Shoot: Group with Diffusion


One Light Wonder


Lesson Info

Shoot: Group with Diffusion

In the 70's this is all they had, man. You know? Avadon, he did it right with just this thing. So we can't sleep on our friend the umbrella. And the white shooter umbrella, how's this umbrella gonna work... I'm going to put somebody on the spot. Where's my microphone? I'm gonna be like Donahue here. Do I have to turn it on or anything? No? Okay. Did I hit you in the eye with that? What do you think this umbrella is gonna do? Defuse it. Defuse it. And how so? I'm going to shoot the light through it. What's that gonna do? That's a great question. All these things do a couple of things. What do you think they do? It's a part of my teaching. I make people really uncomfortable sometimes. (laughing) I hope so, I hope so. I think in order to grill, we got to be outside of our comfort zone. You can be sleeping, tuned out, and thinking about I got to check my Facebook, but I know she's paying attention right now. All these things are just going to do simple things. Shining my light thro...

ugh here, what do you think that's going to do to it? You said it. What did you say? Diffuse And diffuse that's gonna make it, what? It's going to make it even, more even. Yes. It's going to make softer. Yes. Right? So we look at all this weird stuff in the studio. We can drill it down to just a couple of things. It's gonna make the light bigger, harder, softer. Bigger, smaller, softer, harder, period. Right? This is just focusing the light a little bit more. This silver reflector. We'll look and repeat and talk about this. It's silver because it's going to magnify the light, right? It's gonna give it a little bit more kick. These lights, strangely enough, have a reflector built into them, so you don't need a reflector. Just a little note about umbrellas ... This is like ... This is a kind of a knob, not really a knob depends on how you want to use the light. It's just gonna be different. If I want this light to be as soft as possible, you see how it's kind of hot in the center, and it's not filling the whole umbrella. It's gonna make it smaller. Smaller the light, harder the light. Spreading it out, getting it to fill the umbrella is gonna be broader and bigger. It's just how you ... I see some people, I see have photo crimes a lot or things I'm like ah what are they doing? What are they doing? Are they thinking... So a photograph's a series of decisions right? And we make them with intention so we just wanna think about that. Sometimes it's a very spontaneous thing, taking a picture right? Other times... So we're just gonna fill the umbrella with it. We're gonna shoot through, it's gonna be soft. We're gonna try to light a little bit differently. And I do think you said it, Rus? Ah I don't know it yet. What is your name? Dylan. Dylan yeah. Spelled strange right? Yeah alright. So you you said it, getting the light up and in, getting a good boom stand, like this is a pretty reasonable investment and I think a boom stand is such a game changer in your light. 'Cuz if I'm just using a pic stand, just a regular stand, yeah. So if I'm just using a regular stand, my options become sort of limited like, it's at the edge of my frame and my light's here or my light's over here and I can't really get the light into this world up here I guess I could with the regular stand where it is. But the boom's gonna give me the option of really being able to move my light around and close. And having the light closer is gonna be a game changer, closer the light, softer the light. I think I'm gonna change the composition, actually we'll just do this first to compare it and then we'll go back, yeah read it. Okay. 5.63. Okay, we'll live with that, sure, 5.63. 5.63, not the best f-stop for shooting a group because it's kinda deep but think in this format they'll be okay or I could just go up to 200 in my eyes so an f8, I think an f8's great right? F8- (inaudible question) Well, there's different things, f8, two stops below your maximum f-stop is gonna be the sharpest part of your lens. So if it stops at 22, that's 16, f11, is gonna be the sweet spot. When you use the middle of the lens, you use optically the best part of the glass. Sometimes when you shoot wide open, using the edge of the glass, there's more defects that could be possible there and when you shoot all the way stop down you're using just the center there could also be defects there, so in the middle, like I say I think it's great. But I would shoot this at five-six because they're pretty tight together. Look how seriously they take it right. They just tune right out there in place. All right so and just side by side that with, with our hard light. So this the soft white umbrella, it's kinda got a little bit of a different mood to it, it's kinda falling a little bit dark and down on these guys. How would I fix that, well the easiest way to fix that would just be throw something white on the floor. Bounce cards. So that's just gonna kick me up. Fill cards are cheap and they're like extra light. Either a light disc or these guys can help you. Might be better Lorenz if you don't lean down so far. Yep cool, alright guys. Oh looking good! Yes. Yes! Alright. So much softer light doing the job falling evenly across them. Why? Light's pretty far away right now, it's falling pretty even, we're not getting any of that wicked weird stuff. This was the hard light, this is the soft light. So different quality and that's just the white umbrella, white umbrella's doing it fine, you know we could move on to, let's just do it with a bigger soft box and try to get a little more shape to it. I think one thing the light's missing right now is any sort of flavor, everything has been sorta flattened from the front. Let's go straight on the stand of this no boom and we're just gonna put it on the side of the shot. Unless the camera people would be better from over here. Would it be better if our big light were over here for your camera angles? Okay. Just trying to think about you, trying to work together. (laughter) Team huh? Team Creative Live