Convincing Environmental Backlight
in this video, we're going to walk through how to create a convincing environmental backlight. The fun part is we're gonna shoot a couple. Well, honestly, the fun part is I'm going to screw it up a couple times. So by screwing it up, you're going to see exactly what to do and what not to do. Your also going to see how when we add a secondary flash for our subject, we can end up going too much and ended on the dramatic side very easily by just leaving the flash power a bit too high. So we're gonna do a study on that. I'm also probably gonna talk to myself a little bit because I do feel a bit lonely right now while recording all these. So let's jump in. Mm. I feel I'm here with you are not alone. I am here with you. Just start the video. So I think this would be really fun. I've got Kylie sitting here by these pumps and again, part of the entire reason that you guys are learning how to light so that you guys can put together a scene in your mind and actually get it to come into life in c...
amera without having to spend hours in front of a computer. So in my head, what I'm thinking is placing her here and putting a light behind where we can shine a light coming through as if it were sunlight coming through the back side. Then from this side, she's going to be kind of Hamlet from that sun and backlit. But her face is going to be dark. So we're gonna add a little bit of light using that same technique, just using a secondary light. And I'm going to first decide on what I want to do compositionally again, thinking of the process of camp. Right? So camp is composition and for composition. I love this shot right here. Like this looks absolutely fantastic. And this can be my bass shot. And then I can move around from this. So my ambient exposure is at 1 F 1.4 and low. I s o right now, and we'll see that we get this really cool shot where everything is is kind of what we have this shadow in the background. That's kind of leading in, which would be a perfect place to place the sunlight kind of right back there because it would look, it should look actually pretty authentic. And then we can see how dark the front is of the image. And that's what we're gonna need to make some modifications to it. So we're gonna do is, um So you can I get the tripod over here? Perfect. So we're gonna go ahead and set that up there, and there's our baseline shot. Okay, let's go ahead and get the pro photo in place. Now, Sonia, I'm gonna have you get it in place for me. Mhm. And just so I can see where it's going to be in frame. So I want you to walk back that way. Okay? Right there. Stop. Turn around and aim it directly towards her and move it into the frame. Yeah. There you go. Okay. I'll tell you when you're in frame, Sonia. So actually, the legs are in frame, but the head isn't. So turn the legs. Mhm. Other way. There you go. And now push it into frame more. Keep pushing the light. Move the light in more. Right up. Too much. Back out. Right there. Okay. Now angle light towards me. One moment. Right there. Back towards her. More right there. Is it cool? This is cool. Okay, so let's get a quick read now. So right now, as I'm looking at this image, the only issue that makes it look like Flash is it's not getting the majority of my, uh, well, the gas station behind her. Right? So, essentially, what I need to do is actually push it back a little bit further. And I am shooting high speed Sync right now. 1 4000 and that's maxed out at 200 watt seconds. I'm not getting enough juice, so I need to go into, uh, shortening the shutter speed. I need to use an nd filter. Sonia, can I grab my nd filter as well? And then what I'm gonna do is actually push this light directly back. I'll be a mess. By the time this is over. I'm aiming it right towards her and towards the camera. It's gonna spill and hit this. This, this this we're gonna hit every single thing on the way up to her, making it look like the frame is filled with light. And that's the key part of this so still, at 231 seconds this go around, we're gonna drop down, and I actually have an articulated screen. That would be lovely. Oh, my goodness. Makes life so much easier were one to hundreds. Okay, we're gonna stop all the way down to F We're gonna get that shot with flash. Let's pause for a minute to show that difference between walking the light back and making sure that we're covering the entire gas station or all the pumps with that light. So on the left side, we have just that flash place right off the camera left and you'll notice that the flashes only lighting Kylie as well as this first pump right here. This is one of the biggest mistakes that we make when we're trying to back light is seen as we don't place the light far enough back to simulate how the daylight or how sunlight would be kind of backlighting everything in that scene that's visible. So once we actually place it back, Yes, we do lose a lot of our light, but we actually