Shoot: Softbox & Beauty Dish - Main/Fill Lights


One Light Wonder


Lesson Info

Shoot: Softbox & Beauty Dish - Main/Fill Lights

Right on, so now we're going to do it a little bit more Cleezy McBreezy style right? So what would that mean, how do I like my light? Well I definitely like it a little bit harder, a little bit moodier right? So let's... Let's get that big octa. As main? No that's going to be our fill. Great. Oh I know what you're going to do. Right behind me, yeah. Okay could anybody just grab that light? Take that thing away from me? Get it away from me! All right. Yeah let's do that out here Chris, on the side of the set. Right over there. All right, great thank you. Mhmm. All right. On just a stand, no boom arm? Yeah. No extension arm? Uh-huh, you could throw this in there. Yep. All right. Clay it's much easier to put the light in when it's on the ground like this. Yes it is isn't it? Gosh, flashback humor. Flashy moves with my grid spot, you know? All right. With the, what the angle is on that grid you're putting on? Oh yeah, good question. I think it's a 20 deg...

ree, I think these only, this is 25 degree grid right? Yeah, so it's taking all that light right, like when we do that big, soft source that's coming all over, focusing it more which I really dig. We're going to start with this one off. And let's... We'll start here and then we'll add little kicker edge light coming from the right, so I'm going to get rid of this one. We're starting with just the, let's bring this in a little bit more on a 45, kind of where everything was. You want to keep it as a beauty dish? Yeah we're keeping the beauty dish, 45 on that stand. Kind of where everything was before, right? Yep. Yep. That'd be your key light right? This is my key, right? And I choose it because it does a really good job kind of lighting the face, right? But it's not like head to toe, right? And I think a lot of times we might want to shoot a wider portrait, and that little light's gonna just kind of not cover us everywhere we want it. If we pull it way back, it's not going to give me the quality I want because we see how the quality changes when I think lights, you have to sometimes but certain lights really far away look like doody. If I want a light to be really hard I've got to pull it really far away 'cause the farther the light, the harder the light. That's always the way it is. Bigger the light, the softer the light. All right, this guy's not even working right now so we're just going to forget about him. All right. All right you got a mark, all right. Again I'm just going to aim this thing, make sure it's right where I want it. It's looking pretty sweet. Back here a little bit, doing great Lorenze. Uh-huh, yeah, all right. Yep. We'll look at it all by itself. This one should be off entirely. It sounds like it's working. It's off. It is? I hear a fan though. That's this fan. Is it, okay. All right. 16. Let's come down two stops on that. Mhmm. Test. Again. Two eight. That can't be right. Two eight. Yeah? Yeah we went down two full stops. Maybe we didn't dump, I don't know. Remember every time you move a stop on this it's cutting the power by half, so. Let's just go down to about there. You ready? Yep. Four. Want to go up? Yeah let me go up on that. Sorry. Four six. Five six. Five six five. Five six six. Really? That can't be. Five six seven. You okay? Going up doesn't-- Five six eight. Really? So weird. Eight two. Okay that's great, I'm feeling that F eight right? So look at this beauty dish all by itself. We'll see how it's working. I shoot it kind of like a medium shot right? And we'll see why we need our friend fill to come in here right? Right on, yeah chin down just a little bit? Yeah perfect, yeah. Great. Now, I'll often work with the fill, like a large fill source just like this right behind me right? So I don't know, I would just, we'll call this the Cleezy McBreezy right? Just the Cleezy 101 right? And I want to do sort of a bracket on this light right? So I'm going to start off low with it and just bring it up slowly and see how that works. Do you want to hear that one alone then? Yeah we're going to meter it by itself. Let's turn that guy out. Main light's at F eight, right? So F eight, we want it to be less power, that's five six. F four, two eight, so somewhere around two eight F two is kind of where I'm going to start and then work my way up here right? So. Not even registering, you need a little more. Okay. That's one five. That's one four. That's 1.45. That's 1.46. Really? That's two four. Two four, all right this should be two eight. That's two seven. Or two seven, two eight, that's 1/10 of a stop. We'll live with that right? Yeah. Right? Are you still considering this clamshell? No we're going to call this the Cleezy McBreezy. Yeah I don't know why, but that's what we're calling it. And this is just the situation I'm working, I have a directional beauty dish coming in from the side. I'm going to kiss it in with a little bit of fill. The fill is going to really do more for my background than it's going to do. It's going to just fill a little bit of everything but we'll see a pretty big difference here, a little bit of a difference here. Right this is them together. I stand right in front of this guy too but let's just compare them right? Can we see them side by side, right? So that's four stops difference in my light right? But we're also looking at a little bit of what it's doing not the background there. You see how the gray is much lighter, right? So it's opening up my whole space which could be an environmental portrait, could be a portrait you're working