yeah! Alright. What's happening right now what are we doing? Yeah we're lighting groups! I know where I am at. I've done this a couple times now. Alright. So just a little, a little one-on-one, maybe you're photo assistant, maybe you're doing some work right? And one mistake I see people make is that they'll sometimes try and put this light on this thing and it's not a good move right? So the better move is just to take it from this thin's on the floor, oh god what's going on? Okay, alright. And we're just gonna drop it in there you understand that? It's like a lot less mechanics on the thing, I don't know. And get me a little bit more room over there Chris. Alright. Ten minutes is an awful lot of time, I work in the entertainment business and sometimes I'll get some guy on set and I'll be like yeah five minutes and there's some pushy publicist with the watch there just like breathing down my neck so. I like that sort of stuff, I like the impossibility with it and if you're not that kind of person maybe shoot still-life or something that's not, you know what I mean? But if you wanna be like a music or entertainment photographer you're gonna get thrown into those situations and it's awesome 'cuz you get to stick your head in the lion's mouth somehow. Yeah let's go a little bit more, everybody up, gonna reset everything. Gonna think about this, gonna look at your heights and stuff, oh god you're so tall. Yeah what's that like? Yeah let's bring that a little bit more on a 45 Chris. Cuz I'm trying to get more volume and shape that's gonna come with my light. There's a little bit more on the side. That's great, and let's crank it way up Chris. Cool that feels good. Yep and let's turn it a little bit this way. Just pan it. A little panning action going on there. Alright I'm gonna have you, probably do something like that. Just get a little bit wide. Cool let me see you come, and I think one thing you gotta do with groups I get right in there with them you gotta be like The Beatles and get in there. So, great yeah, animal space, yeah cool, cross those guns. Looking great. Young lady, right here, you're still our front lady. Come right in there. Come a little bit forward, 'cuz I want you to, many times when you shoot groups you kinda gotta establish the front person, so you wanna do that through composition or whatever works. Cool, cool, cool. And you my man, maybe you're gonna come right in here like I don't know the drummer of U2 or something. The good looking guy. Yeah, you know what I mean? Yeah that looks great. Oh yeah, feeling it. Alright and your height's really working there, you're just fitting in there awesome yeah! I like high fives, they help me team building yeah. Promotes a positive learning environment. Positive learning environment, yeah, read that shit! Oops! (laughter) Oh yeah we got no light there, we gotta crank that thing up, can we do it on the- yeah. What's strange is, I hope I can get this to work, energy. The remote will actually turn the light up so Chris doesn't have to climb up on that ladder right now. Makes my life very easy. Let's hope it worked. Two. Yeah, let me keep going. Let me keep going. Is that on A? It was working yesterday of course. Two Eight. Maybe if I hold it, alright. I'm holding the button down now, it's just cranking. Whoa that's above a nine. That felt great, sixteen, that felt great. That's right in the middle? Yup. Great, we're looking good, we're looking hard, we're gonna try to put some shape to that light. See how that's working. See how that's working. Oops I stepped on my cord. What's gotta happen here? Is there some shapes, some attitude? Direction? Yeah there is, alright we're looking great. Let me see, and I think it's a game changer here, turn and face that light a little bit, you'll thank me later, you know what I mean. You know, you know what I mean? You turn to that light it'll be great for you, you're gonna bring your head around this way and chin out. Cool, step a little forward, great. Spread out a little bit, cool. You can come out a little bit, you can go back a little bit. Yeah 'cuz I added that bigger, softer light. Yeah give it a little spread here, little spread here. Yup great. Step over a little bit Dee, yeah okay. We'll make another mistake here too. Right on, this is looking good. You can step out a little bit too on the end. You can turn a little square to me. And you can, yup perfect. You guys, you guys are photographers, you know what to do, it's not fair, it's not fair, it's not fair. Right on, great, great! Maybe give her a half apple. My half apple. Right on yeah. Yeah this is looking sweet! I'm feeling it. Let's just see the first one where the- when the composition was a little bit too tight and sloppy. This one here? Yeah and go to the last one. I don't know now that I have all that room and that broad light, just kind of like this feels a little bit forced and a little bit, I don't know it doesn't have any sort of movement in it. I like the movement here, the shape here, the all black styling's really helping, her shirt coming out, the half apple there is gonna help her out a little bit. I'm always putting people on half apples. You shoot a band like, I don't know, some bands have like six people in it and it just becomes a problem, you need to get them right. Get them right. Looking good. Great, let's make this mistake. Right, wait for a sec. This is a great mistake right? (laughter) Okay, this sort of when he grows out of her head, like a barnacle right? This sort of head helmet thing. And it's easy to even do it just subtly, just step over in the back just a little, yeah perfect, right, a little bit back. No you're good Dee, so come right there, perfect. You can do it, here, NFG, right? NFG and just come over a little bit. Totally different shot right? So there's little things you know, and what's aggravating is like, you have four people there, many times these four people don't wanna be photographed together. So you gotta hold this space with them and you gotta make the shot the way you want it. You kinda gotta wear the pants and be like this gotta happen, you