Skip to main content

Lightweight Location Lighting

Lesson 13 of 28

Shoot: Candle Lit Dinner

Kevin Kubota

Lightweight Location Lighting

Kevin Kubota

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

13. Shoot: Candle Lit Dinner


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Lighting 101 Duration:49:48
2 Lighting Gear Duration:22:13
3 Speedlights Duration:10:38
5 Lighting Kits Duration:16:29
6 Additional Lighting Gear Duration:19:44
8 Postprocessing and Q&A Duration:20:27
10 End of Day Q&A Duration:14:39
11 Reviewing Yesterday's Images Duration:20:24
12 Shoot: First Dance Duration:29:49
13 Shoot: Candle Lit Dinner Duration:31:55
14 Shoot: Couple Portrait Duration:31:44
15 Shoot: Groups Duration:31:06
16 Shoot: Styled Engagement Shoot Duration:28:22
17 General Q&A Duration:24:21
18 Shoot: 50s Housewife Duration:32:20
21 Yesterday's Image Review Duration:20:50
23 Shoot: Steampunk (Mecca) Duration:37:15
25 Shoot: Alley Steampunk (Group) Duration:36:47
27 Rooftop Shoot Q&A Duration:23:57

Lesson Info

Shoot: Candle Lit Dinner

this is ah there their dinner table has a very very intimate waiting obviously they're the only ones here and we may be put to people in the background I don't know but we want to let me bring this table fight get whoever's available to bring it towards me about three four feet I want to bring it away from the background just a little bit here you know don't don't spill the wine that would be bad actually maybe good have spilled wine on the table that's good that's good for what what we want to create here is a lot of times at a wedding reception I want to create a nice portrait of the bride and groom but I don't I want to do a traditional portrait I want something again more intimate them into doing something in a great way to do this is just right at their table because you don't have to really move them around just have to have your lights again this is planning ahead so that you have your lights ready to go your assistant has your light on a stick or whatever and you can say okay I...

