Shoot: Natural, High Key Lighting
Alright, so, I told you we're gonna start with clean and then build. This is my lovely subject. She is gorgeous. But as you can see, we started off with just super clean. Not heavy make-up. And the reason that agency is like this is because it shows the subject as their blank canvas, more or less; this is her natural beauty. So I'm gonna start there, and I'm gonna shoot a couple versions of this. I'm gonna shoot one that's really plain and simple, and then I'm gonna move to something that's a little high-key and glowing. So I'm gonna show you the shot that I do for every model every time. So let me give you a stool. I do generally have my subjects sit, but I don't have them sit in something that can't move, because then if I say like rotate, I like when they can move around easily, so I having a posing stool. Alright, so take a seat right there. And John, can you get that box of props for me?
And we'll grab some stuff out of that. Okay, so as my main light, I am going to be u...
sing a beauty dish. And to be honest, most of the time I use my beauty dish with a boom arm because then I can move it out over my subject and change the angle more easily. Just having it on a c-stand is a little bit less control, and I am going to pop off the grid. Alright. Thanks, John. I just needed a grid grid in here. I'm going to add this in a second. Okay, and we can just pop it here. It's fine. As long as it's okay to be ugly in the picture. Alright. So, let me turn this on. And I'm gonna use my modeling light so I can see what the light is doing. Take a look. Beauty dish is the, I mean, it's called the beauty dish for a reason. Let me turn down the modeling light for you all. Alright, so a beauty dish, what's great about it is it's soft light, but like with a little kick. Like, it's that beautiful mix. And the reason is, is it's a little bit smaller, which gives you a little bit harder light, but it balances into this center panel and then reflects back into this dish, and so it's like, bounced and reflected, which is really soft, so it's just, it's really beautiful light, and it's a great place to start. So I always start, with my beauty images, with a beauty dish, so let me get this on her face. And I always use modeling lights so I can actually see what the light is doing. In here it kind of sucks because normally what I'd be seeing is how the shadows are sculpted on the shadow side of her face. We have very bright overhead lights. So that's why what I recommend you do is if you're shooting, turn off all your ambient light, put curtains over the windows, 'cause you wanna pay attention to what it's actually doing. Right now I'm like guessing. It's okay though. Alright, notice how I'm changing the angle. I want the center of the beauty dish pointed at the center of her face. Okay, so I'm gonna start here and give it a test, and I'm gonna start with my 70 to 200. Great. Oh, tangled maybe. Good. Thank you. Oh, thanks, John. And I think I'm gonna be close, but I'll test it.
I'm at 200. Let's see. (camera clicks) Turn this on. It would be helpful. Good. Thanks, John.
Alright, a little hot. Not bad. And one more. (camera clicks) Okay. Ugh, so pretty it hurts my brain. (audience laughter) Okay. No, she's just so pretty. Alright, okay, right? Ah, she's so pretty. So you see with a beauty dish, it's soft and a little bit poppy. Like, a little bit of contrast. I'm gonna raise up the main light just a bit and the reason I'm gonna do that is to carve out the cheekbones and jawline just a bit, so the higher up it goes, it's gonna give a little bit more definition. Perfect. Great. Thanks, John. And I'm just gonna make sure that the center is still pointed at her. Sometimes if I have a friendly model I'll say, "Is that pointed at you?" Like, I have them do the job. If they're, like, cool with it. Try to feel them out and see if they'll help me. Alright, try that again, and I love a long neck. A really long neck. (camera clicks) Great. Oh, so pretty. Okay, so, taking a look. Alright, so we'll just give a little bit more shadow under the jaw. That's the only change you really should have seen. A little shadow underneath. I typically just turn it to black and white most of the time, so let me pop on over into Lightroom into the develop module. Oh, hey, must be new to Lightroom. Okay. Change it to black and white, and I usually pop the highlights. And then increase the clarity a bit. So I just get kind of like a dramatic black and white shot, but when I do something dramatic like this, often I lose the shadow side of her face. It blends in with the background. So John, could you add a grid, that grid I gave you to the background? And so what a grid does is it focuses light, and so I'm going to be able to point it at the background behind her and it'll just give a little glow. And so then, if you look, it's gonna emphasize the length of her neck. Is it gonna fall off if I have you do that?
I don't think so.
Okay, I hope not. 'Cause, can we have clips? Do you have any clips that we could get her? I'll just put it behind and then clip it.
