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Live Shoot: One Light with High-Speed Sync

Lesson 26 from: Powerful Portraits using Mirrorless Cameras

Miguel Quiles

Live Shoot: One Light with High-Speed Sync

Lesson 26 from: Powerful Portraits using Mirrorless Cameras

Miguel Quiles

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Lesson Info

26. Live Shoot: One Light with High-Speed Sync


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: One Light with High-Speed Sync

Alright so I'm actually gonna switch gears here. And I wanna show you guys, 'cause this is probably gonna take a little bit more time than what I thought 'cause I wanna be very thorough with explaining this. 'Cause I've been telling you guys about my settings and how I have this lighting recipe where basically I make my settings to negate the ambient light and then I turn on my lights and I dial the power up or down. Or I take my aperture only 'cause my shutter and my ISO does not change. I just that, I leave that the same. Adjust aperture and light power. So we're gonna go a little bit different. We're gonna go off the path a little bit. So follow me on this little journey here 'cause what we're gonna do is, I have an 85 millimeter 1.4, and I wanna be able to shoot at 1.4. So you run into problem, and for a lot of people who don't use off camera flash, they don't recognize the problem that you will run in to. But if you attempt to shoot wide open at 1.4, or if you have a lens that's a...

1.2 aperture, this is what's gonna happen. So, John, could you put the power all the way down. And I'm gonna turn off this kicker light. So we're gonna take our settings on our lens, and we're gonna operate within normal sync limits for the flash which means on this Sony camera, I can go to one 1/160th of a second. My shutter cannot go higher than that without any additional tech which we'll talk about in a sec. On Canon, it might be 1/200. On Nikon, I think its 1/250th of a second. Anything above that, like if you try to go to 1/4000th of a second and you have a flash trigger, unless you have high speed sync, the camera won't even go there. Like it doesn't work. So we're gonna try this. We're gonna go and use the 1/160th of a second 'cause that's the max normally with a regular strobe. We're gonna go to f/1.4, ISO 100. And I wanna show you guys what happens when you try taking a shot, shot wide open. So with this it's gonna be very important as well that you're very careful with your focus. So here we go. Lowest power setting. So we're shooting at the lowest possible light power setting and you can see, if I put this indicator on, it is blown out. And so, again, because we have the dynamic range, somebody might say well, you know, you could just kind of recover some of the highlights. And you can do that, but for me this is kind of like a uninteresting image. Like, it's very bright. I probably could doctor this up in post and maybe get it to look a little bit better. But if I want to shoot this wide open at f/1.4 in the studio, you run into a little bit of an issue with that. So what we have to do is, I'm gonna put high speed sync on, and what high speed sync is gonna allow me to do is, before I was capped at 1/160th of a second, but now with high speed sync I can actually increase my shutter speed, alright? So I'm gonna increase the shutter speed to 1/400th of a second, which again could not happen unless you have a high speed sync trigger and a light that supports high speed sync. We'll take another shot here. (shutter clicks) And I'll show you what happens. So again, lowest power level. And now at 1/400th of a second, you get a shot that's a little bit darker, alright? Now you might be thinking, well, okay so this one was really bright at 1/400, maybe the correct exposure is maybe like 320, like 1/320. But what'll end up happening is if you use multiple lights and you have them all dialed down at the lowest power, it's gonna be a light grenade. Like it's a light explosion and it gets a lot harder to try to control the exposure the way that you want it. Now, here's what we're gonna do now that I've established these little examples of what the settings do. I'm gonna turn off my trigger 'cause I wanna know if any of the ambient light in the room, just like I did before, if at 1/400th of second, if it's affecting my exposure. 'Cause I don't want any of this light bleeding into the image. So we'll take a quick test. (shutter clicks) And I could immediately see in my electronic viewfinder that I could see him, even though on the screen... On my screen it's almost dark. On your screen, for the studio audience, I can see a little more of an outline. I don't know how it's gonna look at home, but you could definitely see him in the frame. Which means that these lights in the room are still affecting my exposure. So at 1/400th of a second, we're not negating enough of the light to shoot at f/1.4. So what I'm gonna do is, I'm just gonna go up. And again, it's kind of a guessing game. You could meter for this, but I'm gonna go to 1/1000th of a second and we'll see if that... (shutter clicks) So 1/1000th I could still see. Let's go to 1600. (shutter clicks) And I could still see some light. Let's go to 2500. (shutter clicks) Alright, we'll wait for these to come through. So basically as I increase my shutter, all I'm trying to do like I was doing before is to try to get a shot where there's no ambient light that is bleeding into the image. And in this case when you're shooting wide open at f/1. where this is the max aperture for this particular lens, you could see at 1/2500th of a second we're negating all of the light. So once again, we do the same thing that we did before where we kick on our lights. And now this light is the only light that is affecting the exposure just like it was when I was shooting at f/8 and f/11 and all those settings. So let's take a look and see. 