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The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Lesson 22 of 29

Shoot: Studio Light - Strobe

Sue Bryce, Felix Kunze

The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Sue Bryce, Felix Kunze

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Lesson Info

22. Shoot: Studio Light - Strobe

Lesson Info

Shoot: Studio Light - Strobe

so what I want to do now is show how how you could use two lights too kind of two maybe a little bit more fashiony look we can put the house lights on for a minute while we set this up so you can see way we're done with the constant lights on dh what I'm going to do is just to umbrellas on I've put the black because we're going to put are the show john would you grab the other scream from up there so this I wouldn't use with an umbrella in the back to shoot soft light because this is not going to be the scream is not going to be thick enough to really defuse it so john has the mastery of putting these guys on sir let me take this off where you have clamps on that's good on this is light enough to uh thank you don't you just do that and moving around I'm staying all right I'm gonna put this down cristina would you just hold this for me thank you so much just hang out there thank you and I hope danielle yeah thank you sometimes you just got to use brute force what's going on it's reverse...

d did you have it the right way around john should go on either side yeah that's that's good ok and I'm gonna I would I could just leave this often lower lion gravity but safety first stick that on there right and what I'm going to do I want this to come up a little bit john let's get the clamp to be in the middle of the beside him this beautiful view of us wrangling with grip equipment it's a beautiful thing to show okay yeah I want this down to match the other side there we go perfect and then these guys the avenger knuckles I can just do this voila oh I didn't mention I need c stand arms there's at least one over there we have them okay so let's walk this off we can relieve kristina thank you thank you sam adams right way don't have knuckles but things will work this will do I think good so people use boo moms to get light like you have it if you put a light understand you can't get it across over something I'm gonna put two lights over and above this and fly this into the ceiling actually really simple and just kind of creating this toppy fashion kind of light and to keep it simple I'm going to start with both of my light's gonna have the same power so we don't even need to get into what the power is at this point right um let's bring bring me john why don't we take both of the lights here on then I will run them through how to put the boom arm on well okay and then you can just mimic that on the other one so again our trusty umbrella set up I put the black on the back because when I fly into the ceiling that light it's really going to bounce off the ceiling and cause my shot to be different than I had envisioned so again what I'm going to do is create a large light source we're going to get a large soft light we can get away with it with katie because even if when she's posing I'll get hurt us too put her chin up a little bit you know you wouldn't do that with larger ladies on dh just to get that like from the top but I still have to catch her eye so that she doesn't look demonic like in that other shot we had okay so but I'm going to need to do here is take this light off the top how did you get that oh that's the end that's the end okay way kind of protecting eggs too yeah if we get some sandbags that would be great like behind you know is going to fall over so again this year you would need a little bit more equipment but this's something you could also do with one light just this is a bit jerry rigged but that doesn't matter something that doesn't fall over while we're shooting on stick that goes right on the end here should do anyway way go and I'm gonna make this super tight but also turn it round so it's actually facing down there we go on then just make sure the pocket was it is turned on before I hoisted up into the ceiling good on just for fun I put that on there right have you got that set up john lovely this's why love good assistance just there we go all right well well let's put the scrim in place first john I'm gonna walk it across here this is my elephant backdrop that's what we're going to shoot on I'm just tuck that light into the corner john you do lovely all right I want this kind of I'm gonna mimic like a skylight coming from up here on the stand is obviously going to be right in my chute line that's fine okay let's hoist this up andi I think a little bit higher you know you started the wrong one yeah you always start with the top one first okay come back down john was doing it right but then just realized that yeah okay that's fine I want the bottom of this to kind of be at eye height because then I'm going to be sure I'm going to catch her eye I'm going to catch your eye koto alright john if you would just set up the the um power no so isa that umbrella in the same fashion okay it's pointing almost straight down ok I'm going to bring my cable across here keep it and then just put this up and this is where she stand is also really nice to use stick that up there doesn't matter there's poking into the light and john if you just feel the top corner over there