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Live Shoot: Octabox

Lesson 21 from: Powerful Portraits using Mirrorless Cameras

Miguel Quiles

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Lesson Info

21. Live Shoot: Octabox


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What is a Mirrorless Camera?


Mirrorless Camera Advantages


Mirrorless Compatibility


Live Shoot: Mirrorless vs. DSLR


Live Shoot: A7R II, A6300 & A7ii


Compare Mirrorless & DSLR Images


Posing Techniques Overview


Lesson Info

Live Shoot: Octabox

So, we got the one look with the beauty dish, we're gonna go for something a little different. And this is kind of one of my go-to setups for shooting beauty. The cool thing about this particular setup, is that you can actually do this in natural light as well. And get a very similar look. So if you set yourself up in front of a nice window, on a nice day where you have good sunlight, you can actually get a shot that's gonna look very similar to the one that I'm doing right now. The nice thing about this is if, let's say in Seattle it's raining all the time. Maybe you might not get the best sunlight. Maybe you might not get sun at all. I don't know. So, this scenario, you can set up no matter what. Whether it's sunny outside, a monsoon outside, you can get really great shots. So, here's what we're gonna do. Behind you? Yes, you read my mind. So, actually it can go, bring it back just a touch. 'Cause I'm just gonna keep this 85 mil, so this is perfect right here. That should be abou...