'Cause now at the lowest power setting, I'm willing to bet you that we're not gonna get a good exposure. (shutter clicks) So we got a dark one. So, John, bring it to one... Let's see, let's go to an eight power. 'Cause you could see now that basically this light is not kicking out enough power to be able to light him up so I'll recycle the flash. So now we're at an eight power. So again this is the same method that I taught you before of being able to not have to have a meter and have all this extra gear. This is the recipe to be able to get your correct exposure. So you could see that with a little bit of practice, and I could've done this in seconds if I wasn't talking through it, but you could see that now at an eighth power, we're actually getting the exposure the way we want it to look. Now when it comes to shooting this particular style, 'cause this is how I shot the banner image for this class. This is the same exact technique. I shot it wide open. That one was actually at an f/1. so I'm shooting this even more shallow. But there's a trick to this. There's a trick to being able to get the look the exact way that I got it. 'Cause I've taught people, I've told people the settings, and I've seen people try to recreate the shot, and they get close. Like, it looks like this. But there's one thing that people miss. And I'm gonna zoom into the eyes here to demonstrate this. So when you're shooting wide open, alright, so if you're shooting at anything less than an f/2.0, the eyeballs in the image need to be parallel to one another. So what that means is, let's say for the viewers at home, if they're watching, I'm looking at the camera and my eyes are parallel to the camera. Here, they are not. Here, they are not. So when you're photographing somebody they have only a little bit of latitude to move their head. They can't do this and they can't do all this. They can either do this or they can do this. Because you wanna have the eyes to be on the same focal plane so that both eyes are sharp and in focus. I'm not gonna say that you can't shoot an image where it's like this where one eye is in focus and the other isn't because again, I'm not your photography competition instructor. However, I could tell you that for many people it's a little off putting if you look at the eyes and one's in focus and one isn't. So I tend to want to get both eyes to be sharp and detailed and in focus. So that's what we're gonna try to do. We're gonna go ahead and I want both eyes have to be on the same focal plane which means you cannot do that. You cannot do that. 'Cause if I focus, for example, if you go like this, I have to focus on the closest eye to the camera, so that eye would be in focus. That back eye would be blurred. And if you turn the opposite way and I focus on the closest eye, that one will be in focus. That one will be blurred. So both eyes have to be parallel just like that. Very nice. And I love that expression. You must be grumpy because of my prolonged explanation. Very nice. I love this. (shutter clicks) The only way that I don't get a good shot right now is if I mess it up 'cause he is stone-faced killer right now. Amazing. (shutter clicks) David you are a pro. Thank you. Very good. Check these out. I would do a mic drop, but I'd have to have my camera and I don't wanna drop it so... Let's wait for these to come through here. So again, if you came to this class because you saw that title picture and you're like, "Man, how did he shoot that," we're doin' it. This is happenin' right now. The key to being able to pull off a shot like this is really trying to work with the subject to try to get them to play a character. Because if he gives, and I'll actually do this here. Let me zoom in 'cause there's another lesson here to be learned. So eyes are relatively sharp. That one's not. That one is. So even when I shot with a DSLR there was a little bit of a trick to shooting wide open in this method. It used to be that basically I would take 10 frames, and out of those 10, like four or five would be like tack sharp and in focus because what happens is if you're shooting at f/1. and I'm sitting here standing on this apple box kind of balancing, right? So as soon as I lock in the focus, if I move forward or backward, or he has like a twitch where he moves backwards or forwards after I lock in the focus, it'll be out of focus. So you wanna make sure that you are super steady. Realistically, if I was doing this in my studio, I would have this on a tripod, and I would basically