Build your Lighting Knowledge

 

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

The reason why I'm here and the dilemma that I believe that I wanna solve, and the thing that I went through at the beginning of my career was that lighting is, like, your foundation for all photography, right? Lighting's it. So I believe we complicate things. This is named Simple Lighting for Portraits for a reason. I wanna show you some of the simple things that I do, day in and day out, to make my clients happy, all right? And I love light and weaving in and out and trying different things with people and playing around with them. As you've seen, you might know me from It's All About the Jaw, or my YouTube videos like the squinching and stuff like that. I'm shooting head shots on a daily basis and I do my portrait work. I'm always using specific lighting techniques that work for me. I'm not going outside the box. I'm not going nuts. I'm not, like, going off the reservation, right? I go off the reservation when I'm playing with light, when I'm trying to get those setups that I know I...

can get in my back pocket. You don't wanna go... be... You wanna get your technical down so you can work with your subjects. If you're a portrait photographer... I call myself 90% therapist, 10% photographer when I'm shooting. The ten percent is the technical. That's the lighting, that's the camera, the settings, all that stuff. Very important, right, to get down? But when I'm shooting I should know it. It's gotta be in my back pocket. It's not in the forefront of my brain. All right? So, the next two days we're gonna go through my series of travels through my career. I'm all self-taught. I don't know technical names and numbers and figures and... All I know is creating beautiful light. And I'm an artist and that's the way I roll, all right? I'm not gonna.. . You can ask me my numbers all you want. You can ask me how many inches the person is away from the light. That's fine, but it's not important to me. To me it's about feeling, my sensitivity to light, feeling the light out. I think that a lot of photographers lack that awareness of light. So, for the next two days you're gonna increase your awareness of light when somebody's in front of your camera. And I'm gonna give you simple ways to do that. Cause when I started, I didn't know. We have all this stuff that we can buy and stuff that we can use and I got stuff. I've got a bunch of stuff here. There's stuff behind me, right? A lot of stuff, right? And I knew when I started that I could by the stuff. You know, and what I would do is I'd get a job and I'd buy stuff. And then I wouldn't know what to do with the stuff. I had a lot of stuff, you know. And, I remember getting jobs where I wasn't confident in my lighting and I would go into a job and try and light it a way I thought would work and it would be a disaster. Now I'm spending an extra hour or two on the lighting with the client there watching me. Not cool. Now I have to act cool as a cucumber and act like they're not aware of this disaster area going on, like, in my brain. Meanwhile, the assistants are freaking out and I'm freaking out and I'm like, this is a big job. But the key for me now, at this stage of my career, is having what I call my go for light. Light that I go for when I get these big jobs. I know it, I've done it, I've done it inside and out. We're gonna go through... We're gonna go back to my roots. We're gonna go back to natural light. I believe natural light is where you start. That's your base, all right? Lighting is your foundation. We're building a building, right? We're gonna build the shot up from the foundation. If you have a crappy foundation what happens? There's a lot of building going on outside in Seattle right now. If they're building crappy foundations, you know, we got problems, right? So, if light is the foundation for the photographer, we've gotta build our base first. I want you guys to come out of this class with thoughts and ideas and ways to build your foundation so that when you get that next big client, you know what you're doin. You're streamlined, your focused. I'm gonna get you using your thinking apparatus the next few days. You ready for that? Can you turn it on please? I'm gonna need it and I'm gonna need you guys out there to hit me with some questions and stuff. I'm glad you're watchin, I'm psyched to be here. It's just that for the last five years I've been teaching. Five years. It's been five years. I can't believe it's been five years. I picked... I used to be... I used to have blinders on in my studio. Since I'm all self taught I didn't know there was teaching, I didn't know there was anything to learn. I was like, tryin to figure it out. I modeled for a little bit. And I was tryin to figure out... Okay, I picked up a camera. How am I gonna learn, right? And whatever I learned I kept to myself and I was afraid to let