Technical Q&A


Lighting Essentials Workshop


Lesson Info

Technical Q&A

we always have questions from the internet a question from fashion tv is using the flash behind the curtain how do you determine the height of the placements that experience or do you have a guide oh I do have a guideline and that's coming after this but let's go ahead and talk about it I do have a guy like cause I was just going to step over here and say now we have to shoot the curtain correctly what do you think is wrong with the curtains shot right here that's different this's soft box curtain here you get in the reverend lighting the angle of the light is up the angle the light straight across we want to bring that light down a little bit so I do have a a untangle that I prefer and it's just about there okay but my hand out take my hand up so that my hand is even with my head that's about my angle to me that's kind of a natural angle so john wouldn't take that strobe up about there's her face there and if the camera guys want to come over here you see this way you can actually see...

the angle of that just about two inches more there you go and twist this way just little and I've got to change it back to eight right there we go good like that yeah heck here we go beautiful twist this this card isn't in close enough here brett right then bring it yeah right there and let's take this one and bring it right up under here her like this yeah see how much more natural that looks so there is an angle we're going to talk about the lighting tools we'll talk about some different angles on the way to the way that you can guarantee that your ails makes sense because there's a couple of little rules of thumb there's never rules there are rules of thumb about this and one of them is to bring the light down once the little bed we'll bring that right in top two of her was that yeah that was good and bring that just right there good good I like that twist a little bit more this way beautiful actually know what I'm returning your shoulders away from the light this way right yep now bring your face drop the shoulder down bring your face back towards light this way right there just like that good like that pretty good all right you can see the nice speculation the eye comes up where we had it before was in the middle and we brought it up a little bit and as we move into now we've turned her away from the light and we brought her face back into it but look how much light we have on the shadow side of her it's pretty she's not going dark like she would if we took that out same thing right there you way have a nice feeling here I used to be very very picky about ratios and I would modify my light to match ratios I find that these days I do that for some commercial jobs and explain how the second but these days when I'm doing a standalone shot this is my shot then I do it to taste what looks good to me explain ratios just second look what happens if we take the card out different shot on that's not usable to may that's not gonna work bring the card back in right there same shot a little bit closer right right there good yep you're good good same shot and we have we're gonna light her up over here now you ratios when I'm doing commercial work especially when I have to match things got pretty that is when I have to match let's say what have you come on out here for a second I'm gonna use you for demonstrations have to what I have to move your jail there right bring me or the meter over there real quick I can't wear the meter because it's banging on the microphone so people on the internet or hearing and then so if I had to go out and do a commercial job I would shoot claudine and I have to match tomorrow I've got to go shoot mo and then next thursday I've gotta shoot kenna but they're all going to be for corporate publication they've gotta match okay when I do that I will take a reading from this side and this side and find out that there's one stop difference I don't care if it's five six to eight or eleven to sixteen don't care it's the distance between one stop so if I go on shoot kenna a week from today I just make sure that she's one stop different so when I make the pictures they all look the same and that's important why is it important because we're professional photographers and were deliberate anyone can make an okay photograph just shoot it and it's fine with the new cameras that we have today my goodness put it on p and spray and pray I didn't say that it's rude um just you could do anything you want with cameras today they're awesome they just work really well as a matter of fact brett you sent me a link to ah a guy that was five five stops under exposed or eight stops eight or nine stops it's on youtube eight or nine stops under expose he sticks it in a photo shop cia's five and slides it up and brings it back folks old my and we all sell the video of the youtube video of adobes new feature that fixes camera blur yeah so we can do all that stuff the differences when we're professional and when we present deliberate work whereas deliberately consistent as we possibly can bake that's our job that's why they pay us you know thirteen fifteen bucks an hour for this stuff nice keep laughing you're getting you're not getting that much so you want to ask do you think that they're still relevance I mean when we're approaching photography from a deliberate perspective is your stall relevance for understanding lining ratios absolutely for that for that very same reason it if you're doing a standalone shot for shooting clotting