t right. So, I'm gonna lower this a bit. And what we're gonna do is I'm gonna have this light, and I'm going to have it going straight this way. And, I'm basically trying to simulate this as if it was a window, right? So the windows are not gonna be curved, unless your house is busted. So, again, same settings. We're gonna keep this at F11 160. Shooting this at half power. And what I'm gonna do in this case is I'm actually gonna shoot in front of the light. So this is something that apparently, again, like the pop-up backdrops were something that a lot of people for whatever reason don't use. I started to realize a lot of people don't shoot in front of their modifiers. And it's a mind boggling thing. Like, "Aren't you blocking your light?" When you have a big light source, even though you're standing in front of it, the light wraps around you. And it gives this really beautiful quality of light to your subjects. So, I'm gonna show you guys how I shoot beauty doing this. We're gonna do it without the reflector first. And then we'll add the reflector. 'Cause I kinda think I'm gonna need it. So let me back up a touch. Alright, so we'll have to back up the light just a pinch. So, depending on the lens that you're using, you have to play with the minimum focus distance. You want this light, and this is a good way to figure out where the placement of the light needs to be. It literally needs to be right at the spot where you can actually focus. Whatever that minimum focus distance is for your lens, that's where you need to be. So, we'll try this one again. F11 160. Hopefully. Yes. That confirmation means we have a shot. Alright, so, let me take a look at this first image. Alright, so it's dark. Right? It's a little under exposed. If I take a look at this shot, my focus was a little bit off. I'll tighten that for you guys, 'cause I was just checking the light. So, in this particular scenario, again, I could either lower my aperture, to make this brighter. Or I can raise the power of the light. I'm at half power. So, we really can't, oh I'm at a quart - You're at half and two-thirds. Yeah, so it's almost at full power. But if I go to full power that's not gonna be good. So, what I'm gonna end up doing in this scenario is I'm actually gonna go from F11 to F8. And that way we can brighten up the image a touch. So, we'll do that. So, we're going down to F8, again ISO and shutter stays the same. And then ... Are you changing the power there? No. It went down. Where is it at now? Should be at- Quarter? It's a quarter and two-thirds. That might be okay. Try it. Let's take a look and see. Alright, so we'll go ahead. We'll try this shot here. Nope, not too dark. Not too dark. It is nice. Alright, so now we basically just changed the power. We actually went down from half power to quarter power. So, again, this is this dance that you do to try to get the exposure the way you want it without a light meter. I went from F11 to F8. Which basically made the image brighter. And if you zoom into this shot, guess what? You can see me in the catch lights. Totally okay, because what it also does, is it gives you this really nice quality for the shadows and the highlights. It gives you this really soft type of look to the photo. And it's basically a look that would be kind of difficult for you to capture any other way. Other than you being in front of the modifier. So, that's how it would look without the reflector. And I like shooting this with the reflector. So, we'll do the same exact setup, and we'll bring that reflector in. That looks awesome. Very good. We'll do one more. Excellent. And, I'm gonna get the 90. If you could get me the 90 macro? 'Cause that's gonna give me a little something extra to work with. But, now you can see, going from this particular look, without the reflector, you add the white reflector, basically fills in the shadows under the nose. And, you get some nice catch lights that you get to work with once you go into post. This is a very common technique for photographing beauty images. You may have never seen this shot this way before. But I promise you, if you go pick up your beauty magazines in the store, and you study the catch lights, which is something that I do frequently. I'm probably the only guy that I know that has subscriptions to every female fashion magazine. And part of the reason is because I study the images. And I started to notice that a lot of the catch lights in a lot of beauty shots, you can see the person in the photo. And I'm like, "Well the only way they can be in the photo, is if they're standing in front of the light. Let me try that." And sure enough, I tried it, and I started to get the light quality that I was looking for. So, shooting with the 85, we run into the little bit of an issue, 'cause I kinda want this background to be brighter. So the light needs to be closer to the background. However, with this 85, that's the minimum focus distance. I can't get closer or else the lens won't focus. Enter the macro. Because the macro allows you to get very very close, and still get the shot in focus. So, we're going to switch to ... Take that. Got it. Thank you. 90 millimeter, 2.8g master lens, AKA Excalibur. (giggling) And we're gonna go ahead and everything's gonna stay the same. And let me actually stand in the spot, and then you can back the light up into me. So, wherever that is, back me up. There you go, almost, almost, almost. Okay, cool. Perfect. Alright, so now, I'm actually gonna go to F11. Why? Just to see what happens. Alright. So F11, 'cause before, I had to go to F8 to basically make the image brighter. In this case, we made it brighter because we brought the light closer to her. So, at F11, going back and bringing this light in kinda close, we have a pretty nice quality of light on her face. I wanna try it with that white reflector. Very nice. And so this time, kind of turn to the side. Just like that. Very nice. Hold that. Very good, one more. Let me move my focus here. Excellent, one more. Perfect, alright. So, adding that little white fill from below, started to fill in the shadows here under the nose, under the lip, under the chin. Gives you a little bit of a brighter look. And it also gives you that little catch light, which again in post production you can brighten or if you needed to, you can darken it down too. If it's not your cup of tea to have the catch lights like that, you can totally tone those down if need be. So, this is really the baseline for my lighting and for my setup for a shot like this. I'm actually gonna start to work with her to get the real beauty poses. One of the things that you'll notice with a lot of beauty images, is that the models look very distressed. In their poses. So, I will often tell the model that I want you to have kind of a more like bothered look. Okay. (giggling) So, just very bothered and just angry type of look. (giggling) Alright, so we'll - Hit you with the reflector. Ah. Yeah, exactly. Chop her with the reflector and she'll have it for real. (giggling) She'll be really grumpy. Alright. There we go. Beautiful, just like that. Nice. So, you get them to kind of buy into this role. And all of a sudden, you start getting the looks and the expressions that you want. Often times I'll tell stories and I'll basically say whatever it is that I have to say to get them to start to give me the looks that I'm trying to get them to give me. Very nice. Very good. Excellent. Let me get a couple going sideways again, and kind of bringing in the shoulder. So it's literally gonna be head, and a little bit of the shoulder peeking in. Okay. There we go. Very good. Perfect, hold that. Oops-a-daisy. I know, John is just like chopping us over here with this reflector. Very nice, love that. Excellent. Oh, I love that. Now again, she's doing a good job, so I'm really not filling her head with hot air. However, if she was modeling and not doing a good job, I would still be saying the same thing. Because, the goal would be that after a little bit of time of shooting this, they'll eventually start to get out of