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Studio Lighting

Lesson 3 of 18

More Technical: Q&A, Depth of Field, and Group Shots

Zack Arias

Studio Lighting

Zack Arias

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Lesson Info

3. More Technical: Q&A, Depth of Field, and Group Shots

Lesson Info

More Technical: Q&A, Depth of Field, and Group Shots

uh question and answers um about exposure kind of starting out with exposure and uh we're going to q and a about that and this is you know again exposure numbers full half five six math you know cutting things in half and dividing and multiplying is the boring part I hate this part of teaching but without this it is the this is the foundation we build on without having a comfort level with this stuff we don't have a comfort level with our clients uh we don't have a comfort level with our clients we're not making great portrait sor pictures or whatever um so um we're taking questions about this if there's questions about half power versus full power or aperture settings or anything like that let's take some questions um and then we'll talk about some gear we're going to talk about where you put money and we're going to start thinking about how much money we're spending um and we're going to do a quick little thing about modifiers I'm going to be teaching about modifiers mohr as I do the...

n up here on a white board kind of thing all right so uh questions I have a question question from cookie cat chick in the chat room um how do you determine what aperture you need to have the staggered band members all in focus is it a trial on air or do you have a formula I wouldn't say that I quite have a formula um there's a couple more things that go into debt the field limit let me hit that real quick all right so depth of field ii would do a disservice if I didn't explain the other two things in my head when I'm shooting staggered band photos so the question again is when you're shooting the staggered band photos and you want everyone in focus um is there kind of a formula that I I have to get them all in focus or eyes it just trial and error correct that's the question so depth the field is controlled by three factors aperture focal length uh tea h focal length and camera to subject distance so in a way there's a formula but in my head it's more than just aperture here's the thing if we go toe focal length the wider angle lens you go the greater the depth the field you'll have in any given aperture so if you need to increase the field quickly you start going toe wider angle lenses as you goto longer lenses tele photos you start getting upto hundred millimeter two hundred millimeter lenses at any given aperture your depth of field decreases so f ate on a thirty five millimeter focal length linds is going to be far greater than f ate on a two hundred millimeter linds the longer your lens the shallower your depth the field at any given aperture the next one is camera two subject distance all right so as you increase distance away from your subject you increased depth of field as you get closer to your subject you decreased the field at any given aperture so if I were to take a portrait of you at two point eight let's say right here your eyes would be in focus but back your head would be out of focus if I come way over here same linds same aperture take a picture of you at two point eight you'll be in focus and some of the stuff in the background will be in focus as well as I get further away from the subject depth of field increases as I use a wide angle lens depth of field increases as I bring my aperture down depth of field increases so I've got four guys in a band staggered and I want them all in focus the things going through my head are aperture so I know it's not gonna be two point eight or f four I'm most likely going to have to start pushing towards f ate it's probably not going to be a two hundred millimeter linds I'm probably going fifty mil fifty millimeters maybe wider I don't know but I've got to know that if I start going longer in my focal length my aperture has to start coming down and then how far away is my camera to my subjects and my getting in really close I'm gonna pack them in all close to each other and get really close right in their face well if I get really really close to him my depth of field is decreasing but as I have back off from the band my depth of field increases so I guess my formula is is I'm going to think about what's my focal length um how far away am I going to be from them and then at that point do I need to be hitting five point six or I might be needing to hit f sixteen if I have a two hundred millimeter linz and I'm trying to take a tight shot of four people who are staggered I might need to be an f sixteen to get them all in focus where as I could get them all in focus with a fifty millimeter at five six right this might be f sixteen here but hypothetically full power half eleven f eight five six so this may be my fifty millimeter power setting then I may have to goto full power with a two hundred millimeter lits alright I get it yes I think there was just a little confusion in the trap room when you're doing your diagram of your lighting setup as when you put five six at the light um what do you you said the lightest five six but they didn't know does that refunding aperture the exposure the when I say okay this lights at five six and this is gonna happen all through the weekend so I set up a light I put it on my subject and I taking a picture or meter reading one of the other or let's say I just I don't have a meter so I take a couple pictures until I get the proper exposure I look at the back of my camera I said that's it that's perfect at five point six my exposure is five point six I'm going to say this light is at five six or my subjects at five six my subject is at two point eight or my light is it to eight so what I mean is the light hitting my subject is properly exposed at that given f stop that I'm yelling out all right so if I turn a light on you come in and put a soft box on you and I take a couple pictures or I