get a very convincing look as that light hits the column, the pumps and kind of falls away, and we can even see it landing a little bit on her hair here and kind of falls away as it comes towards the camera. Do I wish we had more power? Yes, but we have a very convincing shot and placement of the light source with this second image compared to the first, let's go back. So we lose a lot of our light power right now it looks like sunlight, but we've lost a lot of it. So Sonia, can you go actually and push in the light a little bit more? No. Sorry. So pushin means this way. Like push it into the scene. There you go. Keep going. Quick tip. Don't use your producer as a lighting assistant. This is just for me to you and Sony. If you're watching this, you know I love you to death. You're amazing at what you do. What you do is just not lighting assistant. In fact, can we actually get a zoom in on her face when I say to push in the light source? And Sonia, let me just be honest. Part of this is my bad. I'm gonna take ownership. Where to do push in is like, What the hell does that mean? Doctors out there use better words than push in what we're pushing to. What? Okay, so that's my bed. But still, Sonja, there's also plenty of your bed through this shoot. Let's go ahead right there A little bit. A little bit back out this way right there. Perfect. And then aim it after that. Should be a man tortured just like that. Let's see it. Let's make sure we're not in a high speed Sync. Still, I was actually still in a high speed sync. Okay, so I was still in high speed sync right now, which cut down a lot of the power. And once I flipped it out of high speed Sync, I actually got just about enough light out of the out of the light source. So, Sonja, now, just pull it towards me, so bring it in towards me more. Come in. Yeah. There. Now angle it back towards her, and I can see that back. Third leg, So just kind of turn it turn the whole unit other way. There. Right there. There you go. Okay. So now we have created that sunlight that is coming in through the back. And actually, you could you could stop here, and it would look really good, but let's see if we can take it a step further. So right now, since we have this in place, let's go ahead and get a shot of this. Perfect. I love that. So what we're gonna do now is we're gonna do that same chiseling effect to edge out the face with that kind of C T O sunlight coming through the back. Remember, we're at 2. 51 seconds. Ideally, I wish that was 500 watt seconds. That would be awesome. But it's not. So we're gonna work. With what? We have something. Okay, One more quick shot just to get a quick late check. Beautiful. Okay, Now I need that second light. So here's the trick. Let me see where we want your chin to go. Because based on where your chin is facing, we have to kind of adjust that light. So let me see. I love that. So I love the chin direction that you have right now. That's kind of where we're gonna work is in this little range, like right here. So let's put that light source right here, okay? All I'm doing is I'm laying it up again to the other side of the cheek. We're gonna use our grid. I'm going to push this in. Yeah, Yeah. Okay. This looks awesome. I just need to move this light a little bit. So, Sonja now, maybe you can help me do a couple of last minute tweaks, So first, I'm gonna power that down to a seven. Um, I need you to move the stand a little bit, okay? So move it a little bit. This way. There you go. Right up too far. Just inches at a time. Scoot in a little bit more there. Let's get a look. Yes. Okay. And we're just gonna power that down even further. So you want to do the same napkin trick? Sure. Are you cold? Are you okay? I see you shivering. Oh, my goodness called. She's shivering, and she's like, I'm way too sensitive to cold. Everything. You know, Sonia, this time we're further back. So why don't you just grab the reflector now and then go from the other side? So you're just You're barely in and screwed out of the frame, so we're not seeing it more and more and more and more. Look at So when you light, I need If you put this right against this, it doesn't do anything. So what I need is a little bit of distance and for it to be like this, so that is not coming into the frame. And what I'll do is actually push this back a little bit. So it opens up a little bit more and you're gonna keep that right there. Bring that light. Bring your screaming a little bit into the frame, Let me see where you're at. So go this way a little bit more. Oh, that's your edge. So screwed up just a little bit. A little more right there. I'm gonna power up B by two stops and get a quick shot. Yes, I'm gonna go a little bit more. Yeah. Okay, let's jump into this light pattern for just one moment because, remember, this is all about recreating natural light, and it's very easy to go to more dramatic light and more flashed just depending on the powers. So you'll