Simplified Studio Lighting


Senior Photography: Break the Mold


Lesson Info

Simplified Studio Lighting

Simplified studio lighting we're gonna make it simple I'm going to show you just how easy it can be and again I think a lot of times our fears keep us from getting to our successful moments that we could have in life because we're too scared of what we're gonna have to go through to get to that level that was this pack so I'm going to show you how easy this khun b I'm going to break it down into layman's terms and even if you are a seasoned photographer I'm going to share with you some of these things that to make sure that you're not losing sight off I'm going to talk through some ratios how to create ratios in a way that anyone can understand it you don't have to be a mathematician or einstein because trust me if I can figure this stuff out you guys are way ahead of me so you're gonna be a great shape so let's talk about seeing double this is something that I had to learn early on and when I first started I made enough money to buy a light stand and then I made enough money to buy a ...

light and that would work for a few more weeks and I made enough money to buy a soft box and then I made enough money to buy a transmitter so when I started my business I wanted to be virtually debt free I didn't want to go out and take these huge loans out and bet the farm as they would say in the south that this thing was going to take off I didn't want to bet the farm if it didn't work I wanted to have something to fall back on so I didn't put all my money in one thing so I would work work work by equipment, work, work, work, work, work by equipment and one thing I learned early on wass seeing that we really need to have two of everything and that may seem kind of foreign to a lot of us but it's really true because imagine going to shoot your just an awesome session on a location that you had set up and you get there and you pull out your light and it's broken you broke the flash tube on the way there oh my goodness the whole day is ruined, everything is completely gone right? We'll know if you would have saved a little bit of your money along the way stashed I don't care if it's even ten dollars stashed ten dollars aside each week buy you a backup have two of everything even when I'm photographing the studio I normally sometimes will have have aggravations with transmitters and I'll have two transmitters on each like in case one starts to fail and it's just not picking up the r f signal just go over and turn the other one on plug it in and I'm done it takes the aggravation that takes the fear away wedding shooters could you imagine going to a wedding and not having an extra camera what's your camera malfunctions what you gonna do to say I'm sorry? I know you can't make excuses so get you an extra one I'm going to share with you guys the equipment that I use a lot of people are a lot of the tech gather they really want to know what type of equipment you're using someone trying to answer a lot of these questions but if I don't cover something or you need more specifics obviously feel free to throw it out there in the chat room and we'll see if we can get to it in the studio I use photogenic twelve fifty d ours that's what I started with so I've already got the equipment I'm not going to invest in something else just because I want to change just just for the fun of it. So twelve fifty d ours that's what that's what I like and the reason that shows those I listen to my peers when I first started, I reached out to an older gentleman and he said, look, this is what I've been using for years I've had these lies for twenty years I've never done anything to him and we're good together so I went invested the money that it took to get those and now that's what I'm using it even to this day, I've never really had much of an issue out of one of them. One of them fell over and broke, but it was because of my own, you know, stupidity, but I had a back up there so it's no big deal life kept rolling, so the twelve fifty ers are awesome. Recently, I started working with some of the westcott products that I'll share with you in a little while, so in the studio I have from gen x as well as the westcott products, I use a lot of continuous lighting law, the td sixes. Those are daylight, fluorescent balanced bulbs and love, love love those things they recently came out with a product that to me I think is even far superior to that and it's the sky looks light from westcott, and I'll show you a little bit of that here in a little while and how just how universal it can be and how multi purpose it is, and for me, I learned early on, obviously, the larger the light source software like it sounds really crazy, like I don't get that seems like a lot soldiers was much smaller, well, that's not necessarily the case in the studio when I first started I bought larson soft boxes for by six that's generally my mane is a four foot by six foot soft box it's a little big but the closer I can get it in the better my subject looks and love love love good soft lighting and for strip lights I use a lot of strip lights that I'll show you here in just a few minutes and I used the fourteen by forty eight larson shirt boxes as well as the westcott script boxes the west cots are twelve twelve inches by fifty inches and I really, really, really really like using the grids and I'll share with you in just a little while why that is so important and another piece of equipment that that definitely could never live without is planning sam play just a good old reflector super silver reflector cotto have a reflector that's a must have situation for me even if it forces me to turn off the lights sometimes and really crank the I s o up a good bit and use something that use a piece of equipment in a way that I