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The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Lesson 21 of 29

Shoot: Studio Backlight and Lens Flare

Sue Bryce, Felix Kunze

The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Sue Bryce, Felix Kunze

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Lesson Info

21. Shoot: Studio Backlight and Lens Flare

Lesson Info

Shoot: Studio Backlight and Lens Flare

what we're going to do I wanted to this is kind of throwing this in the last minute because I wanted to show wet your appetite for some of those lights settles we're going to use two lights on dh also with suze backlit there's a little twist I put on it that I wanted to show you really we try to go there and I just wanted to get that flare show you how guys I'm going to do that right can I hand this to you john right and we have katie where's the lovely katie on dh we put her in this beautiful blue gown that is gonna work really well for the way I light and here she comes the first thing we're going to do is john if you would wouldn't mind setting up the constant there ari and we're going to get the scream with the ah thinner diffuser on it um well set the light up and then shooting the same way with suze backlit so we'll get these out of the way katie come here so I I'm drawn to these kind of fabrics that are shimmery smooth they work very well with the way I do my lighting and you'll...

see that on my website I think you can get these kind of tones so you can hang out on the side of the set while we set up and then I'll have you come in but I wanted to show how beautiful she looks all right then so we're going to bring that the scream so we've been using the scream with a one point two five stop diffuser that means it's cutting out quite a lot of the light I'm now going to use the one that is zero point seven five stops don't ask me why they didn't just do it half stop in one stop that would be so much simpler but that's going to be on my last light frame oh I was gonna show this sorry I'm just gonna walk over here this you know I kind of made a mess with the famous city this is the bag that my last delight scream comes in and I want to show this because this is in my travelling kit it's small it folds up like this and it turns into this so you see you can actually see it john if you just stand behind there for me are you khun see john an apparition of john just threw it so it's actually quite see through I'm going to put that john if you put that about the height of your head right in the middle and plug it in and just point it straight at me all right if I could get my tether where is it over there lovely I miss having su ahn said it was good to like all right and then just turn that on yeah let's see right and then just angle it up a little bit and this is how I work with my assistance I I just I couldn't get away with not touching any of this stuff it makes me happy good all right say that again um do a flood let's try that ah yes that's not system actually not doing narrow again yeah perfect and I'm katie if I could just have you in here lovely on we're not gonna worry too much about posing yet but there we go and I can just see kind of a haloed light coming behind you need to adjust weight balance yes thank you john I will do that I'm shooting cannon because this works it's set up so just bear with me while I get my focus on that should come in on the tether white balance to tongue stone come on there it is and you start to get an idea obviously that's not right I'm gonna take my aperture down too I can probably get away with two point eight see where we end up with that and I've put the white balance on the wrong setting I think here have no I'm going to go to order y pounds I can always change it afterwards and because we shoot in constant lights camera can figure it out right this is kind of this's like a kind of a jesus image god image that light coming in behind her I'm goingto up my s o because I'm still not at the exposure I want to it's stone upright enough on I'm this is how I build my light so I will put in one light on just I haven't put the reflectors in the front yet because I'm just going to make sure that the light behind is the way I want it to be and katie's standing there so perfectly good and then john if we could just get those from core from cause yeah I had wanted to get um a little bit of a longer shot of katie so rather than just doing a head shot okay I'm gonna bring you hold this for me thank you and I had set this up previously like this and then bring me the other one on the other side and I made a little white so I'm angling those kind of more like this bouncing that light back on katie I'm here that went open blocking off everyone else and just get that tunnel is closest we can that's great and I'll take the camera back thank you and you guys can see what I'm thinking off here I'm going to go up in my donna my shot to speed to one eighty if I wanted to be really bright and that's that's going to give you like a kind of a weird shape john could you just open up the the bond als on that life yeah we turned off the house right so I am seeing immediately the last time I used this I actually used the higher powered hmm I so john can we put up another one of them behind that yeah yeah I wanted to be a little bit maur the glow behind her but this is beautiful can you see that from here wow so actually I'm going toe katie if you just just pop into one hip I'm not gonna worry too much about posing because yeah beautiful maybe you can kind of give me a shoulder yeah well like that that's a bit too cheesy isn't it amy a soft hands up here let's just try something and you say I'm now gonna work with this flare john don't worry for now I'm going to shoot a couple of these I'm gonna work for that flare that's coming and hopefully this works this would be good isn't it if it's the first thing that doesn't quite work so far all right good done I want you to move that light as far back as you can towards that back wall sure so we're gonna slide that all the way back just to make it give a bit more of a spread there we go and then I might you know in this situation are probably rather than setting up another light I'm going to go in closer and just make it a headshot of katie perfect and just dip your chin forward for me yeah long neck I could shoot this and you see what happens here I'm getting like that little bit of a flair on the side there is I wanted to get that bright spot that's going to be a flare if we then add in another light which have you got there drunk tungsten or yeah that tungsten second I'm just going to fill it in and we're gonna put it right next to that one maybe a foot lower john because I want to just see if we can get a fill in the other side over here what I've done here is I can then close this little tunnel and go closer again and I'm getting more of that light on katie and it's I wanna have a little bit dark on the face and really were really work through that silhouette around the edge so I'm just going to have john put up the other light maybe I'm going to open up my my shot to speed a little bit okay that's beautiful classic pose and you see I actually wouldn't necessarily shoot it like this I'm going to think of taking one of these and just moving it over a little bit so that I have a bit more of a spread across her face and I can actually see that here on the left I have more light being reflected back on the right it's going a little bit darker way have those two are perfect pretty close to channel that's great thank you john so I should have more light at the back and it should be even brighter now just see that's gonna be a really big flare and I can actually you'll be able to see this but as I move I could get that flare to come up behind her head on dh katie just move this way a little bit for me thank you and we can make it really cheesy by doing this and you kind of get that over blood I can shoot this it looks really horrible on camera but I know that I can business like a simple set up so it's really working through this for an hour I would make the light perfect but I know I can take this into alien skin