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Setting Up a Home Studio

Lesson 7 of 11


John Cornicello

Setting Up a Home Studio

John Cornicello

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Lesson Info

7. Q&A


  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


We have a question about from tropical flesh, who is isan from seibu in the philippines? How do you get the right amount of background light without a light meter, trial and error, or based on light power settings and get the right amount of background light without without you? Said he's, a light I really used a meter times when I use the meters like I have a group where I want to make sure the lights the same across the the front, I want the reading to be the same, but I often don't go by the reading on the meter. Just since I've gone digital, I haven't seen consistency between the meter and the camera settings. Maybe I need to recalibrate or something, but uh so the meter, I could still give me a night idea of the the balance of the ratio, so I can meet her the background meat of the person and see how much difference there is, but here I'm just basically letting the lights full off. If I need the white to be brighter, I may bring the background closer or bring the model back closer...

to the background. Um, a lot of I do a lot of it by eye and just by feeling, you know, it's, um, I don't do lighting ratios, you know, some you talk to old time portrait people and say you know we need a two to one three to one or for two one for this type person and that's too much math from a I don't know I can't remember it's four to one three f stops is it six up stuff you know two to one it's the same have stopped for each or wonder one it's just I I wanted to look good you know so I'll do a lot of it by eye and just you know maybe shoot a couple of shots bring it into the computer see where where it's at um a lot of times you just saw with with troy really had only one light on them that the other light was more of a background and hitting the side of his face so I could bring in a phil card if I wanted to lower the the contrast ratio a bit but I don't think in terms of ratios just never got the math on that duty be photography is wondering if uh regarding the camera angle is it better to look slightly down is that the best angle to look slightly down my ma depends on the person I've been trying to come pretty straight on with the eye level here maybe with a heavier person they want to come down a little bit and have them lean forward so remember whatever's closest to the camera's going appear larger uh, so the eyes get larger and the face gets larger in the body falls away from that if you're a little above above china kind of dominion ships what's the word diminishes the person uh, you know, it's just like an authority authority thing, you know you're saying in a negotiation do you stand or sit level to level? The person standing has a little more authority, so I mean, if you want to diminish the person, maybe you come from a little below if you want to get some stature uh, rather diminishing come from above shooting down give us a statue from a low looking up, but I don't like to look up people's nostrils and the like uh, so I tend to be pretty close to my level. Uh, listen to a full length and I'm probably coming down to, uh, chester stomach level or so unless you want to do the statuettes guy needed set them camera pretty low, maybe two, three feet off the ground and shoot up a little bit for for women pretty much straight on or slightly above. Okay, great. Thank you. Great. A question from eddie in chihuahua, mexico is with the light arrangement change of your a shooting someone with darker skin or with just the exposures no, the lights I mean change things out a little bit. Um when we're shooting, light skin were look, we're getting this overall diffuse reflection, you know, we're basing exposure on the entire face uh, when shooting darker skin, uh, skin. I wanted to go a little darker, and I'm going to be basing my exposure on the highlights, you know, maybe a ridge, the nose line on the cheek. Um, I don't change it out a whole lot, um, this beauty light system here. I think I used on almost any skin tone. Uh, for other portrait ce darker skin I may find doing a standard portrait. That wasn't this flat beauty lit, and I was going for more contrast. I might bring the lights around the side a little more time to get a highlight on the skin. Okay. Um, kg photos wondering, um, centering the light behind the model. Um, would be, would that be more even with that? Yes. We're evenly like background. Yeah. Yeah, we could. I could do that. There is a short background stand around here, so, uh, yeah, you can get a small stand like this and put the light down there and onto the onto the background just time constraints. Right now, we just wanted to give a demo of refusing a mixing the strobe in the fluorescent innis and a single shop together. Give us more control again. You know, if we had time to set up instead of rushing through them. But, you know, we want to give you as much as we can today. Great. Thanks a question from sam. I've met a few people that are blinkers. Uh, that I always seem to catch reacting to strobes. Is this ever a problem in the studio? And if so, how do you get around it? By hot lights instead of stroke? It's it's. Really? A problem with studio strobes? Um, you know, because they have the