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Setting Up a Home Studio

Lesson 3 of 11

Lights and Modifiers

John Cornicello

Setting Up a Home Studio

John Cornicello

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Lesson Info

3. Lights and Modifiers


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:12:01
2 Backdrops Duration:13:28
3 Lights and Modifiers Duration:17:29
4 Setting Up for Headshot Duration:24:00
5 Shooting Headshots (Troy) Duration:26:46
6 Shooting Headshots (Trin) Duration:34:18
7 Q&A Duration:17:06
8 Beauty Shoot with Trin Duration:38:39
9 Q&A Duration:16:02
10 Group Shots Duration:32:14
11 Final Q&A Duration:29:06

Lesson Info

Lights and Modifiers

I want to talk about lights and modifiers um soft boxes, umbrellas, beauty dish in the like um here we can see we have a the typical soft box um what I like about this one here this is a two foot by two foot. Um if I was going to get one soft bucks, I'd probably have to buy three that's just a little bit longer and gives me options for the for the shaping the light. But I like this ones that have a flat front without a lip from when shooting photographing people um because it allows me to feather the light here. Um feathering honor, you can pick this up on the camera. Um a lot of times people put the late point at the subject here and the fool's force the light hits them feathering your bringing this here and this late I'm actually behind the soft box here and I'm really getting lit mohr by the the inside wall of the soft box coming through here so that's almost like the latest double diffuse and it gives a softer overall late and a little more. Even if you're working with more than on...

