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Setting Up a Home Studio

Lesson 4 of 11

Setting Up for Headshot

John Cornicello

Setting Up a Home Studio

John Cornicello

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Lesson Info

4. Setting Up for Headshot


  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

Setting Up for Headshot

So we talked about the soft lighter and a soft box I'm gonna combine these here I just stuck this matic and head here while we're waiting for a model to get ready we're going to do a guy's head shot as I mentioned a mannequin's good for seeing if their shadows are things from the light but we but we can't see um catch lights in the eyes or how the but it's going to really affect the skin so this is just basically to give him a camera position in light position set up and then we'll bring in the human subject so here I've set up the the soft lighter here this is the forty six inch version I'm going to bring it in kind of close here, so we have this nice soft light on the front of the face and I'm going to kicking a light from this side here to just give a little slash to the side. It probably wouldn't do this with a female for the male head shot I'm going to do this when we switched to a female head shot, I'm going to change the lights out and we'll go to compact fluorescents for that w...

e've got the white background said here that we saw us pull down before, uh it's about I know people are going to ask, so we pulled out the tape measure on dh I'm about six feet from the background and I'm about four feet from the from the model using the twenty four to one of five lens and I'll probably keep it at one o five for this by moving back I'm narrowing the field of view so on not going to get the background paper in there if I had a shorter lines in closer I'm going to get distortion from being in close and I'm going to get more of the background and all the stuff out there so as I moved back with a longer lens that field of view narrows and I can fill the frame with the white back there so we've plugged in the power pack down here I've connected my radio triggers here today we're using pocket wizards it's just what I've used for a long time there's a number of other triggers on the mark now um so you know we can something fell down here sorry about that es o say no using pocket wizards but there's cyber sinks there's ellen chrome sky ports they all they all do the job I'm not sponsored by anyone so we can talk about all the all the options available decide we've set up this other soft boxes said to get the slash light that both of them are plugged into the same power pack there and I've got it dialed down I mean at one hundred watt seconds here um and what's let's taken exposure and see where we're at I'm guessing we're going to be about between eight and eleven and s o one hundred. So it's, I'm gonna set it to f ten a hundredth of a second and see what we get. Uh, looks like it may be pretty close there and open up a little bit too f ate. Um, I'm not a meter person. Uh, I've used meter meters in the past for many things, but, um, with digital, I tend to use one of these color checkers, and I'll have the usually the subject. Hold it here, photograph it there and look at how the, um, where the highlights fall on here. I don't want to blow out the white channel here. Of course I got into that shot. Uh, normally I'd have someone hold this. So, laurie, you're kenna, could I have one of you out here? Now? You don't need this. Your ipad. I'm just gonna have you stand off to the side there and hold this in front of her face. Yeah, and let me frame that up. You're gonna be in the shot too. So smile, that cheesy it's beautiful. And I mean everything everything's looking good here, I don't know, are we are we tethered yet? Second tether is good so we can switch so you could take that away now so, uh looking at that we could see that um you got a pretty decent exposure here and that's where we're going to start from uh so why don't we have some questions now about this basic setup? Okay, I am that big shoes and before anyway it's no, I haven't named any of the mannequins I don't I don't name my cars I don't need my cameras. That was one of the questions was figured that would come in no, uh ebay special that's all yeah come on in let's shout a little bit about what we're doing. Where do you get the mannequins asking this one came from ebay uh just search for mannequin heads or there's something like that um here in seattle was actually a matic and deal or not far from us this house is really strange going on it's just mannequins everywhere he worked that's another home based business he does repairs I think it's northwest manic in starts another another option wow. Have you ever photographed no eso there? If you need just parts of mannequins have broken manikins you could probably get a good deal on bits and pieces. How interesting do you ever find any at their centers? Occasionally there you are find more dress forms I think that then manikins uh thrift stores garage sales sometimes snappy gourmet is what I was wondering what kind of props you would use with your models clients or maybe mannequins problem I have I don't know if we saw earlier can kind of look behind you hear shelves full of things here more of them is just to get someone in a playful mood we may not actually use them in the shots if someone wants to work with props that normally would