their head, and they'll start to get confident. And they'll start to give me the types of looks and expressions that I'm trying to get. So, you have to constantly fill them with encouragement. So, here's what we're gonna do. Let's change this background, 'cause I wanna mix things up here. Just for the sake of not being too boring with the same background. And we'll pick this one, 'cause I think this darker background might be kind of interesting. So, again, this is part of what I do in my studio. I have these backdrops opened up already. Like I have them now. And basically, 'cause I'm by myself most of the time, so I'll take these collapsible backdrops, and I will walk them over to the light stand. The bigger ones are a little bit unwieldy sometimes. So, I'll clip this on, takes two seconds. And, just like that, we have a new background. So, very, very easy. Very easy way to be able to get a brand new look. To where if this was seamless paper, we would still be waiting for me to put a new backdrop up. So, let's see. And then this big background, by the way, it's a little cumbersome. So let me get this one, we'll break this sucker down. So, again, after awhile you get very good with this. And it takes you two seconds, even as big as it is. You fold it up, and put it out of the way. Alright, so let's try this out. Different color background. This one, you're gonna be sideways, head leaning back, just like that. By the way, I pose and I try to get them to pose the way that I want them to look. And I know I look ridiculous doing it. They always end up doing a better job than me. (laughing) So, it works out great. So let's bring that in. Very nice, it's beautiful. Very good. Excellent. Very nice, love that. Perfect, and then let's tilt the head back the opposite way. Just like that, that's beautiful. Love that. Very good, awesome. And so, I'm using that focus and recompose method because I'm shooting at F11. And at F11 you can do that. Just put the focus box on the eye, press halfway. And then, 'cause I'm sure all the Sony people right now are watching and saying, "Miguel, eye auto focus, please use it." So, okay, fine. For those people out there, let's do that. So, here we go, hold that. Very good. Nice. Perfect. Very good. Excellent. And the nice thing about shooting with a macro, as well, you notice we can have the lights in really, really close. If I wanted to, bring that back in, here's another really cool thing that we can do with macros that would be very hard to do with any other type of lens. So, bringing this in here, I can actually go in super, super close. Probably more close than you would technically want to go. And, you're able to shoot mega closeups. So, if you were doing a makeup type of campaign, some of the shots are regular portraits. And then you have these super closeup beauty portraits with lots and lots of texture, lots and lots of detail. These are the types of shots that once you get into post and you start retouching, you end up with some really fantastic shots. And again, because of the dynamic range, if that's not bright enough, I can just boost it up a little bit in post. And we'll kind of talk about that super in-depth tomorrow. But, super easy with a macro to be able to get really nice closeup shots. So, any questions at this point? We're gonna switch up to an umbrella, which we'll do momentarily, but any questions that you have? Let's do it. Alright, so we did have a question from Mark who asks, "Do you turn on your highlight warning in Capture One to make sure your highlights details aren't blown out?" Is that a feature you use? Yes, good question. I do. So if you go into Capture One, there's a little show exposure warning up here on the top. So, if you click that, let's say for example now you don't see anything red on this shot, 'cause nothing is overexposed. And I believe on Capture One, if it's underexposed, which we'll try here, actually it doesn't light up. So, if it's overexposed, you get this. So let's say I took the first shot, and the light was ... I'll turn this off. If it was super bright like this, what'll end up happening is, you can push the exposure warning and everything that you see there that's red, means there is no detail. That it's so bright, that it's pure white. There's no detail whatsoever. So, basically, by using that warning, it will tell you whether or not the image is overexposed or underexposed. I do use it at times. Again, I've gotten to the point to where I'm kinda like the grandma that doesn't need a recipe when she cooks food. I just know a pinch of this, and a dash of that. And I know what comes out correct. If that helps you to make sure that you don't get a shot that's over or underexposed, by all means definitely use it. But you'll get to the point to where you really don't need it. You just know when you're in the ballpark. And you just kinda go from there. So, good. One more question, Dayla Demas is asking, "Is there a difference between the triangle reflector from the circle one?" Yeah. So, some people may not have seen that triangle reflector. Yeah, yeah, so, and that's actually a really great question, I'm glad that they asked that. So, part of the issue with the circle reflector is that I can't get as close to the subject, because it's circular. So, you figure, like here, I can actually use the edges to be able to get closer to my subject. With a circle reflector, because it's a perfect circle, they have to be a little bit farther away from me. So part of the reason why I like this triangular one, is that we can use the edges to be able to get closer to one another. Meaning photographer and subject. For me to crop the image the way I want it cropped. The other thing is it does create a different look in catch light. I tend to like the sharp edges of a triangle reflector. Not to say that I don't use a circular reflector, 'cause I do use them at times. But I like having the edges. So, if you see, in the catch lights of a shot like this, you see you have kind of sharp edges. So, if I'm using a circular-ish modifier like an Octa, maybe in this case it might be better to use a circular reflector. Again, it's a personal taste type of thing. But I tend to always use the tri reflector. Unless, right away I see that it's just not really looking great. And then I'll bring a circular one in.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Miguel's Exposure X2 Alien Skin Presets

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I want to commend you for hosting Miguel Quiles. He is beyond competent and knowledgeable. Light is Light, but It is encouraging to see incredible minority photographers on your platform and to see diversity in the presenters. It is inspirational for minorities to see themselves on the center stage. I sincerely thank you for that. I am buying this course although I am not a mirrorless shooter because of my support of Miguel and the quality of his instruction of which benefits all photographers. He is a great addition to the Creative Live Family of Presenters that I have supported as well. Kudos Creative Live!

Danae Khan Jones

Wow! As a Newb and someone looking to get into portrait/studio photography, this course was perfect and comprehensive. SO MUCH GOOD CONTENT. Miguel is so approachable about questions, positive, and thorough in his explanations. This course broke down the gear and technical side very well. I recommend going to a class live. It was a great experience with food and beautiful facilities. The facility has a positive vibe and really encouraged me to be creative. Thank you for the experience and knowledge!


WOW!!! I LOVED THIS CLASS!!! I learned so much. He made lighting soooo simple, I finally understood. I liked the way he explained the why of his camera settings and how to overcome ambient light. he explained and made everything simple!!! I liked the way he talked about connecting with your clients. I am so happy I purchased this class. I finally understood lighting What a great teacher!! Thank you!!

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