Shoot: Softbox, Edge Lights/Striplights, and V Flats
Chris has run into the other room. We're getting some other lights together. This is going to be awesome, all right.
You want to do double slashers.
You throw one on that guy, I'll deal with this one.
Yeah, do you want this light?
Don't need it, you said put it on this.
Okay, that's right. You don't have to yell Chris, I'm right here. (audience laughs) All right, I can take a question online if anybody ... I mean, it's getting a little complicated now, right? Is it getting a little complicated? How are we for time, any questions? Any lighting goals?
We're great on time, so you're doing good.
What's your process for experimentation. Is it just like-
I think you're witnessing it.
You know, I feel like I teach a lot but I don't really want to go and say do this thing. I kind of always want to go in, like, I never shot that picture before. I've taken a lot of pictures, but never e...
xactly that way. You know, so, I think if you're not getting lost you're not practicing lighting, you know. You're just doing ... we want to do what we know but in here I'm experimenting, we journal it, we lock it down, we work with the next thing. We've got to draw that diagram, we've got to take some notes on that, Chris, so we can ... because that's good. We want to give that to you just like that, right?
Yeah, I like that.
Yeah, let's write it down real quick, like just ...
I have a picture of set.
Yup, I took a picture of that set.
With your phone?
Huh, no, with the real camera.
Okay, you did, you shot it.
Okay, good, all right great. (audience laughs) All right but you see, like let's just take a picture of that set. Look at that picture of that set. All right, mad cool, we know we're using three lights right? But do we have any idea what those three lights are doing? Right, no, a lot of people will just like, they'll just write the power settings four six. Which could be cool if you're using the same lights all the time and you're keeping the same distance. It might work for you, but I'd rather know the f-stops, you know. When I see something like a three and half stop difference between my main light and the shadow, I start to feel like I understand photography differently. Do we have the baffles for that guy, Chris?
Yeah, we do.
Can we put at least one of them on there.
Maybe even two, right? Could anybody come help me because you seem like you're falling asleep. (laughs) Did you have a hard night last night?
Oh yeah, I pulled an all nighter last night.
To get what I was pointing at here.
Right on, I appreciate it, I appreciate you being here. Yeah, just grab that sandbag off of there, yeah. And hold that stand right there, great, uh-huh and ... Oh, okay, just pull this straight up, the whole stand. Great, thank you, all right, you can just throw that somewhere off. Make sure the camera man doesn't stress on it. So we're doing double edge lights from the back, like classic sort of ... I just call it like the ESPN sport strip light. I just think it always looks good. It can look really good for hair lights, beauty lights too, so. And yeah, so we really want to keep these lights like at a 45 degree angle from the back, Chris, so.
You're going to come ...
Like about there?
Yeah, cool, yeah and tilt in.
Cool, yeah, and I'm going to make this stand a little bit smaller. So I can do what Chris is doing. And I'm going to match ... I think you should come a little bit lower.
And a little bit flatter.
And let's go to like power of six on each light. You have double baffles of diffusion in there?
One baffle, do you want double?
You have the inside or the outside one?
All right, I'll just take off this inside. So I'm trying to make them, you know, the same exact intensity of light so I want to match what Chris has got going on over there. So I'm just taking out this baffle. (Velcro) Joyous, breath, relax, okay yeah. All right free from the baffle. And I want to mirror what's happening on each side of the set, right? So I'm doing what Chris is doing, double here. Does this have to come up a bit higher, Chris? Just kind of stand in the middle of the set, right.
Yeah, it's about the same height.
Yeah, okay cool, and we might need ... let's make sure the back of these are really closed because we'll get ... sometimes these lights will spill from the back, so we're just making sure that they're very closed in the back and they're not to spill all over my paper. Are you pretty closed back there?
I'm closed up.
Closed up, okay great, all right. Cool, we're both at six on both of them, Chris?
All right well start to read them. I'm just going to kill my front light. So I'm just doing double edge lights from the back right now.
Want to read one at a time?
Yeah, they look very different, huh?
Yeah they do.
Yeah in intensity, this one's been smoking cigarettes that's what it is.
(laughs) All right, well just read them one at a time. How are you going to do that, Chris?
By covering the light.
How are you going to do that? Show ... turn around so you can show the pokes, right?
Like that, so I'm covering it like that, so it's only reading one light at a time.
Let the ball outside that little dot though?
Mm-hmm. Just like that.
Yeah, cool, all right, great, all right. So read them one at a time?
What do you got?
I'll tell you, that's five six three.
Okay and what do you got on the other side? (beep)
One more time.
