of racers racing underneath, Grand getting arrested, getting ticketed by the cops and on top of this not only would have been impossible in that night to have your couple stand in the middle of street, it's also dangerous to have your couple stand in the middle of the street. It's a liability for you, and it's dangerous for t...

he couple, so don't do it. This tutorial will teach you how to get the exact shot you want without ever doing anything that's going to jeopardize the couple or you Let's dive in. And this scene I want to show you guys the Hollywood to light set up. So basically, all we're gonna do is we're gonna set up two lights and instead of lighting from 45 degree angles off each camera side, we're actually gonna place them behind the subjects and create a much more interesting light. I called this setup because it's often used in movies and different setups granted with more lighting and everything. But it's used to that you can shoot off of either angle of your subject. So let's go ahead and get started here, and then I'm gonna have you guys stand right here in the center. This is gonna end in like, a kind of final shot that we want to create. But let's first get this one and let's come forward a little bit. So come forward right to about here. Perfect. I'm gonna go ahead and get an ambient light shot. It's gonna be a simple composition, because honestly, the shot that I want is actually gonna be right after this. So let's just pull the frame down a little bit. There we go. Okay, guys, hold hands in the center. Look right at each other. Let me get a quick little emulate shot. Yeah. Okay, So here's our Amy and Light. Now, what I'm gonna do is go ahead and mix that and we're gonna pull it down. So all we can really see is a little bit of those grates kind of in the background, But I'm gonna leave it very, very dark. We just see a little bit of lights kind of coming through. And so we're gonna pull our eyes away way down. Let's go ahead and go down to, like, 400. I so and drop our shutter speed. Let's go down even further. We're going on a 100 s o 102nd F two. So this is the Emily shot that I want. Now what we're gonna do is add in the other light. So with this, I need to light the exact same power. So if they're on the same group, that's totally fine. Now, go ahead and reverse the head of the light so that we can see the screen on this side. Okay, this is on a so Why don't you bring this? We're gonna do one on this side. So, um, we're in the middle of a shooting on this very popular street in the middle of the night, where they filmed lots of different movies, as well as commercials and TV shows. On this particular night, there are a bunch of racers or racers to be honest, driving their cars up and down, and they're about to get arrested. That presented some issues for us, which we actually dealt with Not only from an audio standpoint, what you're going to hear, but also in the entire approach to the video. But we still ended up getting our double exposure to work regardless. Okay, now he looked towards Gina. There you go. So, basically, all I want this light to do. We're underground right now, and there's tons of awesome cars down here, which is which is the usual. Okay, Perfect. Now you should be right on genus, so let's go ahead and get a look from your side. Let me see from your side. But you don't want to go any higher than where I'm at. Unless we match it. There we go. Okay. Let's see if there's center Now, what's your power setting? Oh, you're five. Good. Five and five. So you're gonna go in a little bit, Karen? A little bit more. There you go. And, Gina, he take his tiny step back Now G s step towards him a little bit right there. Perfect. Okay, let's go out and take a look at this or turn the flash on. Okay? So all we gotta do is tweak some power settings right now. Let's go ahead and bring these up. I'm gonna go to seven and seven on each. So that brings us, like down to were around 18 1/16 power on a standard flash. All right, now we just about got it. So, Gina, what I want you to do is take a small, small step back. He take a small step toward Gina right there. Perfect. Now, Gina, can you give me a kind of side angle pose where I can see a little bit more of the hip? It's like, turn the body a little bit this way there. And now look towards there you go. Perfect. Okay. So what we have on each side, basically is we have this rimless. So we have a rim light on her backside and the main light on the heath and the same thing on his side with that other light on Gina. So the only thing to do now is just make sure both lights are the same distance. So, Karen, can you pull this light in just a little bit right there? Stop. Okay. Let me get the shot. Karen. Okay, Look toward each other, guys. And here you can kind of open up the chest to as well. There you go. Right there. Maybe. But in the jacket, too. What's that? Slap it. It's opened up. Okay, So all I want to really do is make sure that the shadows are flattering on both sides. And the one thing that I notice is that the lights can actually go back further and angle more towards them. So let's pull both lights all the way back. Here's what I mean with those shadows. So if you actually look at this image right here, um, we're creating quite a bit of shadow on Gina's kind of right side of her chest as well as Heath's left side of his chest. Okay, so sorry. Well, the close side of the camera, Essentially. So what's happening right now is that based on where they are positioned there, actually casting shadows onto themselves so well, there's two things happening so potentially they can cast shadows. So this light is going straight forward towards Gina. But his shoulder can potentially cast a shadow on to her. In addition, because her shoulder is kind of rotated back a little bit this side of the chest. Can these people have super big heads? Just decide now. But this side of the shoulder can cast a shadow on this side, and the same thing's happening on his side, where he's getting that shadow kind of on this side of the body. There's a couple ways we can adjust for that now. I'm not making a huge deal out of it here because the entire image is going to be based on really quite a wide shot, as you guys have seen at the beginning of the video, and also we can see at the end, so they're gonna be very small component of the overall image. But the way to fix this is to basically pull those flashes by back a little bit, so that when those flashes light, they're not essentially going to be hitting