modeling light onto the eyes already used to some light there and usually that's. The strobe flash is fast enough that it's not going to catch the blink. Where I see blinking more often is with camera flashes that r e t t l mode that have a pre flesh so that little pre flesh goes off, the person blinks. And when the real flash goes off, their eyes closed. Uh, so I don't get a lot of blinkers in the studio, it's not something I really had to pay. Attention to so I don't know if it's it is because of the modeling lights um I mean I got a few blinks in the beginning here even with the hot lights when we first sat down but uh there may have been three out of twenty shots we took or so if that that's a pretty good ratio katie photo has another question for you do you prefer it when the models lumps over or do you prefer better posture probably depends on the person I want some pasta you know oftentimes may also do a head shot with the model standing up uh just because we're gonna be talking so much here I will train sit down but some things you may just get the get better posture fromthe standing I may also use sometimes use a lower bench than this may be an apple box or a footstool or something and it just gets them down and throws off the balance a little bit and it makes the posture a little better just thiss equilibrium thing going it's easier to lean into the shot. A lot of times you saw him, you don't believe that shoulder into me and what that does is it brings brings the head a little closer to the face a little closer and knocks the body often want to fall off from there, but I'd try both and see which looks better for that particular person follow up question to that from our very own gym, kentucky is. Do you ever use an adjustable model chair? And if not, do you have thoughts one way or the other on this? I haven't. I don't have any thoughts on it, it's. Just something else to buy. Uh, they tend to tend to be in one hundred fifty dollars range where I have thes bar stool that was almost twenty dollars or so. Um, because I said I may use something that slightly lower than normal just to put people at a little different different angle. But I have not tried a posing school imposing table opposing table idea does appeal to me a bit because we can put reflectors on it, you know, is a showing before and when we do this shot this afternoon will definitely use the reflector underneath digital purposes. Wondering is doing the turtle also does that also get rid of a double chin? Do you have any other tips that does definitely help with the double chin? You know, just come out and down a little bit. Uh it feels kind of strange it feels like you're forcing it but from the cameras perspective you know I'm here I've got what you can't see under thunder beer here but just that little bit forward uh tends to knock a couple of pounds off so I'm here just bring before heading to the camera so uh thank subarus and peter early for that one they're both really and too that if you ever watch them work and a follow up question from breckenridge er is there a flattering set up for a more heavyset person and from montgomery, alabama and so I don't know if that's again lighting is it's both lighting and posing I mean this flat lighting like this probably widens the face and being back further is going wide in the face uh by moving back you're you're compressing things when you know the cameras in clothes we get the distortion because the nose is bigger it's relatively closer to the camera than the eyes and the ears and as you move back they kind of flatten out and when you're back maybe ten feet or more you know the nose eyes, cheek ears all appear almost on the same playing to the camera so the face kind actually kind of widens out as you move back uh least in my experience as opposed to coming in close on also the flat light makes wide or so for heavier person I mean like more from one side and the way, you know, there's, no camera on train here, you know, ice to the light. So if I was doing my my portrait here so I'd probably turn my body away from the light catch the face into the lights of the lightest lighting this side of the face like this, I go darker and that's going just slam the face a little bit as supposed to foam over here lighting straight on, you've got outside the face, equally weight and getting the full face thing. So I just want to go towards the light that is to the light. You are so talented right now, you are a teacher and a photographer. And genesis that's, what happens when you work by yourself? You know, I do a lot of self portrait just see how things work. Uh uh, c s I just lost him. Uh, john walder are len shield really needed in the studio? And I think my screen? I think so. I mean, I use the lens hood all the time. I don't use any filters on on the lens unless it's a polarizer is something special outdoors. I don't use skylights and clear filters and the like, so I used the lens hood for protection but also block flare, like, right now that studio light is hitting the lens and I would expect to possibly get a little bit of flair from that uh even with the lens hood on because of the position is that we had it off when we're shooting so that wasn't affecting it especially if there's lights in the background if I did do a hair late over the top you know, I want to use that the lens hood to block it out so basically I would sit at the models position here and if you look into the camera