Emotional Lighting


Lighting Essentials Workshop


Lesson Info

Emotional Lighting

this is a rio in florida on a a time a day when it was just about forty degrees and you just love models that will just you know you know this really too cold you know I'm ready to do it um one of the things that you'll notice here I had to crop it out but when you're doing a shot like this a little tip don't let your model she started walking right up to this little thing here grab her arms don't had wanted to walk around the grass all the way around the grass come up from behind so she doesn't mess up this sand up in front she lost her balance and stuck your foot out here so we got a little thing here but this this sand was pristine you know I want to keep it that way deliberate were delivered with what we do when I do pictures of the girls like on the beach or something I haven't walked through the water and come back up onto the beach so there's not footprints going out there just it's a nerve ing so place your right in front of the sun I litter and that that shot to me has some em...

otion to it it has a feeling that that goes beyond just the picture of rio this is kind of a cinematic light letting this light hit her face here gives to me an emotion makes the shot the more approachable has more of a feeling of um if I'm there very approachable foot photograph very much like doing this kind of work uh this is an audi and uh I wanted a feeling of despair he had this old pea coat when I first saw it I thought wow kind almost sad looking and it just has a sort of heavy when this thing must have weighed twelve fifteen pounds huge jacket and he had this great jacket here and he's a good actor so he was able to do this so one to light him in that sort of very evocative kind of mysterious almost melancholy light what I did was I created an ambient light with a uh soft box of f ate and then I used a grid spot on him of f eleven and I shot at eleven so my ambien saw soft boxes a stock less all the ambient light's to stop less all through the shot but the grid right on him right in his face here his f eleven a shot at his face exposure so you can see how the light just falls away from him that kept everything that's not in the grid only one stop darker in other words I created an ambient base so the darkest it would go would be a stop under okay put a light against the wall in the background and gave that little bit of a soft edge to the to the shot to set him away from it and to me and to me it worked its melancholy photograph I get a lot of credit of course tonality to be able to pull that expression off that's part of it but see that's when you pre visualize something you know what you're going for um haley I wanted something that that romanticized the shot and letting the light come right from for me she's got these giant eyes looks like a doll and no it's not photoshopped where those see that photo shop thing where they make eyes bigger like that that's her I don't do not photoshopped her eyes big we shed this sort of doll like look and so I used this kind of real kind warmish like coming right above it to set that off and I didn't use lights behind her because I wanted it tohave that single light source to it uh this is this is lin did I mention I love my job this is lin in the studio this is our pool table is over here in our lockers and we're using lights and I used like up here to come down to give a little streak of light against the red lockers to give it a sense of context so it's not just linen laundry sitting on on a on a box it's got a sense of context to it shadow going this way up here shadows coming this way from our light here so it has a bit of an emotion to an emotional field back to this when we talked about this when how soft and pretty this shot looks this kind of open and that's what she looks like to me on yes she's brighter than exposure uh a lot of what you're doing with the motions is in gesture I love gesture and photography instead of someone just standing there want to get them doing something some movement um breaches kind of those have to do this kind of looked down you know I said give me some kind of melancholy wistful she does it but the light helps out here the light helps out the composition leaving some room above her head also helps with if I come in really tight to this that it's a shot of a girl if I leave some room around the shot of a girl in a place okay this guy was a trip was too cold to go fishing and he said last time when fishing was this cold is boat sank and he was on he was on six pack two just sitting there and we started chatting him and I really liked it but we have this very cold grey day with his great clouds they're in florida it was cold in florida that's yeah this is uh cortez florida and I said I can I think your picture needs a toll sure as long as I could be on the cover of sure absolutely um so I'm signing release if you don't have people signed release can't use him for things like creative live and stuff like that you can use it for that you can stick him on your website that you can't use him I have releases on this I have releases on this I've releases on my android I am never without model releases if you're not using electronic releases do absolutely they're cheap I use easy released ten bucks for the end for the ipod on android I bottom two versions of it I carry it and not use it then you take a picture of him and attach the picture to the release he can always find them by face is kind of cool but the point was I wanted to make him stand out from the background without looking flash lit I didn't wanna have that sort of thing blow out the background or make it real dark kind of thing so I had to work kind of carefully to keep him within the tonal values of everything else and yet still have enough light on him to make him kind of special look at those hands he's been fishing since he was seven he's a fun guy but the guy this is ah I do the same thing with landscapes as I do here I love these clouds this was actually this is granite falls is up just up the road a bit granite falls this is this guy's backyard right it's is with this tree and the lights just kind of lighten it up but I'm thinking god that's one creepy looking tree man so I had to snap that think the way the light works with that backlight is always emotional to me more emotional in front light that's also granted falls area uh cold gray light is interesting to me this was not a cold grey day but it was blustery in phoenix and all these cool clouds and this stuff and the way the light will come through the clouds and just leave little patches of light here and there that was fascinating to me gave me a sense of emotion to it it isolates and reveals that the shawn like I said he had never modeled before never do anything from the camera before and he's just great looking that way up in here in the studio we've got way cove so we could do all kinds of cool stuff like this she got but I living from the side to give him drama because he's up against the white eye kept the white background perfectly white by putting a couple of umbrellas against debt so he's just jumping in space no photo shop on this thing it's pretty much the shot these they're just pods that I want to create a feeling of the texture of these these things and reveal the texture with delight with hard light spotlight grids there's like three grids on this thing just revealing the edges and the texture on making them something really that they're not they're just pods from some tree grows in my neighborhood everywhere then why that's one of my ongoing syriza's trees I love trees that air winter trees you know dead trees are dormant trees and I just love this was in sacramento and all this beautiful green grass in the net that just treat against the sky and the light a little pool of light that's around that's natural lives standing there and watching these pools of light come across and I saw that tree in a home and I'm gonna wait