Shoot: Daylight on Roof Part 1


Natural Light Control


Lesson Info

Shoot: Daylight on Roof Part 1

One of the things that has to happen in photography is as we start understanding some of the tools of our craft we understand that we are in control, we're in charge of what happens on our that everything that comes through that camera we're in charge of it sadly, some people forget that they just accept whatever it is that the meter says or whatever there you know, whatever the situation is not what it could be think about not something as it is but think about what it could be or might be and in this case this light is this is rough, you know? I mean we're in a roof or in downtown seattle there's a space needle there's a jackhammer way got wires and pigeons and crap and this is this a mess up here but we got to make magic happen up here and that's what that's what's fun about this this is the beatles rooftop concert for me are you kidding? So I'm glad we're up here so we're gonna have to do something take something, take this light and do something with it again as in the studio my m...

odel is stationary and I moved my lights around with that sun right where it is I can't move it, so I've got to move my model based on that so the first shot I want to do and talk about we talked about before applications additives attractive transmission reflective and I beat those up heavily we just finished additive now let's talk about transmission alright? So transmission first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna try to place that sunlight at a forty five degree of my subject so if I look at the ground you see where my subject is I'm looking at the ground I want my my subject to be turned slightly away from the main life with the head come back in and I'm gonna do my life control this direction but I'm gonna have my subject looking back into the light especially working with women you want their chest away from the light bring their face back to the light it's a great little tip that will almost always guarantee assailable picture so then you can take from there and make some become something more creative but it's a great place to start okay, so first things first let me get one of our models over here hannah let's start with you let's put hand over here and go ahead let's go and let's you just have a seat on that stool and I want to turn you just a little bit that way right there there you go good, good, good so if you just bring your head around just a little bit this way right there so you can see based on the angle little sun and light coming down that we've got this life coming in here at a forty five tour face so we got this built in light the lights correct it's just not great but it is in the right spot so let me grab a translucent diffuser this is at six and one from westcott I love these illuminate er's so you just kind of pull it and let go and stand back and let it do that you know so I don't want to do bobby you wanna help me out with this I'm gonna need you to help me hold this and we want to hold it as close to her as I can get away with and yet put in the right position closer it is softer the edge of the shadow larger the highlight the larger the high life more pleasant experience more pleasing the picture is so bobby when you just got to come in in and and we're gonna go up up up up and now just bring it right down over her right in here right there and move it over just until it clears your head maybe I can get one of you guys to come over and hold this edge of it just so we can make sure we can hold in the same spot and just move that we move to your right just a half step right there there you go and dropped it down and now bring it down, bobby a little bit closer to write there that's it that's it turn your shoulders to me just a little here a little bit more this way and you're in fact a little bit more even that's it now bring your head back chant your eye's gonna be right here to me I'll be right in here. Okay, good. Let me just get a meter reading. So now this is my light source, so I'm going to name my incident meter dome of my meter. I'm aiming right at that light source and again, when I'm using an incident dome with this kind of a meter always like the dome to be out, not recessed in, I think when it's recess it's designed for flat art copy work, but if I'm photographing people there three dimensions, I want that baby out, but I don't want the direct like to hit it, so I've gotta put it right in here so it's getting the same of like that she's getting I'll put it right under her chin and I'm gonna aim it right at the source like that so let's get that setback to the ambience setting I'm gonna take a reading and right there it says, tony said it correctly, here we go right there, so right there it says two fifty that fate I don't want to shoot it outside I want to shoot it out for so it's so I'm just rolling the thumb will now so is that a role the thumb will around? I'm going now says that forty thousand so for the third and four in the third at a thousand that's my exposure at I s so two hundred so I don't need to be very fast here I sold two hundred great for me and this in this situation okay so we're gonna doll and I saw two hundred four and a third at a thousandth of a second and what's my exploits my color balance out here daylight hello daylight and that's then that's the way this works you guys it doesn't have to be over thought let me just move right in here my exposure said ii so is two hundred I'm goingto a thousand four and a third let me take a look now remember what's happening here with this when this is in place? If I didn't have