'm thinking is going about this power setting and I think I'm going to use this and a lot of times they're sitting there eating and I'm scheming you know okay I'm gonna have ah light in the back so I'll go in the back set up my gorilla pod with my edge back light back there were setting up this light and then we'll walk up hey would you guys mind if we did a really quick portrait is want you guys to kind of lean across the table clink your glasses kissy kissy whatever the ghost here boom boom we're putting up shoot shoot shoot shoot and it's done so they don't have toe sit through you setting everything up you get that already to go ahead of time typically so but we're gonna they're more cooperative than most brides and grooms do that um can we get this table pretty candles later lighters with the light the candles so one of the things we talked about the other day too was two captains to shoot through to kind of create more depth and interest so if I could shoot through things like maybe candles some wine glasses and then have stuff in the background if we had something in the foreground we could put here you know like other people maybe we'll do that we'll use other other guests pseudo jest to maybe shoot through an armor and elbow again if it's if it's totally set up you can make it feel like it's not by just putting crap in front your lens that looks like you know I just caught this movement you know like I'm a paparazzi your wildlife photographer in the bushes and you pop out and like look what I found you know uh exactly funny I was shooting a wedding once and the bride groom they were in the reception hall and their way in other side and I see them like walk out the back door kind of quietly by themselves you know something grab my camera and I went out the front door like stalking him and they went out to the back and there's this little romantic table under these lantern light and they sat down there reading the guest book together you know having a quiet moment I like went through the bushes like bopped up of the bush is like tea and then they turned and looked and they saw me in the bushes like this is awkward okay just just hanging out but was great because they've got this nice little moment you know of them alone under this lamp light they probably would have been exactly the same if I had set that up because they would have had the same expressions and you know them just o d w all right so we're gonna fire this stuff up and let's see where we're gonna go let's start with this our main light I'm thinking I want something a little larger sir it's softer not just a spotlight like we did because this one will have a more flattering for a portrait light on their faces so I want to go with something our medium diffused lighting style this is from impact we talked about these quick set up light boxes so this one is an impact from I got it from being a tch cloak quick box and this is basically like a soft bach where he's a soft that just pops right open like that and then you put your speed light in the back was made for speed lights like that okay so this is a great one it's uh has a diffusion panel on the inside if you want to pull it off and take out the diffusion but otherwise it's really nice and soft when you keep the diffusion in there one of the cool things about this box to is you khun er easy box left from last light makes it very very similar one and they have a face mask is actually a circle so you can take the inner but baffle out put the circle on the front and that looks just like a beauty dish was a little crisper more direct but then you have that circular catch light and it's very nice maybe we use that later on and our fund shoot this afternoon all right so we're gonna put this on that bring the greek aren't that great but that come with the ring he does come with it yep so let me turn this round show so this this ring which holds the goes onto the bracket here this comes with this set up we're gonna need an angle on this and you're gonna hold the whole thing you gotta hold it okay brackett a separate the if you want a bendy bracket they're separate it actually they this is a great one to get um this is from impact as well we asked yesterday about what kind of brackets and here's a great one they're really affordable I just actually pick us up on a chance to use it but it's got a hot shoe on it if you want to use the hot shoe or waken just stick it right on top and put that into it all right so all these guys are working on that here is the other dads we want to figure out if you want to use the candlelight I want to minimize that so I'm going to see if I can turn some of the existing house lights down to give it more ambiance and then we're going to want a balance probably this with that so do I want full count alight I can't really at full count light we have a lot of daylight coming in here so I can't really just drop the lights completely and go full candlelight it's just kind of a limit of the brightness of those candles versus what we have going on but we can turn off the overheads on let me see if I can do that way go now a little more candlelit feel and let's put a light warm gel instead of this dark form jill and our box all right so why don't we have you guys go and have a seat and uh uh let's have you on this side if your side saddle on that's okay too is that drink message dress made for sitting not so much you know I want to do um somebody grab a j would you mind there's a stool over there against the wall that red and white stool so what we're gonna do is have them interacting lean across the table we're gonna cast a nice soft light across kind of onto genesis face and I really kind of wanted something a little more in the foreground so what I'm gonna maybe do is kind of cheat and have this with a candle on it but I'll actually shoot through grab you just to see if that makes any sense without actually been seeing the chair itself they don't catch on fire remember I warned you about lighting your clients on fire not a good idea all right on this candle needs to go on this side it's not you're gonna lead across the table towards her a little bit yeah but it doesn't matter all right that's it we're getting something right about there with a green clock right behind them that's interesting contrast all right where is camera where's our camera so first thing what we d'oh we set up our ambient exposure right so let's try it with what we had before which was two hundred and f two point eight s o eight hundred that's what we use for this wall back here we also have more lights on so let's see how how dark that actually gets us here and before we start adding in more light okay you guys can lean in just a little bit closer thank you that is green and green suit through more stuff is going alright well marlene in guys no all right so I'm gonna move that candle in a little closer on the right I'm gonna raise up my composition a little bit and try to get our green and yet we can scoot that chair in there still more right yeah tears that's true huh so base exposure I probably want a little more going the background so what I'll do is actually put a uh grid with a really warm jill low exposure just to kind of add a warm glow to the background because I don't want oh there's really not any other ambience to play with shining on the background just to kind of put a warm glow behind them on the wall and I'm gonna open it up just a wee little bit so I opened it up two thirds of a stop for the background so again I'm looking for just the base exposure for the background and the ambiance and the main light on them is gonna come from this little box once we get it I figured out go down low just shooting