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Tony Corbell: Beauty Dishes, Softboxes, Reflectors

Lesson 18 from: SkillSet: Best of Lighting

Sue Bryce, Scott Robert Lim, Mike Fulton, Tony Corbell, Clay Blackmore, Mark Wallace, Zack Arias, Joey L, Felix Kunze, Joel Grimes

Tony Corbell: Beauty Dishes, Softboxes, Reflectors

Lesson 18 from: SkillSet: Best of Lighting

Sue Bryce, Scott Robert Lim, Mike Fulton, Tony Corbell, Clay Blackmore, Mark Wallace, Zack Arias, Joey L, Felix Kunze, Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

18. Tony Corbell: Beauty Dishes, Softboxes, Reflectors


Class Trailer

Sue & Felix: Shoot: Natural Light Portraits - Maisie


Sue & Felix: Shoot: Natural Light Portraits - Katie


Sue & Felix: Shoot: Natural Light Portraits - LaQuan


Sue & Felix: Shoot: Studio Light Portraits - Maisie


Tony Corbell: The Power of Light Part 1


Tony Corbell: The Power of Light Part 2


Tony Corbell: The Power of Light Part 3


Scott Robert Lim: Live Shoot - Natural Light


Lesson Info

Tony Corbell: Beauty Dishes, Softboxes, Reflectors

I think one of the things that we always have to keep in mind is that there's an awful lot of tools in our world there are so many skews at a camera store now when so many products that are available and guess what all of us wanted by every single thing that there is if you're like me your bag aholic I'd buy more camera bags than anybody I know I have a closet filled with camera bags and I'll keep one and after six months I hated I'm tired of it and I go buy another bag it's a it's a sickness let's just face it but with the lining tools and especially with all the light shaping stuff all of this stuff has a specific purpose you know I heard a guy one time say that the definition of a niche is a gap that needs to be filled and so there's an awful lot of niche or niche products in our industry and and they all have a really true reason that they were designed and many of you have found things that if I know any set inside and there's not one of those well then go make one I just saw a ne...

