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Lesson 1 from: On-Location Light and Lighting

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

1. Introduction

Mark gives an overview of the class and the topics we'll cover. We meet our model and the production team.
Next Lesson: Dynamic Range

Lesson Info


Hi, everybody. Welcome to On-Location Light and Lighting, I am Mark Wallace. This class is all about shooting on location in sunlight or anytime you need to balance ambient like sunlight inside maybe a building or anything like that, taking a studio strobe, or a speed light or anything in between and working with those two things, that's what this class is about. Location stuff. And so speaking of location, we are in a great place, we are in a backyard here that is spectacular and so we are gonna be shooting at this wonderful fireplace, we have this pool that is... I mean, one of my favorite places. This is my friend Keith and Maggie's house. They have been so gracious to let us shoot here. You'll see us shooting and also notice this light is high noon, really hard shadows and when we look at where I am standing right now, you can see that I'm in this shaded nice backyard patio but behind me, that really nice light looks like I don't know, the apocalypse, something like that. It's real...

ly, really bright. And so we're gonna be talking about how do we fix that? How do we take and fix the light that's here, really not so bright with that really, really crazy light. That's the stuff that you will face on location all the time. Now, the other thing that we have done intentionally here is we're shooting at high noon, in the middle of the Arizona's sun and we're doing that intentionally because if you can learn to control this kind of light, then you can control pretty much any light, at any time of day, preferably you're shooting at golden hour in the morning or right as the sun is setting or sometime in between or maybe a cloudy day, something better than what we're doing. But again, if you can control this light, you can control any light. Now, speaking of great places, we also have a fantastic model and so Sydney's here, the last time we shot I think it was studio lighting essentials right here on Creative Live as well. Sydney's gonna be helping us shoot a bunch of different things. We're gonna be doing technical things and some really cool portraits and we're even doing a bikini shoot, that's gonna be really cool and so thanks for being here today Sydney. Okay, well, let's dive right in. What is the thing that we're trying to solve? Well, the problem is light. The light is no good and the solution is, well, it's not so easy but I've broken it down in this sentence. So our solution is to use an external flash to add an appropriate amount of flattering light to a scene, while still capturing the available light to the best of our ability. Okay, we look at this sentence and we can clearly see three things that we have to address. The first one, is the appropriate amount of light. What is the appropriate amount of light? Well that all has to do with exposure. How do we get a correct exposure? Now, when you go on location and you add a flash, you no longer have one exposure, you have two. You have the ambient light, that's all the light that we can't control, all this stuff behind us here outside the sun. We can't turn the sun up or down, we have to just work with what we have and then we have the light from our flash. It doesn't matter if that's a speed light, an off camera flash, a full on studio light, well, we have to control that exposure as well. We're gonna go into great lengths to explain how to control those two things, so you will be a master of that at the end of this class. The second thing is flattering light. So how do we get the appropriate amount of flattering light to our scene? Well flattering light has to do with our light modifiers. So we're gonna take what we learned in understanding light and light modifiers, we're gonna apply that to on-location shooting. So the lighting modifiers that we're using are a certain shape and size for a very specific reason and so I'll be showing you that as we start to shoot. And the last thing we have to deal with is the available light. And so we'd want to try to mix this light that's out there, that we showed you in the backyard and with the shade or maybe we can control that available light or maybe, we just work with available light. Maybe that's the best solution. And so we'll be working on those different things. How do we shoot in really bright, harsh sunlight? How do we do that with the flash, without a flash? How can we mix indoor lighting like we have right here in the shade and balance that with really bright outside light and then we're gonna walk through all of those things. Once you master this, then you will be a master of shooting at any time of day. I also want to remind you, there are some bonus materials on the class page. There are some discounts on some freo gear that's for your speed lights, there are discounts on tether tables for this, there are also some worksheets. We're gonna be going through those worksheets and I highly encourage you to download those and print them out because as we're going through each lighting set up in each scenario, you can follow along and fill in the blanks and once you get in the habit of doing that, you'll be able to master the light wherever you are. Okay, the first thing we have to understand is dynamic range. Why is that such a problem? What is it? So we're gonna do that next.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Flash Exposure Worksheet
Frio Grasp Mini Discount
Tether Tools Pro Kit Discount
Tether Tools Starter Kit Discount

Ratings and Reviews


An excellent real-life exploration of basic lighting techniques that can really make a difference. I especially appreciated the explanation of high-speed sync and the outdoor demonstrations with light modifiers. This is a perfect add-on to Mark's Understanding Light course.

Bill Johnson

Marc created a great class. Early on in the class things went slow and methodically through the basics. This is important. He could have told us but instead he lead us to discover...a much more powerful learning method. Then came all the different approaches and problems, Plus if you don't feel confident, it's here to go through again if you purchased or subscribed. I give the class 100%

Thomas WIlliams

This is a great look at methods of using natural and artificial light on location. It is very informative as well as entertaining to see Mark on set as a working pro and making a few mistakes. This is a practical and easy to understand course. We’ll done!

Student Work