he asked him to bring some things with them some personal items that they I want to use and then we'll have some things that give them some ideas but you know, if everyone hear shots has the same props in it after a while it kind of gets boring for myself to keep looking at my shots uh but you never know what people are gonna bring. I did a shot last week for a friend and she brought a wooden spoon. You know, she said I don't know what to bring so I just picked up the speed on the way out of the house it's like no way do we do with it we shake it at you like a schoolmarm gonna whack you with this thing so a question from kira in general, how far away is your subject from your backdrop? Um with soft lights here as I said we measured this we're at about six feet now I'm probably not usually this faraway I've done this this time because at some point I want to see if we can light the background separately with cem gels and change the color on it uh, normally I'd probably be in about four feet four feet away um again, it depends if it's seamless or fabric the fabric background and they want to be a little further away so I can not get more out of focus or if I wanted in focus and bring it in closer so that, um it's really what I want to do with the pattern in the background or what aperture it could be shooting at that's gonna determine that and just to follow up on that, uh from, uh, from city pants again, how would you adjust your distances if you're working actually in less space, such as ten feet in depth? Um there I'd probably go with seamless paper so I don't have to worry about the background being too in or out of focus. Um, we can definitely do that in here. Um when I was shooting a friend last week, I think we're measured out to be gay myself eight feet because I was getting ready for this class, so I had eight feet from the background paper to the back of my head so as if I was placed it up against the wall working with it um so if you're working with soft lights you know large large lights a larger the light softer days in closer it is a softer it is so working with large lakes that are not going to cast shadows here you see you're you're about a foot and a half from the back room and there's no real heavy shadow on there so you can work in tighter if you have a a larger light and that that way to you can like the background with the main light too it's so it's not going to fall off again going back to the inverse square law the close of the latest in the subject the faster it's gonna fall off on the background uh further public light away the more even the lights going to be a cross if I really needed to like everyone here and they put the plate way away but it sze going to kind of flat image then so it's all all sorts of balances um see additional zen is wondering from he's from athens georgia do you have haven't organized schedule for which bandanna toe where each day no his wife and he loves your glasses thanks yeah these are the original ones that I were with jeremy that the orange to go with this but I've got a couple other pair you know, how does anyone follows clout? I don't really accept it. I notice one day that they put me down as an expert in glasses. They also put me down as an expert in coffee, not going to drink this stuff, so I don't understand it all, but, uh, you never know what social network is growing. Question from zoe the brave. Hey, so are you thinking? Shooting full frame and today I'm shooting with the cannon five team or two. So there's a full frame camera. Okay? And so, uh, what is your recommended distance from the lens for crops? Sensors this distance is always the same. You know that your perspective is determined by the camera to subject distance, not by the lens. S o I want to be four to six feet from the from the subject, so I'm gonna pick a lens here. I've got a man at four, feet with the one oh five gives me what I want if I was with the crop sensor camera and still be the same four feet away, but I'd probably be within eighty millimeter lens. Um, yes, I think it's a common misconception that lens is controlled um, perspective it's the camera to subject distance thank you, polly cam is wondering how you avoid shadows on the background big soft lights uh coming up from high as yes, we just pointed out again uh he'll swing this light even a little more onto you here I mean your your foot or so from the background and there's again we're seeing there's there's no heavy shadows because the room is lit softly uh so big light in close a little bit above so any cat shadow that is cast his cast down behind you question from elbow be two five eight three uh can you actually do full body shots in a small studio and how do you manage that it's tough um we need to use the full space available. We're going to do it later but we're actually gonna read reconfigure the room a little bit uh for full bodies they sometimes use two rooms in the house where we have I'll shoot from another room into this room through the doorway. Um and that actually gives us some advantage because we could get lights around that aren't gonna flare into the light because the door we becomes a gobo go between the blocks those light so we will later today do a shot with five people at least maybe six in it full length in here we could do it in here to, uh could goto a wider seamless or muslim background and just back up in this twelve by eighteen space I have done full lengths um just gotta