Skip to main content

photo & video

Studio Lighting

Lesson 9 of 18

Hot Shoe Flash, Umbrellas, Hard Light, Octabank

Zack Arias

Studio Lighting

Zack Arias

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

9. Hot Shoe Flash, Umbrellas, Hard Light, Octabank

Lesson Info

Hot Shoe Flash, Umbrellas, Hard Light, Octabank

we're going to get back on the white seamless and what I decided about five minutes ago was we're going to go with hot shoes all right question came up about hot shoe flashes you know how do you pull this same look off with hot she flashes I have moved to the impact sixty inch umbrella all right um they are thirty dollars it be an h if it falls over it does not take an impact very well um I think of umbrellas like this as um as though they're disposable modifiers especially if you do location work with them inside it's no big deal they're not going to be blown over really um but I lose umbrellas all the time on location because they just think sir they blow over all the time on me um and here's the thing you can buy a nicer umbrellas than this about sixty dollars for a sixty inch convertible um and by convertible I mean the black cover comes off and we can do shoot through versace reflective we haven't set up is reflective right now um at some point we will stop and do reflective versu...

s shoot through why you would want to do one of the other uh the thing is you could buy a sixty dollar one ticket on location watch it blow over and break into parts and pieces and you say well there just went sixty dollars crap or you could say they're just went thirty dollars crap you watch thirty dollars bust up even watch sixty dollars bust up so the thirty dollar ones these are not you know basically what we needed an umbrella for is to make it a larger light source the larger are light sources in relationship to our subject the softer the light will be right larger the light source the softer the light typically for most uh portrait situations a saw light is a more flattering light okay um so we like soft like now there times that we want the hard light on dh we'll go back and forth with those all right so um let's say we are waiting for our subject all right our next model eyes uh model named shane uh he'll be coming in here in just a minute it's probably just finishing up hair and makeup right now and let's say okay well we're waiting on hair and makeup oh our client doing an outfit change and we still don't have ah flash meter alright are flash meter we are going to get into using the flash meter at some point I want to keep this right now as though you don't have one all right so you could be trying this stuff at home so I am at one twenty fifth of a second sink speed I am at flash white balance I'm shooting raw I'm s oh one hundred I need to always be remembering to kind of check my settings to make sure where I needed to be and now instead of the alien bees on the background this is becoming a mess over here uh walk away I have hot shoes on the background so out goes the alien be in comes the hundred dollars nikon s p a d d x you will not find these new because they're used all right they don't make these models anymore way got pocket wizards on um we need to plug in the pocket wizard just came out there we go uh and it's the same kind of thing but now that we don't have a modeling light way have to just sort of eyeball it I want this light to hit the background and the edge of the tile board the back edge of the tile board I want the same kind of look but with hot shoes so I'm going tio twenty four millimeter on my zoom make sure it's not zoomed your flash heads not zoomed like eighty five millimeter where you're gonna put a spot on the background we need it to spread wide sometimes I pull the little wide angle adapter we cut to me real quick I pulled this wide angle adapter out and drop it down but that khun sometimes like spread it out so wide that you lose about a stop alight so I'll start with it in and if I can pull it off I could pull it off I uh I'm still dealing with flash power full power half power quarter power eighth power sixteenth power thirty second power so on I need to blow that toe white and I need this I need the background to be a stop and a half over this light I know I'm not going to start those things back there at thirty second power I'm going to go ahead and start them at half power I'm going to go ahead now I'm going to try to get it in place as quickly as I can so I know teo to knock that thing white and it to be brighter than this light will be here for my subject quarter power half power might even have to goto a full I like to avoid going to full power because the recycle time like click eat a sandwich click watch tv um so on and so forth so I've got these back here behind the cutters half power each and I'm just going toe eyeball it figure it out from there thiss one e I don't know quarter power half something he's got to take a picture and see alright so we're using a sixty inch umbrella I'm gonna have it off this forty five degree kind of angle on we're going to see how it goes so while we're waiting on our subject go ahead and pull this forward I'm on my power cord I always have a studio cart in my studio um because it I have one made for uh alright get from a company called granger um it's a little great card I always have all my eight clamps rolls a gaff tape on the one from granger that I have fits my aarp airport sink tank security bag like perfectly I can just drop it into the lip and opened it up and I have usually have all of my camera bag with all my lenses and stuff right here so I could just go into it get what I needed and work out of this thing that we have a separate rolling cart if we're shooting tether that has an imac on it the twenty seven inch imac for tethering alright so we're waiting on shane you use your hand as your light meter all right so I'm going to come in here and I'm on channel two now with my pocket wizard and I'm going to kind of figure you know his face is probably somewhere in here ish and I will take a picture uh my hand and take a look at it let's pop it up in my room all right so taking a look at my hand uh maybe under exposed too just a little bit that background is almost white it's almost there not quite yet we're close I probably need one more stop of light but my hands a little underexposed so if I that was at four point five and that was just a whatever my camera was set to last time just pick it up take a picture you have to start somewhere right so I just