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Lighting 401

Lesson 18 of 20

Working with Artificial Flares

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

Lighting 401

Pye Jirsa, SLR Lounge

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Lesson Info

18. Working with Artificial Flares
Pye dives into creating flares with a golden hour style and explores different looks in this style. Post-production instructions are included in this tutorial.

Lesson Info

Working with Artificial Flares

Look, you all know I love my hard light, Carlo. They know that, right? We just of hard. So this should be very transparent by now. But I still love shooting into Golden Hour to get that beautiful golden hour flare. So that's what we're going to do in the next couple of videos is how do we recreate that convincingly and we'll do it in a few different scenarios and show you some different effects in this first one. We're back in the train car with Kylie, and we're shooting now into the light that we set up to recreate Golden Hour. And just as a reminder Now, if we were to look top down on the scene, what we're going to end up doing is having Kylie kind of now posed in this direction. And the camera angle now moves to this side as we shoot towards that flash that's now set up and firing through the window. So let's dive in the video, get to watch it Now let's see what this looks like from the side. So if you kind of stay right there, in fact, keep everything the way you're at, so just kin...

d of lean up against the wall, We're gonna flip sides, and then we're going to So brush all the hair over to this side, so the hair kind of catches the light a little bit. And what we're gonna do is see if we can't get okay there. We kind of create this little background with the hair itself. Look down a little bit damn war And let the hair kind of come forward. More so kind of. Pull the hair forward more. There you go. Right there. Mhm. So look, my editors. Carlo, Mike, Alex. They all hate me. They just want you to see that shot. That looks incredibly underexposed. This was the actual intention behind the shot. Let me let me just show them. I'm not gonna let you get away with that, Carlo just showing the dark file. But there's several ways that we can actually edit this image. This is one of them. And granted, if I wanted to take this image this bright, I probably would have shot at maybe another stop brighter just to prevent some noise. Maybe even a stop and a half. But there's an in between that I want to show you and I might just get their imposed. But this is one of my favorite shots from this scene. Just because it's very cool has that kind of backlit hair look, and it adds this nice little highlight to the face as that light comes through the hair. I think it's really fun and interesting to look at. My foot fell off the chair right now, and that's what gave me a little shake. And let's just let's just keep going. Uh huh. That looks freaking cool. I just need to bring it up a little bit. So here's what I want. It looks rad. We're gonna tweak it a little bit. So I want that hair to be all lit. So it kind of creates the light for your face. That makes sense. So I want you to lean against the wall just like this. They're just like that. Chin up a little bit. We're going to utilize this light for this part of the face right here. Okay? Mhm. Yes. Bring the chin back to me a little bit right there. Eyes right at me. That's nuts. It's worth noting that when you're shooting into flares and when you want those flares to kind of bleed across the edge of the frame, You need to either take off the lens hood or reverse it like you see here. Now, my own team has a problem with me reversing the lens hoods. They say it looks like I have my shirt's on backwards or something like that. I don't know what they're talking about. It's Shivani and Carlo. Just But let's go back to the video. I see it. I love that. Stay right there and look down now to the ground. Yes! Yeah! Mhm. This is nuts. You gotta see this. Okay, turn it into me A little more. A little bit more towards me right there. Oh, I dialed it a little bit too much. Okay, So what's happening right now is I'm using this light right here. You guys can see this light is going right onto her face. So this is my primary light for the face. And now I have my fakes on in the background. So what I'm gonna do is turn that fakes on off just for a second, because I need to get a good exposure for exactly what I want in this front side first, and it's always easier to again. Start, start kind of fresh from the top. This is, honestly one of my favorite tricks to do. And I know you see me do it several times, but I still wanted to reiterate that even with the comfort level that I have in shooting in a situation like this, it's still just easier for me to turn off that flash and get the right amount of ambient light onto the face. Get that feel like exactly where I want it, and then to turn back on the flash. So once again, I'm doing that. And this allows me to really divide out because that backlight is going to have a sort of effect as it washes over my scene. And I can't see how much Phil and how much amulet is landing on our face as long as that backlight is left on. So this helps me to really dial in and get somewhere where I can get exactly what I want in camera. Let's keep watching. I'm gonna go to F one. I've got a two. Oh, mhm. We're gonna go to 1 200 a second Let's go to 800 s o. And that gives me the perfect kind of light right on her. And if I show you it looks really nice, it looks bright. You can see that the sky is already blown out. And now I need that light to come through. I don't need a ton of light for that, because