other people know what I was doing. And, that all changed when I started teaching. And now, I get so much satisfaction out of teaching you guys how to do what I've been able to do on a daily basis. I'm tellin you, there's nothing better than puttin somebody in front of that thing, pressin the button, getting what I call... We're gonna three, two, one it right now. You guys know the word? (laughing) You ready? Getting what I call three, two, one. Shabang! That's the first one. You guys start countin. (laughing) So, getting that shabang, for me, a shabang is simply a shot that I look at that I capture that the artist, we all have an artist inside us, that my artist feels. I feel something from capturing it. You guys are gonna be shabanging today. You ready? (laughs) We're gonna be shabanging. And that's really important. I want you guys to all have that feeling. I don't care what the word is for you. I just want you to be able to capture these pictures that I consider have lookability. Lookability, I make up words, all right? Get used to it. So lookability is a word I made up and it's essentially the ability of an image to secure attention from an onlooker. That's all I want my images to do. I mean, I wanna like the image, but when I throw it out there on the web or give it to a client or keep it... I'm a big editor. I shoot tethered 99% of the time. It's very rare that you will see me not connected to a computer, because I edit everything down like a maniac. And I show my clients and I use it as a coaching tool. And I wanna see it on the screen. I need to see that and then I wanna give that shot to my clients. And if I feel something from it then I believe others are gonna feel something from it too. So, we're gonna go back to my roots. My base is natural light. I learned in, you know, I taught myself through working with natural light. I got a hold of some strobes and I was clueless. We're gonna talk about some of my pitfalls along the way and how I dug myself out of them. We're gonna talk about how I, since by base was natural light, I moved into a studio that didn't have any windows which freaked me out completely. We're gonna talk about that experience. And then I found my love, which is continuous light and working with continuous light. So we're gonna work with light I designed with Westcott called the Flex Kit. And I'm gonna show you continuous light. Now since my base is natural and I went to continuous and I've always had studios with big windows... Do we have a gorgeous space here guys? (mumbling) Is this amazing? I've cleared this room out and it's just unbelievable. I got gorgeous natural light comin in. I use natural light to mix with continuous to mix with strobe. Now that may sound complicated and this is called Simple Lighting for Portraits, but let me tell ya, I'm gonna lay it all out in the most simple way, all right? So we're gonna go through the process that I took in learning light and we're gonna dig and we're gonna dig and we're gonna dig and we're gonna fiddle. And then I'm gonna show you my start with the natural light. Then I'm gonna show you my signature lighting setup that I figured out in and I really haven't changed much since. I've made, probably, 90% of my income using this lighting setup and it hasn't really changed since 2004. When I started shooting... Predominantly I started as an actor and I did head shots and when I picked up a camera I was like, all right, I might as well shoot my friends that are actors and try and make some money at this. And then I just went full bore into head shot land, as I call it, and I've been immersed in it ever since, since 2002. And, you know, I was told... I started in 2002, about 2003 people said, "you know, you can't shoot the white background all the time." And I was like, "really?" "And you can't chop people's heads off." And I was like, "really?" "And you can't shoot horizontal all the time either." And I was like, "really?" (laughing) And I've been doin' it since then and I'm still doin it. And guess what, people walk in my door every day for a head shot and I'm still makin a livin at it in New York City. I think that's pretty cool. And I think having a simple... If you guys get your light down so it's in your back pocket, right? So that you can nail it and you figure out what tools you're gonna use, I'm gonna show you a lot of tools, you can pick and choose and you can save your dollars and figure out what you think you need to buy. I don't want everybody, you don't need to go out and go nuts here. But you pick and choose and you build your kits and you build your lighting so when that client comes a callin', you're ready to go. And you know what you're gonna do. You're not gonna make it up on the... You're not gonna go off the reservation, right? You're gonna be streamlined, you're gonna be focused, and you're gonna nail that shot and you're gonna get your shabang. You with me?