normally wouldn't would never use you know pretend that my light and fallen and broken and my backup is gone I forced myself to find light somewhere and use a plane over reflector so I forced myself to use different things throughout a session and not just sticking with that one particular thing. One thing I want to talk about this vital to me. This is basically my assistant right here. This is my assistant and it is simply just an illuminator arm from westcott. And what it allows me to do is it allows me to position my reflector in away exactly like I need it and then lock it in the place and then I can let go of it. And it stays right there without having to pay for an assistant, because obviously an assistant costs us money and I'm trying to make money and not spend it on the money. So a lot of the westcott eliminator arm that is the one product that she would have to pry it from my cold, dead hands. If something happened to me love this product and even outdoors, I use it with a little sand bag on the bottom and this little baby will stay right where I want it. Lock it into place. We're good to go could imagine going out on a steven even a beautiful day. You go out into the go out into the park or somewhere and is there's beautiful light everywhere but like comes from above. It always comes from above and you get those dark circles up underneath your eyes and it's just not very pleasant it's not beautiful. I saw a picture last night actually on facebook and I wanted to use it and that is an example today but I didn't want that person to take it in the wrong context, so I did it. But it was a beautiful picture of a lady holding a dolt a little tiny dog. It was perfect. It was a beautiful image but her eyes it looked like a bird had picked her eyes out. They were completely black because there was no light in them. And if you bring something like this with you on your jobs then you're good to go. This can make even me look good and, you know, what's a good product that makes me look good so moving forward with that you have to think about liabilities in the studio setting all the time you never know. There's a friend of mine in long island he got sued for, like three million dollars. A little old poor lady tripped over his camera bag at a wedding poor thing she got hurt really bad she I think she broke her hip or something our plane claim I'm sorry she claimed that she broke her hip well, after months and months of litigation and research his attorneys found that she had pulled this same type of deal several times before and he got thrown out of court and everything was fine but you always have to be aware if there's cords on the floor you have to think what if someone trips over these chords you know I mean and my client would never sue me for sure a cool word I mean, why would she do that? Well, you have to think about everything one of the things I've done in my studio where I plug all these lights into never have chords on the floor guys have heard me say it several times a day if it raises a question, get rid of it, get rid of it. So how these drop cord rials? You'll see here on the monitor I got tired of tripping of records I got tired of telling my clients watch that cord watch that corby care for your you're holding your drink and if you fail and busted your face on the floor I wouldn't have to pay for all your reconstructive dental surgery and you have to be really careful and I hate that our society has turned into that but that's just that's the nature of the beast so to speak so any little thing you can do in your studio remember I talked about being tidy that's part of being neat and tidy put your stuff up so there's not cords all over the floor you have a guest in they fall it's gay it could be game over they look at you and say, hey you're making a lot of money you're charging me a fortune for these pictures you do that times ten people a week you're making a lot of money I'm going to go after you we're going to get into talking about some insurance and general liability things later so there's a lot of stuff you have to think about we're all very, very vulnerable studio lighting it doesn't have to be a hard as you think when I first started I didn't have four five six seven eight studio lights that's what I thought you had toe have to be really successful I was like, well, you gotta have at least four five studio lights run and if you want to take a good picture I mean there's just there's just no way to do it right no there's tons of ways to do it now as you're using your studio lighting it's very easy to get complacent and to get really comfortable using one particular set up I found myself doing that as well it's very easy to do that but for every single session that I do in the studio or even outside the studio they come in the studio were automatically going to go outside as well push yourself to use six different lighting sources six different types of our six different lighting sources patterns types you six different ones for every single session and when I say that pull out one studio why would you choose one studio light that's gonna look terrible? Well, no show in a little while it'll force you to do something different will force you into a different way and then turn another studio light own and then when you got to start incorporating those ratios and say, hey, let me throw three in there and then when I'm done with those three, why don't I pull out my ring light? I'll use that for and then I got this reflector I can find some lighting somewhere went on and use some natural light don't do that and then while I'm there I could give a whole another look with continuous light right? I could I could use all of those and what I'm doing is I'm validating my pricing by showing my client and their parents that hey this guy he