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Soft Light

Lesson 3 from: Lighting for Your Target Audience

Jeremy Cowart

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Lesson Info

3. Soft Light

Next Lesson: Moody Light

Lesson Info

Soft Light

So they're all kinds of different, um, scenarios in which I'm looking for a soft light. There's a back to target audience. The word lifestyle is stirring around a lot in our industry, and I think everybody has a different meaning of what that is, a different definition of what that is. Um, but to me, lifestyles really Like my friend Jake Oncken is an amazing lifestyle photographer. If you get Nick O in K in dot com Nick Gungan but it's it's typically bright. It's happy it's capturing a moment. It's not so portrait. A lot of times it's natural light. Um, so here is Ah, recent shooter did Forsee University, Um, but I didn't use to shoot a lot of women, in fact, is about three years into my career that I realized I was always being hired to shoot men and it was fresh ring because I didn't want to just be pigeonholed, and so I kind of throw out throughout. Everything I knew is a photographer in regards to photographing women and start over, and I realized that so much but had to do with li...

ght. Um, we're about to get into this big diffusion of this this big a modifier over here. But basically the bigger and the software lights are, the more flattering it's going to be into a woman. Um 22 man to to anybody does to a kid to a child. I just when your photographer trying to be sexist, I'm just saying that like, I was frustrated that I wasn't shooting a broad range of people was only getting hard to shoot like bands because there's always trying to use smaller lights, Um, harder lights and it just what? That doesn't work with girls. And so, um, especially country artists. I live in Nashville, Tennessee, where the big celebrities air female country stars. You know, Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, all those types. And I was never getting those jobs, and it finally dawned on me. I am lighting women wrong. I can't do the same edgy. I thought I was so cool. I was always using my cool effects and experiments to try and women. It just wasn't working. And so I changed that James that started lighting with big, big diffusion like this and really flattering women. That's when things also learned how toe better use Linda's for example, out they used to get close a subject and Zuma what I'm trying to remember. Zoom out. Yeah, like shooting a wide angle close, and we all know that does not work. It's not flattering for using a zoom lens. Actually love this 24 to 70 Um, says tack sharp. But the trick is to scoop back and then zoom in comm pressure subject that looks more flattering. That looks more realistic. So that, uh, again I didn't study photography, so I kind of had to learn literally on my shoots. Had to learn lighting on my own shoes, learn lenses on my own shoots. Even though it took one photography class. I ended up being really self top. But is learning those little things how to flatter women had a flatter people? Um, nothing that finally done on me was like don't have limbs sticking out at the camera like it's better to have women turn a long gait. Flatter everything. Every girl I shoot says, Can you Ah, you know they throughout the can you trim off £15 or whatever. There's always those always those jokes. Everybody has their their things, their insecurities. But Yeah, learning t find soft light. And so I know Shoot with a modified like this in my studio problem in every job. Um, because even if I do a whole shoot, that's really, really cool and dark and weird I'll still give them this because in my world, in the commercial world of these artists, they had management. They have labels, but they also have PR. And what PR wants is just a nice image to send all the magazines to send out for the press announcements. And they just need just give me clean, beautiful image. And so break this thing out and give them that. And then I please everybody please the label because they wanted to the dark arts thing. Management just wants something where everybody is recognisable, invisible. It can still be kind of cool, but they don't want to go to for the p. R. E. I feel, like, usually wants the clean like just not nice and simple. The problem with that this is one of the things that I least like about being commercial photographer. Is that it? It's as if, ah, sometimes the client goes through your shooting there like where is the most boring image and then said, That's where's the boring and the worst image from the photo shoot. I can't tell you how maney things were out there with my name on it that I'm so embarrassed about, because as a commercial photographer you do the shoot and you have to show them all the setups. He I typically do trim out a lot of the bad exposures of the bad expressions. Um, but at the end of the day, used to have to give him the whole shoot. And I swear every time they choose the most boring stuff, I will mention the celebrity's name. But I did a big, big album shoe for an A List country store, and we did this super super creative shoot where, um, you know that we we had 70 guitars laid out on the floor. We had We had this person floating kind of hovering above all these guitars. We had just eight sets build all this really cool creative stuff. In the final album, cover was a shot of this artist on the gray Seamless. I was like, really, really you know, um, and none of the other self was used even inside the packaging. And so there it is, big and bold Foot, foot, RV. But Jeremy Cowart I'm like And then I think, like, I don't know, some intern Photoshopped it