Five six oh.
Okay, let's go up a stop on each. (beep) You came up a full number, right?
Okay, cool, this one was five six three?
Okay, I'm just come down a couple tenths on this, see if they're even. All right, giving you a pop. (beep)
That's five six nine.
F8, five six and 9/10, pretty close to F8. We'll call it F8, right, you with that? Yeah, when he says five six nine that means 9/10ths, right?
F8 okay, so they're within a tenth of stop, we can live with that all right. A tenth of a stop, I don't think we're going to see that.
And Clay thanks for that clarification because folks on the internet were asking what that point nine meant.
Yeah, so 9/10ths and we can just show it to you. Can we just show them just a close-up of it so we show them exactly what we're talking about.
Yeah, so that's eight zero.
Right on, is this a close-up camera, you got a good shot of that? So that's F8 even, see F8 zero zero, right? Okay, cool and we'll give another one just give me a pop.
Okay now we have F8 and 4/10ths, see the 4/10ths over there, 4/10ths. You guys can't see it but, they're like 10ths of a stop. Right, it's saying F8 point four, right?
This little one right there.
And there was a question asked me at the break like you need a light meter to read electronic flash you know, your camera's never going to do it right. You can kind of guess it and ballpark it but you need it.
All right, so just stand in there Chris. I'm going to bring Chris really far forward here, come forward. You know, and I'm just looking at all this beautiful, edgy light right around here, how it falls around his face. Right, I'm going to ... (Velcro) I'm going to take all of the diffusion off this thing or a lot of it, because I want it to have that fiery, you know, scorched kind of look, all right. All right, can you take all that off, Chris?
We at 20 minutes or, okay, great we have a lot of time. Any questions, no, okay, all right who's going to be our ...
Maybe a quick one for a couple of beginners out there.
So when you're reading your light adjustments and those numbers are coming through, what exactly are you adjusting on your camera to match those numbers that Chris is giving you.
Well right now I was just balancing two lights. I wanted them both at F8. I want completely, beautiful ... I probably have an edge light, hair light on my head right now, right? So I wanted two even edge lights on the sides, right? So my camera's not even involved in this part of the equation.
Right, my camera will start to get involved now the edge lights are going to over expose them so my camera ... they're at F8, I want them really hot. Really, you know, fiery, picante, spicy, right? I'm going to let them overexpose so my camera ... if they are at eight, my camera will be at five six. Right my camera will be set at five six so they're overexposing one stop. Good, yeah, okay.
That's perfect, thank you. That's a creative choice that you're making your lights are set at a certain f-stop but that doesn't mean it's directly related to what you're setting on your camera. You're opening it up a little bit.
Yeah, I'm overexposing the edges so that it's going to have that brightness to it, right? If I didn't overexpose this, it wouldn't look as hot as fiery, right, you know, yeah.
So I'll go back to the board too once we get there. All right so I need some ... I'm going to make you, yeah, no, you done? I want you to come back up T-Bone, I do, I do, yeah. Right, I'm going to need you to take your shirt off. No, I'm joking. (audience laughs)
He'll do it.
Okay, all right so we wanted this to be five six, correct? Let's get the meter and just read it first, before. I'm going to put it really kind of high up.
Go. (beep) Five six.
Yeah, on the nose.
That's amazing, all right. And I'm just going to light high up and down because I just ... where I like a strong chin shadow, right? It's a little hard to see right now. Like if we're in a perfectly dark studio, and we didn't have all these ambient lights I'd really be able to see what my ... Oh I can see, right?
So I see my chin shadow in here, that's what I'm looking at. The modeling lights are always going to tell us where our shadows fall. I can look for my edge light. Again, I'm just looking at my highlights in the eyes, they're looking great. All right, you're going to cross those guns. You want to do some push-ups so you look like ... (audience laughs)
Clay would you like us to drop the studio lights at all for this or are you feeling good?
It's just kind of helpful to see, right? And there's going to be a problem here, I know it already, right, you know. Just to kind of see what those edge lights are doing. And we're going to make a mistake here probably. There's going to be some problems, right. I hope there's problems. All right, yeah, does that look way over, Chris?
There you go, that's what it is.
Okay, what happened?
That was just copying over the adjustments from the previous photo.
Okay, right on, okay cool so what is our problem here? I think I have a little bit of flare right, (beep) on the left side right, so, and we're getting a little bit of that stuff on the background, right, we're getting a little bit of return on the background. So we're going to deal with that. How are we going to do that. We're going to take these flags and bring these in.
You need flags?
Oh, sorry did I ...
