Owning Your Own Light


Lighting Essentials Workshop


Lesson Info

Owning Your Own Light

I call it owning your own light owning your light we talked yesterday about you're set being your set you're the devos here that your absolute supreme being of your set it's the same way with your lighting I talk about subjects centric lighting as being subject out that means you can own the way your subjects look and I don't care really if we're talking still lie for product or landscape or people photography I I love still life and I love people photography's my two favorite things to photograph that being said get me up to cascade falls and I'm taking pictures of trees and everything I love photography I snap a picture I capture a moment in time that will never happen again and I get to do it my way not somebody else's way had an interesting phone call today from a friend of mine in boston and hey don I know you're watching and he said you know a lot of people are talking about the fact that I'm doing so much with one light and I'm doing a lot with one light because I understand the...

subject there's a tendency to say well I've got two lights what do I need to buy dough I need four lights do I need six lights are doing eight eight lights well as we saw yesterday do it awful lot with one or two lights um I think it only one point brett we use more than two lights right just that one three point light pretty much everything we've done is with two lights I can honestly say that I probably do eighty percent of my work with one or two lights and I create the other light I want out of understanding how my subjects going to reflect so instead of buying another light by a piece of foam core instead of buying another light by a stand and in a clamp and a couple of white boards from the dollar store I just I just love in my pad all of a sudden goes to facebook if I didn't ask you to do that hasn't my facebook is taking over as though that's the thing um so when you own your own understanding of light when you make it yours you start to understand how to continue that and create a body of work at a body of work is when your photographs start to look like your photographs we talked about clark terry's great statement imitate assimilate and innovate I just want to touch on that a little bit more imitate means understanding how to make those photographs I think after we've done this to together you five if we pulled out a w magazine and obviously we can't do that on creative life but if we pulled out a w or a vogue magazine and show you a picture do you think you could start figuring out how it was made you think you can start seeing where those highlights are whether it was a big that's what you do I've heard people say oh that's copying no it's not copying let's say you see a photograph of ah some supermodel throughout supermodel name I don't know it's any supermodels tyra banks about a supermodel some superstar all right tyra banks tyra banks um you see a picture of tyra banks with a white panther at her side and she's wearing a balenciaga gown just twenty five hundred dollars shoes right and you love the lighting and you think wow I want to do a shot like that but that's copying well it's only copying if you could talk tyra into coming down and you have a white panther and you can grab some twenty five hundred dollars shoes chances are I'm just going to go out on a limb here chances are that's not gonna happen you're going to have a friend of yours or a girlfriend of yours or model that you found or a agency model or whatever she's going to have a different dress you're not going to have a white panther she may have a dog guess what's new shot it's not copying its inspiration it's not copying to use a soft box boy wouldn't it be nice first guy who use a soft boxy trademark it he'd be like living I don't know large right it's not copying to use a soft box it's not copying to use backlight it's all been done I took a group of students wants to san diego to see the art museum there and there was two shows going on one word photographs portrait photographs by uh five photographers under thirty years old and the other room were edward weston's earliest portrait ce and I don't know if you know this but ed weston was a portrait photographer in san bernadino we're talking about babies maternity just a regular portrait photographer in san bernadino I didn't tell him which was which and I can't tell you how many people thought that ed western shots taken back in nineteen twenty four were taken by thirty year old photographers today now this was ten years ago yeah it's all been done it all has been done so don't worry about it find something to imitate because it's your way of being inspired assimilation comes when you can do that shot at the drop of a hat assimilation comes when you can say I can do this when you get to the point where you've assimilated some techniques you're now at the point where you can play jazz and you're now at the point where when you're working and you have one of those moments that say I don't know what I'm going to do you can flip back and find something to do instantly because you could make it up out of whole cloth as they say do you have to own your light tone your vision innovate is when you start doing those things you said you're going to go and test some things you test and you testing your testing you innovate you may not even be aware of the change in your photography until you go back and look at stuff he did two years ago and you'll say oh my goodness I know I do it all the time I'm not shooting the same way I think I talked yesterday right that I'm I'm just not mister told photo anymore that's huge for may that's like a revelation for me I'm grabbing the thirty five in the fifty and the one hundred all the time and that eighty two hundred just sits in the case so maybe it's because I'm getting really