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Essential Skill #2 - Continued

Lesson 8 from: Real World Lighting: Advanced Techniques

Scott Robert Lim

Essential Skill #2 - Continued

Lesson 8 from: Real World Lighting: Advanced Techniques

Scott Robert Lim

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Lesson Info

8. Essential Skill #2 - Continued


Class Trailer

Day 1


Course Introduction


What Photographers Should Know


Lighting Gear Box


My Camera Gear


Understanding the Magic of Flash


Shoot: Essential Skill #1 - Lighting Positions


Essential Skill #2 - Bright Light Situations


Lesson Info

Essential Skill #2 - Continued

Saddle cats light now this is another interesting idea aa lot of times you think that you're in bright light all the time you can't get a good catch light in the eye when you're doing these super bright light shots but let's understand first what is a catch light maybe some of you don't know what a catch like this what a care slight is are those ducks in the sea that it shows the light source ok my question is what creates a catch light and why don't you see it all the time like coming into my eyes all right now we could go outdoors right there like coming into your eyes I won't see akash light why is that too broad too broad focused not focused okay you're starting to get somewhere now if you want to understand creating a catch light and if you want to see what your eye is imagine right now shooting in a fish islands how would you if that whole frame was an eye and you wanted to create a catch like what would you do to make a catch like shooting with the fish islands you would make le...

