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Lighting 301

Lesson 24 of 26

Nighttime Vs. Day in a Single Exposure

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

Lighting 301

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

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Lesson Info

24. Nighttime Vs. Day in a Single Exposure
Pye builds on a concept popularized by Sam Hurd and creates what looks like a double exposure in one shot, all thanks to a bit of creative ingenuity and a trusty ND filter. Post-production instruction is included in this lesson.


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Lesson Info

Nighttime Vs. Day in a Single Exposure

this next video we're going to dub Nighttime versus daytime. Now, I got the inspiration for this photograph from another great photographer, Sam Hurd. A while back I saw an image that he posted where he did a double exposure where the left side was dark and the right side was bright and the couple was kind of separate on each side. I wanted to put my own spin on it. This time I wasn't gonna do a double exposure. I wanted to get everything in one single shot. So what I was thinking of was, I frequently use NDS and I enjoy any filter. So I'm going to use the nd filter to split the scene. What we're gonna do is actually, like the left side, leave the right side natural and make our own kind of sunlight coming through the back. And we end up with the image that you see here, which is one of my favorites in the entire lighting series. So let's jump in. But so, guys, I'm gonna have you standing Or actually, let's go sitting on these two points right there and see if we can't do this. Why don...

't you guys hold hands in the center, and I want you guys both looking in the camera for the shop. Cool. So, for this BC, we're gonna have to light you on this side. So I want your chin to kind of come this way. Yes, just like that. And Taylor, we're gonna have to like him in a way that doesn't put light on you. Okay, So the way that we're going to do that is I think from right at this angle, you can pin him with light right there with that gridded. So here we have the pro photo a one with a CTO gel on it. We're gonna pin it right to him. So first things first, though, before I even test out any lights, I'm gonna go ahead and start with composition. I've got my camera up here on a tripod. Do notice that we are inside of a cul de sac, so we're shooting in the middle of l. A. But it is a safe area where cars can kind of navigate around pretty easily. And if not, well, we'll make adjustments. So I'm gonna go ahead with a quick, natural light shot. Guys looking in the camera first and hold hands right here looking at the camera. Perfect. So that's our natural light image. So I'm shooting down on this kind of little ring area, and I'm placing an area where everything kind of leads up to them on the street. So it should be a pretty cool background. Okay, so this is the natural exposure at 1 200 f four and I saw 100 I'm going to test this out by bringing the filter directly over and bringing it right to the place where it's kind of in the middle and see if we can't get that light to split right in half. All right? It's actually pretty spot on. So what I might do since we still have some room on my eye. So I'm gonna bump this up to 200 s o and do it one more time. What? I meant there was that we still had room in the highlight end of the history, Graham. So I'm raising the I saw a little bit, the goal being I want to get as much shadow information as possible and as much highlight information as possible without blowing or clipping either. Let's check it out. Okay, Which flashes this set to This is a You see. This is gonna be right here, brother. Okay? And your chin is gonna angle back this way. Now, Karen, I need to take that flash. And when we're ready, you're gonna go place it right with that last beat is at the yellow dots and you're going to sit on the ground, angle it directly towards them. Okay, So because I do have my couple sitting in the middle of the road, it's a safe area and were permitted to be there. But still, we're not stopping the flow of traffic, and I don't want them to be there too long. So I'm not explaining everything as I'm going. I have this vision for the shot that I'd like to put together, and my goal here is to not only have a light that's on BC, but then to have this sort of, like, kind of a flare that's coming in from the very top of the frame on the ground. That's kind of lighting up and almost like a son, as if it was coming right along the edge of the street and entering the frame. So that way I can incorporate a flare naturally into the final image in post. I'm gonna basically amplify it. But having that flash there is what's going to really sell the image because I have a natural bit of that light kind of coming in and really kind of doing the heavy lifting and convincing the viewer that the sunlight was actually coming along the ground and into the frame. So that's what we're aiming to do with that first light on B. C. The second light in the very back, right where the middle of the frame is going to be that you're going to see in just a moment, do a quick little test right now. When I saw this image, the first thing that I noticed is one I don't like the shadow and shape the light on BC's face and to a lot of that light is actually spilling onto the side of Taylor. So what I want to do is actually move the light position further to the back, and I'm gonna have them kind of look in other directions. And that way the light that does spill a little bit on the Taylor is gonna almost look like that Sunlight entering from the back of the frame. So let's keep going. Perfect. BC look off to the right side. You guys gonna hold hands in the middle? The lights. Right on. Perfect. Taylor gonna look off to that side. Perfect. Karen, you're ready. Angle it directly towards them. Put the butt of it straight back and NBC