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Live Shoot: Continuous Square Light Set-Up for Women

Lesson 10 from: Build your Lighting Knowledge

Peter Hurley

Live Shoot: Continuous Square Light Set-Up for Women

Lesson 10 from: Build your Lighting Knowledge

Peter Hurley

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Lesson Info

10. Live Shoot: Continuous Square Light Set-Up for Women


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Natural Light Overview


Live Shoot: Maximizing Window Light


Live Shoot: Use Reflector to Enhance Natural Light


Live Shoot: Back Light Your Subject


Live Shoot: Back Lit Subject with V Flats


Live Shoot: Utilize ProBoard with Natural Light


Continuous Lighting Overview


Lesson Info

Live Shoot: Continuous Square Light Set-Up for Women

I'm gonna start with the square and then, we're gonna go and we're gonna do the triangle, as well with Leandra and for my background, we're gonna use the steal door, for now and we may bring in an Oliphant backdrop that I brought with me. I just love Sara's stuff. I can't get enough of her. Some of you guys, I'm sure, there's a lot of photographers that are fond of her. I know Sue Bryce uses a lot of her backdrops and I love them. I think they're amazing. So, go to and check them out. Anyway, I brought a little one. I made one specifically to fit in the Pro bag. I had Sara paint me one and it's awesome. It's right over there. We're gonna fire that up too. Let me see. Based on... I'm maxed out on this. What are you doing? How tall are you getting Ollie? Okay, there we go. I like my light really, really close to my subject. Also, the settings that I'm gonna do. If you own the Flex kit. First of all, if you the Flex, the settings come. It's a bonus, right, if you buy th...

