Shoot: Clam Shell Lighting


Lighting Essentials Workshop


Lesson Info

Shoot: Clam Shell Lighting

a long long time ago I did it I did a shoot for was macy's or nordstrom's and uh I had the uh wonderful opportunity work with one of la's top top makeup artists and two incredible models and these were going to be pointed purchase shoots so they were going to be in store p o p is probably eight or ten feet tall face shots headshots I shot him on two and a quarter and I was just so proud of them because they came out great yeah what's a p o p point of purchase so if you go into a store sometimes and they'll have like make up for sale it will be a great big giant poison post oyster ah poster there that's a point of purchase yeah and that's what these were gonna be huge right and I'm gonna bring this umbrella up up up up yes bottom one up because the top one's great bring the bottom when I want to really what temperature do you want to shoot you uh I would like to shoot at f eleven or fourteen sixteen up up more moored up okay you're at eight right now eleven yeah that should work but I h...

ad my umbrella is kind of like that and it took the film into the art director who happened to be of all things you know about twenty eight years old and you know on eleven and you know I'm a guy and she's an art director and I want you know I want to get she looks at the film and she loops it she goes you're lighting's a little sloppy and I went what oh your entire career kind of just folds up in front of you and you thinking do you want fries with that you know and what she was looking at was this kind of catty want this crap in the eyes her point being that by the time that picture went six or eight feet tall that catch light in the model's eyes it won't be about that big and those two umbrellas were going to be seeing invisible and they're not even so offered to reshoot and she is all no don't worry about it but that was thirty years ago believe me and never forgot take the umbrella and I make this umbrella absolutely perfect this one's gotta come out I'm gonna line these two up I make him absolutely perfect because everything we do in photography is deliberate it's gotta come this way so too hot on her right there everything we do in photography is deliberate okay and what we got between eleven and sixteen is my guest okay if it doesn't come out right like john cornyn cello at corniche hello darby here we go right there good on uh I think we got a cigar is sir that's clamshell that is classic clamshell and what I like about clamshell lighting is that we have a nice bright frontal presentation of the light we're not putting phil cards on both sides of her so the light falls off on most sides right in the middle falling off to catch lights bottom catch lights up a little bit can we bring that that bottom one down down just a little bit more bringing down right there good think it has totally removed complexity from the face we don't have to worry about putting a white phil card below right duh we have a light so we have this beautiful light present presenting all the way through here clamshell lighting to me and there's no rules folks none whatsoever clamshell lighting to me is a presentation of light to the front that falls off to the side it is the same as a beauty dish I rarely put phil cards on the sides of a beauty to shot I rarely put phil cards to the side of this shot I like the way this light works just like that bree take a half step back and I'm gonna open up eleven shin up a little bit like they're great thank yu yes right there perfect chin up okay right there come come back beautiful I love it yes so what it does to the cheeks way penned this right here what it does to the chicks when this comes up and you get the floor you know what I think it is I think my brain on lee goes down on my knees now the rest of it's just sort of left up for grabs you know yeah it gives us a dimension what I like to do is to show you what happens when we get rid of the dimensional just throw up the white cards on both sides of her guys want you just hold him wait you just get these two guys toehold in that way they're they're part of the action you're going to start start being part of the action as we get into the rest of the day and tomorrow you guys were going to start being part of this team and we're shooting tomorrow so bring your cameras bring your um like you're twenty four seventy or something around a hundred millimeter len's normal two hundred somewhere in there you all have that good all right so let's bring those up right next to her just right yep right next to her and instead of being square to her look if we go straight like this camera can we bring a camera right in if we go straight to her like that that that thing doesn't get very as light as it possibly can because the lights to skimming across it right tilted in from the back now look I'm a sandwich right otis here I'll stand I'll do it you go look it's coming straight from the the umbrella this way right it catches more light from the umbrella that's what we wanted to do so just put it just like this which is more like from the umbrella good and mo you're in the shot back up just a little bit right there that'll work and what I'm gonna do guys we'll take one shot with and one shot without mom seeing fingers here you go good okay that's with we'll just drop him down a walkaway guys and this is without put these two up so you can see him thank you guys back on the computers will put those last two side by side to be great and there we go with and without you may like with that's cool I don't dislike either one of them you may like with that's great I kind of like without but I could live with with but it gives you an option what's another option with someone one more option we have with on one side right maybe you put with on one side and let the other side fade off to darkness your choice that's the cool thing about photography make it all about all about you so I love clam shell and uh I use a lot um if uh if you're shooting someone with bad skin someone's got bumps and craters and giant anomalies on the face not anymore this kills it I swear if you get a high school kid who's really got a problem this'll kill it this this will cut your photo shop time from an hour down to about three minutes because all of those little things become a problem