remember back from lighting one and lighting to when we talked about. If you want a more dramatic image, the ambient light comes down, the flash power goes up. And if you want a more natural image, the ambient light goes up and the flash power comes down. So here we have Kylie in this position right here. So this is Kylie sitting right there, and we have that back light or that back flash placed right about here. And let's just make this Carlo, What does the flash look like? Like this little little square can of Coke. Okay, You got it. Yeah, you're right. It's like a big large can of coke. That's a that's a one leader. Okay, we have our camera position right here. Mhm. And we have this second light that we're adding in. So the second light is kind of hear it might actually even be It's sort of anywhere in this range right here. So it's kind of like anywhere between this and this side, we have this flash that's kind of adding in light, What I want you to be careful with is that light because honestly, with this backlight, we can really add a lot of power to that, and it's still gonna look pretty natural cause we're shooting into it and we're gonna shoot bright and blown out in the sun Flare. Well, sunflowers can vary in their brightness and so that you have a lot more leeway in. So you want to shoot high power on that? Great. But with this light over here, if we start shooting high power, we start dropping the exposure down, it's gonna look dramatically different. And we're gonna end up with a dramatic shot as opposed to a natural shot. And I want to show you what I mean. Exactly. So with this shot right here, we already have something that works. Okay, so we have all of our information. So if I actually pull this up in the develop module, notice that we have all of the information in that shot. So if I wanted to just produce this as a nice kind of Brighton area image, it looks convincingly like sunlight. And if I just brighten it up, this is exactly how we might expose and how he might shoot a sun flare. I'm just gonna drop the overall temperature down a little bit, so that looks good when we start adding that additional light. This is where we really just want to be careful because I want to make sure that I can still brighten up the image and keep it looking nice and natural and you start noticing that, Okay, it definitely looks like there's light on our face. And when we get over to these shots right here, this tends to look more dramatic than it does natural. Okay, so I want you to kind of keep that in mind and kind of compare the differences between those because, honestly, when we compare between these two shots, the more natural looking image is gonna be the one that has a little bit less light on the face. And in this case, I honestly, if I could go back and do it again, I would have added just a little bit of extra light, and I probably would have modified that direction to come from the direction of the right side, where we have, like, just a soft additional Phil going into the face where the light direction already Is that what we don't have to overwrite the light direction kind of create our own. We just kind of follow the existing light direction. So that would be the one kind of critique I would give myself in. This case is, I think I could have gone to a more convincing look had I filled from the right side where that light was coming in versus from the left. That said I wanted to see the difference between these two shots and the shots were going to finish out. And we're gonna end up going with one of these earlier shots for the actual editing and create that natural look. So let's go back to the video now, Kylie, bring the chin and back a little bit right there. I love that. Okay, so we're all set. We're gonna now shoot our images. And basically, what we've done is we have that sunlight coming through the back. We have. This is at nine. So on a 75 watt second, these are rated for 75 watt second. So that puts us, like around 30 32 somewhere in that range. 25 35. That's where we're at. So, about half power on a standard flash. A little bit more than that. Um, and we're firing it through a grid and then through a You know what? Let's get a little more juice out of it and just take the grid off, because that's killing a lot of the light. And we're gonna do one layer of diffusion and a second layer diffusion right there. And let's see if we don't get a slightly brighter and better look, you can give me a little more distance on that scream. So go in towards her. More, More, more, more. That's your edge. Pull the right edge back. There you go. Yeah, I like that. Even better. Okay, so pull your right back a little bit. Sonia There. Right there. Perfect. Now we're gonna shoot. I love it. Gorgeous. Kylie, switch it up a little bit. I love that. Kind of Bring that right foot in just a little bit. So it's not out of the frame. You can scoot back against the pump a little bit there. Yes. Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Okay. Now you might be wondering what's the deal between this versus with the grid? And I'm gonna show you guys without the grid, the light is blooming up and it's actually filling the entire, uh, scrim and we're hitting the ceiling. We're hitting The floor is not a bad look, but it's not a very controlled look. And so what I'm actually gonna do is pop this on and we're gonna take the spear off entirely. I don't necessarily need a super soft edge light. I'm going to take this off. So it's one less layer of diffusion, so it's not gonna be very soft because it's a small light source. This is what's going to increase the size of that light source and get it to be a little bit softer without this guy. It's a very small difference, but we'll get a better and more controlled light. So go ahead and bring that scream back in. Perfect. I love that. Mhm. So it's a harder edge to it. Tilt the chin back. Kind of lean back against. There you go. Right there. That's it. I love that. Bring the chin back to me. There you go, gorgeous. Move it up a little bit. Bring those eyes in the camera. Extend that left leg. There you go. When you jump into the exercise files, I gave you all three images of Kylie from this scene because I want you guys to be able to compare and see the differences. So on the left side, this is that initial shot. We're basically using high speed sync, and we're not quite getting enough flash power in the next shot. We're using our nd filter, which allows us to bring the shutter speed down and get more juice by shooting within the sync speed of the flash. So we do end up getting quite a bit more flash out of that back light in the third shot. I want you to see what I mean by you know what? I would have shifted and changed once again if I went back to this, I would have lit Kylie from that right side. If it was possible to not hit that pump. It probably was going to be an issue which might have been actually part of the reason why we didn't shoot from that right side or fill from that right side, because the pump would have blocked the light. But if it were possible, adding just a little bit of light here would have helped us for the final dodge and burn. Look that we're going to be creating here on this side when we add the light from the left side in order to get the light. Well, if we met the kind of light that we're getting on the right side of Kylie's face, we would have ended up with flat light, right, To create shadow and shape. We have to power up that flash. And when we do that, we end up getting a much more dramatic look on this third image. There's nothing wrong with any of these, but I want you guys to see the nuances of just that flash power and the differences between those images. So what we're gonna work on is, um I like this shot. I like the way that she's posed. Let's go ahead and grab this image and let's work on this a little bit Now, honestly, this is already very close to being finished. Um, So what I'm gonna do is add just a little bit of exposure to this. I'm gonna pull the whites back just a bit so we can kind of retain a little bit of background. Let's go ahead and also check the crop real quick. It looks like I can just fix that horizon line a little bit and the columns and everything just to kind of straighten things out. That looks nice. I'm gonna be using my loop dick, by the way, it just makes us a little bit quicker and easier. Now with this nice kind of brighter background. What I want to do is do my dodging and burning. And this is where I want you guys to see that if I had that soft fill coming from the right side, it would have made this process easier. So keep in mind that I haven't selected any presets for this. We're just going to be editing the raw file and getting it to a nice place. So at this point, if you have the visual flow brushes, select quick dodge and lift. If you don't pause the video dial in these settings and make sure you save it out, this is a very valuable brush. So what I'm gonna do is just loosely I'm going to turn on my mask so I can see where my mask is. And I'm gonna loosely just paint over with my mouse right over Kylie. Okay, get the boots. Perfect. I'm gonna press. Oh, just to take a look at this and what I might do as well is I kind of want to feather off that light. And so I'm gonna increase the size of this brush while holding alter option to erase it Kind of off the boots a little bit. The reason is I'm following the existing light source that's already in the scene, right, That lights coming from right to left in this shot. And so I'm kind of matching that by pulling it off the boots a bit more. So when you see it, it's kind of feathered as it drops away Now, holding on altar option this time with the auto mask on. Actually, I think I had it on last one. I'm gonna go ahead and just remove it now from the other areas around the hat around the back side of the body. Just