horribly. And so that's the thing with commercials are. But you know, it's it's kind of out of your hands after you shoot it. Um, I did another sheet one time where again it was for a big celebrity, and whole thing was so meticulously planned were all these amazing sets. And at one point they're like, Can you should run in the field with her for a minute and so and take some shots. We use it like inside packaging is lecture. So literally go. And I'm sprinting with this person next to me and I'm like, You know, get on my server mode, high speed mood, you know, like trying to capture the action. And I'm running through a field tripping over in a different bumps in the grass. Whatever. And she's running and the final album cover comes out like I saw. I saw, like, I think it was Jay Leno holding this album big on this TV show, and if you look at the album cover. Her whole face is completely out of focus on her ear is perfectly in focus and, of course, is like photography by Jeremy Cowart. And I'm sure that every person that has ever seen albums like he really sucks. Like he can't even focus his camera. But little do they know that I was running in a field, you know, before every whatever reason they loved that shot. You know, they love that moment. And so it is what it iss um, but how did I get off on that danger? Um, but that was that was going for this lifestyle. Look, you know, that was nice and sunny. Um, Dave, it looks blown out there. But all the details, they're, you know, I'm just always trying to think of how did This is a good example where you try to light something. I think we had two or three strobes around this girl in a recent shoot, and and I always a being test natural light versus strobes. And this is one of those times were like, man natural natural light winds like you just did not look as good and did not look as good when we let it, um, conceive ahead both of them in there. But sometimes you can't. You literally can't out light, natural light. It's just it's the way things were gonna work. So let me have a me Let's have you come on here. And if you're ever in a small environment special on a wedding or editorial shoot, I'm gonna put you over here. Actually needs to hear Can you bring this big light over here real quick? This is one of my very, very favorite things to dio, um, with large modifiers. This is a seven foot walked the bank, um, one another benefit of using a large light. And this sounds ridiculous, but it's true. Sometimes large lights are only used to impress the client. Like I remember an assistant telling me that early on in my career Sorry. I know we just moved to do with her apologize. But I remember an assistant kind of give me that tip early on in my career that sometimes a client just wants to come on and see lights everywhere. They put a lot of money into the shoot. They're trying to impress. Everybody is trying to press somebody. So if the clients walk on, they see a ton of crap everywhere. They're just like, Oh, yeah, this guy's legit, and he knows what he's doing. And little did they know the one kit. One lights firing. You know, we have, like, set up, and they just get crap going on everywhere. I'm so we're gonna light put this over here. Yeah, well, like the black beggar input over here to the side so the cameras can still see. Um, yeah, they're a bit. There have been shoes, even one recently where I had, like, v flat set up everywhere a big Occid Banks solo. There's one light firm, you know, but clients walking of it. Wow, man, this is really great. You really come a long way, you know? And it's just cause you have ah, have crap set up everywhere. Um, let's make sure we're firing. So if you don't watching on wondering, I am tethering with a USB 3.0 cable into my canon five ds. This thing is 50 50 megapixel, so it's got some amazing, um, to me, it's like the mark three, but just a lot more resolution, and you can see every little poor on somebody say's headache. It told you look like the most Amy Adams. There's something else that you look just like a celebrity can't think of. Is it me? Ah, no. Anyway, I'll figure it out later. All right, here we go. So, um so if I'm shooting somebody and I have a client that just wants a lot of variety, um, I will do a traditional lighting set up like this. Um, so she's quick portrait here. Everything's firing. We go back in and capture one pro. My computer's like we're trying to tether in the capture one and run, Late room. What are you doing to me? So, at a low contrast, etcetera always like things little greener and capture one that's a whispering on set. It's OK. You could talk. Um, you see, that's a much softer, softer light. But if But if a client wants and I might even like bring the things Chief December to me, some, obviously the more center becomes, um or even and soft and flattering it becomes How dare they asked us. All right, so basically what I'm about to do is just use now, just put this like, completely facing this way, so just turn it and scooted back some. So use my light to light my subject. But then I put my subject in front of the late So standard here with your backup begins, Um, can you excuse the light back? There you go. Just get right up against. So I love doing this because I instantly have to set ups. I love to move quick. I love to think quick, and I love to give my client, um, a bunch of options because these days, you know there's there's YouTube, there's fate week. Facebook cover photos. We need Twitter avatars. We need ah, the album cover. We need the PR shots. We need the merchandise. We need the T shirts, every client I work with once, as many possible many options as possible. And so I'm just getting this month, sort of like, What can