What Makes Good Light?


Lighting Essentials Workshop


Lesson Info

What Makes Good Light?

good lights your life what you want to do there is no set of rules on the planet that what makes good light it's your light it's the light that you want to make um I've loved the old pop photo because they had a guy that wrote for them named andreas feininger and one of the great great writers on photography and what he would say is you have to make your photograph I love the quote by clark terry the famous jazz trumpeter and I use this a lot too it's called it says imitate assimilate and innovate that's what all jazz trump trumpeters do saxophone players piano players you have to start out playing like somebody gotta learn riffs and you have to learn the riff so good that you assimilate so if you're not ill sax player you can grab that sex and you can play that charlie parker sold just note for note like charlie dead no problem he rocking with it that's great but then you have to innovate because you can only go so far copying even if you're really good at it so imitate assimilate and...

innovate your light is great light there's no rules I know we get on the forums sometimes how do you get rid of all the shadows in a picture and I'm thinking why would you want to do that all the shadows every single one of them I got an idea shoot a white wall you'll have no shadows but but make sure the cameras on access with the light be deliberate we get into little fraction ist things that don't make sense when we really think about him so good light is your life and if you understand and khun start to pre visualize what the lighting is going to do with that subject you start making any photograph you want you can you can imitate by deconstructing and saying so if I put my soft box here and I put a grid spot over here okay I see I can create this and that's a great way to go then it becomes second nature once it becomes second nature then you take the shackles off now you start to have fun with it so these were dead flowers in the backyard I have a thing about dead flowers I have all girls and you know they're pretty girls so a lot of boyfriends at sending flowers and I never let him throw him last they're not quite dead enough yet for my siri's and by the way I refer to all my girlfriends boyfriends as the boy that's for you melissa how is the boy today light shadow and light oops I didn't advance it no I'm sorry that's the flowers in the backyard there we go sunlight and of mirror is all I'm using here and of course really shallow depth of field light shadow and light that's what I like to like to use to show dimension light shadow and light there's no doubt that that's a three dimensional photograph none at all and thank you snap seed for its awesome is that it's an apparatus that what it is snap scenes from nick's software it started out as an iphone app or rather an ipad app on my iphone thinking maybe on android now they also have a mac and windows version of it now two well they're probably gonna do pretty pretty fun with it I tell you I saw post by kirk tuck uh tiger in austin and he said he was having fun with it and I thought well if kirk's having fun with it I'll go download it it is somewhat addicting I'll tell you well this is kind of fun it is it's a lot of fun it isn't really is it and I'll digress for a second you know I hear a lot of folks talking about why would you try to make a digital photograph look like an old photograph you know I was saying that old guys because to someone like my daughter that's not an old looking photograph she's never seen a photograph like that is fifteen years old that's just a cool looking photograph recently were of uh photographer new york photographed the yankees in the bathroom with an iphone on hips thematic and corvis licensed um there was this big brouhaha wallets only shot on an iphone yeah but it's what the it's what the people of our world are used to seeing all right hips thematic advise taking hips that becomes what iconic it's what we're used to it so eventually these aren't going to be old photographs these are today's photographs run through snap seed or some other version of some software think they'll send me any money for that probably not they might send you a free copy already got one um pale skin white background how do we have to how do we have to do it what I wanted to do was to create a little depth so I made them the side lights in the back lights brighter so instead of going the way I did it here light dark light with the darkness I did the same thing light darker lighter it's always try to get dimension so I can see things around I wanted to show this this crazy little dance outfit here that's a very old photograph taken on an eight by ten camera we used to call it testing today I think the term is called shooting creative is I'm somewhat I'm really uncomfortable with saying it because it sounds like I'm designating the word creative to my work and I think that's something that you have to put to my work it's not she was seeing tweet goes all dude I just finished an awesome photo shoot with kelsey the model you know what you just finished a photo shoot with kelsey and model we'll decide if it's awesome or not okay don't tell us we'll make that decision when we see it but this was ah my repet the time wanted me to branch out into more still life so we were doing a bunch of things in this one the shots that's stayed with me for a long time that's one soft box from the top which is essentially sidelining the pairs right it's ninety degrees coming this way so you have all the patina and the pears and the potpourri on a piece of of steel old steel I'm a pack rat if I'm ever somewhere and there's a broken this's a broken water main you know those water steal someone broke one that's one strong guy but I was so I just pick it up by piles of junk in the studio that I use all the time for stuff uh but I wanted to show the patina and color of that um this one's another large format shot of you might know what this is so swallow cactus bones inside swirl cactus are these hard rib things and they're so hard that you khun it takes a special blade on a saw actually cut him big furniture out of there that that strong I'm a phoenix boy so I know about cactus no sorrow cactus is alright but the arms you know where the arms are there well tibbett if the cactus comes up it's tall and it starts to lean this way it grows an arm the other way to bring it back well that works out only until the arm gets too big this gatto so when you see those cactuses all the arms you have can't even imagine how old they are to have grown knows there to balance the cactus great sort of a couple of guys from detroit came out was shooting the cactus with a machine gun fell on him I love that they uh they didn't need to be arrested but what do you do and this one I needed to show her skin and the leather leather and lace kind of thing this is a photograph of her tattoo that's my story I'm sticking to um so basically I back later it's just standing with her back to a very very bright light that gives me all the flare along the sides here and in front of her is a great big white bored like those two blackboards they're sitting right over here great big white v card what is she being lit by what's the main light the one the picard on her front this's the main light