t's say you had a subject you would make them bright and you would make the surrounding area what dark because you need a contrast okay so when you get into an area where there's no contrast of light bright and dark and I can see a catch right and so that's even lighting a lot of times that happens so that's why a lot of times you need directed light like through a door through a hallway to create brightness and darkness and so you need the darkness is to see the catch light ok so let's so that's what you need you need a contrast between bright and dark to see democrats light so let's do this situation here okay where I this was a natural shadow that was being created there was a lot there was a whole kind of like the light was coming through there is this little shadow coming out creating a shadow here there was a wall here and there's actually a wall in front of her and so that light was kind of just peeking in between those three walls ok so it's kind of a channel that it was coming in I don't know if I show a picture of it so that's kind of the situation those didn't get so what I do is when I'm kind of in a shadowy situation where I see kind of shadows surrounding my subject what I do is get the subject to kneel down first if I'm going to take a portrait why knows towards the light so she's standing up and I'm short and her nose is towards the light I've got a nice shot of her nostrils not cool but but if I get her in a lower position and the nose is towards the light now I'm shooting down at her and I get a rarely very pleasant portrait I always like to shoot portrait's shooting down on my subject as a very flattering look that's why I like that screen because aiken the six feet tall instead right you will notice now this is true because you probably seen them a lot of creative life you and notice that a lot of the top photographers in the world actually pretty tall they are right so a lot of them because why they're always shooting down on their self like russ he's an amazing photographer the dues tall right shooting down on his subjects it's very pleasing for him, right? Alan does villages. I'm shooting up nationals all the time so it's okay, so right let's look at subject kneeling down catch line right there. See that catch like now let's zoom into those eyes and let's actually see how that catch light was created and you can see it right there you can see the sun and you can see those those walls blocking the light off to create that little catch light in the eye so those shadows were creating that catch light because it was channeling that light right in there and so and it's just the death photos and like boom shadow but kind of create that field so here it is again and a lot of times you confined this situation in between buildings right in between walls or something like a courtyard something that where it's blocking the light and that light is just coming in through a kind of little area there it'll create that catch light for you just got to make sure that you're got a position higher than your subject that you could shoot down okay same thing super is the same area butts in the little hallway there in a super bright light she's on her knees bam shooting down this is great especially if your subject is wearing intense bright colors if they're wearing intense bright colors, you're gonna want that son because now you could shoot it f eleven f sixteen get that rich detail and you can pop that color out there shooting at two eight one eight all the times it tends to me yeah it's got a nice organic feel to it but something you wanted you want to be by you want to be able to super bowl you want all that kind of saw feel backlight but then also you want to show the world that you can do it all and you can shoot dense, tight, sharp colors too don't be a one way photographer do it all ok, it gets you paid doing it all okay so here's another situation right she's lower than may I have her down lower she's looking up into that patch of light I got that knife catch light into it it's always great if you can kind of cover that face a little bit to create some mystery whatever props whatever you got cans right that's that's what she's actually doing right there looking up right into that area there so that's shadow catch like portrait here is number six method diffused in bright light and this is when we're going to get into the reflector method a little bit okay so now you find yourself here's the situation you're in super bright light there ain't no walls around because you're at the beach and that's where your client wants to go we fell in love here or whatever and we want some pictures here yeah let's get there at six o'clock oh no no we can't do that the only time available that we have is two p m no can't you get it to six no this's all we got two p m I'm gonna pay three thousand dollars to do it you're going to say ok right okay so what do you do? You get in there right and you actually create shade it's twofold when you create this shade with your twenty dollars umbrella that's really easy to pop up and you already have it anyways it's also creating a catch like two so how do you do that, right? So what you do here is this is really hot, uncomfortable weather, right? This isn't just a few weeks ago in san diego, it was hot out there, right? And it was sunny, and it was bright and okay, this is what we're going to do to create this shade on the subject, right? There were eight, eighteen f sixteen situation shade makes it more bearable for your subject because when you're using reflectors and you're doing that, they're getting all hot and everything, right. But if you create this shade and you defuse it right there, they compose all day long, it's not a big of a problem. Ok, so what is the technique? You find the son, you get your umbrella and you put that shaft in the direction of the umbrella right at your subject, right in between there and that's going to create some nice light right on your subject. And you use that technique and it's going to create a catch light, right, aline umbrella shaft in line with the direction of the sun pointing to your subject so you can and put them in bright light. You want them in the brightest light possible, that sounds contract, you know, that doesn't sound like logical but that's actually what you want to do to put them in the brightest light because when you put this umbrella up in super pry light it becomes your catch light also and it diffuses the light umbrella over create beautiful diffused light place subject and brightest sun use more than one umbrella or diffuser panel firm or shades so if you want more stayed out of it you might have to put it you're this is in my heart of old two umbrellas up okay, but see that direction that's how it's going to do it right? And then you get a shot like that said diffused light that catch light right there is the umbrella so it's doing both for you it's diffusing the light and creating a catch like for you at the same time hey, um here's, another situation here hey, you see that catch light in her eye that's the umbrella and just because I can and I have to use more than one light I'm just using some up like with the video light you could see a little catch like there just to kind of give you see that kind of glow on the skin there that up, like kind of gives you that nice feel to it, but see that cat's light in her eye that's the impala and because it's dark