pick it up from the last scenario which was completely different lighting situation and just shot a picture let me go ahead and open up one full stop so that's goes four point five to three point two take a picture of my hand looks pretty good here's uh back to the camera get the glare off that's what I'm looking at my backgrounds going white and on the monitor it looks little contrast e but when we bring it up into a light room that looks pretty good so is shane ready also all right miss shane um what what have you come on in all right everyone this is shane shane is international male model extraordinaire right now uh we had a chance to talk beforehand normally how you handle things like hey let's sit down let's talk for just a bit um so you've been doing modeling for how long now those six years yeah have you ever been on like a weird shoot like you just been on a shoot you've been like yeah yeah well it's kind of the weird things that you've had to deal with it say that on camera all right so I'm gonna have you standing about right here I've got to get my light set and all of that done um you're going to be kind of hanging out once I have my life set then we're rolling all right school you'll have a seat a seat stand their way looking back towards me right now he's a little taller than where I had my hand position he's a little further back than where I had my hand position and I need to remember that if that was a great exposure that might not be because of what's going on now if we can get a shot this way when I'm doing using an umbrella um I my starting point it's not always my ending point but the shaft of the umbrella is pointing at his face it's mice starting point for positioning one of these all right so I'm going to bring it up it's kind of angled down forty five ish degrees it's kind of off from camera position forty five ish degrees it's a starting point if I wanted more dramatic with more shadows I bring it over here more if I wanted a little more frontal and not so heavy on side shadows I bring it back over here camera position the more I changed the angle off of camera the more dramatic the light kind of becomes alright I'm not going to get really heavy and deep this weekend into all the different lighting patterns there's short lighting and broad lining and butterfly lighting and rembrandt landing and you know hatchet lighting and the thing is if you're just getting into this and I start throwing everything about lighting at you it just gets so overwhelming you're just like forget it I don't even want to start what I want to encourage you to do at least that this point of the workshop is just turned the thing on if you need a starting point here's my starting point I'm looking at about the position I'll be shooting I hold this thing out unarmed link and I drop it starting point you have to start somewhere alright so inexpensive modifier pointing it shane I'm just going to come in and take a quick test shot all right cool so you're just hanging out right there and let's see how it looks let's pull it up into light room doesn't look too bad he's a little under exposed I could bring him a little closer to my light I could open up just a bit more I'm a three point two already I'm in quarter power on the main light I'm at half power on the background I'm going to try to keep theo background lights at half power I don't want to take him to full right um I get away with a cz little flash powers possible I feel that that's a little too high on him so I'm going to bring it down just a bit and say let me have you come forward just a bit more right there so what I would do is get this is close to him is possible quarter power I might take the power back up and I'm going to test to see if my floor is blowing white and it looks like it's blowing white bring it up in light room floors blowing blowing white he's just a little underexposed so I'm gonna go ahead and take my flash up in power uh mum it quarter I wanted to do quarter plus two thirds so on the back of my flash right now it says quarter power plus point seven on the back of my flash that goes point plus three point seven and then half power and on the nightgown flash for whatever weird reason it goes from half power straight to full there are no third stops between half and full on this particular model flash all right so just kind of sums of pocket just kind of loosen up relax just a bit on then rotate for me just a little bit this way perfect having him rotate towards the light eyes to the light alright I's the life my light sources here the eyes are going be in that general direction doesn't mean he's staring at the light but if the light source is here I'm not gonna have him looking off over here because I zehra here not getting the light eyes to the light all right so looks good and then just bring your eyes straight to me shane perfect right there good and I'm going to do a full length we'll see how we looking exposures looking exactly what I wanted to be looking like right now if we want to come in here to do to do so my floor is blowing light my light stand is still in the shot if I back my light stand out then I have to increase my power um I'm already at three point two on my aperture I could open two two eight I could do that um three point two is fine for me I'm not shooting a group shot there's nothing in the background that needs go in focus or out of focus because the background has nothing in its pure white right three two's fine if if I wanted to take that f for um for whatever reason then what I would do right now is it since I'm a three point two two thirds of a stop down from f four goes two eight three point two three point five four two thirds of a stop from f four you may only have an f for lynn it's so I'm it I s o one hundred I goto one twenty five one sixty that's the change I'm now to stop to two thirds of a stop more sensitive delight so I'll shoot this at four at one twenty fifth I knocked my good and I am at the same exposure if we pull these up grid compare toe light room get some nails here same exposure different settings the picture on the left was shot at s o one hundred at three point two I closed it down two thirds of a stop tau f four to compensate to get the same exposure I needed to be two thirds of a stop more sensitive delight with my I s oh why did I go too f four we'll be a little sharper I know this linz and f or at this distance away it'll be a little sharper um and you may only have f four a lot of time you know you got a kit lindsay goes to