the panel, their exposure on her face would be somewhere around you know the basic sonny sixteen rule would be one twenty five f sixteen right? But when I drop this in I'm taking a stop and a half of light away from her face as I open up for that loss that background it's bright so I'm positioning her in such a way that that grill's green trees downstairs are going to be her background you have to pre visualized those as overexposed plus one and a half and out of focus so my background is gonna be a really light green soft pastel makes sense that's what I'm after that's the kind of control we have to have I got to know what's gonna happen and I gotta build a direct what's gonna happen so let's pull our first picture here can you look great kiddo raise your chin just a tiny bit o that's great great great don't move don't move don't move who number one so it's in the can and we just flow it over the light room so we'll see how that looks I'm gonna hit my info palate and I'm just checking my history ram and I've got a perfect history ram guys I'm not a genius I got a perfect history and because I did what the meter told me to do I don't second guess my meter ever and so many people do you can't you can't do that just do what the meter tells you to do it's not gonna lie to you it's a tool so this is going to be our first shot and I think this is something that this kind of works pretty well when you get into a shot like this you get great great like quality on the face let me have your eyes right here again. Hannah. Right there. A little bit of a smile on this one channel. Just a tiny bit and bring your head around. Just that's it right there in your eyes right here again. Right there. Yeah, good. Relax. I know it's hard it's, bright it's a killer. And let me do one more of those and make it a little bit of a little bit of a smile on this one. Here we go. Great. Right? They're excellent. Relax for a second, tony. Are you meeting on her face? Are you major and on her clothing? Or what do you mean going on? Well, I took the dome of the incident, and I put it right under her chin and and I've done that. I've done it this way. So you're doing incident like it's incident mean it's incident readings. You guys can do this with a spot meter in your camera, but if you do, you've got to find something that's of a middle value to spot meter off, right? So in her, her top is eighteen percent great. I'll guarantee you sought to take a spot meter reading right off of her shoulder, and I'm in. Not her face because your face is an eighteen percent grey at all she's twice as bright as a great card you take a meter reading of her face with a spot meter and do what it says she's gonna be under exposed by a full stop I've got I've got expose and use my meter on something of a middle value our doesn't work that's the design of a reflective meter okay so think about it this way there's no let me let me just let me finish this one definition and it answers all the problems in the world of meters there's only two kinds of meat in the world there's one that's called a luminous meter also known as a reflective meter and it only has one bring eighteen percent great that's all it knows if I take a spot meter of that white roof next door it's going to give me a reading and if I do that that's gonna be great and if I take a spot reading of his black jacket and do what it says his jacket's gonna be eighteen percent great no matter what I do it's gonna be eighteen percent great because that's the on ly brain a reflective meter has incident meeting on the other hand has one brain reality that's the on ly brain it has his reality no matter what it says if I do what it says that picture will look like my subject looks period end of discussion and again people sort of missed this part you know in an incident meter guys everything else is kind of guesswork but with my incident meter I never missed by a tenth of a stop I do it my meter tells me to do every time I take a picture I live and die by this thing seriously I really do it's not hype for me it's my tool but for a portrait subject especially it always goes under the chin and directly at the light source not the camera at the light source not the camera here it's half lit in half not lift here it's fully illuminated and that's what I want that dome has to be fully illuminated in order to give me the true reality of the quality of light on the face quantity of light on the face okay makes sense you guys get that did you guys get that everybody got that all right, here we go let's do a couple more and then we're gonna add a little dimension here to this thing bring it down a little bit closer, guys closer closer closer closer and that's it now make sure you keep her covered though that's it right there that's it okay lady your eyes right at me that's it right there. Well, that was going to one more of those right there notice the position of my camera I noticed the diagnose the dynamic of my camera, so I work with a bald head. The ball head gives me the ability to create a little bit of dimension and dynamic symmetry, if you will, in my picture without having to move her and I haven't have her been around back and forth and lean one way, lean the other way. It just works pretty well and it gives me a nice diagonal with my picture. You'll never know. I took my camera when you see it. Well, that's not true. I did a job one year in hawaii. This was this was a really sad story. Photograph missile white and I always have done that's all my career where I tip my camera back and forth. So I'm photographing this hawaii and I take my cameron. I got the shot. It was a great shot. Always