Live Shoot: Continuous Two Light Vertical Set-Up for Men
So my favorite thing about continuous light is that I can see exactly what I'm doing. Like, if you screw this up... (audience laughs) Like, you see it, you know you're screwing it up. And I just, it irks me that you're, I'll go back to the first, one of the first things I said, your feeling of light needs to change. Think human light meter stuff. Think about being out in life and watching people's faces and light, how it occurs on them. You have to have that attention to detail. You've gotta forget about your camera settings. You gotta forget about it. Forget about the camera. Get the settings, lock 'em in, never think about it again. Concentrate on your light and then the fact that there's a person in there and you need to direct them properly. All right. Very cool. You look great. We're looking good. Let's go a little bit this way and let me see, so what I'm doing is I'm positioning the lights both vertically and really tight to him so that the light is pointed in the direction of hi...
s face so it hits him here and then it's gonna fall off, 'cause he's so close to them, so you're gonna get a highlight on the first point that hits, which is the nose, which should be the brightest, the cheeks and then the ears, and everything should start to go a little bit darker, which is what I want. Jam your forehead out. There you go. Hold that right there. There's a photographer, when I started shooting, I, when I started shooting the kinos, there's a photographer you should check out Martin Schoeller's work, because it's, he lights a little bit, I think it's like this, I don't know. I never, he uses kinos in a similar configuration to this. I don't shoot this very often, and, but I know that, I mean, I like it, and I love his work. I have his books and stuff, so you gotta check him out. Jam the forehead out. Hold that. Martin Schoeller. I always like giving credit where credit is due, so, you know, he kinda came up with this as far as I know. I did it and I didn't know he did it and then people told me that it's like his, and I was like, it does kinda look like that. But he, I mean, his stuff's off the charts, so you gotta take a look. Right there, perfect. He shoots an eight by 10 camera in vertically, though. Big difference, I think. Hold on, wait a minute. Look at me. I'm not even in a capture one. There we go. There we go. Let's look at that catch light. How about that 5D Mark 4? Holy smokes, right? Thank you, Cannon. I mean, guys, this light, this is another thing you can't go wrong. You can't go wrong. I'm giving you setups that you can't go wrong. Somebody walks into you and what did we do? We didn't do much. Are you watching this? All right, and watch, like, where he, like, now, I wanna show you how you could screw this up. (audience laughs) Because you would, this is, like, you've gotta have this awareness to light. If you were less aware of light, you might think that he needs to be closer. Aiden, come a step forward. Stay right there. Don't move. Don't move, hold that. Hold that. There you go, good. Okay, here we go. Is that better light or worse light? Is it better or worse? It's worse, why? (audience member speaks without mic) It's flatter. I want you to notice, I want you to look at your work. When you've subject... What? I want you to look at the... Well, I mean, he moved forward. I didn't move back far enough, I guess, maybe. But I want you to look at your work. When you look, I want you to look at his eyes here and which side of the whites of his eyes is brighter? The outside, right? Is that weird? Why would you not put light in here? (audience member speaks without mic) How did that happen? How come we didn't get light in there? Look at the difference. Hold on, was he in the center of the frame? Look at the difference in the eyes. Which eyes you like better? Way better, right? And all I did, how far did you move forward? Like, six inches, not even?
Something like that.
