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Fill Light

Lesson 6 from: Photographing Challenging Features

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

6. Fill Light

Lesson Info

Fill Light

Okay, filling in the shadows. In that case, let's say, I wanted the short light but I didn't want the dramatic mood, you can fill in the shadows. So the same thing might be true of this gentleman. Let's say you wanted to raise that light up so you covered underneath here. But then there are too many shadows underneath the eyes, or too many shadows underneath the wrinkles, that's when it's appropriate that you can pop in a little bit of fill. I'm also going to recommend that in the most part, if you're talking about this particular thing, if somebody's got a double chin or loose skin, you don't use a silver reflector close underneath. Because what happens is you put that silver reflector underneath and it puts a bright highlight here, which says, "Look right there." If you're going to do it, if you need to fill in the shadows just a little bit so it's not so dark, take a white reflector and have it a little bit further away. It's just filling in the shadows a bit not drawing attention t...

o that area. I usually use a white piece of foam core, just a white piece of foam core. I can take that on location with me and fold it in half. Or you can take a white reflector, one of the silver white ones, but not the silver white mix, you know the one that's a little sparkly? 'Cause that'll do the same thing, you'll still see the texture. So for this guy what I wanted to draw attention to is this, is that, and you can see it a bit. So in the first one no reflector, okay? The shadows underneath his eye are more defined. And let's say, "Oh man, I don't want so many wrinkles", so we go to the next one. The next one is a silver reflector. It fills in the shadows quite a bit but do you see underneath his neck? Do you see how it's drawing more attention underneath his neck? So in the last one I went with white. There's still a bit of light underneath his neck but it's not as bad as the silver and it softens up those shadows a bit. And those are the things you're bouncing. And also know, new reflector, you can't just hold it underneath, the angles make a difference. You have to actually pay attention 'cause the way you're catching all that light and bouncing it back in you might be pointing. Reflectors have kind of a focal point, the way that it gathers the light, and you might be pointing that gathering part right here, instead of more in the center of the face. Have you ever, if you've shot a lot of portraits, maybe you've seen where your light in the chin, from the reflector, it's right here and the chin looks all shiny? So you're not really filling the way you want to so vary your angles. You might be like, "Oh man, she said to use "the white one, this isn't working." You might need to lower it, you might need to change the angle, something like that. Well you definitely are answering some of the questions that have just come through about how you fill for the neck. Is it the same thing for women in terms of filling that double chin or the neck there? Sure, it's the same exact thing. I seldom, I seldom use a silver reflector with a guy, regardless, I mean you can, I just seldom do. With a woman I might but I wouldn't do it with a double chin just basically ever, pretty much ever. Okay, so, let's take a look real quick at the affect of his eye. Ready? So here's with no reflector. Here's with silver, really fills in those shadows. Look at the depth of the shadows, it really fills them in. But this is where he had it underneath the chin, so then white, it still softens them, but it's not as much. So if you have a younger gentleman that you want to really highlight the jaw like you talked about, then would you just do the exact opposite of what you just talked about? Yeah, so if there's a gentleman where you want to show his jawline. Or maybe it's a guy, you wanna show his jawline, but it's a little bit soft, you'd like it to be more defined. My checklist is set the chin out and down, so it tightens it, this all gets tighter. And then you raise the light up a bit because it puts a shadow underneath and then you don't use a reflector. Oh you don't use a reflector versus a silver one? Right, you just don't use a reflector at all. Okay, good. If it's super, if it's like, "Man, I think the shadows are a little bit too dark", you could use a white reflector but far away. My other tip for somebody where you want to define the jawline, they still kinda gotta have one, is to use a rim light. So you use a rim light that hits just on the jawline. And personally I'll use either a strip softbox or a barndoors. 'Cause then I can point it so it's just hitting here and your eye goes to the lightest part of the picture. So in that case the light is right there, you'll see his jawline. Thank you. Uh-huh, okay. Yes? Just to add on to that one which was similar, Sheana had asked, "What if someone has nice cheekbones "that you want to define but has the wrinkles as well?" Just since you were talking about that, what is that nuance of balance in that scenario? Yeah, so you, this is what you will struggle with endlessly, regardless of how much I answer questions here, is everyone's going to be different. Because you might say, "Oh man I love their cheekbones." So you raise that light up a little bit 'cause it defines the cheekbones, but when you raise it up a little bit it defines the wrinkles. So maybe what I would probably do is I would raise it up a little bit to define the cheekbones and then I'd pop in a little bit of reflector to fill in the shadows a bit. But you also have to figure out what mood you wanted and how much fill so, in style as well. (audience laughter) So, that's kinda, and like you can keep giving me but eventually I'll be like, "Hey guess what? "You gotta figure it out." "I'm trying." Okay, so. Let's look at an example for a woman, in this case, again, not terrible skin but this is like real people skin, you know? You see this every day. So beauty dish with no fill. And then a beauty dish with a white reflector. So see how that actually, it fills in some of the shadows underneath the chin. It fills in some of the pores, but let's take a look at this last example. This is a silver reflector and the silver reflector is actually making her skin look shiny, and it actually, see how her chin's really bright? So this is what I'm telling you to be aware of. I use silver reflectors all the time but I make sure that if they have shiny skin I use a couple of things. One of the things that I use would be matte foundation, a matte, a matte makeup on the skin. I use HD powder, HD powder. And that, by the way, you don't have to know how to do makeup to do HD powder. It's like a white neutral powder and then you just put it on their skin. So it's not like you're doing a makeup session. I would recommend everyone have that. So I'll do that but then with