right her front main light is bounced off the v card the source light is behind it's like a cloudy day and of course I love shadows and uh I like to get shadows in its shadows give context photographs don't fear shadows embrace them just let them be your shadows the way you want them to play out the more shadow in the picture people tend to sell what's a very dramatic photograph but generally that's not in aa high key photograph is it I never hear anybody refer to a high key or very openly lit photo that's so dramatic no that's always the one with the shadows and it so we have code words hard light soft white dramatic we have code words that people work in the vocabulary of photography that regular people use that we need to understand and I love the context of this we've got the sun coming at an angle right we can see that because it puts the shadow that far behind I agree but it also does what to the wall gives us a highlight on one side of the little texture this's called adobe it's a textured like adobe textured wall we have a lot of it in phoenix eight hundred seventy eight thousand square billion miles of adobe crab so I didn't want to just be white I wanted texture to show so we wait until the time of day that I would get a highlight on one side and a shadow on the other highlight on one side shadow on the other in photography where else does that happen that drives senior portrait photographers crazy prepubescent skin get a little highlight here in a little shadow side on the other side so if we know how light works would probably aren't going to take a child who's you know fourteen bad skin and sidelight her or him fill it in because the skin would look kind of like that wall we're bree is there I like as I said I like emotional light I don't like to over light things and this is kind of a case in point this was shot in florida and we had almost really kind of steamy overcast days and a little bit of sun coming through them the clouds but was also quite high so was dropping a deep shadow down but I didn't want to lose the feeling of sunlight I wanted the feeling of sunlight so what is the sun it's a small point source it's going to give me a hard shadow so I basically used a speed light and placed bree in a shadow of a tree so she's actually in the shadow and I simply matched her to the background so that she didn't look overly lit I didn't want to blow out the sun that seems to be a very popular thing to do I don't want to do that I wanted to create a shot that looked more natural like she was standing in the sun but really we didn't have the sun in the right position sometimes that doesn't work out so well with a great quote by ansel adams when they asked him about his photographs and he said well sometimes I'm just lucky enough to be at a place at a time where god wants me to take a picture yeah have you ever gone to yosemite and I tried to for anybody I don't know you'll simply try to photograph it's a daunting task and you'll never really respect adam's photographs as much as you will after you go there and go man that's a hard place to photograph it's too big it's too majestic and you look at his photograph wow he really was in the right spot at the right time several trips seal somebody that netted me pretty much butkus have you ever heard the the term the light from your lover's eyes you know poems were written about right you ever notice how many beauty photographs were taken with on axis light where the light's coming right from the direction of the camera also the direction of the viewer we're talking maybelline beauty ads and things it's like they're lit up by their lover's eyes we are doing that now is that something I think that is why they do it I had no idea it just something that I think about when I shoot here so we have this this uh uh lady here um being a young lady and she said what hearings do you like well my answer is always along with long ways there you know the models come out that have little short hearing little long hearing I want a long earrings I with long earrings and that's not even all of them actually come down to about here with some feathers on him so I thought well that's pretty cool and I do have some shots of the entire hearings but I just thought it was very dramatic but I needed toe light her from me from you she's let and becomes a what I call a classic beauty sixty inch umbrella shiny card you can see the umbrella and her lips and you khun definitely see it here I use a bounce umbrella in really close how closer my lights generally they're as close as they can be without being in the camera I start there I'll pull back I rarely start out and move in rarely and we're gonna talk about why that when I show you why you'll do the same thing and of course creating drama on location this'll fun shot this was done the same evening of the that I did rio on the beach with the surfboard so it's really pushing just about freezing on I have a shot in the book you can see the two girls they're wrapped up in a poncho absolutely frozen but it was such a gorgeous light now I had to match the light of the sunlight back here and I used a bronze um filter that a friend of mine gave me from the movie industry a lot of people use um c r c help me out cto thank you ceos I use a bronze ing filter which is similar to a cto just got a little bit more of it deeper tone to it I like it better so it gives me this but the idea was to make her look like she was kind of lived by the back light son right brighter back here feeling well that sun is not doing this to her I had to do that to her that's a small soft box back there with the bronzing filter on the speed light coming this way to give this feeling here and then another small soft box up here to give her some depth here the sun itself wasn't powerful enough back here to light her face up that right just she was still dark with a tiny rim so I wanted to make it look like I had lit it that way it makes sense light matters light matters for emotion it matters for dimension it matters for tonality and color and shape all of those things we create with light because we're taking a three dimensional world and we're gonna flatten it vertical and horizontal at least for now I have no idea what's coming up gosh I wish I was twenty years old again I'd like to see what you guys twenty year olds end up thirty years from now what photography becomes um nikon just came out with a new camera that er things going turn turn a lot of heads and you know cannon's gonna follow and then so he's gonna follow on olympus gonna follow uh five years from now I imagine think about how far we've come in in what eight years was a two thousand twelve will ten years in two thousand two I got a cannon ten dea believe ten years and now you know and of course when they told me the ten day they said well you know you can shoot ads with it and I did I did I have double trucks you know double truck is to page spreads have to page spreads I shot on a cannon ten d I don't want to hear about megapixels because I I know printing and I know that it's got to be cept and then it's going to go to a three hundred lines screen or in the case of many magazines these days a two hundred lines screen and trust me eight megapixels will clearly dominate over two hundred line screen double charge

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.