standalone shot I'm not sure really makes any difference if you say well that's a one to two or one two three whatever doesn't look really good it makes a difference when you're doing something that you have to match later or that you're deliberately creating that for some reason there can be lots of reasons a wine bottle label twisting over if it's more if it's two stops under on this side you got a problem course you're going to see that because we're shooting tethered these days you're going to see it but still understanding those ratios is important I think understanding a lot of what photography we may not use any more is still relevant because you could always extrapolated out you can always say well you know if he did this and this may be this will work now so it's all it's all there whether we need to learn fifteen ways to develop tri x no way we can let that go now accept that those of you of course shooting tri x might want to know that but the rest of us are shooting digital and you know we need to let that go but we should know what our ratios are and do a self assignment where you should uh young lady with light here and right here do it and see what it's gonna look like do it on someone who's dark doing on someone who's in the middle of doing on someone whose light if people is are your thing because you're going to see that those different ratios present differently if I was to shoot mo and I took his this shadow side of moe's face down to stops do you think it would be a deeper shadow on moe than it would be on look lauren yeah you're a sorry just brain went is it lunchtime now um laurie even those two stops difference it's gonna look different on the on the image remember this wonderful shot I saw michael jordan um for city magazine back in chicago I even saved it was a wonderful shot and he's got his chin down a black turtleneck on it's got this beautiful bald head you know is that this white box right on the top of his head and every little bit of sweat they sprayed him with some glisten every little bit of sweat had a little crescent you know just down here's an awesome baseball player right anyway chin down like this he's looking right the cam it's just one of the most incredible shots the next the next month they ran larry bird did you see the soft box on top of larry bird you know no larry bird had a black card below him so every crescent of water had a dark line below it and he created shadows up underneath him you had to create that with larry bird but she had to create the highlight with michael jordan I couldn't shoot him the same way with and get the same drama so understanding that means we understand a little bit of everything whether it's grapes that were shooting or wine bottles that are reflective or or skin that's unpowered your powdered right what would happen if we spritzed her with water would it change the shot in two ways she would be all shiny and black eye right about here it would change what the surface texture of her skin and now we would be photographing water on dark skin and the water highlights little drops would be bright really bright if we spritz loretta not so bright right not so right and still be there we would have to do something different to see him so it's fascinating for me lighting is everything I love new wants you know if you take a photograph and you got every little little nuance of something happening that's that's the fun part of lighting for mates what I look for in images are all those I'm always looking into the shadows to see if I can get a little no highlight there something so many questions from the internet or any questions from in here you're determining power your speed light like you're you're talking about doing an eighth power is it because the distance of your speed like from the back they're what you're shooting through our first I determined my f stop I wanted to shoot her at two pointing that was going to ask is it just on your aperture first aperture first all right because if I wanted to let some take it up to full power right we'll put you right back in the same spot because right now we're on one eighth power we're getting two point eight right so we're gonna go to one quarter power and get f or on their way to goto have power and get five point six way with full power and get f ate right all right so I'm gonna take this camera turn this way into the light right there great this way more right they're beautiful is this it yeah so I see wei didn't touch we didn't move the distance of the strobe fade at full power full power yes okay so you make the decision and you just use the strings on the rope I heard bambi two weeks ago she was talking about strings in portrait studios in portrait soon is they'll have it's not a meteor it's a placement string because they don't meet her they everything shot at the same thing I'm not talking about that here I'm talking about you being able to calibrate that meter for whatever you want it to be by setting eso power the stroll and how far away it goes okay my life just went off yeah I got it alright thank questions way usually high doesn't make sense does it make sense to you you're big big studio strip showed studio stroop shooter definitely strobes speed like speed like okay so this really make sense I've got a studio strobe shooter so yes studio strokes you know we do that with same the same thing um all my pro photos I take him and I put him at full power and I go at thirty feet I'm sorry twenty feet twenty feet away and I take a reading and then I use