Lighting Environmental Elements


Lighting The Scene


Lesson Info

Lighting Environmental Elements

This is our second location. Look around, survey the sort of scene. It's pretty cool, we've got all kinds of chains, and things hanging from the ceiling. It's gritty, it's dark. I like that kind of story of the working men. The chains are in here, you can play off these. They already sort of have a story. In an old building like this, the story's already there for you. Because you know that people worked these chains, they were pulling on them, they were moving things with them, and so bring that into the way you pose and hang out with them. You don't have to do too much. Some of the shots can just be just standing there like, ah, tired. What I'm gonna also have you do is I'm gonna have you drop every once and awhile and sort of give me 20 pushups, because I want that kind of tired look. So that you don't have to just sort of fake it? Just make it like that, just make it 30 pushups. 30 pushups, oh, okay. Start now, and I'll tell you when to stop when I finish lighting it, there you...

go, great idea Richard. Alright, Toby, let's bring in the reflectors please. While Richard's doing his thing. Come on Richard, is that all you can do? There you go, that's what I was talking about. Come on, another. Ugh, okay, there you go. I'm not sure that was 30. It wasn't 30. Alright, let's get in here. And where's my camera? Just be careful not to block that light coming from behind you. Okay. (Nigel exhales) Right in there. Straight to me. (camera clicking) Beautiful. Nice, really really nice. Eyes past me, almost look at that light bulb over there. Don't forget to breathe. Shake it all out a little bit. Get right inside the chains again, right in there, hold there. Nice there, beautiful. Beautiful there. Drop down and give me another 20. (Richard grunts) I'm not punishing him, I promise you. I do this on purpose because it really does, there's no way that he can get that vein to pop out of his head if I say, I want you to look tired. I can't get him to really sweat. We could spray him, it'll look like water. This is the real deal. Okay, up you go. Straight into it, like that, I love that face. Don't even look at me, look tired now, right. Look out that window over there. Nice. Pull on that chain, step away from it, there you go, like that. Don't really pull, just the fake pull, in case the whole thing comes down on you. Alright. Strong, strong, beautiful. Right there. Nice, wait a second. Nice, hold that. Relax. Just hold onto that one chain. The big one. Slightly pull it towards you, just like that. Now, face down, looking down there. Gorgeous there. I'm picking up all these great textures now, my settings, my light settings, I'm at ISO 3200, 'cause it is so dark in here, but it also creates a nice grain. My shutter speed is a fiftieth of a second. So I have to be quite careful. He's moving, I've gotta really be steady. To do that, I lock my arms against my chest. Really acts as like a human tripod. And actually I try to shoot (exhales) when I breathe out. So you'll often hear me going, (inhales and exhales rapidly) that's because I'm actually steadying myself and using my breath to do that. And I'm at F4.5. So it's quite shallow, but it's really beautiful too, 'cause it creates, there's little bits of light back here hitting the bits of metal and the oil and the grease and what have you, and you can't quite work out what they are. It's a little bit more mysterious. And that also plays to the story, the mystery, the nostalgia, of a factory like this. Okay. I'll get you just a little bit further back, there you go, just in there. Just slide in those toes. There you go, beautiful. Nice, hold that. Breathe out. Looking out towards the light there. Beautiful. Now, I'm using all these chains in my foreground to help tell the story. Relax, breathe, push it out, give me another 20. You'll be nice and fit, you won't have to go to the gym after this. No, no gym. No one said modeling was easy. Alright, up you get. Grab hold of this one chain, pull back. There you go, like that. Out the window now. Face 'round to me, there. Okay, so drop and give me 20 again, Richard. Being a really good sport, really getting into this. Okay, that's great, up you get. Now, we've already discussed this, you're comfortable taking your shirt off. Yes sir. Wonderful, would you mind taking it off? So, actually, you know what, I love just what you were doing there, put it back on again. Step in here, this little bit. As a photographer, you're always watching everything that's happening. It's sometimes the small things. It was actually him taking off his shirt, now do it again and look to me as you're doing it. Go, go, go, go. And again, go back again. Step this way a bit more, into the chains, there you go. Beautiful. I'm changing my F-stop, I'm opening up to 4, F4, I was at 4.5. Wait a second. Perfect. Now grab that chain. Relax the mouth. Breathe. Relax your whole body. With your hand, just drop it into your belt. Maybe just, actually into your pant. Like that, exactly. Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out. Grab the top of the chain. Yeah, just let your whole body, everything collapse. Yeah, just relax. Stand a little bit taller, there you go. Just like that. Breathe out. (exhales) Now make it tighter. And then arm down, on the chain. Pull the chain too you more, step into the chain too, eyes to me, look around. Hold it right there. Coming 'round here. Tips are in frame. This is nice, here. Beautiful, here. Looking out, straight through here, looking that way. Beautiful in there. So, what I'm getting right now is that one small window that's in there, it's actually raking across his body really beautifully. There's a little bit of fill, although these are huge windows, there's all this machinery kind of blocking it off of him, but I'm actually getting his main light, is that small window over there. And there's all kinds of fill. The ambient in here is very interesting, 'cause the light bulbs, incandescent light bulbs. And the whole area, the whole place is this cream, almost, green and cream paint in here. Which gives it a kind of a color. And a look, and a feel. And in where he's at is quite dark, so you really get very interesting kinda ambient light. Shake it out, give me 20 more. Showing off, now. Look at that. That's what I do every night, by the way, if you're wondering. Thank you, perfect. Eyes, up, just your eyes up. Eyes to me. Beautiful there. Gorgeous. Now for the last few, go back to the back wall. Toby, follow him. Turn, twist, the other way, there you go. Looking at that. Twist the other way, the way you were before, more. More, more. There. (exhales) That's nice. And almost as if you were, twist with your, yeah, or like you're gonna touch it, you can touch it, I think. Okay, drop your other hand. Yeah, don't pull it out, you break it, you buy it. Nice, there, relax the face. Eyes down, all the way over this direction, even further. There you go. Relax the body, breathe out, don't tense. Drop, relax, relax everything. You are going to... Let's have a look. You can walk to me. A little slowly, begin to walk. Hold it there. Just like that, hold it, don't move. Toby, you got it? Stay there, stay there. (exhales heavily) Eyes to me. Beautiful. We've got this, we're gonna change this light up and create something quite different. We've got this scene, thank you very much Richard. Give me a minute. Absolutely. Wonderful, okay Toby. Let's light this up. We've just lit this set, it's gonna be quite dramatically different than it was before, I've actually got five lights, five heads set up in this particular instance. The key light is my ProFresnel over here. I've got a brown gel on that. And that's really giving the bulk of the light into the room. So, behind me, I have the hair light that has a grid on it, a grid spot. Which is raking down the back of me. I've got two back lights which are lighting up the background, and they have red gels on them. And I have a reflector, and the reflector's doing a little bit of a bounce to get an angle that really doesn't light up the whole of the foreground, it's just very very slight. And last but not least, I have my eye catch light, right in front. Maybe wondering what this light is, in fact the model might think it's the main light, because it's right there in the front, but of course it's just to give a little touch to the eyes, so it's really low, the power's really low, it's really not affecting the picture hardly at all. Just giving that little glimmer in the eyes which helps bring the picture to life. Alright, Richard, I'm gonna have you on set. Alright, buddy. So we've got this elaborate light set up. I'm not putting the model lights on, so you're just gonna have to remember where they are. The reason why I don't have the modeling lights on, is 'cause it actually drains the power quite quickly in this particular instance. So I'm gonna have you here. We have a little black tape mark there for you a little bit. Really strike, now, not gonna have a lot of latitude to move all over the place in here. Checking your hair light. So, really all the action's in this spot, and that's one of the problems, when you do light a scene with strobe, and you've got grid lights, you've got grids on the lights, it does prevent you from having a lot of movement. But, hey, that's the sacrifice you make, but here's our spot, this is where we're gonna be, and we're gonna do all our action in this area. Cool, let's get my camera up. Thank you Toby. Now, I'm at ISO 400, shutter speed is 1/60 and F-stop is 5. Okay, let's have a look here, see what that is. Strong, strong, strong. Have some general lights, have a look at the light right now. Actually, looks amazing, looks great, okay. Of course you know what I want you to do, right? Oh no, before you do that, yeah, you got it. You think you can get off that easily? Really try and tire yourself out. Don't stop until you feel like you can hardly get up. There. (exhales quickly) Beautiful. Nice there. Looking out that way a little bit. Nice, the other way, there you go. Right arm down, yeah. (exhales) Eyes to me. Nice there. Watch your step. Okay, I don't do this very often, but I'm kind of showing off. How good do you look? Wow, it looks like I worked all day. Do you hear that? Wow. That's what I like. I wanted to show you that, because it is kind of wow, and you should feel wow, but you have to wipe the smile off your face now, 'cause you've got to get back into character for me. But it looks really good, looks really good, wanna have a look? Do you see that? Beautiful. We like wow. Okay, let's do this. (exhales) Beautiful there. Drop the arm. Eyes up just to me, just your eyes. Okay, give me another 20, quickly. Boom, two, three, four, five. Okay now, get up. There you go, boom. Stand up. Stand up straight. Breathe. Take your shirt off, if you wouldn't mind? Kick it towards me. Thank you, right there. Beautiful, right there. Alright guys, slightly turn your body, slightly twist your body. There you go, just like that. That's really nice. Toby, will you just have a look and see if that hair light's on him? And he's standing there now. I think we can turn it up as well, the power on that one. Let's have a look. A little fake walk. Get that motion, there you go. Back it up, back it up. Fake walk, so you have to pretend to walk, there you go. Boom. Work on it, coming 'round here. Nice. It's nice. Eyes to me. Beautiful there. (exhales) Eyes to me. Relax your lips, drop the hands, relax the fingers. Put one hand in your back pocket. The other one. Now put both hands in your back pockets, there you go. Looking down over here. Beautiful. Gorgeous.

