Shooting Natural Light Introduction
My name is ken klosterman and I am your host for natural light with sue bryce soo is a portrait and glamour photographer based out of los angeles and of course she educates and empowers women to not only make other women feel beautiful but live the life that they want to live please help me welcome back to creative live soup rice take it away so I only get ninety minutes but I'm going to condense it all into just the most basic but hopefully I opening natural light work class I workshop sort of segment now remember one of the craziest things wass I suffered a lot of shame in the first twenty years of my career based on the fact that I didn't use any any artificial light and most artificial lighting photographer's almost flesh photographers mom always seemed to superior to me in the way they spoke and I went to natural light because many, many years ago in the in the nineties when we're still shooting on film I did not like flesh light and I came from the eighties glamour photography er...
a so to me I was watching her brit in the nineties and he was shooting all of the eighty supermodels and netto light and then he was shooting you know this beautiful fashion work and natural light so we took away the big soft boxes and we took off the soft filtered the nets and ways the best a lien on the lenses and everything went and what we ended up with was this contemporary version of photography in the nineties, although the genre had completely died. So I found some photographs from back at this time. This is in the nineties. I don't actually these are scanned negatives, but I don't have a lot ofwork older than their. Sadly, I do have a box of negative somewhere, but when I looked back to how I was shooting back then, this brand is very contemporary. Now to what I still shoot and it's very relevant. I look back to my best work back then, and I'm very proud of it. So a zai grew up is a photographer, and I started to get a little bit more successful and started to create a business. I'm I still defended the fact that I didn't use flashlight, and I even jokingly used to say to people when they say, well, what lights you use? I would say, oh, I use god light so I always said a joke that I had the best lighting system in the world, you know, I had sunlight, now I dont shoot out outside, predominantly I'm an inside portrait photographer that shoots natural light, which just seems so counter intuitive, you shoot inside with outside light so obviously my light source is a window and I have a lot of control in my studio but I don't have a lot of control when I'm not in most video and that's where the artificial light photographers and there and the divine superiority would, you know, argue with me that they are divinely superior and I the one thing I could never get past wass until you make your artificial light looked like god light I'm sticking with the godlike because to made this light makes beautiful, beautiful portrait it's now it's so basic to me and you did a lot of people do struggle to master it, so I just want to talk about how I mastered it and it's one of those things that you think everybody knows and I just hope that if you do know it, you get it some gold nugget and if you don't, you get your mind blowing because I built a very successful portrait studio on nettle light and were the times and twenty years where I got it trapped or stuck without artificial light. Once a storm came into new zealand, I had a family portrait shoot beckoned maybe two thousand five I was shooting on the twenty day, which shot roar kenan twenty day but the iso just wasn't is remarkable a zit is now the clouds came in and I shot very small amount of pictures I had to stop the shoot because we're in complete darkness I did not have a light source and I remember the family did not want to come back form or stuff they were sort of this was all you got and I remember they spent five hundred ninety five dollars and that was a low low sale for may and I remembered once in my life being handed so I went to a big lighting store I bought constant daylight bulbs I tried everything I even tried walking out on the roof of my studio and putting them outside shining in the window to try and replicate net or light and still I could not do it so I sent them back to the shop never bought them and carried on with my natural light obviously this to lighting options here with these two images the lift one is the light source is at a forty five degree angle to her so she is technically are almost not side on but a forty five degrees angle to the window and it is a massive window. Now the one on the right is I am shooting directly into the backlight now I was doing there in the nineties and I'm still doing it now it's still relevant to mae it's still sell so I'm going to show you what what I love to do what sells in what really works here's the other two again amore sidelight definition, and then the lift one it's not a backlight, because she's not actually in front of the light source she's beside it, so it's cheese on that on the very edge of the window. So right here the light it's filtering across you'll notice I've posed your face towards the light, because that was before I knew how to walk up with a reflector, and put it a meter away from here. So clearly I've post your face towards the light there's a big problem with posing towards your light source and that's there's, not many poses you khun dough when the face is stuck in one position, correct, but when you can move when you can move the body in any direction, it's kind of changed your ability to pose in any direction I managed over the years to develop my work. And is you're going to see this is a timeline off my work, everything here is shot in natural light. In fact, up until a year ago, I did not own an artificial light in my studio. It was only when I met felix that felix taught me how to shoot a lot to make it look like natural light. So I've got a really neat little finished to the segment where I was going to show you how I am now shooting kino and strobe and how I'm making it look like this until now two thousand fifteen felix really understood the quality of my light source and his his pedigree and lighting was the the most advance that I would acknowledge that I wanted to ellen from him because uh and I don't mean that in a snobby way I mean that and he's