Oh. That should be fine. Okay. Alright, so don't fall out, okay? No, for reals. Okay, I'm gonna try to clip it like this.
Okay, great. I didn't come with it 'cause I'm dumb, but I actually went on eBay, not on eBay, Amazon, $12.99 tube dresses. I have, like, 10 of 'em because, no offense to models, they steal them. No joke. I learned this, because they look cute. They're like little black tube dresses. And so I'll be, "Okay, alright, thanks. "Go change in the bathroom," and then they'll just leave. Like, okay. So, but they're really useful. Okay. Alright, so, I'm looking at it, can you point it a little bit more to the right? And I'm looking with the modeling light to make sure it angles. Little more, little more. Right there. Let's test this. It's perfect. So long neck. Perfect. Lower your shoulders. Good. Yeah. Great. (camera clicks) Notice how I was lower? And that lower angle is going to give me the super long neck. Pretty. And what I'm gonna do in Lightroom real quick is change it so that, as it comes in, it has that preset I applied, or that I did. So I'm gonna actually sync these two real quick. So I'm gonna make it black and white again, maybe. Okay. Sync the settings. And now what I'll do, check all, is when you're tethering right here, you change the develop setting, which means the effect that's applied as it comes in to same as previous, and then I'll have this black and white effect applied. So I just get this beautiful, long neck. Dramatic. You guys looking (mumbling), it's a little darker. A little crunchier. Okay. Alright, so, (mumbling)?
Can you just clean up the back of her hair real quick?
Yeah, I was just (mumbling).
It's driving me nuts. So I like to shoot tethered because I can see what's gonna cause me a problem. That's gonna. I don't wanna Photoshop that at all. So I'm gonna have her just, like, clean it up real quick. I'll take a few more shots, but the reason I wanted to show you this is every single model I ever shoot, ever, gets one of these. Always. But I don't always go like this boring. Like, sometimes I'll have a posing table, and they're posing with their hand here, or like, they're doing something around. So, this week, check out my Instagram. You will see samples of this from a recent shoot I did, and you'll see, you'll go, oh, that's what Lindsay was showing that she does. Clean black and white, grid on the background, beauty dish in the front. So give me super long neck. Lean forward. Yes, perfect. (camera clicks) And then tilt the top of your head. Oh, you're so pretty. Okay. Roll your right shoulder forward just a little, and then give me longer. Good. (camera clicking) And now look back over at me. (camera clicking) Then straight on to me. Up just a bit. (camera clicking) Okay. Good, and I'm gonna do one more. Relax that shoulder. Great, but lower the back one too. Chin up just a bit. Great. (camera clicking) Now give me a little bit stronger in the face. Chin up just a little. Great. Okay, so that's the gist of what I would shoot, and I've got that nice little halo behind her. Okay, so now that was my basic what I shoot for every model. It's not profound, but man, it's pretty. You look really nice. So now what I'm gonna do is actually the concept shoot, the first one, so the first thing we're gonna shoot is I'm gonna go bright. Bright and airy and high-key and clean. So John, can I have that soft box right up behind her, but without the grid, please? So what we're gonna do is we are gonna go high-key. So high-key means lighter tones. Predominant lighter tones in the frame. So I'm gonna give a white background and no shadows. Or not many shadows. And how I'm gonna do that is we're gonna do, if you've seen me teach lighting courses, I guarantee you've seen this setup. I have many of them, and so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna put the 3x4 foot soft box behind her. And that gives her a pure white background, but it also wraps around, so it's gonna lighten her jawline and her clavicles, and it's nice because I don't have to light a white background and add room lights. It does all of it, so it's just really, really convenient. I may need you to stand because it's on a high stand. Often I'll put it on a lower stand.
Do you want me to get a lower stand?
Not if it's a lot of effort. I can stand her. It's fine. Alright, so can you turn that one on for me? And I'm turning off the grid on the background It is now irrelevant. Great. Okay. So, first thing I'm gonna do is, John, can you... He's gonna be up on your back, so you're gonna pull this right up. Okay, keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going, and on you, cool? Good. Awkward but awesome. Okay. So I don't have my main light on. I just have that back light on. John, what's the power set to?
