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Studio Lighting

Lesson 8 of 18

Head Shots with Beauty Dish

Zack Arias

Studio Lighting

Zack Arias

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Lesson Info

8. Head Shots with Beauty Dish

Lesson Info

Head Shots with Beauty Dish

all of this mess down here the floor and all of these pieces I want to clean that up before I deliver it to the client um this is where it gets a little sloppy if you started to see this stuff in your picture I'll show you in sixty seconds of how to just take care of that all right so uh heather you ready yeah are you ready for a few more photos awesome well come on in so we're going to start with just a bit of a beauty light set up all right and what I want to have you do is you're gonna be kind of hanging out right here and I'm just gonna be shooting kind of head shot I kind of think um and you're going to be I may have you straight onto me a few times or just kind of rotated over to the side out I'll never really bring you over this far to me kind of thing she'll just be kind of hanging out here I got to get my lights set up new that whole business right um so cool you're gonna hang out right here way have switched over from big momma um a big large light source fifty inch soft box ...

up there on the boom to the alien be twenty two inch beauty dish all right um as I said yesterday there are times I can specifically tell you the difference between this modifier in this modifier and show you specifically how different this one is from this one and then there are these times when um there's just something about it that I don't always have the words for you shoot a thousand pictures with a soft box and then a thousand pictures with uh beauty dish and you'll see the difference in certain areas but there's this other thing where it's just like the beauty dish has this light it is a harder light than a soft box because it is a smaller light smaller the light source the harder the lights going to be softer the light source are the softer the light you want you go to a larger light source you get that eighty six umbrella in close to a subject and it's just this soft light that just wraps around the whole face um we get the seven foot octa bake out it's so big soft beautiful gorgeous like we don't always need the softest largest light source is possible you have a subject that has great bone structure in their face nice high cheekbones are nice jawline you sometimes want to accentuate that with a bit of a harder light deeper shadows things like that um the beauty dish is this beautiful soft light when used in close I typically I'm not going to take a beauty dish and have it ten feet away from my subject I'm goingto have it two to four feet away ish typically um I wanted in close I like flying it in right over top right over the top of the head or maybe off here to an angle kind of thing um I use this for a very tight shots the face it's a beauty dish uh for beauty shots right uh makes this really nice clean round catch light uh in the eyes sometimes photographers pick the modifiers they want for the shape of the catch light in the eye that they want some people don't like a square catch like so they like to use octa banks and beauty dishes and things like that for the round catch like uh they're people go the other way right um we are using the alien b this is their older model that is white me way really have this tightened down what come on seriously I love it in this position um dan hold onto this for me uh he man over here like crank this thing down there we go all right so I'm just going to rotate this quick thiss is white inside all right so uh they make a new one that silver silver one is a little more speculator it's a lie a little a bit harder and you probably get another stop or so out of it because it's a little brighter it intensifies a little bit more than the white this plate right here is to catch the light coming out of the flash tube send it out to the sides on let this all light up the catch light and eyes may become a little doughnut because of this dark spot that will be in the catch light if you want to get rid of that they have what's called a sock we have it around here somewhere we don't need it right now little diffusion panel that you put around it to get rid of the donut catch light and a softened it down a little bit another nice thing with the beauty dish is on location you can fly this up on the stand and if it's windy it's not as likely to blow over as an umbrella or soft fox it's made of metal it's heavier we have it flying out on a c stand arm right now and we have twenty five pounds of sand on the bottom of the sea stand uh if we took that sandbag off most likely this thing's going over all right we have put it on a alien be for hundred reason I want the four hundred instead of the sixteen hundred says if I want to bring this down to f two point eight I am more likely going to be able to get to that range with the four hundred since it has less light than I am with the sixteen hundred again I like it in nice and close way also havea reflect actor on an armed all right this should all be on the the list of stuff I will be checking that list to make sure but we have this on a reflector arm on a little bit shorter of a light stand and I am going to bring it in for a couple shots and have it out for a couple shots but basically you're classic kind of beauty lighting is you have a beauty dish or some sort of light source like this could be a twenty eight inch soft box on umbrella flying in right over your subject and usually a little bit of a reflector coming back up and just very clean clean tones of the skin um we wanna really nice exposure will probably knock the background the white um if I'm going lower in power here and shooting it to eight or f four somewhere in that range than those background lights khun go lower and power as well right to keep that stop and a half difference because before we had a sixteen hundred power head going off now we have a four hundred so that's that I'm going to go ahead and before I bring this in I'm just going to find my my um exposure again if let's see let's spring it there and lets wrote right there that's perfect you doing all right you're good alright excellent so I'm going to make sure that she's not backed up like this I'm gonna have her kind of leaning forward a little bit I want to a long gate the neck I want to bring the chin out I want to clean up this line around the jaw line not back all right so I'm gonna have her I always kind of leaning forward a little bit stretching that neck chin up I want a nice clean jawline you can take someone who's very fit very trim and you can shoot them at the wrong angle or have them pull back and chin's start to show up where they shouldn't the next can get kind of thick right here all right