in but I need a wider lens on this now Chris. Yeah let's do it. Right? Yeah and just what I'm gonna do is slowly bracket this guy up and we're just going to see it stepping up and then we're going to add a little edge light. All right so we're just working with the main light and the fill. We're doing a little bracket here. We're seeing where we like it right? We're going to look at them all together. Can I just see your light meter for a second? (laughing) All right, yeah. Okay great. That's a lot of, a lot. Okay let me just read this one by itself. Just swing this light out, Chris, just swing it out. Sometimes instead of turning stuff off I'll just swing it out of the set. Chris will give me a pop, just looking at the fill. Would you stand in front of the fill? Go ahead, 'cause that's kind of going to block some light so it's about five six four, right? So in this one, we're looking at the fill light, five six four, the main light F eight, half stop difference. Kind of even light, kind of flat light. Can you just give me the four up view Chris of everything? You should come over here and just take a look at this. Yeah, cool, yeah. Right on. So and I think this is a good practice to get into 'cause you might think you know what you want, but just to bracket your fill a little bit and just to see where you want to be, see what's working for you. This looks a little bit overexposed but just to kind of see that variety or to present that variety to your client sometimes can be a great practice, but just look at that. I'm always more drawn to this sort of look or something that's in here. I just like shadow, but I do not like how when I shot, can I see the beauty dish by itself up there too Chris? Yeah. Yeah, okay cool. I do not like how this gray is kind of falling off to nothing right? So when I start to fill it in a little bit, the gray starts to open up a little bit more and background opens up. So if this was an environmental portrait and now we're in the studio, but it would just start to open up my background and work a lot better. So big open grid from the back, so I'm going to dial this guy way down and go back to two eight. Can you just give me one reading Chris? I want to make sure I'm still at two eightish. Sure thing. Yep. Where have you hidden the meter? Oh right I stole it. I stole the meter, Chris. You want just the fill metered? Yeah just the fill. So again practicing lights one at a time. 1.44. All right. Let me dump, go again. Ready. 2.04. Really, okay. This is probably going to be too much, go ahead. One more. 4.05. Yeah I'm gonna come down a little bit from that, that's too much. Wanted it like two eight and a half. That's four. All right we'll live with that. I like that, we'll do that. So cool, we're working with the two lights, main light and fill right? Our friend fill, Mr. Fill over there. And look see how these work together, you got it bro. Uh-huh yeah, all day, yes. He's like Kate Moss right? Uh-huh. So can I see that? Now a lot of, you know I see these hate crimes of photography sometimes, I gotta share them with you right? So let's just talk about some don'ts right? Like many of my students will do this thing here. I don't even know, yeah it's kind of here right? All right, so like what's wrong with this picture right? What's wrong with that picture? Yeah lollipop right? It's like the wide lens right? It's like I'm a little bit too close, his legs look all hobbity you know what I mean? It's like why would you want to do that to somebody you know? It's just a photo crime right? So dude, get back in there right? Gonna use the longer lens, right? Not the wide lens, I'm coming low. Just see these side by side, right? It's like such a difference, right? Damn. And like, I'm going to share with you like maybe my greatest secret in photography. Two things really matter when you push the button you know when you take the picture right? What two things are they Chris? Where you stand and when you press the button. Yeah these things really matter when you take a picture right? They're going to make or break your pictures. Where you stand and when you push the button. It's like it comes down to that like a little bit. So you gotta, you know as a director and as you work in the studio, it's hard in the studio because you have to make something happen. It's like the world, without a world in it right? It's like no other place, it's like a psychological place. A weird place, the studio so you gotta make something happen but also just little things like that, gonna change your pictures. The other big mistake I see is people just step back, keep going, yep cool right there. Let's just turn this so it's still on him, right? Is people don't give themselves-- (laughs) Such a sport, such a sport right? People don't give themselves enough working distance in the studio for their shadows to go away right? And it might seem like a little thing, but like this shot on the left looks like a Gap ad, looks like a class act, looks really good. Can you see that over there, okay, right on. This one on the right looks like any Joe Schmo student's work right? So really where he stands and when I push the button, they still matter right? Those little shadows, stuff like that when I see it I'm like are you looking at the light, right? Like are you, do you care? So caring about that, so you're going to come forward again, put that grid on him and now we're just going to add a little bit of accent or hair light, so... Yeah how do I want to do that? I think we'll be sort of aggressive with it, so get me the P50 Magnum and we have another head here right? And let's go on