straight up into the background right about where those red dangly lights are on the walls kind where you aim it jangly lights red twinkly lights on the wall and it should be really low power and pull it back a little that's right there all right so where you want to start the flesh what what flash powers we thought we had a speed light inside of the box what powers we start with fox is gonna be right up above there shining down on mainly in genesis over his shoulder under her face and probably about three feet away try one sixty four power it's got double diffuser in there so it's gonna take a little building mohr sixteen sixteen yes thank you least one more stop all right cecil bar fire our flash in the back booth to channel c wait and this one's on channel all right so we'll start that at there you go all right gina smile loveliness but I don't think it went off it tested just counting up uh it is on c too c one rather see to see to channel eh okay so we are if you look at the background now we do actually have the background light in there we got a nice ambience in the background the candle lights they're so really all we need is just some light on her face you know we've built a nice little ambiance going on there so what's he got that light on her face going on we should be good to go the other thing we may want to do again is a little edge light on her okay all right you have a perfect genesis kind of turn your cheek to the right just a little bit but you're looking at him yeah it's gonna feel weird to you like you're cheating your cheek there that's okay nice loathe all right so what do you guys think power level wise where we have probably what did you put it stop half two stops okay stop and a half two stops you wanna try that leash so we're one sixteen now so get onto good on thirty two minus it only goes a third stops let's go thirty two minus two thirds okay we stop in two thirds down right looking lovely here ugo wait all right the only thing we need now so that c one guess you guys have got it one guest on the light exposure we've got the light on them set up just right uh all we need now is just a little bit us we need that ed is going to separate their faces radio from the background you know how do we do that way why don't you put a grid in the background now one more good ready to go there's one on the wall we could use that one there I just like to take the long way around for fun okay yeah uh so carol uh this is justus new so do you want to try this new door do you want a grid because we've got a grid to endure without without anything on it just just the shell can't fill the spot all right yeah yeah let's put a light warm gel in there and I bring that light down lee one more third of a stop you know just like a girl one sixty four power on the flash that's a good good to keep in mind how typically a situation you're three or four feet away and shooting at a two point two f stop s o eight hundred sixty four on the flash is pretty much all we really need to kind of keep that in mind as you're playing and estimating in the future you said no grid just the shell yeah you know we could get that grill a pot pride just sit it right on the bar that might work so the light stands not in the shot on the floor but on the fourth floor okay just fire that grill pod fires lead yep good willpower you sending you out on that it is one thirty second right now okay let's go upto sixteen one stop up all right so you guys danger sa uh looks nice right there actually you can come a little closer with that like there's a little bit higher and angle it to the left of it right there jess if you were to cheat a little bit to the camera hold arms close to your cameras back not all the way but uh you're getting some lovely sparkly necklace would be great actually get that just sparkly like sparkly ready that's awesome right there they could do that and just lean in toward tell you a little more yeah awesome so you're going to turn your left cheek to him like he's going to try to kiss you on the left you can kind of look up towards this light and smile up there you want me that's awesome beautiful that's what I'm looking for right there so I could see them uh chicken and wanted to make sure that boxes probably eluded hires we don't cast as much onto the table is a little on the table is possible but I think we're good so what's he like three more shots of this you said you're in the shot good okay yeah coming on in there that's nice and right there is a kind of cheat the nose too does we see both your faces they're gonna pull back just a little dane uh good just looking ready tell just like that's awesome beautiful okay on one more what you grab your wine glasses and we kind of click click on those or something way just kinda hold them and lean in so it's not teo another yeah so if you gotta put yours toward your lips like you're gonna take a sip but you're looking at him like he's watching you drink bring it down a little bit shaken smile at him there yeah beautiful like that great okay that's what I was looking for all right and we'll finish it off or just do a straight portrait of them so you guys can sketch together and turn your faces right towards us yeah and you know let's change this out real quick to make this work so just kind of hop up bring this chair okay so you're gonna have a seat right here watch out for the candles war way to get you from right over here some of your chair there you sit like that it's kind of lean in on her one more candle action going on the back around your your tail's on fire shooting in a cave once I told these guys the story of the day and like a boudoir shoot in the cave and the candles all over the place and this the girl's laying there and she had a little blanket covering her on the lips of the blanket starts small they're like muppet out I'm not gonna get the chair all right so danny gonna sit up turned towards us but your right arm behind her back yeah just leaning close together is just a head and shoulders kind of thing right here yeah we got awesome like probably need to get a little closer but we'll see and I said yes which kind of asleep atop your head against him and looking right here hopes I shot too fast but if you that's good all right looks good good good someone and look right at each other again and three arms around his neck and we'll finish this one off for more we go on okay awesome so there's a question from saz row and I know yesterday kevin you said you know if you don't have assistance get an intern and maybe you also use people from the wedding party but people are really insistent on if you do it alone if you do it alone because we do have a lot of wedding photographers that's still shoot by themselves so sad zero says can you try a um camera flash and bounce it off the wall or something to show us how you would do it if you didn't have an assistant I'm not sure if you want to do that because I know you always have someone there when I do yeah and really the difference would be it's going to take you more time and maybe you leave out one of the background lights or something else and just focus you have to have a light stand obviously for this main light but the uh little cheetah stand that I was using earlier is a nice one because you can quickly run in there grab it move it by yourself and you have to get creative and get people involved if you're at a wedding and ask people to help me hold something for yu um or it's just going to take more time you khun all this we could do ourselves but it would take a lot more time for me obviously to run back and forth but it is not changing the outcome of the shot it just takes more time okay so that's the that's the