even thin fit people um you shoot something like me watch out that's why I grow a beard why do you have a beard if I shaved it you'd know all right I s o one hundred won twenty fifth of a second let's go ahead and go toe f four I am at sixteenth power it looks like no where am I here eighth power eighth power up here why am I ate power you've got to start somewhere right I know it's not gonna be full I don't need to shoot this beauty shot f twenty two so eighth power we'll take a picture and we'll see right we come in with the light meter and know right away but if you're starting off without one let's just take a picture I'm going to focus on the I lightly recomposed and take a shot all right uh let's go to the back of my camera here and we have some blinking highlights your blinking highlights on the face so I'm a little over exposed just now that was f four I could stop down my aperture to take care of that or I could bring my power down let's bring it down stop ish now let's bring it all the way down let's bring it down to stops let's open up two to eight on take a shot perfect right they're excellent that looks pretty darn good no blinking highlights all right now one thing I want to see our my background lights firing they're not I think they're turned off right so uh light room computer let's take a look at exposure and everything I think I'm going to go ahead and turn my background lights on I want a nice clean white background back there so let's bring them on and let's start him off it ah did you do to do eight power I know they don't have to be a full I'm shooting at two point eight so that lets me know that I'm shooting white open I don't need a whole ton of light back there right so eighth power that ought to do it let's take a look all right excellent here hanging out right there good uh that one fired since when firing on the side because what's happening is my picture this side is firing keeping eye on that one that's fine this side of the set is blowing the white that side is great so that's kind of telling me like it seems like that one over there is not firing is that one on optical or pocket was a pocket with its on pocket was it take another shot now it's going uh let's go to the back of my camera will show you what I'm talking about half of it is going the other side over here is not blowing the white I changed that up and now they're both going to white so I have both lights firing and when I talk about rap see this right here thiss little area the chin that light coming back in that is when I referred to wrap that is what I'm talking about all right um looking pretty good I think I could probably I could use about a third of a stop maurin exposure on her face I am just looking at screen I'm going places just a a bit dark I could just use a third of a stop now I'm already opened it people ate right I this is a two eight linds I cannot open up any more than this so I could bring my power up a smidge on my life but from thirty second power to sixteenth power on this light it's this much anyways it's a little hard to like get that a third of a stop increment on the back of that thing so what I'm going to do is take my s o and movinto one twenty five one third of a stop more sensitive to light so this is one of those situations where I do change I s oh not by a big jump I need just a little bit more so this should be good perfect right there good hold that and that's what I'm looking for that looks like a good exposure on the face let's uh put these side by side all right side by side in light room come on thie picture on the left his s o one hundred the picture on the right is s o one twenty five when I say that doughnut catch light let me come in here to the eyes see that little donut catch light if you don't like the donut catch light you get the sock throw it on and there you go and the difference in light quality with the sock on and with sock off is minimal you do side by side and you're not going to see this massive difference in light quality note that putting the sock on might cut your exposure a bit you're shooting it through some diffusion material you may need to change exposure for me personally is if I want to change that to just a solid white I'm I you know that looks great what I want with my picture is to show you the viewer my picture and you go dang that's a beautiful picture I if I show you my pictures you know ah it's wait a minute I don't like the catch light but but yes it's a beautiful picture but I just don't like that catch like I don't get that that nit picky typically with my picture I get ready nit picky on certain things and very ill pretty loose that's me on how I personally shoot that doesn't make it right that doesn't make it wrong all right please know that all right so great enough of me jabbering on rent on and on and on right so uh we're pretty much set let me come on in here perfect just looking down for me go ahead and close your eyes good right there and then just look right in camera perfect that's great eyes look great really nice clean white's light the eyes I light the eyes eyes to the light um is one of my mantra is I'm going to just bring this reflector and and sometimes people call this clamshell lighting um you can also do it with two lights sources you could bring a soft box up top and a soft box from underneath and just sort of flash the face with light I've got a reflector coming in here to catch the light coming down to fill in underneath here it's not because shadows are bad but sometimes you want the the shadows to be softened and lighter and for a classic beauty kind of shot you typically want not too dramatic of shadow area but you don't wantto kill the shadows to the point where there's no longer shape to the face because the beauty of shadows is to give shape without shadows you lose shape right so looks great right there I love the eighty five millimeter lens for this shot for this kind of because gets the frame I want with seventy millimeter I feel like I'm a little too far away I could go to a smaller reflector I don't have a smaller reflector with me so I'm sticking with this I could go to my eighty two two hundred but we have more stuff to shoot perfect right there go ahead and turn straight onto me for chin down just a little bit little more right there that's excellent that looks great fantastic now then but I want you to do is I want you to lean forward at the waist lean forward some more keep leaning forward and you can kind of let's do this let's grab the apple box I'm gonna have her put her feet on the apple box so slide these in there you just pop your feet up there and you're going to kind of come in like this leaning forward in on your knees over this reflect all right perfect that's it so kind of stretching her forward um now way are working very close to my light light falls off in accordance with