worked for the best in the world and he understood what I wanted he nobody else has been able to teach me that not in all these years now why do I not like flesh light it's quite simple if I get a model and I stand here in front of a camera and she's five foot ten and she's built like a model in and it's fashion and I can drop pretty much any light on here any light on her face any light on her body and she looks like a fashion model you can make the lighting hard and grandee she still looks like a fashion model she could be anything from calvin klein to dmg to these all these amazing groggy you know fashion work she looks like a model you put a forty two year old housewife in any of that light and it screams eighties glamour and I spent twenty years reinventing glam a photography so that it wasn't a duty would anymore, and I didn't like the idea that it looked like eighties glamour. So natural light is soft, it's, beautiful, it's open and I have learned to, as you can see by all of those images manipulated, I've learned to shoot around our window, and when my studio changes, I get a new window. I don't always get the world's best window and the last twenty six years, I've been in some incredible studios and I've been in some really crappy weather is one of the big studios ahead had the worst window source, but it was the most beautiful building. So my dream studio it's pretty much what we're standing in here today, although you will notice the light that's coming in is very pink and very warm, so you don't know what's being reflected outside. Now the two most perfect lighting scenarios and I'm gonna teach you today to really nail down is the ones on the screen right now and that is lighting my my face is like a beauty dish, soft and beautiful, but gassy but notice there's a nice, soft, even light across the face women look younger became no rembrandt lighting. I don't know if any of you have followed me for a period of time, but on my face creative life I was saying how I did a big presentation and I said I don't do picasso lighting and somebody come up to me afterwards and said it's a rembrandt lighting and I had said picasso and obviously if you know the difference between picasso and rembrandt you'll find that amusing and to recover from my complete faux pas and to not look like it absolute idiot I was like years he here's the thing I call it picasso lighting because that's what it looks like and the guy was like oh I'm sorry I thought you made a mistake and I say oh, I had my hand anyway this is it for me this is beauty portrait this is what women love this is where they look young beautiful lit up this is where I put a highlight in there I where I get a gorgeous catlike catch like this is where I dodge and being the eye. This is where I opened up and those two lighting sources and my most dominant lighting source is now when I started shooting in the studio when I started shooting at this studio obviously the first thing I do is hang kittens there's no curtains in the studio today so I'm going to show you a few hacks because sometimes you'll be shooting somewhere where there are no curtains and I'm also going to show you a couple of ways around it I've also got two options I've got a four hundred dollar later light scrim now felix made me buy this monstrosity and it pretty much stays up in my studio all the time it falls down every now then and scares the hell out of my puppy but really is quite a remarkable piece of equipment for status it's light it's with its weight in gold but it's gold that's four hundred dollars and when you starting out I would never have been out with a budget four hundred dollars for a scream and I certainly wouldn't have spent four hundred dollars on a scrim when I can buy fabric for twenty bucks ex so I'm going to show you why the scream it's so good and the heck version of it because I've always hecht everything john I'll have they're ok in my camera big and it winds up really small it's polly's to chiffon I have carried this piece of fabric in my camera big for over eight years I don't think I've ever washed it I was just thinking it goes everywhere it lies on the ground it's a lot it doesn't smell bad I don't quite know but I pretty much take this with me everywhere this is pre scream day's so for eight years I pretty much do this and if I can find ah hook or a rail I've got clamps in my bag I will do anything I will make a strange I will charm a stranger in the park toe hold us before may because that there is the ultimate scrim I've got enough to double it up I've got enough to triple it I've got enough to quadruple it and it's pretty much what I do so I said to the guys when I sit up last night I thought can somebody like give me a railing or a bit of string and they built me this amazing rig which is so cool because it's not really reminiscent of you know how my heck vision I mean look at my great look at my great rig but look at that that is beautiful light it's beautiful diffuse light for fifteen backs and should I tell me you can't diffused the light? And secondly if I had a dollar for every time somebody asked me where they could buy a leaflet or a polystyrene cheap from I'd be very wealthy uh the leaflets and the poly boards come from this my very first studio head be wal k the film industry have used it for a hundred years they call it bead wall because it's actually polystyrene beads all stuck together in one big sheet you can buy it insulation stores, home depot planning's wherever you want to go, you buy them I buy them for twenty dollars they're the size of this so therefore by eight feet they are the single best source off reflected light that you can buy their light there's been in my studio for twenty six years I find them in every country I go teo found them in new zealand film in australia founder in l a and so when people say I can't find them anywhere I always just get this pasha pain behind my eye because I can find them everywhere I just google polystyrene and when I first came to creative live and I did a shoot here they brought these out and they said, oh, we don't have any polly boards but we got you some v flats and the flat would you know if is white on one side and black on the other and it's made from foam core okay, I've had people buy it at supply stores of head people buy it but largely most professional photographic suppliers sell them as the