take a meter reading and I say you're f four then that means the exposure of that light on you at that point is f four and if I take a picture click at f four I have a properly exposed picture of you under that lighting scenario does that does that help confirm that so in my lighting diagram you know soft box and my subject my subject is here and if I say that is five six I mean that is thie f stop aperture proper exposure of this light on this subject is five six and then I may say the background is f four because I want the background to be f four here five six four and then whatever else other lights that come up for when I say this light is five six that means proper exposure good all right what else I have another question in the chat room um from hetty do you ever use exposure compensation adjustment on the actual camera instead of adjusting your lights for proper exposure no and I'll tell you why the question is do I ever use exposure compensation on the camera instead of it the lights and the reason being is exposure compensation is there when you're in an automatic mode when you have your camera meet oring figuring something out so you're either in program automatic aperture priority or shutter speed priority all right so you're telling the camera to come up with some part of the exposure for you now that camera's meter is kind of stupid and the camera meter wants to make everything in the world eighteen percent gray all right that is the target uh that it's trying to hit so it's trying to make everything eighteen percent grade but you you're taking a picture of the white dress on the white wall that's not great is it so you're telling your camera meter exposure compensate all right camera you think that the exposure should be here give me one more stop than that that is exposure compensation you are telling the meter to override what it thinks by two thirds of a stop minus one stop whatever when we go into fully manual mode right we're going to be working full manual mode this weekend nothing is automatic changing exposure compensation won't change a thing and remember like we're dealing with an alien b it doesn't talk to a nikon or a canon there's no ti tl here there's no communication from camera to flash other than through what will be using our pocket wizards we're going to be using pocket wizards on these the only communication we're gonna have is fire turn on flash that's it so is we change exposure compensation on our camera alien be doesn't know it who were speaking greek to it um and in manual mode it's actually not going to change a thing all right so exposure compensation is for an automatic setting after priority shutters uh priority program p for professional um and we won't be dealing with any of that this weekend everything is manual and again I want to state this for the record why we shoot manual know tt l know automation as we want toe understand what is happening with our light if we are relying on our cameras to figure stuff out we don't understand why it's doing what it is when we are in full control of our camera and our lights then we have an understanding of what's happening we have an understanding of how to change things we also want consistency consistency consistency consistency if I take a person and I sit them down and I take sixty pictures of them and that controlled lighting scenario and I bring those sixty pictures in the light room I want them to all be consistent I don't want them changing I don't want the exposure to be you know vary ating very much I want it all to be consistent and if I go into an automatic mode my consistency could start to float I could be a little over exposed on some a little underexposed on others and then I have to make them all look consistent and to take too underexposed pictures and try to make them look the same as three over exposed pictures just you just want to jump off a building but if I'm in manual mode if I under expose a little at least I under exposed all of them and I could bring them all up together all right there's a lot of people pointing it thinks so uh day on any time dan needs walking here he could do so um other questions in the twitter chat room focus is asking when you're getting a loss of color do you go up on the app store down on the aperture ah loss of color um that's going to be more of a situation to where if you're getting a loss of color than you are um you're not exposing properly all right so if you're shooting someone in there wearing a red dress and that's supposed to be a red dress and it's supposed to be let's say burgundy kind of a dark burgundy wine red if you over exposed that dress it's going to start to go bright red then maybe pink and if you under expose that that dress it might start going like really super dark red to black right so if you want good color rendition that starts with good exposure all right money in the chat room wants to know the looney looney from california anyways good uh she wants to know about how to judge your exposure on the cameras lcd and should you adjust the brightness on the lcd all the way down or what you should do depending on what you're doing I have my brightness set up the question is how do you judge exposure on the lcd um I have my brightness set to about the middle not too bright not too dark and again it comes down to that know your camera um go shoot a bracket of exposure shoot it from underexposed overexposed to stops on each side and then take that card out put it in the computer and pull up those those images and you're going to see one like that's my exposure take the card put it back in your camera go to that file and look at your screen it's not real scientific but I'm not while all of this stuff makes sense to me and all of these numbers like roll through my head I'm not like so anal about it I I just I get to know me when I buy a new camera I have to get to know that screen I just have to get to know it and I might shoot a bunch of underexposed pictures than goes into my head you know what it looked great on the camera but it's underexposed in light room I need