Lighting Setup


Bellies & Babies


Lesson Info

Lighting Setup

We're going to go through the equipment very quickly we will be utilizing these tools throughout the weekend a cz well as other lighting sources so because my specialty is babies and children it also means that I don't get the chance to sit and stop and explain everything I don't have opposable models that will is it like blue forever? So I understand that when we're shooting I always try to teach as I shoot but I speak very quickly too so there's not a lot of stop in question and answer so I'm going to try to answer some of these questions and now is really a good time for you to ask anything technical you know I was like you're gonna make me look dumb just kidding and hopefully after twenty four years I can answer it but I want to go through the things first of all, I truly believe in stability I shoot in the camera we're going to go through equipment on another day but I shoot in the studio on a stand a big stand that's ah it's called a studio titan I'll show you that later when I'm...

on location I always shoot on a tripod uh this is manfredo big shout out to manfredo they're wonderful sponsors of ours a sponsor our tours I have had this tried not this exact one but mine at home I've had it since I was seventeen years old, the number is zero. Five maybe you could actually find all of my equipment if you go to sandy push dot com there's a gear page on dh we just put up every single thing I we use and you can link to it right there. So sandy pushed dot com and you could find all of this stuff they're saying not to write down too much, but this tripod again, as I said, I've had it since I was seventeen years old, I'm going to show you why it's so important when people think of tripods, um, they think of a ball and chain everybody thinks that this is the most uncomfortable, horrible way to work, but the reason they think that is they're thinking like this, you know, the whole pull the legs out by the time you get three legs out, you've got kids everywhere, right? So what I want to show you this is this quick release on this is the only tripod that has this. There are three lovers here, I'm using these fingers and ellen a thumb, and it gives me the ability to do mighty mighty fast, and I love watching your faces when I do that isn't cool, he sort of has you said, have the camera that's usually a jaw dropper for people I because of in boots and I don't normally shoot in this attire in fact I don't normally wear shoes so that would be the farm life but as you can see I have the ability to go down to the ground and typically I work this fast I can go everywhere now this is a brand new out of the box tripe on give it a week in these legs or superfluid but you'll see when I shoot I use my legs all the time I'm like a barbie doll here but again this is the key these releases I can release all three legs at one time I can also release one leg at a time so there's no other tripod that could do that now everybody is going to go that's awesome I wanted and then they're going to say how heavy is it because that that I know these ladies here thinking had I've shot this for twenty five years for twenty four years um I go all over the world just like this now if we since there hundreds of hundreds of us out there if we contact man photo they actually call this the sandy puts tripod at man photo I'm trying to get them to build a chick version like a a little version so I want all of you to flood man photos facebook page and tell them you want the small zero five six feet right zero five eight b I'm sorry because this is not that heavy and I would absolutely not go anywhere without it but it would be nice to get away slightly lighter one uh head that I'm using is a pistol grip it's a man photo to to to this does give me the ability to go horizontal and vertical very quickly um I typically use the seventy two, two hundred so I could go horizontally and vertically here but if I'm using another lens of prime linds I have that as an option is well, so this is my baby and I go everywhere with it as I said, stability is critical to me um if you're going to want to work as fast as I shoot, you have to work from a stable source and you'll see why as I'm shooting in fact watch when I'm photographing live sessions tomorrow very rarely will you ever see me behind the camera like this? I almost do all of my shooting from this side of the camera I pre compose and then I talked to my subjects I tickle them, I play with them there's a lot of control I have there, so you're gonna love that one but there's no light on you, but I have that control and so you'll see I'm never behind the camera all then you know, recomposed be back here. Okay, look right here. Okay? We got you right there. This gives me the ability to never lose eye contact with the child we're dealing with babies this time I hope to come back someday and new children but that is important with the child because if you've got them locked on they're not thinking about anything but you so I cannot be back here and I cannot be doing this all the time so stability is critical now I would say that in a normal session I spent about eighty percent of my time using a stable source of tripod or a camera stand always about twenty percent of my time. This is a q r p a quick release plate I'm gonna pop it off and I'm going to run around and catch those for photo journalistic style fun chasing the baby running around crazy shots that's my playtime but I'm going to first in the first eighty percent of the time I'm going to get the sellable shots they're all gonna be in focus. They're all well, we hope they are and I'm gonna have that control I'm not gonna lose the momentum. One of the things I promised to you today was to teach you how to do a newborn session in twenty minutes with phenomenally sellable images um and again I couldn't do it without this when I watched photographers shooting this is obviously you know, the most popular lens in our industry twenty, seventy two, two hundred great compression when I see photographers holding this we're working with a small child they're holding in one hand trying to tickle the child and I'm watching their hand go like this you know? I know they're having focus issues for sure there's no way a way you could do that I struggle to hold that camera um and to interact