You guys got me? It's attention to detail. It's the subtleties. These are the things that, these are, this is the reason why I'm standing here. I get really annoyed when I do these headshot workshops and I don't teach lighting and I see that. It happens every single one I do. Every single one. So let's talk about what's going on here. The light is, if I point this directly at you, think about the light. It's coming out the center right like this, right? The center of it, the most powerful portion of this light is gonna be straight down the middle, right? And then it's gonna fan this way, right? So it's gonna be, it's not gonna be as dark over here as it is over here. So I might even use a light meter for this. Holy smokes. Here we go, let's do, let's see. So the center, if I keep my elbow, I guess I'll keep my distance, like, I'll do this. Here we go. Here, that's 200 ISO. What am I at? I'm at 2.88, which is about where I was. I was at four over here, 2.84. It's a half stop less, right? It's going, it's like a fan, right? So what you're doing is, if you're moving him ahead, you're putting him into less light. You're moving him ahead of where the light would hit. I would much rather have him be too far back than too far forward. I can make up for that. But I can't make up for him for too far forward. I actually feather light all the time. So, like, I point the light, let's say I'm pointing the light this way. I'll put him here so the light hits him real softly. But I don't wanna put his face here. Aiden, come over here. Why don't you just show them. Let's stop fooling around. All right, let's imagine I'm shooting him. I would shoot, step back, straight back. I don't mind shooting him like that. I got this light going this way. I'm getting, now, I'm into soft light, so I like indirect light. I like the light to just kinda be milky, silky smooth or whatever you want, and it washes over the face this way and it falls off into him. Take a step forward. Come forward more. Stop. Go back. Right there. Now what it, does it, how is the, how is this light gonna wash him anywhere? It's gonna wash the back of his head. Right? It's not going silky smooth anywhere. It's just hitting him in the back of the head, right? So I always want him further back than, I'd much rather err on the side of him being behind... Step back for me. This line. However you point the light. However you point it. I don't really need this thing anymore. If I'm pointing the light at the ground, right? This is the line. However you point it, this is the line. You always need the face behind it or at the line, not in front of it, all right? If you have two lights, and I'm gonna work on this with Leandran, as well, and two lights coming together, there's a point of light convergence, right? You want that, and if I'm shooting to get their face in the point of convergence, I wanna err on the side of being behind the light of the point of convergence rather than in front of it, 'cause you're gonna get the same result, all right? It's key. So here's that simple lighting setup that just looks awesome that I'm not gonna take credit for. I'm gonna give it to that other guy 'cause it looks so cool. And you can shoot that all day long, right? But now I'm gonna mix it up. That doesn't give me, like, the jawline definition that I want, that I know Aiden's got in him. You got it in you. I know it's there, all right? So I gotta bring that out. So, Aiden, come outta there for a second. Let's go back to our slide show. Let's go back to our slide show. And boom shakka lakka. You see what I got going on? You see the difference? You see what I got? So I got a key, I got a key fill kick situation. I got my key, I got my fill, and I got my kick. You got it? See how it brings the features out, it accentuates this area of the jawline. On men, that is hot, right, ladies?
Is that hot?
That's hot, right? I see people are shaking heads over there. I see it. All right, good, we got it. All right, that's what we got. So we got a key fill kick situation, all right? And I don't wanna kick him too hard, right? Say this is fill, right? We're gonna use this as fill. I usually fill flat. I'm gonna show you how I fill. But sometimes I'll get fill in there and I'll tweak it, so that's what I'm talking about, all right? And then... Let's see what else we got here. This is at the moment that I... Right? I did my gopher light and now it's play time. But there's light convergence. Look at this. Do you see the inside of the light, the inside of the eyes are darker than the outside of the eyes? But I did it, and I'm gonna show you how I did this, and we're gonna play with, this is my playing moment. I know I play around with my lights and I do all cool sources. I still like the shot, but it's not my gopher light. So that's the point. You get your shots, you got your gopher light, and then you've gotta play around. You've got to try this. You gotta try this stuff. But not before you're confident and you so got your shots nailed down with your clientele that you're done, and now it's time to mess around and try stuff. The whole key to, and the other thing you have to do is you have to write everything down. I would write down exactly what you did. You'll forget it the next day. All the key details. Even the settings, like, stuff like, why not? If you're gonna take the time and it's gonna look good, you might as well just have it nailed down, right? It's good to write stuff down so that you remember. Whenever I'm directing, if I say something that worked, I always write that stuff down. Stuff like that. You need to, it's the same with lighting. Write it down. If you need to do a diagram, you can do a diagram. You can have it set up so that it works. Okay, so let's do, well, let's shoot. We're shooting. Let's shoot. Let's do the... Let's go to capture one again and let's do my signature men's setup, and I'll give you the way that I do it and the take on it that I have. So I'm gonna give you my settings right now, too. You ready, Sean? Let's set it up. So let's go 30 on the key, which is, we're gonna go left first and then we're gonna work right. So let me see your face. Hold on. Go nose this way. Go nose that way. Okay, so I think you're decent looking on both sides, but I like your, go this way. Is that your side? You like that side better, right? Let me see the other side. He's good on both sides. So what I'll do, hey, with everybody, I'll always shoot both sides, so I always am varying the side that the key light's gonna be on, the side that's more lit than the other side, so I'm trying to look at it. So why not? If I got, you know, how long does it take me to flip the key light? It takes about two seconds. Why would you not do that? I always start left and go right, all right? Why do I start left and go right? Why is my lighting always set up to favor the left side? Hello?