the inverse square law which states that doubling the flash to subject distance reduces light falling on the subject to one quarter whatever math thing is she got closer to my life and we're already really close to the light so that much of a change can make the fairly drastic change in exposure from here to here so I'm just going to mimic the amount that she moved to bring this down just a little more I gotta keep it out of my shot she moved forward this much I moved my light out that much I want to stay consistent with my exposure that's great right there good a bit of a smile that's also excellent I'm going to move this in just a little closer to it it's going kind of pushy on the arm there you will survive that excellent right there that's great chin up just a little bit perfect great this little reflector softens the the shadows under the chin and gives an interesting little catch light in the eyes underneath and I will pull one up let's go to a light room my exposure I probably need to go from I s o one twenty five back down to one hundred let me just check my history graham no my instagram looks okay I'm gonna hold control or I'm sorry option while holding the exposure slider I want to make sure I'm not blowing channels in the face like that if if it looked like that that I'm over exposed I don't want to lose in the information in the skin so that looks pretty good and here you can see the reflector you see the beauty dish and you see the reflector right here and that looks nice and clean now at some point this weekend way we're going to do a little many thing about color calibration and camera profiles and all of that so what I need you to do for me is if you will hold this um like right at the edge right there and then perfect just like that so this is the x ray color check her passport has these known values of color on them this is going to help us really find to fine tune color in our post production I'm going to go ahead and get the shot now that I need of it and then we will do a little many something or another of how we use it in our postproduction all right so I need to go ahead and have this picture now so what I want to do is sheet that under the same lighting conditions and then rotated to me just a bit perfect and I want to fill my frame up with it excellent on wrote hated down just a bit it's getting a little glare right off this light perfect that is perfect thank you ma'am so way we'll see how this goes into use coming up if you go to the light room uh computer real quick that is what we're needing uh we'll pull the software and all of that up later to show you what we do with that so a couple more beauty shots and then you will be done awesome that looks great right there little bit of a smile right there a little more of a smile more smile like this is almost done awesome excellent so s o we had gotten to know each other much what do you do what's here you uh go to school do you work you got a school where you going to school for your high school uh so you're going to school because you have todo right so what do you want to do like once you're done with high school that's awesome any specific kind like domestic or who work on horses doc okay excellent is that one of those things you wanted to do for like ever in your life have been I'm not going to hit in the head with this I promise yeah b but I'm just bringing this off to the side a little bit more do you have lots of pets yourself yeah three what you have to catch up on so it's kind of like okay so it's like you have three cats I'm just kidding really I have a labradoodle gracie and her name is gracie because she's not graceful at all ah that's awesome rambo um all right so I'm just bringing this into the side now we've been doing a lot of this over the head lighting I like that lighting a lot it's a really quick kind of just easy just throw it over head and go from their starting point um we're gonna start bringing it off more to the side to give a little more shape for the face still working in close it's probably a couple feet into her I would not bring it in this close one thing with this particular beauty dishes it gets a hot spot so you could like get a hot spot on the forehead and then the light falls off of the rest of the face you minimize that by pulling it back a little bit it is flying out in front of her all right so here's her face the beauty dish is out here it's not over here by her ear it's out here in front of her lighting this way all right so distance changed I'm gonna go back down to the esso one hundred because I just going to do that I'm a three point five go to shoot a picture and see what happens so face this way just a little bit more and head tilt over just a little bit this way right there perfect good evaluate eyes caught you blink in there a bit here we go on I'm going to open back up to three point two that's excellent right there nice is nice I like alright light room computer compare these two picture on the left is going to be the light flying high over and picture on the right is bringing it off to the side you see this nice it's a shape right here to the face I love that light it's soft it's beautiful it's clean you can see the shape of the face changing by bringing it off to the side if you want to fill that in just a little bit come in with your reflector theo the closer you get this reflector in the mauritz going to fill so we're gonna bring it in really close right like what are you doing to be you see when I make a box of light and I bring it in like this around you and I just had this the whole that it's really kind of claustrophobic weird right leaning forward just a little more perfect like that she leaned forward I need to bring my light forward a little bit like that just to stay consistent face around this way just a little bit perfect right there hold that and then bringing your eyes right over here follow my hand right there so I'm just using my hand to guide the eyes I don't want them what I'm shooting this close and that much of a turn of the face if her eyes go too far off they'll get buried in a corner I do like to see a little white of the eye on each side of the people so what I will do is just put my hand out say follow my hand and I'm watching the eyes and when I get a little white on each side click kind of thing uh chip chip away perfect looking over here again right they have turned your face just a little more a little more right yeah right they're perfect and then just put your eyes back to camera good so that's reflector in close me reposition it just a bit right there perfect I'm gonna take the reflector out and chip away from boom so like room computer go back into this look at these two compare them alright picture on the left is with the reflector picture on the right is without way brought it in close filled in those shadows took it out and