did all kinds of stuff it's going to validate me it's going to set me apart because the person is going to take her outside him or her outside and on lee photograph in the park using natural light with no reflector know anything I'm gonna look way more advanced and their images were quite frankly probably gonna be a lot better and as I'm using these lighting, this list lighting, I'm not just using it and being quiet. I'm talking of the parent of my senior and I say, listen, okay, margaret, what I'm going to do now is I'm going to use the one light set up, okay? And this is what I'm going to do it, and I'll explain to educate her as we're going on what I'm doing while I'm doing it, and again, that just validate validates my pricing and it helps build the sale, and by using six different light sources, it allows me to sell an album, which we'll get into in the pricing portion. I sell an album for quite frankly, generally every single session that I do buys an album because it's working around pricing structure as well as we give such a variety in our lighting and posing, they really don't have a choice, it would be kind of an idiot not to, but they're not going to leave it on the table, but you can overshoot as well, so be real careful with your overshooting don't get too crazy. So with one light, the reason I use one light, that is because when I first started, that is all I could afford young ladies and gentlemen is one light, so I learned how to use one light and when I learned of one light is it created a lot of drama and it was just a way that I could evoke a lot of emotion from my clients and it allowed me to say hey brings something very personal with you when you come to your session and with when you bring that something personal to say if she has well a guitar that's something very personal to her, her and her father he taught her how to play the guitar so I have her there something personal and then I use camera that's, our use lighting that's very dramatic it's not it's, not something you want to enter until competition it's not competition lighting, but it's something that's going to evoke emotion and something that I can pull some emotional to get her to buy it. So every session I tell my clients to bring something that's very personal. It could be something as simple as all of her cheerleading uniforms from years past, and instead of having her stand there and hold her cheerleading uniforms, I pull an emotional time, hang the cheerleading uniforms up and I have her holding her very first one kind of looking off to the side it's very emotional and emotion sales emotion definitely self, especially in my studio, so the key to this one is turning the face into the light and we're going to demonstrate it here just a little while and show you exactly what I'm talking about you can see in this next image you see a lot of light fall off here there's a lot of light fall off in a lot of people print judges and things will look at that and say whoa do that is I'm not even gonna score that that's so terribly lit but again don't get wrapped up in shooting for competitions I get wrapped up in shooting for my clients I get wrapped up in shooting in a way that makes me money now that's not to say that I still don't intercom petitions because I think it's very important it's very important inter competition because a lot of times I can get my rear end handed to me in the competition and it says whoa player how did you miss that look at your key lighting here is way off your two stops overexposed why did you you've got to tighten up a little bit gotta tighten up so one light very very pretty loved one like you can create a lot of cool things with one line, so if you're one of the studios that you know you just don't have a lot of equipment at your disposal are your disposal not disposable? You can put it in your disposable and then shredded up and you'll never see it again um now what changed for me? As I said, you know what? I'm kind of tired of this very dramatic. I want to add a little bit more, feel light on that other side, so they've got main light. But I want some light over here, but I don't have one. Well, I do, well, that's, when you just use a reflector and you take the lighting that is coming from here and you redirect it back into the face. Very simple, right? It's, a simple concept, and you could get some really pretty pretty lighting with just one light and a reflector doesn't have to be anything, like, really, really, really crazy here.

Class Description

Are you ready to add a new, lucrative dimension to your photography business? Join award-winning photographer Blair Phillips for an introduction to everything you need to know about taking portraits for high school seniors.

In this three-day course, you’ll learn about how to market yourself to the high school audience, no matter where you live or who you know. Blair will discuss his signature techniques for effortless, versatile posing. You’ll also learn everything you need to know about both off-camera and natural lighting, including how to create foolproof lighting setups, even if you’re working without an assistant. Blair will also cover strategies for creating a productive workflow and working confidently in a wide variety of settings.

By the end of this course, you’ll have be equipped with the core marketing techniques and one-of-a-kind photography skills needed to connect with high school seniors, give them results they’ll love, and grow your business.


a Creativelive Student

Blair is great. This class is packed full of great info and is a genuine good hearted person.. Really like his approach with high school seniors. I recommend it.


Loved watching Blair Phillips. He has so much energy and is very entertaining to watch. He was extremely well prepared and did a fantastic job.