I'm already at 800. I s O. So I'm gonna flip this head on now, and I'm gonna go down to, like, let's go to one quarter to 1/8 power on this light. I mean, that's going to be something around, like, 10 to 25 seconds worth of power. So we're gonna be running around a six, which is, let's see, one half would be 91 quarter would be eight 1/8 1 16th. Okay. Bring the chin back to me, my dear. There you go. Right there. And that is it. Now, let's power it up a little bit, so I'm gonna go up one stop on this guy. Mhm. One more stuff. So we're at an eight. This is roughly one flash where the power and that's perfect. Okay, so now bring the right hand up and into the hair and kind of like, give me some place, so I kind of get some angle. There you go. Turn the chin back to me more right there, Right there, right there and come forward. A bit more towards the light on this side. There. A little bit more. Right there. Now lean, kind of the head towards the wall And bring the chin back to me a little bit right there. Mhm. Okay, Now play. Turn the chin back a little bit right there. Mhm. I love that lean The head kind of put the back against the wall. A bit more there, but kind of lean forward. More as the lights coming towards you. There you go. Now tilt the head against the wall and now pull all the hair on to this side, sweep it all around and let it kind of hang. So it kind of gets this. Yes. Yes. And now bring the hand up and over like you're sweeping it over. But hold it there. Right there. That's insane. One more Mhm. Yes. Now we got the window while you're doing it. Mhm. Mhm. Okay. We nailed it with that sequence done. We're now simply gonna push Kylie back all the way to this window now and we're gonna use the window as opposing and kind of framing prop. This allows us to kind of shoot into the light and really accentuate and make that flare a bigger part of our shot as well as show off a little bit more of the environment. So let's go into it now. Kylie had this fun idea of sitting in the window seal, and I think it's fantastic. So we're gonna do that. This is gonna be our last shot in the scene before we see that in another one. Want to do so? Basically, we're not going to change much. We still have to be 10 over there, but I'm gonna keep shooting with it. I'm now at around I so 800 f to around F 20 is kind of like where I'm I'm finding my sweet spot and then 102nd. So now we're going to basically play with the power and see where we're at. We're also going to lay down some fog so we can kind of have some atmosphere effects and the important part is we have two different light sources. That will be really key. We have this one right here. Where when she leans forward. So if you lean forward, we can see some light coming right into your face right there. That's that light source When she leans back out the window and she does have something to hold onto. You do have something to hold on. Okay? She has to hold onto social. When she leans out, We're gonna see this light coming from the right side, which is basically all the sky So lean out and show us and you can see that that light kind of comes in from the outside And it's gonna be really beautiful in balance with the flare. So what we gotta do first is as always as the light is changing. First kind of dial in, based on what you want everything to look like. And this is right around actually where I want this entire thing to look. So we're good at f 8. Sorry. Uh, I so to I can't get anything straight right now. Shutter speed 1, 200 F 1.8 and ISO 800. Let's go ahead and take a look at the flash power. Okay? This is at full power right now, So that was five stops up. So we're running out of five right now, and that means Well, we went down. Let's see. To half power. Quarter power. Eighth power, 16th, 30 seconds. Power that's five stops down. Which means that we're using barely any light. Any flash is going to work for this. So, Kylie, let's go ahead and show them why. You're amazing. I'm going to power down even more. I need less light waiting for it. Yes, Mhm. That's it. Perfect. Just like that. I love that leaning forward. Bring the light the chin over to light a little bit. So kind of lean forward a bit more and turn the chin to this side. This side. There you go. Right there. Mhm. And now play. I love that. Yes. Okay. I love that two. Hands up. That's great. Okay, let's see here. Beautiful. Now let's go outside the window. Yeah, and I want you to That's so awesome. I don't need to do anything. It's kind of not fair. Can you cross over the legs and be really carefully here, don't you? That's it. That's it. Hold out and give it a little bend in the arm and that right arm. There, Right there. Hold that right there. Bring both hands up into it. Okay. And then kind of lean the hands away and out there, bring the hands back up top. Just lean the head back a little. So the light kind of lands on the face and turn and look out towards this side. There. Right there. Wow. Hold that right there. Bring that one hand down and give me a bend in that one. Is it your stable? You're good. Now put both hands up. There you go. So beautiful. Okay, Now go ahead and lay down the fog. I like that right there. Hold that right there, Kelly. Yeah. Okay. Now go ahead and start moving into the pose. There you go. No, that's good. I love that whole about. And now cross over the legs with that. Now go ahead and lay down More fog. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Pause. Both hands up. Looking out towards your left side, cleaning back with it. There you go. Through all the hair behind you. kind of like let the hair drop behind you there. Yeah. Call that. Lean the head a little bit for or like, relax one of the hands so it kind of looks a little more like do it in action. So it kind of looks and feels a little more. There. There, there, there. Beautiful. And right there. Hold that. As you look into me, Just bring the hands of the lab. Mhm, like both hands in the lap. There you go. Right there. Oh, my goodness. Can you lay down more fog? Look out the window. Turn the chin more towards your left side. So kind of give me profile and brush the hair behind you with one hand. Kind of holding the hair there. Let go of the fog now and bring the hair more behind you. So, like, kind of like, brush the hair all behind you. And then there, there. I love that. Hold that. We got a little bit too much fog on. Yes, And then from right there, turn the chin right into me right there. Bring the other hand into it. I love that right there. Chin down into the right side. A little bit just like that. Mhm. Hold that cross over the legs. One hand a little bit higher than the other there. Put the other hand, brace it against the wall there in a soft smile, Stand up a little bit. You crushed it. Good job. Oh, my goodness. Holy tell, Let's jump into post. So I've given you guys quite a few files from this scene, and there's obviously a lot of ways that you can work these images. I want to do some stuff that's a little bit different to maybe give you guys some ideas. Um, other than the things that you probably already know you can do from here. So let's grab this image right here, because this would be a fun example of what we could potentially do Now. Obviously, this image was shot a bit on the dark side, and we could add exposure to this and shoot it. You know, some around here, like process around here. Um, granted, if we if we wanted to leave at this bright at this point, the noise isn't too bad. But I probably want some noise reduction on here, but instead what I want to do is actually leave it somewhat closer to the intention of the image. I'm going to raise the exposure by maybe one stop and then let's go ahead and add some blacks to the image as well as some shadows. Okay? In fact, we can actually darken down the image a little bit from here because I want to leave it like dark and moody. What I also want to do is bring the highlight point up just a bit. So let's go ahead and bring the highlight point. Actually, let's see. Let's see if we can get hit with, I might only be able to do one little click with the highlight point. I'm going to bring the whites down pretty significantly. I'm also gonna add my radial burn press, shift em and bring that burn right over the face because I really just want the face to be kind of highlighted within the hair right here. I'm gonna let everything else kind of burn and deepened and darkened down. We'll create a really fun image with this. So now what I might do here is bring my my tone curve up just a bit because what I'm trying to do is kind of get this nice kind of fade to the shadows where the shadows kind of clip Just a little. This might be a little bit too much. This is at around 5%. Let's drop it down to, like, maybe 3%. That's good. And we're going to put that mid point right here. So this is already looking really cool. So if we look at where the before was to the after, we've kind of lifted the face while bring the other tones down. It looks nice, but we can take it a step further now. So now we're just going to go back to our Dodge and burn. We're gonna go to highlights and this go around, I'm going to do a messy job of just painting the whole thing in at 100%. And let's see if we can't. Actually, let's first do this. Let's go, Fluminense. We're gonna go ahead and pull this off of now those shadow tones. So I'm going to basically keep lifting on here until everything but the highlights drop away. Then I'm gonna go ahead and smooth it out a little bit. And what I'm also gonna do is I'm going to remove it from the bottom of the chin where I really want to accentuate more of the highlights on the forehead and the highlights on the eyes. So I'm going to duplicate this as well and kind of pull it off the bottom of the frame. Okay, so now we're getting the highlights to really be revealed. So I'm gonna click new again. And this time we're gonna go to whites and let's see if we can't get those whites right underneath the I just to pop a little more. So what we're gonna do is pull the flow down to, like, 40. And again. If you don't have these brush presets, I want you just to dial them in. And now we're gonna go ahead and paint. I'm gonna shrink my brush paint again, shrink my brush paint again, and we're going to bring in that highlight right there. Okay, We're gonna do the same thing over here. Carlos, Your mind getting blown right now trying to catch up? It's pretty basic. Are we blowing your mind? All right, bro. Okay. We're just gonna paint those highlights in. I'm gonna paint some in like right over the eyelashes right here. And I was kind of clicking and shrinking as I go. And this is where I want to keep my tones. I want the tones to fall into the kind of shadow side. So what I want to do is just kind of bring the attention into her face by pulling the other stuff down just a little bit more. So let's go ahead and do a burn from the right side. So we're gonna burn, and I'm gonna pull this down even more. Okay? Bring it. May be back a little bit to this direction. Do the same thing from left to right and maybe bring it up a little bit right from there. Okay, Now, if we really wanted to give this a little kiss, we could try to add in a little bit of a flare from the top of the frame. So this may or may not work on this image. We can follow the direction of the light, but what I'm worried about is being too strong. And if it's too strong, we have to