I don't know if that's coming from the back of the light but we'll see. Or if it's coming from ... Yup, just bring that over here.
Cool, so we're getting flare. Flare is just light coming straight into the camera and we're going to try to problem solve that. A couple of big, black flags. Yeah, just open that up pretty wide. Not from the back, we don't want to keep it from hitting you so Chris might need to move you a little bit. Do you mind scosching away?
Okay, right on. All right, cool. So a little trick I learned about, like, just seeing where the flare is, right, if we could maybe just get that close up camera here, just hold this here, Chris?
You got it.
Right. And right on, so I'm looking ... I'm kind of where T-Bone is, I'm looking at my lens and I start to see the actual highlight of my strip back there. You guys see that right in there? You guys see that right in here, right? So that's where I need to throw my shadow to get rid of that flare, right? I need to block that highlight from the lens. So I watched a lot of still life photographers put a bunch of little black cards around their lens constantly and they were always looking at the lens and looking for that highlight and blocking that light from the highlight. So basically I just want to cast a shadow from this light onto my ... And dealing with flare is something we have to deal with in the studio. Especially when we get into these backlight situations, so. Do you got that, yeah, cool, okay. Yeah, I think this should get rid of it. (beep) Yeah, much better. Alright can we see that again, Chris, side by side? So we see all that flare on the left coming in looking nasty, right? No good, NFG, right? Maybe, what we'd like to do is keep a little bit of this light off of the background, right? Like let the background go a little bit deeper. Right, edge lights are looking good, edge lights are a stop brighter now, right, yeah. This might be a time where we deal with the background light a little bit differently. Let's think about that. We have one more head, don't we?
We do four lights like a crazy man.
We can, you want to do it on a low stand like that?
Yeah, I'm just going to put it on this little turtle stand floor stand like that. You can just step out one second. Because I don't really like what's happening with that paper back there. I got some wrinkles in it. It's looking a hell of a lot better than when it was flared out like here, right? This might need a little bit of retouching but this will help us a lot.
There you go.
Yeah, is it at ten right now, tilt that all the way down actually. (beep)
You want to read it?
No, we'll just live with it and see what it's doing. See what it'll do, come on back T-Bone.
Can we just center that light right behind him?
Yeah, and I'm going to take this light a little bit more at an angle, a little bit closer, going to drop it down some. And I want to take it off, going to feather it, use the edge of it a little bit more and make it a little bit more hard and model-y. We're going to have to meter that again, Chris.
Sure, take that.
We want it to be five six.
Ready. (beep) Five six six, down a bit?
Okay, we'll live with that, yeah we'll live with that.
You might need to pull me down a little bit we'll see what that background light's doing how we like it, right on. This is where we are, boom, you got to build it, right? You got to kind of get there, right? It's not always just going to show up for you, right? Even for me it's not just showing up, you know. I like that, it's looking better. Can we pull that light even a little bit more closer to you.
Just walk it straight towards your ... Yeah, and dial it up just a little bit, Chris.
How about half a step.
Yeah, yeah, and it's looking like he needs a little catch in his eye, right? His eyes are looking a little bit dead. Can we go in there, Chris?
Just look at his eyes.
It's there, we do have a little bit of silver, wow. Manning the amount of ... There's just too much information in these cameras, right? (audience laughs) Let's just lower that light a scosche.
Power or height?
Height, feather it away a little bit more. Yeah, so we're just using the edge of it. It's still going to be hard, but it's giving us a snappy ... And it starts to have a plastic, retouched kind of quality to it, right? Okay, cross those guns, right. Give a little bit more of a hero portrait, right. Lower angle always going to help. Bring your head up a little bit, rock it over to the side, eyes to me, yeah. Straighter, like yeah, head up, come over here yeah, mm-hmm, can you do an eyebrow? (audience and T-Bone laughs)
Beautiful, great, all right. That's a little too forced, bring it back down. Great, great, uh-huh, all right. This starts to look money for me. We've got a little glow, a little gradient on the background good catch light in the eye, good cross-shadow, all that edge light working beautifully, right?
Now even if we have a shot like this, there's always a possibility for more improvisation, right? So, Chris, just kill the main light?
All right, could you turn to the side, give me profile right.
Yeah, just give me hard profile, right. Look a little bit here, right, great uh-huh. We're not even using this right now, it's completely edge lights in the back. All right, I'm just going to shoot that. So we've got like another little shot here, right. So sometimes when you're working for a client and you're trying to give them slight variety of shots when you get a good set, you can start to work it. And I like what's happening here, but we're going to work it a little bit further. Can we pan that light, you can actually do it, pan that light up. Chris, go on that edge light back there.