gotta come here, 'cuz they'll just, they'll ruin it for you real quick right? So a lot more shape and dimension and let's just, let's just keep walking that light straight down, I know we got all that stuff there. But could you maybe help Chris and clear out- oh no he's got it. Cool that's a little bit too far Chris, come back. Yeah cool. Yeah and go really high with it. I don't know it was like Kodak, they used to draw it on the box where you took a picture and the sun had to be, get your microphone there, the sun had to be kinda over your shoulder, you know what I mean, like I tend to just wanna play and improvise and treat the studio like a laboratory. And work on a playbook here so that when I really have to go and photograph an important band I'll be like oh yeah that looked dope, we had a 4x6 soft backs, it was really high up and down. I don't know I'm just playing here, I think it's gonna probably get dark over here but we'll see. Come in tight a little bit. Yeah, come in a little bit more tight. Yeah cool. Alright and can you, can you slide in? Bring your back to her a little bit. And bring your head down, yeah. I'm gonna try just to go tight with the heads and could you bring your head this way. Actually look just look straight ahead towards that light. Gimme hard profile like think deep thoughts, look off frame, think deep thoughts, eyes about here. Yeah Perfect. You can drop your head down here and think pensive thoughts. This is looking good. What's my light now Chris? That's a soft box. No what's it read, could you read it? Wise guy! (laughter) You got 11.9 11.9? Okay. 11.6 . Still sixteen okay. Cool and let's just get a card, I threw that card over there if we could get that on standby Chris. Yeah sure. We've that longer lens? We gotta a longer lens? yeah we got a hundred you want it? Yeah. Yeah can you grab that for me? Alright I want a longer lens I wanna just try and do something with big heads, a little bit of compression. Alright, I turned this off so you wanna check and make sure that I- that's just on standby Doug? You understand standby? It's just there on the fly. Just take it over- just hold- yeah. Standby you know, yeah standby. Alright trying to do the big head thing. Alright Dee where we at? Tighten up! Tighten up young lady. Alright camera's on Chris. This looks great, this looks great. And we're tethered. I just need these heads to come no, you're perfect, Lorenz step out a little bit, look up, think dreamy thoughts, yeah cool. You could slide over a little bit in the back. Keep coming yup. Sweet, and let me see you get squared off to me actually. Yeah and bring your foot behind those guys, like in that little spot right there. Yup and look out. Yeah this is looking good. You're legs aren't even - yes this is good, this is good. Alright Lorenz think dreamy thoughts, you're looking straight at me. What's up? Lens cap's on the camera, I knew that. I appreciate that. Alright where's my... 16 you said Chris? Beautiful. Right on , alright. Looking great, a little bit darker I think it could be. What's that? Alright tighten up we're all serious for a rock band. Let's get that little card for the young lady. We just wanna fill her in a little bit. We use it on the white side. Cool, yeah, we're just gonna, you're gonna come in right here. I don't want you to hold it. You wanna hold this just for a second? Chris, you man the computer, take that apple box with you. Yeah you're gonna sit right here. So you can be really comfortable. Folks are wondering, we know you're shooting at a pretty low aperture, you're shooting somewhere around 11, so you're getting a nice depth of focus, where are you focusing when you're doing these group shots? If you don't mind. Usually your lens is gonna focus 1/3, it's gonna focus 1/3 this way and 2/3 that way. That's how a lens is gonna work right? So if I focus here, it's gonna focus 1/3 in front 2/3 behind. No matter what f-stop you're at they're all gonna be a little bit of a different distance right? So in a case like this I would actually, photo- let this guy's go a little bit out of focus 'cuz she's the singer of the band right? Like I'm not gonna sweat that, but if you want everybody to be tack sharp I would focus here and chances are it's going to become here and here. So I'm using a hundred millimeter lens now, I'm getting more compression, it's kinda bringing everyone tighter together. It's making everyone's heads the same shape. Perfect, yeah, great. Come a little bit, yeah perfect here. You can bring your chair over too so you're not holding it so far out. We're looking great. And I think we're just gonna get a little attitude in the capture one. Yup beautiful. This is great! Let me get in here. So I would focus there. The last one I focused, yup everyone's tight there. I'm actually all the way stopped down, I'm at 22 right now 'cuz I'm using a longer lens too. When I was using the shorter lens, you get more depth of field out of a shorter lens. You know longer lenses are gonna be sorta shallow. Right on, so let's just see, I don't like how she's cropped there. Can you come a little bit lower with that card? Yeah. Yeah there we go. That's the thing. Lorenz just step out a little bit. Perfect. Too far, back a little bit. Yup, in just straight, yes, thank you sir! Great! And now I would rip, I would be like hey, you know talking, once again I'm like stage like a still life then I would rip it and shoot the hell out of it. But that feels, the guys feel like band there, feels good. You get a little attitude, a little sauce. Okay. Right on. Dark, moody, painful, right on. We have, we have a little bit of the inverse square law happening here left to right on the seamless but some of that stuff I'm gonna live with. I'm gonna fix it in post. You know if I wanted to get really finicky, I could throw a flag up there or a GOBO and we'll do that we'll model the light that way. But let's give it up for these guys for modeling. (applause) Yeah get the microphone. Microphone. Just watch your head on that boom camera when you go go back there. My question is what if you have a subject that wants to wear a hat forward? And you have shadow coming down. Well it- Would you just do another fill in a different part of the- Well that's a good question just stay here for a second. Just stand right there. So you wanna wear your hair just like this? Yes. And you want the light coming down? Yeah. Well let's take a look at it and see where it has problems. Could you read it right where he is? 16.4. Alright, so let's take a look at that. Oh dude, (laughter) bring your head down a little bit to make it harder and just give a little tilt. Alright so the question is about the hat, the hat causing problems, the hat giving- the big source is gonna help you first of all. 