a for that one reading at full power at twenty feet and a measuring tape I confined exposure for those sex all bets are off sometimes and you start putting them in different kinds of soft boxes and stuff because you know that's going to change it up soft bought the light coming from the soft box doesn't really act the same way as the inverse square law then you're gonna read that on the internet but it does within the five or six f stuffs we're talking about it's funky way out they're gets funky way up close but where we're talking about pretty darn close exact no but within one chimp one ship look at ago kind of come up a third up a third and you're shooting does that mean that we have are sloppy and take you know waken set our lights up in now two minutes and shoot no we're still going to finesse him like crazy but we're not going to be worried about that technical aspect of it at that point just to clarify for slang or photography when shooting do you ever let the blacks go completely black or do you always salvage the shadows for post you know that's a very good question I've shot print my whole life has been shooting for somebody's going to take my photograph and print it and so yes I maintain shadow detail absolutely I rarely ever go to black if I want to go to black I'll go to black and post and there are times I will be familiar with w jeans w eugene smith look him up on the internet you will see him a guy a masterful photographer who uses light and shadow to direct you through his photographs he has a photograph that you can't see anymore he actually took it took it down and removed it from public display is called keiko in the bath uh it's a woman holding her daughter and she's very justise formed in japan from um pollution and the water was mercury poisoning and uh the shot was taken was three stops underexposed he was one shot and then he had to put the camera down and leave it was too emotional for him one shot gets back process the film goes off damn but he's a masterful printer so it'd make make a print shoot it make print shoot it but when you look at it the light leads you through a nurse pure blacks in that image I mean where there's nothing but silver and yet it's just exquisite you will see a master at lights and shadow that's that's his work to a t all right so one more question before we go toe lunch break we knew this one was coming for you and that is from t s photo does well what was well have a particular shower curtain selection that diffuses the light just right and does not create a color and I believe that brett here has has taken some photographs I think we're going to put it up in some point yes we have the skew from target for you question was coming way knew that question was coming so they are up on facebook or on facebook teo check out the exact shower curtain if you're looking at a shower curtain that has little duckies in it not the right shower current if you're looking at one that has blue and red stripes in it not the right shower curtain if it's plastic other than the two funny reasons I gave you the other reason the plastic one has blue phosphors innit it does have blue fluorescent type stuff to keep it the plastic white and when you bang a light through it you're going to see the blue and anybody anybody ever make the mistake of buying arctic white att thea the store in the savage paper arctic white in any white his blue it looks white to the eyes camera picks it up his blue because in an arc arc tica the ices blew it reflects the sky so trust me that give me headaches one one week all right so we're not ready to go to lunch yet we're going to take some more questionable burger's not quite yet okay uh question from uh near old d zero eight zero two do you ever on when do you use e t t l mode for being right when do I use e t t l mode for speed light I use e t t l mode for speed light for my daughter's second birthday she's twenty five never do I use e t t l do I dislike it not at all if I was shooting weddings or event photography I get really good at it absolutely but it's not me I I don't want it making decisions I'll make all the decisions like does the same thing every time unless you're on automatic anything than it does some different jamie twenty thirty sixty four is wondering about your white balance what you have that set to while shooting I set my white balance on my camera normally I set it to a white balance in I'm shooting raw and this is going to tie in interestingly enough to the same question you just asked I want consistency okay uh back in the day when we shot catalogs we shot fashion without having anything we shot we shot a full roll hey my any guys in here of a shoot film film shooters remember snip tests you shot a roll of film you took it to the lab they snipped off about this much of it and they process it and then you get the film back and you could push it a little bit if you need a little more is apt to it or you could pull it if it was a little hot but you do that would mean every shot that you did on that roll of film would match frame to match frame thirty eight it's always got to maurine my neck got thirty eight st in digital photography I want the same consistency so if I put my camera on flash or um uh what's it called um strobe setting the little lightning thing strobe it's going to be the same all the way through so when it comes up into bridge or light room or whatever you're using you can take that one image that number one image look at it adjusted that's great and then apply it to all the rest of