85% of the people.
90% of people.
No, it's 60%.
You're confusing me. Right, guys? What did I say?
(mumbles) percent of people.
It's 60% more emotional? Some people say that, too. Right/left brains and stuff, right/left sides, I don't know. More emotional side? I don't know, but it just works, so... But do the people who are better looking on their right side care about the people who are better looking on their left side? No. (audience laughs) You have to find it out for yourself. It's up to you. And it's the hardest thing to explain as to why you feel someone's more attractive on that side or the other, all right? But you have to light that side that is the proper side or the best side, or light it, 'cause sometimes I'll light the side, if, so I happen to like my left side a little bit better. So if I like my left side a little bit better, where's my nose gotta go and where's my key light gotta go? So my, I have to go like this, right? I have to go a little, and the key light's gotta be over here, right? So I'm highlighting this side of my face. However, if I light this way, then I can also highlight this side. I'm gonna get shadow over here, right? So I can get good shots on both sides. I just have to play with the lighting. If I'm gonna, that's why my triangle and my square setup works so well. You can turn anybody any direction you want, really. If they are a righty, you can, just to discuss the women's setup for a second. I'm going back. I'm gonna go back in time. You can make the key this side of the triangle, right? You can just flip it, right? Okay, good. Okay, cool. All right. All right. So give me 30. And give me... You ready for this? Give me five. Wow. (audience laughs) I'm going really subtle with my, with fill. All right. Let's see here. Perfect. Now, I like fill to fall off into my subject a lot, too. And I usually don't move the key much, but I'll move fill all over the place. All right, let's build this out. So let me keep you in the center of the background. When I do this, I bring the light a lot closer. I'm gonna keep my key light vertical. You're gonna jam your forehead out. There you go. I like that light. I'm gonna look at the shadows. I'm gonna, and I'm just gonna keep it like this. Hold it right there. Let's just see that. Bring that chin down more than you think. Hold that. Yeah, I can work with this. There you go, good. I don't wanna hit your shoulders. Scoot. Stay right there. What? Oh, I have to connect the camera? That's what I have to do? I have to fire it up there. We're fired up. Okay, hold on one second. Stay right there. Good. Going 92. I'm 92, I'm on my move. Jam that forehead out and down. There you go. Hold that right there. Fantastic. Good. All right, good. Now look at the light. I did my guest shot, and I wasn't thinking, because I left the settings where they were for the three-light setup, which, three lights all, if you add the power of the three lights together, well, we're gonna have more light. So I'm gonna have to open up a little bit. But the light looks pretty good. So let's go... Let's go F4. I was at 5.6, I was at one sixtieth of a second. I know you guys out there are wondering. I'm bringing you back to where we, we're at 200 ISO, we're at one sixtieth of a second, and we're at F4. And we're skooching a little bit this way, but you're facing me. No, face me. Just, yeah, no, no, no, don't go crazy. There we go. Good, jam your, see how subtle I move him? Real subtle. Jam that forehead out. There you go. Hold that, don't move. Perfect. Fantastic. Fantastic, beautiful picture. Shabang. Did I shebang that one? Now we got a double shabang going on. Three, two, one.
There we go.
Aiden, how we doing?
Do you like it?
I like it.
You can work with that?