be able to back up as much as possible again it's the camera to subject distance is the important thing here is wondering him that you said you have clients bring personal props and do you have them bring their own music and how you get them to relax? Yeah um music's a tough one because you know I'm an old guy so most of my music on my ipod from the sixties and seventies I don't have much modern stuff so yeah, we'll ask people to bring an ipod that we can plug in of course today where you were not going to use any music it's it's hard to do here but um you'll notice that the lights have fans these ones that are on now are pretty quiet but some of the lights are loud or so after a while the music just kind of goes into the background and sometimes you just get into the zen of the hum of the fans in the studio to but yeah, well, we ask people who bring bring stuff if they can so a follow up question on that from losey and my lights put out so much heat how do you keep from overheating such a small space? What kind of lights is she using? Does she say, uh doesn't yeah these lights have two hundred fifty watt modeling lights in these strobes and it's it's not bad in here I mean, not a lot of heat coming out compact fluorescent will give a little more used one hundred fifty one compact fluorescent bulb so it's it's warm to the touch but then you can go to tungsten hot lights and there if I had a thousand what tungsten light I wear gloves um there that was extremely uncomfortable in the studio after awhile and it takes maybe half hour after you shut the lights out till they're cool enough to touch. So um working with with strobes with fans and and moderate rain smiling lights we I tend to not build up that much heat here but again we're in seattle. I don't know what this would be like in l a or southern florida may be a little different there you made me dare conditioning here in seattle many most places don't have air conditioning that's for sure. Um j d I'm sorry. Uh j p d photography is wondering that he has low ceilings too do you her point modifiers or soft box at ceiling too? Sounds like I have on some group shots um, you know, if I really need a wide overall I made baii bounce a light into the ceiling but it's a white ceiling but working with the big octus either knocked a bank or soft lighter, uh, can usually tuck it up into the ceiling pretty well. And get the light coming from above. Uh, it just gives me a little more control when you're hitting the ceiling. Lights, lights going everywhere. So it's hard to fight off other things, but it can be done kind of a follow up to that. What about the walls from ivy frames? Doesn't you do use the walls and bouncing and no phil for main light for, uh, no. As you see, these lights are in pretty good. Pretty close here. May even work in a little closer than this. So there's not much light hitting the walls around us. They don't really come into play. Um, I may even put a flag here toe to block the light from the background of some of the background to go darker. Uh, can you just tell him your help? Sorry. Yeah. Can you just tell people what a flag a flag is or a gobo? Um, this is just a cheat of black foam core from an art supply store. So say I was the background paper and there's the subject, and they want this light to just hit the subject and not me, so I can put this here. And it's out of the frame. So now I'm cutting the light from the background is supposed to there it's lighting me there it's not, uh so they just go on another stand and we'll use them as a bunch today again, those pieces of foam core, um relatively inexpensive that's, probably four bucks that's great. Yeah, um, in a studio like this one, do you think twenty four hundred watts lights is enough to light up the room? Two, four hundred? Yeah, I'm using that's what I meant now I'm actually in eight hundred. What pack split to two heads, but I have it dialed down to one hundred what's what seconds? I'm actually going fifty watt seconds into each of these heads. Um, yeah, I think we're going to be talking about this and just demonstrating this from but from, uh, p oil. Um it's uk. Nick, how does john feel about speed, light versus studio head when shooting at home? Um, I grew up with studio lights. I've never used feed lights for me. It's the modeling lights uh, the size of their heads I mean, the's heads fill, you know that the soft box or the umbrella where speed light tends to be a concentrated light so I don't need to, I'm afraid that even in a large umbrella, I'm only gonna light a little bit of the umbrella with speed like it's not going to fill the whole thing. Even what if I put the diffuser on the front so and then modeling lights, uh, gets into talking about irises and pupils did a block post a week or so ago about you know what? Size, pupil deal? Deal. Like a large people, the dilated people already like a constricted people. I tend to like a somewhat constricted people, so I see the color of the eye around it. Uh, it's hard to do that with speed lights because you don't have a modeling light. Try to think of ways to put modeling lights onto a speed light. For one thing, you know thes that's, anneli led flashlight. Which on its own. Yeah. It's clamp. You can hang it. I mean it's on its own. It seems pretty bright. I mean, look at that. And but if I stuck this, you know, let's, turn off this modeling light on stick that's in there. It doesn't that's nothing to get enough