scoot over to this side. More. You're off on that line. There you go. A little more. Right there. Right there. Hold hands of Taylor. Right in the center. Perfect. Relax it down. Okay, Hop up, guys. Let's just make sure we got that, okay? And then Karen can UNIX that light. So here you can see that second flash in the background. That's kind of creating that faux sunlight coming through with that CTO gel color temperature right against the ground. Kind of entering the frame from the back side. Let me get a quick play shot for that plate shot. All I really cared about was making sure that the left side of the frame was captured without the light stand so that we can easily composite and post, which we're going to go to and finish out the image shortly. So cool. Yeah. Check it out. Yeah. Uh huh. That's so cool. I love who? Yeah. Isn't it fun? Let's jump in a post. So make sure you have the two raw files that we need. So we need that one shot right here and then simply the plate shot that comes right after it. Let's go ahead and jump into the develop module. I'm gonna press shift f to go full screen and give us quite a bit of real estate. Everything is reset out. So we're just gonna go ahead and dial in all of our settings that we need here, Um, now, noticing that we kind of have this shot with split light. Right, So on the right side is very bright on the left side is very dark, So we're gonna kind of balance these two a little bit. I'm gonna lift the shadows a little while increasing contrast and kind of dropping blacks and help me out. I'm going to turn on my highlight and clipping alert. I'm also going to brighten up the entire image to the point where the right side is nice. and kind of exactly where I want it. I'm going to add in a bit of contrast again. I'm kind of looking primarily at the right side right now, and I'm going to go ahead and dial and white balance as well. Now, you'll notice that the flash on the left side is creating this light on Taylor right here. But it almost could be sold as if, you know, it's kind of coming from our son in the background. So I'm not really minding it that much. If you did, you could actually take a second shot where that flash didn't fire. And you just use the shot of Taylor from that side or your subject. So with that now, I'm gonna go ahead and raise my blacks just a bit. So we're not kind of clipping his B. C s clothing on the left side, and then we're gonna go ahead and add a bit more clarity to our image. And that's nice. Okay, Now I'm going to look for the right kind of temperature intent for her side. There's several things that we could do. I might take a white balance reading on the black dress or her black outfit and just see if there's anything here that's kind of neutral and it's kind of neutral. I still feel like I need a little bit more magenta on the shot. I'm going to cool down the temperature just a little bit like 4800. That looks pretty good. So now I need to work a little bit on BC side. So let's go ahead and turn off the highlight clipping alert. And what we can do is just drop in a graduated filter. It's funny that this is kind of like I mean, it's going to work perfectly because we used to filter in the shot to split the frame. So all we're gonna do now is pull this from the left side to the right and kind of emulate the same little feather that we see in the middle and let's go around in that center area. I'm going to go ahead or in this graduated filter. I'm just going to raise the exposure a little bit, okay, I don't necessarily want it to be all that much. I'm just kind of raising it a little bit because I'm going to pull in a radio filter in just a moment. So I'm going to bring the contrast down a little bit on this side. Maybe a little bit more clarity on the left side. The goal here is that I can see both of them. Well, because what's going to happen now is I want my radio filter to drop in from the center and kind of pull the focus into each of them. So now we're gonna go ahead and dial that in, and you're going to see the left side sort of darkened down. Same thing with the right side. And we're gonna pull this out just a little bit more and allowed to kind of deepen each side of the frame as it pulls into our subjects. So that's about negative one. Let's see if we go too dark, it kind of becomes a little bit too much. Might take this to like, I might go to negative one and then drop in an extra graduated filter from the bottom and pull it down a little bit further, just from the bottom, kind of pulling in a little more attention into them. Okay, so that looks cool. Now I'm gonna do the same thing that I did before, where we're gonna go ahead and grab a highlight Dodge, and we're going to bring this and kind of drop it over BC. So that way it just kind of lifts him out of this frame a little bit more. So let's make sure that we have all these settings dialled in. And if we're not seeing too much of a difference here, is because, well, we're doing a highlight Dodge. And most likely he's kind of mostly in the shadows. So when we flip this over to shadows, we actually see quite a bit more again. We've We've done this kind of set up for the presets. But if you want to, you can just do a dodge with exposure and drop it over him as well. You have to be a little more precise with this because it will affect everything evenly. But this works as well and just kind of dodge him a little bit to kind of bring him out and lift him out of that side of the frame a bit. Okay, I'm going to zoom in and just kind of make sure it's not included on the cement behind him. Let's press O to bring up our mask Mask. Looks pretty good. There's a little bit of areas that we can kind of clean up right here. Okay. And if we want to, we can bring up the exposure a little bit and kind of we bring up the highlight point on him. Okay, Bring up the whites a little bit, just lifting B c a little bit in the frame. So all we're really doing is just balancing out the