to remember it needs to go a little brighter on my screen and we'll talk about when using a light meter um this weekend how you can come to just you just trust it and you know what what's on your screen or not but but having a meter when I wouldn't really need to be consistent you can live without a flash meter but having a flash meter just that could make your life better at same time but it costs money and we'll talk about that the internet is asking how do you deal with the high variation of skin tones in group shots um I find one happy meeting but how do I deal with variations of skin tones and group shots I find one happy medium and split the difference you've got someone with really dark skin and someone with really light skin so okay um I'll typically put my light on the side of the person with the dark skin because light falls off as it's coming away from well um as I have this light set up here we'll talk about tomorrow inverse square law and stuff like that um but as we get further away from our light source light is falling off all right so there's not as much light here as there is over here right like diminishes over distance in accordance with the inverse square law which states that doubling the flash to subject distance aah and doubling flash subject distance reduces the light falling on the subject toe one quarter and then there's this whole math equation it's really boring um so dark skin light skin I put someone with darker skin closer to the light on the person with the lighter skin further from the light if I have that option if it's dark skin light skin medium skin all one big happy group shot I find a happy middle so where the people with dark skin aren't getting lost in the shadows on the people with really light fair complexion aren't being blown out and you can always find you can always dial your aperture into that fine tuned in the middle I got everybody covered it's very rare it's only happened to me once to where I had two people in the same shot who couldn't be more opposite of the spectrum of complexion that gave me hell shooting like just technically just technically it was difficult and what I ended up having to do was kind of light them separately from each other I let one person and the light that was going on that person I was making sure it wasn't really falling on the other person and then I brought in another light source for the other person at a different power setting and found my exposure so the person with darker skin was getting a little more light than the person with the lighter skin but they they had to be lit independently of each other in one shot yes someone in the chat room asked about shooting a black and a white dog together would you say that's the same black and white dog together same same thing you got like a black lab and uh you know a white dog um same thing you want to keep detail in the shadows and in the highlights you can you can find an exposure that will cover it you can um but then there are times you may need to separate them a bit and separately like them this is actually personal question how much would you fudge in post another word shoot and bracket and then I goto post is a last resort post production for me is a last resort um to a fault all right I am kind of a purist and that I get it right in camera or I fail if I can't get it right on camera I have not done my job now I say that to that that it's um to a fault because there are times when you know what I could just zip zap and that's done in post and I have it fixed whatever but I have an internal pressure on me as a photographer that I take pride in my craft I take pride in my photographs um there's one thing to say I'm going to do this composite and I want to take these fourteen different pictures and create them into one and that new picture is its own piece of art right if you've if you've done it well but it's another thing like our fix that in post I'll get that fixed for I'll just I'll bring that guy's exposure up that dude I'll burn that down and that's great and dandy until you have two hundred of those you have to do and there's no way of automating dodging and burning and then suddenly you like if I'd have done it right in camera my post production wouldn't be giving me fits right now ah light is beauty in the chat room would like to know um if your light meter says faa why would skin tone matter shouldn't be exposed is properly for a black person is a wood for a white yes in theory in theory if the light falling in the subject in the area is his f it shouldn't matter tomorrow we'll we'll put someone wearing white and then wearing black against a pure white background and photograph them at the same exposure but I in in theory that's absolutely correct that if the light falling here is f ate that no matter who you parade by this light it should be f ate but I've had the situations before toe where someone would really dark skin and really bright skin it was I needed to open up to compensate just a little bit for like ah third or two thirds of a stop for the darker skin and compensate just a little bit for the lily white porcelain light skin and if you say I need two thirds of exposure shift here two thirds of a stop that's a good bit of light not much two thirds of a stop that's that's not much but that's a good bit but suddenly we now have a stop in a third difference between the two and it's all one even light falling on them but at the end of the day that wasn't quite pulling it all right oh and like I said that's happened to me once one time in the last six and a half years okay sky again from the er chat room does ansel adams own theory falling to play in the studio ansel adams own theory fallen play I took a quarter of zone theory I guess it does but as soon as I was done with that class I was done with zone system um I don't go in with my spot meter and not like I'm not that technical um and it's rare that I have a need to be honestly um does it go into play I guess but you know what the zone system thing that was the negative um that was the exposure of the negative in the print