I have a flair there on her body that I really like that will come out really nice I can just highlight that and photo shop get rid of the you know make it white it all out and I've got that dreamy light coming across her face so I wanted to show you that any questions about the set up from the audience room theo the thinnest diffuser behind it and it's the highlight kind of coming through but while you like funneling the light do you want the light to come directly to you the reason why you have the the big lad steps do you know why if I could just hand this to you it's I actually I'll make you guys let's see if I can do a shot that's a bit longer if I can step in between you guys here sorry well this is always what I the reason I do it like this and this is such a silly reason is it's an aesthetic choice for me I'm always like I shoot if I like it how it looks on set you see that tube when I stand here and I see all that light kind of reflecting off this I feel like I'm in a spaceship and I think that's why I set this up the first time I tried this I set it up like this suze way works justus well but I like having this corridor to go in on it it probably is the subconscious I can hide in here you know thank god so that was really the only answer so felix virile is one thing about your focusing and so I'm wondering when you're shooting in this sort of set up do you do anything differently do you still use just standard auto focus to still meter as usual well the big joker's I'm shooting on suz cannon and I'm in nick on shooter so as long as I can get it to focus that's good enough for me so that's really a simple as it is I'm flying by the you know I have my teeth is that the right thing seeing your hand works for making yeah you know what I mean on dh but you know what the images that come off the end I can use that I know if it's not in focus I kind of managed to adjust the focal that little focus but and I just actually someone took the pick the little clip of me saying what do you shoot you know when someone asks me the question what do you shoot with and I say camera and they put on instagram yesterday I love that you going like oh just gotta shoot anything else people love it cool anything in the audience all right but you see what I'm trying to achieve here getting that wrap around and I don't even need to do much because I'm really depending on my friend let's get a really beautiful silhouette here from katie if you pop into one hip for me can you let's be a dancer can you do yeah maybe yeah so we're going to make it a static dance maybe even get your thoughtful hands up here yeah kind of well maybe even how would you do it I mean when I'm shooting portraiture I'm working through with the client and what sue said yesterday's when they're resting they'll usually go to oppose and I depend on that a lot you know soo is really so in tune with all the little posing tips and if I if I have someone and I'm going to a specific place then I'll just say like maybe you could be more vulnerable katie if you do that and I do a lot of mirroring and just really accentuate one hip and turn your torso so return your shoulders yeah and I want to get those and this is always where assistants get behind the scenes pictures of me posing like women on dh just get pop one hip out and I want to get a lot of shape so if you accentuate your back there yeah good and you know I find that people different people have different ways of posing and just look off camera for me katie and turn your turn your head towards this way yeah and I'm really going to go and work through the silhouette and I would spend more time with this but getting that kind of bright light to come behind her um all right I'm gonna make let's make a triangle katie actually could I get a stool there we go then we where's that pastor we had john gena say that again daniel has it she's bringing it in anya has it perfect let's try it on a stool and we can get that get katie on a stool on I'm gonna say stool one more time just for fun good end of apple box perfect beautiful yeah and now I wish I had shoes posing guide with me so katie do you want to go into one of this there it is perfect yeah perfect good no she's right there no no it's fine it's fine I'm I'm going to do this uh bear it is perfect good you know before when I this is what happens when I shoot I get such tunnel vision e that I forget and actually said in pre pro oh I'm going to use the store for this shoot so I just get so into it that I forget so now katie just we want to be a bit taller in that shot yeah perfect and thoughtful fit yet perfect good good and make it a big graceful maybe you're looking down great perfect she knows what she's doing good that'll be that's fine for me I wantto just maybe if you put that hand here there you go perfect I want to get those triangles that sue is talks about good and then give me a really intense look into the camera perfect thank you katie good that'll do that'll do me and I think we have something to work with and I'm gonna that's just a good base somehow that's really nice actually be like that if I had someone with long hair than we could use that to also create shape we'll be really nice good let's go to um the next setup and any questions on this one anything from the so what how would you describe this on what is kind of the field that you like to use this with or what sort of sort of work do you like to use this with um I like the flare that came in in that one shot you know I don't wantto wanted me I want to keep this faster at the segment is kind of short but I just want to show that you can play with the position ofthe those lights behind where you put them on rather and move the lights that was moving katie I actually do one more demonstration just take a step this way you could be waiting here good and just a tiny step back yeah perfect and this is going to be hard to focus I'm actually focusing on the edge off her face because that's the only thing that really shows up in camera and I want to show and I wanted to get some images that have that flair you see how beautiful that khun b and you're just getting that straight into the camera the flare result is a result of light bouncing around inside of the lens and that's actually really nice so katie let's twosome graceful arms right there yeah I'm just maybe if you do like that just get uh yeah yeah yeah and we have to make it look like you're not pregnant so yeah I'll just turn your body towards me a little bit yeah I'm just gonna this is a really I see the silhouette only I can't see her facial expression I can't really see much detail on her fabric but I like the silhouette of what's going on there so let's see that and I'm still getting that flare so this could be I think for an older lady something you know really graceful you don't you won't need to retouch the skin very much and it's really like a poppy way of doing it I'm gonna hand one of I have ten trustee assistants back here was this great alright john any other questions before move go ahead no so I'll show you if the lightest coming straight in the lens hood wouldn't deal with that if you're shooting like this in that direction the lens hood would stop some of that light hitting the lens directly so if you had it like this it would still hit the lens if you don't like that but if you're shooting straight at the light source there's nothing you could do we want that flare yeah so but it doesn't I don't even take it off because I know it's gonna hit the lens yeah alright kurt perfect so let's do I wantto let's take this away I can introduce get free thank you that shot felix was just like no felix don't go into the light I don't know there's a light at the end of the tunnel I actually really like that okay t well done you see but you can just see this is what's beautiful about constant lights you can see exactly what's going on if I had the time you know I work with my guys and it's the same like after half an hour forty five minutes you really get somewhere I would really work in the shapes and I'm always take I don't shoot models so I'm we're working with regular people in trying to find an aspect of who they are