We have to let it go. Let's just try it. Let's just try it okay. So because the tone of the images so dark if we laid in thick, it's really bright, very distracting, and it causes a lot of noise, but we don't have to leave it in that thick. We can kind of add just a little bit of that kind of kiss of light from the top left of the frame. And I think that's really nice right here. So let's take a look at the before and the after on this image isn't that fun. It kind of gives you a really fun idea of how you can create a really nice and moody image. We're shooting to retain the highlights in this shot and then really, just lifting the shadows a little bit naturally. And we would have thought that we had to do this in Photoshop. But we did it all right in light room. And we didn't use any no presets, no nothing. Although I would have made our life simpler. Um, but we we can do this just with manipulating the existing raw file. What I'm doing right now is just getting my temperature to a place that's a slightly less warm. So I'm gonna go right here. I think it's really fun. Really cool way of editing that image. So these other images, I would literally do the exact same thing with that dodge and burn effect right over the face wherever the existing highlights. Um, everything's same here, but I would probably process this image a little bit differently as well. Now, we could do the same thing with this image and really brighten it up and kind of add contrast. And we create something really cool with that kind of a vibe to it, right? I'm gonna click in, so it renders our preview, okay, so we can create something really unique there. But honestly, what I would probably do for one of these images is I would go to my pastel vibe. So this is, uh, a visual flow pack that we're gonna be working on that's going to give image is kind of a more Fuji toned pastel. So if you have, like, say, a Mastin kind of pack, if you have a visco, if you have those are all kind of that Fuji simulation. So this is where I would probably choose one of those my baseline color and then Similarly, I would leave this on the dark side. So what I'm gonna do is maybe add five for my exposure. Okay? I might leave the blacks, so let's go ahead. I'm trying to use my thing again later. I want to do this with a keyboard. Okay? I'm going to raise the blacks just a bit. Raise the shadows a little bit, okay? I'm gonna drop the whites. I want to keep very soft highlights in this image. And now the highlights are what kind of crosses over with the skin. So what I'm gonna do is drop the highlights. Overall, I'm going to reduce the texture a little bit while adding a bit of clarity to kind of chisel her out. And then what we're gonna do is go ahead and start painting in with our quick dodge and lift. Okay? Now, don't worry that this has a super heavy handed effect right now. We're actually gonna flip this around in just a second. So we have a couple options here, One we could go to luminous and we could see if we could just kind of get this to only affect the brighter tones of the image and we can. So this is already working really nicely. If we don't like the way that looks, then I would flip this over to your other brush that you created the whites. But since this is working, we're just gonna go ahead and paint this off of kind of the hair kind of clean up the way that it's dropping onto the face onto the body, clean it up off the jacket, clean it up off the chest and the shirt okay, And off this side as well, it's going to kind of get a much better now, up here in the hair, it starts to look a little bit unnatural. So what I might do is let it kind of bleed over the edge just a little bit and same thing over the jacket. I don't want to have that shadow right along the chest line right there. So let's see if we can't refine that as just a little bit. That's better. Now I'm just going to reduce the overall effect of this, so we're just gonna pull it down a bit to maybe half strength, and this is starting to look pretty good. So at this point. All I'd really do is probably add a little bit of contrast, and this is where I would take this image. I like it that her face is in the shadow of this. And I want to illustrate this because so often we feel like we have to kind of perfectly light and image. And a lot of times it's that imperfect light. It's that that the other shapes that you get from lighting from the sides and having kind of those shapes and dimensions, the highlights and the shadows that adds interest into a shot. And that's exactly what we see with this image. So here was that, Well, that's another before that's actually the bright version. So here is the before, and here's the after that we created with this one. Okay, so that's really it for this. And this is another shot. That's kind of work. Just taking a look at honestly, from a standpoint of like editing, it should be very simple, very easy and straightforward to edit. But I want you to just take a look at that light. So by having her look off towards this right side, the light that's coming in from the sky is what's lighting the face and it just adds a really nice shape to the face and it really does a great job. So that's why we're having your lean back in that shot compared to the other ones. So very simple kind of modification of the pose to get the light onto her. I think that's it. Everything else I feel like we've already covered in terms of post, so let's go on to the next video.

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

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lighting 401 Exercise Files

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Nev Steer

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.