and our chips are not quite the same negative that adams was running with and are processing is different like we've had too many changes in his three parts of a photograph to just go zone system digital doesn't doesn't fit a square peg round hole okay yes jerry and twitter would like to know how aperture size affects lensman yet ing how aperture size uh effects linds vignette yes that's the question um after size effects linds vignette ing um typically the only time I see a little bit of vignette ing is when I'm going wide open uh sometimes I get a little vignette ing um but otherwise that's getting into kind of a technical optical thing that like I don't see popping up I can't go look at all my vignette ing happening here um but my seventy two two hundred I really see it when I open that thing up two to eight I see vignette happened vignette ng happens the only time I worry about optical vignette ing it's not even optical its shutter is leaf shutter lenses on large or medium or large format um at higher sync speeds you can get a vignette ing but that's nothing that we deal with thirty five millimeter dslr that's medium format large format at high sink speeds leaf shutters you can get some vignette ing um so yeah I I never run into lynn's video adding to where it's anything I worry about but I know in my seventy two hundred to eight when I open that sucker wide open it's I get a little bit of it okay thanks image marks allen ask a question this has been some time back so we may have moved on what is your ideal ratio to exposure from your main light to the back light using your example again earlier ah where the main is five point six ah what is my ideal ratio between my main light and my background light I do not have one there are people uh standard rules of portrait photography thatyou learn uh where you must have should be a three toe one lighting ratio alright and a three to one lighting ratio is one and a half stops difference we'll talk about lighting ratios tomorrow's were setting it up I myself I don't have an ideal lighting ratio um it's what the picture I want to create that's right there in front of me at that moment I am not trying to replicate the same exact lighting ratios over and over and over again all right um so I don't dance your question I don't have an ideal sorry next I have a question from canon geek in the chat room he's one of our regulars on created life and he would like to know ah he or she I'm not sure so what do you use post for what what what do you use post production for you what do you do I want to make sure my color is correct I want to make sure my density and my contracts that is correct a little hair of sharpening um tad a vignette ing a little four corner burned on dh uh and then cleaning up my dirty sensors because my my cameras looked like a pulled the lens off sneeze didn't put it back on we went on a job with it um so I usually have little dust I have to deal with on my sensors that's the main like if if I can deliver a job out of that o in black and white conversion so I can deliver a job with just color correction density in contrast tahereh sharpening maybe a bit of a vignette in a black and white conversion and it's out the door I feel I've been a successful photographer if I have to go in and start dodging and burning and doing things like that layer masking um I feel that that was probably something I could have done in camera like if the eyes are too dark then I didn't like the person correctly um I'm hard on myself and again it's to a fault but it pushes me to be a better photographer next question well I guess this is a personal questions since I'm already starting to ask that difference between the hobbyist and the professional uh oh that's like difference between mac and pc know that starts a war okay um all right so the difference between the amateur in the pro okay some say well soon as you start getting paid your professional and if you're not getting paid you're an amateur I'd say the amateur probably enjoys photography more than the professional does right so if you love photography and you enjoy it it just it gives you life than you're an amateur right and if you're like oh gosh photography then you must be professional to me a professional isn't necessarily paid that's one category but you can't just put it all in that category and go well you're paid your professional because I know people who are paid for photography and they ain't jack of a professional photographer I mean they're just that hack with a camera I won't name names um and I know people who are amazing photographers and they don't make a dime doing it and but they're gorgeous amazing photography that they create um and they're very technically very good I know photographers were technically very good they could nail a three to one lighting ratio and and the color doesn't shift more than one point and lovable and there are their pictures have no soul right and I know people photographers who have a lot of soul in their photography but uh the postproduction that he got it there because they blew exposure they don't understand how a camera works it's it's it's all in there and a pro is a pro is someone that can be consistent could be relied on um and is a problem solver you walk into the situation and there's this chaos in front of you and you have to create a picture out of that chaos and you go to your technical information you go to your experience and you go to your just your gut sarah won't try this and figure it out and you walk into chaos you figure it out and you have a picture to deliver you are professional and if a paycheck is tied to that awesome if not doesn't mean you're any less professional nick you have a question may be the difference between hard and fast rules regarding exposure contrast color correctness and subjective artistic freedom kind of stuff ok what is the hard fast rules between color contrast exposure an artistic direction of a photograph um I don't know that gets really subjective um for me I want to hit proper exposure proper contrast proper color and then any other