light to affect the people of the eye. So I haven't come up with a way with speed lights to really have that control over pupils for me. You know portrait is a lot about the eyes and getting the color in the eyes and really connecting with a really nice nice iris and catch light in there and I find that difficult to do with with speed lights there's people like joe mcnally and david hobby you speed lights and do really wonderful things so you know if it works for you great for me they're kind of fidgety uh, you know, you got these little buttons that I'm always pulling the the front off the soft box going in just ing up and down and then the batteries die at the wrong time I don't like dealing with a batteries I like plugging into the wall and having the constant power but it's what? I grew up with you that I said earlier I started out in studios or large format and big lights and that's what I know clement treat is wondering if you use custom white balance for your studio shots I usually one working with strobes I may set uh custom white balance of like around fifty six, fifty seven or fifty hundred fifty eight hundred k uh it depends on the light modifiers to though um, you know, this is a brand new light here and it's pretty clean I haven't older one that's about fifteen years old and it's yellow it a little bit, so I'll probably do a great card test at the beginning and work my white balance off for that when I'm doing my processing um I may not use the exact weight balance um you know using the great card and the eyedropper tool in photo shop or light or whatever gives you accurate color but accurate color's not always pleasing color from shooting a product make up um a soup can something like that there we need accurate color you know, it has to match the colors for their advertising in their logo and the like but when photographing people may want to warm things up we're mentioned earlier back in film days of using eighty one a filter in the digital age aware in orange shirt to reflect some color back on them so yeah, I don't get super bogged down and in the color temperature I just wanted to look good most of the time great. A question from cindy colbert power packs yeah, john plugged into them are they necessary or could you just plug into the home outlets pros and cons of e okay, so there's power packs and there's mon alights we just happen to have the model wait here this so this is basically the same as that pack except that all the guts are built into the head um advantages of the heads uh, you know, if if one goes bad you can replace it easily if the path goes pan even if the heads are good I have to replace the packs of those heads are out of service advantage for the pack heads were lightweight this thing's about eight or ten pounds if I need to put a light on a boom up ahead I don't want this up there because I've gotta put extra sandbags on and it's a real pain to move around some if lights going on and boom I'm usually going to use a pack and head uh but then you could go with the alien bees and the light they weigh a lot less than this and there their model block systems I know a lot of friends use them and really happy with them. Uh the power pack we can control all the light heads from one location with the mono blocks usually have to walk around to each one though there are new mono blocks that are coming out that are radio controlled so you can have a control in your hand to just lights around the room from it but it's too newfangled for me uh I've been used in speed atran since the late seventies feta tron and dyna lite um yeah uh sam coxes wondering does uh john worry about equipment failure during a shoot and you take backup with you? Would you have backups I do have backups they have two packs have extra heads um just sunday afternoon I was out on location and one of my one of the cables died between head and the pack. I didn't even realize that at the time um I don't know how it happened pin burned out in the head without the pack exploding or anything usually when something like that happens it's pretty catastrophic is there's smoke and booms and stuff and this was you know, I was looking through the shots when I got home were going white why did the light change so much? You know, it was I was shooting a cast of a play between two performances, so I only had fifteen minutes so I couldn't stop to think about why things weren't quite what I had, but I had a large sixty inch reflector on sixty inch soft lighter and it worked I was able to do some group shots and the like and to light set up one of them wasn't firing the whole time, but I would have back up with me but at the times I said only had fifteen minutes between the shows to do it all so even with the back up it was it was gonna be hosed but yes, I do have backups of most most equipment and I like to work in the studio more than on location and a question from clare of our bar a. Before we're gonna break, how many separate circuits does your studio have, or do you run extension cords? Start the rooms, I believe there's two circuits in here. Um, I have not yet blown a circuit. Um, and here we've got strobes and the fluorescence. The compact fluorescents don't draw a lot of power if I was going up to a higher power rage power pack on may consider running cords to other other circuits, but here I'm running. Basically, one one packs that's one circuit.

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.