with a child and hand hold the camera is nearly impossible so I'm not saying you can't do it I'm not saying that I'm right you're wrong if you never touch a tripod is not going to hurt my feelings at all I'm saying that to have the speed and the flexibility and to do what I do I couldn't do it without this other tools camera strap I do not shoot with a camera strap in the studio because I'm tethered I will have one on because we're gonna have a ladder tomorrow will be above a baby typically I have a very sturdy stan that could not tip over I'll have a strap on if you're certainly safety is always our primary so it is smarter if you could be holding a pound camera over a child to probably have something like this they are a nuisance to me I'm not gonna lie that's why I use something else but I I would not if you see me doing it. Um, please don't judge me, okay? Safety is have never dropped the camera on anyone's face yet. And I don't intend. Teo ah, couple other things pocket wizards er, this is from the mac group we use pocket wizards as our receivers and transmitters way have here. We just have our traditional the pocket wizard plus twos. We also have the newer versions that were able to high speed, sinking some other fun things with which we won't be touching this time. So pocket wizards are what are remotely firing the lights. And I know some of this is very elementary, but you have to understand there are people out there who literally don't know what a receiver and transmitter is. And I remember the first time somebody told me I had been with a cord for probably six years, so this fire's delight there's one in my there's, one on the camera and, of course, there's one on the light, receiving and transmitting that information. It does make things a whole lot easier when you're dealing with them let's see what else? In addition to that, mars will stay on the mat group here with the macro way have the sick khaneqin, the imac group, pocket wizards and so iconic brands are both with the mac group I've had a meter since the day I was born as a photographer and I will die with a meter in my hand I did go through the digital they call it revolution I call it destruction where we all gave up our meters and said I don't need a meter just look at the back of the camera it looks good um you understand when shooting with studio strobes that's not an option you can not I mean you can keep shooting and trying to guesstimating reading a history, ma'am but I don't have that much time with kids I can't keep look last sorry uh we're gonna switch these too in a second I can't keep looking at the back of my camera and hoping that once I get it right that child's gonna die probably miss it's every opportunity that any of you got it this time cool so we're gonna talk about lights and like placements before and one last thing because this is awesome our goal is always to show you cool tools so hang the meter for a second this is also man photo in our studio this is the light stand we use they called this what is the number on this one? This is two three one b it's also a sandy puts dot com gear page two three one day but what I want you to run a sea is this I can go all the way to my work with kids and go all the way to the floor all the way up to the ceiling in a tenth of a second I think of camera stands just like you think of tripods I don't want to be doing this my child's halfway out the universe by then so most of my work is on the floor I don't want to be messing around on the floor when I could actually have the soft but box touching the ground that's pretty awesome if you don't have room for this they're smaller versions of this um again these air luxury items that over time you start to go hey, you know what'd be worth doing an extra job to get one of those because it would save me lots of time that I could go home and be with my family. So this is a man photo stand um we're working with photogenic ce today photogenic studio strobes the's a twelve fifty's I believe we have both twelve fifty's uh this is pretty much the staple of my studio when it comes to studio strobe lighting I use equal amounts of studio strobe and continuous light tomorrow I'm going to showcase the west cuts lights love my west god's love my photogenic ce for different reasons I'm a huge have you seen the water that's what look, I love natural lights um I cut we so showed earlier I cut windows out of my building I literally cut the walls down things to get that natural light in there and so I use continuous light in my studio as an accent light to the natural light just to give me separators and kickers. If I were in a tiny dark space, I would use continuous light as my main light which would work as well. But people always say which one better there's no answer there because it's impossible! I need them both. You have to decide if you can only have one. You have to decide what the final outcome is. Continuous light is wonderful, but there's um issues with er shutter speeds and isos and apertures because obviously there's only a certain amount of light you can get out of them. So if you have a very busy toddler that's running around like crazy, continuous life, there is a risk that you're going to have some focus issues unless you bump that I s so so high and out of my comfort zone. So with busy little children typically the one year old, we're probably gonna spend a lot of time with studio strobe studio strobes, khun stop motion that sixteenth of a second that's what I'm looking for, I need a lock them down and get that shot and needs to be in focus, and I need it to be well lit, so there are many reasons to go back and forth between the two and I literally every single session that comes in, I would say forty percent studio strobes and maybe sixty percent is continuous with natural light combination. They look totally different, they feel totally different. Another reason that I like these lights for what we're about to do is the control I work with soft boxes, and, um, I work with stuff soft boxes and strip flights to do this type of work I want explain this set up real quick because in my studio, this is actually a pretty traditional set up here. Anybody, family, children, seniors, whatever comes in here, you're probably going to see a three by four soft lock box as my main light. You're going to see a three by four