that really tall roller. And... And this might be hard to shoot with him standing up because this light's going to have to go really high up but we'll take a look, see how it works. Yeah we'll see. We'll see, we'll see Chris. We're going to look into this. We're experimenting, yeah that's what we're going to do. We're going to just go, we're gonna just do it. Yeah, uh-huh, right on. Oh, where's that shower cap? Shower cap? All right we won't need to use it. Just gonna go, I'm gonna go hard and weird here and hopefully mess some stuff up. You're down with that right? You're down with hard and weird, all right. So let's, before you put that up and it disappears into the sky let's just round it here. You need me to hit the test? Down there at the floor yeah. Ready. Oh man, it's not on Chris. There we go. 16. Eight, main light's eight right now? Yep, so and I want it to be bright 'cause I like his fro right? His fro is like where it's happening right? So I want to kiss that fro, give you some Questlove vibrance right? All right, gonna come down a stop on this and go hopefully one stop brighter with my fro light. So F eight, want it a stop brighter what should it be? 11 thank you, all right uh-huh. 11.2. 11.2 we'll live with that. That's cool. Let's... Do it like this a little bit. Just wants to sag all day that stand. Get one of those little baby dirtbags there. Yep. All right, now not a bad idea when I'm going to put a light over somebody's head to just ask you to step off set for a second, you know what I mean? The last thing you want to do is like kill somebody with, you know be that guy like oh yeah, he's that guy who killed Chris Rock with a light. You know? This cord's too short or-- No no no, just got caught. Right there. Tighten me. Think we need another dirtbag for this thing. Yeah for the bottom? Yeah. Yeah we can get that. You want to grab us a sandbag? Thanks. Thanks. Cool. Perfect. So this might be a half stop, we don't really know. Let's make sure it's pointed. You turned it on before you put it up there right? Yeah I did. Yep just pan it back just a wee bit. Cool. Right there. Cool so we just want a little edge, a little separation, a little something coming from the top and we'll see, it might spill all over my background but we'll see, all right. Money. On it. So I like how this fill light portrait's feeling, right? I'm a real believer, like this is probably one of my favorite things in the world, the apple box and like I just think if you're going to take pictures for 20 years and you're gonna be up and down on your body or 30 years, it kind of gets weird on your body so these can help your body live a little bit longer. (laughing) Yeah, right on, yep. So we just got a little bit of a kiss coming up from the front there right? Yeah. Sometimes, and sometimes I just want to see what that light's doing all by itself, so let's kill these other two Chris. Done. You know? And just see what that light's doing, how it's performing right? Just to see where it's hitting, where it's aiming, what it's photographing on. Oh that looks kind of nice right? Like that, I'm like wow well maybe the shot, again I'm saying it's like fishing sometimes. It's not what you, you're looking for something so we did that. Maybe I turn my fill off, right? And just use that one Chris. Yep. All right. Just check focus clay when you go on again. Okay. And check it out with just the beauty dish and my edge right? Starts to look better. Can we see the three of them? Mhmm. Yep. Yeah. These three? Yeah, right on. So on the left I feel a little bit overlit, right? You know in the middle I'm like wow that light's doing cool things by itself. On the right I'm like this starts to work for me right? And we get that dark light thing, the edge light's really working and I do think like always just look at your lights one at a time a little bit, check them out. Let's put him on an apple box. Give him this full box Chris. You got it. Let's go with an apple box sometimes, let me teach you something. There's three positions right? I don't know if you've ever heard this, but this is New York of course, being that I'm from New York. This is Chicago, and LA. (laughing) I don't know, so you got yeah three positions there. One, two, and three, I don't know just so you know and I call this the number one. Can I get an apple box in the number one position? Or give me that New York style, I don't know. You spend enough time on set, these things become a big deal. Have a seat, yep. All right. So I'm just riffing a little bit off this very different light source I have now, I'm feeling it right? So and let me see you just pivot out. Yeah. And yeah, I might need another C stand with an arm and a knuckle. I don't know if that's possible, but we'll see. We'll just take a look at what's happening here. All right so I'm just going to look at this edge light by itself. I like what it's doing, I'm flipping this one out right? It's a little bit overexposed, that's why it's giving me that spicy highlight, right? I'm shooting at F eight. I'm shooting at F eight for my main light. This is metering F 11, it's overexposed stop so it's giving it that bright highlight which we like. I don't know that I need that Chris, but yeah just keep it a little bit profile for me, like look a little bit that way, yep great. So we'll just see how this is working right? And kind of doing some cool things right? Just that edge light coming from the back. And this is why I really encourage you to look at them one at a time, so now I'm just going to add my fill. Not going to use the beauty dish right now. Beauty dish is not factoring, just