e, people one person in the shot it helps to because the direct light will hit the person further away to reflect away we have the person closer and he evens off the the lights that's a way to do group shots with one light is by doing this feathering here um I think I have another soft bucks here so here it is it's similar size lightbox bc this one has this black black lip on it here. I prefer these more for doing product shots where I'm gonna wantto ah harder edge on something. So here if I'm doing the feathering and I flip it off here all of a sudden this black is is blocking that wall from lighting me so for people tend to go for this this type of light um, umbrellas I'm not a big fan of umbrellas but um I know a lot of people to do really great work with them instead of a regular umbrella. I've been doing a lot of work with these here uh foe tech soft lighters which starts out as an umbrella but it has ten panels instead of aids so it's a little more around than an actual umbrella and it it has a cover for it that I'm going to get here to defuse the light. So so these just took into each other the ribs of the umbrella so it takes a minute or two to set up and what happens here two more to go is the light goes in like a regular umbrella bounces off the umbrellas fabric but then comes back uh through this diffuser so it's sort of like a knock to bank is that many octa banks have a light going straight through so this double diffuses it I think it gives a really nice light and it would mount onto a light stand let's do this one here just like an umbrella it has this little fireproof nomex piece here stretches out over the lamp head and another nice thing about thes photo techs the umbrella shift unscrew so you can get it in close to this to closer to your subject often times where the number ellie had the chef sticking out and you can not get in as close as you would with a soft box of this I can get in really close here on dumb talking about low ceilings it's just put there waken get this up pretty high in here and kind of wedge it in there and we have a like that's that's pretty high up so I can get catch lights where I want him in the eyes in the eleven o'clock or two o'clock positions so those are my favorite like modifiers um you have questions about like modifiers? Yes no, maybe one second okay, uh, let's see, uh when we first started I was talking about umbrellas what I didn't like about them or the ribs in them there are some umbrellas that have white fabric over the ribs uh but if you use in white shoot through umbrellas you always have the ribs and I don't like the look of them in the eyes umbrellas do great for lighting background backdrops yeah we're in a larger studio and I needed to really later what wide white background I'm a put four umbrellas but that's really beyond what we're doing here for the home studio thing you know I want to try to work with one or two lights as much as possible possibly at a third occasionally hey it's larry don couple questions from uh the internet um aka berg's three is winning what type of tricks tips do you have for storing things to maximize the space of the studio and maximize the time spent with the subject versus time spent rosine uh with the grip life spent well um there's really two separate things there uh maximizing time with the subject have everything set up before the subject comes in you have an idea of what you want to do you know the technical stuff should shouldn't play into the photo session at all you should have bought that all down you're going to know pretty much what your exposure is you've done your white balance testing you've done you're like testing your going toe fussed with a little bit when the subject comes in because they're going to be different you know uh sometimes I may use the mannequin to help set up a shot but mannequins they're not going to show how how the light reflects off the skin or how it is in the eyes it's just going to show you where the shadows go but have that all in place ready to go before the subject comes in. As for storage here you know, we we looked at these here cubby holes so I have no light heads and and wanting another grip clamps in another place and my pocket wizards in another place. So but again, that's all before and after the clients here when the clients here we try to have everything in place and ready to go. Okay, great, thanks. Um kathy ray is wondering what size is that faux tech umbrella? Uh, the one I'm using right now is the forty six inch they come in three sizes think it's thirty six, forty six and sixty inch uh sixty is my favorite but it's a it's a little large for this space where we will we'll use it later today. I don't have a thirty six inch, but I think you'd be great for headshots talking about the's a lot and I just want to be in a church last night and they're sold out they're on back order I tried a couple other places too luckily glaser's here in seattle I think has something stuck they just got this one just a couple of weeks ago but yeah, they come in three sizes three sizes okay great and then snappy gourmet is wondering if you're doing a lot of different types of photography such as people food products etcetera are their lifes that could be used for all without buying different ones yeah um the soft lighter and soft boxes I think could be used for all of them you're just gonna light things differently from doing food I'm probably gonna put something on a boom arm and like from slightly behind and raking across the food with some cards to fill in the front uh for for people I'm getting the lights in front of them but basically the same lights um for food I'd probably even go with the the flat fronts here but if I was doing glassware and bottles and things like that where I want hard edges on stuff then I'd go to the the soft box with a with a lip so I have a harder edge that I can deal with and marcel uh sorry if I didn't get your name right what is the minimum height of the room for a good home studio and using all of these lights? I mean this's eight foot here I think it's eight foot exactly and that's what I'm used to greater than eight feet is a luxury but as I mentioned earlier in it, I don't think about the ceiling height, you know, five to go into some place I'm going on location where I'm working here studio height is what it is, you know? So I'm not a touchy feely wu person, but I'm going to go there now, but you're saying, you know, the limitations of the ceiling or something you put on yourself, you know don't think about it, it's there it is what it is, you know, we're going to find a way to work with it excellent. And then one other quick question from k k c is this room that you're in right now dedicated for a camera room or do you ever live in it? It's a mixture over the holidays family here and we we put up a table in here and had normal made a normal room, but we don't have a dining room in the house anymore. Your role in