actually I need to make sure my lights on that would help but this is nice I could just swing it around turn it on it's not plugged in plugged it in so this is more real guys than anything you're ever going to see this perfect thing you know we do a lot of like testing beforehand too you don't want to show this part of the process to the clients but this is what we always do it's like figuring out how to hoist lights yeah and what's this on this issue lets put it at three yep that's just for no particular reason other than them both being consistent right that's not going to go on dh this is where I end up standing on apple boxes right so it's a bit rickety we'll get away with it let's not make that on come from up here and felix are you renting that over the centre of the scrim or both kind of staggered scient kind of stacked staggered I just want to create a kind of two lights that gives it a much more bigger spread and notice also you need a tow or ceiling but you could do this in a room that hasn't got much space but what we did earlier way how we doing with that okay so that yeah let's just bring it over a little bit too what's me still that's fine like that I'm gonna and again for the folks at home may not be able to see the angle perfectly thie lights are not at a perfect parallel to the scrim they're kind of angled a little bit so you don't have to get it perfect not at all I mean the more the light's bouncing around and traveling the stuff that's going to be right yeah john that's uh kind of all right let's get these guys power cord sorry okay we need the power right on dh so if I go to this side you see I'm getting a light on this side and I just want to really fill this light source would like way have that so both of those guys should come on gotta write and just scooter in a little bit um that's just angle we angle this up just called working on ladders and apple boxes this is the story of my bloody life alright good so it's not perfect setup but you know I think I'm going to get a good large spread of light which is what I'm after if I could get the tether thank you so much on dh there should I hear two beeps could you turn it never mind we'll just just leave it right katie let's get the stool in here and again sorry I'm going to sit here I always do this and have a look and see where it's going to end up on the face so I could just look up and I actually see quite a lot of rap so I'll show you what we can do a little modification too make it more toppy so it's coming from the top I'm always shooting around these polls and things that I've put up if I could get killed the house lights for just a second I want to see if we can get a preview of john would you give her an apple boxes right you should be able to see kind of a preview ofthe how that light's gonna affect katie way do it's very bright right so that's my test shot I'm gonna take my s o back down to one hundred my shutter speed obviously is going to go to one hundred twenty fifth of a second and I'm going to stay at three point two aperture for now which is where it was just the four and see how we get a how that goes and we're also going to change my white bounds because the camera can't figure out what the bike balances because the flash is so short so I'm going to change my white balance too figure this out to the flash setting and it's it's usually ends up being a little bit red but I can fix that in and now I'm hugging a c stand on yeah perfect katie and I liked that poster I want to get a little bit space but just maybe show me that knee if you get the yeah I just want to show that you have two legs perfect you see and we've got that toppy fashion light that actually worked quite nice I want that shadow coming in on the other side this is really beautiful and I'm going to show you guys how we can really quickly vary this to you know this is something you could do on a fashion shoot on a commercial campaign really beautiful the client's going to be impressed it's going to look nice all right katie perfect you're posing is just immaculate I wanted yeah notice also she's always giving those soft hands I learned that from large aid I mean that kind of makes sense rather than those you know applying to a nervous will always a bunch of their clothes their hands and you always like left hand good perfect k and I'm not going to do too much posing but I wanted to show you how that looks on the dress you see you're coming from that light at the top and just look at the texture on that dress that isjust heaven to me you're getting that contrast it's so beautiful and katie looks magnificent and it's because we've got this at eye level that we're getting that eyes are still it up we're not getting that catch light so so pronounced but if I was really close I would do this lighting set up differently to make sure have a catch like this one is about the clothes it's about showing the whole shape so I'm gonna hand this to you and what you can do to create more contrast on this side of katie's face it's simply moved these three around over there a little bit so if we do that now bear with us and if I had a whole day to do light test on this I would make all of this much more elegant on dh make the client happy and I'm gonna just just this bloody sandbag just pull that through that you can't go anywhere this issue have to yeah good so I'm gonna pull this over to teo I'm gonna pull this over john would you