made it a little more dramatic and like both eyes look good there's a nice catch light in both eyes um I don't have to go in and rebuild the eyes if you're ever going into your uh pictures and you have to rebuild people's eyeballs it's because you did not like them correctly um real quick before I get questions that's it we're done high five thank you so much you have been fantastic to work with I will be back in the seattle some areas some point so um if we'll be able to work together again that'd be great yeah and we have your contact information we will be getting your pictures all right and everyone heather thank you very much on on and he's going to be coming back up here in just a second we're going to shoot a few more pictures of her and we have a question yeah question from the internet do you ever show your models the pictures while you're working or do you typically only shown final files I typically the question is do I show my subjects the pictures as we're shooting our only the final files um I typically do not show my pictures to the clients while I'm shooting for a couple of reasons one they may get very self conscious and want to start micro directing the shoot um or if they see a picture and they don't like it of themselves their confidence what my job is to help build their confidence up and they may look at it picture that I think's great of them and they hate it and then whatever confidence I built up just went away thie main time I will so pictures to a client is if in the way I'm using lighting I take the environment to their standing in and make it look completely different let's say that we're outside in the evening before sunset and the way I like them I make the whole place looked black like it was shot at three o'clock in the morning at night there standing in you know late afternoon sun I've brought lights in and made it look like it was three o'clock in the morning or midnight I will flip the camera around and go ooh check this out I think you'll like this because what I want them to do is they look at it they look around look at that how did you do that because what I want them to know is if I just deliver that picture to him I don't want them to say wow zac's great at photo shop I want them to say wow zach's a great photographer like we were standing outside at six o'clock in the evening and he made the place look like it was midnight and it gets them excited is like that's cool like wow you know what you're doing like you have a nice camera right it takes great pictures there are times that clients really need to see the picture when I shoot dancers alright I chimp ah lot with dancers reason being they're flying through the air and from this picture to this picture could be success or failure simply the position of the fingers the position of the foot you're shooting ballet it's very technical kind of dance and if the feet are not pointing in the right way or the hands are in the right way I think wow look at this great picture this is awesome it's so cool you're flying through the air and there's the chimpanzee in the background and then we got the you know helicopter and they're like but look at my fingers they're in the wrong position my teacher will kill me if she sees this picture we have to do it again I think it's a great picture but I am not a ballet dancer mallory nna um so I will chimp if it's something very technical alright um and then there are some people who are very very very super super super super super super overly image conscience and I am not leaving that set until I have a picture they are happy with so if I know they are they need to micro direct that shoe because they're super image conscience um all right let's show you every picture because I'm not leaving until you're happy thank you susan quite a few people have been asking and in twitter antonio is asking is there any advantage to not using a lens hood in the studio is there any advantage to not using a lens hood in the studio I currently don't have a lens hood on right now do I there is not an advantage to not using one I mean I'm a klutz and when I have a hood on I swing around in the clank and it goes flying off and there are certain times when I need a lens hood because I'm bringing lights to the back of my subject shooting back into my lens or getting close to the only time you really super need a lens hood is when you have a light source coming into your limbs into it or off to the side of it that's going to create flare so you need that linds hood here now when I'm shooting this kind of situation there is light coming straight back into the linens from that background and a lens hood really isn't going to change that it's the side lighting so their times I'll be look I know I need my hood and I'll get the lens hood out I typically have it off in the studio because it's just one more thing for me to bang into something fall offer so it's not an advantage to not having it there's always an advantage to having the hood but you don't have to have it most situations yes just leads me to the question what how do you feel about lens filters like a uv filter on I don't use uv filters um a reason being if I buy a thousand dollar piece of glass then I want a really good uv filter on it um so I'm not going by twenty dollars uv filter and put a pain pain window glass on it um the other thing is I do shoot in the light source is a lot and I have found that that extra piece of glass can add a weird little reflection um I've had uv filters give me chromatic aberration problems um I have had uv filters give me more problems than not so I just typically I don't use it yes it's a protection on your lens um but I live without it another question from twitter um what is a good distance an angle from camera to subject when shooting headshot it's um I would say that forty five degree so the question is what's a good angle from light to camera right I'm typically in that forty five ish degree point so if we have uh where our racer go it's over here do do do do shooting headshots way have our subject here we're looking down way have our camera here all right light here and if it's specifically a head shot I'll typically always have a phil card after they're I want a little shape to the face um and I will also bring it over over here again and do kind of the butterfly lighting and by butterfly lighting I mean way have the face way have the eyes and the nose right and you're getting this little shadow under the nose here are little french waiter it almost see l s doesn't weigh go c l s uh butterfly lighting little little shadow right under here makes a butterfly ah glamour light right over top I like that light a lot I do it a lot and then over here forty five degrees on we'll get more dramatic with our lights where we like someone from behind and things like that but that's a good starting point