the silver reflector, this is where it's not quite pointing or doing what I want it to 'cause it's giving her highlights here and here. So sometimes it works great, sometimes it doesn't. I'm not saying to not use a silver reflector but this is where I'm saying it's not really working, I don't think. I think it's giving her too much highlight there. Alright, so, let's take a look. Alright, so, we just talked about fill light, and when to use fill light or when not to use fill light. Fill light it's flattering if there's defined wrinkles or defined blemishes that you're just trying to soften 'em up a bit. So, in other words, if someone's got really defined wrinkles and you don't want them to show up so much, a little bit of fill, a little bit of a reflector might work just to cut down on the darkness underneath those wrinkles. That works great. Or maybe it's a high school senior. I love this, I had a high school senior where it's all blemishes. But I took two white reflectors underneath, kind of in a scoop, and it just fills in underneath them so they don't have the dimension. Basically you see the color but not how far they stick out. Like, really gross, but it's true, that's what it is, but it's, you know, a part of shooting. But when it doesn't flatter you don't want to use a lot of fill with someone with a big double chin or loose skin underneath, for the most part. It doesn't usually work so well with glasses 'cause you're fighting with another reflection. You can but you gotta get your angles just right. And then also it doesn't usually work with oilers. Oilier, is that a word, more oily? I haven't really said oily very often. More oily skin because when you use it it picks up the reflection in the oil. So then you gotta fight with that. All of this being said for any of these things where you like the mood and you're like, "You know what? "It's not doing what I want "to the skin, I'm gonna retouch it." That's not a wrong answer. And I do that a lot in dramatic photos where I'm like, just because I photograph models doesn't mean they always have great skin. Especially, one of the reasons they often don't is they get a lot of makeup on their skin every day, so they might have a break out. But then I've got a mood that I want for my photo and the skin's looking crazy in the light that looks good for the mood I want. And then I know I just have to retouch it. Just with the average, more delicate, portrait subject you usually don't want to show them the photo and have the skin look crazy. So these are the things you're thinking about where you just don't zoom in. Also true. Just a quick question. Do you use the HD powder for outdoor shoots? Yeah, you can use it for everything. For everything, okay. Yeah, totally. So let me, while I'm thinking of that, the other thing which I'll mention in the oily skin section, is the next thing you wanna have in your kit, for sure, is something called blotting papers. Blotting, B-L-O-T-T-I. Every time I say it people think I'm saying, B-L-O-D-D, no, it's B-L-O-T-T, blotting papers. They have 'em at CVS, I think it's like four to seven dollars, I dunno, I haven't bought 'em in a while. But they're, they look like a piece of tissue paper. And you put 'em on the skin and they soak up the oil. Also relevant for people who feel like they're oily all the time. You can buy 'em for yourself, that this exists. (audience laughter) Well I didn't know it existed until I started doing hair and makeup. I was like, "Oh this is great." But anyway, so, yeah, you just blot it on the skin and it's not like, what I usually do is I don't do it to the subject, typically, unless I have a hair makeup person, they'll do it. But I will just say like, "Oh, you know, "the skin, on the camera it's looking a little shiny." That's how, I'm not like, "Oh my gosh you're so greasy." And I'm like, "Can you?" I'll be like, "Can you do me a favor? "Can you just, it's looking, "can you just blot on your head?" And then, yeah, so it works great. Better than a piece of tissue or something like that. Yeah? So just another question on the HD powder. Can you use that on all different types of skin colors, tones, because it goes on translucent right? Yeah it goes on translucent. It just, it makes something matte. Which is why I like it because then you don't have to worry about, like for me, I don't do the makeup, I hire professionals, but if I did do the own then I have to have different colors for different skin. Then you're becoming a makeup artist and it's complicated. So, yeah, just HD powder. Awesome, thank you. I also was wondering if you could talk a little bit about are all of these things, the different factors that you have to balance, applicable to not just studio lighting, but if you are photographing outdoors, you know, depending on what type of photography you're doing, is it for all types? Yep, 100%, completely applicable for everything outdoors. And just to give you an example one of the things that is my favorite, one of my favorite lighting things I look for, and, another Creative Live class, Location Lighting 101, I talked about location lighting that I do. And one of the things that I love to look for is when the sun hits a big white wall, or a white side of a moving van or something. Because what happens is, let's imagine this background's not here, this is a big white brick wall. If the sun's going overhead and hits that white wall and bounces back that is a giant soft light source, which the larger it is compared to the size of your subject the softer the light. It's 20 feet, so it's super soft. So if I'm on location and I know someone's got rougher skin we'll definitely look for that bounced light and just that flat light. And I notice people that don't know it but they find that for selfie light. They don't know that it's a big, it's called a natural reflector. But they're like, "Oh that's great." And that's the light they're going for. So that's their big light source.

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Sharma Shari

This class was amazing! It was great seeing a demo class with real people. As a wedding photographer that specializes in offbeat/non traditional couples, it is always good to see how I can enhance all my clients beautiful features, and make them feel their best and confident when I am taking their photos!

a Creativelive Student

I was so excited to get the chance to learn from Lindsay live, and this course did not disappoint! The techniques she shared were insightful and straightforward. I felt like seeing them on different subjects throughout the day really helped to cement the concepts and grow my photography tools to bring out the best in those I'm photographing. I'm not a studio photographer, but the ideas apply in natural light as well.

maria manolaros

Great class! Impressive amount of tips on posing, lighting and photoshop techniques , a real good no nonsense approach by superb teacher. Numerous amounts of thumbs ups

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