w product at a convention recently that's called lynn's elian z lends a hand and all it is is a velcro strap that goes around your zoom dial on your lens and it's a handled it six down it's about that long and it's real cushiony and rubberized and you can hold your camera so much more steady and you're zooming appear instead of one and it's just like it's remarkably easy to use and it's just this funky little fun inexpensive little product that is all my lenses now so there's these little great little products lighting wise they're soft boxes umbrellas there's beauty this is all the stuff that we're gonna be using this week and what's great about all of it is we need to know how to use it we just need to understand what it's capable of and sort of what the limitations are I heard for years people talking about beauty dishes and what a great life source of beauty dishes well I guess I was photographing people that didn't have skin that quite allowed a good exposure are good photograph with beauty dish and I didn't have very good results or maybe I didn't know what I was doing nowadays I love what I'm getting with a beauty dish um the shot that's directly behind me on this wall that's a that's a main light of a beauty dish and to strip lights coming forward with little soft boxes from that are giving me that chiseled feature on her jaw line and her cheekbones uh but you can see how enhance the cheekbones appear and that's because of the beauty dish that beauty dish in that particular incident was up high and coming down the face directly in line with her nose so you know if you think about some of the traditional patterns of light on the face uh we were always taught in the old days of traditional portrait photography that there there's the where the shadow from the nose touches the lips or the cheek makes a descript or of that pattern so there is a loop light where there's the shadows a little loop shadow there's a rembrandt light where that shadow is closed and makes a little triangle on the cheek of light there's butterfly which is what this is it's also known as paramount light from the hollywood studio glamor days but that butterfly light when in position correctly the nostrils of the lens put little shadows on her lip that almost looked like a butterfly wings you khun you can kind of see it there a little bit but it's a little bit off center there but all of those little things they're nice little tips to know uh and where you not just how use these tools but where you exactly place them uh and placement is pretty critical on some things and as a model turns and moves on during the middle of a fashion shoot especially it's kind of a challenge and you have to really give him good direction because they'll turn in such a way that you you miss that they're missing the picture there out of the light and you know one of the one of the old masters always told me if you're ever in doubt on what to do with the subject then then simply move their shoulders away from the light and bring their head back to the light if you just do that you'll have something you can sell you can buy houses and cars that's why this away I bring everything down to that kind of buy a house or a car if I do that well yeah ok then great then I'll turn the shoulders away bring her head back and and what that also does is that removes the head and shoulders from then on the same access which is so stiff so just haven't turned twist anything's funny when talking about the female form and we'll talk about this a lot because we're going to a lot of posing this week when you're photographing a woman especially acute all american looking woman the idea is anything that will bend bend it that's my that's tony's law of posing if it bends will bend it and then you can't go wrong so like the difference between the shoulders and the head there's a movement there so I've got to make that movement happened move anything that'll move and you'll always get a better shot so I wanted to talk a little bit about that can I just have a beauty dish right there yeah let me just talk about these tools a little bit the beauty dish they they have every all the manufacturers of these lights these days have pretty much all the tools that we talked about and theirs is all just a little bit different from one manufactured to the next but they're pretty much designed to do the same thing this is the white beauty dish and basically the light the light head mats on here this math on the head like this and then there's this this interrupter right here that sort of is a distributor cap if you will so light fires often their hits that inside of that cap and it bounces all the light back into this bell and this one's all this is a flat white bell so it all comes out the front pretty uniformly as opposed to the silver one which will come out a little bit more shining a little bit more speculum and maybe a half stop hotter but a little bit more of a shine to it which you can get away with if somebody's got matt skin somebody's got great makeup but if for john q public that walks off the street and comes into your studio you know normal people you wantto you want to give them a photograph that enhances them a little bit and it's a little bit more complimentary so so the white is a really good idea because in that case you're sort of you're sort of matting that down a little bit and it's not quite as sharply speculator if that matters uh but again imagine this light source on this picture right here and it is up high directly above camera position and tipped down a pretty good angle about like that and the shadow will tell you where that angle is one of the interesting things about that learning light as you as you start beginning your exploration into light control is that you will always know especially on people you'll always know how someone was photographed if you just look at the catch lights learn to live with those catch lights are speculator highlights in the eye now a speculum highlight is defined as a mirror image of whatever created the highlight okay so you want to have something lit look in the eyes and you'll see a reflection of the light source often you'll see a reflection of the photographer standing in front of the light source and you'll see that on a large sharp uh picture taken with a great camera especially on magazine covers where they really really spent a lot time and and has to think about the depth of field to your depth of field that your camera lens holes has a lot to do with the light distance to your subject and in the reflection will the depth of field be enough to follow from your life to the eye and then from the eye to the light source if you're shooting at five six you might lose the focus and you'll never see the person standing in front of the light source but if you're shooting it f sixteen f twenty two f thirty two your might and they might be sharp because light and focuses on a cumulative thing and if you ever photographed a bride looking in the mirror getting ready you know what I'm talking about because there is an accumulative focus distance you can have her sharp in the mirror but the reflection might be soft anything but they need to both be sharp then bump your light up higher and go down to f sixteen shooting again and they're both sharp because lights accumulative makes sense so anyway the beauty dish is a really great tool this is another one of those tools that we when used properly boy it can just come to life and we're going to talk about that here in just a second little bit further and again as with the small standard reflector head it comes with the grid and the grid you know once again instead of that like coming out following that path that life comes down it really narrows down to being like this so we're gonna we're gonna put this on chest it's kesse right we're gonna put this on tessa in just a few minutes and I want to talk about that a little bit further and we'll bring a light out here but first I want to talk about that soft box and let's just talk a little bit about the world of the soft box what I love about a soft box is there is a set distance uh from the head where you were this mouth on the back of a on the head of the strobe from there to the front of the soft box there's a set distance and those two moved together as one unit so if I need to make this life source appear larger I just bring by light source