flats. When I moved to los angeles I called every year so I said, hey, do you have deflects the light year? They're seventeen ninety nine as it connive eight of them are they delivered them my gift taped them together myself black gift tape on the black side white gift tape on the white side and they are easy there smaller than polly board but you'll probably find polly board too easy to find I don't care I'll take either because watch what I do with them it will really blow your mind, okay? But the crazy part about the v flit is they also double is a backdrop so you know not the best thing to travel with because they're not going to fit in your car this you've got a really big truck, but for the studio, one of the based systems of lighting you can actually get, so that means I've got a fifteen dollars scream I've got a city five dollar deflect backdrop and that's all I need to make three thousand dollars in daylight and so I was like, give me a camera give me a woman give me some window light, give me a b flat and give me the ability to diffuse and bounce that light and I am in business, dad, is it for me? I don't need anything more I need one good camera and one good computer to work my images and that's it I'm a business, so when you're looking at lights and they're looking at how expensive they are, I don't need really to go much further now before I start shooting I'm just going to show you this this here is my studio currently at home this is my shooting room it's not a big shipping room it's a decent size master bedroom size and I live in los angeles so luckily los angeles gets a little bit more godlike than the rest of the world on dh so there is lots of light in my in my in my city ah lot of the time so I'm going to show you what to do in low light but obviously I'm in lots of light in fact I'm the opposite to most people I suffer from too much light okay, so often I have bright light now one of the most simple things I can show you is exactly my model there on the screen on the lift image she has no reflector and she's standing side onto the windows at a forty five angle back from the window so let me show you this I'm going to put the scrim up I'm gonna put it here and what I'm gonna do it so it doesn't fall I'm actually just gonna lean it there because a little bit of angled light it's gonna be great it's not going to hurt us at all I'm going to get danny out to stand on the each of my window light so I want the window light to just sweep across her like this very nicely now this is a game of light so we could like this we take a step away we take a step backwards okay, very good and I'm going to show you what danielle looks like right now through the camera in this light okay, now I want to show you exactly and you can hold this image up there so I met two point eight and I met six hundred forty of secret six I mean six forty I saw two point eight emmett to fiftieth of a second look at the the light that's coming in on the right side is daca now john come and stand ok on it mind come understand and give me some reflected now look how big this reflected light sources that's all I need okay, so I'm gonna put it up and I don't care about her body so I came or about a face that can go side raced on like that all the way around and down okay and all I have to do is read the light around her face so I look at it as wrapping light so I always let go I do this to my assistant there I'll go at this and I move it and then I see where it looks great and that's my this is my little heck okay, so that's my reflector its phone call I just cut a piece off an old phone now look at the difference so you've got that dot right there and then I'm here okay and look at just one little reflect of it all I need is to bounce that up. Did it hold ok now that too may is the beauty light that I want a wick with. Okay, now in a perfect world I would have somebody like john following my model around all day holding a phone call piece and you don't get a you don't get an assistant that's just the way it is when you start out you don't get an assistant for a long time so if john wasn't with me and you can go with your reflector I have I can hold a digital I'm not kidding I can hold a digitalis ala a reflector and a hair dryer in heels with two hand it's all right and I will do anything it takes you can also get a lighting stand, clamp it and put it on like a music shape or you have a big he fled at home let's say you've got a big beef for that time. All I have to do is this and technically that's just a superior light source and that's a superior light source because it's it's larger so it's equaling the amount of light on both sides it's hitting her face let me take a t shirt and show you what I'm getting ten down just a touch denny are now what danielle was doing as she is sitting um right on the edge of this window light the light is sweeping across here or it's big and soft right there isn't it? So that's two point eight six forty I so now what I loved the most here is all I need to do now is at a fan into here here and I have a cover shot and I know that no matter what where I go I have that cover shot now let's go back to my slides window light with reflector window light without reflector okay here's the deal let's slide this big john so even concede because I'm cutting off cameras let's hear anything about teaching my genre photography is my beef let's cover up all the cameras this is what we do if we've got too much light. Okay, so if that's a really had light what do you do? You diffuse the window even more or you do this take a step back. Take a step over here. Okay, take it. Step over here, take a step inside that light. Okay, so let's, try it bringing the ve flicked give me a black corner now this is how I used to be flat as a backdrop this is how I used to be played by a window step for danielle now these are the funniest things you will ever use okay all the way in john and around danielle step forward okay and it's coming around so I'm going to create an l and I'm not going to do it back from the window I would do it back from the window if the light was hash okay danielle stanton here and it's a little bit too v so let me come around a little bit more and I'll go is pushed this around here these are the funniest things you'll ever work work with also one of the funniest things you'll ever do is they'll start falling on