reflector, this is a super silver reflect. Ah, and again, this is all on my web site, you're going to see a super said, this is my favorite, by the way, these reflectors are phenomenal for controlling light. We use the mainly outside because they have the ability to control like you can lock things down, as opposed to those big, wobbly ones that the wind blows away. So this is great son bounce makes an incredible one they're great company so that's one that I would recommend so this is three by four reflector this is larson's strip our sorry larson's story before stuff back um and this also is a larson's fourteen by forty eight I believe yes fourteen by forty eight this is my standard studio set up I also want to make sure that you note that these are egg crates this is my favorite light modifier when it comes to studio strobes uh eight crates create control they tighten up the light space it's very light in here so it's hard for you to see this but you can imagine you could just see it with your eyes visually when we open that up the light broadens by using a crates we compress it down our lights and we're going to go through. These images were notorious for what we call a kicker light a separated the the light that separates the body as you can see off of the background that is what separates an amateur from a professional the use of light the knowledge of how to use that light so I'm just fanatic about these kickers now this is standard set up and if I were doing like a family portrait we might have so you pull it over here real quick since we might not get to talk about it tomorrow we may have a third light just bring it in here all the way in we may if this were a family portrait we might have a background light. This is a twelve fifty I would probably use the six twenty five which is about half the power and these are great air. This is a honey comb grid and this is same thing you understand it's controlling the light and it's actually creating this is creating the vignette I'm going to go through this in slides and talk to you about it this I would use to separate the subject from the background. So these were the light sources that I would usually know. What we're doing today is we're gonna do a madonna portrait a mother baby. Now we're using our special baby here and by the way, on break I was trying to turn its head and people I didn't realize people were watching up there and I think they were horrified, so I was like, it doesn't have a turntable heads that's going to make this a little challenging, but it's not a real baby. Make sure everybody knows that. So this is our little subject we're gonna use karen out of the audience as our model karen this is I'm going to talk frankly shoot karen has just had a baby, by the way, but she looks fat tastic! But I want to talk a little bit about moms who have just had babies in sessions. In fact, we were talking about this on the brake in this session. This is our madonna session. Remember the one I said that makes you the most money that's the highest seller I wanna make sure you guys get this right in those sessions. We do want mom and dad to be present and in the consultation we do give them all the information on clothing and what to wear and how to look and how much makeup. Now the question I always get is what if they don't want to? And I always say they don't have an option. It's not optional if they come in, they've had the consultation and it says in the notes, mom does not want to be photographed soon as she comes in, I will talk to her about being photographed, even though she's made it clear she doesn't want to because I can talk to the client and explain to them that you know, I know you just had a baby. I know that you're not feeling totally comfortable about where you are you but I want you to keep in mind in this series. This is not about you you are literally a prop to me your hands might show you might get a little bit of your lips showing maybe a little bit of your cheek but really and truly you're just a prop and I'll be very honest with you if I don't use you as a prop I'm gonna have half of the images that I can offer you with and the truth is if yu if I used you and you love it great and if you don't you certainly don't have to buy anything so if you'll allow me to this two things number one you're gonna have a lot more choice number two your baby is going to be more comfortable in your arms and is going to give me a longer session so that's something that I want you to think about if you really truly not comfortable don't do it but if you trust me then let me give this a try and if it doesn't work you're not going to hurt my feelings if you don't purchase that word was really important that I said if you trust me because they already trust you they came to you they want they hired you so to speak there to trust you but you've now acknowledged that you're going to take care of them so let's talk a little bit about the choice of not using that kicker lahr that excuse me that background light when we're dealing with moms who have just had babies um what's their number one concern there wait correct their body how much weight they're carrying especially we're talking a ten day old baby nobody likes the way they look were puffy were carrying water and I know that and my goal is not to humiliate people and frankly if you do that, you don't sell a lot of nice portrait's anyway, so that doesn't work, so the first thing you have to account for is the body I don't care very one out of every hundred women walks in and I go you just had a baby most of them it's pretty clear they've had a baby, so the first thing I want you to think about is the set up because we want normally we use light to add and create dimension and we're going to cover that in slides later, but I want you to think about her body what is the best choice of background for somebody that's carrying weight black a dark background, what is the best choice of clothes clothing for somebody that's carry weight black and dark clothing black on black subtracts and takes away so in this case I don't want this light uh, because I don't need to separate her I don't want to create any shaping around here I want to focus my goal is this right here it's all about mom and baby and that is on ly that's my entire target right there so we're going to go with a dark background on