from my stand the life and the soft box all closer that makes it appear larger and as I back away it all becomes smaller but the distance from here to the head doesn't change okay so that's a good thing in most cases there are times when I wish I could make my life a little more speculum or a little bit less speculator without having to move it and so for that there's another tool we're gonna talk about that one next so there is a tool for everything and that's the beauty of this thing these things they're great these these these soft boxes were great and of course the speed rings when you work with a soft box they're made to spin so you can go from vertical horizontal so so the speed ring stay stationary and it rotates around that that ring so once you're in the set you can kind of determine how you want that toe here uh soft box is probably the most used like tool in our industry period from commercial work to portrait work on location work to seniors toe underclassmen to just about anything you can't hardly miss with the quality of light with soft box uh I use one as life primary source for most pictures uh unless I've got to do a big group then that's different then out then I'll go to the umbrellas to spread light everywhere and I'll use umbrellas for that but there's also other tools too that you can use and there's a lot of subtleties that we can introduce of how you control these lights for one thing if I was if I was to aim this life at a model here and maybe even skim it this way well the light on her is looking pretty good but my background is pretty dark well if I only have the one light I can like that by just skimming it just a little bit this way I'm still getting her with the soft box and now I've opened up the background now my backgrounds picked up a half stop alike so it's helping me a little bit there and that's how I did that one close over the black guy space aaron from santa fe one of my favorite pictures I don't know why maybe sisko will like him you know I think sometimes that happens sometimes pictures that I've taken that I really don't like but I love that subject in the picture and we had a great shoot together and so those are my son my favorite pictures I was one three year old girl I'll never forget her when my favorite sessions ever she was a little three older mom wanted a model and she was precious and I don't know the pictures were any good or not but that was the best section ever did and it was twenty years ago you know you think I got better but I don't know but any rate it is fun how your career will have been flow and your and your quality of your photography will ebb and flow and you'll find yourself in a rut and you'll find yourself doing the same thing over and over and over and you'll get kind of bored with your work and you gotta shake something up and do something different so you know I tell my student my workshop students when they come in how many of you work with soft boxes in the studio and all these hands go up great this week you can't use soft box what right you got to break out of the mold you gotta practice with other light shaping tools you know I had a good friend and I'm a pro here right we're all pros here I had a good friend that called me one time and said let's go practice with our wide angle lenses and I want what and she said no really this is a woman that used to put together and shoot all the l l bean catalog brilliant photographer but she wasn't as good with her wide angle lenses that she wanted to be and she was in town and she said let's go out and shoot tomorrow and work with our wide angle and practice and I said judy I'm a pro I don't practise with lenses sees well then you're an idiot pro you know you made the whole story about michael jordan and how he would goto practice when he's playing for chicago on our two ahead of our boss and shoot tens of thousands of free throws so like when he has to call it has to be called on to shoot a free throw at the end of a game to tie game or to win a game was not going to miss it because he's shot ten thousand of them that week are more he practiced non stop it's what it's second nature to him to suit that says think that free throw because he just practiced on hour ago or two hours ago and saint that thanks same thought process for her is go practice with your gear no your camera here how many of you can find your self timer in the dark can you find it in the dark not very many can know you're here no your meter no your camera but at the same time I will encourage you all to travel with your owner's manuals stick him in your bag there's room they'll go even the thick ones stick him in your bag and take him with you it's helpful but we'll talk about a lot more in depth we're going to use soft boxes a lot on how the relative distance of the size of the source relative to its distance to the subject and how all that changes but this is a really this is a real important tool um one of the other things that I want to talk about is uh let me grab the reflector yeah let me grab those guys thank you thank you I use these pop up reflectors all the time and they come in every shape there I've got gold and silver and white and translucent and all that stuff I never know what to call him so so you know the way I the way I do it I always say let me have one of those one of those things because I don't know what else to say said yeah that thing that pops up and you know they're disposable right you guys know that because you can't ever pulled him back down so you'd have thrown more angle but buy a new one it's kind of the way that works but these were really these were really helpful and and the especially the translucent won a lot people don't recognize the power of what this is and with nothing more than one life and this we're going to make the light source look like four this week just with this this silly little thing that you can make with a wooden frame or a pvc pipe frame with a with a bed sheet taped to it you can make one of these yourself and they're great because they give you so much control because I can control the distance of my light to this and the distance of both to my subject so here's my life here's my subject and here's my trans loose in the middle and I can move this independently where I can't do that with the soft box so I even haven't added element of control so for me those were those were all big big steps ok hope that makes some sense um so we're going to use this extensively the reflectors and what's interesting about the reflectors gold reflectors got real popular a few years ago and I never was a big fan of gold reflectors I won't put gold on a subject space I will put gold in their hair on the shoulders on their waste on the back of their legs highlighting and accenting but I don't use gold on the face I'm just really funny about that I don't know why but it doesn't work for me but I do know that with the with the way these remain these just zip off and you can spin him around so I've got a black side hand I've got a soft gold side as well and so you just take this off all the way around and in reverse and put it back on so you've got called six and ones so you've got all these different variations and all these options in fact let me spend this around in fact maybe I could get you that formula quick would you just pop this guy flip it around so this side is out you probably done that before and those things around where the zipper's come together is always a little hole that's where that's trapped girls nobody's figured out what the hole was for weight doesn't slip around on you while you're chasing it trying to get to zip up but they work real well but again so so when you're using a reflector and you're working with one light nurse and things that are very very clear where it's easy to make some mistakes and I want to show you some things that I learned early on with reflectors that uh well identify that every assistant the world tries to do the exact same thing and it's usually the opposite of what you need him to do you know most most assistance when you say can you describe that reflector they almost will always walk up like this and this is not what you wanted to do I don't need them this is the last place I need him you know it's almost always appear appear or appear over here where I need this never down below and that's just on automatic reaction from assistance

