Light Modifiers


Lighting Essentials Workshop


Lesson Info

Light Modifiers

all right let's get started we're gonna talk about modifiers and how we use and think about modifiers to do with the light what we wanted to do to present from the subject ok so we have a couple of different basic modifiers we have bare lights we have umbrellas we have parabolic reflectors which are the metal reflectors right here is we have these types of reflectors were a lot of these different sizes of these and this is one aspect that's often overlooked in photography these days is that we everybody modifies everything with the umbrella or soft box but these are very cool tools to use as well there's a reason why certain brands have an advantage over other brands and we'll talk a little bit about that and then we have soft boxes so we have parabolic ce bear umbrellas and soft boxes were start with umbrellas because umbrellas are inexpensive so they're easy to get a hold of and they do wonderful things with light when soft boxes first started they were built by the photographer I bu...

ilt my very first soft box out of foam core and little angled steel and and wood and my very first soft box was four foot by six foot and it weighed about one hundred something pounds and it would not leave the studio because it couldn't get out the door of my studio it was like a being a jet I night building your first light saber you know actually it's kind of a light saber but just bigger regular one but anyway the the front would be silk or some sort of translucent material and in the back we actually had places where we could put multiple strobe heads innit second box I built was four by eight like that and actually built it out of a v card like that stretched over the front and had four slots in the back in its sat on wheels well then somebody the story as somebody was camping up in a place called sameera pass and noticed that the pup tent they were camping and looked an awful light like the soft box in their studio that's the story I was told so then we ended up with pop up soft boxes which were then portable and once you could leave the studio with soft boxes a lot of photographers simply turn their backs on umbrellas oh they would sell they spill light too much they do this I have all these excuses that's fine but they do something different with the light than a soft box it's not the same thing I do have ah one interesting kind of rule of thumb that I that I think about when I'm working with lights and that is every light we use whether it's four by six soft box like the big one we had or it's a forty three inch umbrella they have a specific quality they have a light quality to them that you can see that quality is evident within two times the diameter of that tool once I take a forty three inch umbrella over here to light you guys up it's just a light folks as a matter of fact I could probably change it out with a soft box of three by four soft box and you would never tell the difference it's only when you get up close that you can start to see the difference for us to understand light we want to see it right we can't see it so maybe what we want to do is to start thinking of it in a different term what if we looked at our modifiers and thought of them as water sprayers so we could visualize the water coming out and how it would come out we'll start with a shoot through umbrella over here and I have ah gonna have some models come out here in just a few minutes but I want you to look at this uh thank you john you should look at this and think about his garden spurt ok water's coming out of the back of this garden sprayer and if I bring it in over here and I want to spray kenna are you getting wet yeah you are it's coming right out of here it's getting you wet you're all getting wet right happens I turn it around are you getting wet now this is going there that's going there all this light's going there all the light spreads out going here so we have two different shapes of the light why would we expect that the light coming through a shoot through would be the same as a bounce well it doesn't make sense we've changed the way the light comes through and is dispersed away right the difference is really noticeable when you get up close to someone that's where the four qualities of light start and this is the uh the uh little keynote here then we're gonna look at and we have four qualities of light the color of light the size of the light and relationship to the subject that's worth the size and the distance becomes in the distance that the light is away from the subject that's your inverse square law and the angle of the light to the subject to the camera when I listen to people talk about the angle light so often they talk about the angle of light from the camera okay we've got a third line to that triangle and that's the camera to the subject because if my light stays here and I'm I'm photographing you right here I'm photographing and as I come over here I'm changing my triangle I'm changing my light is this is different with donkey flash here on access here I come over here he's now side lit because we've changed that triangle now here's the really interesting thing a part about it all four these are important they're all just as important when I wrote the book that we're giving away available on amazon um we when I wrote that book the hardest thing I had to do was to write what I think of when I'm making a photograph and keep saying there's no hierarchy to it you don't think