'Cuz it's gonna wrap and go down there right? It's like smaller sources that are the problem and- and the light's not really positioned so nicely there right now. So let's just walk it around. Can you go a little bit higher with that. That's the highest I got. Yeah? Okay. Yeah you'll sit down. (laughter) And just, I like this 'cuz it's a little bit of a challenge. So turn out a little bit, yeah, this is probably gonna be. Perfect, yeah, that's what we want on standby. So there's a problem there right? A lot of light in your face. Is that kinda what you're talking about? 'Cuz that already looks soft. 'Cuz this kinda looks alright to me 'cuz the light is so soft, it's kinda wrapping and filling in there. If I had a really point hard source that was coming in it would be a nightmare. Was that more what you would like to see? Okay, right on. So we're gonna lose that soft box. The two of you just rip that softbox out. Let's make haste with this come on. Veep, veep, veep, schnell, schnell, come on. Time is money. But work mindfully people. I have questions good. (student) So this light you're using is 1000 watts and there are bunch of lights, 600 watts, do you prefer using the light full power, medium power, does it make any difference? It's gonna depend on how far away my light is from the subject and really where I wanna be on my f-stop. And what I care a lot about sometimes is the recycle of a flash. So recycle is like how long it takes for it to get back up and ready to go. We all know when we use a speed light, right? It's like sometimes you're just like, urgh! Right? You want another frame or the couple's eating the cake and they're having the wedding and you shoot and you stop there in that limbo, that purgatory right? Because your maxed out on power so the recycle is what I care about. These lights recycle hella quick. I guess that's a local word, wouldn't that be a local word? A local word? Okay. (laughter) Making it hard for me. Alright let's raise it up, let's give it hard, let's give it into him. And raise it high up and down. Yeah. Yup, cool. Yeah that'll be great. That'll look like, terrible. Let me turn the energy, 'cuz I can. Yeah it's a difficult question, it's not like I like to be one place all the time when I set the lights. It's really gonna depend one on how much depth of field I want, how quick I want that recycle, sometimes when I'm doing a portrait I like spray and pray. I'll just like (rapid fire noise) I wanna be able to just, I spray and pray sometimes. I confess. I spray and pray. Some people think that's a bad practice, I don't know, I've paid a lot of good money for this thing, it's got a motor drive on it, that thing recycles quick. So let's test, alright. 11.4. 11.4 alright. So sometimes we, eleven and four tenths right? That's the number we get and then we have to do the algebra to like, what is that f13? F14, we talk about it, you know, these are thirds of a stop those are tenths of a stop so you need to do some determining there. Alright this'll look terrible. This is what you're talking about? Kind of right? So the easiest thing is gonna be bounce, if you're doing a huge group, you're gonna have to kinda light them from the front. 'Cuz our only option here is to bring this card in and Chris'll hold it and we'll just kinda noodle and play. So let's start with it far away, and what we're looking is the catch light under the eye too so Chris maybe right in here. We'll just... And this card's gonna behave a lot like the inverse square law too so as we move the light, the card closer it's gonna change. So he's just gonna move it up. And let's go white with it right? Yup and let's go white with it right in here and that's a little bit close so down. That starts, that's probably where I would start to play with it and it would look better. And then even how this light is kinda shaping on his face, I think card needs to be turned down a little bit. The card needs to come here. Yup, turned down a little bit more. Eyes to me, game face. Twinkle twinkle. Yes, right here. Connecting right? So this does it right? Solves the problem. I'm not in love with that hard light, I'd probably think about a soft box but I think does that answer your question a little bit right? Yeah where we started, where we ended up right? Okay, so I got a couple, yeah thank you, right on. Good question. I don't know, let's take a look at this one. This is kind of, can you just scroll through Chris a little bit? Just the hat pictures. So that, the big soft look source, let's just look at that first. This was the huge soft box overhead, I think the softer source is just gonna wrap and fill in better. This is no bounce card either, let's go to the next one. This was the soft source as well? Yeah. Then we went to one hard light we see how the shadows are falling off right? Then we start to kick in, I don't know this starts to look interesting for me Chris. Can you make that black and white, let's just tweak it a little bit. I don't know. I like black and white 'cuz they're the colors of hope and despair. Which my life is filled with. Yeah let's up the exposure a little bit. Yeah, cool, right on. And looks really good over here, I'm sure it looks good on that but, yeah this starts to look at least a little bit, I don't know, it looks a little bit edgy to me and a little bit less predictable right? Another option, and we'll get to this later, will just be adding a second light.