help me on that side great on dh that's competing with the backdrop good and then we move that one yeah just move that a little bit more if you can and we're going to get more contact on a contrast on katie's right so katie same pose exactly I want to show the comparison you see how we're getting that contrast on the right side of katie yet still the clothes have often I've got more contrast if I take a white v flat full size is fine yeah I'm just bringing you hold that for me thank you what I can do now which I really enjoy is I can put this here and I'm going to fill that shadow back in now why did I move the light over to the side and then put the v flat when I had a perfect because when I had it coming from the front I couldn't control it if I now move this fee flat further away I'm going to get more and more of that contrast in that shadow I can literally dial it in I can depending on how far away this is that's how much light I'm going to fill back in so it gives me ultimate control I can also john would you just hold this actual shall shoot a test shot of this katie lovely at poses just wonderful so now we're gonna have a lot of that light filled back in there we go see it comes becomes really clean and clap if I want it I could just angle this down a little bit and make it more directional on dh if I take this push it back we're gonna get more light on that backdrop and just fill in that shadow on the bottom right corner perfect I just love this dress there you see I've got much less light on katie's face I'm still getting that great across and see and then I would I don't I personally don't worry about those kind of shadows that's because she's blocking that light on the bottom right off the backdrop and with critics workshop from the twenty sixth without show you what we do with that but you see we can get that top the light we're getting again the bottom of this is kind of going to be at her eye level to make sure that you get something in the eyes from when you're shooting fashion you should have some personality but it is about the clothes katie that's lovely thank you perfect posing I would love to actually have time to recharge these images but we don't think we will and I think that kind of approximately something that you see you know you could use a giant soft like a doctor bank that's an eight sided like modifier as long as you can get it soft you could hoist that up and this is just a solution for you doing that and we've softened it up because we're shooting into that umbrella and it's coming back through this so it's really a soft and beautiful light source good any questions on this set up so we do have a couple questions and we'll get to victoria is well first of all I want to say a big thank you to katie as well as our other models and tio john cornyn chelo who was as always an amazing assistant great guy to have on set all the time so thank you to all of them uh susan you have a question right I wanted to ask a question from pop studios who wanted to know about this particular set up if you would use it for a larger group of people uh ways this more for one person I think there is a really beautiful way of lighting groups of people and I'm going to really be annoying and say that'll be in the future workshop ok that's perfectly fair to actually they had to do with color balance it looks like there's two different color bulbs and I didn't know if that has anything to do a very good question I should have mentioned it that doesn't concern because that's just the model light okay and what's happened is one of them one of the model amp's turned all the way up and the other one's on low that doesn't make a difference to when I'm shooting because when you popped the flash the model light comes off and only the flash mad those but both said the same power setting and then with the with the camera settings why did you choose to change the color balance because it seemed like the cooler tone looked more more spot on versus the really warm you know I didn't look at the first image I realized I hadn't changed my white bounce so I just changed it so I don't know how the first image but if it looked fine it's raw I can't get what I want afterwards I just wanted it to look kind of nice actually really like this image a dress like that you know that's how you get that texture in the fabric all right anyone else in the audience we do have a question wondering what the benefit of having the two strobes in there is could you possibly l heard what is the benefit of using two strips in this set up would you get the same effect if you used one strobe and a larger parabolic umbrella let's um why don't we try it with just one time that turned one of them off and I can just demonstrate whether whatever gone john would you pass me my dad and katie couldn't have me one more time being amazing thank you katie's work is never done yes cave in which we say that it is but it isn't all right good so we just have the one and let's just see what happens good beautiful and let me just see some of that knee perfect good lovely our that's a beautiful smile katie muto open up right obviously I'm gonna have less light right yeah I'm going to open up but you can already see that the spread of light is not as flattering it's a bit the light source is kind of gotten smaller this is I'm making sure with two lights that it's gonna work I could move one light put it further back