the images and they're all going to match if I'm shooting with e t l and I'm doing this and you're over there and I do this run I come over here and I do this shot of ken and then I come down over here and shoot the shot a cana the background changes a little bit each time what's that flash doing is changing a little bit each time so if I lay those pictures out metaphorically on a light table they don't match now if I'm shooting a wedding they don't have to do they no one cares if she's a little bit brighter and this one a little bit darker and there it's not gonna matter because they don't have to but if I'm shooting for a ah an advertising agency or are call you every shot needs to match so that we can go back in ah just one instead of having to sit and just can you imagine opening up three hundred shots and having to tweak each one same reason if I put my camera on auto white balance and I start moving around that camera's going well there's a little more white in the shot with islam or red the shot and it starts you know futzing around with it their clothes but they're not exact you know what close is close is the last guy down the mountain at the olympics and win the downhill that's close because I'll tell you what he could probably beat all of us in this room down that mountain the difference between coming in last I think of the last olympics coming in last and going home with a gold medal remember what the time difference wass two and a third seconds two third seconds seven miles ninety miles an hour this guy's got a gold to a third second hey I got a t shirt I was here I think was something like that may have been slightly more but the point is way faster than us when we're playing up there we will want to move our photography to the next level we have to start thinking like them like the people who it matters to them if they cut that edge on the ski it matters to us if our pictures match it's how we own our pictures continuation on that team so are you ever using a color management tool something like call I used I used color checker on catalog jobs okay and I haven't had one of those and quite awhile okay yes for personal work not so much not so much I'm I'm shooting it toe I I'm printing it toe I uh and if I go on the internet does it matter I mean my god everything all of us have pulled our laptops out and sent him over there and pull the same up image up I guarantee that I don't look the same so I get it is as perfect as I can if it's going to go to print and it's gonna be a catalogue job where we have to really match specific colors I'll use the color check I would never do that on a shot like this be a total waste of time what I love done and in about the questions that air coming from the studio audience is that it's so often that somebody had just asked that same question of storyteller check her in the chat room so that's fantastic uh another question for you don eyes from web photo works back to the curtain uh what should the distance be between the light source and the shower curtain we haven't said here in about five and a half six feet it's gotta be back far enough that it lights the whole curtain what should do is you go on the other side with your wireless remote you look at that shower curtain and you fire it your eye is good enough to see if its little circle of light it's a little circle of light you need to move the flashback or zoom it out to thirty five millimetre or twenty four millimeter what will happen when you kick it to twenty four millimeter you know those about two thirds of a stop to it stops if to keep that in your mind do you know what photography is its trade off isn't it it's like well you can have your one sixtieth of a second but we have to take some depth of field away but you can have your eyes so one hundred but you're gonna have to give it up on the shutter speed everything we do is give and take we're getting less given take now aren't way because now we go I can go toe I so eight hundred I don't care I'm on a sixty d and back in the studio we have a five d I can go on you know eight hundred no problem and now with some of these newer cameras they've got eight million or something so if there's a guy holding a candle up on capitol hill you can shoot down at pike street I think it's really kind of that way those tradeoffs for going away but the trade off of the quality and and the type of finesse that we do that's never gonna go away really really matters and after break we're going to talk about some of these tools and I told you I have some sort of whiz wells kind of rules that I've kind of figured out over the years and when I show you going to start to see we're placement matters as well so are you thinking about light a little bit differently than when you started the morning starting to think well really does matter what the subject gives me back because that is in the end what we see we don't want to look at a shot and go if I speed lights unless we're doing a set up shot we don't see him you just want to see the subject quick question about placement and that people are wondering if you would place the flash differently if you were wanting a full body shot instead of a no I would not if I wanted a full body shot we had a camera to grab this over here if I wanted a full body shot I would put a second flash here and there's no substitute there's you know everyone what if you don't have the second flash well then it's going to fall off so many some things so many times and workshops I'll get questions like well I can't do it