a shoulder before they're landing on the body. So if both flashes are kind of lighting inward just a little bit more, you can fix it. You can also fix it by pulling the subjects away and forward a little bit and also creating a little more space. There's plenty of ways to fix it, but it's mainly just preventing that shadow from being cast from a shoulder onto the other side of that person's body. That's the issue we're seeing here, and that's the issue. We're gonna kind of adjust out, or at least improve for our final shot to that fence and now angle it towards them so we can get good shapes on both bodies. Okay, all right, there it is. So if I want a little bit more ambient light, I can always just dial the annual exposure down a little bit. But here's the thing. I actually want to nix all the ambient light here because what I would like to do is use this shot for a double exposure. It's not exactly safe right now to shoot in the middle of the street. So when we have situations like this, what I can do is actually get my double exposure or get my shot by knocking out all the background light around it and kind of focusing on them, getting it kind of blacked out. And then we're gonna do a double exposure, which I'm gonna show you in just a moment. So let's go ahead and do that. Guys, we're gonna get our shot. I'm gonna power this up a little bit on B and on a perfect look toward each other. We see it. Yes. I love that smile toward each other a little bit. There you go. Okay, so now we're gonna turn it up just a bit more, all the way up. So this is basically a full power flash now, and we're gonna just eliminate all the background light all together. Okay, So what I'm looking to get is basically black all around them, and we pretty much have that. We can see the lights on each side. And if I wanted to have Karen, I can have you just pull out that flash a little bit on that side and then keep going a little bit more right there. Make sure it's angled towards Gina. And I do the same thing on this side. There you go. Right there. Do that Same pose. Guys look toward each other. Perfect. Fantastic. Now we get a better separation on both these sides. It looks really nice. Heath. Smile towards her right there. Perfect. Now you guys relax for a minute. Go Jacket on. We got this baseline shot, right? I want to point something out before we jump into post notice how, with our setup and the overall exposure were really just knocking out all the ambient light and exposing for this Hollywood to light setup. Right? So what you end up having is when you look at the shot, you end up seeing their faces reveal the kind of rim light on the back of them revealed. But everything in between is really left in shadow. This is completely up to you and your discretion when shooting. There are so many different options here for the Hollywood to light set up. This is one because we want to lead this shot into a double exposure. So we want it to be dark because the shot is going to come along with it. But if you're doing this kind of during the day or doing an environmental portrait like at the beach or whatever it is and you have a nice sunset, you might want to leave some of the ambient light in the exposure to kind of create natural fill on the front of them and do the Hollywood to like from the back side, and you can shoot through to have sort of a fill light on the front. You can also add the fill light with just a third light source coming from the front to fill in the shadows as well. So there are plenty of different ways of getting a completely different look with this setup, and it doesn't have to be this dark and dramatic each time we're shooting it that way, because it's going to work for our double exposure. Let's go ahead and finish out the video and then jump into post so I could do a couple different things. I could actually shoot them and zoom out and shoot him small. But the thing is, I actually want the resolution on them. Uh, so I can actually just do that post. I'm gonna show you how to do that really quickly and easily in the next video. So instead, what I'm gonna do is actually get my other shot, which is this grand shot. And I want these leading lines to kind of pull down and into a dark center right in the middle of the frame. So I'm gonna get on a 700 get that shot. Mhm. 5432 one. And it's changed. Mhm. Let's jump into post. There's two raw files that you should have here. It's going to be this shot as well as this shot right here. Now, as you saw in the video, we encountered a scene where there's a bunch of writers that are racing illegally. Mind you, I love cars, but I don't condone racing legally, and they're getting tickets and potentially arrested by the cops. So it kind of ruined our ability to get the shot they wanted. In fact, it even ruined our ability to get our second shot for the double exposure. We had to come back in a few minutes to get that. But that's the beauty of the double exposure is it's not safe to place our clients in the middle of the street like this. It wouldn't be safe at any time unless we have the roads blocked off. And that's an entirely different type of permit, which is very expensive. So instead we can do a little bit of camera trickery or even post production trickery to get to the final image. So the final image we're looking to create is this shot okay? It's actually very, very simple to do this. So here's all we're gonna do. First, let's go ahead and process this image here and the way that I'm gonna do this is I'd like for this image to be a little bit on the warmer side, so I'm just going to warm it up a little bit. What I'm trying to do here is I'm gonna turn on Jay to have my highlight and clipping alert on. I'm gonna raise a little bit of the exposure and I'm gonna darken the shadows and the blacks just a little bit. The goal here is that most of that fence in the background is basically essentially blacken out. Okay, Now we don't need to go and crush it like all the way down right here. We can kind of lift it a little bit. Maybe somewhere around there, and that looks pretty decent. This is actually going to be fine for where we need it. We don't really need to do too much else because all I'm concerned with is them. You're gonna understand why we're blocking everything else in just a moment because we're gonna layer in Photoshop. But let's go ahead and first process the second image. Now, the second image. I want this image to really be a little bit cooler. Okay, so we're gonna go ahead and just bring our temperature down