Lighting Set-up for Client Portrait Shoot
We're gonna have John be our lighting test here, our model. So when it comes to lighting, it's kind of a very funny thing, because people think that like, you go into the studio and you already know what lens and what light and you kind of have all this stuff preplanned, and often times you do. If it's a page shoot, you definitely want to preplan everything and try to get somebody to stand in that's similar to the person you're gonna be photographing the next day, but often times when you're shooting, like let's say you're doing a corporate headshot, and you go to the office, you probably won't get the opportunity to meet all these people ahead of time. They just kind of show up in the room. And whatever you get is what you get and you have to get a great shot. So typically, whenever I'm photographing somebody and I don't know, you know, I've never worked with them, I don't know what they look like, what their skin looks like, all that good stuff, I tend to use big light sources and bi...
g modifiers. So for this particular part of the shoot, we're gonna use the same modifier that I used earlier, which is the Phottix Luna Octa. And they actually have two different versions. They have the Luna Octa and they have this guy, which is the Luna Deep Octa, and so people are like, "what's the difference between the two?" You can actually physically see the difference, where one is deeper and one is a little more shallow. So rather than talking about what the differences are, I'm gonna try to use these two modifiers so you can see the differences. Basically, this one is gonna give you a little bit of a deeper shadow than you will with this one, which, if you are photographing somebody that, again, doesn't have the best skin ever, you probably wanna stick to this modifier. If you photograph somebody that has pretty good skin, you can use this and you'll get a more contrast-y look. So we're probably gonna switch between these two modifiers. They're kind of like my go-to any time I'm doing any type of portrait work. We have our backdrop which, I believe this is a brand new collapsible backdrop from Savage. So it may or may not be available if you're watching this, depending on the timing. It may not be available in local stores just yet, but they have a number of awesome collapsible backdrops with this modeled pattern and it's really, really beautiful, and again it's two sided. So what I'm gonna try to do is take some shots on this. And I don't know if it's gonna come out good. And this is kind of the thing that I think is a shock for a lot of people. They think because you're a pro, you already know everything and how it's gonna look and it's gonna come out perfect. And honestly a lot of this is guesswork. You think to yourself, okay, I know they're wearing this color, I know they're gonna look like this, let me use this color backdrop and it might look awesome. And let me use this light, hopefully it looks awesome. And once you start shooting, that's when you start to really determine whether or not you can keep rolling with that, or if you need to make adjustments or changes on the fly. Being a professional photographer is like being MacGyver. For those of you that, I'm dating myself all day, but back in the day I used to watch MacGyver and he would take toothpicks and gum and, you know, make all these contraptions to save himself, and as photographers we have to be the same way. We have to think on our feet, we have to try different things to be able to get the shots that hopefully the clients will be happy with. So let's bring our model in, and again I want you to basically kind of see all of the processes that we've talked about, in terms of how I model the subject to how I come up with the settings, which is another thing. So just to kind of recap that, before I actually do anything in terms of putting my lights on, I always try to figure out what exposure do I need to negate all of these bright lights that are in the room right now. So I'm gonna leave it the way we had it earlier, just because it's already set. So we're at F9, 160th ISO 100 and I'm gonna go ahead and take a shot without the trigger. And hopefully, I'm doing this for a couple of reasons, number one I want to make sure that the tether's working, cause that's kind of a thing, and number two I just wanna make sure that, you know, the image is completely dark. So at this particular point, we see it's completely dark. And so now I could go ahead and I can take my trigger, which is the Phottix Odin II. This is all in the gear list. And so this particular trigger is pretty awesome, because paired with the Phottix Indra, I get high speed sync, and I get TTL metering which are two features that are normally not found in studio strobes. I'm not gonna use them right now, but it's just cool to know that it is something that is available. So usually, in part of the whole process of shooting and being confident and exuding that confidence when you walk into this shooting space, it's very important that you do a few things, alright. Number one, always make sure that your lens cap is off, alright? There are times where if I have somebody that is very difficult, that has not opened up when I do my posing, you know, speech about mirroring and your big reflection and they're just kinda real stoic and not opening up at all, sometimes what I'll do is, and I'll do this for the camera, I'll hold the camera like this and I'll talk to them. And I'm like, "I'm gonna have you do this, I'm gonna have you do that," and I give them all this instruction, and I still keep my lens cap on. So that they can see that the lens cap is still on the camera. And I'll be talking to them, "I'm gonna have you do this," and they'll be looking at me listening, but they'll be looking at the camera like, "Is he gonna realize that the lens cap "is still on the camera?" I'm like, "Yeah, we're gonna go, okay, here we go." And I'll put the camera up to my face and I'm like, "Oh, what's going on, I don't see anything." And they're like, "Miguel, you left the lens cap on." Every single time, I'm telling you, anybody that's being difficult, I'll use that little story and that little technique and they'll bust out laughing, like "Really, Miguel, is this your first time shooting?" "Oh, you know, it happens all the time." And I'll take the lens cap off and it always disarms people. So again, you have to be-- there's a part of it where you have to be confident, but if you have somebody that's particularly difficult, sometimes self-deprecating humor kind of helps you to kind of break through that whole, you know, weirdness that people might have. So anyway, with that being said, the other thing that I also do is, I also push the test button to make sure that my flash is actually communicating, because once you take that test shot and you see that you have that dark, empty box, you wanna make sure that when you actually pick up your camera to go and shoot them, that the flash is gonna go off. There's nothing worse than you taking that first photo and your flash doesn't go off, and again, it looks like amateur hour and they're kinda like, "Oh, man, this guy doesn't know how to work his stuff." So before I even walk up, I always take that first pop, and then I'll walk over, and I'm like, "Okay, so here's what we're gonna do." So you guys already know the modeling stuff, right? And she knows it, we already worked through that whole thing. When our next model comes up, I'll re-explain the whole process. So you guys already know how I'm gonna pose her, so we're just gonna kind of go into it. So here's what we're gonna do. What I want you to do, I'm actually gonna move this over. And actually, you know what, let's change up the lighting for this. I'm gonna keep the same lighting modifier and I'm gonna explain why I'm doing this. So, we tried this lighting setup earlier and we kind of already know how that's gonna look. And so with the way that I do my lighting, we know already that this is like a dark box. The light isn't doing anything, right? So I have options with this single light setup. I can take this light and in this case I can have it directly in front of her and above, or I could take the light and put it to the side, put it to that side, I could even do what I've done on many occasions and I can actually have this light behind them. And let's say if I have a white wall, I can basically put my backup to a white wall, have the strobe behind them. The light wraps around them, hits the wall behind me, wraps around me, and then it lights them from the front. So there's different things you can do. In all of this you can get creative, because anywhere you move the light, that's the only light you have to worry about.