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Lighting 301

Lesson 20 of 26

Three-Point Lighting within a Portable Silhouette

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

Lighting 301

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

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Lesson Info

20. Three-Point Lighting within a Portable Silhouette
This technique builds on the previous lesson and includes additional light sources to light the subjects. Post-production instruction is included in this lesson.


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Lesson Info

Three-Point Lighting within a Portable Silhouette

now utilizing that same silhouette technique, we're gonna light a different background and then add in a 2nd and 3rd light for our subjects. Keep in mind, as you watch this video, you could actually just add one of those lights. You could light one of the subjects while leaving the other person in shadow and create really interesting foreground and background elements with that, Let's go ahead and jump in. We're gonna build on that silhouette technique in this shot, and I'm actually gonna use this side for a textured background. Now, what I really love about this is with the graffiti all painted over, we have these. It's kind of like an unintentional piece of artwork in and of itself because we have all these different layered colors that are all part of the same color palette. We also have a split right here in between where I'm actually gonna place the couple and we're gonna place that giant circular kind of silhouette right there against the wall, and we're gonna put them over it so...

we can see this cool like, kind of graduated patterns off to the other side. As the light falls off, it looks very interesting. Then we're gonna go from there and add additional lights. So I'm gonna start my composition. So, Taylor, NBC. Can I get you guys to come and stand right here? Yeah. And this. Go around, Let's switch at the pose a little bit, so bc face me and that's cute. I like that. Okay. So, Taylor, if you're looking off to the side a little bit, B c. You're kind of looking off to the side a little bit. And Taylor, I like that. Let's go through his arm instead. There you go. Perfect. So I like that. That's really cute. Okay, let's get this composition and let's get our natural light shot first. Yeah, I'm going to zoom in a bit. Okay. Look at the camera, guys. Let me get that natural light and then look to each side, look to each direction, because that's what it's going to be. There you go. Perfect. Just like that. Okay, let's start with, like, number one. So I want, like, number one to go into the background. But first I need to get my ambient exposure. And to do that, I'm gonna dial down quite a bit, so I want that background to be very, very dark. And we're gonna start around F A to F nine. So we're kind of knocking out most of the ambient light. We're gonna start with the pro photo, be 10. You don't necessarily need this much power. We're just gonna use it because we need a third light in the shot. But we'll tell you what power setting we're using. Let's place it directly behind them. And, Taylor, you're gonna pull into B C. Quite a bit, actually. Come forward a little guys so we can get a little more distance on the background. There you go. A little bit more forward. There you go. Right there. Yeah, correction. Right when I said Heath and Gina's expression was my favorite expression ever this This is my favorite expression ever. Can you Can you, by chance, just pause right here and just zoom into that face? Look at that face. Oh! Oh, that's gold. I'm sending this to B. C. Okay, so I have my ambient light shot. I'm gonna go out and take a quick shot just to get that now bc, Look off to the side. Taylor, scoot out a little bit Just a little. There you go. And then look off to that side. Let's get that test shot. All right, Now, let's turn on the flash. And what power or what's that was on? Hey. Hey. Okay, so go ahead and set that to be and then to see Now, I'm gonna dial the power down Good to come on through so we can choose later on how we want this to look exactly in terms of the overall lighting in terms of light temperature. But right now, I'm actually gonna shoot this. I like it on the cold side, and I also like it on the warm side, but I think I like it on the cold side better. So I'm gonna leave it probably around. Let's go to 4000, Kelvin. And right now can you give us a read on that light just to tell us how much power we're using? What are we at right now? Eight. So I'm gonna take it down to a seven. So on a B 10, which is 200 watt seconds. Nine is 1 25 8 is about 60 to 70 and a seven is about 30. So This is like a regular flash at half power directly behind them without any modifiers pointed back into the wall. Okay, so now guys, look out to your respective sides. Perfect. Just like that. I love that. Now we're actually gonna light up their faces independently. And to do this, we're gonna use to more flashes this time with grids on them. And I think it be fun to actually give them some warmth in this shot. So we're gonna leave the CTO gels on it. And what we're gonna do is BC, Look to your side and let me see where your chin lands. Chin down a little bit. And I was kind of down to the ground right there. Yeah. Now I'm gonna go ahead and make this guy. This is gonna be air five. See, You're gonna be a five b. Okay. We're gonna turn up all the way. I need my light to come top down a bit. Okay. Go ahead and step forward, guys. Now you're gonna hold yours up and you're gonna light Taylor's face. BC Go a little bit this way right there. B c. I like a nice wide stance. You can even put 1 ft little bit forward. There you go. Perfect. PC. Take one small step. This way. Right there. Right there. Right there. There it is. Okay, Taylor, look off to that side more. And you've got yours on 10. And what channel or