good, except one mistake. No worse than that. She had these really long earrings, so in the picture, the earrings were going like this. I just missed it. I just totally, totally blood. Okay, so let's, get that back in position and now we're gonna bring this guy up. May pop this guy open and in fact let's, look at the silver one first, so let's, take the silver one first and now let's put a little hair light let's give a little dimension to separate her hair and give her a little bit of that edge like that we talked about earlier in the slide show, so for that we're just going to bring this around here I need another light stand, another voice activated light and so let's put it right about here don't look this way there because it'll blind you you guys watch out it's pretty bright so when you bring it around out here, you want to pick up direct role like that's not being defused, right? So I'm out here where the lights kick and past the edge of that panel, so I hear we're gonna bring this guy down, you see coming in life right there. Okay, right, come down just a little bit. So you hit her shoulder and her hair and her arm just a little bit. Okay, got it. You guys didn't know we were gonna make you work today and I don't have to change anything on my exposure. Everything stays the same in my exposure. I'm gonna just pull the trigger again. Nothing changes. Okay, let's, take a look, here we go, here we go, bring it in, bring it, bring it around now, down, down, down, down, tip it down I know you keep move just wiggling around till you see it right there, right there. Don't move, don't move! Don't move! Eyes here. Got it. One more who? Perfect. Hello? That thing just came to life for us. Now this picture now we got something quality happening. You guys get the idea. I've gotta make a studio shot out here and it doesn't matter where I am I could be on the roof. I could be on the beach, I could be in an alleyway. It doesn't matter. I'm in charge of this picture. So if you were going to do a full body shot, would you worry about the shadow? Yeah, this is castle. If you're going to a full body shot, you got some issues uh, first off it's going to require bigger one of these a lot bigger. One of these you can do it, but you just have to have a big one. And if you think about it that shadow that you'll see on the ground right now looking at the ground that's a shadow, right? But if I'm exposing in that area that's not a shadow at all everything yes is a highlight. Yeah, it doesn't make sense that computes it's a shadow right now when the sun's hitting it and making the shadow but once I place that panel in position full length wise she's standing in a true totality and everything in front of it everything behind its all the highlight so the trick on that you can do it it's hard that trick on that is to use the longest lends you own back up a ce far as you can and sit on the ground and then you're shooting across the skinning across the ground shooting very slightly up with a longer lands and you'll never see that difference in the foreground in the background that's the only way to do it I've tried everything else and that's the only way it works ok any questions? You guys have a good does this make sense you guys it has to make some kind of sense at some point so we got our main light way got our accident light I do want to subtract some of the light on the shadow side of the face and give us a higher contrast so I want to bring in a portable wall by bringing in a black fabric way got black black starting out so what I wanna do I need another life stand okay everybody get back in position assume the position and what I want you to do juliette is coming in pretty close quentin, turn you head right back into that way again right there I just want you to come in pretty close and bring this up right here and just stop all I'm trying to do is stop the ambience you guys can you hold that for me now I know the questions that you guys are seeing right now he's an idiot I don't have three since the winds blowing how do you do this when you're by yourself? How did you know you read their minds? I'm not our rookie here the answer the answer seriously is it's not easy to do this kind of control but you have to do this if you want to shoot all day long and control the ami life and I mean if I wait till late in the day and do one shot of a family are a couple aren't engagement or whatever great light great we're done go home, but if I've got to shoot twelve shots next day, I've got a bill to control all of this and all of the things that we're talking about all of this stuff fits with clamps and stands made to hold it all so you can do it you can pull it off when it's windy or it's harder but you can do it okay all right so let's assume the position again look at that hairline pop in there, julie moving just a half step closer to me just a half step now tip this hand in right there right there. Oh, you guys it really looks nice you guys I know it looks weird and it's a lot of work. Okay, bread? I don't see you at all, buddy hall, we need some help. Can you go help him? Can you hold one side of that? We're gonna get all the students involved here. Okay? How many students is a take to take a corporal picture? Um you know how many how many seattle prose there you go. There you go. Your eyes are a pair of me right there. Good, good, good, good, good. All I'm doing with julie you guys is let me take two real quick one with and one without julie okay, ready right here, hannah good. Now move out julie and again, hannah right here. Same thing, ma'am. So now we'll compare those two side by side that we just