Class Description

As a photographer, nothing defines your talent more than your ability to capture, create, and place the right lighting. Award-winning portrait photographer Sue Bryce joins studio lighting wunderkind Felix Kunze for a lighting for portrait photography masterclass covering the universally most-used portrait scenarios. You will learn how to work with both natural and studio light — so that you are prepared to walk into any environment and take a gorgeous photograph.

Sue, internationally-renowned for her ability to paint portrait subjects with the glow of natural light, will teach you how she sets up different lighting scenarios. Felix, who's worked with the top photographers on earth, will then take the reins replicating Sue's shot — all using artificial lighting techniques he has honed from experience. The two seasoned photographers will take turns shooting, each learning and asking questions of the other in real time.

By the end of this course, you will know how to shoot a variety of portrait styles, including the classic beauty shot, the silhouette, high-contrast glamour, the soft flat light portrait (master that back light!), and old-school Hollywood glamour — all with both natural light and artificial light.


Aliah Husain

I loved this course! I purchased it as a beginner photographer, unsure of whether to shoot natural or studio light and how to get the best results. After watching the course, I am fully confident in my ability to use both natural and studio lighting in my photography. And most importantly, I feel I have the knowledge base to be able to experiment with lighting in any situation. I am both grateful and inspired by these two amazing teachers sharing their technical knowledge and a personal piece of themselves. It is clear that they genuinely care about making their students better photographers. Thank you, Sue and Felix!!!


This is the best lighting class I've done, including several in-person ones. Covers so much, and the contrast between and dialogue about the two styles (natural vs studio) was so helpful. I didn't think there was anything at all negative about how Sue spoke with Felix, which a few reviewers said. Clearly she has great respect for him, which she sincerely says at one point, and explains why. Wonderful to see specifically how they both shape light. So many topics are covered. Loved Felix's clear and specific explanations about studio lighting. This class is worth every penny.

Wasabi Ben Kenobi

This was a fantastic introduction to studio lighting, and one of the best courses I've watched on Creative Live. I've only ever done natural light photos, but I want to learn more about studio lights because I'm creating a basement studio. I'm already a big fan of Sue's approach to portraiture. Now I'm a fan of Felix's soft lighting approach, too. In this course, he demonstrates how to replicate natural light portraits with a simple lighting setup. With a big scrim, a strobe or constant lamp, and v-flats, you can do so much! I'll be watching this course again.