Yeah, pan that up just a little bit. Yeah, straight up T-Bone, yeah great that's good. You're good, mm-hmm, great. Okay, we're going to walk that light towards me just a little bit, Chris.
What I want to do is, I like all those edge lights but I kind of want to bring them around his face a little bit more. They're just from the side, so I'm just going to walk that around slightly. Could you give me the pose?
Are those one by threes or one by fours?
Are they one by-
These are one by four.
Four, one by four, yeah, great.
So with this current lighting set up even though this light is off because it is silver and reflective-
It's probably kicking in a little bit of light, right? Like this is probably acting like a fill card right now because enormous silver thing, so good question. Yeah, like kicking in a little bit. Did you walk that around?
All right, beautiful Chris. All right so we're working on this shot a little bit give me that profile, right, we tilted up the background light. Chin a little bit more this way and eyes a little bit here. Beautiful, okay great, great, great. (beep) Check my auto-focus, Chris, if you would, just right on.
You go it.
All right, so this starts to look really heroic and good for me, but I do think we need a little kiss and feel from the front right, are you guys with me, right? It needs a little bit-
Like reflectors, or?
You could use a reflector, right? Um, I think you could even walk that light around just a little bit, Chris. I'm going to use this thing because it's here, right?
Do you want me to strick this v-flat? Because it's right up next to the v-flat right now.
Okay, yeah, you could strike that v-flat. Hopefully it won't look wack. (beeps) Bring this to minimum, just starting bottomed out. Bottomed out means the lowest possible setting, you know. It's a very common on-set direction, right? Bottom out that pack for me, right Chris?
Yeah, he's yelled that at me many times.
Bottom that out. Okay, just, you know terminology. Weird, all right, we're bringing this guy back up just going to use just a little bit of the edge of it. Backing him off, Chris is going to take his position. He makes me nervous over there. Right on. And you see this, all right. You really got to care about these things. Little bit off center and I think if it's anywhere I kind of want the highlight over to this side a little bit. So what am I going to do? I'm going to pan it just ever so slightly, you know. And it becomes minutia and these people who really are like I guess if they're going to call me a lighting expert, right I got to be really attached to these things. I think that's what makes us, separates us from our competition. And watching copious amounts of Clay Patrick McBride on CreativeLive will separate you from your competition. (audience laughs) All right (laughs) thank you, you're a great audience. Yup, all right, give me that hard profile superman, yeah. And now, I also want to be mindful of where his eyes are looking, right? If he looks too far this way, and we'll just shoot it that way. Chin this way, right, eyeballs this way, right. Yeah, just keep it there. This will look terrible.
Right, and now you bring your eyes over to here, right. (audience laughs) We'll just look at these, okay, yeah, uh-huh. Can we see them side by side and just give me the eyeballs. I also need to come down a little bit in my exposure. But this can be a huge difference in really making or breaking a strong profile picture. It's just the intention of those eyes, right. I see it happen a lot, these are photo crimes, right? No photo crimes people, right, no photo crimes. No photo crimes, isn't that right Sheamus, no photo crimes. Yes, it's looking a little over, right now. It's because I'm at six three not at F8 where I want to be. Okay, I must have hit the button, it happens. Great, all right. So this is starting to look beautiful for me, right. Got a little kiss in the front, right. Our fill is really working there, right.
Just lower that fill. We're just going to lower it this way and bring a little bit more fill in. It's probably going to be too much of it, yup. (beep) All right. Yeah that looks great, great, great. Turn square to me, yeah. Just bring your head into this light, eyes to me, yeah. (beep) So now when I change his pose, I might need to change the picture a little bit, right? Like I need to change that light. Give me the look, head over this way a little bit. Too far, come back to me, yeah. Just walk that light a little bit around a bit, Chris?
Yup, right on.
So always when I'm working on set, like, very rarely do I set my lights and just shoot, right? I'm going to shoot, when my talent moves, I'm going to have my subject follow the talent with the light. Just when especially when I'm working with very aggressive, direct sort of sources coming from all over the place here, Right, uh-huh, great. (beep) Right, yup, cool they're all looking great. Right, I like that return. That return coming in from the back of his face looks great, looks money. Great work T-Bone, good work.
Right on, all right.
Where do we want to go? Anybody have any lighting goals anything they want to tune? Reach towards, look at?
I think it's just important to reinforce that if you're actually getting a lot of lights set up on set, and you're shooting for a client that you can really put together a different deliverable just by turning off different lights.