let's set there about five minutes and finding what little pools of light went across got a couple snaps so that's that's my approach to lighting with feeling fighting with emotion fighting with your motion what you know what you want to have an outcome I think it comes from pre visualizing the shot that you want to make having it in your head before you go out to shoot it or something in your head before you got to shoot it you khun b serendipitous about it absolutely donna yes on this image right here um where were you setting your exposure you're going towards the sky and then you do the rest with the way I do it always mo is first I make my ambien exposure to get where I want so I'm sitting there shooting while she's playing with her hair and fixing address I'm shooting and I'm getting silhouettes of her once I've got the shot everything else here the way I want it which was a stop under I think this was twenty to uh because what you can see this is white sand it's under supposed twenty to because we know what we know what the exposure is for the sunlight on the beach right your hands yes I have sixteen at one over the iso sixteen sixteen sixteen rules from a first place I think sonny sixteen rule than I do all my calculations from there so I tried it sixteen is a little too bright try to twenty two is just about right okay once I have the twenty two once I have that I don't have change exposure anymore all I have to do now is move my lights distance and power to put twenty two on her and there's two speed lights on her one from on high and one from right about here so bull just a light her here I let her legs go silhouette because I like doing that I don't want to light her all up people have asked me about that why do you use a big light toe lighter all I don't want I just want the top of her I want her to be emerging into light I want light too fall off and be graduated it's part of my style's part of my emotion part of my photographs yes since you're talking about like fall off hon can you speak to feathering light yes I can speak so we're going to show it but yeah I can speak feathering light is when you're working at the edge of the light um where the life that has been falling is now moving to the shadow actually know we talk about shallow transitions right from from the true value to the shadow is placing someone in the transition is where the feather is it's moving the light instead of putting the umbrella on you in I put the umbrella over here and I work with this umbrella you're in the feather of the umbrella that edge where the light starts to transition it's a great place to be it's very it's a very emotional place to be because you're really working with light and dark and we still have that thing in our heads you know light dark you know good and bad light and dark shadows lights good shot was evil or miss serious or what have you we still have that we grew up with that's part of our understanding of the world you know it's why little kids are afraid of the dark hole of the world it's just part of our our upbringing I guess our our dna so we can work with that create emotion the shot I did the last shot I did here with shadow I want that shadow gives me an emotional point to hold onto when I say emotion folks I'm not saying when you looking my pictures she should go you burst out into tears or we're into raptures joy we're talking little things in it something that maybe pull something from a memory or or has you feel something towards photograph way folks like judy bee photography saying lightbulbs were going off bing bang so in about ten minutes to break do you want to take more questions are more than happy to take some more questions and go back through anything if someone wants to bring something else not here but yeah it's fantastic chat a little bit about what we talked about we've done a lot of talking this morning we're going to a little bit more in action things after the break but liketo always set a base for what we're going to talk about and do the rest of the day so question from never too late uh was there any diffusion on the speed lights on the beach shot in scotland was there any beach light this one this is skyland not scotland this is florida okay no dictation on no it it's funny we were talking about last night at dinner and I think it brought it up in one of the things that that and I'll tell this story as honestly as I can when I first read about people making a big deal about taking their flash off camera I literally thought it was a joke because I have never put a flash on it I don't know anybody that would put a flash on camera when I realized what the movement was about was helping people who were amateurs understand to take the flash off camera then I got it I totally support it it's cool it makes a lot of sense but for me lighting has always been external off the camera most of my cameras didn't there's no flash mount on a ford by five you have one on yours john hot shoe maybe while you're absolutely right on speed graphic there is but uh hassled lads and lasses I never had a hot shoes on those I didn't put my wife's having thought of putting my life very first light kid I ever bought was an external light kit that didn't go off so I did but I do understand I did understand it after I read it all yeah there's a whole world of people amateurs you know they think that's where they're flash goes ok and it does in some cases um but when I started playing with my speed lights mohr I tried to make the speed lights in tow lights that they weren't okay I tried to put him in soft boxes I try to put him in umbrellas I tried to take my speed lights out and really tournament to big lights but speed like big lights right all the attributes of speed lights I mean big lights with my speed lights that didn't work doesn't work it's not the maximum quality of speed light which is not for thirty or one one of those it's not the same as a bare bulb head and if you could grab a bare bulb head over there that's great it's not the same it's light comes out of a box on a speed light that's what it's designed to do there's no baer area up here this is it so when I was trying to twist and cajole and make this into something else could always not work out so we're always like oh you gotta do you know it's it's close to this and it's close to that this is the light coming out of a of a traditional stroke its bare ball so when you put this into a soft box the light goes everywhere one hundred eighty degrees and it fills the box when you put it in an umbrella with a reflector it fills the umbrella you put this in it just shoots a little bit of it well about a year ago I realized that all the shots that I really like doing with my speed light I use my speed light just like the speed light was made to be used here hard light so now when I'm using my speed lights eighty percent of the time I'm not modifying them I'm shooting them just like they were designed to be shot hard like I'll bounce him into a wall and I'll mention other brand here I have a couple of westcott apollo's that I absolutely adore I really like those those take this light and actually make a beautiful soft light out of it love those things but again they were designed for this right that's exactly what the westcott apollo was designed for a speed like great take the design make it work but trying to stick this in tow things like they weren't designed to dio and I always seem to come up a little short doesn't mean that that I haven't shot two of these into a sixty inch umbrella because I have it's beautiful you know but I think I might have I don't know if it would be any more beautiful or any less beautiful but I've also shot a einstein into a sixty inch umbrella at what we're shooting at brett up there in seattle was like one like five ticks up or something like five ticketbis think this just a wink just a tiny wink of light filled that umbrella god you know shooting f two head shots if two with a sixty inch umbrella thank you