you could see see those lights reflecting in the lens uh, those there's ever a problem, so just move you like you can you see it? Can you see those two highlights in the camera there? So you know, I had a card here or a longer lens hood that would block goes out and now I'm not worried about flair because the strobes air going when they go off you're gonna be a lot brighter and can bounce around inside the lens. So I think a lens hood's should always be on. I hate when they go out, see people with their lenses turn around on the camera way given carrying lindsay with you if it's going to be backwards and it also gets in the way of manually focusing of zooming, so just put the lens hood on use it you know what of course it makes the lines another two three inches longer. So it's more conspicuous so maybe that's why they turned them around? I'm not it's, not a street photographer, so I don't know should we take a few more questions? Take a couple more and I think we're almost ready to take a break. Yeah, so we have a lot going on question. So could the interwebs question from p marino so is how tall are you, john? And do you ever have to compensate for if you are on a good tall? Yes, I'm on a good day on probably five, six and shrinking, you know, as you get older. Eso yeah, there's definitely a few apple boxes around or stepladders, and I'll definitely use a ladder times again sometimes I said before, sometimes we'll use lower chairs, too, for the model, but for doing ah full length standing up, I'll often cop up on a full or half apple box. Yes, definitely. I'm sure jonas calhoun is wondering I'm working from your house. How do you handle and eruptions? Both outside and inside the house like u p s delivery someone mowing the lawn kid blowing up the microwave wife needed a hand changing a light bulb yeah, well, um I mean, usually we know you know in advance when I'm in a schedule something uh we can make arrangements to not be bothered uh days of cellphones you know we could just turn him off so I'm not getting phone calls uh don't get many deliveries here yeah, it has hasn't been an issue for me uh but I don't have kids in the house kids are gone they're in their twenties and thirties and uh so it it would be a lot different I'd probably you know, wantto be able to shield some privacy from the family if I did have family here so that's something I can't really answer totally held howto work it out but I mean you could probably figure out a schedule our days to shoot or ours that air convenient for everyone I know the question to minimize blur from model move I meant what is the minimum shutter spree speed that you prefer? Minimum sixtieth preferred one hundred hundred twenty fifth again that's what? The fluorescent lights uh with with the strobe light the shutter speed doesn't really matter I, uh usually set it to about an eightieth or hundredth of a second for the studio strobes on the cannon five d I think syncs with a camera strobe up to a two hundred or so but the studio strobes have maybe a slightly longer duration flash so I go to a slower shutter speed with them but but it's the flashes the shutter speed so it's still an eight hundred thousand to thousands of a second I think the speed of tron zahra twelve hundredth of a second uh flash for fifteen hundred of a second so even if the shutter speed was a second on the camera it would pick up any ambient light if the studio wasn't dark but it would stop the motion of the subject so it depends on which lights amusing with the fluorescence is sixtieth is probably the slowest I'd really want to go and on the tripod and without a tripod I'd probably want to be higher because I'm getting older you know just not a steady you're getting young john okay hawaii girls wondering what types of lights you um you started out using oh, I started out in nineteen seventy nine in a catalogue studio using movie lights hot lights big big mole richardson you know, five thousand watt spotlights uh learned how quickly they bring your hands really quick and always had gloves with me from there it was about car strobes and then speed atran strobes and kind of state would speed to try and even though there's always new things out there but first was totally hot lights no uh I remember shooting a catalogue for shot for one of the big catalogue stories back in the seventies and eighties of you you do the winter catalog store in the summer you have a model in full furs with a four thousand. What bank light next to them, you know, in areas just dripping sweat in the middle of summer in new york. You know, shooting these things so grooving to stroke has been great. So someone more quest. One question. Okay, before we go to lunch and it's kind of a follow up to that one from back, gerhard, what is the oldest piece of gear that you are still using? And what is its age, huh? Do have? Ah, dinah lights, strobe pack that's. Probably about forty years old, and I rarely bring it out. It's fight if I need a lot of extra light, uh, for some reason, but I was using it regularly. Up until a few years ago. I had two packs and one of them blew up. Um, the capacitors just dying of old age. I mean, can't they can be replaced, but it was time to move into little more modern equipment. But, um, that's. Probably. What I can think of is the oldest piece of equipment in this room right now. Cool. Maybe you could do a block post.

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.