Live Shoot: Maximizing Window Light
So let's shoot, we ready?
That's what we're gonna do. So, we're gonna fire it up, and like I said, I shoot into Capture One, and I do have a promo code for that. It is of course, "SHABANG," and they just came out with Capture One 10. So if you wanna get that, you can fire it up. So John, can you come up here? Let's get a double v-flat situation going, we're gonna do my original setup guys. We're gonna do my original setup and I'm gonna go to Capture One, and we're gonna start shooting. So, Leandren, you can come first. Come on up here, let's get goin'. Alright guys, so, what do we do? We do butt on the windowsill situation, alright? Now, I don't know how well you're gonna see this because what I do is I create a little cocoon around my subject, so we gotta figure that out. But let's get this, let's get this over here. Alright, guys, this is a really simple setup that you can do at home that all you need are v-flats. I love v-flats, I go crazy with them, I have 'em all over my ...
studio, I go nuts, I got black on one side, white on another. Gimme this sucker, and I'm gonna create this, gimme this, gimme, let go of that for a second, I got it, yeah. So I like creating this cocoon of light around my subjects, so it's gonna be hard for you guys to see, but we're gonna build it out this way. Wow, you're tall and you got massive heels on.
I can take these off.
Holy smokes, okay, we're alright. Hold on, lemme see where you should be, if my butt is on the windowsill. Oh my god that light's gorgeous. Guys, natural light's what it's all about. You know what I'll do for now, I'll just let you see her so you're not miserable. (Leandren laughs) Alright, see how v-flats work? Look at that, you just do that and you got v-flats. So, we're gonna go with our settings, and so what I do since I wanna be on the windowsill. John, can you just move all that that way so I can move her a little bit? I usually like to be as my back to the window and the camera, why? (class participant speaking faintly) (metal clanging) I'm gonna get more juice outta the light the closer she gets to the window, right? The further is she to the window I'm gonna get less light on her. So I'm gonna, yeah, unplug my clicker. So what I'm gonna do is, and I'm gonna look, so let's look at this source of light, that's awesome! It's a little bit brighter over there than it is over there, isn't it?
So there's sun, there's some sorta reflection over there. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna turn the box a little bit this way to favor that, so here. Just stand over here for a second. You guys, how are we gonna do this and they see? How are they gonna do this so that they see, or am I just blockin' everybody and you'll see the pictures come up?
[Class Participant] Um, we'll see the pictures.
You'll be alright, alright. I just wanna make sure you guys got all this.
Well they can't see the screen either.
The screen is.
Yeah, the screen's blocked. This is only gonna happen for the natural, don't worry, this is, natural light section you guys get blocked off a little bit. Not gonna kill you the whole time. You guys just need to see the final product, you're fine. Everybody just relax, settle down. (class and John laughing) Alright, so it is simply a box of light, a glorious box of light. Alright, um, now, does it get any simpler than that? I built my business on this, that's it right there. That's how I started, I built my career on that. And then I adjusted from there. So we're gonna do two things, we're gonna shoot it without a reflector, then we're gonna shoot it with a reflector, and then we're gonna use the v-flats to create some different looks with her. (John whispering to Peter) So let's go with our settings as they currently are. Oh my gosh, the light's phenomenal. Alright, I'm just gonna do like, from the chest up. Guys, I'm not specifically takin' headshots today. We'll take some headshots and we'll do some portraits, we're doin' everything.
It's Leandren, right?
No I know Leandren, no.
The other model's name? Alright, let's just do a guess shot. I don't to test shots, I do guess shots, why? I got my settings, I'm gonna take my guess shot. Which is, and you guys aren't gonna see the screen or anything, so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna help you.