this background is by westcott and tomorrow we're gonna be shooting with west got continuous lies they've got some gorgeous background so you can check out as well it's not pitch black they actually have this in pitch black I wish I would've brought that one but keep in mind that using light we're going to pull the lights off of the background it's going to be pretty close to the black unless I keep this light in we're not going to see much of that background so we can't even take a background like this and make it black now real quickly I will have bread and help me out and switch these two because I said this is the typical set up in my studio I'm going to show you a madonna portrait setup remember we talked about weight being the biggest issue so typically not always um but typically I'm going to switch the two of these now I usually don't manually switch it I pushed this one back in this one forward because I don't want to waste a lot of time, but in this case we've got cords that air lined up the way they need to be so what we're talking about here all right we're back together here now I'm gonna re meet because we didn't get to the meter yet um now we're going to switch that horizontal all right, good deal so in my studio if I were to push my life back real quick now what I have here is a big light flooding this way and a small light here so my main light just became a very small light source. What I'm actually doing is cheating because I'm going to bring this up in and now what I'm going to do is take my reflector and go like this and what did I just do? What is that? What is this now strip light thank you it's a strip light so I just cheated, didn't I? I could put a new strip light on there but I have minutes with children, not ours so that's my cheat aiken block that light I now have two tiny light sources. What are tiny light sources there? Direct lighting, right? So I can now control how much light is actually hitting the subject. I can hide all of the weight issues that may potentially be a problem, so we're going to meet her these out now treat it typically in my studio and I say typically because I like to think that I'm creative and don't set it f eight and go, but to be honest studio stroh's we said it's f a and go because you know why twenty four years ago a photographer said set it to faa and go and I believed him so that's what? I do f it'sa good. Obviously a good range for exposure and focus. I'm sorry for not exposure for focus. Um, working with any subject. So remember that studio strobe? Only if we go to continuous light I have to meet her too. The lights and it totally changes using a psychotic meter this's the three fifty eight the l three fifty eight meter. Like I said, I will die with the meter in my hand. I will never you will never prove to me that you should not meet her out. Do you know why? Because you teach yourself how to see light with the meter. What happens is after so many years of clicking that, especially with natural light when you click it and you go I knew that was gonna be f ate pretty soon and you become a human meter so I could walk I literally, after this many years could walk in any room. I'll tell you exactly what I s o n exposure and I can make adjustments if I need a bump, my eyes so and change my aperture because I've played with this my whole life my brain has become a meter so visually seeing it is far better than going that looks pretty good I could fix it in photo shop and it's much much better to train your brain that way so my main light is going to be said and we need to bring this one up now since we switched them because what's happened is it was a deaf aid it's blocked a little bit of light with the grids so we'll bring that up just a tiny bit on that one twenty fifth I'm gonna go ahead and I'll shoot one twenty fifth make sure switch over okay down just a hair and another hair sorry who okay we're gonna be just a cleanup fate here is our main light that's much better okay we're f ate is our main light our kicker or separator light it's going to be too hot because you switched it I bet is yet it's we've got to switch it to five six so our main light is f ate our kicker light is one stop less at five six and that's pretty standard little tiny but in tenth of a stuff okay a little bit upset all right so we are five six and f ate one stop less and that's pretty traditional with the work that I'm going to do I want to separate the body but I don't want to blow her up by no means now, usually she's in dark clothing, which helps is well, I selected you because you had long sleeves again. These are all things you're going to think about when you're working with a mom. Who's just had a baby. We don't want to see arms we don't want to see next. Turtlenecks used to be popular, not as popular now, but we're going to try to find ways to work around that. All right, I think we're good to go. The last thing I do want to mention is we do color bound, balance our cameras before we shoot. You already did that. Correct. So we always color belts were fanatics about that. We want perfect captures before they go to photo shop, so that we just have to start working on the artistic elements. So, uh, we use this is a photo vision disc. Um, at least photo vision disc and great balance. Our cameras and we're good to go, so I think that's it.

Class Description

Join renowned children’s photographer Sandy Puc’, as she shows you how to capture enchanting images that tug at your heartstrings and bring big business to your studio. Lessons with tons of hands-on shooting, you’ll learn how to catch natural expressions, what must-have tools every studio needs, and how to roll with any situation to get the best from your tiny subjects. Sandy will also share all her secrets for marketing to mommies, consultations that increase sales, and workflow that leaves more profit in your pricing.


Daniela Moroni

This is my first Creative Live course and I'm very happy with it. I don't have a studio but it was very helpful to understand how to begin a career as a baby photographer. I like the way Sandy explains what she does. You see that she loves her job. I'm glad to have known about Now I Lay me Down To Sleep project. I'm not an english speaker so I'd like there were english subtitles 'cause when she speaks very quickly I miss a lot of words... Thanks Creative Live team!