Yeah, we saw that right just very quickly, right?
Okay, that's a good call, good call.
Yeah and that's easy.
Yeah, possibilities and variety I think of me as an editorial photographer are what, again, separated me from my competition. Like, I wouldn't just show my client one picture. Or if it was just even one set, I would give them options on that set of like some hard light, soft light options. It's going to help you. Question?
What do you do to make your subject feel comfortable on the set, I mean, you've got all these big lights around and stuff.
Yeah a lot of people want to make the subjects feel comfortable, right? That's what they want to do. I mean I'm going to kick it with them. Sometimes, I want them to be a little uncomfortable and intimidated by me, that's just who I am, right? Like, I kind of ... like I'm not going to be the kind of guy who's everybody's friend. Sometimes I'm not going to say something, I'm going to on purpose maybe not talk to somebody. I know that sounds sort of weird, but like, I want them to know, like I'm there to do a job, right? That they may be an artist, but I'm the artist here. And I wear ... and I'm just going to come at them that way. And that's not everybody, but sometimes I'm going to do that. I'm going to be a little quiet, a little intimidating, I'm going to have my game face on. You know, because I'm shooting a seven foot MBA player, you know, I don't want to be a pushover on that guy. I want to be the guy that can run that guy. Or I'm shooting some hard gangster rapper, you know what I mean? They don't want to know about my Cane Corso dog that I love. Maybe they do want to know about the dog that I love, so. But I'm just going to feel it out, you know. Other people I'm going to get them to talk about themselves. You got kids, oh yeah, what are they into? Oh, he's 16, does he hate your guts? Oh, you're so lucky when I was 16 me and my dad ... You know, I'm going to get them to talk about themselves, you know. And on vacation, you know. A lot of it's going to come from the people I work with. You know, like the people who are all over this set have done a great job making me feel comfortable being in this place, right? There's always stuff to learn about that, you know? I've got my coffee, my water, you know. So, I don't think it's always about making somebody feel comfortable, you know? But a good question and you know sometimes I have five minutes to shoot somebody. So there is no ... you know I was shooting Neil Young once who's like you know, a hero, part of my childhood. And I have ten minutes to shoot him and I'm talking to him and his manager's like you know you only got ten minutes. And I was like, dude, I'm never going to talk to Neil Young again in my life, so. (audience laughs) So I'm talking to him for five minutes, and then we're going to shoot for five minutes, you know. And he got such a kick out of me telling his publicist to kind of back off and we connected on that. Because he'd been led around by this publicist all day from photo shoot to photo shoot he was just so ... You know, yeah you got to feel it out, you know so. I never have like one answer fits everything, you know. It's kind of each situation is a unique opportunity, you know. And, I do try to send people pictures like after I shoot them to thank them so, yup. Yeah, I mean the final call to action on One Light Wonder, right? The light's close, the light's far. Check out how different it's going to be. See if you can get it to work for you, you know. Not saying far is always bad. Far can give you some crazy, dramatic, stupid shadows that you might love, you know. Close might give you some beautiful soft stuff. See what you can do about, like, matching your light, your subject, the form and content I've talked a lot about, you know. Form, you know, is the light hard is it soft, how's that going to feel with your subject matter. How can you get them to work together. How can you maybe create more mood, mystery, or like a deeper sort of soulful look like I showed you guys in Iggy Pop, you know. Or you can create like a really beautiful, warm, sensual look with a very open light. You know, like, they're different things. They're going to apply to different situations, different people, you know. It's just thinking a little bit about it. Yeah, and you know don't be afraid to get weird. I think like all day my favorite picture was the one we lit from underneath with the big shadows of the group. You know, I was like whoa, you know, that looked all right, you know. And that's not something I do all the time, so. Improvise and you know, I think, many times like we were experiencing ... just stand in a minute, Chris, please, right? You know, I'm not sure this is going to work, right? But and give the profile picture, right. So chin down a little bit, right. You know, don't be afraid to really see ... (beep) Like even if we're set up, who knows what else is going to be here. (beep) Right, I don't know what's going to be here. Look this way, Chris? (audience laughs) Yeah, mm-hmm, cool, right on. So let's just ... I don't know. Don't be afraid to kind of like circle your subject. I think we get locked in to, like, we just set lights somewhere. Can we just see them all together, Chris? I think I was a little too ... You know, don't be afraid to just kind of like dance around your subject and see how the light can change. You know what I mean? I definitely thing it's totally lit for the shadow on the left, right? But see how it can change just by circling around your subject, right? Each one of those things is going to be its own lighting set up.