Class Materials

Free Downloads

Studio Set Up - Learn to Light

Ratings and Reviews

Vincent Duke

I am pretty new to Creative Live and this is my first purchase so for me I am loving this! So many good gems of information and having some of the repeated content from different speakers with different perspectives really helps drill in these concepts. I say for anyone who's looking for an great all around drill it into your head lighting bootcamp this is a winner. But if you're like the others here and have purchased videos from these authors before then you will probably want to look elsewhere as this is a bundle of highlights from previous sessions on lighting.


If you’re just starting out with photographic lighting (especially studio lighting), this set is a steal. I already had the set by Sue Bryce and Felix Kunze, and I’ve bought all of Joel Grimes’ tutorials. Since I’ve watched them recently, I didn’t watch their videos again. If you’re into commercial photography OR darker moods and low-key lighting, anything by Joel Grimes is well worth buying and watching. If you’re into glamour portraiture, everything by Sue Bryce is worth buying and watching (although I haven’t been able to acquire all of her tutorials yet). However, the videos by Sue and Felix are not where I would begin. The two videos by Joel Grimes in this set cover aspects of lighting that aren’t often discussed. However, most of his knowledge of lighting (from his other sets) isn’t covered in this set. If you’re thinking about going into commercial photography, Zack Arias’ discussion of how to gear up to open a commercial studio is a must-see (as are Joel Grimes’ two sets on commercial photography, neither of which is represented in this bundle). I agree with virtually everything Zack said. Although there are a couple of areas where I might have gone a bit deeper than he did in this video, it’s a much-needed reality check – with great advice before you start spending money on equipment to start a photography business – and he gives a LOT of great advice. While his lighting style and mine are very different, his thoughts on equipment for a startup photography studio (or just beginning to learn studio lighting) are right on target. (Zack’s and Joel’s videos on the business of commercial photography cover different areas, and there is very little overlap between them.) One of the reasons why I bought this set was the lighting wisdom of Tony Corbell. Tony is the closest thing to the late Dean Collins at this time (I have all of Dean’s videos on VHS tapes AND DVDs), and Tony holds nothing back. Great stuff! Joey L covers material that I’ve seen covered in many other tutorials (on CreativeLive and elsewhere), BUT he gives a MUCH clearer explanation of why he does certain things than I’ve seen elsewhere. For example, he gives more information about feathering light than I’ve ever seen in a video, and few people besides Joey and Joel Grimes (but not in Joel’s videos in this set) give as good an explanation of WHY they’re changing the position of a light by two inches. Clay Blackmore was a protégé of the late Monte Zucker, and he’s as close as we can get to learning from Monte (aka the master) these days. I have Monte’s VHS tapes, but they’re worn out, and there’s nothing to play them on. While they apparently were also issued as DVDs, the sites I’ve found that are supposed to have them all lead to 404 (page not found) errors. Clay covers both posing and lighting – and how to fit the lighting to the pose – in great detail. I haven’t watched any of the videos on speedlights. I still have about a dozen Vivitar 283’s, 285 HV’s and 4600’s that I used in combination during my photojournalism years (back in the film days), but you’re much more likely to see me lugging 1,000-watt second strobes outdoors to overpower the sun than using speedlights in studio (or on location) these days. I’ve seen some of Roberto Valenzuela’s work and tutorials, and I’d say he is the Joe McNally or David Hobby of wedding photography at this point in time. He knows his stuff. One or two of the videos are slightly dated in terms of the equipment being used, but that doesn’t make the information about lighting less valuable. Equipment may change, but the principles of lighting, the things that determine the quality of light, and the elements of “good lighting” have changed very little if at all since the days of the Dutch Old Masters painters. There’s a lot of great lighting information in this bundle for the price.

Student Work