e thing? I think it is. I'm gonna give you the settings for all my lights and what I do. Why don't you fire them up to these settings. Put the one by threes at 30%. Guys, these are so bright that the human eye can't handle... I can't handle more than 30%, if I'm in there. I'm sensitive. Wait, hold on. Keep that one. Turn the rest off. I'm gonna show you a build. That's the only one I want on. We're gonna do a build, okay? I'm gonna add each light, so you're gonna see what it adds as we add it. This is a learning technique that you will benefit from. Okay. Let me just see here. Take a tiny step back. Step a little bit this way. You're good, you're good. Right there. All right. I usually put the height of the lights at about the earlobe when I'm shooting head shots. I'm actually gonna shoot a little wider, so I'll go down, not quite to the waist. I'll just keep it... I don't know. Maybe we'll do some head shots, but I should change my lenses if we're gonna do head shots. I usually shoot the lens with 70 to 24. Let me just keep the... I mean, the 70 to 200. Let me keep that on. It's not imperative. Should we do it? Yeah, get me my 70 to 200. I have no idea. All right, guys, here we go. Here we go. We'll do it as a build. What's the deal? We gotta go... We gotta get our... What's the first thing I always do? You learned already. Guess shot. ISO first. I'm using continuous. I'm usually in the studio. It's pretty powerful. It feels pretty powerful, right? Yeah. Can we go 200? You guys okay with that? You sure? All right. Can we go F4? We're gonna go F and we're gonna go one hundredth of a second. We're gonna start at one hundredth of a second. All right, here we go. There we go. I'm gonna get my nifty operation in here. Now, I don't have a strobe going off, so I don't know if... I'll keep the lens hood on, anyway. It's no big deal. All right, here we go. I shoot at 70 to 200. I like my lens, just to give you some technical information on the 70. Generally, I shoot around 91, 92. That's where I lock it in and I've told Canon that. So, if a 92 millimeter lens comes out, right here. I really want one. I'm like, can you do that? I'm like, that's what I want. All right, let's see. That's beautiful. Let's see if we're firing on all cylinders, here. We are. Okay, let's try this. Let's do our guess shot. Don't look blank like that. Give me something. What are you doing? Get that chin out. Hit that bang for me. It's causing a shadow. There you go. Good, good, good, good, good. I actually like this backdrop, too. It looks pretty cool. There we go. Guys, it already looks good. I didn't even do anything. I put one light on her. Look at that. Look at that. Hit that bang so we don't get that separation in the hair. Now, one thing I noticed. For me, I'm really not concentrating on this background, but if I was building a shot, it would go a little dark for me. How would I lighten it up if I'm only using continuous light? Who's got it? How am I gonna lighten that background up? You guys are sharp. If I move closer to it, it's gonna lighten up, right? Is there a law that's used? What's it called? All right, there we go. We've got the inverse square law. So, if I wanted to open her up, I can move her closer to it, but I don't feel like moving, so John and I are gonna bring in the whole thing. Let's try that 'cuz I think it's too dark. It just doesn't thrill me. Let's just get this puppy over there. You all right? All right, how's that look? Get that little... There we go. Keep it straight. Get that sucker straight, man. Let's see if that's right behind her. There's just little details that Sara puts into them that I really like. There's a little vignette on it. That's really cool. All right, jam that forehead up, chin down. There you go. Good. All right, now, guys, when I'm directing... Look at that. Look at that. Is that gorgeous? I like the darkness of it now. Now, I know I'm not gonna move it. You know why? Because, I'm gonna put on more lights, which is gonna light it up more, right? I'm gonna give you guys, once we get four lights on, then I'm gonna start directing here. So, let's not make it too weird. Let's do one light at a time that would benefit us in our lighting scenario, here. Which light do you think should go on next, guys? Nobody has? You're not giving me anything, here. I'm not asking for much. Which one? Look at the image. What light? Camera right? I'm with you. Go camera right, 30%. 30%. Now, we've got pretty even lighting, I believe. We got pretty even lighting. I do aim the two side lights in a touch. All right, let's try this. Let's see how this looks. Jam your forehead out a little bit. Get that bang. It's bugging me again. There you go. You got it. Let me do it. You're fine. It's all right. Hold on. We do have scissors here. No. (laughing) It creates a shadow. I like it coming forward a little bit, but for now, it's good. Hold that. Chin down and out a little bit. Hold that right there. Good. I didn't adjust my settings, so let's see if she has too much light. Okay. Look at that. Now, I only fired up two of them. Holy smokes. What did I do to the background? Did we lighten up the background? Look at that. I didn't change my settings and look how much more light. So, once you add another light, you're not only getting light the same direction, you're amplifying the light 'cuz there's more light on the subject. That looks pretty good, doesn't it? Do I need to do anything else? Let's just give it a shot. Go 50 on the top light. 50. 