f four and you're like I'm a f four and I still need more light at I s o one hundred and bring that I s o up all right makes sense good so good strong stance perfect excellent chin up and just to face just over here just a bit right there perfect right there hold that we'll see how this looks and we're gonna shoot some pictures that we're gonna change it up looks good uh here in the light room machine I am getting ah shadow underneath the chin so my light placement is good I have ah lightning eyes and uh I'm getting a little bit of flair from that background but I know if I bring it down and I'm right at the edge I'm probably too stops over on the background um I'm good with that if I come in to develop what's happening is my contrast in the blacks are are getting a little muddy so I'm just gonna take my black slider and there we go just a quick boom boom boom if we goto light room this's the default and you on the internet you folks you may see this happening or not I'm just going to pull in that just to bring the blacks in a little bit looks good all right bingo yes there's still a standing the shot um and we're going toe again I'm keeping these a little bit messy for right now just to go click click click we're done clean it up now if I'm shooting a hundred pictures here I'm going to get that light stand out of my shot then I got to go up in power just remember if I have to move that away in distance that changes exposure so perfect right there seen awesome I mean seventy millimeter looking down this way right there hold that and then come right back to me perfect coming close I will get mine wet my shorty stool it's right here hee hee recently shot a guy from the n b a and who's six eight just like this ain't cutting it somebody bring me a ladder I had to get him to sit down but even when he sat down he was still right here on me you know and it was challenging but you know if you're really tall you can have the other challenge of you're looking down at people too much and you're having to squat a little bit all right perfect give you uh just kind of rotate that way just a bit and then what I want you to do thiss this pose khun go really cheesy really bad really quick or it can be kind all right so I want you coming up and given me just hold your elbow right you fall into it really well sometimes this becomes the bad eighties corporate executive shot right or the thinking man what I tell people like I just kind of dig this shot sometimes this kind of you're thinking about something on dh sometimes I got to put somebody into the role of it so for this one I I want you you know what you're going to be doing is you're sitting here like this and you're at a bar and you might just I kicked that guy's ass maybe you're thinking about it he you might just might kill him ugh maybe not maybe you'll spare his life maybe you'll kill him all right that kind of thing like I might just kill you alright that kind of thing all right because that's a whole lot different than high I'm a boring corporate executive alright perfect that is good now I'm shooting all of this one thing I have failed to mention good eyes write to me shane perfect excellent uh his chin is going down just a bit so I'm just going to bring my light down just a bit to get back in there his chin comes down this gets dark so I can have him bring chin up or I could bring my light down just a little bit good back into the I might just kill you look just kind of this kind of yeah perfect just like that excellent one thing I failed to mention as I'm shooting all of this vertically and I'm keeping just a little bit of space around my subjects when I'm shooting on pure white notice if we goto light room machinery quick it's vertical if I want this shot here horizontal with some negative space I will do that later in post production on when we finish up with this I'll tell you why I want that but for now I'm shooting everything vertical good all right so um we got that now you have one light you have one modifier we got this question on twitter a couple times what do you do you have a single light source you got a hot shoe flash I'm just going to these flashes off you're doing great you're just hanging out for a second um always always affirming hey you're doing great you're fine whatever um what do I do with a single light source so we have a single light source um let's have you kind of rotate this way a little bit perfect and your hands are just coming up like this just bringing the hands up and let me have you stepped forward thiss way just to the edge of this board thing that's perfect right there sixty inch umbrella is a great place to start and a white wall doesn't have to be white seamless just a white wall I see people who by you know who's really crappy wrinkle backgrounds and set up lights on him and I hate those backgrounds because modeled blue like the big a box store shoot on those you is a personal artist photographer do you want to compete with the big box store no right so simple white walls just start with simple backgrounds if you're new to this simplicity rules a simp people clean photo can be better than buying a three hundred dollar crappy background and it being a nine ninety five portrait special down at the mall right so uh we've got sixty inch umbrella way have a white wall I'm gonna change my composition for this way have you back up just a little bit that's good perfect right there hold that now I am going to go horizontal with this and I'll tell you why in postproduction because this is my final shot I want you looking over this way turn your face just a bit eyes to the light good not cutting off the hands pulling it up I've got a few issues see my set popping in over here in the corner I'm is I'm at seventy mill that's a cz much as I can I can not compress that background in anymore unless I switched to a longer focal length you've got like an eighty five one eight it's up perfect time to go to that I don't have an eighty five for my cannon but I do have the eighty uh seventy two two hundred so I can come back here all right hands back up again like they were perfect right there hold that and it's gone all right let's go to the light room so this was seventy millimeter over here uh far right frame far right edge here I'm still pulling in the set and I can't pull this composition off without getting a little edge here that's gonna require time and post production to take it out not much but it still requires it when I could go to a little bit longer of a focal length and it