around her the shade you're getting both be boarding catch light and you're putting her in the shape and it's something that you can just take a shot and it is it's a tool that you can use in bright light it's not the best situation because you might blow out your background so and if you can't find anything dark a dark area you might blow out some of your background but at least it's better than trying to battle that sun all the time which is really tough here's another situation you have to go in and you zoom in on the glasses you're going to see what's going on there's me and the pink shirt but there's the video light underneath and there's the umbrella creating the catch light ok so I was just getting fancy using the the other the light just because uh just showing what was possible but definitely the umbrella by itself will do something nice to yes question can you use this in combination like if he only had one flash instead of having all three flashes so you just had one flash out there that was working or something? Okay, so the reason what? You don't even actually need a flash in this particular case but I did use a flash in that other lighting example because she was wearing a hat too and I just wanted to add a catch like a stronger one of the bottom in sum up flight into it but you don't actually need to use it but you can if you want to so in this particular case yeah yeah just one flash you don't even need a flash because you noticed in this let's go back this photo here right really attack this point my video life was really dying with power and it really wasn't adding that much but you can see this shot here is mainly just that umbrella and nothing else yeah there's a little bit of catch light down there for that light up it wasn't making a huge that was making a little bit of a difference but not a huge difference doesn't know flash no santa question yeah yeah okay so defusing bright light number seven here is use sun as sidelight okay so you can find different areas where your son is coming in strong and you use it a sidelight okay so here you don't know where the sun was really coming in here but this is actually where the sun wass ok so if you do this technique what's gonna happen is this the sun is going to be coming in very bright here you want to expose for right here right so when you expose right here it makes this other side really dark so how did I get this nice highlight in this detail over here? What do you think I did you could use a reflector, but I don't own a reflector, so I used a flash on the other side. Okay, so all do that a lot. O c the sun, the brightest part. And if it happens to be on the side now I get some nice side short side shadow. She can close her eyes. I'll put it this way, and then I'll use and flash that way to open it up and you can see I do the same thing here. Hey, I've got some nice sunlight. Actually, I did this shot first, and I discovered that's why you had to keep shooting because accidents come along and idea comes so that other shot that I just show you the first shot was because I took this shot for this is actually my friend. He was standing there going. Yeah, look at here was over there. Let me take a shot of it. Right. So he's, actually, one of the students in the class, right? Like I said, look over here. And what happened, wass? I had my trigger on accidentally fired bright and lit up this back side over here, and then I looked ankle. Wow, that looks really good idea oh, I like the back side all the time, because that tends to to be under exposed a lot especially if in your bright light so then when I said that's a great idea so that's why when I did this shot go ok let's do this and at that backside like now we do it all the time that's why you got to keep shooting and shooting because you're going to stumble across ideas just by mistakes and just buy things that you do all right so that's that concept there sidelight here's another one sidelight okay, you see that side like coming in you see where it's falling in and you just get that knows that way you take that picture, okay, now I saw this particular shot here has a bit of bahamas jamaica to it and it was bright light on it. And when you see rich what's the rule when you see rich colors, you're going to love that son right he run to it. This is going to give you that dance color when you're shooting at eleven of sixteen is going to give you that that you want, so get over there knows towards the it poses itself it just once you follow that's the thing is you just remember nose to the light the polls kind of just, you know, does its thing and then you just day the dog just happens to be there right? And you get the shot right? It just it was sleeping and I said something and its head popped up damn took the shot right? So dense colors and that's you're going to love that so don't run away from bright light there's certain advantages the high contrast the rich colors go with it every lighting situation that you run into has disadvantages and has advantages so that's what I'm going to show you but that's what I didn't really cover and crazy stupid light here's the advantages of every situation that you're gonna run into use these advantages by and this happens to be one of them okay that I showed that picture before, right she's wearing something high contrast I was looking for something that was bright colors see colored walls are great colored walls are graded f sixteen f eleven and then if you're subject is wearing some bright color or you're planning a shoot okay, well, you know that they're going to become dressed like this or whatever you go hey let's, try to get some bright sun in there and let's work with its we could pop those colors out is most likely they're going to hire the photographer with the portrait session with eighty five millimeter land shooting at one point eight and it's going to be great but it's gonna look completely different you're going to do that and you're going to do this at the same time you're going to give them both right and they're gonna love you for it okay here's the same thing bright colors knows towards the light they don't have to be looking all the time if it's too bright but you get that rich color you get that blue you get that bright color in there right? And so you're really going to be able to pop those colors taking advantage of it now you can see the situation wherever that sun is setting it is if you're no you're getting some sidelight you can create some motion in there right because you know anything if you got that subject with that side light you can pretty much have them do anything and they're going to get that a little bit of shadow in there and it's going to look great it's going to have that natural field to that's going to look a lot better than if you're just straight bright light and they're just walking into it or whatever this is going to look more interesting so look for those little areas where you can kind of create those areas of contrast and brightness that's going to be your friend you always look for that in your background contrast brightness and it's going to give you the best backgrounds ok, we talked about this before talked about that before and here's another situation here where I had her looking into the bright light now this doesn't look like it but this is extremely bright light this is at least I think this is f sixteen actually ok and you know it's the