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One-Light Portrait Photography

Lesson 9 of 10

Shoot: Beauty Dish With Grid

Dan Brouillette

One-Light Portrait Photography

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

9. Shoot: Beauty Dish With Grid


Lesson Info

Shoot: Beauty Dish With Grid

I wanna do one more thing with using this grid. What we're gonna do is, Joe, I'm gonna have you move back about two steps, and I'm gonna follow you, and I'm just gonna show you the difference with using this grid and not. So you will see a little bit of a shadow cast here. Take one step forward. And we're gonna light this pretty neutral, about 45 degrees around our little perimeter here, our lighting radius. We'll go back to F8. I think I hid the meter from ya, here we go. Should be ready to measure, boom. 12 1/2, gotta go down a stop and 1/3, oops. That might've done something funky. Eight, so what I wanna do, is I wanna shoot this just as is, the background will be a little bit gray, it might have a weird vignette on it due to the beauty dish. Looking right here, one, two, three. Yep, so essentially, it's the same light as what we had in the last shot but the background's catching a little light. Now I wanna take that grid off and show you what the real power of the grid is. So you'l...

l notice, we were just at F8, I'm not gonna change the power of the light, so we're gonna truly know how much light we lose by putting a grid on there. So we went from F8 to F10, so it took off 2/3 of a stop. So what I need to go down is 2/3, measure one more time, we should be golden here. Boom, eight, that's what we want. All right, so let's do the exact same shot. All right, one, and our background's gonna get lighter, and we're gonna have a lot less, or we'll have a lot more spill. So there you go. All we did was take off that grid, and look what happened. So it's just a totally different look, and a different way to use the beauty dish, if you want less of that spot on the background, you just gotta move the light away or angle it more towards the background. But really that's, when I'm messing around in my studio, experimenting and trying to kind of add to the knowledge that I have in situations that I can handle by knowing, okay, I'm confined to this small space with one light, what can I do? How can I make this background brighter or darker? How can I move the shadows? How can I take a dramatic image? How can I make a softer image? It's all about what you know about the parameters of one light. So again, just to go over the full range, we went from one light, up close, one light, changing the background color, changing the angle of shadow, changing our, we never changed our background and we never changed our apertures throughout this entire, or our camera settings in general throughout the entire exercise. But yet, we changed so much within the shot all by using just one light and knowing how to manipulate that light to fit the mood we want. So we have the full range, and my favorite part being the techy nerd I am, is that every shot is perfectly exposed because taking the time to meter really takes off the time you have on the backend. I know, I just did image critique over the lunch hour, and so many of the images are either overexposed or underexposed. And for me, it's like, you just gotta push one button on your light meter and you would handle all that. And because I haven't done anything to these at all and yet, we have this full range of images without having spent any time on the computer other than me clicking through. And we have a lot of variances. So I think it's pretty fun to play around with, it's amazing what you can do with one light, so don't let anybody tell you that you need to buy all the gear in the world, even though, sometimes, that's fun too. Alexis will tell you that, in the back of the room. Any questions, by the way, now that we're totally done with all the studio stuff? You mentioned in that one picture of the girl with the white wall and the shadow, that you've done some editing on that. So I'm curious, how much of the white in the backdrop are you able to achieve in studio? For this particular image, this light was fairly square to the wall, there's a little bit of shadow. So if you follow the shadow backwards, the light's about here, and I believe I was using a silver umbrella just like the one that's now collapsed over there. So most of it, I'd say there might have been a small vignette out here that went gray, but it was nothing that didn't take a minute in Photoshop to fix, at most. Because I had metered for her and she was so close to the wall, the wall was pretty well white, I'm almost positive it had vignetted off a little bit on the side, but nothing more than a minute of making it a little brighter.

Class Description

It's amazing what you can create with just one studio strobe. Editorial and Award-Winning photographer Dan Brouillette shows how to get amazing and different lighting with the simplest of gear. Whether on-location, or in the studio, he'll use one-light in a variety of different ways to create everything from soft and pretty looks to hard, edgy portraits. While taking advantage of a number of different lighting modifiers, and utilizing just one strobe- you'll have a strong studio on the go for your portrait photography. 


Ryan Redmond

I have mixed feelings on this one. I would still recommend it because the theory and explanations are solid and he gave a wide array of examples that show you the incredibly broad spectrum of results you can get with a given light just by changing distance and position. Having that general understanding of the fundamentals will be very useful. I'm a little bummed that he's using thousands of dollars in lighting for something that felt like it was promoted as an introduction or fundamentals class. I am a hobbyist and I am using speedlight and small softbox or umbrella combos that cost under $100, not 500 watt strobes in 60" softboxes or $1500 strobe and beauty dish combos. It would have been nice to see some examples with more basic equipment. I know the concepts will scale with some practice though, so the class was certainly still valuable.

a Creativelive Student

Fantastic little course. I knew a lot of this stuff already but still learned a couple things, too. I love seeing how different photographers explain the same things and Dan was crystal clear and highly effective. Glad I bought this course.


Brilliant course for beginners. Would like to have seen some comparative examples with slightly cheaper gear, but that is for the individual to experiment. The inverse square law theory of light was a great help to me.