Live Shoot: One-Light Client Portrait
I'm going to try, first to see how it looks with this light completely censored above her, and we'll what we end up with here. So I've got it slightly above, I don't have the center of the box aiming directly at her because that's kind of the more harsh light from this soft box is directly in the center. So I try to have the center either basically feathered above her, or facing down, but I try not to have that center of the soft box hitting the person because it just makes them look really bright. So, here we go, we'll take that first test shot, and again, I just saw the image in the electronic viewfinder. Someone on social media had asked me about whether or not what I see in the viewfinder is what I see on the back of the screen, and the answer is yes. What I see on this back screen is basically the same thing I see in the electronic viewfinder. So that's where it's kind of a powerful thing. So, this is another thing as well, so I take this photo and I look at it and I say, "It's go...
t that warm look to it because I'm shooting in auto-white balance." So the very first thing that I like to do while I'm in this software is to change it from auto to daylight. The daylight in this case is going to give it this kind of cooler tone, and it could very well be that this is the look that I really want to go for because her skin tone, to my eyes, looked more natural here than it does straight out of camera here. Now this is all stuff that I'm able to check because I'm shooting tethered, if I'm not shooting tethered I have to take two shots and then evaluate it on the back of the screen and it's not the ideal situation. So, looking at this particular shot, the other thing that I look at is how the shadows are impacting this particular shot. So based on where I have the light positioned, it's going to cast shadows in different parts of the face and the body and everything else. So in this case, the shadows are basically because it's centered above her it's falling right under the nose and it's very soft, if you notice, you can barely see the shadow compared to the highlights. Same thing, you have it under the lip, you have a little tiny bit of a shadow there, and then of course you have the shadow under the chin. So, you have it under the collar bone as well. So basically because it's above you get this really nice even light in the sockets of her eyes, and her nose. Now if you use the beauty dish, and this is always the question, people will ask "Okay, so that's what it looks like with an octave, what's it look like with an umbrella?" You'll get a similar look, except the shadows will be darker, you'll have like really black, dark shadows which may or may not look good. So, in this particular case you have really nice soft shadows which I really like, beautiful highlights on the hair. We have good even coverage on the background as well. So this is another thing where if you want to impact the light on the background, but you want the light on her to be the same, you can actually just keep that same ratio of distance from this light to her and just pull her away from the backdrop and it gets darker. So we're going to do that. I'm actually going to have you take like, two steps forward. Two military steps, there you go, just like that. So we keep everything the same, it's about the same distance away from her, except now she's farther from the background. So this is how I do my lighting, I'll take the first shot and I'll look at it, and I actually like this lighting but I'm going to pretend I don't like it because maybe somebody out there is watching and they're like "Ooh, the background is too bright." Cool, no problem. Pull her off from the background, we will square this up the same way, and I'm not trying to go for composition or anything like that. I'm not trying to coach her at this point, I'm just trying to figure out, how do I want the lighting, how do I want it to look? This little corner, by the way, that you see here, there's a program called Photoshop, and Alien Skin Exposure that cleans this up really really nice. A lot of times I'll take these shots and the subject will look at the photo and be like, "Ohh, that's weird, you can see the corner that's a horrible photo!" And I'm like "Don't worry about it, when it's done it's not going to have that." But here you can tell compared to the last shot, the color looks pretty different. Like you'd go from like a light blue to like this really dark blue, and it could very well be that that's the look that we're trying to go for is that darker blue. I don't know about you guys, maybe something in between might look kind of cool. So, that's what we're going to do. I'm going to have take that one step back, I'll keep the light the same, relative distance here. And, we'll go ahead we will start to shoot. And any questions that you have, in my hunt here to get an amazing shot, feel free to ask. Very nice. And so, again, I'm using a focus and recompose method. I'm not using iAutoFocus because again, you might be using a camera that doesn't have that, and I don't want you to feel like, "Ohh, well Miguel is using iAutoFocus so I can't get this shot." I'm just using focus recompose, I have the focus area on the eye and every single shot I'm basically putting that box on the eye, focusing halfway, and then taking the image. And I pretty much know without really having to check, I'm fairly certain that every single one of the shots is in focus, just because I've done this for a little bit. I kind of know what my gear does, and you get very comfortable with your gear over time and you know what it's capable of doing. So, we have a few shots and we'll wait for a second here. These are 42 megapixel images that are feeding through this USB so it takes a little bit, so while we're waiting for that, you've got a question?