highlight here but feels ah highlight right there it's that extra little effort now most of your clients won't even notice it right? But that's really the advanced techniques are it's fine tuning what you're knowing and perfecting it and over all the generally your work is gonna look impeccable and it's going to look slightly different than everybody else's because you're going to have these little extra things that you do and you're going to make it convenient for yourself to add that little thing if you don't have an assistant are you really gonna just for that little thing over that really are you going to set up a stand over there, go back and forth just to do that right there no trust me you're not going to do it but if you have somebody there stand over there get over there two seconds sam you're going to get the little extra things because you're going to make it convenient for yourself and you're gonna maximize the knowledge that you know if you're not maximizing the knowledge that you know then why shoot? How are you going to gain an advantage over anybody right maximize knowledge that you know ok, so here, sunlight as I light now for the last one it's fairly obvious, but sometimes we just have to just remind you of the obvious things. Okay? So when you're in a bright light situation, it's very easy to use a silhouette, and sometimes we just don't remember that, okay, so you're in a in a bright light situation. I kind of like the semi silhouette, whereas I'm going in, and I'm not quite doing a silhouette, but I'm, uh, messing with my exposure to little toe let that a little bit of that detail back into it and then in post processing, if I got a little bit there, then I can exaggerate atmore, but I just get a little bit there and then I can decide whether or not how much I want to let that detail in, but I, you know, that's, just my personal style, you might want something different, but the concept is the same is creating that's silhouette so best when subject is framed by doorway, window or archway, and we know this I'm just reminding you of it, but it's us something that to do in bright light. It's one easy thing you're in a bright light situation, okay, let's, try to find a silhouette here. Right? And then I'd see right here I'm purposely blowing the background out because I want that clean and I'm just letting a little bit of that light in so I can see some detail on them so it's a semi silhouette I love doing that here's a silhouette that's a little bit different but it's also sidelight too so right so that's why I've got that nice shadow against them I got that detail there so it's a silhouette sidelight situation um just looking through a door here's another one here where uh I've got sam you see that and crazy what can think like a ten k wedding photographer to see that all over the place here's another one blowing out the background on purpose so a silhouette allows you to create a clean background you can blow it out on purpose but and this ad that detail now you're just focused on her I got a bunch of crap going on back there, but because the light is so bright I could just blow it out right and aiken over expose that and just focus on that and do something like this to where you get that silhouette now what I actually did hear because that bright light was coming in this way there one isn't as much light down here, so how do you think I got some more like down there fast and quick I just added a video light so whenever you're doing that famous silhouette shot by the window with the bride aa lot of times I bring in the video like to get the bottom of the dress because as you know, sometimes that bottom of that dress is completely black you don't see a detail there but add that video like right down there at the bottom she has to give me some detail there and then aiken later go in in post processing and figure out what I want to do with it but I just need some detail there to begin with to open it up ok um oh yeah and the other thing is that these flowers are actually being served as a reflector get the light it's bring the flowers up you will notice a difference it's actually a reflector be using that flowers the reflector ok here's another silhouette I just duplicated it but you can see the symmetry that it creates when one thing about doing a silhouette make sure that the when you pose your subject right so if you're doing a silhouette you don't want your silhouette and the face you need to face turned why yeah it's a silhouette is about shape so when you want to create a silhouette you know you need some kind of you know whatever you've got to create some sort of shape and that's what your accentuating ok, so here's the bright light techniques you've got one grouping flashes right together hard light soft light I used that a lot shooting shadows frame the subject with the shadows shadow catch light diffused in bright light with an umbrella or diffuser you send light a sidelight and silhouette I got a things for you to do make it a project go out and try to do all a right practice practice back if you don't practice it you're not going to do it in real life that's that's just what it is but if you don't actually do it and overcast, why have you come up here and do it because I know that once you do it and it wasn't that hard and then you start to work it in your workflow um and so you know what I think that's a little bit early we're good we do have a minute a couple minutes to ask questions if you don't mind because we've got a bunch of came in about this we got terror al brecht he says. Scott how exactly do you match the exposure when shooting and harden soft light? You're looking for a shadow to match exposure but are you white balance meeting in the shadow is well oh wow man yeah that's a good question I don't actually think that deeply about it it's going to be naturally balanced anyways, right? Because there's not two different light sources back there, but so basically I just so when you're in this bright light situation when you're what you're looking for is even exposure equal exposures. So if the sun is coming this way, okay, let's say the sun is coming this way and if I can have somebody come up here just to demonstrate but so let's say the sun is coming this way here she's going to be in shadow that correct, right? So I should back up at the sun and I don't have a flash if I expose air correctly she's going to be properly exposed but that's going to be over exposed. So what I look for is the sun creating a shadow somewhere else, then I can match the exposure equally, and then now I'm not blowing out detail. Thank you. Does that kind of make sense? But I never find that I had to kind of switch my bed. I light switching my white balance for coloring effect. So if I have to do this is another thing let's say you're shooting a person who's african or they have dark skin mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm. I don't know if this politically correct to say but the camera companies don't they're not suited like exactly for dark skin because that's I guess a smaller part of the population so they don't shoot that right? So you'll find when you're shooting a dark skinned person, it's going to look very kind of bluish. So what I love to do when I'm shooting a dark skinned person is I shut set the white balance to either shade or cloudy and kids that nice warm to the skin, okay, so if you've got a dark skinned