tradeoff if you decide to work alone is you you either have to really simplify uh what you're gonna do with them um or if you want to do what we're doing and you need to spend more time or have somebody help thank you know there's no magic answer there really if I could do this alone I would but I can't you know that's the way it is you need one person to help you least so a lot of folks are asking including I shoot people in this dark scenario who are you focusing on with this type of setup the bride and the groom and also are you using manual focus or do you use ever anything to help you focus I'm just using auto focus and my camera focuses autofocus is just fine I'll always focus on the brides eyes unless it's a portrait of the groom of course that we're focusing on and sometimes and generally do I switch it around we do several where she's the the highlight of the shot and maybe I'll do a portrait of the groom but what I'll do instead is like the new portrait of the groom actually the brides in the shop but she's more of like a a prop which is kind of unusual brides aren't usually props but maybe we'll set him up you know like a little thing hang out but she might be in the background like just shaking your booty dancing or something you try to distract him or she may be coming around nibble on his neck or something where it's just kind of sillier quirky but the groom's still just has a nice smiley portrait so to me that's more fun it gets her into the shot so if he's you know she's going to put that picture up of him than she would be in it and be more fun so uh of course the eyes of whoever the centre of attention in the fortress where I'm focusing and and unfortunately this camera does focus and very little light great so and here this is more than enough light to focus auto focus okay I have a question from uh veil fujii who says did you use a gel on the soft box for the warm tones to the skin or is that just a white balance no we used a light gel right alicia alight uh sticky filter gel in the light and soft box and uh th p for me is asking what are the guidelines for determining the right size of soft box in this scenario or on in general location yeah what a lot of has to do with the size of the subject they're going illuminate if this was gonna be a big group shot which will do next um and you wanted to soft light everywhere you need a softer source and if you if you look back and yesterday on our earlier discussion we talked about the three types there's the large window light the medium is the shape soft shapely shadows and then the crisp in direct and a lot of it comes down to first deciding what mood do you want so the shot of them dancing we wanted a spotlight fields we went with crispin direct here it's maur towards portrait e things so even with medium diffuse because it's still moody if I'd put the big window it would put a lot of light and the whole thing would have been too late it would have felt more like a daylight window instead of a romantic candlelight so it depends on the mood but generally if you're head and shoulders that small box works beautifully okay kevin I know you talked about focusing on the eyes and there's still quite a few questions on focusing so john r had asked when you're shooting at two point two how do you keep both of the people and focus mean I know you're you're specifically saying you you know you focus on the eyes maybe you could talk about the distance that you are from them or the distance that you're from them obviously helps if you're shooting the longer lens and you're further away and then if I'm sure with a long lens and I'm close but when I go in for a real tight head and shoulders that focusing the much more critical because there's less to play with the further I am away with that same lens more my focus room has to play you know so I'm shooting from here and really their faces on the same plane to the camera I intentionally do that when I'm posing like I wouldn't have her towards me and him facing his back to me so that they're completely different planes that really wouldn't work so a lot of it is the pose and deciding but when they come together they're going to be on the same focal plane even focus on her eye is he's gonna be in there and so if there is some planning and as far as the pot's who's gonna be in focus and where and sometimes I like it it's a personal thing where if I'm really focusing on her and she's smiling and like that he's nibbling on her next if he's out of focus that's great I that's not an issue I want just her smile and focus that's it but uh depend on your style some people may need to shoot it at four or five six to get everything in focus if that's look you're going for okay I want to ask you one more focusing question yeah this is from joanne leboeuf who I would like to know if you use selective focal points or do you recompose from the center point generally I'm re composing from the center point yeah I do use the selective points when I have time but the generally the time when I will use those is maybe if I have a bride walking down the aisle I will switch to a top focus point so I know I can track with that point but if I'm sitting here and just shooting it really doesn't I'm not in a huge hurry I can just lock and move but they were going to do a bunch of porters like this then why don't I just screwed it over I use that top focal point right there and I could just leave it on her so I kind of switch back and forth depending on how much of a hurry I am just one final request not sure where it went but if it was possible to show us inside the soft box huh sure with the gel yeah that would be awesome okay can we wanna look at this thing here now this jewish inside of the soft walks I guess we could pull this open inside the soft box there is a silver liner and then there's a diffusion little piece here which uh fumble with of course get this off and then you can see the flash with the warm tungsten gel on the inside they're cool thank you so this box is twenty four inches which is a pretty nice for medium sized the octa dome that we were using and we will interchanges a thirty six inch about a three foot diameter and that both of those they're really nice sizes for this type of semi close intimate portraiture type has a good softening not being too big and overwhelming and yet soft enough okay all right we do one last question if you want to write let's do one more kevin artie um would like to know if you ever use the silver line soft box for the flash points to the back of the soft box and if so how much loss in power would you expect from that if any yeah there are different types of soft boxes I do have some that the flash goes in the box points at the back into the silver and bounces out and the nice thing about that is you generally they get a nice pretty even elimination because it's bouncing and returning to the front you're gonna lose a little bit about how efficiently is designed I haven't actually measured so I don't know what the light loss would be but you're going to have very similar results so I would say you do little tests you may lose uh half a stop over something like this not much maybe not yeah I don't think I'd be much so usually design pretty efficient um there's also uh scott robert makes one that I have I haven't had a chance to use it whole lot but it has a multiple flash adapter but three flashes bouncing into the back of a silver umbrella with a soft box face on it so when you bumped those three flashes and it comes through you potentially have a lot of power from that box so I haven't had a chance to really use it and test it but it looks like a way to really get the most out of something like that