right how can I do it wrong and make it right you can't if you're gonna light her up you're gonna put a second flash down here then by the way if you're working with a high rise so I could do I just said that and I thought wait a minute I know how to make it wrong and make it right if you're working with a higher eso put the flash that you have back here into an umbrella then you have a big light source coming through the scrim well they they sell those right uh umbrellas with the flats on the front I have what's it called it's a soft lighter is that what I have yeah soft lighter love that that's great I love it I pro photo compact so the soft lighters there in this big giant tube sticking on front but I hate that but the rest of it's pretty cool that makes sense the person so you could do that in a studio in a darkened studio when you get into us studio with little ambien around you'll find that speed lights into even sixty inch umbrellas which I love sixty inch umbrellas I put a little funky little stuff and on it bread is it sitting on that table there that little still fun thing I put a little funky off brand can I mention brand panic I mention the brand of it I believe you can okay this's speed light pro kit they're out of malaysia and this is ah little thing you just put on the front of your speed light and instead of killings two stops like most so the other heavy plastic one does think only kills one but the whole thing lights up so if you put this into an umbrella a sixty inch umbrella it spreads the light this way so the entire umbrella lights up you've only lost one stop so I used this into a sixty inch umbrella at a half power on a loom a pro one sixty and I think at s o two hundred if I remember I'm shooting like headshots of five six with pretty quick recycle that's not bad I should pro photos in the studio which are really fun I like to say that a lot I should pro photos in the suit because it goes with my type either way did you notice anyone who would know what that means but you know what that means if you look at it closely you'll probably pick up a hint we're gonna we're gonna ask the audience wait but I'll work in the studio the problem with my pro photos are they don't go down low enough they do not go down low enough I actually had to go and spend a lot of money on cem steel screens to kick him down because when I do head shots and stuff I really like limited depth of field we've throwed up one hundred on this camera here and we're gonna drop the power back down to an eighth um I like limited depth of field with my head shots I love it when the faces and focus on the here is going out um uh but I can't do that women photos I can't because the closeness of the light is important to my lighting yes I could put them over in the corner and get two point eight but I've lost a lot when I stick it over there I've got no rap I've got it's just a light at this point so I'll just use speed lights in the store yes because I my pro phone is I get so frustrated all the time because I'm like this is too much light what can I d'oh so that answer the huge question for me you could probably he'll trade you a speed light for your profile I'm sure he want if you're wanting to be ableto tame that down this yes yeah they're they're like they're a steel mesh stuff and they go right in the front of the uh the reflector of their like for like for an umbrella I for a soft box I'm outta luck I don't have it for a sawbuck but this is the goes in the reflectors they use take the umbrella through it but this mesh on and I've got one stop to stop four stops and couldn't use between that and the usual density filters that you can put on your lens or is that just too much of a household it's not too much of a hassle don't have one yeah you could and that's an answer to you yes you could get a neutral density filter and I got to tell you that is it sing ray is that the one that makes the I think so it's adjustable things pretty awesome it's really sharp I've always been of the mind set of a red red a long time or go on jamie's il made a very very important comment which was why would you spend two thousand dollars on the lens and then immediately screw in eighteen dollars piece of glass in front of it it sort of just doesn't make any sense and I've come always said he's kind of right you know but the sum of the brands of those things are very very good and that would work very well in the studio yes I should have bought a should buy the neutral density filter instead of those very expensive density things with lights but when you go outside and there's ambient in the neutral density is global and I need sometimes to cut down just the life just one life don can you repeat what this little guy speed like pro kit it goes catch this it goes on here like this and it takes the light that comes straight out the front and it makes it makes it a bear tube just like the pro photos thinking in those soft box has something that's bear so the light spreads out from it it doesn't just go straight through it spreads out and it fills the entire middle that box zoom of the land of the flags does it oh it doesn't matter so you consume it all the way out too eighty five for instance and gain almost another stop that you lose with this right because yeah I mean zoom doesn't make any difference at all with this thing on the front so you get the maximum amount of power out of that that strobe is you can get with this thing on the top and these air very cheap

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.