compresses that background in and stretches out to those corners and I'm done all right so focal length is really important to me when I'm shooting especially on a small background like on ninety are nine foot seamless perfect right there um used to this do you too wish you some verticals here excellent right there all right so face over this way just a bit more right there and then eyes to me good and hands up that kind of thing again perfect good awesome now then I've talked about you know you want to soft light um someone has said well what if you don't have a lot of fire well there's a couple different things that we'll do this weekend without like bought modifiers but I've also said you know if you've got someone that's got really great facial structure you could go with a hard light right he's got good facial structure he has a very strong jaw cheekbones so let's just do a hard straight light uh and we're just going to go straight flash now a modifier like an umbrella takes a stop or two a light out of your flashed fill it up with light and spit it back um wear now going to turn the background lights back on I'm going to go pure white background again half power on the background lights on a straight flash right here all right um dan do we have the mono pod with the female stud on it wait put the female stud on it I'm going to make a little boom and get me a super clamp is well please a sum point this weekend I'm going to do a little mini session on grip howto take little parts and pieces and make them interconnect into other things right so you don't have a boom let's not put it all together yet I want to show the parts and pieces just going to make a quick little boom what I have equips way have this on the b n h list of gear on the creative life site a mono pod a light stand a super clamp and this quarter inch three eighths um little female stud or um well what do they call spigot I'm going to screw this auntie here all right and super clamp you should always have a couple super clamps that cost twenty five thirty bucks they are super that's why they're called that so mono pod extend this out a little bit open up my clamp now I had my hot shoe flash connected with a swivel adapter this's a man photo swivel it after they cost about twenty seven bucks at being h we've got a strobel frame hot shoe on it um told it together and this sits on a light stand thiss little spigot right here becomes my little light stand all right so this slides onto here you don't want to put like an alien being a fifty inches off box on this sucker right here that's a little too much because of the weight alright but something like that as long as it's not falling over immediately on you great you've got a quick easy little boom um yeah I'll be moving in just seconds if it is a good idea to sandbag it especially in liability issues when everyone's watching the live on the internet my lawyer says so wait have you just stand kind of right in the middle of that board kind of center up right there good take this up just above him a little bit I want like nice shadow right under the chin I don't want to just I just want a strong face so we're going straight flash no modifiers um hard light but I wanted to be strong and I want that sometimes you're tryingto like at all costs to avoid it but for here I want it I'm f four I have a completely different lighting set up right now I don't know what that lighting is fight a meter I don't at the moment I'm acting as though I don't know we're just gonna take a shot and he is overexposed wei have too much going on there on the face now I'm going to go ahead and close down to five six if my background starts going is not pure white then I will bring power down on the flash that means my ratio is off if I could do a quick stop down of aperture then great but if then my background goes dark I want it to be white then I'm going to go back to f four and bring my flash power down on my main light you're gonna have a question I could change my I s o um but as I change I s o everything changes with it all at once and I might as well because looking at it I'm still at one sixty so let me go back to one hundred and four and see but changing I s o does not change um ratios because you're becoming more sensitive to all the lights equally in a sliding fashion we're still overexposed at s o one hundred at f four all right so I'm going to stop down let's say two thirds of a stop from four point owed a five point o all right now here's what we have we have most of the background blowing out of uh white but not all of it and you'll see this a lot is you're trying tio to find tunis it almost went toe white not quite that's telling me my ratio from my main light to my background isn't that stop and a half yet it's probably a stop so let's do this exposure on shane looks good I need a little more on the background I could bring my background light power up or bring my main light power down which means I have to open my aperture just a little bit more to compensate for this light and as I opened my aperture a little bit for this light that light gets brighter without having to touch the background lights you following with me so the ratio is it correct yet I need the background to be brighter than it is but he looks of good exposure I bring this down two thirds of a stop one to two thirds of a stop I opened up my camera two thirds of a stop to compensate for that I'm now from five point oda four point oh but I'm out now allowing more white to come in as well light from the white or something like that you're very patient thank you so much for working with me and bam ba bam ba bam ba bam we're there all right get that it's all going right now alright let's check the floor let's make sure the floors going white floor is almost going like I'm gonna bring it down another third taken me good floor's going right now alright so I want um I want hands in pockets rotate your body that way just a little more perfect and you're right on me chin up a little bit go a little more very kind of strong to fight separate your feet just a bit more perfect just not uh getting a tow where his feet separate visually from each other good chin up just a bit more good pulled that on why don't you go grab your peacoat and if you want to do a different color underneath that that'd be good be good so he's gonna go change real quick good wei go to the light room computer we've got a much harder life I probably should work to get it more symmetrical on him all right to get this shadow a