Class Description

Learn how to light in any situation. This special 3-day workshop will introduce you to lighting by learning the basics. Don helps you start evaluating light from a subject centric approach — teaching you to identify how your light will react to your subject. Don Giannatti’s workshop is perfect for photographers working to find their vision and their own perspective. You'll learn to use this knowledge of light to create perfect photographs. This workshop is a non-stop, hands-on weekend.



I just finished watching this course, and with teary eyes can say, without reserve, this class has been fantastic! Don's last session would be great to watch in the beginning and the end because it helps to understand his thoughts on being a photographer. The rest of the class is full of great information on lighting and Don is able to explain his thoughts and his processes with ease. I hope I will always think ahead and plan how I want my final results and how I want my subject to reflect light. Learning this was one of my "aha" moments during this class. I own over 30 Creative Live photography courses and this class is one of the top classes I own. I already plan on rewatching the whole class. Well worth the investment! I feel it is not a beginner course, but a intermediate to advanced one. Don has set a high standard in lighting...a goal to reach for...a goal that is possible for each person willing to take the time to learn and practice. Thanks Don and thanks CreativeLive!

Joao Alexandre Paulo

Great class, amazing instructor. Don's able to explain it so good that he makes it all look like very simple. I just have one comment and one request for the CreativeLive staff: When Don's commenting and analysing the pictures or explaining some features of them please keep the camera shooting at what he's commenting :) It would also be great if the way how the umbrellas and soft boxes are set up were disclosed, Ex: how the strobes and lights are mounted. Overall an amazing value for the price.