frame a little bit. Between those two different images, it's actually starting to look really cool already. Now, the last thing I'm gonna do is I'm going to go ahead and I have this special effects Sun flare here. And if you dial in these settings, it's just going to be something that we use to kind of enhance an existing sun flare. So all I'm gonna do is drop that in kind of towards the top of the frame where that sun flare is already starting and allowed to kind of bleed through on both sides a little bit. Want to reduce it a little bit off the hair and by holding an altar option and if we want to. What might be nice is one more graduate. Filtered is from the right to left. Not to entirely blow out the image of the sun flare, but to Well, let's go with a little bit of an exposure burn and a bit extra contrast on this side just to kind of balance out the frame a little bit more. Okay, so this looks really cool. So from here, we're just gonna sink that setting over to this plate shot right next to it. And now you're going to right? Click on both. We're gonna go ahead and jump into layers in Photoshop. I hope you all enjoy all these little secrets. They're not really secrets. It is some special sauce, though. It's some special size you can throw in your images. So once again, let's see what's going to be easier here. Oh, by the way, that, uh, we sink over the local adjustments. As you can see granted, we're not going to use that part of the frame here, so it doesn't really matter too much. But let's go ahead and just be careful with that. In case you are using different parts of the frame. Okay, We're gonna line the layers. And now it's gonna be easier for this particular shot is honestly, just to mask out this light stand. So we're just gonna select and add a layer mask and then go ahead and press D to go to default brushes. Go ahead and then make it your default brush black by pressing X. And now you're just gonna paint out this little stand right here, and it's just going to paint in the asphalt behind. Okay, Done. Now, if you notice any difference here between those two shots, it's usually because the exposure was slightly different on the image. Sometimes it's just because the sun is setting. Sometimes the setting might be a tiny bit off. But I'm gonna show you a quick little fix because I do notice that there's a tiny shift here in the color there. Right, So all we have to do is add a curves adjustment layer here, you're gonna go to control G or option command G. And we're going to pull up a little bit on this now you'll notice up here. It doesn't look good. It sticks out like the exposure is not quite right, But down here, well, this is where it was, and we can see a little bit of that effect. So all I'm gonna do is just pull up a little bit until the blend is just about right. And we get to the right blend kind of right around there. And that looks good. Okay, let's go ahead and add a new layer. And if we'd like, we can just do a little bit of cloning again. Sometimes you know, when you try and do what do you call when you try and do patch tools on stuff like this with the textures it doesn't quite turn out. And so oftentimes I'll just end up, you know, kind of cloning these textures in with a hard brush. So that way, honestly just looks like more texture coming from other areas of the frame. And what I'm gonna do is just keep doing this to kind of remove any obnoxious pieces of asphalt that are kind of sticking out a little bit in the shot that I don't want. Okay, just kind of cloning and removing the texture where I feel like that texture is a bit distracting, and that's it. I'm gonna leave it up to you. If you guys want to remove that, that little watch me call it. What are those called Sewer to sewer things. But to be honest, it doesn't really bug me that much. This one does, because of its shape. Just a bit. So what I will do is actually remove this guy. We could try and do a a quick little Let's try and do a quick little content aware removal. We need to make sure that that layer is filled. So I'm gonna press control shift E just to copy everything into that layer or option command. Shifty. I want to go ahead and use that contour filled now again. It didn't it didn't do a perfect job here. But if we zoom out and look at this, it looks pretty good. And if you want to remove the sides So, for example, we can kind of remove these triangles in the each side where we see the where we see that sidewalk and kind of make it a little bit more Even simple stuff like that, I think makes a big difference for an image. I'm gonna go ahead and just use the regular standard lasso so it doesn't give me the polygonal lasso tool and miss things shift backspace continent Where? Okay, same thing on the side shift, backspace Continent where And we get to a place that's really nice. And if you notice anything else, I'll let you guys do any fine tuning that you want to it. We've already finished this image out, but that's exactly how we did it. So let's go ahead and look at this full screen. Let's close down our tabs. There is that final image. I want to go back to light room. Let's take a look at the before and after, and what's funny is you might notice that actually did two different variations of this. This happens to me all the time, where when sometimes when I'm editing, I'm in a certain mood and things end up being a little bit cooler. Sometimes I'm ending up things end up being a little warmer. I honestly like both these images. You pick your poison. There's two versions of the exact same image, but this is kind of where we started. So either way, look at this. Look how fun and cool This is to be able to show this to your clients like that's what It's typical Natural lights shot in that scene would look like. And here's what we did with it or this one easy ways to wow your clients. Hopefully, you guys enjoyed this tutorial. Let's go on to the next one.

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.