Yah, while we're waiting a couple of Questions came in. One was from B. Dessler who said, "Since that continuous light is not actually being used for exposure, what are you using that for?"
The continuous light, the modeling light?
The modeling light.
Yeah, that's a good question. So, one of the advantages of shooting with a studio strobe is the fact that you have this modeling light. So what it allows you to do is it helps you to focus. So, whenever you actually take the photograph that modeling light doesn't impact the exposure, it just kind of turns off and turns back on. So all that's helping me to do is focus. So if you had speed lights, this is a very common question, people will say, "Well, Miguel, I don't have a strobe, but I have a speed light, could I use that?" You could get a similar look if you had a speed light inside of this octa, depending on your settings it could look very similar. The only problem is you don't have the modeling light, and without that, if we were in a dark room it might be very difficult to get it in focus. So the modeling light is really awesome. This Odin 2 actually allows me to be able to... which, I guess I should twist this around to show you guys, but with the Odin 2 transmitter I can actually make it brighter or darker from the remote control, which is kind of handy. So, typically I'll leave it on, it does have a sleep feature, so if you don't do anything to your camera for a little while the modeling light turns off. And if it ever does you can just push the button on the trigger and power it back on if you need to. So, good question. Any other questions on the web?
Could you let N. Grino know how far is the model from the light and that background again, if you were to estimate that.
So, if I had to estimate, I would say she's probably about two feet away from the light and she is probably about two feet away from the background. So, this is a recipe that is just like baking a cake, right? I can give you the recipe, and tell you, "Put the light two feet away, and then have the backdrop two feet away from the model." You can try that and be like "Eww, I don't like the way that looks!" So it's cool, some people like more sugar in their cake, that's cool. So in this type of scenario, if you want the background to be darker, pull them away from the background, keep the light at the same relative distance and you'll have this same exposure on your subject, and then the background goes darker. If you want it to be brighter, you can have her, and actually, let's do that. Be real careful, take a step back, back, back, back, a little more, a little more. So at this point, she is, maybe like a foot away from the background, and if I bring this in real close, we'll take a look and we'll see how that looks. We'll get a completely different look just kinda playing musical lights. So we'll do this one. It's beautiful, very nice. And so, all the settings, everything's the same, I haven't played with the light power or anything like that and we basically went from that dark background to a little bit of a brighter background just by playing with that positioning. So if you wanted to kind of play with that even more you can add a second light that's just lighting just the background, and that way you can dial that up or down if you wanted to keep from having to move the lights backward and forwards and all that good stuff, you have options to be able to do that. So if you could, let me get the Phottix Reflector. And, this might be a good time, I'll explain one of my favorite little modifiers. This is the Phottix Tri-Reflector and this thing is pretty awesome because there's often times especially when you're just starting out in portraiture, you don't have either the gear to hold this or you don't have an assistant to be able to hold this, and so what I really like about this is that I can actually hold this reflector myself while I'm shooting. And this basically will help to soften the shadows that we're getting underneath the nose and the chin. So, often times what I'll do is I'll take the first shot to take a look and see what that looks like, and maybe I need the silver, maybe I just need a white fill from the reflector, but it's pretty cool because I can do one of these numbers which, again, try this with a DSLR and tell me how your shoulders feel the next day, it is not fun. So, I can do one of these numbers. Hold that right there, very nice, excellent. Then I'll do one of these, excellent. Alright, so I can actually hold the camera with one hand, hold the reflector by myself, so again, you don't have to have a big production and a bunch of gear and all this kind of stuff, this thing also folds away, pretty easy. See, my folding game is on today, we had a contest yesterday with Kenna, and I just couldn't fold this thing to save my life, but today I'm on point. So, we'll zoom into this, and one of the things that I really like about using the reflector is not only does it give you that fill, where it kind of fills in the shadows and they're not as harsh, you get this beautiful catch-light in the eye. Often times when I shoot portraits, I'm more concerned with the catch lights and what it's doing to the image, than I am sometimes other miscellaneous things in the shot. So, for me, I love the look of having the catch-light from the modifier and then having the little catch-light from the reflector below. But you'll notice that the shadow is a little bit softer under the neck line, all the areas where it would fall because it's completely centered, so you get a really, really beautiful look. And again, all of this just hand holding your reflector without an assistant.