I use that's with immediately within my reach? Um, so I will use the actual light as my I have no idea what my settings are. So obviously that's too dark. So a few things I could do, or now a few things that I typically do I could just re meter to expose for phase two little that light wrap in you get a much more so far. Open up. Um, the 2.8. I'm just guessing here and see what happens. So it's opened up the problem as you start losing all the detail in her hair, you know? And I don't like I don't like to lose. I don't like the over exposed to where I've lost detail in the hair. So what I typically do is either bring in a big V flat. Do we have one on Simba? Um, basic V flat, Um, is just a big board. I don't see many. How much of the flight costs? Very 130 bucks. Many B flat to the best. Because they're, um you know, some of these lights can cost two grand three grand? I don't know. One grand just depends. What kind of letting Using, But to get a big fat V flat for $ or frankly, any big thing that's white, any big board or wall or, um, so we're gonna put this behind me and just bounce the light back in. So now, based on What I'm creating is a little a little lighting sandwich. Um, and this is really when you get start creating that super super soft light. I remember doing a shoot for for Fox, where there's like they're wanting to make turn the sellout celebrity into an angel. So I I literally had V flats all way around even above, and we had fans on the ground blowing their hair all over, and it was just one light V flats all around us Create the super and saying soft light the look really magical. Fill the hair blowing. So now I'm just taking because that was too overexposed Hit having this light hit me in this wall and bounce right back under. So hopefully, um, look a little a little more even that look, I give me profile of cardio in the area. Do you ever feel you're just rambling? You're talking so much like anything making sense right now. Um, that's me in a nutshell. Finish these things and I just feel naked. All of a sudden, it is talk too much. Um, yeah. So now, now I have detail on everything, but yet she's more properly exposed. It looks so much better my laptop screen than it does there. But But like that, some I can work with another. Another light that I love to use is a ring light. Um, how was shooting? Ah, Carrie Underwood recently? And I love what she said. Just that Who doesn't love a ring light? For those of you that are maybe a beginner ring light, it's just a big ring of light. The point your camera through. And so sometimes I literally have a ring light right here. And so I have. It's beautiful late on. Her face is beautiful. Back lie even Avi Flat and you just creating this huge sandwich of softness of self flight. And I've never done this set up right here where people's like, you know, we really just don't like that set up. Everybody loves this, and all I'm doing is using a big diffuser and using that as the backlight give me no more portrait going that way. Um, and I looked, Period. That's like did a shot, um, recently of the band The Artist five for fighting. And it is his exact exact thing where super focused on his eyeball and ended up being one of the main in shots that used um, So, anyway, uh, that's what I'm I love to think how I can use lights. I mean, this could obviously beg be a backdrop. Um, and, ah, effective thing is, my friend Joel Grimes is also creativelive instructor aimed a light full of this the other way with the V flat in a V on the black side and put one light above a beauty dish about the subject shooting into and created this nice, disappearing, vanishing perspective. Um, so that I think he did. He did it on creatively. Oh, yeah. Go for it. I gave you my name is the bar. Um, so I know we're doing more of a model and she artistic photo shoot right now, but I love how straight for an economic oldest is. So if I was, if I were to do a corporate headshot, for instance, and use this is ah, perfectly let's seamless white background. Um, how would I avoid having the wraparound around the shoulders and face? So it's more contained, and I don't know if it's possible to get both benefits in the same package city. And so how would you avoid the wrap up? Show the light from the back on a bit more. So it's do you just lower? Yeah, Yeah. I mean, it's simply just playing their settings, like, obviously, the more I pull her away from that, the less harsh is gonna be. That's the nice thing about being so big because I still have cropping room or under, but yeah, if we start pulling off keep all those details were here, actually, did a some corporate headshots of my friend. Uh, Michael, Hi. It here. This is using the exact same. You see, the ring, the ring light and his ah, Isar. Thank you. Giving me the, um here's another great, great great tip that I just learned recently. I didn't know it at this time, but you all know in the sunlight were harsh. Light hits ears, and it makes him orange. Isn't that annoying? Like I've hated that from my whole career. But somebody just find that recently said, put black Gaff tape on the back of their ears. I was like, duh, that makes so much sense. So now I will literally have a hair makeup artists come in, and, uh tape. Somebody's the back of their ears and sure enough, it blocks all the light from coming in the next time you're out and I can't tell you how many times have been so, this portrait is amazing. I just shot an NFL quarterback last week and we don't have time, but the shot was unreal. Look amazing. But here was glowing orange. And so black Gaff tape will fix a glowing here. The things you learn seeing if you take that one piece away from this Yeah, that's that's, Ah, good