50. I'm going 50 on the top, guys. The reason why I'm going 50 on the top, 'cuz the one by two is a smaller light and it has a different power supply, so you need to juice it up a little bit more. Wow. Is that at 50? Holy smokes. Okay. (laughing) Now, it's gonna blow her out, so I gotta change my settings. I'll shoot one just to show you, so you guys can see. Once you add more light to your subject, it's amplifying the light even more than it would be. Look at this. From there to there. We're doing a fill, so it's definitely hot. I'm gonna go up to 160th of a second, F4, 200 ISO, about 92 millimeters. There you go. Good, good, Leandra. Good. All right, I like everything. I like everything that's going on here, but I wanna show you... Who's my buddy? Fill. So, where would my buddy, fill, come from? The most important light is my buddy, fill, in this stage of the game, right? Let's go. Go 50 on fill. Okay, jam that forehead down. Scooch back a smidge because I see that my light isn't exactly the way I want. There we go. Guys, the angle of it, too. I don't want it... Let's see how that looks. Do a closed mouth, tiny smile. There you go. Good. Beautiful. Let's see. Don't over squinch it. Chin down a little bit. Hold that. Let's see. Let's look. And, there's my four light set up and I'm at one 60th, F4. It's a little bit bright in the highlight, right? Let me see on this screen. It's still a little bit hot. I just wanna look at how... You see, underneath the chin? I should just not move you and me not move and then, have do them one... I love the way this light on the chin gets filled with my buddy. You know? All right, good. I like what's going on. Looks a little bit hot to me and it looks a little bit warm. I'm looking at her. It looks a little bit warm, so now, before I show my... I know my settings. I'm gonna be... I'm gonna usually be down in here. Let's see. I look at her, I look at the situation we're in, I set it up, once it's set, I don't show them until I like it. I'm looking at her and I'm looking over there. John, what do you think? Close in. Go by this one. You're right. What do you think? Yeah, she's a little bright, yeah. I think it's pretty good, guys. All I'm doing is adjusting the tint and the kelvin. I'm looking to see if it's green or magenta and then, I go with the tint and, obviously, the kelvin, I'm going for blue or yellow. If she looks warm or cool. Warm or cool, even better. I'm looking and I'm looking and I'm happy now. So, I do this. I lock that in and then, from then on it should be locked in at that shooting and I can just apply it to this. Watch the difference. From there to there, it just knocks that yellow out for me. Okay, you got that? That's why I don't use a gray card. I just wanna look at it. If you had a gray card in there, you could check, or sometimes I'll see if I have something gray. Now, I know that that backdrop's a little warm. It's not gray. It's got a little bit of brownish hue to it, so I'm not gonna go crazy on that, but I still feel like we're a little bit light here with Leandra, so I'm gonna bring it down a little bit. Jam your forehead out a little bit, chin down. Hold that right there. I like that. I'm gonna offset her a little bit, so I change my setup each time. Now, this is my mojo. Now, I'm rocking. All right? You got it? Now, I can start to direct. I got the light where I want it. It's locked in. Now, in my studio, this is all set up, so I just start shooting right off the bat, but I still need to do that test shot, make sure the skin tone's right before I bring her out and show her. One thing is, I'm obviously not focusing on my direction in this class. However, I'm gonna give you a nugget, here, another one that's amazing. Over the years, I had to figure out how to make everybody crack up or create looks or move in front of my camera. Let me just see how she feels if I direct her, like this. You ready? Okay. (camera snapping) How's that feel for you? Fine. That's fine? (students laughing) Fine is flat. Wouldn't you rather if I talked to you? Yeah. Or did something? Yeah, tell me angles that look best. What if I told you you were doing well? Yeah, that works, too. Something like that. Or, keep it going, yeah. All right. Encouragement. Let me show you one of the techniques that I use. I call it misdirection, where I say things that I kinda want or don't want or not sure if I want and see how they react to them. It's an app called Hurleyisms. I'm just gonna bring it up. I did the head shot intensive and the first one I did, I came up with the way I misdirect my clients. I found that I needed something. I couldn't, every day, ask people to smile. Can you smile for me? Yeah. Just do this. Yeah, that's exactly what you get when you get smile. It's like this and I couldn't do that. I wanted it to be real and I found that when people are reacting, it becomes very real. So, I developed this. It's a browser-based app. You don't go to the app store, you just go to your browser and you type in and you can play it for free and there's, like, 50 Hurleyisms in there for free. If you upgrade to the pro one, there's of the crap that I say. There's 1000 of them and you can make your own and I can go in and put submit your own to the database so people can be using your Hurleyisms or whatever your name is, last name-isms. If we click start Hurleyisms, what it gives me, we've got a woman in here and we're gonna go PG on this one just because it's Creative Live. I don't think we wanna... We wanna stay PG, but there is an R version, if you want it. (laughing) We'll click women. Okay, let's try the top one. Do me a favor and decrease the distance between your eyebrows. There you go. Good. Okay. Can