the dining room if you now, uh, which has become the living room. So as I said, it's, just my wife and I now kids, they're gone so we have the luxury of having the space here that we can use full time if we needed it and then, um john calhoun is wanting what's the typical watt seconds of your lights in such a small space I have eight hundred what second power packs and I have uh two mono blocks of model lights that air uh five hundred watt seconds when I'm looking at power packs back in the old days of shooting eight by ten four by five I wanted power wanted twenty four hundred watt seconds forty eight hundred watt seconds more and do even multiple pops with those but working with small cameras digital and hirai esos now uh when I look at a new life to purchase look at how far I can turn it down turn it up um I don't I can't remember a situation where I've wanted more light but I can think of many situations when I wanted less light than I had um all right j ivy is when I am what is the biggest group of people you have ever photographed and your face I think five and we're gonna probably try that at the end of the day today way get almost whoever's here of the crew we're going to try to get them all into one shot on white seamless so that's coming up around two thirty yard time so okay, so the maximum has been five five I believe you're going to go for a record today sure, why wait what's this myself? You know canada's three maybe one of the camera people force the last five there's always five offending the model we're still here we get to that point well we'll try to get them all in there like fun yeah um and adoring glances wondering if you ever use a hair light in here and if so how? I don't use a hair late often in the typical standard you know three or four light portrait set up where you have one hair light overhead and then a big phil and uh a main light but I have actually used strip plates over the top here and I put a late between the top of the paper and there or I'll often use skimming lights from the side slash late some people call them so I might set up a light here hitting the back of the person's head or a little higher but I I tend to be working more with one or two lights and not going for that um typical portrait studio portrait look and that kind of leads it to deborah ann's question and do you ever use natural light in your home studio? No, you block all the light out. Yeah it's just the windows here are inconvenient for that um outside this window there's a bunch of trees and bushes and it really blocks the light so I don't really get a lot of strong light in here I mean I love natural light when a head of studio in new york many years ago it had you know florida we're sealing windows along one wall and it was really nice for from natural light things but this place just isn't conducive to it um and then since you have all these lights and here wink about is wondering if you had to upgrade your home electric service uh this when I bought the home so the previous owner had already done a lot of electrical work on it on this house is from around nineteen twenty four so so if it had the original now been two boy hearing that from back then we wouldn't be able to do any of this but but it's modern service in here now and I don't usually have this many lights like these big fluorescence there they're here for the video crew today uh normally this would be a much darker room okay great and uh let's see jim katz studio is wondering in this set up if you um are you using ropes first the question isn't it where you go question disappeared can out here this is in the set of um are using lights on your scene lists um occasionally uh because of the small space I may let the white goto a gray but I can you know pull in another light here and light up the scene was separately and when we have our models come in you know we'll try that okay stand over here look at you it can almost be I'm like, look through the cameras look atyou would be like a uh and super davis wondering do you need a hard flat floor in order to use the same list I'm worried about rips with carpets and yeah carp carpeting is is tough for seamless unless you're put down you know a sheet of plywood on top of it and then minutes you're really destroying the ability to use the room living space to um you know, having the hardwood floors really makes a difference here fabric even on fabric if you have a model and high heels or something there's a good chance they're gonna poke through it if there's you know, a floor carpeted floor that gives carpeting can be an issue really thought of that before? Okay. And then, um miss n y c is wanting do you use led panels are cfl lights? I have not used a leads here. My own experience with ladies was working with vincent law freya creative live uh but I do use something fluorescent lamps here and we'll do a shot today using the large cfl tubes. Okay, great photo. Girl nineteen eighty two is wondering if you have the space available. Would you recommend converting outside spaces like garages or porches to a studio versus a using a room where you would have to move around all the time yes, uh, probably depends on your location and climate, uh, it's. A little damp. Cool around seattle most of the year toe to do an unheated garage or something as, um, space. But I do know people here who have two or three car garages that are heated where that are attached to the house that do do makes your photo spaces in there. Uh, haven't thought about a porch again. If you're in a warm climate, that's probably great. Uh, yeah, you know, in the middle of the city. It's, tougher to dio. I know some people actually use their garages ahead, headshot studio, uh, where they put the person just like a couple of feet inside the garage door, and then just use the skylight and get really beautiful headshot stuff and make their whole career out of head shots that way and it's all done in the garage with no extra lights.

Class Description

A photography studio is expensive to rent — especially if you don’t use it every day. If you've been wanting a studio that's nearby and convenient, what could be more convenient than in your own home? Spend a day with John Cornicello looking at how to up an effective home studio.



John... you are an amazing instructor! Thanks for doing what you do :) Keep up the great work.. and having fun :)

Michelle B

John is a walking encyclopedia of information on cameras , lenses and lighting. His mild manner makes him easy to understand. This home studio class that John has done has inspired me to set up a studio in my home. John teaches if there is a will there is a way and he shows you how. This a great class for anyone wanting to set up a home studio even in the smallest of spaces! Thank you John you are a true creative!!

Vitamin Dee

I love this class, but I believe it's time for an updated version. We love John and his easy, no-frills approach makes learning fun.