my giant octa coming from the front. Edge coming from the side. I even like that sweeping triangle diagonal light we're getting from the side, so I'm working with that and I'm going to do something that's called semi-silhouette where we see silhouette but we're seeing into that silhouette a little bit right? And we might need to, Chris might need to get on my octa. Can you get on my octa? Oh does that look overlit? Looks a little overlit right? Yeah cool. Yeah. Cool, so we're doing a little bracket on this light. Seeing what we like. Yeah bring your left foot back and that one forward. Just kind of lean forward on your knee like in here. Yeah cool, yeah you can look at me though now, yep. Great. Such good talent we have in this class, right on. Right on, this starts to look cool for me right? I'm seeing into that. Just go to the top and bottom. Right, just compare those three, yeah. And let's just get a meter reading on that front light Chris so we can talk about it a little bit right. So this one's, the front one is still set at-- We're about to read that right now. I'm going to let you know what that is. This one's F 11 right now, edge light. This one right here is, see how Chris is covering the meter? 2.82. 2.82, right? So, and I like so much of what's happening here we should, oops yeah. I wanted to shoot the set, so if you'd just get that plugged in. Right on. 2.82, right? We kinda got to go back in here right, and just bring this over. Helps me to look at the math here right? Just helps me, I don't know if it helps you guys, all right. We have an edge light right now, right? Edge light right? It's the magnum right? It's that sort of big magnum on a boom, right? He's here, he's like I'm doing something cool with these legs and I don't know, so the magnum's coming from this way right? It's F eight all right. Then we've got this big octa right? Coming in here. I just don't know how, any other way to draw it sometimes. Its kind of like straight on version right? You said this was 2.82? So it's about right in here right? So we got one light here, one light here. That's one, two, three, three... One, two, three, 3 1/2 stops difference between them right? So I call this one, this is actually F 11. Right, and this one would be one, two, three, minus 3 1/2 2.8 right? Guys with me, right? Now I'm looking at this shot and I'm like, looks pretty cool but maybe we could just key in his face a little bit more. Maybe we could just shape his face a little bit more? And I think this is the process, like start with one light, look at one light, add the second light, bracket the light, improvise with the light, explore the light. Like very rarely do I just throw up my lights and it's there for me, right? So cool, you're gonna come back and... That same pose you were doing right? 'Cause sometimes like if I set the light really cool here and he sits up or back when I'm using a small source like this, this light's going to need to be adjusted every time he moves right? So we're going to bring this one in, yep. Yeah let's just walk, oh no we'll just turn it this way. Yep. Gonna also use this not as a sort of broad edge light right? Edge lights kind of need to be coming from behind my subject, so anything here from the side is like a side light. My edge lights need to be coming from really behind me. So this is like kind of a broad sideish light. I'm just trying to rake it down on this side of his face, and kiss it in here a little bit, so. Think it's gonna be F eight, but we'll look. F eight. Okay. All right, we're doing good. All right so we'll take a look at this. It might be a little overlit, but we'll see. Great, all right. Right a little overlit. Let's dial it down a little bit, and let's you turn a little bit towards me. Come down a half stop on it. Sit up a little straighter now, yeah, and turn into that light. Look that way a little bit with your head, yep eyes to me. Yep, rock your head over just like reset, sit up. Yeah cool, yeah great. Should be a little bit weird. When it's a little bit weird, it might look cool right? This is gonna look better, right? Now he's coming to that light a lot better right? So can we just see the two there? Right, you see the difference there right? So you know find the light, find the photograph right? The photograph's not always going to be where you set the light. Sometimes the subject's going to have to come into the light to make that game changing kind of shot right there right? I don't know this all feels pretty cool. Let's do double slashes, you can step out for a second, yep. Great work, cool pictures. Any questions about these pictures? No? So what is your key light now? Yeah it's a bit of a mystery right? Yeah, no but it's a good question. My key light is still the beauty dish, right? Beauty dish coming in F eight right here, right? This is my fill, it's two eight right? It's the least powerful light. Two eight fill in the shadows. It's 3 1/2 stops darker than my main light, F eight, right? This light is the brightest light in the shot. It's a highlight, edge light, hair light. I call 'em slashers, right? But you know in a fashion sense, you know fashion is all about the clothes right? I've done a little fashion work, but take a look at how it's really emphasizing all that texture right? Bringing all that movement to the shot, you know so and we start to see how like I don't know how we kind of want a narrow beam of light to be the key on his face right? A big, broad source to fill in the shadows right? A banging, hard, magnum reflector to kick it hard in there right?

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.