did. So what you're gonna find is that second first home with a black in place it just makes the light a little bit more directional and it gives it more it forces the mainland tow more easily appear to come from forty five degrees it's a good way to put it. Yes, okay, wait, exactly that question that you're asking about it took three people holding things to get that shot let's see but truly the answer their asses I could do this by myself and I'll often do this by myself but it does take some life stands it does take some clamps and sometimes it takes some weight bags on a windy day if you're living if you live on the beach community of san diego and you're trying to do this get a system so you don't like because when they hold on to that and the wind hits him they're going to mexico they're out of here gone tony stephen from seattle last challenge I ran into previously while using the scrim to defuse the light was it was really difficult for the model to keep her eyes open do you have any suggestions for helping the models keep their eyes open no there's not an easy answers so it's like right we're about to do a reflective technique and there's really not an easy answer I try to have the model's close your eyes and relax and then it's ready okay here we go get all comfortable good now if your eyes bam and shoot let him clothes and relax again there's not there's not an easy answer for that unfortunately and it's it's an issue that we all you know we're all faced with that and it's and it's especially bad with a reflective technique so yeah it's just it's gonna happen god s o m walton wants to know which focused pattern do you use on the marquee three I'm using a single spot okay for focusing yeah, I am not the not the small groups not for not for focusing I like that single spot and it's just a habit for me and I don't and I never focus and recompose I move that dot around so cool my thumb is on that joystick all the time as my subject moves I'll move it up or down or left or right and because it's just for me it's it's more intuitive as opposed to have you read composing all that plus if I ever do use tl e t t l that exposure again is based on where my focus point is so get into the habit of using it more and on the eyes or just wherever you like on the eyes definitely the eyes okay, great if I miss the eyes I'm out I'm out of business yeah and back button back buddy. Okay, yeah and this is new for me since I was on the can and it started back button grand never did when I was a nikon ru one spot meeting are evaluated I'm not in any way I'm meeting manually thank you for getting your on uh yeah I don't do that very much amita and questions so you were saying if you if you didn't have ah a handheld. Then you would do spot majoring in the camera. Yeah, eso and that would show eighteen percent gre at whatever you were right. So so let's say she was wearing she's life like complected and she's wearing light clothing. And I think a meter reading and spot me to her it's going to try to make her one stop darker. So I've gotta open up. Plus no, so I get that. So what if you were using a matrix metering? How does that work with a team? Depends on what what the matrix is. It kind of depends on what it sees in the scene. Yeah, if the scene is extremely brighter, extremely dark it's going to mess it up because it's just averaging it's going to end. But if there's an average overall mid tone ality that exist, it'll probably fine with challenge with that is. And you know, I cautioned pros about this because it's so easy to put this thing on auto it's so easy to hit program after priority or shutter party the one and just start pulling trigger and going to work. The fact is, you will be adjusting slightly your exposures when you go home. Who has time to do that? I don't have any more hours in my day when I could take ten seconds read it a thirty five six and a third that's it. And this sun is not changing for hours. That exposure is gonna be the same. Does that make sense? Yeah. Yeah. So I'm like, I don't want to do anything on auto, simplify your work right and do it right. First time. It seems to make sense to me. Yeah, you know, I got it so working working like this, you guys, this is not a this is not a trick or are just tony showing off for having fun. This is what I do. This works for me and it allows me to shoot hannah because she's on her lunch break and then she's gotta go back to work. I don't have her at five o'clock, I've got out one p, m and that's what you gotta shoot when you gotta shoot way. Don't get to dictate our clients too much on when we work.

Class Description

Natural Light Control is part of our special week-long event Lighting Toolkit.

Join award-winning photographer Tony Corbell for an in-depth exploration of how light works and how it can be controlled to create dramatic images.

After decades of shooting prominent figures — including three presidents — on location, Tony has developed a set of tools that will help you shoot confidently in any setting. Many photographers test light as they work; Tony’s methods will allow you to understand and plan light before you even begin.

Tony will guide you through the basics of light quality, quantity, and direction. Tony’s unique methods will resonate with amateurs, seasoned professionals, and everyone in between.


Dave Humphries

Tony keeps it simple and gives good examples, although occasionally I had to pause the video to study them well enough - because the editor was keeping the timing overly tight in a few places. In some cases it would also have been nice to have two shots side by side for comparison, but Tony was great.