Okay, now look. This is when, and you guys tell me, this is when that little triangle's over here, it's kinda Rembrandty? Is that what they say? I don't know. I just know that they told me there's a triangle underneath there. But it's not really a triangle, and I've got it pretty flat except for the thing that I love about the flex kit is that it's so soft that, look how soft this shadow transition is off the nose. See this? See this shadow transition off the nose? Where am I going? Look at this. It's just, like, it's, remember that natural light shot of the guy and the gnocchi in the window? That shadow transition? That's, why do you think I'm jumping up and down over these lights? Because that created the look at that I wanna have with me all the time. I got it now. I can go anywhere with it. I just came from New York with these lights and now I'm in Seattle and I still have the light I use in New York, right? And that's awesome. But look at how smooth that is. It's un-, it's just, I just love it. Now, who controls this, how dark this is right now? Who controls it? It's your responsibility to control the shadows. You have to decide. Now, in my work, the shadow density's usually darker than that. That's pretty light shadow density, because if I give him a, if I give him a kick, I want it to fill the shadow. I like a little bit more shadow than that, I think, in order to kick him. And I'm also, if you notice, I'm very, I'm vertical with the key light. So look at where the shadow's going. See how the nose is shadowing straight across? So I can actually dip the light down. I usually, if you, when I'm shooting women and stuff, I'm always shooting straight at 'em. Sometimes I'll do feathering. Sometimes I'll dr-, and sometimes I'll play and tinker, but usually I think that the whole situation where, I don't know when this started because I don't know who taught this, but they put the light up, they put it at 45 degrees, they shot this way, and then all these shadows hit the face like crazy, and I don't think it's wonderful when I'm shooting women because I want women to have beauty light. So I brought the light down and I just jammed it in their face straight at 'em, right? So this is going cross, and you have to watch this. Now, I like this 'cause it's, like, smooth. It's a smooth transition. However, I'm gonna drop my key light down, I'm gonna give him a little bit more of a shadow, a little bit more light here so the shadow off the cheek is a little bit more severe so I can get a little bit more shadow density here, and I think I'm either gonna... Aiden, how sensitive are you to those lights?
It's not too bad.
Can I hammer you?
Okay, I'm gonna hammer Aiden. Why? This room is lit up. Like, if I want shadow, I either have to close the drapes, right? If I really want shadow. Like, turn off the... Let's try this. Let me just, let's just see. So look at that shadow density. Now, I love the picture. However, just for a second, turn off both these lights. Yeah, both. And then step where you were. Stay right there. Scoot back a smidge. You were back a little bit more. Hold that. That's about where you were. Come forward a little. You were a little bit further. Right there, hold that. Bring the chin out and down. Now, I'm just doing this to show you how, this is how much natural light is getting in on the shot. Wow. It's not a ton, but it's enough for me. There's still light. His ear's lit up from the light behind, too. (audience member speaks without mic) That's all right. It's still, I can still see him. I wanna make sure that I don't have, I don't want this much shadow detail from the natural light in the room. So I'm gonna go 60 on the key. Now, I went up a lot. Let's see if he can handle it. And I'm gonna drop this to F... Now, if I can, I'm, if I wanna stay the same depth of field, I'm gonna go four hundredth of a... I'll go three twentieth of a second and see. Is that 60? Okay, stand in there. Scoot back a little bit. A little bit this way. Yeah, right there. Now a little bit this, a millimeter? Yeah, yeah, um-hum. Yeah, yeah, it's... (laughs) It's what I do. All right, all right, settle down and get serious. We need a serious one. We need to match that other one. Let's see. And this is a guest shot. Not that serious. Jam the forehead out. Hold that. Good. Let's see how we did. Wow. Now, that's more Peter Hurley. Right? Let's look at the two. See the difference? And all I did was toast the natural light. That was, that's the difference between, that's how much that natural light is actually doing to the shot, right? Now, I use natural light as fill all the time. I love it. I actually use it for the color on the background, like I said before. But when I wanna kill it, if he couldn't handle that, I would have to close out the room, right? 'Cause I knew it was filling. Why did I know that, people? (audience member speaks without mic) I'm a human light meter. (audience laughs) That's right. That's it. And I love the shot. I also, and so I actually like this whole shot. So I might shoot some with this, I think the shirt looks divine. (audience laughs) I might shoot this like this, and I might not even go for the kick. You like it, right? I think it's cool.
But let's, before we add our buddy and we start kicking him, let's do the angle on the light, and I wanna show you how it changes the face. Now, the coolest thing about this, if we could get the camera over here, can you, I want you to see when I change this. What's the coolest thing about this? Continuous light. So what do you do with it? I can see what I'm doing. I can place it exactly where I want. Whose responsibility it is put that light where it is? Okay, whose responsibility it is to put the, if it was natural light, whose responsibility is it to put that where it is? No, that's the big guy. (audience laughs) I have to move my subject at that stage of the game. I cannot take the sun and go like this, right? But my responsibility is to move my subject, in that case. In this case, I move the light. And I move the subject accordingly both, I wanna make sure he's exactly where I want him. I'm taking responsibility for that. And I think you guys are too worried about other things and about how you're gonna direct and about what settings your camera's on and all that stuff to not take the time to do this. What is this? Our what? It's our foundation. Exactly. This is the most important critical moment right now.