Live Shoot: Modifier Client Portrait
So because I have one, and John is so awesome, I'm actually gonna have him hold this. And we're gonna try to get some good looks here with this light. 'Cause I kind of like the way it looks. So this again, this is with a 55 one eight. And I'm gonna show you guys in a few minutes why this might change if I change my lens. So, I'm gonna take some shots first. And then we'll, yeah, we'll take one without. There we go. We'll do one more actually. Let me compose this correctly. Very good. And then now let's bring that in. Very nice. Beautiful. Love that. It's always good when you have somebody that kind of knows what they're doing. They just do awesome things without you having to work too hard. Very good. And so again, as you're shooting, you do want to make sure that you're constantly giving encouragement and feedback to the model or subject and telling them that looks great. Don't be inappropriate. (laughing) Hopefully that goes without saying. But like, you know, just letting them know ...
that looks great. I love that. That's awesome. Hair looks great. Amazing. Just like that. Excellent. You wanna make sure that you're just constantly communicating with your subject so that they get that feeling like they're doing a really good job. Now, question.
Caitlin Chase who said, "Can you tell us your exposure settings? What they are again? And then, like, the strength of the light as well?" And then a second question that had come in from Grace Louis was, "Do you use a color checker passport?"
Nice. Good question. All right. So, I'm at F9, 1/160th of a second, ISO 100. My lights are set at 1/8th power. So, I guess this would probably be an appropriate time and I'll answer the second question and then I'll explain basically how to make sure that you get the exposure the way you want to. 'Cause you won't always, like if you try these settings at home, you may not get the same result. So we'll talk about how to fix it. 'Cause I think that will be valuable. But, in terms of the color checker passport, I do use it on occasion. But all that's gonna do is if you have a color calibrated monitor then it's really helpful. Because you could use that and it's gonna get you to whatever the baseline colors that you want. It will get you to that, like where reds are red and blues are blue and all that good stuff. But often times, I change the colors the way that I want it to be. So I don't always use it. If I'm on a big, like a commercial shoot, where I have to make sure that everything is like perfect, and I have the time for it, I'll definitely shoot with that. But, the color checker passport, if you use that, you can't use capture one with it. So, there is a little bit of a, I don't know if that's something that might be done in the future, but it's really like a LightRoom thing. So you have to have LightRoom in order to upload the calibrated color file that you get from the color checker. The nice thing with capture one is that it has really powerful color tools. So, for me, I just kind of tweak it. You know, I'm on a color calibrated monitor. And I tweak the colors to my own personal taste. So, hopefully that answers the question. All right. So, let's talk about this. So I'm gonna screw up the settings here completely. I'm gonna spin stuff around. And I'll leave the light as it is right now. And we're gonna pretend like, I don't know what settings, where they need to be. I'm just guessing. So how do I arrive at my settings? First and foremost, I have to figure out how much depth of field do I want? Do I want for example in a portrait, do I want to have the tip of the nose all the way to the back of her heard in focus, sharp and detailed? If I do, then I probably wanna be at like an F14, F16. Usually F16 is kind of where I live for those types of shots where I wanna get ultra-detail in a portrait. If I look and I say I wanna get this like really dreamy type of look where it's like you know shallow depth of field where maybe just their eyes are in focus, and everything else is just blown to bits and a blur, then I will say, okay, I wanna shoot at F1. or 2.8 or whatever, lower F stop. Your shutter speed and your ISO in these studio scenarios are always the same. If you look at all of my studio work, you will always see my shutter speed is always at 1/160th of a second, ISO is whatever the lowest ISO is native to your camera. So in this case it's 100. Every now and again I'll go to 50. If I was doing that wide open type of look sometimes you have to go to like ISO to get a good exposure. But 1/160th or a second, ISO of if you're shooting with a mirrorless camera, that is like locked in stone. Like that doesn't change. So let's say, for example, I chose F16, because I wanna get a shot at F because I want that depth of field, right? So I dialed in F16, 1/160th of a second, ISO 100. I didn't touch my light power. And I already know what's gonna happen. This shot is gonna come out really dark. But I'm gonna take it anyway. And I will show you guys what happens. And my modeling light turned off. So I'll go ahead, kick that back on from the remote. And take one shot here. All right. So here's what happens at F16. 'Cause again shutter speed and ISO, you just don't mess with it. And you see you get a dark image. Now, it could very well be, that you take this shot, and you say, you know what, I could just go ahead and boost up the exposure because one of the advantages of shooting with a Sony mirrorless camera is that you have awesome dynamic range. And so people will ask me all the time, what is dynamic range? Like what does that mean? It basically means that you can preserve detail in the highlights and shadows. So if you had a shot where it's underexposed. Like you can look at the histogram and you see, like this basically tells you that there's like, very little detail in the highlights, 'cause it's a very dark image. But because you have such awesome dynamic range, and you're shooting RAW, you can actually take your exposure and you could go ahead and boost it up. And you have a shot that is workable. And you're shooting this and you have F16. And you could basically go on with life, and take some great shots. Now, if you're shooting with a different camera. And maybe you don't have dynamic range that allows you to do stuff like that, I have some options now. At this point I could say, it's too dark. I'm only gonna do one of two things every single time. I'm either A, going to raise the power of this light, from 1/8th power maybe to 1/2 power. And that will give me a brighter light. Which will give me a brighter exposure. Or B, I can take my aperture alone, and go from F16 to F11 and that will make it brighter. Or F8, will make it even brighter. That's literally the recipe every single time I step into the studio. The whole process of what settings when you're using off camera flash is super easy because here we're at F16, and I say, okay, I don't like that 'cause it's really dark. So I'll go to F11. And I'll basically take the same shot one more time. And, then I'll evaluate. How does F11 look? So again, shutter and ISO stayed the same. Light power stayed the same. And we went from a dark F16 image, to a brighter F11 image. If I looked at that and said, ah, I still want it to be even brighter than that. Now I could go ahead, go to nine. Which is what we've been shooting at. And then you're getting shots that are nice and bright. So, that's it for the lighting. Honestly, like, I've seen lighting explained in so many ways, and it's usually very hard to replicate once you get to the studio. 