now the question was do I change this for men yes for men I lower the bottom one one stop cause it becomes why can't I call it too feminine hey in I'm gonna have you take breeze put spot real quick what we're gonna do this we're gonna do this with and then we'll take it down one okay that's all right okay in right right there can you can you put your legs weigh part you're taller than she was right there right there good good that's ian with and we're gonna unplug and you look like bree mountain dew this light really does amazing things craig is never gonna let me down right there we go now let me ask you have you seen this on in photographs I'm not going to mention the photographer's name but I know a name that comes to comes to mind if you don't who I'm talking about look out there you'll see it I see smiles over here there's there's a photographer who does this martin wait go it might be too great try it but they're good no that's right the lower ones of the stop lower uh no they're still even know yeah there's still even okay we're gonna try this this next when we go well side by side here we go there we go we'll go side by side with the last one and the one previous to it sorry internet here we go now no we're backwards backwards looks like we got the top one is this stop darker than the bottom one we have at the c word cables this you're right I know I know I'm right chipmunk cheeks and by the way in there to accuse lucia chipmunk chipmunk cheeks we lit from the bottom we brought it up we don't want to bring it up also look at the speculum on the forehead drop down stop got it all right we got one more year long national nightmare comes to an end you know here we go now we've dropped the light from the top and and this is c c when I say for a man I do this for men I like that other look for women a lot I think it's really pretty and really bright magical this is what I do for guys because I think the first shot again looks too feminine he's to let their is a photographer out there who does that kind of work does a great job with it I think it's fantastic it's not made so again again internet guys everyone this khun b to speed lights this khun b to shoot through umbrellas this could be too soft boxes anything it's just it's the configuration and providing the light for the face to reflect that's that's the key okay if we do the circle lighting of death we're good all right yep we're going to do kind of something that's kind of fun and we're going to put way to go three three we're going tow three heads all around with the camera it's going to be kind of a faux ring like bree will keep you in that probably put you in some shoes okay by putting the lights really close to the camera we provide kind of a ring light would look like as a matter of fact we're going to shoot it kind of like um with an effect so you will actually be able to see the ring light effect here's so two different ways of shooting questions yes couple questions uh as always what size umbrellas are you using these are forty these are forty three's and they're um they're westcott there westcott forty three's and if I remember right they're fairly inexpensive aren't they I believe that when I was up shooting with uh regina pack bliss we looked into them they were like twenty bucks a piece pretty cheap what is going to be the difference and saying it with three lights versus you doing four lights next thing you know it was before the video's going we're not going to have that bottom fill but we're goingto make up for because we're not gonna put one to three we're gonna put one two three says any space around him we need to get those lower lights to put that that shadow above bree when she's leaning against the wall tohave that bring light effect well you like where you put a film hard no don't won't need it trust me I know you don't need it really wraps I've done this lighting for years but when I did it uh and then I stopped I haven't done it for you know probably doesn't years I don't know why we were at reggina's place and she said why have four matching umbrellas and let's try that we did it and you know I fell in love with it again but the way I used to do I used to use eighteen inch umbrellas little bitty umbrellas this big right around the camera the bigger umbrellas give mohr of a whiter shadow when they're up against the wall the tiny ones didn't they look pretty much like a ring like it would just give you a tiny little head shadow on the wall okay good yeah uh photo by jim is wondering if what about people with more mature skin that might have wrinkles in it which is joseph crumbs alighting kills him with a clamshell lighting kills a classic beauty with a silver card will just really grandma loves that that's what I always say grandma loves the ring like grandma loves this grandma loves the beauty the classic beauty gamma loves the clamshell absolutely now the clamshell maybe a little glamorous for some people and someone with a round face clamshell may not be your best choice because it really is going to be a front presented flat light that's just going to proof it out right one of the reasons that we don't put cards on the side is to help mitigate that roundness let it fall off bring the darkness to the sides of the face following sand so I would not shoot mo with that light you would not be a subject cause you're very round face you would I would want to sidelight yume or would it be an interesting shot though yeah I'd be a very interesting shot and wouldn't necessarily be wrong it just may not be the shot we're looking for there's no right or wrong ever as as you do you just answered some questions that had already come through about the round face with with the clamshell thie other question we're seeing is about the angle of the umbrellas to the subject and I think we've moved them around a little bit for about forty five degree angle what was the yeah the thing that I look for is will I be able to scoop under the chin free thank you way brought bree up from phoenix to be with us you have you here uh you grab this umbrella real quick okay from the side so the camera guys can get this one to see if it's like this it's putting light up on her nose right if it's like this it's in my way that's pretty much realistic so it's right down about here so again this is coming right up into her into her chest bone and