little morse if I'm going to go very symmetrical with my life then I need to get it very symmetrical it's going off to an angle just a little bit and fix my hat um it's very hard light source but it can still be very kind of cool all right um so you don't have any modifiers if you've got like someone was like really strong facial structure just go straight lights straight flashes on the backgrounds straight flash on your subject all right question question in the chat room there's quite a few people asking how do you deal with models with glasses on uh models with glasses on uh we will try to shoot that you have glasses so we will take a portrait yeah no I don't we'll take a portrait of you at some point this weekend with glasses uh it's all about the angle really quickly if here's my soft box and my subject starts to look this way income the reflections so as I get them to look away this it's now going kind of eyes away from the light but I still need that light to wrap around and I don't want the eyes to go dark some people have really nice anti uh reflective glass is um and they don't show a lot of reflections recently photograph someone who had just like you it didn't matter the soft box could be here they could look this way and they're still reflections in the glass is like and what I do is I split the difference I just wanted to I don't want the reflection to go over the people if I just can't get rid of it that's not that doesn't happen all the time if there has to be a reflection there I mean we kind of expect reflections in glass right but you don't want it to be such that you can't see the eye you've still got to see the eyes and I will sometimes ask someone like you wear glasses all the time and if they say oh sometimes sometimes I wear contacts then I'll do a shot with the glasses and without but if they say no I wear my glasses all the time that I'm going to keep them with their glasses on because that is part of who they are and how people know them alright um other questions while we're waiting question million what are some tricks with feathering a bear flash to get a softer light um use it even worth it no it's not really worth it I mean if you want a soft light like buy an umbrella like you take a straight flash and sort of feather where barely hitting the subject and it helps soften it up but it's never a soft box um there times like and I get a lot of questions about like well you know how about I get a mixing bowl and make my own beauty dish like david tejada made a beaut dish that's like two that's awesome um my kind of thing though is if I need a beauty dish I'm going to get a beauty dish um if I'm using hot shoe flashes and I got a fake a beauty dish I'd probably rather used like a twenty inch silver umbrella it's going to get me close to the same effect it's not a home made beauty dish for hot shoe flash isn't so amazing lee different than a twenty inch silver umbrella right um so you can feather a straight flash and kind it's not quite so harsh but it's not like saying you know what I'm going to get a soft box and you know I would probably bounce my flash off a white surface before I was trying to feather a straight flash to make a light source we have the dry erase board here bounce a flash into it back onto your subject get up piece of white foam board bounce a flash into it and reflect that phone board light back onto your subject that makes sense to me right okay other questions if they have speed lights but they don't have p c synch ports how can they plug their park the wizards into those um there's a couple different methods so you have a hot shoe but you do not have a pc port in it you have a hot shoe flash you don't have a pc port one thing you could do is they're uh being h has a few things there's a place called flash zebra dot com midwest photo exchanges well some different places but being h you would get the paramount hot shoe too many phone connection all right so it has a hot shoe on one end that you slide your flash into and a many phone connection to go to your pocket wizard all right and then on the bottom of that hot shoe is a quarter inch thread that can then be oh you have one great way so hot shoe all right hot shoe too many phone around the other side like that and then this has a quarter inch thread so instead of having a cold shoe instead of having a cold shoot here do it the right way way have our mail spigot thiss goes into that little adapter piece way take our swivel adapter and we're set up so you don't have a pc port a little guy like this hot shoe too many phone all right I can't just make a suggestion about those uh if if you're buying one try and find one that you can actually lock the lock on the right bottom of the flash into that won the flash is falling out on how many times right because I could just push it out the nice thing about the strobe oh frame cold shu is this little guy right here on the side you can lock that in so uh flash doesn't slide out if you have a plastic shoe on your hot shoe flash don't tighten it too much or you'll snap it not that I know anything about that awesome all right so we've got shane he's changed and I am currently borough I'm about to give you the wrong piece of equipment right which one is yours all right mr shayne um I'm bored with white for the moment onboard with white seamless I want to change things up so why don't we have you know I'm going to change a few things that grow quick um so hang out for a second if you get comfortable with your lighting and all the stuff that you have around you to use you could just decide to make a change quickly on dh if you're craig swanson and the director of creative life thing you're probably sitting at the board going what is he doing and everyone's ear pieces going what's he doing where's he moving I don't know but I'm bored with this so I want this light uh let me just have you have a seat over there for a second well I changed things up we're grabbing alien be here dan's probably also going what's he doing but dan's used to this fans used to me the worst thing that dan's probably used to is me saying oh this is what I'm going to do and then five minutes before we shoot I say you know what we're gonna do some different used to that I like this wall we're going to use this a couple times this weekend come to me big big baby octo bank we're gonna go to the doctor now when you take the reflector off your haley and be be careful you're flash head is hanging out there with dr bank thie you don't need to know anything