making sure I don't essentially paint any of the background. Now I'm going to press Oh, and just look at the mask and the mask looks pretty good. I'm going to turn off auto mask for one moment and just do that same thing because sometimes auto mass can leave a bit of the mask, particularly in areas where it's a little more for it, too difficult for it to differentiate the body versus the background. I'm just kind of helping it a little bit. Okay, that's as good as this mass needs to get. Now I'm going to hold an altar option and then click and drag until I get a nice light on Kylie's face and body. Okay, so I can kind of control how much light is being added in, and once again, it's very important that you dial in the appropriate settings because these are tested based on their kind of ratio. So when you increase or decrease, it's going to work nicely within your shop. So this looks good, but the last thing I'm gonna do is turn on my auto mask or my range mask, and I'm gonna go ahead and go to luminescence. And now I'm gonna pull it off some of the shadows, and I'm also going to smooth it out in the highlights or sorry, smooth it out like the overall feathering in the way that it's applied. So we're gonna increase smoothness a bit. This also lets me maybe boost it up a little bit more. This is looking nice. So from this spot, we're getting to an image that looks actually really good. But there's a couple other fine tuning adjustments I'd like to make. So one, I do want to add a little bit of blacks to the image. So I'm just going to raise my blacks a bit to kind of flatten out the contrast a little bit. I'm also going to add a little bit of shadows to the image as well and raise the exposure just a bit more. Okay, so now with this up here, I'm gonna bring my whites back down, and I want to drop highlights a little bit, but without affecting skin tone. So I'm just gonna bring it down a little just to preserve a little more of the sky. We'll also go ahead and just add in that radio burn. I want this to have kind of like a very cool, southern kind of cowgirl. Look to it. So we're leaving. And by very cool, I mean, like, cool, like artistically, because it's actually a very warm image. So we're leaving it with that kind of warmth to it. because I feel like it really plays nicely with this type of a shot. So Okay, we got the radio. Maskin, Let's get our temperature to the right setting. I think it looks good right about here. So now all I'm gonna do is go ahead and zoom in onto the face and let's just take a look at the face and the body. I feel like we could use a little bit of extra dodging and burning here. So what we're gonna do is zoom out to fill, and now I'm gonna grab the Dodge Whites. So once again, I'm gonna turn the flow down to 30 ish, and we're just gonna paint kind of right over this arm right here. I'm gonna shrink the brush down painted again. Kind of putting in a nice highlight right along the arm. Okay. I'm gonna do the same thing for kind of the back if we want to increase the flow a little bit. So right now I've selected whites. Highlight would be a little bit more affecting the arms because the arms right now, there's not a lot of whites. There's more. There's more highlight on the arm than there is whites, but it's okay. We'll just leave it right where it's at. Okay, so let's just turn this on and off. We'll see if we can just visualize just that one brush. So let's just delete that one. All right? That looks good. It gives me a little bit more light, just kind of on the arm and on the back a little bit. Now, I'm gonna go ahead and press new, and we're gonna go ahead and go into the face a little bit, and we're going to do the same thing. So this time I'm gonna go ahead and paint right underneath this. I I'm gonna go ahead and kind of increase the highlight on this side, and I'm gonna do the same thing on this side, shrink it down and give it a nice little highlight point. Do the same thing across the nose. That one is too powerful. Just hold down. Alter option. Kind of feather it off a little bit. Mhm. It's fun. Be able to work with the raw like this because we can undo and redo things so easily. I'm gonna go ahead and add some whites of the eyes. Okay? We're gonna go ahead and go over the lips and then go over the highlight point on the lips. Mhm. That was a really messy brush application. All right, we're gonna go ahead and go over the chin a little bit. Shrink down the highlight. Okay? So now we can adjust this if we want to just kind of reduce or increase the strength of it. What? We can't increase, actually, because it's a it's already maxed out, but we can reduce if you want to. So what I'm gonna do is actually just zoom back out to fill and see if I went a little bit too far. So it's it's best to kind of zoom out when you want to see if you went too far. Um, just so you can have a view of the entire image. And what I'm gonna do is pull it back just a bit. Like