Class Description

If you’re new to studio photography, or even if you’ve been doing indoor shoots for a while, studio lighting can be a real challenge. The sheer amount of gear required and the inherent complexity of the equipment mean that there are always lots of variables—and lots of ways to make mistakes!

This weekend-long course taught by renowned music, editorial and advertising photographer Zach Arias breaks down the technicalities of studio lighting into manageable chunks so you can get a handle on what you need to do in almost any studio situation.

Zach will cover a wide variety of topics, from how to build a studio to shutter and aperture settings to posing groups. By the end of this in-depth course, you’ll have the skills to tackle any type of indoor shoot, whether it’s in a huge warehouse or your spare bedroom.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Build your studio and buy the right gear for the right price.
  • Create and shoot on a white seamless backdrop.
  • Set your ISO, shutter speed and aperture.
  • Understand depth of field and shooting groups.
  • Do head shots with a beauty dish.
  • Use all sorts of flashes, including strobes and hot shoe flashes, as well as modifiers.
  • Handle multiple shoots at once.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

I'm an alum of both the OneLight DVD and Zack's OneLight in-person class. I pre-purchased this course because I knew it would be amazing. I was a bit worried that there would be overlap from his other course offerings but was pleasantly surprised. I tell every photographer that I meet about Zack, his classes and the wealth of knowledge up for grabs on his blog. If you have never shot in a studio or if you are seasoned pro, I guarantee you'll get more than your money's worth out of this course. Zack's work pays his bills, not the equipment companies. Therefore, he can be up front about his likes and dislikes. Zack also doesn't screw around with people, he's the real deal and tells it like it is. Mark my word, buy this class and get the best ROI of anything else you'll buy this year. Zack has the natural gift of teaching. You'll quickly realize that it's not about the latest and greatest gear, it's about your client's needs and knowing how to find solutions with what you've got. Enjoy.

Martin B.

Zack - you're the man inside all of the studio classes !!! I've seen a lot of teachers, which are doing studio classes, but you do this on a very lively manner. I've never seen sudio classes like you do ;-) At fist I like your kind of "Cheap Shots" ... you take great images with a kind of inexpensive gear - especially the one light stories. Most of the other photographers are teaching classes by using a lot of light - you can fix the same shots with only one light *thumbs up*. By my selfe i'm teaching "low budget" stuff, but many people are going the other way ... don't know why. Even the available light is the most powerfull light you can work with. Also my theory fits with your "one light" kind of take this shot. Many people should think about your style of photography and related back to the beginning of photography (Adams, Feininger, ...) ;-) Keep on teaching/living your kind of photography - it's worth it - this class is worth all the money ... and much more !!! Martin (


Excellent class and worth every single penny! I have always been a big fan of Zack both in regards to his quality of work and skill set and who he is as a person. You can watch all the Youtube video tutorials in the world and you will gain some good knowledge, however many are holding back some information they do not want you to know about. This class has taught me so much about lighting where I feel much more confident with the technical side and can focus more on the creative side. Well worth your investment!