have it super steady the whole time so we alleviate that possibility that I move, and then it's just basically him having to stand super steady. So I will end up shooting multiple images like this to make sure that I end up with a shot where both eyes are completely in focus. So nowadays, my hit rate is a lot higher so instead of doing four out of ten, it might be six or seven out of ten. So it's very important because of that that you continue to interact with your subjects. Joke, laugh, tell them stories, get them to kind of stay in the character 'cause the last thing that you want is to basically be shooting this and you get that great expression, but it's one of those three out of ten where you happen to like twitch a little bit and you miss the focus and then you're crying the rest of the day. So any questions at this point? I know there's probably some. So another question that had come in earlier was about when you're using two different flashes. Do you risk having color temperature change and change drastically with the power settings? Saying this happens with some brands more than others. Is that something that people need to consider? So they do need to consider it depending on the lights that you're using. So if you're using kind of like a... We'll call them budget strobes for a lack of better words 'cause I don't wanna name brands, but I've had certain brands in the past that are less than $300 for the strobe head where you would have issues with color temperature so if you took, you know, a hundred, two hundred photographs you'll notice that from one shot to the other you might have one light that is a little warm and one light that is a little cooler. So it kind of is something that you have to kind of work with when you're taking these types of shots, but it doesn't wreck the image. So color temperature things are things that you can fix in post production. And we'll talk about that once we get to the retouching portion of this workshop. But it's definitely an issue for some of the more inexpensive strobes. For these, these Phottix lights, I don't run into color temperature issues. And they're both Phottix lights so, you know, maybe if I had like one Indra and then one other light of some other brand you may run into color temperature issues, but to be quite honest, I'm more worried and concerned about the quality of the light, the look of the catch lights, the overall look of the image, than I am the color temperature issues. 'Cause those are things that, honestly, you can go into Photoshop. You could go ahead and basically make it to where half of the image is warm and the other half is cooler and you'll be able to balance them out in post production. So very, very good question. Anything else on the web? Got one here? I'm wondering if you did want to catch the environment, not the lights, but the environment. Say you weren't in a studio, but you were in a barn and you had a cowboy or something like that. How would it change? Like, you still wanna have that great sculpting light on the face, but you also want to capture the environment. How would you change the set up? I love it. I'm glad. You're asking all the questions that I wanna hear over the course of this workshop. I'm really happy for that. So if you're trying to shoot in a location where you're doing an environmental type of portrait, where you're trying to capture the background, then you're shutter speed is gonna be different. So basically, you may or you may not need high speed sync. It may be a situation where you shoot at 1/60th of a second and you have the environment perfectly exposed, but then your subject, because they're not lit, they're gonna be a silhouette which is great. Once that happens, you bring in your off camera flash just to light the subject. You'll get a great exposure on the background, and then you can play around with the exposure on your actual subject. So it's kind of a weird... On location is very similar, but it's very different. But the mindset is the same in that you're playing around with this exposure. Instead of trying to negate the ambient light in a barn or wherever you might be, you're actually trying to blend the two to where they look better. So, you know, you might drag the shutter. You may even have to go less than one 1/60th of a second. If you're inside of, let's say, a bar, and you've got like a bar scene where you're trying to do like a really cinematic look of like, you know, David sitting there with like a vodka or whiskey or something. You wanna get the whole dark scene behind him. It may be that you have to go to like a 1/30th of a second shutter speed to be able to get that ambient light, the background, to be exposed properly. He'll probably still be partially in shadow, and that's when you bring in the light just to light him in the scene. So it's similar, but for studio stuff, you actually wanna negate all of the light. Because, again, if I looked at this shot and for whatever reason I didn't like the light the way that it was coming out, I could change that. I can adjust it any which way that I would wanna adjust it.

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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