old the thing's really heavy I don't know maddy not alright so we're gonna uh go right here there are no rules anyone who tells you rule is either lying to you try to sell you something great quote from who knows who said that ah princess life is pain they're no rules there's choices we make choices every day and those choices lead us to where we are the choices that we make in life leads us to where we are but the choices we make in lighting pose subjects they lead us to our next shot our next shot the next shot on and on their choices and those choices should be made from a sense of understanding those choices should be made from a sense of power not of I've got the gear let's use it all the choice has to be powerful enough in your mind to say I brought all the gear but I'm just going to use a film foam core when I packed to go and do a job I pack everything we're talking for or six pro photo heads extension cords everything I don't ever feel compelled to use it I have it because I don't want to run back to the studio and get it if I need it I'm never compelled to use anything I'm compelled to do what make the best photograph I can under the circumstances bring my vision to it lately I'm getting more jobs that people are allowing me to do my vision rather than be you know the the hired gun uh I think I mentioned earlier I'm not a famous photographer not shooting vogue covers and things when I get back to phoenix I've got a nice job in the studio nice job paying very well photographing parts for a unit that will be out in theaters to help people that are hearing impaired I'm not ashamed of that love it it's great whites white seamless background and things but they pay me very well and I do a very good job for him um choosing your life based on what you want to do and what you want to do is that vision thing that you start to do in your head what is it that I see in my head that I want to portray the end of the day we're going to talk ah lot about um some philosophy so we're going to get kind of kind of introspective at the end of the day but right now I want you to think fun what do you see in your head what shot have you seen that you think matt might want to do something like that that's what you do and then you make the choice based on understanding how light works understanding how the subject's work you want to pull texture out of this picture you know how to do that do you want it to be very softly lit you know how to do that do you want a complex face great you want a non complex face great talking last night someone said in a group that there with was that is that you the young group that you're with they like complex shadows on faces is definitely wrong with that I love that that's great I'm not one of those people but I don't ever want anyone watching online if you purchase this thing and another date anyone to ever think that I have ever thought it's my way or the highway no way you do your shot I'm never going to say oh well your shot doesn't look like my shot so it's not very good not one of those guys if you love it and you stand behind it that's great when I was a music theory and composition major um getting my master's degree I'd write a symphony and at the climax of the symphony I scored a very dramatic cord was very late at night next uh next day my professor was looking over he goes up are you sure this is the core do you want and of course me being you know twenty two and arrogant yes yes because you sure said yes so we played it and if those those musicians out there it was a c major triad because I'd forgotten to very dissonant composer and then I end up with the c major triad and like do I admit that I screwed up or do I stick with the facts and say yes I wanted that stew stupid sounding cord there had to admit that I screwed up because it wasn't what I wanted what I wanted was something else I just sort of messed up in my late night stuff the choices that we make are based on the things we want to do visions first you start to see your image is before you you shoot them and the way to do that is to build up so many images in your head we've got this great computer brain right where we can we can learn and and assimilate things and take him in and you you khun create things from what you've done so always be looking at photographs and always be looking at your photographs there's a difference between saying I suck and saying I need work on this there's a difference if you tell yourself that you suck you will suck because we have the capacity and our brains to do exactly what we tell ourselves to dio you ever say all I shouldn't leave it there I'll forget where it is was your brain do hey I could do that count me in you I immediately forgot knit thank you high fives the brain right we don't do that we don't set ourselves up we choose our gear to match our vision don was saying that that it's interesting that some people will say well I'm trying to this lighting but I can't get a on edge like do I need to buy another strobe no you don't you need to figure out into an edge light by another strobe only when you need it don't buy what you want by what you need there's a little happy moments when what you want and what you need coincide but by what you need not what you want if you have two thousand dollars and you've got three lenses and a camera what's your next purchase for mei if you ask me be a couple of tickets to somewhere you've never been before some hotel rooms and take photographs if you're lying to shoot models or or that go to new york find some agencies they're being beforehand that will do testing go to new york pay for makeup artist get a couple of models to test and shoot there that's what you do with two thousand dollars you can go buy another lens that sits on your shelf or that you use on the weekends but to do something fun

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.