artistic direction changes come from there but I first got it right in camera let's take dave hill you familiar with dave hill's look highly post process looked that dave hill look right but the thing is is if you will go to dave's original pictures they're lit really well and color contrast density it's all there as a proper starting point and then he does his thing to that he doesn't take a crappy picture that was overexposed or underexposed and the color was blown and then try to make something out of it right um so I'm a pretty straightforward photographer I don't to a lot like I'm not into actions I'm not until like let's cp of this I think digital c p a is crap um the c p a process back in the day you when you see peotone it was a process and you thought about that picture is it worth the process I need to go through to c p a this and two tone it and then it was a whole thing and now it's a button we'll see book does it need to be no that's not even a good picture for seat you know like where's my damn get me my soapbox or get me off my soapbox one of the other um we'll talk about that in post but I think me is a photographer personally I want to hit it I want to hit the color in contrast and all of that and then if I can shift it a little from there I will a little warmer maybe a little cooler maybe I'll make it I'll take the contrast in punch it a little more contrast ing than from what it should be but some shots man I just blow that contrast I mean I just take a look of medium gray and make it black all right um I wanted to be punching in contrast another's I want to pull back the contrast and it it's going to be even less contrast in what it should be but I'm looking for like even tones across the whole photograph depends on what the picture is in front of me yes couple people are asking what's the difference between density and contrast not really much at all when I say density I guess I'm meaning exposure um my highlights my highlights aren't clipping too badly my my shadows aren't clipping too badly my mid tones aren't kind of too muddy um and then contrast I mean that's contrast but then contrast aiken I can expand it or compress it a little more from there so when I say density I really mean I want to make sure exposure is right contrast is right color right same question same answer uh tom on the roof wants to know if you use color gels in any your images and is it a good idea to use them with flash or stroke or soft boxes okay uh the question is from tom on the roof he's still on the roof huh he's on the roof earlier and still there um tom the questions come up a lot as I've been starting to take questions for this class of gels used gels do you use gels how do you use gels put gels on your flash I personally I don't use gels the on ly time my gela flashes if I need to take it to tungsten or fluorescent color balance all right the light coming out of these flashes is basically like daylight alright should be somewhere in the five thousand to fifty five hundred kelvin degree range that us bright sunny day would be theoretically technically for those of you well actually notice sunlight is fifty four hundred and a half degrees calvin it's not five thousand oh my gosh don't argue don't send me an e mail but in the five thousand degree range right tunks then is thirty two hundred very warm and there are times like if I'm shooting outside which this class isn't about but if I'm shooting outside at sunset when that sun hits the horizon it almost goes tungsten it's so warm and then you bring flashing that's really cool and blue and kind of tone you got this warm available light in this cool blue light it doesn't always mix so I will color correct if I'm shooting under a lot of floor essence I will put a fluorescent um gel on my flashes if I'm shooting under a lot of tungsten incandescent lightbulbs I'll put color correction gel but like let's make the background red and let's put a papa blew over there and let's put green on the ceiling I don't gel in that fashion I will do a gel demonstration this weekend though to take a white background and make it read um just to go over the theory of using gels but I will not be doing tons and tons and tons of jelling lights because I just I just don't I don't gel uh we're coming to the end of the q and a break okay um you went through all of that oh there's more at the end of q and a break and then what oh break oh welcome to the internet this is fun I'm from the south I'm just amazed I can read okay a couple more questions and then uh they're calling for a break ok yes another question from twitter treece is asking can you touch on shooting in a darker venue uh for something like a wedding where flashes not allowed no because that's kind I mean I could but that that's like out of the studio realm like wedding photography in a dark venue where there's no flash it's pray no it's high igh igh igh s owes its fast lenses and if you're there with a rebel and a five six linds it's your host no you're not you're a fine art photog for eyes what you are good answers at fine arts good night room this is my fine art of your ceremony but you know I can't see myself it's fine art it's now fifty percent more in money um no it's fast lenses and it's high igh igh igh esos and tripods yeah a couple more questions and I don't mean to like hey I'm not answering that but it is a studio like everyone's tuning in because it's mainly studio and I if I can't answer like ah you know off the path questions I definitely will but I'm probably going to steer away from those so we can stay on point for this class uh ask zach the question is uh you manly said manually or do you manly said it may be leaving you manually set your white balance using a white card before you start shooting no uh question is do I manly or manually manly do everything do I manually set my white balance before I start shooting I do manually set it to flash all right if I'm shooting under flash I just said it the flash um I have ah color passport target that I could take a manual white balance setting that's b a we'll talk about