what? Group five b. Perfect. Is it on? Okay, let's get a quick test. Go step into Taylor a little bit more right there. I'm loving that. Okay. So, Taylor, all we're gonna do is bring your chin to my side and then yeah, right there, B c. I want your chin to come to my side as well. Coming born towards me. I want you guys to actually look into the camera on this. And let's see if we can't get your face is lit where we can't see the shadows on each person, so bc, bring your chin off to my side a little bit more right there. But your eyes are gonna go into the camera. So you're not turning too much. Okay? Right there. BC step back a little bit more. Back towards the flash. More, more, more guys. Right there. Perfect. So, Taylor, I want you to be slightly. We got another one. We're good. Okay. So bc bring your chin to my side. There. So what you're gonna do, brother, is BC Bring your chin back to me more, more, more right there. And you're looking into the camera. Now, let's see if we get Yes. So we're gonna do full profiles, and then we'll see if we can get the second shot. So let's start with full profiles first. Yeah, mhm. So light from behind them. Karen. So that way, we also get a little bit of spill onto each other for rims. So now BC, you're gonna look out towards this left side. There we go. Already had coffee, bro. What? You young man? So I'm saying you guys are already You guys are hooked on the caffeine. Don't do nothing. Five hour. Okay, Taylor, look to your respective sign. There we go. Let's check it out. Yes, I love that. Taylor, go back to that side and look down to the ground. Now. Bc, Look down to the ground as well. There you go. Right there, guys. Perfect. Come in a little bit closer to tailor right there. A little bit back out. Actually. Karen, right there, right there. And look, I go. One tiny step this way there. Karen, take a small step out right there. Perfect. Taylor, you want to brush your hair all behind you on this one? We'll do a quick shot before this car comes through. One more time. Eyes down. BC. Right there. Perfect. Got it, Guys. Come on through. That's sick. Let's see if we can get a little bit of a close up of that shot and make sure your light is kind of angled down just a little bit. So we get more of Taylor's body, too. Okay, One more time, guys. We're gonna go a little bit tighter on this one. Taylor, Chin down a little bit. Eyes down right there. Bring the chin back to me a little bit, Taylor. And then chin back more right there. Eyes down, Brian. B C is down to the ground. There you go. Solid. Hold that. VCs down. More like Look, right down. There you go. Chin up. But I was down. Perfect. Just like that. Hold that to look more towards the light all the way. So you got full profile now down to the shoulder with the eyes. There you go. Right there. Perfect. Naturally, it's so much fun to Whoa, whoa! What? What the heck? Here, Look at this. Dude, that's crazy. So a natural light shot. What on earth? Yeah, so good. Their expressions and reactions are from seeing the before and the after. For this image. I know it looks like they're reacting to my Persian hook and my nose. It's not that it's the before and after image, and this is exactly what they're seeing in camera. I'm thumbing back and forth between the natural light version and the lit version and every client. This is something that I do with each client because they all react the exact same way. They are absolutely amazed at how you're able to transform an entire scene. The beauty of this is at this point in lighting three, and I'm hoping that it probably came to you earlier. But at least now you're starting to walk into scenes and imagine things the way that they could be imagining what's going to happen when you pull down the background. When you cool off the temperature, when you add a background light and then use jelled lights to fill in and chisel out your subject's faces. All of this should be things that you are now beginning to visualize before even pulling out the camera. Then what you're gonna do going forward is simply walk into a scene, picture what you are imagining in your mind, and then go set up your lights and create it step by step using camp. Now let's go ahead and finish this out and then dive into post it looks absolutely. Yeah, So 1 200 it's the same were like 1 200 F 28 We stopped down to F eight. Why, it's so dark then. So we're leaving. So when you look through the Ambien, this is where we expose the ambient. Then we layer on one light at a time. So this is one light. We switched the white balance to blue. Then we start adding our second lights and then we go for the final shot. So we have lights on the outside to put your that's so epic. I love that one. My brain. Okay, so we have two variants of this image that we are going to include in the exercise files. I'll be honest. There's one other shot that I was just dying to have. But I didn't have a wider angle lens. I would have loved to have, like, say, the 11 to 14 to get this really pulled back shot with tons of negative space around them that dropped into this highlight and then lit up in the center to kind of add to these other shots. But I didn't have that focal length. So just keep in mind that that's another shot that you could get here. Um, it would look really cool. So we're gonna aim for these final results. So this is the final image here, and we're gonna go ahead and grab this raw file. They'd be post processed, honestly, identically. So let's just grab one of them and go to town. First thing I'm gonna do is usually start with the biggest adjustments first, and that is lifting my shadows in this one. I'm gonna lift my shadows and my black point just a little bit to kind of get my detail, Mostly back now I'm gonna go ahead and start cooling down the image and finding where I want my white point to be and if I want to just press W and I'm going to click somewhere and see if we can't get to a