Can you turn it to 7? I don't have my main light on. So we're just taking a look what this background light does. Great. (camera clicking) Oh, beautiful. Alright, so you'll be able to see, and I have to turn off my same as previous 'cause it's gonna come in as black and white, but that's what the soft box behind us is it's lighting her cheekbones and her jawline and her clavicles and it just wraps around beautiful. And what's nice, if I turn her to the side, it wraps around even more, so can I turn you to your right? Great. Perfect. Chin out. Great, and so you'll see... I mean, it still, when I turn her to the side, is raking around across her chest and her jaw still. So I've got all this beautiful light to work with, but I haven't added my main light yet. So I'm gonna go ahead, turn off that same as previous, and then turn my main light back on. Let's see. None for now. Okay, and of course she stood up, so I have to adjust the position of the beauty dish. I don't want it to be super flat. John, I'm stuck. Sorry. Great. Alright, so, if it's a high-key shot, glowing and bright, I don't want too many shadows, so I don't want it super high. And I also don't want it super far off to the side. So a little bit more centered is good. Alright, I think there. Usually I can see better with, you know, the modeling lights. Let's test it. And also, the boom arm. We'll get it nice and centered. But we'll try there. Great. And turn your shoulders back to me just a bit. A little. Good. And stick your chin out. (camera clicking) Okay. Pretty. So it'll give us a very high-key image. Super bright, minimal shadows. One of the problems I'm running into is I get a little bit of lens flare. See how the picture looks a little flat? Let's see. Ohh, yeah, there's one problem. I'm gonna grab my, sorry.
(mumbling) You need that one there?
Yup. So, first problem was my lens is dirty. So let's clean that off a little bit. If your lens is dirty it's gonna do that. And then the other thing is I try to block the center of the light with her body, because if I don't, then it gives me lens flare. And basically you're getting the hotspot directly into camera. John, can you turn it down to maybe 6.5? Just like a half step down.
Okay, let's try it again. (camera clicking) Beautiful. That was it. It was a dirty lens. 'Cause now, if you'll see in this next one, so much better contrast, but, you know, a dirty lens shooting directly into a light source is gonna give you lens flare. So I love the, look at that light on her jaw. That like little kiss of light is beautiful. The light wrapping across her neck. But if I was really going super high-key, John, can I have a reflector please? And so what we're gonna do is we're gonna add a reflector into this scene, 'cause really high-key would be, like, no shadows. I'm going super, super bright. This reflector is probably a little big if we don't have a boom arm. Because what it means is we're probably going to be fighting to get the reflector in there, but with a boom arm, you can actually have the stand further away. So let's, do you wanna try over here? I'm gonna put it underneath the chin. It's just gonna be a little tight.
Silver or white?
So the question he asked was what reflection, silver or white? White is gonna be a little bit softer of a feel and the silver will be more specular and brighter. Can we do one of each, please?
We'll see. Right? Exactly. We're like, alright, hold on.
Oh, you wanna get a camera in there too?
Yes. (chuckling) (camera clicking) Okay, so here's white. Beautiful. So you see it fills in all the shadows underneath the jaw. And then silver is gonna be a little more specular. (camera clicking) Great. I think I liked the silver lower. And you'll get a little bit more light in her eyes. I think it's 'cause it's not getting too much light anyway. Okay, so I'm gonna shoot a couple more of these, but this was my high-key bright concept. I'll shoot two more and then I'm gonna pass her off to you, okay?
Yeah, let's do silver, and real low. So basically the silver, because of how low it is, it's getting just a little fill. Barely anything. Let me shoot a few of these. (camera clicking) Good, now give me a little softer expression. (camera clicking in succession) And long as neck as possible. Lean out. Oh, beautiful. And turn back towards me with your shoulders. Chin down. (camera clicking) And now flat against it, and look straight at me. Good, and back up so you're right up against it. Great. Let me just move the light a tiny bit. Beautiful. (camera clicking) And lower. Say nice and symmetrical. Right now your shoulders aren't even. If I'm shooting her straight on and one's up, she'll look uneven. So you'll see it. Right, right? So just like that. Lower the right one a tiny bit. I've given several model complexes because when I photograph them they'll be like, "Oh, your shoulder is too high on this side," and they're like, "(gasping) That's where it naturally is." And so they like realized they're uneven. You're fine. She does look great. (camera clicking) (mumbling) a little, good. Perfect. Okay, great. So I like these ones. Those were great. So just nice, high-key, light wrapping around, soft everything. So that's like if I'm going for bright and glowy and high-key, and notice we had very clean, nude make-up.