this one's coming down like this the same angle I don't put this one here like this and this one like this I keep him the same angle it's much better to have it all be uniform again it's that deliberating us doesn't work with shoot through umbrellas absolutely you sure can you could do it with soft boxes you could do a shoot through umbrellas by the way um waited a shot I didn't bring it with me uh but we did shot just recently four speed lights right around the lens we've built a little thinking that held held the four speed lights and just stuck the lens through it and shot it and it was very much like a ring like that I don't own a ring light I'm not bring light type shooter but for that shot we really needed that look and it worked out great how we doing guys yeah all right then and we were gonna bring you right back in there no good right about now reading groups deliberate delivered delivered right about there they all even now I'm not sure that you're not getting a reading on your meter okay wait back uh you know why my battery is getting getting alone will replace this battery ok front one time yeah battery to double a um about eight five five okay so it's a date five am I considered at eight five obviously because I don't have eight five on my camera's eight point five so halfway between I'm going to shoot it out if nine some overexposing just a little bit okay and breathe out they're good yeah cross your arms just a little bit just kind or maybe right into your pass it right there good come back to me this way right there great yeah in that cool neck neat light like that light I love that I like that a lot but what happens if we move bree against the wall we have a kind of a grey wall because she's up here right what if we put it right back against the wall back against the wall you know the drill you want to shift everything new we're just going to get a reading off the wall were shooting from this little tiny set up of lights now up against that wall so we're gonna take that gray wall now and turn it white for four so great bri badda boom can we see the little ring light shadow I think we can I said right around her right in here through slight foe shadow reminiscent of what a ring light would do a couple more of those free right where you are they're good good nice really really nice really nice really nice all right thank you so we got two different ways to go with this kind of lighting this's on access really close to the camera really coming out with the ring light the phone ring light looked that little shadow that's around her b'more visible if the's lights were smaller yeah because they'd be smaller lights equals amore sharp shadow right more edgy or shadow sitting find them smaller pick up some I found video um a video store in chicago has eighteen inch ones and they have twenty four inch ones so have a couple of sides for twenty fours but I'd like to get some four eighteens think I'd be kind of cool if you don't have that and you have speed lights what could you do well speed lights into those little little quest south boxes around your camera would that be cool yeah you're pretty fun what about just turning these around just using the heads just three three open head three open heads would be similar to the speed lights well let's do that we'll do that remember I said earlier and again I'm not pitching pro photo they don't sponsor me or whatever the reason I went with him is that diffuser over the top of the the flash head really makes a difference it makes a huge difference and I and I find that the light coming out from these guys is really cool I don't use bear open norman lights very often I use these bare open a lot you really like the light they used a lot of grids in the studio too but but uh we're not doing grids this time I want you to understand subject centric before we start modifying that so maybe I'll come back into grids grids and sports and sneeze and as long as you want a song you speak with that you know I watched david nightingale I home god if I could only talk like that I think I could master something people would listen to me don't you think not now but that was a great workshop my way has really fun that said the guy knows his way around photoshopped pretty well god by six all right let's see what this looks like guys this is all new for me you never done this one so we're improvising on set always great for life tv showed up a little bit right there good oh boy three heads with no modifiers looks pretty good to me uh they're right around the camera so they're not throwing ugly weird shadows right there doing this brett move that went off to the aside over there just for just for grins movement way over to the side we're going throw a monkey wrench into that write about their good and even that didn't matter at all okay I've never done this but I'm gonna have to do this now I like this this all grams I'm doing this one now I like this and bring it back over here in this circle that's huh there is a shadow yes there is yeah I see that okay bree what couple just a couple more and we'll good it's harsh light gate shake shake a shake there that guy's good right yeah perfect thank you just having fun with lights when you go into the studio you should have fun with lights too because it's kind of fun to play and see what happens to see the results like I said I didn't know I did not know what to expect didn't expect that that's cooler than what I expected but uh cool questions what was it you said yesterday uh innovation imitate imitates assimilate innovate and find you know find some photographer or two that you really want to shoot like and just be able to make that shot do that shot then when that becomes second nature or in the case of photography almost using your tools becomes kind of second nature to you then you start saying ok what if I do this what if I do this and what if I do this then you start to build your your shot remember your photograph comes from the heart you know what you're trying to make a photograph that moves people that gets people interested in looking at your photographs I want I want to make a photograph that someone looks at and says oh I don't like that for I love that or that means something to me any one of those works for may they look at it then I missed the mark

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.