Class Description

We only have one sun, so why should we need more than one light? In this course, celebrity portrait photographer Clay Patrick McBride will dive into lighting with intention. Through a variety of live shoots, he’ll demonstrate how to incorporate lighting diagrams into your workflow so you can create setups that you can use again and again.

He’ll cover:

  • How to control your light
  • Creating hard or soft light
  • The importance of documenting your setups
  • Sculpting with Light
  • Removing and creating shadows with intention

By the end of this class, you will be able to create incredible images with confidence and the use of only one light.


KIS Photography

WOW! I was getting ready to go to bed, when I saw this class last night as I was perusing the classes available. Got the notification that it was playing, so I thought I'd check it out for a minute or two. Well, once I turned it on, I couldn't turn it off! As someone who has shot musicians on stage since I was 16, I've recently been interested in shooting portraits of them, so Clay instantly intrigued me! The more I watched, the more I couldn't shut it off, and I stayed up til 5:30 in the morning to finish the course (financial issues, so I can't afford the class right now) This class is amazing! I love Clay's teaching style, his willingness to step outside the box and play by his own rules, and his lighting is awesome! As soon as it is possible, I WILL be purchasing this class! Loved it! Thanks again CreativeLive for introducing me to yet another outstanding photographer to learn from!

Jason Darr

I absolutely loved this. Great instruction, great content and very inspiring demonstrations. I'd highly recommend this course

Gene Tolan

Awesome intro to lighting. I love Clay's teaching style and his personality infused presentation was a pleasure. I highly recommend this course.