people because they do fall over you know if they get a little bit of wind or if you knock them or the fan knocks him over and people don't just go old that polly board is falling on me and they go oh you don't like the wall's forty they're always making okay we're still not in position can we move that back? Sorry I don't ever love a space today but here's the thing I don't have a lot of space in my studio I want to create a gorgeous just the other one john got behind yeah because I just want a little bit more room I'm just going to show you how I put the v fled on the e dge on the edge of the light thank you there it iss okay and she steps back here now in here now I have a whole different lighting scenario because it's taking and I'll have a reflector kate or jon um and now I wanna let me take one without a reflector so everyone can see what light I'm getting okay I want you to step on I stay there I want you to turn your body towards make good girl just towards just let okay now she's quite close to the window and it's hard and I want to lighten it up so this is not good because I see this and I see the light and I think it looks a little bit had I can't holding their teeth all right now take a step towards john okay now john springing in a side lights it's evening out the light and take a step away from the window that bring it round john sweeping around that's it and ten down good girl stay they asked and then that's nice and even so I've softened it up a little bit I bought in a reflector she's not so close to the background and that's where I want to work ok? And so I'm pretty much conduce this with any backdrop I just change out the backdrop she's going to stay in the same place the whole time and all I'm going to do is change hippos is I'm going to change here props and I'm going to give her five different outfit changes in an hour and I'm going to give her at least eighty five different poses and I've created an entire folio of natural light. Okay, window light without reflector window like with reflect a hot light. Okay, you just got to get them away from the hot light. Now the most interesting thing about hot light is normally too much light. Too much light is too close, but as you pull light away gets harder. Correct so when the light is really high and really had what you need to do is try and get as much light into the room a room, but surround people in the flats surround them and reflectors to get them away from the window and closer to the reflected light that is going to be the most important thing you could do away from the hottest source and into more reflected bounce light which is actually the opposite to artificial light, because the further away out official like gets the harder it gets, where is the further away you get from heart light heart netter alight and the more you bounce and soft light, the softer the look so let's have a look why all right, we're not why, but let's have a look how I get round it now flat light is so interesting to me if we didn't have that backdrop there, I would push that deflect right to the corner. So it's a good two meters away from the window now, there's a lot of ambient light in this space and enough too light her up but completely fled. So if you see the diagram on the screen right now, I'm going to either push her, fled against that far corner or fled against the left side. But it's going to completely flatten out the light. I also think it looks beautiful. And sometimes when you've got too much, like coming in the window, perfect space for you. Okay? And that's what? I shot in that flat light. Now, one of the favorite things too, does is shoot by the window. What I just did with danny out in that beautiful black beef lamb. So I'm just gonna take a couple of shots because she looks gorgeous. And why not? I just want to show you what it looks like, john, you can come in and give me some reflection. This is here. Notice how the v flits not completely. Fleck to the wall it's feathering in just a little wee bit. Okay, so where I want john, more importantly, is around here, okay, because what what's actually go up and down to even conceive here now the reflektor yeah if you give me some more space that okay so I'm just gonna take a couple of shots so we can just be like oh isn't she pretty oh okay I turned down a little touch between your body towards me danny out that's what? I want you to re election mouth like a good girl and chin down just chin for just a tickle I can lips together just give me a little weak baby smile good girl I love that thank you and I love to pull back here take a step towards john stop okay and I want there and what I would really love right now is I'm somebody too blow some fan and here here and I always joke about this one of the best here drives you can actually buy watch this one of the best here below us you can actually buy is foam core see that it's good, huh? Your big fan are you okay now and a normal well they have a hair dryer okay, but unfortunately when you're broadcasting it sounds that way yes. Let me just get this come in. I just want to take a shot for everybody so you put a nice big fan and who here chin towards me just attach good girl good get a little bit more cake come on, kate, we're good cape okay, just relax math lips together you can come close. Okay? Come on, albert greece kate come on like I can see you now back up a little again here this thank you. Got my shot? Uh, okay. Get here dry other than make a deal work out all right from here. Go back to my keynote, esso I work on that. This black v flint has become my goto you know why it doesn't shoot black? Okay, shoot kind of a mid mid cold grey and it's so beautiful every client loves it it's gorgeous and black and white gorgeous and high contrast looks beautiful with color faded filters on alien skin because it takes down the back drop even more takes the density out of it. It is the sexiest, cheapest, most fabulous thing I own. Okay? And I just ever since I met you, the boys that creative live three and a half years ago I've had these leaflets in my studio they'll pretty much lived with me for ever because this black backdrop is my favorite now ah lot of people say to me, what is the backdrop? And I'm like it's fine corps night but what is the backdrop it's a sheet of foam core like really it's fine core you'll see them, I work a lot and I absolutely adore it