about lighting light don't put this on the stand and then try to hang the octa on it because if it slips it goes through all of this right here all right so you want to put the oct it down it's kind of fun exactly like a big suction cup and when you're a shorty like me wanna make sure that's on there that is and then westcott has this tilting bracket thing this thing's so heavy you don't want to put the weight on the alien behead especially alien be because it's all plastic and this thing's heavy so they make this brackett all the filter bracket something or another three thousand whatever uh comes with the seven foot octa and it's naps on to your lights stand chunk it allows you to give it some tilt way so we just went real cheap with the thirty dollar umbrella and now we're at the octa that's eight hundred dollars and shane let me have you come right over here real quick what I want you to do so question about posing uh one of the main things that I do is I get in position first toe let them know because this gives me an idea and you as a photographer have toe like have to pre visualize what do you see in your head what picture do you see are they sitting like this are they sitting straight on are they sitting to angle I usually won't shoot straight on yeah right no junk in the picture so even if I want them looking straight at me right a little bit of the turn knees this way but looking here I like this rustic kind of wall I want just a soft beautiful light all right I could do a million things with soft beautiful like I could do a shoot their umbrella I could do the fifty inch soft box I could do the octopus like there are times when it's just I saw the octo bank leaning against the wall and go you know what I'll use that you know like you do when you have your eight hundred dollars just laying around on a wall so he's going to be like this you're gonna be like this something that just kind of ah strong stance you're gonna be looking at me I'm going to be over here somewhere I gotta bring my light in and do all of that but we're ready to go you're going to be here and I'll direct you from this point letting my subject know what to expect you'll be sitting like this you'll be looking in this direction I'm moving around doing different things but this is shooting angle your subject is going to be the most comfortable if they know they're doing what they're supposed to be doing if you are not letting them know what they need to be doing then what they may sit down like this and the nice coming no I need you over here no don't look that way look this way let them know so you have a seat I've gotta alien be eight hundred I'm a quarter power now with an octa or a big soft box ah a lot of the times you are not taking this thing and pointing it at your subject but you are pointing it in front of your subject thing's huge it's flying here's our subject the whole face of this is going out in front of him you think well what a big freaking a waste you know I mean why are you lighting this area thiss comes back to that feathering he won't talk about soft light feather an octa and it just it could be like a window like kind of thing a few things I don't like about this wall silver conduit I'm not really particularly happy I'd love to rip that out um I'd get an email about that pretty quick right so I gotta work around it I also don't like all the orange power chords I gotta work around that I don't know what my exposure should be but I'm just going to take a picture and find out I s so one hundred I met let's go to f four and let's just shoot a picture I know I probably want to be a two eight let me go back to channel one good just bring in your eyes to camera good yeah uh just at four and let's go to the light room computer way go I mean that's not like magic magic it looks horrible on the monitor that I'm looking at but on the mac I'm looking at it looks great soft beautiful awesome like dr bank um I would pop a hot shoe flash into a knocked a bank a lot of people tell you no no seven foot doctor bank you need a bigger light light is like but the thing is I put a hot shoe flash into this thing half power I may be getting two eight four at half full power I'm just not gonna get a lot of light out of it it is best suited and made and designed for bare bulb of ahead going into it all right that goes back to the other thing yes you can take a hot shoe flash and modify it to go to something else but when something is designed for a bare bulb tube going into it that is when you will get the best results out of it right so is this worth eight hundred dollars to me most definitely but it's taken six something years for me to own my own when I could rent one for like thirty bucks a day are you one hundred dollars a weekend right so there've been times I let's just rent it um I'm not gonna pay a hundred bucks for it but let's just rent it um it's been on my wish list for a long time I finally owned one and I'm going to shoot with it as much as I can why am I going to shoot with this as much as I can right now so I get to know it so when that thing opens up I know what that light looks like I will never know this modifier until I shoot a thousand pictures with it and then I know exactly how much to feather it how much of an angle to bring it around so I'll suit with it like this soft gorgeous light I just want your face kind of coming over this way just a bit perfect right there and then just bring your eyes to me excellent right there good and then looking over my head good and then just kind of leaning forward a little more on your knees a little more perfect right there and then pulling your pull mine down two in the back chute you got a leak that man I'm here to fix it lips all right see this why don't she tether stupid um perfect just like that right there what's up abercrombie looking good bringing your highs write to me good head tilt over just a little bit right there perfect hold that right there good it's looking great it's just a great light if I need window light like a big soft window like nothing I've ever shot out of the box gets his close to an octa like this does it's it's great and then watch this we're going to develop let's go to the light room computer do poor man black and white yeah it's just you just turn it on and get your exposure and you're done you're done it's just you're just done like okay I'm done now then well everyone's a photographer these days everybody's taking pictures everyone's got a camera everyone like how can I compete how