you relax your earlobes? You seem to be holding a lot of tension there. (laughing) I can't. (laughing) Okay. Good, okay. Give me a look like you just exfoliated. (laughing) Chin down, forehead out. There you go. Good. Now, once I do that... The reason for the Hurleyisms is not... It is to get some laughter, but it's more to get the flow of the session going and get the relaxation going. So, all of these are in the free one. Can you pivot, rotate, twist and bend simultaneously for me? Go. (laughing) Good. Good, that's it. Hold that. There you go. Chin down a little bit. Hold that, tilt your head this way a little bit. There you go. Beautiful. Turn the body slightly this way and then, go nose that way and give me a look like you're impersonating a spatula. (laughing) Guys, real laughter is what it's all about. All right, you got it? I don't wanna dwell on the Hurleyisms app, but I want you guys to all try it, all right? This is a lighting class, but that's my direction. That's a little bit about it and if you use the Creative Live code on it, you can get it 25% off. You either pay for a lifetime, if you wanna go pro, or it's like four bucks a month or something like that. I had to pay to build this thing, that's why. But, it is a great idea and it helps you with your direction. Once your base is built, which is your lighting, I want you to go in to working with your subject. I want your base of lighting built first. I want you to work with your subject. It's the perfect thing to add to your thing, especially if you have a hard time connecting with your subjects when you're doing it. Let's go to my three light setup and show you the move. That's it. I'll leave this running and maybe I'll use it when we go, so you can see them. Let's go to a three light setup so I can show you. I really like the three light setup. Let's actually go to capture one and look at the catch light. Let's zoom in on a catch light. Let's go to capture one. Oh, I'm hitting Safari. That would help. There we go. Let's see. I don't mind seeing stuff like this. I'm working to get a shot where everything's relaxed and chill and cool, but if they're cracking up and their eyes close and stuff, it's fine. I like this angle of her face and I like the way I tilted her. There you go. You gotta get these. This is how I do those. (laughing) What was that one? Exfoliating. That was it. (laughing) Okay, let's just look at the catch light in this one 'cuz your eyes are open and I can see it. Okay, there you go. You get a sense of it, guys? Top one's at 50, bottom one's at 50, sides are at 30. All right? When I do the triangle, it's the same thing. The two one by threes are at 30, the bottom one's at and then, the men's, we're gonna get into once Aiden's in here. I'm gonna show you how to work that. While we're changing that, Leandra, just take a little break for yourself. All right, I don't need you to stand in there and get... That's the other thing. Take care of your subject. It's bright in there. I don't need her in there while I'm not shooting. Get out of there. All right, can we answer questions while this is going on? Yeah. Absolutely. Alan asks, it appears that sometimes you make adjustments in the posing because of the lighting, so it looks like posing and the lighting have to go together. Are those always sort of working together? Yeah, that's standard. That's standard, 'cuz if I move the face just a little bit, I wanna make sure the lighting's on it or if I move the body. You have to. If you're moving somebody, you generally... Now, luckily, with this kind of setup, it's very even. When I get Aiden in there and he moves at all, you're gonna see a huge difference. It's very specific on where there face is and I usually, in the square, I kept Leandra centered the entire time and I moved her in frame with the camera. I'm moving her around the frame with the camera, but I'm keeping her pretty much centered the whole time. Yeah, let's go triangle. We just have to dive this one out. I can do it. You can turn that one off and then, this is set up for me so I could do it. I got it. I got one more question for you while you're adjusting that thing. This lighting tends to broaden the shape of the face, so with a fuller-shaped or round face, would you change your setup? I don't change it at all. Okay. Jam their forehead out further. Okay. (laughing) That's what it is. I'm not trying to change people's appearance. I like stuff really real, too, so I'm not going overboard to change the way people look, but I'm trying to make them look their best on their best day. I'm not trying to falsify the information. It's just my theory on this. That's why I don't retouch my stuff very much at all. I hate retouching. I don't open that program. I love it, but I don't really open it very often. I'm just not big into retouching. I will get rid of stuff that's temporary on the skin like blemishes and stuff like that, obviously, and I'm not gonna put stuff in my portfolio where somebody has bad skin, but I'm not gonna go crazy either. I do very limited. My thing is that, if you get this light right... I'm always gonna bring it back to light, guys. If you get your lighting right, they're gonna look the best that they can anyway.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Gear List
7 Peter Hurley Discount Codes

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Setting for Peter Hurley Westcott Flex Kit

Ratings and Reviews

Hannah Walker

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!

pete hopkins

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!

Student Work