but then it's also going to start spilling over the edges so this is a way I can make sure I'm going to get a very simple to let's set up and have it work really well so I've opened up about a stop that should technically get me the same of light as I had before because I'm had two lights there we go so you see what's happening actually you're getting more of that I cave in the eyes her eyes are a little bit darker I don't think it feels as soft as romantic and that's really you're making when you get to shooting at the top you're changing one percent small percentages and just adding that tiny little bit of refinement so yeah oh you so we had to light at exactly the same power if I take one of them away I have half the amount of light so I just opened up a stop that stops work and I think the question that that they were asking was actually like doing it without the scrim and just using just the umbrella how does that change the image I think it'll get ha sha all right let's try that I like this this is let's put that back you plug it back in and john let's just walk off the scream and show them we could just run away russ we could just run a workshop with challenges from the audience way don't think they would enjoy they would love that did it in a that's the real lighting challenge okay make her look like kate moss no okay so I'm gonna close back down yeah let's just say I'm going to show I was I think I was shooting at three point five and the scream is now not there so I should go up probably another stop and a half because the scream is one point two five stops so I should let's go too let's go to a five see where will that thank you katie on dh you'll see already that I think this is going to look a bit harsher then it live before you're not getting that soft light even though both of these both of them are firing yeah both of them are firing you're just not getting that soft light it's much harsher here stand up for this kind of curious I think this might be what the internet was asking I've got a giant set but parabolic umbrella I got a diffusion patrick over that if I scream that which is one light what I get that same quality of softness that you got in the original photo I have travel with one of these so I keep running behind here um I got this from last delight I have one of these and I have a silver and set for two and I've used it but I can't I can't quite ever get it to look like that giant windows skylight it's just one of those things that doesn't it just doesn't quite work in it's those little percentages even with this yeah I've tried it's really I don't want to get too technical about modifies you should try them out different shapes have different effects but I think a square large light source you know you're not your heart you're going to be hard pressed to find a light source that end up being as biggest what we've just made sure and in a package that could be compacted as small you know I want people to replicate these I would love to get email saying I tried this I studied at you know I'm happy to say you know what go to the next workshop we're going to explain some of this a little bit more but again I want people to say yes to trying to working with some of these concepts remember create large light sources make the light soft you could literally build in your studio a white you know petition off part of the studio build a white box just throw light around in there and just leave a little window opening and that could work you know this isn't what I do is a way that works there are many ways that work on dh I want people to if they can take it and changed a little bit try different things that would make me so happy fan tastic alright we'll feel like way about running out of time here so I wonder if you have and maybe any final thoughts for us but it's so easy to stand to watch from home and say yeah felix has worked with all these people who knows all this stuff but what everyone has taught me is that it's simpler than you think it is you are better at understanding it than you think you are go back to simplicity a soft window light is a soft light it doesn't matter what equipment you have is long as you can get it to be soft that's all it takes if you don't like it if you don't know what you're doing change one thing at a time if you're having trouble with lighting don't give up because it doesn't work right away I have tested all of these lights set ups I have done this before so yeah we can get there pretty quickly but I learned because me and my friends in the u k mean my friends in new york me and laura we sat in the studio we put up the light and we tried it and then we didn't like it so we changed it and then we didn't like it so we changed it on like I'll say that same phrase one hundred times because that's how it worked we made little changes you know we're thinking about that light in a three dimensional space rather than just a two dimensional space it's not you know I don't point lights directly at people anymore that's one of the big things I'm constantly inspired by light in a cafe or light and down cem cem corridor you know down that tunnel all of these things just good lighting setups are in nature good lighting setups happened randomly they're beautiful there isno one way of doing it try different things start with one light get that right then you can add another

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.