khun when you can walk into a place like this is basically a garage with high ceilings and a cool wall and you pull out your eight hundred dollar oakton canon rebel with on camera flashing ever going to get that right I see an op to sometimes of this size that no one with a camera from a box store can make that light right now now now you can take bed sheets and pop flashes through it you can you can find a window but this is my window wherever I need it frank window light set it up is it an investment yes is it worth it yeah do you need to go out buy it with a credit card do you need to buy it with a credit card no you pay cash for it cash money you your kids are eating your spouse is eating you paid your rent you have the lens you need the camera you need everything else is kind of taking care of you've built up a small lighting kit everything's doing pretty good and now what maybe something like an octa for me full time shooting teaching doing all the stuff I do still six and a half years for me to own my own right this is mine I probably still wouldn't have bought it if it weren't for the fact that I got questions on my blog's saying we'd love to see what you do with an octopus you know I still don't know knocked I've shot with octus but okay I need to get a doctor for this class and I need to shoot with it and I need to know it so when I show up with it I can teach it I can't teach it if I don't know it so I've already shot we booked a couple models in our studio over the last month you're coming in and you're getting shot with a knock to bank and I'm going to shoot you with this at this angle at this angle at this angle of this angle of this angle at this angle of this power setting I'm going to take the cover off take the baffle off I'm gonna I'm gonna do everything I know how to do with this octa and then some and I'm going to go get to know this thing and so we booked people into the studio just to shoot dr pate and ok that is how you get to know your modifiers so if you're just on a budget you buy one modifier and my suggestion is you don't buy another modifier for six months and you shoot that modifier until you've done every angle you can possibly do so when it comes out of the bag you know what it's gonna look like when you know what that sixty inch of bell is going to look like before it's even out of the bag you're ready for your next modifier and here's the thing when you're ready for your next modifier you know which one you're going to and why I'm going to go to a soft box why am I going to soft box because I know it's going to give me ex look and it's going to do this different thing and we'll bust up different uh more umbrella versus soft box and all of that I know I haven't gotten completely into that yet and I'm going to be working that in all right so um if you want to just hang out for a bit um here's the plan I'm going to take some questions are our next uh folks air here yeah yeah we're we're gonna take some questions take a break because we're gonna reset some things um and then that's it yeah all right so questions before we go to break yes so it's ah how big is that activating seven feet okay some feet and it's like a single subject and I know that the larger the light source is after the light but does it have to be seven feet on him to get the same effect nose smaller well to some degree yes all right here's the forefoot and here's the big difference between the four foot and the seven foot thief seven foot just spits light all over the place in it you can control it all right to a degree but it is told awash with light if I want to control a soft light on him but have more control of it on him and it not hitting the background as much I wanted I wanted to be more directional I'll go with a smaller octa bake thing about it at this size it's so large that even though this is out in front of him if I'm in his position here and it's over on this side of his face out here in front of him but if I cover up this eye this eye still sees half of that box so this half of the box is still sending light here like here here here it's rapping now it's a little bit brighter over here and darker over here it's so big and it's hitting here and here it's just kind of washing right so I want that window light look I'm going to go as big of a modifiers I can possibly get and then out of the box put it together slap it on a light solution is the octa now we could come in with twelve foot by twelve foot silks bounced couple lights into it start to get this kind of look but let's go the light room computer real quick all right right over here on the right side of the picture his face closest to camera it's brighter right but notice how it's still wraps right through here and noticed that the shadows are still open all right they're not closed in dark now if I came in with the four foot the's shadows will get darker that's more contrast e right so if I want that open shadow large soft or you can do it with a directional light here and I'll set this up sometime this weekend we'll do one directional light here and then a phil a second light less power less exposure to come in and just lightly phil that shadow so it's a two lights set up thing that my my thoughts take on main and phil lighting sometimes it's required sometimes you have to do it but to pull off a very natural looking seamless phil takes a lot of dialing in and aiken typically I look at a picture and go that was a maine in a film you get to see it you can see that those shadows were filled with another flash um or card right because I could come in with a smaller box and then phil card fill in and open those shadows backup but that really supernatural transition that we that we see in nature walking up in in our real life that we see next to a big soft window is this is the natural no secondary having to pump light somewhere else kind of phil it just takes care of it for you and and out of the box open it up pointed at your subject thing I still stand by the fact that you don't need to know anything about lighting just get yourself a doctor does what about just a huge soft bucks knock to being a bit like a square I mean is it just the difference and catch lights that would make you go for a walk being rather than a check in the fifties the fifty inch big mama it's probably about here so this has x percentage mohr surface area it also doesn't have a lip the one thing I love about the big momma soft boxes it has a lip on it they don't give you some lip pulled us around who watch this this