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Lighting 401

Lesson 19 of 20

Golden Hour Environment

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

Lighting 401

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

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Lesson Info

19. Golden Hour Environment
This lesson extends the concept of recreating golden hour to include an entire (large) scene. Post-production instructions are included in this tutorial.

Lesson Info

Golden Hour Environment

we thought it would be appropriate to close out lighting for with a throwback to recreating Golden Hour. This was a video that we created a few years back with Pro Photo, where we created Golden Hour in an entire environment. So let's jump into the video. I want you to put this. You're gonna have to probably hold it. But you need to hold it right like this so that it goes fully through those two and turn on and let me run back. So I want you to pretend like you're the son right now. Go run all the way back to that sidewalk back there. What wasn't mentioned here is that we're using to CTO gels, and we didn't have a way of mounting those at the time. But we're mounting them to a pro photo, be one with just a rubber band. So we're just basically taking to CTO gels, stacking them on top of each other, rubber, banding it around the flash head, and my assistant's gonna run it back into the scene and then a double gel it so two gels because that temperature that light is really, really warm r...

ight there. Let's pause here because I need you guys to see something. Karen is probably 3 to 400 ft back in this scene because I need her to cover the entire scene. This is honestly we're recreating. Golden Hour fails for most people. Why? Because Well, whatever is shot within our camera frame needs to be backlit by the sun as if the summer behind everything. Let me show you exactly what I mean. I'm going to draw out a top down view of this garden area. Now Karen is placed. Let's put her. Here's the pathway. That kind of leads up to the rotunda. Yeah, Karen has placed all the way back here with that light. That's angling forward. Now, the Rotunda kind of has different pathways, but we're going to be essentially on this pathway in front of the rotunda. And the camera's gonna be somewhere around here shooting like this When our field of view kind of incorporates everything here, all the trees, all the bushes, all the grasp within that field of view, they need to be covered. Here's the rotunda. Uh huh. Everything, man. See, this is why my high school art teacher told me to quit he had good reason. Must be honest. So everything that's in this field of view needs to get back lit by this flash. What that means is you can't place the flash right here because then you're going to see a visible line where everything behind that flash is not lit. If the sun were in the scene, it would be right here. So we need to get this flash into a position where it can actually light the entire scene. Now the field of view from your camera is the key to this, the more narrow that field of view. Like, for example, in the train car. We didn't see anything other than that window. So it's easy to create a backlight and convincing effect from there because we don't see the background. But when we see a large amount of that field of view, that light has to be placed far enough back to be able to cover everything in the view of the camera. And when we do that, we need a lot of power. 500 watt seconds for this type of an effect is a starting point. Why? Because you have to remember that we're losing light from stacking CTO gels as well. We're gonna lose at least two stops of light from our flash, bringing it down from watt seconds to 2. 50 to about 100 125 watt seconds just from the gels itself. So the only time we could do this really is during dusk. Unless we got or 2000 watt seconds of juice to try and get this pulled off a little bit earlier in the day. But honestly, the only time you really need to do this is during dusk when you've just barely lost the sunlight. So we can't really go down there because it's like by the time we get there, it's gonna be gone. So we're going to make our own golden out here. So we have these lights set up to do it. Okay, Freeze frame for just a second to illustrate my point. Can you see Karen way, Way back there now, in the corner of that frame, There she is. And she's gonna like everything going forward right into where the couple is standing. So what I want is let's do Let's do that where you're holding hands. Relax it down, though. Perfect. Just like that. Beautiful look toward each other. Right there. I love that look toward each other. Beautiful. David doesn't know what we're doing. Oh, you don't realize. We put a flashback there, so we made our own son. It's just amazing. That was gorgeous. So we have some right now, okay? Pull yourselves into each other. Beautiful. Just like that. Oh, I love that. Just hold that right there. That's fantastic. Did your chin down a little bit? Tip the top of your head towards me? Divya the top. So go like this one. Here. So this top go like this towards me. There you go. Beautiful. Right there. I love that. Oh, goodness. David. Look straight down while he's talking to you. Look down towards your hand. Beautiful. We're all now just smile at her. Devia. Lean into him a little bit. Beautiful. I love that. Look towards chin. Go towards the right side. There you go. Right there. And the role of brother. Hide your hand for a sec. Right there. I love that. Look straight down. Look straight down, Divya, but chin over to the right side. There you go. down towards the ground. Now look down toward the ground. Okay. Now, smiling Looked up towards me. There it is, beautiful. I love that now. One little trick that I want you guys to keep in mind whenever you're shooting a flare. And this is when you're shooting it with natural light or when you're shooting it with flash. Either way, just simply work that camera in and out of that subject. So, like, here's my subject directly in front of me. If let's say this were my subject, I'm gonna shoot. And here's the flare coming in behind. I'm just gonna move the camera and kind of shoot a little bit like this back and forth, revealing the flare, concealing the flare just to make sure that I get a shot where I have the flare kind of perfectly in the frame. This is how well shoot several images to make sure we get the right flare because, well, sometimes flares a little bit too powerful, sometimes a little too weak. We want to get somewhere in between where we get a nice accentuation on our subject. There it is. Lean into a row, lean into her, go for a peck on the cheek Give you look down towards that side. Actually, you know what? Probably, like let her kind of, like, look down towards this side and roll. I want your face to kind of go right here where her ear is. There you go. There you go. Beautiful. I want that I line. That's perfect. Perfect. Debbie looked down into his like his pocket like his. There you go right there. Smile as he's like whispering sweet nothings. Mm, That's amazing. Glad she looks so good. You look like you guys look amazing. He has both look amazing. Super simple edit on this one. Look, if you guys have the visual flow presets and by the way, there is something special coming, I don't know if you see this little V flow developing, it's a secret. Hopefully, hopefully will pan out two silver hopefully will pan out. But doesn't I'll be backtracking again. But anyway, if you have the presets, all I would do is click soft light on this and really, we would get a Finnish outlook. But with this image, not a whole lot needs to get done. Um, what I would do is just add a little bit of exposure to it. I'm gonna go ahead and warm it up a little bit. Honestly, if you have the preset, you probably don't need to do that because it's going to add a little bit of split toning. So let's go ahead and add that split toning Now, um, and then see if we want a little bit of extra warmth, an image or if it kind of takes care of it for us. So I'm gonna go up to 60. We're gonna go ahead and just add a little bit of teal into this, and then let's go ahead and bring up the balance. Okay, go ahead and add a little bit of contrast now for highlights. This is one that I do want to pull a little bit of the highlight tone and the white tone back a bit just because I do want to preserve a little bit of that color kind of in the background. I want to go completely white, my minus out a little bit of clarity. This is really good from here. Now it's going to slightly varied between the split toning that we had in the preset but it looks really nice. You will notice that she's actually a bit soft on this image. Um, he's actually pretty sharp, but it looks like it kind of front focused a tiny bit. This is one of those, you know, slight softness, kind of issues that I would say is acceptable. An image like this. It's good expression. It's a good moment. He's pretty sharp. And overall, you still see most everything. Image. You're not gonna notice that type of softness until it gets up to, like beyond an eight by 12 photograph. So this is still very much a deliverable shot. Just in case you guys get these kind of. I mean, anytime you're shooting wide open, you will have some softness from time to time in your images. I'm gonna go ahead and add that radio burn and let's go ahead and place that right over a couple of faces and I'm gonna darken it just a little bit, kind of pull a little bit more attention right into them. I'm going to add just a little bit more contrast. This looks nice. This is before the after a very subtle difference. That's really it. I'll give you guys a couple different shots to play with from this scene, so you guys can kind of have at it. That's all right, that's all.