all first I do this and then I do this then I do this so we don't think first the light the color of the light then we do the size of line way don't we do it all at one time all at one time the color of the light lighting chart here and again these uh um he slides have all the little uh little doo hickeys I hope you can see him but this is late in the evening and this is early in the morning and they're different colors why are they different colors why is morning light not as oranges evening light anyone no I see a hand anyone on the internet no in part because the atmosphere let us going yeah I mean if you're changes during the day doesn't ground is cold in the morning roll everything settled and as the earth heats up things come up into the atmosphere and become they block the light essentially anybody you guys up here when mount st helen's blew I was in l a we heard and my did we get some incredible sunsets I know it came in at a high cost but boy they were pretty so also three feet three inches of ash on my car for five days in a row but it changes the light when we when we modify it take it down and make it so there's more stuff coming through it so we don't have these different colors when we're dealing with light uh colors of our photography we have global change and we have individual change a global change would be putting a filter on the camera that changes everything in the camera ah local change would be where we change on ly the light and leaving the ambient light out there this is very difficult show in this particular type of workshop because we can't go outside and blend two different kinds of lights so we're going to just basically talk about it and basically color is the most important so in these till you go back one right here and this shot because my strobes had I not put a bronze gel on the strobes what color would she look almost blew right that she would tow or I look blue she wouldn't be any different color than if we shot her in the studio but to our eyes she would look blue because the rest of the landscape was so orange from that setting sun so we matched her that's local okay and this one we use the strobes we didn't tell them because I wanted the effect of her standing out from those blood red lights this is a uh the underpass in santa barbara by the way and the police were quite concerned we just kept waving and you know what you do when you're ever approached in your shooting right and someone approaches you to kick you off just looking go at all no inglis keep shooting until the authorities come and then you could just slip now they'll give you a few more minutes so I left her normal light and let this come in over burnin as a very orange tungsten no photo shop on this this is late in the day light its global it is that color and you can see her bright blue eyes stayed that color but the the light itself is that warm so I like warm light tended to use warm light when you're out shooting you have to think globally or locally in this studio we have um fluorescents and are these daylight from fluorescents are they regular presence there daylight balance so these air daylight so these fluorescents and the light coming in the window here are pretty darn close we will do a shot tomorrow with some home depot lights which are not this color and you'll see some dramatic changes so the color is something that uh that is really important now we're talking about the size of light source in relationship to the subject what we do is we end up going out buying umbrellas right we go out to the camera store way buy an umbrella what size umbrellas this medium umbrella big umbrella little umbrella sixteen are small so it's actually a medium sized bronze of forty three umbrellas I make thirty threes thirty twos and make forty three's that makes sixties some seventy two so this is a fairly medium size I'm well up but it's only a medium size umbrella to other umbrellas we have no idea what this is yet because we haven't picked a subject if my subject is you guys it's a pretty small umbrella if my subject is my light meter it's a big umbrella this is so much bigger than subject and there's a reason why the size of the light source matters and that is because if the light source can reach around you it hides the shadows let's say it's a zoo early morning and you get up and you look out the back window of your house your apartment you look out you cannot see the sky and you say oh my gosh hey honey it's a sunny day the sun's out how do you know the sun's out if you can't see this guy handing everything you see shadows and what kind of shadows hard distinct sharp shadows because the sun it's about that big little bitty ball of light up there which means when that ball of light strikes my ipad my ipad totally hides that ball of light from the ground if I'm down on the ground inside ipad I can't see that ball of light my ipad hit it that's a shadow all of a sudden you go oh honey clouds came over why how do you know like a shadow those shadows they're gone that's because now my ipad doesn't have a shadow below it there's no shadow on the ground from here because that cloud over there is lighting up the shadow of the ground below me and that cloud over there is lighting up the ground below this ipad the size of the light source increased so dramatically that it actually wrapped around the subject and let the ground up behind it it's not magics physics so we control that with our white

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.