Aiden? Let's do this, just give them this, 'cause I don't need to see it because, at least you guys can see this, how's that? (all laughing) Hold that smile, I'll take that! There you go, okay, there's my guess shot. So same settings, it's hot right? It's hot because she's closer and why? I got some reflection around her, right? Right? So she's knee-deep in "double chinsville" for me but I love the smile. Jam your forehead out towards the camera, and chin down, there you go. Even though I'm teaching lighting, I gotta get a little bit of direction in there guys, come on, you know it's me. Do me a favor, flick your hair forward like this a little bit, that's it. And then hit the, let me, you guys, yeah, beautiful. Alright, imagine there's a hook in the top of your head and it's pulling you up to the ceiling, jam your forehead out towards me. Now what're we doin'? I'm gonna stay at f4 because I like it, and I'm gonna stay at 400, why not, so I'm just gonna go aperture. I'm gonna go 1/100, is that gonna be enough? Let me see. I'm gonna go 1/100, I'm gonna go nuts. Hold that right there, there you go, jam your forehead out a little bit more, chin down, get serious, what're you doing? There you go, good, (laughs) she's havin' a tough old time gettin' serious. There we go, so that's about where I like my light. Make sure your forehead comes out further than you think.
Alright? Now, that's no fill, right? No fill yet. Beautiful already right? Do I need fill? Do I need to get a little reflection under there? Do I need to bring in my buddy fill? I'm gonna do it, let me see something. I can go a little darker to get the skin tone in. There you go, get that chin down a little bit, there you go, good, hold that. Do me a favor, act like you're holdin' a six foot sub. Hold your hands like this, yeah like that. Let's watch the arms with the sub, jam your forehead out, pull the corners of your mouth toward your earlobes slightly, there you go, good chin up a little bit, good. Alright, relax your shoulders a little bit though. Let me go in a little bit, am I in at 70? Yeah, okay, now I'm gonna bring in, we're gonna do a white reflector. We're gonna go white. Now, if this was direct sunlight comin' through, I'd definitely stay white. I think since it's really diffused I can go silver. But I'm gonna try white, I'm gonna try silver, we might not see a huge difference 'cause this light is so soft. Guys, does everybody have a window in their life in this room, (class laughing) and over there? You all have a window somewhere? This is like, you can't beat this! This is how I did it, you can't beat this! Alright, relax those shoulders Leandren, stop foolin' around in there, come on, I'm workin' here. (all laughing) I'm kiddin'. Alright, hold on a second, let's get this at a level that's good. John, you with me?
Hold on, I might need you, I might not. She's taller than the average female and she's got the heels, what the, what are those, six inches?
No, they're four. What do you got, how do you walk around in public like that?
They're four, they're platform, you can walk.
Oh my gosh, okay. Alright, here we go, oh wow, lemme see. Can you guys see the difference? (all laughing) Studio audience cannot see the difference, but we can. And I got a tether cable underneath it actually, so I could tilt it at her and I don't have to hold it, which is cool 'cause I got it on a little, I got it on a tripod and on my Feisol head. And I can angle it and I can get it right in there. Lemme see, oh yeah. It's a subtle difference that I love, jam your forehead out, chin down, relax your arms a little bit lower, yeah like that. Turn your palms out, turn your palms in. Drop your hands down, go thumbs in the front pockets. Drop your elbows back, slouch your shoulders forward. Yeah, stay like that, relax now. Yeah, like that but leave your elbows back a little bit. There, I'm workin' on shoulders guys, it's really important when you're shootin' people up close. Okay good, just hit your bang again, just a little bit to the side, that's it, jam that forehead out.
Jam the forehead.
You're doin' great, yeah, the forehead has to be out.
Yeah, chin down, forehead out, but come out with the forehead, stop foolin' around. There you go, good, you gotta hit that bang again for me. Yeah, just go like this. Good, that's it, that's beautiful, jam the forehead out a little further, hold that. You're still a little, relax a bit. There, hold that, that's it, good. Good, hold on, let's compare the light on this one, get that forehead out further, what're you doin'? (Peter and Leandren laughing) There you go, hold that smile, I'll take it, beautiful. She's got a beautiful smile guys. So the way I direct is to, I kind of, I'm using, I kind of just play with them. I want her to smile, I want you to smile, I don't want you to feel like you can't smile, I want you to get serious. I think the smiles lend to, when you get serious it doesn't get flat, when you're workin' with your subject guys. Super cute, but as humans when we smile we go like this, everybody. So you need to really, imagine there's a hook in the top of your head, it's attached to a string, it's pulling you up like this, jam your forehead out, down, down, down, work your nostrils that way. Go that way, there you go, hold that, eyes here, forehead, actually. (both laughing)
You're so funny!