quite a bit. And as far as the blacks and the shadows, I'm gonna turn my highlight clipping alert as well. And we're gonna look and just kind of Nick's a little bit of blacks and I'm also gonna raise the exposure just a bit right about there is pretty solid. Now I'm going to grab both these images. Having them be a kind of temperature. Throw is intentional, by the way. So I'm leaving one colder. I'm leaving a little bit warmer because imagine if we had underexposed the scene and turned it blue by dialing down the temperature balance. But then, using C. T. O s on the couple, we're essentially just doing that in post. So with these two images, I'm gonna go ahead and right click. Go ahead and edit in open as layers inside of Photoshop. Now, while that's opening, let me tell you why we didn't try and do this in camera to get this double exposure right in camera, I need to stand in the middle of the street to basically make the, uh, well, number one. I need to shoot the couple at a perfect size and then stay in the middle of street to kind of align that image with the second shot and get a perfect image, which would take time when stepping in the middle of street. The cops are still there, so I don't want to be shooting in the middle of street with, you know, the lights, like the traffic lights behind me, and I'm in the crosswalk. But the lights are green and it's completely legal. While cops are there, they will get upset about that. So instead, what I'm opting for is just to take that second shot and just worry about the second shot. Get it right. Jump into the crosswalk when we have the right of way and then to get my image and focus on getting that image perfect. Then I'll do the rest and post, because again, the scene doesn't lend itself to doing it all in camera. But we can make our lives very easy for the post side. So here we have the two images loaded into Photoshop. Now, first thing, let's go ahead and press control T or command T to select our bounding box. What I'm gonna do is shrink the couple down in the image. Okay? So I'm gonna bring them down to about what I was intending, which is? I wanted this couple to kind of be at the bottom of the frame where these lines would sort of lead directly into them and fall away behind them. So imagine trying to pull this off in that scene. It had been very difficult, if not impossible. Highly illegal, dangerous, all sorts of things. So with them placed right there, I'm going to enter now. You'll notice that we still see the flashes we still see the background. We don't see everything. This is the easy part. This is why I darkened everything and knocked it out with lighting and the amulet exposure and then also in post. Because I'm gonna flip this over to screen. Once this is on screen, essentially anything that's black will drop away completely. So all we really see is just a little bit of greats. We see the couple right there, and that's really it. Okay, so now we just have a bit of fixing to get done in this image. So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna go ahead and add on a layer mask and let's go ahead and just paint off black where we don't want anything else in the image. So basically, I'm just going to remove at 100% flow kind of the extra stuff, so I don't need anything around here. It doesn't even have to be that close to accurate, because we already did most of the work in post. Right. Okay, Now the thing is, is anywhere where there was black on the couple, we're gonna see through to the background layer. So there's another very easy way of kind of mixing them. We can essentially go to the background layer. There's there's actually a few different ways. The honestly, the simplest way to do this. And I know you're gonna be like, Oh, that's destructive. But it's just a paint black over this. Let's do in a nondestructive way. Let's go ahead and add another layer right here, and all I'm going to do in this underlying layer is basically paint black. Oops, that's not black press D and now paint black over anything behind their heads. So all that's happening now is whatever is transparent. I'm just painting black right over the underlying layer. And anything that's transparent is showing through is just showing the black underneath it. Okay, we're gonna do the same thing here. It doesn't need to be super precise again because, well, our image and the way that we shot everything is kind of doing most the heavy lifting, right? Yeah. Okay, go ahead and paint. Whoops. Not white. Let's just go ahead and press either to bring up the eraser tool and we can erase black wherever you want. That line to kind of lead in the bar body to kind of create a sharper edge. Perfect. Mhm. OK, so essentially what we have if you click alt or option and then click. This little eyeball is we basically just painted black over these areas. And if you want to perfect it, you totally can. So you can press be coming to these areas where you know there should be complete black and you can kind of paint over those areas. Same thing over here on this side. There should be black, like, kind of all over these areas, so we don't see any ghosting or anything behind her, but that's it. So, essentially, what we've done is this image holding are pressing control zero uh, all it is is now a temperature throw where it looks like we lit the couple with CTO gels, Um, and we drop the temperature down. But we did this all in post. We did it very safely. We place them exactly what we wanted to. You will notice one thing, and I'll let you guys be the You know, you can totally make the choice on this. You'll notice that in a shot like this are couple. It might be a little bit sharper than the overall scene itself. If you notice that kind of difference, you can basically just add a tiny, tiny bit of like, um, sharpening, basically or just basically a tiny, tiny bit blurred. And what I mean a tiny bit. It's just a little bit ever so slightly just to kind of blend the two levels of sharpness. When you're shrinking a subject down at high resolution, there can be a little difference there. But honestly, I don't notice the difference here that's worth fixing. So I think it's great we have our final image here, and we basically did this double exposure in post to get it completely right without jeopardizing our clients safety without breaking any laws and creating a really cool image in the process very easily inside of the post. I lost it at the end of that. That's fine. Let's just go now 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.