Class Description


  • Use portable flashes & modifiers to simulate natural light on-location.
  • Re-create golden hour without depending on the sun.
  • Use fog and flares to create an atmosphere and enhance the existing light.
  • Use Flash for advanced in-camera dodging and burning.
  • Mimic window light with flash.
  • Use creative backlighting as the main light.
  • Create realistic sun flares with Flash.


One of the most common misconceptions about flash photography is that flash makes an image look unnatural. In this flash workshop, the fourth in the lighting series, Pye Jirsa, teaches photographers how to create every natural light effect with flash, including golden hour, soft window light, and direct sun. These techniques, combined with the knowledge you gained from Flash Photography Crash Course, Lighting 101Lighting 201, and Lighting 301, give you full mastery of flash photography and full control of the light in any scene.

Photographers are constantly faced with unexpected lighting challenges. A client may want the golden hour look after the sun has already set. Weather conditions can delay or move your shoots. You may want a natural window light look in a room without windows. The list of potential challenges goes on and on, and being able to adapt to unexpected changes in lighting is a critical skill set for a professional photographer.

The workshop works through nearly 20 scenes from start to finish, showing you how to set up and light each scene. We also provide you with over 50 exercise files so that you can work alongside us in post to achieve the final look. In addition to learning how to light and capture the images featured in this workshop, you’ll also learn how to post-produce the images in Lightroom and Photoshop to get to the final look.

Just like Lighting 301, this workshop includes “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.


  • Photographers with a basic understanding of flash photography who want to elevate their lighting skills.
  • Those who prefer the look of natural light but don’t want to limit their shoots to certain hours of the day or depend on specific weather conditions.


Adobe Lightroom Classic 2019
Adobe Photoshop 2019



Jye is an exceptional teacher and these videos really breakdown the construction of great lighting techniques. Enjoy the dry humour throughout. Well worth watching for even experienced photographers as there are lots of tips and tricks here.


Kyle made Pye's work look simple. I learned a lot of new ideas and was reminded of some that I had forgotten about. I'll be reviewing 201-401 again with the practice images.