'Cause you're kind of like, well, they told me these settings and I tried it. And maybe this happens. Right? Where you go to the studio 'cause you saw a tutorial and they said, I shot this at F5.6. right? So you turn your light on. You put this at 5.6. And, you go there and you're like, wow that's great. And you take the photo. And then you're like, oh my goodness, F5.6 what happens? Bright. Right? It's not a light grenade but it's pretty close. You know, again, in post, because you're shooting RAW you could take that exposure dial and you could tone it down so it's not as big of a deal. But, we really would like to get the exposure to look better straight out of the camera. So from there I would go ahead, and I have an option, I could either take the power of my light, bring it down from 1/8th to some lower power. 1/4th power maybe. I don't know. You just pick a number that's lower. And try it. Or you could take your aperture, and if I raise up my aperture, that is gonna close it down to where less light comes through and we'll get a darker image. So that's literally the only two things that I will change in any photo shoot. I'm either bringing the power up or down. Or I'm taking the aperture and bringing it up or down. ISO and shutter always the same. So any questions on that? Hopefully that helps. Because literally every single shoot that I do, that's how I do my lighting. There's no guess work. You know, people ask me, why did you choose these settings? I choose that setting because that's what gives me the exposure that I like. You know? Based on the lights that I'm using. So if I take that shot and it's too bright, those are the things I change. Yes.
Well, a couple people had asked, including AceOneWorld, what are the lights that you're using? Again? The actually strobes.
Yes, so I'm using the Indra500 from Phottix. I also have a Indra360, which I may end up using. And they actually look exactly the same. So this is the strobe head that I'm using. The Indra500 is green. And it does have a little bit more power. But essentially, the head itself looks exactly the same. So this is the strobe. And this one is 360 watts. The one that I'm using right now is 500 watts of power. Very, very powerful. Like one light, you can light from top to bottom without any type of issue. And again, this has high speed sync. This has TTL. This particular one is actually kind of cool because they both use a portable battery pack, but the battery pack for this thing, you could clip it on your belt. Like it's small. It's almost like those power bricks that you buy for your cellphone. It's a very, very small little brick. And basically you could put that on your belt, have this on a mono-pod, if you have a voice-activated light stand, you know, a friend that you can bring with you. They could basically hold onto this head and move it around while you're taking your shots. And it weighs nothing. Like it's, a piece of cake to basically walk around with. So, both of the lights look exactly the same. You just have a little bit of difference in the power between the two. I believe this one is under $1,000. Which if you look at the options for high speed sync and TTL in a strobe, typically it's like 2,000 and up. Like, it's very expensive. So for me, for the last two years, I've been using the Indra and it's treated me well. I've never had any issues. I've used it on pretty much every professional photo shoot that I've had for the last two years. And these are the same two lights that I started with from day one and they're still here with me today. So, they're really, really fantastic lights. They have a Bowens mount as well, which is another thing that people ask me about. It's probably the most common mounting system for a strobe, which means that you don't have to buy the, I think it's called S mount for Bowens, you don't have to buy Phottix modifiers. You can buy modifiers from other brands. And buy the speed ring. And basically you have infinite options when it comes to modifying and light shapers for these lights. So.
First of all Miguel, thank you so much, for really breaking it down. It's starting to sink in for people. So thank you.
I'm gonna keep beating them over the head with this.
Yes. Just a couple clarifications. Bdesler asks, "Are the exposure settings and adjustments that you're describing typically only in studio settings?"
So what you're talking about right now is just one light set up, is that correct?
Yes. So this is the one light setup. And this is my process when I'm shooting in studio with lights like this. If I'm shooting outdoors the process is a little bit different. I can't really use this recipe that I'm showing you for outdoor stuff because it's much different. Because if you're shooting outdoors and it's bright sunlight, that's one thing. If you're shooting in the dark, it's a different thing. That might be a CreativeLive class for the future. Talking about how to use these things outdoors. Really the camera really shines when you're shooting outdoors and you don't have lights. Because you can actually see the changes and the exposure without having to really do anything. But, um, yeah, that's kind of a topic for a different day. But in the studio, the process that I just explained, whether you're using one light, two lights, three lights, it's all the same. You basically will dial the power up or down to get the exposure the way that you want it to look. Another thing too, and I'm not using it, and I'm going to use it now, I get people all the time that will talk to me about mirrorless cameras, and they'll say, "Miguel, you know the camera looks so small. And my hands are super big. And, you know, it's really hard holding that when I'm used to holding a DSLR." Sony makes, and actually there are third parties that make this as well, they have battery grips. And so, these come in handy when you're shooting this style of portrait. Basically you have two batteries that are inside of this grip and all of the controls to take your photos. And you just basically pop this in and twist this in. So if you're one of those people that says I can't use a mirrorless camera 'cause it's so tiny and my hands are so huge, good for you. You've won in life. But you can get a grip. And you're able to make the camera bigger if you needed it to be bigger. And it really helps you when it comes to shooting in that portrait orientation, because your trigger is here. So, if you saw me earlier as I was shooting I kind of had my elbows up here to reach this, or I do one of these numbers. With this, I can actually be a lot more steady 'cause I can just hold it this way. And take the shots.