I'm funny, yeah. It's gorgeous, okay so. I'm looking, the area that we're looking to for the reflector would be what? If she, she doesn't have wrinkles on her face but if she did, I'd be looking in here and I'm looking under the chin, right? Let's see if, now, like I said, since we don't have direct sunlight, we gotta see if the silver's gonna do, oh my gosh, this silver's crankin', holy smokes. Now this is, the silver's crankin', watch the difference when you go silver. You gotta be careful with the silver, alright? The silver is like, you know, bonkin' 'em on the head, you gotta be careful, you can't just, everything is in subtlety, if you're gonna stay simple, it's gotta be subtle, everything, the next two days, subtle. So watch this, chin down a little bit, let's see, did we just get a, look at the difference. Subtle? Let's go back and forth. Wait, I gotta take one with the face, it's really subtle, right? But you see this area underneath the chin, it's now, there's very little shadow under there. And I've got the reflector as high as the frame. Like if, I'm shooting it so that it's way up there. Come forward a little bit up against the reflector, try that, hit this, that's it, that's gonna happen all day long.
Jam your forehead out, chin out a little bit, imagine I'm karate chopping you in the face and I'm gonna tilt you a little bit this way. I want you to do two shots straight and John, I want you to take the reflector out after the first shot. Don't change Leandren, that's great, hold that. Take the reflector out, hold that, put the reflector back in white, hold that. Hold it, good. Okay, let's compare those three, alright? And then I'm gonna give you guys a break from not seeing. Alright, that's basically what we were doin' and, pull that back over there for me, pull the, no just, don't touch that, pull that back over there. So that's essentially a box of light that you could create an entire business around 'cause I did it. That's it, and you don't need a huge, enormous window like this. Alright, let's compare these three. Okay, that's white, that's none, that's silver. White, none, silver, you see the change, do you see how subtle that--
Do I need to move the v-flats?
Don't move that.
What're you doin', stop foolin' around.
Can they see the screen?
No, we're good, can you see the screen?
[Class Participant] No.
Okay. (all laughing) Move it for them so that you can see the screen. I just want, I hope the viewers at home can see what's goin' on here. I'm gonna need that back though, alright? So, where were we, we were white, I shoulda done this in order, hold on, let me move 'em around. Alright, here we go. We got, why is it off the screen, my screen is too wide, hold on a second, everybody just relax, settle down. We're gonna get this goin' so that I can work with it. Alright, so, let's say we're gonna do it like this. Alright, so this is, that's none, that's white, that's silver, so this is, lemme go full screen. There we go. You get a lot more kick with the silver, look, none, white, silver.
[Class Participant] It's pretty nice.
It fills the eyes, it fills underneath, and it's subtle because we have really soft light, but Leandren come here. I want you guys to see the, stand right at that thing. Like, as if those things were around you, face me. Just, actually face them.
But not all the way, face like here. (all laughing) 'Cause you gotta, see the shadow underneath her chin? Watch how, look at the light changing, there, see that? And that's really, that's really, really soft light comin' through this window. This is my favorite light to shoot on the planet. Right, so if you do it with white, it's still, it's even more subtle. If that was direct and I put the silver up, all hell would break loose. Like, am I allowed to say that? (laughs) I just did. (laughs) Guys, I want you to understand the subtleties of light. I mean, I would never in direct light use this, unless I was doin' some fashion shoot and I wanted to abuse the model. (laughs) Hit 'em with like, some sort of silver reflector that's gonna blast them in the face with some sort of hot spot.