person, put it on, of course you could always do late, I just like to do it in camera, but put it in the shade or put it in cloudy and it's gonna warm up everything I love shooting that way, yes couple on one is lighter skin and one is darker skin. What I mean, you could get sophisticated about it and you could actually take a warming jail and take a flash, and sometimes I'll do that, but usually when I've got a cop, a couple and I see that contrast of lighting, I always try to put the darker skin person in the most like or I add, like, if I've got to add light, I'll put my gel on and I'll fire it on that darker skinned person, yeah, but sometimes you're in a situation, we she just got to make the best of it, but yeah, question from travis murray into other people also wanted to know do you ever use a light meter to get the perfect exposure faster or to figure out light ratios between main phil hare live at center? Um, no, because I have live do you right? And that is I mean, I'm not pushing this or whatever, but I I shoot literally thirty to forty percent faster with that's why I can't go back I can't do it I can't go back that way because it's so much easier to do it now we're doing workshops right and somebody's never sought a camera with live ur sony I hear shoot that and I'll tell them about live you and oh yeah whatever whatever and then they'll shoot it in the compact nickel oh my gosh I got to the shot like it took me four times with the other camera and I get it in one time how much is that worth to you? Right? And you know what? I think every camera should go to this because it is a game changer it's anybody like jodi actually, right? You recently switched right from that to goto live you what's your opinion on that like you said, I love it that I let one of the workshops I use someone's cannon and like you said it takes it would take me five or six shots to get the light right whereas I'm looking to the live you I can change everything that I need take the shot boom done sometimes the light near two is measuring what eighteen percent gray and so I feel like a lot of times I slightly under expose things a little bit two so yeah, I think in general it might be faster a little bit if you don't have life view but it's better more accurate to see it so you get that background the way you want it because there's a lot of variables involved with it it's just not the subject and sometimes you kind of have to pick middle exposures to depending on what they're wearing. So let's say you meet her it's what they're wearing something very, very dark, right? Well, you might want not want to go with that, you might want to overexpose it a bit because you know they're wearing dark and you want to get that detail there too. So yeah it's it's all good, you know, it will probably help you want to kind of go back to the fact that this is real world lighting techniques. This isn't like how to go in and mathematically figure out exactly what the perfect exposure is that every single moment at every single point in the frame this is about going out and shooting being able to do something that you can take on the job with you and do repeatedly in any situation really quickly and effectively so that's I mean I think it's clearly your work shows that it works so yeah, question from fred see when you went back if you go back to that image of the bride that you said you used the video like to fill on the dress oh yeah fred c says how do you know how strong the filler video like should be? How do you figure out that class? What do you think I would say to that? You know, you could see you know, if you don't have a picture you could hit you could see it that's the one thing about video life is you see it right it's continuous like so you look at it, you see it right? You take a picture of it and there it is so it's very easy to do so it's not brain surgery, they're going to definitely get it perfect one from espn to other people will use an nd filter to shoot it whiter apertures with that same output of light with all those flashes. Um uh you can and I used tio, but I just find recently that's not particularly my style because if I'm gonna pull out the flashes, I'm going for that everything color, brightness, I'm going for that kind of commercial look and my idea of giving, you know, so what a lower f stop does this kind of soften things up right? To me? I use my saw hard, light, soft light to give me that softness that I like. So my particular style right now is I don't use actually a lot of envy filter who knows? In a couple of years, it might really start using it again, but I have that tool I know how to use it, and it does soften things up, but I find that for when I want to use a flash, I'm wanting that dense color, I wanting that sharpness, and I'm using a lot of times big, I'm not just not shooting the portrait, a lot of you see a lot of my shots, they're nice landscape shots, right? And so I'm kind of popping the subject and then keeping the detail in the landscape, too, because I'm shooting at exotic locations. So I do want that mountain back there to show or I do want the eiffel tower or I do want those buildings back there in venice to see exactly where they are, so the type of shooting that I do doesn't necessarily I need that shallow back on all the time, but it is a tool that I have and I like mainly I like to show it to people just in case if they do shoot that style but you still can use your flash doing it if you want to when you're shooting a subject that's right in front and you're exposing for the background and you have your life sorts and close to get the soft do you shoot too? Two images one with the lights stand up close and one without um what I generally do is if I'm trying to get background okay, you can do that and do the post process thing, which is fine but some people do it I'm kind of an in camera guy so what I normally do is I shoot waist up okay? So come on up here yeah, ok, so let's say I'm wanting to ok the stand this way so they can see so I want to shoot that whole landscape back there but I want some bright light on you all just kind of shoot you waste up here so I can get into let's say you're looking up this way case you're right and then looked back at me a lot and then I can put the light right here I could shoot you waste up, but because I have a wide angle lens I can get all that background behind you at the same time yes if you look at a lot of thank you. You look out of my shot, but he wants a huge background, but also you want the subject in there. You're going to see that on a crop market, the waste it's, like you get everything. So then I can just concentrate on that subject in that small area, the frank, and then I can get all that behind. Because once you go full body, you've got to get the light away from your subject and you're gonna require four times as much power and the like quality is not gonna look as good. It will still look good, so I rather focus on the face and the expression right in there, worked at area there and then boom, take that picture with the big background saw crop so I can do it this way. Um, portrait style or landscape, but you'll see in a lot of my shots, I'm cutting off half the but that was a great question, by the way.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Crazy Stupid Light Review
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide
Final Exam
Going Big on a Tiny Budget - HD