Understanding how and where light is found when taking a photograph is one of the most essential learnings when taking a portrait. It's easy to spend a lot of time working on complicated lighting set-ups when your best light is often right in front of you. Join well-known portrait photographer Peter Hurley as he simplifies the process by walking you through the fundamentals of lighting. He’ll explain natural light and how to work with what’s available. He’ll discuss how to work with continuous light and the best way to use strobes. Over the course of this class you’ll be able to photograph a portrait using: 

  • Natural Lighting Continuous LIghting 
  • Strobe Lighting 
  • A mixture of variable lighting to create a dynamic portrait with a simple set up

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • I truly enjoyed this amazing lighting class. Peter Hurley shows you how he achieves his signature look using all forms of light shaping tools from natural light, to speelites and high end strobes. Seeing first hand how the placement of the subject to the light source and your lightning set up is so important to avoiding the hazards of flat light and haze. He teaches you his unique methods and secrets on how to make eyes pop and get the best color contrast without harsh shadows. You will leave this class energized to hone your own creative vision with light and shadows using the methods taught by Peter. It was a privilege to learn from a master like Peter Hurley. Thank you Creative Live for another amazing class!
  • This is my first review. I typically don't bother with reviews because I guess if a class is just alright, at least I got something out of it, but this class was just soooo not what I was hoping for, I have to say something. I was disappointed in this, so much so that I've not bothered to complete the series. I found myself speeding up the content to the fullest amount of 2.5X through MOST of the content because Peter talks a lot about nothing that has anything to do with learning lighting. Yay...you were a model at one time Peter...but bragging about it while slapping your modeling photos up there only makes you look insecure. You're still a good looking man and it's just not necessary to see your "once upon a time" modeling shots. I too used to be young and beautiful. Now I'm old and fat. Yay. Do I have anything to offer on what I teach though, that is the question. Your modeling photos & stories did nothing to add to the content of what this class was advertised to be. Your modeling days have nothing to do with what I was hoping to learn from you. Good nuggets of information was thrown out there *at times*, like the idea of corporate headshot sessions working from the shortest woman to the tallest woman and then the shortest man to the tallest man. More content about these kinds of HELPFUL things are what I was looking for. I found the class to be personal story upon personal story upon personal story.......it was not helpful to learning lighting. Suggestion for Peter. EDIT. This was clearly a workshop you hosted. Focus your attention on how you can help lift others up in the skills that have helped you to become confident and successful in your career as a photographer. New photographers to the industry lack confidence and skills and we're looking for mentors. We're desperate for them. We need you to stay on point. Personal stories are ok, but only if they add to what it is you are teaching. Edit your videos down. It tends to tick people off that they paid a lot of money expecting one thing but instead they end up with hours of what is mostly an autobiography. To those looking to learn lighting, there are better, more focused informational learning formats in books from the library for free and experimenting on your own. I would hold off on spending the money on this class until it's re-shot and edited to be a more focused class. Very disappointed and I do not recommend it. Truly disappointed as I respect the work of Peter Hurley. I hate giving him a bad review but I hope he improves on his public speaking/teaching abilities and comes back improved.
  • Peter Hurley is the real deal. Not only does he know and share a ton of really practical knowledge of studio lighting for headshots and fashion, but he cuts through the crap and tells it like it is. He is very encouraging and serious at the same time. He had our attention from Day 1. and never lost it. *Bonus Gold - You've got to check out his Hurely-isms. They are priceless! Aside from the new bag of industry tools to work from, Peter gave me a real, sober perspective on what it takes to be PROFESSIONAL fashion photographer! And CreativeLive provided the perfect setting as well. The whole CL staff were warm and inviting and the food was great! I highly recommend CL and P. Hurley to anyone who wants to learn from the best of the best! I can't wait to start shooting with my new skill set. Sign up for CreativeLive! Take advantage of all that they have to offer! Build a foundation, own your light, and Shebang!!! You'll be at the top of your game in no time!