using targets and all of that we're going to do things like on the cheap on the fly like figure it out and then we're going to do it like the correct proper technical way and well wolf you'll find your place where you fall and sometimes that's comes down to money I don't have any money then you're flying by the seat of your pants I've built my business up I now have a flash meter I've a color target I have a monitor calibrate er I want to do it right now and will stay that way to okay so I am a believer that no matter how much you manually set stuff in your camera when you pull it in to your computer something's got to get touched it some things got a little bit of a tweak of a color a little punch in contrast there was never a time when I was in a dark room where I just popped the negative in their hit print and it was perfect except when I got my zone system down in black and white um it was eight and a half seconds in the enlarger um and I could do it but uh so I'm going to check color on everything I shoot in light room or in postproduction um and I just want it close on the back of my camera so I said it the flash if I'm shooting under flash you had a question so I I'm kind of curious what you used for lighting when you go the drapes drawn in your studio just to be able to get your cameras focus I find my modeling lights on my lights or are way too dim to actually see my subject right uh well we have a minimum of hundred watts modeling light uh hundred watt bulbs um in the modeling lights there are times I wish those would be one hundred fifty two hundred watts um but uh I have uh like little track lights that I could bring the overall ambien exposure up and track lights in the ceiling is a whole lot different than the sun barreling straight in right so I need to cut the sun but then ambient light in the room isn't like black there is their lights on we need to be able to walk around my clients don't need to trip over wires so there is light and there's there's enoughto focus yeah and that modeling lights really help out there if you're doing everything hot shoes um that you start to like I wish I had a modelling light sometimes it's just to focus yeah another question and then we censor size bigger is better um I'm a full frame shooter um I am so happy that full frame thirty five millimeter sensors have come out now I cannot go back to crop uh when I have to pick up my d two hundred and shoot something with it I'm just like the crops eyes never felt comfortable to me I came up from thirty five millimeter film but I will tell you this mark my words medium format is coming back ah I recently had a chance to have a mommy at one of the newman mia's and back in film days there was thirty five and medium format and there was this there was this canyon to make that jump required some time and money but pros made that jump you had you had medium format if you were an editorial shooter you had medium for me like that is if you were editorial portrait photographer like stuff that I do that was all medium format you weren't doing that thirty five millimetre you know your daily pj shooter you're shooting it thirty five not medium right but there was this that it might be five thousand dollars canyon between thirty five and the medium format and digital that canyon fifteen twenty thirty thousand dollars canyon to make the jump into digital but mama mia just introduced a camera that just slid under ten thousand dollars that's the back the body the prism and ellen's nine thousand nine hundred ninety five dollars whatever thing is and it's ten thousand dollars oh my gosh backtrack ten years from now our digital slr is we're running around with that we pay a thousand or so bucks for would've cost ten or fifteen thousand dollars when the nikon d one came out it five thousand dollars that was revolutionary we couldn't believe it oh my god it's now accessible toe you know regular humans tenth or five thousand dollars this is great and your eight hundred dollar rebel is better than that thing wass and I think digital medium format is heading back and when I shot that mommy a recently I look at my sl ours and I'm just like crap hey sock because you I just it's the same it's it's the same quality difference too you look at thirty five millimeter chrome and a medium format chrome and you loop those things and that medium format I had so much more details so much sharper and you enlarge it and have so much better and it's the same relationship in digital it's just the price has been so insane is at the glass or the chip the combination combination glass and ship I mean thirty five millimeter glass has gotten so much better it's it's really amazing and you know I mean you know look a chase stars international ad campaigns with thirty five millimeter slr right um but but when I took that medium format shot and I zoomed in at two hundred percent and it looked better than my dslr at one hundred percent I'm a believer I don't know when I'll make the jump to medium format digital I think the price is need thio canyon needs to get on a little shorter ain't that right honey uh ah but as soon as if I could have a medium format camera today for five grand I would sell half of my thirty five millimeter kit to get it I really want the r z thirty three you hear that ma mia you hear that r z thirty three right now if it doesn't focus well then I'll probably complain about it but you send it all the same all right so we're taking a break when we come back speaking of money I have this list over here I have this list I want to talk about gear a little bit not richard but gear all right and we're going to talk about this and why I show up with alien bees and not pro photos and ellen chrome's and brawn colors all right and what that means to the money so if you're like oh we got to spend money on all of this stuff I'm going to tell you how to do it inexpensive and how to do it like out of the park based on your budget and your money and your trust fund

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


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!