Ratings and Reviews

Dan Frumkin

I read several reviews on this site which gave me hesitation to buy this course. Nonetheless, I pressed on. Now I have a suggestion for those considering parting with their cash. Before you buy, go to any of Scott’s galleries online. If you can shoot at Scott’s level move on. If you cannot see the artistry in Scott’s work, move on. If you cannot conceive of the technical proficiency Scott has with flash, move on. But if you are mortal photographer that desires to improve your work, compare your personal portfolio to Scott’s. He wins awards for good reasons. Invest the time and money. You will be amply rewarded. Real World Lighting: Advanced Techniques is worth every penny. So is Crazy, Stupid, Light. I purchased both and now use Scott’s advice and techniques daily. Plus, he provides a good dose of inspiration and humor. Scott is an awesome professional, fantastic photographer and a wonderful teacher.


I already own Lim's class, "Crazy, Stupid Light" as well as two of his Strobie 230 flashes with transmitter (in addition to my Canon speedlight). I appreciate being able to get into lighting with flashes and equipment that costs much less than Profoto lights etc. that I couldn't afford yet. Lim has a very organized and energetic teaching style. He is a great speaker in that he is excited about what he is doing and seems to love to help others learn how to be successful with their lighting. He is very animated and funny and has the right blend of being confident yet self-effacing and admits his mess-ups during class. I find him very engaging and interesting. If you have less than $500 or $600 to spend on lights, but want to start adding lighting to your photo shoots, he is a great place to start.

a Creativelive Student

This class was fantastic! I've always opted for the easy way out when it came to lighting my subjects, usually resorting to using just natural light and a reflector even though I always have my lighting kit with me. I learned in this class how creating my own light can be the easiest way to get the results I want. It's much easier than trying to make the natural light do what I want it to do. Scott's passion for photography and teaching are evident, and his commitment to the success of his students is amazing. I definitely recommend this course for photographers at any level. I came away with many ideas on how to build upon the lighting tips presented here to make it my own. Thanks Scott Robert Lim!

Student Work