application of a kind of a corporate. And it still is that what swelling it was the shoulder thing are exactly well, I mean, if you felt when you photographed her earlier, then you have so much wrap around the day. Yes, the system is back late, so it's a matter of playing and turning the power down or skinny, afford a lot of different. A lot of different things you can dio Mohammed doing. Thank you 10 of course. So there's a couple questions about what do you go to? Lighting setups imposes, but it looks like you do a bunch of different stuff. Just depends on I mean, I don't have give it to poses a new super rises. An amazing teacher with posing. Um, I actually, um I just did it just to a video on that last week. But im, you know, for me again, it's target audience. Like, who is my This guy, you know, is an indie singer songwriter. Um, he's not gonna want me. Said they're going. Okay, chin up a little bit. Okay. Elbow out. You know, like that's not that's not him. Ah, In fact, I've had so many subjects in my commercial career say, I don't pose May don't And I don't want any of that. Like, Sue is so good at that with women and families. And like her clientele, it works. But from my clientele, that doesn't really were so. One of things I'll say is like, um, I'll tell the person toe act like a clock. Just give me every angle cell till somebody I'll say fidget a lot to do this. Keep turning. Keep moving, going all around. Turn your back to me Look over your shoulder. Then if I tell in the fidget, it kind of gets, um, like, roll up your sleeves you know, and it's really about catching those in between moments. It's not the actual grabbing sleeve that are one. It's the I'll say, adjust your hat and have bigger people just kind of grabbing their hat, adjusting things, and you just shoot, you end up getting I like the weird moment said This was probably, like, just kind of fiddle around with your its horror. Um, and it's important for subjects to understand that you need variety. Like I tell him to almost act like a robot like somebody might hate their nose right here and then my love it just right there like it's the slightest changes. So as they're going through all the thumbnails on a shoot, your hitting the right arrow, going through shooting, you're seeing this and that and that in here, in here, in here, like just from being in front of the camera. So much of being on my own shoes, doing test shots. I learned every time. The I don't like this side of my face. I have a good side. It's not actually that I love this Saturday. Just have some reason I have a very asymmetrical face now, when I'm in photos. I know to kind of cheat this way, and I don't want to feel this younger here. So I'm usually like doing the Peter Hurley chant. 10 out and down still mastered his squint thing. But But yeah, I mean, you just you have to learn and it's important. I think it's good to for all of us if you're watching t do a shoot of yourself or toe have somebody photograph you because it's so awkward. It's so weird. Like we all have our insecurities we think about like for me. I've never really worked out much my friend of Qyntel but I hate my small shoulder Some. I was like trying to figure out with look a little more buff, you know, and and, um but everybody has those things. I mean, every woman, every man, every person tells me, Oh, don't shoot my like have big thighs or whatever it is and people always have. So I just tell people like you have tow block all the sell you have to Britain pretend like your home, you in your bathroom mirror. No one's gonna laugh at you. We do this all day, just fidget, become two, boldest. You own it. Act like unit and try to get to know him a bit before the shoe. Make sure the comfortable the way I'm teacher. And now, my countenance is this How am on a photo shoot? I don't get overly animated. I don't get angry. I don't get stressed. I'm like, at the end of the day, photography is fun. I mean, we're not saving lives, you know, even on my biggest commercial sheets, Where there's I think I think at one point I was doing I had a few shoots where the overall budget was 400 grand, you know, like huge, huge shoots. And even at that level, like this is still fun. Like all you all you fancy Hollywood people, like, chill out. You know, like we're doing a photo shoot. Um, and so, uh, but all of that puts my subject at ease if they remember. Oh, yeah. I'm just here toe. Take some pretty pictures and have fun. Um, in lighting. Coming full circle. I mean, lighting for me. Really? Is that fun?

Ratings and Reviews

Abel Riojas

Watch for a lot of gems in this one. A few take aways was working with the band and how to take the shot (even if they've aged) and loved the "Mosey" technique...i think thats going to be cool to shoot with some friends. What i really took away was stop stressing about the settings and enjoy the shoot. it comes out in the work and and the end you'll be happy and the client will be elated. Give it a spin, he starts off mentioning that he's not sue bryce (in so many words) and work with people in their natural environment.

Randy Boback

I've taken a similar class in a photography school, more focused on editorial portraits however. They both rank at the top of my list for seeing the world differently. The lighting and composition in portrait work, lets the photographer have a broad say in what the results look like, we rarely notice how the lighting affects not only the feel of the photo but your impression of the subject as well. This is a chance to see how much control the photographer can actualy have.

a Creativelive Student

excellent! thank you for featuring Jeremy

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