Class Description

Understanding how to see light and work in any lighting scenario, allows you to be versatile and more valuable. Whether you’re working in a poorly lit corporate environment or during the most beautiful sunset, you have to understand how light impacts the story of your photo.

World renowned portrait photographer Nigel Barker walks you through several lighting scenarios - evaluating light, working with the available light you have and understanding when and where to introduce additional lighting tools.

Nigel will be on location showing you how to:

  • See and understand the available light you have
  • Create a mood using minimal lights
  • Build your light set up from one light to multiple lights
  • Create dramatic and beauty shots with different lighting setups

Understanding how to see and control light, is at the heart of every successful photographer’s skillset. By the end of the class you’ll feel empowered to walk into any lighting scenario and be in command of your final image. 



Nigel is a good communicator and excellent photographer. However, you won't learn too much from this class. It is a Behind The Scene footage showing Nigel at work. That's all. Nigel doesn't measure ambient and artificial light, and won't tell you the light values you need to achieve the desired effect. Recommend to those who look for motivational support; certainly do not recommend to those who look for technical knowledge. For that reason, I feel like the tutorial is a bit overpriced. Thank you

Stefan Legacy

Simple class about storytelling a shoot. Nigel goes through the process and explains everything he does. Nigel is excellent at breaking everything down step by step. Another course by Nigel called "The Business of Photography" covers the same material but goes way more in depth. Personally didn't learn much from this course but was enjoyable to watch a professional work regardless.