is so cool I've been around one of these booms and so long all right thiss lip right here keep spill lips probably still can't see that thiss lip right here see how this is flat here this is recessed back in thiss helps you feather the light a little better one thing that helps this rap so much and hit that background and all of that that this is not recessed alright you can we get an octa with a recess truck and then you get knocked out with a grid in it that's a whole nothing but um thiss box the octa is just my fifty inches close to this and it's a two hundred fifty dollars and we'll get you close and let me tell you the torture of the fifty inch soft box it's beautiful beautiful beautiful it's a beautiful light but this light compared to my fifty inches that area where I'm starting to run out of words there's something about the octa I don't have the full vocabulary to say it it's just gorgeous but it's an investment all right cool all right questions about knitted it so many questions susan ladies first in the chat rooms before their noticeable difference in the quality of light between ebay octus and the pro version never using ebay octa okay uh pro versions uh probably gonna be a better build quality uh and have a warranty that's a little easier toe call on I figure um there here's the thing I have tried to buy the cheaper equivalent of something and most of the time I regret it I cheap out by the cheaper radio slaves I'd buy the cheaper glass like I never if I'm shooting cannon or nikon I only use canada a nikon glass I don't I will never by a third party linds again because I've gone through all the major third party brands and I've ended up regretting every one of those lenses over time I saved money but I regretted it overtime um maybe they may be great they maybe find the baffles anna might suck the design of it they may not that maybe two stops hotter in the centre than it is at the edge what you want with this ocd a from one edge to the other edge to be as even as possible of a light you wanted to not have any hot spots in here cheaper one might have uh stopper to stop hot spot I cannot say from experience that what I can say from experience because every time I tried to go the cheaper route I ended up regretting it so what I do in my life is I go without let's say this is a hundred bucks on ebay is a knockoff or eight hundred bucks from westcott I've had enough experience to go I'm not even going to spend the hundred bucks on the cheap one I'm gonna wait until I have the real one alright thanks ike uh people in the chat room are also wondering why you would choose this over your sixty inch umbrella with difference there would be um it's just way larger super larger softer the larger your light source the softer the mauritz will wrap if I just had the sixty inch then that's what I would do and that's what I would use but those nice open shadows I wouldn't I wouldn't be getting those I could with us with a secondary light source uh or a phil card but again that just simple one pop done doctor will use lock to some more this weekend and we'll use umbrellas and soft boxes if you are shooting a speed light through like a smaller soft box or brother do you want it unlike its whiteness setting or I wanted uh either on it's why I wanted on its widest setting on that you can pull the little white angle thing out or just have it at its twenty four twenty eight millimeter native wide setting but yet you don't want you want the light to get into the soft box and spread out as wide as possible excuse me philip with white reason why whatever not in a soft box because at that point why are you using soft box when you're not getting the soft box look yeah I guess I just thought a kind of a fun question um you talked about a lot of cool gear yesterday in like a complete entry kit body glass lighting modifiers you got a camera and you got a couple hundred bucks do you go cheap light cheap modifier or new glass oh uh all right question is you have she blends and a couple hundred dollars do you get new glass or a cheap light the cheap modifier I don't it depends it depends on what you need to shoot alright me by default I'd probably go buy a vivid tar to eighty five used for fifty bucks cheap forty fifty dollar light stand in the thirty dollar umbrella and some sort of cheap infrared I could put I could put a kid together of used equipment with an infrared it's not a radio slave but infrared center and have a little sixty itch umbrella like it for a couple hundred bucks and then I would learn my lighting and use that little kit to go make some money off craigslist shooting jobs to buy better glass eye I'm a believer you need to have a least a basic kit of a camera and a basic light kit because you can take a kit lin and still shoot good pictures with it but if you get a job to go in and shoot head shots at the bank and you have no lighting you're not going to pull that job off you can pull that job off with a hot shoe flashing the kit linz and make a little money and build up here business like that all right so just before we go to break I want another shot here of shame waken release shane to get on with his day on kind of one cool thing you could do with a big old octa is just stick it right behind your head sorry camera guys like what is he doing now I just had my camera angle set yeah I did warn everybody I'm like soon as I opened this seven foot octa like all your camera positions will have to change all right sandbag on that because it's so heavy find my camera perfect all right you're gonna be looking right into me here we'll just see where we stand here looking right over my head get my platonic on over here wide angle um take for me just a little bit more that way come back to me this way keep coming around on and just yeah just down right there and looking up what's that conduit wasn't there I really wish that conduit wasn't they're doing good well this pose just chin down just a little bit right there now let's get our camera guy the shot all right everybody way are going to break on dh looking right here for good did fantastic thank you that was pretty painless now awesome well we've got your contact info we're gonna get some pictures to you and all of that um yeah great that looks awesome it looks natural

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

Related Classes


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 (

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.


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!