neutral colour. So right about on her pants right here. It gets me kind of neutral. But to be honest, I see too much green in there, so not a huge deal. And I'm pretty sure if I Well, if I actually click on the graze on the wall back here, I'm getting closer. But now this is obviously to orange. Why? Because the background light we left unshelled. So if I take a white balance reading off the grays, it's unshelled while the jelled lights are basically coming in at kind of a warm light. So right now those jelled lights a little bit warmer, but we're close anyway, so let's just do this. I'm gonna go ahead and dial back to a neutral colour tone. This is a trick that I've often taught in our light room courses is if you have a hard time dialing in your white balance, dial down the temperature until you get back to literally kind of a neutral white throughout the entire image. From there, you're going to adjust your tent and what I'm looking for is just for the right amount where I start seeing my magenta appear in the skin tone, and that's right around this kind of plus 19. From there, I'm gonna go ahead and add my temperature back until I get to a place where I'm happy and right about here. I land at this color tone that looks nice, it looks natural, and it has kind of the look and feel that I want now from here. What I might do is go ahead and add a little bit of additional clarity. It's one of those scenes that lend itself well to it. This kind of street scene with a bit of grunge and I might even play by adding a little bit more vibrance. Why? Because that vibrance is going to really make non skin tone colors pop. So it kind of takes those blues and those other colors, and it makes them really jump out at you. Um, so if you want to be more subtle, you can always dial it back. You can kind of go either way with this. We haven't done a lifting it up yet, so let's go ahead and do that because it's a little bit different from what we have been doing. I'm also gonna raise my shadow a little bit more to right about here again. I don't want to go up so high that I have that HDR look. I still want my shadows, but right about there is nice and solid. So let's look at where we came from. So it's right there is our before right here is kind of that after so far. Now let's go ahead and dial in a couple of other things. I'm going to go start with my radio just to pull right into that center and let's see how much of an exposure definitely want this image would be pretty fun, sort of with that more dark and kind of dramatic fall off on the edges. So let's pull that in. I'm gonna press J here. I'm sorry. I'm gonna just turn off my brush tool so I can see everything that looks really cool. There are several other things we can add to kind of spice up this image a little bit. I'm gonna just add a little bit more warmth because I like it. What I'm gonna do is add this other detail enhancer. So if you go under enhancements inside a visual flow, you'll see the detail enhancer. And if you don't have it, cool, as you guys know by now, pause the video and dial in the following settings. And what we're gonna do is just kind of paint this over everything that's not skin tone. Okay, so, honestly, it would look good throughout the entire image. So this is going to enhance all details throughout the entire image. Okay, we do need to pull it off certain things like, for example, skin tone. And we also need to probably pull it off some of the background elements. And you know what? To be honest, let's see if we dial this back. What I'm worried about right now is at the current setting. It might be a little bit too bright for that bright highlight. Actually, we're okay. We'll dial it back to, like, half intensity, and then our bright highlight doesn't quite blowout. And that's good. So what I want to do now is, um, let's see here. Let's leave it off the background. Because if I painted over certain areas, uh, You know what? I got an even better idea. Let's paint it onto everything, just like we did before. Do okay. Now, I don't want it to appear over skin tones, So we're gonna go ahead and hold down alter option and using that little minus ng out brush, we're gonna go ahead and subtract it from skin. I'm gonna leave it on the hair. I'm gonna leave it on the clothes. I'm gonna leave it off everything else. And don't worry. I'm not getting super refined with this right now in terms of like, the highlight in the background, because I'm going to do something else. It's so much fun having this tool now the range masking functionality built into light room. We get blend if right there inside of light room, honestly blend If is one of my favorite setting one of my favorite tools inside of Photoshop. So all we're gonna do now is turn the range mask onto luminescence, and this is going to correct that issue of applying everywhere, so I'm gonna pull it off of the most extreme highlights. So now that detail enhancer is essentially only enhancing the areas that aren't bright. Highlights and I'm also going to feather it just a little bit by increasing the smoothness to right about here. Now I can turn this off and on and let me go ahead and turn off the clipping alert. So this is off. This is on and you can see that it has this sort of pop that it adds to all the detail in the image. And I really love it. I love the way that looks. Yet we're not affecting those highlight tones nearly as much as we were before, so I think this looks fun. It looks really cool. I love the look at this. Let's go ahead and take a look at the before and the after. Not a huge difference, but it's a fun one. It's a It's a really cool final image that we have here. Hopefully gives you guys another idea on how to use detail enhancements in conjunction with the range masking option to kind of control and blend where it's going to land. Let's go ahead and move on to the next tutorial

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.