Class Description

Learn to create studio quality lighting under almost any condition! With lightweight, affordable, and portable lighting tools, Kevin Kubota will teach you to create beautiful portrait lighting in a variety of environments from typical urban locations to more challenging situations. He'll teach you how to do it using speedlights and smaller, battery-powered lights with simple and affordable accessories to modify and control the light. And after every shoot, Kevin will download and show how he quickly processes and enhances his images in Lightroom and Photoshop before even leaving the scene!


Karen Witter

I LOVED this class and I don't hesitate to recommend it! Kevin did a great job explaining how to incorporate additional lighting for on-location shoots and what those items would be. Then he illustrated those ideas for the class in various types of shoots. I loved the gear he recommended and especially his DIY suggestions. He has a great sense of humor and I felt like I was right there in the class. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who shoots on location and wants to make sure they're not only using the best lighting options but also the best lightweight lighting options.


I am enjoying this course so much!!! I am 100% happy with it. I just became a big fan of Kevin ! Great personality! Makes the use of flash a breeze. I just want to go outside with my gear and have fun now! thank you.

Maxx Walske

This workshop is fantastic! Kevin goes over every little detail you need to know for Lightweight Location Lighting. He shoots during the workshop, instantly shows the image and talks through how to see the light and make the proper adjustments for a fantastic image. He includes details about all his gear and post-processing tips, too! Kevin is incredibly inspiring! The course is easy to follow, fun and worth every penny!