maybe maybe just 25% and that's looking nice. Okay, I'm gonna add a tiny bit more warmth to the image, and we're gonna call it good right about here. So at this point, I might just brighten up the shot a little bit more. Okay, we have a nice, subtle kind of kick coming in. And I might actually reduce the Dodge on her face just a little bit more. So much of dodging burning is very much up to your taste. And I love to leave things a little more on the subtle side compared to some images I look at and I kind of go. Okay, that's dodge and burn. I want it to be not very noticeable. So this is great. You'll notice that I do have the standing here. Let me show you how to make quick work of that in Photoshop. We're just gonna use that same content aware fill. So sometimes when I shoot a shot like this, if I really get the right exposure, you know her. Her hair is kind of blowing in the wind. Everything is working in the shot. But I got my stand in. I'm not gonna worry about it because something small like that is going to be easy to fix and post. Okay, so all we're gonna do is jump this layer to a new background. Honestly, do we need to do that? Not really. Because I'm just gonna make one little quick at it right here. And we're just gonna use the lasso tool to select that guy shift backspace do the same content aware fill. Um, and for some reason, it felt like it wanted to Photoshop a squirrel back in a squirrel. That's just, like, nice and dark like that. Um, and it really feels like that squirrel needs to be there. So if Photoshop is like, hey, you need a squirrel here. What you can do is press shift J, which brings up your just keep pressing shift J until you get to your patch tool. And then just, you know, tell Photoshop Hey, no, I don't want that squirrel. I'm just gonna pull from that area, the background. And if you do that to me again, you're fired, and I'm gonna switch to, like, affinity pro or something. I'm just kidding. I'm totally kidding. I would never do that. Uh, I'm gonna go ahead and just grab this guy too, and just grab that and mix it. Hey, cool. Thanks for not adding a squirrel to that part. So one of the things that I like to do when I actually work on these kind of images, I remove anything. That's, you know, like a deep, dark black point that is drawing my eye as well as a super bright highlight. So against this highlight, these deep black kind of dots here sort of distract me. So these are usually the things that I would remove. This one's not bad. The other one is not bad, but these this other one right here, let's go ahead and mix that guy. Yeah. See again? Photoshop like, Yeah, I don't know. If you want to remove that in the pump, I just feel like I want to keep it in the shot. So you should want to keep it in the shop. And you gotta be like, no Photoshop like No, it's just not OK, alright, this looks good. Stop laughing at me, okay? I am going to Nick's, um, one of these hairs, literally. Just one. Yeah, everything else is fine. I like all the No, I'm just kidding. Ah, just the flyaways that are a little bit noticeable. I'm just grabbing those and doing quick work of them with the are healing tool. It's really the ones that are more out here and distracting. So I like some of the flyways. That's the point of shooting the wind. If you don't like flyaways, don't shoot in the wind. You know what I mean. That's like a uh huh, Mhm. Yeah, but it's just the ones that, like are like way the hell out here like this one. Like, I'm just gonna be out here in the middle of nowhere. What's up with all the planes? Dude? Did you, like, call the airport and say, land all your planes? Now I feel like you did. Yes. Runways clear. I mean, I don't expect the airport to shut down just because we're editing images by any means. But I do like like shut down, please. Mhm. Just stop. Okay, so let's just go over that. I want to I want you guys to see how subtle the changes are here. So over here on the right side, we have this raw file right here. We have the the raw edited inside of light room. You can see that because we still have our stand in. We saw that black dot right there, but all we really did was just lift a little bit on our subject. And now that you see kind of what we did with the dodging on Kylie's face and body. You can kind of imagine now how easy it would have been to do that in camera with just a little bit of Phil. Just a tiny bit of fill. It could have come from an umbrella with a little bit of flash, like at 1 16 power. Just something. And it would have kind of amplified our overall effect and made our life a little bit easier in post compared to what we did. But I wanted to show you guys what this looks like. So you can see Really, What I'm saying is how not to f up like I did. And then we have the shot on the left with no squirrel and some blacks fixed. Okay, so we all learned guys were we're all in different stages of learning and I find I'm learning every day. Next video