Skip to main content

photo & video

Small Changes, Big Results

Lesson 5 of 5

Think, Light, Change Light

Roberto Valenzuela

Small Changes, Big Results

Roberto Valenzuela

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

5. Think, Light, Change Light

Lesson Info

Think, Light, Change Light

The next one is about making changes in lighting so you have cats here here for example you see you can't can you let me see alright guys you don't have to grab the mike and just answer in your head the lighting on katia is even you agree? So if it's even to me is probably not going to work even if it's an older person and you want to even them out you still want to put more lighting one side then the other okay so if I had no lights nothing I would probably pull her to the side of that wall because there's a little bit of reflective light on that side so catty could you move this way? Let me see something here stand right here now come this stand this way to bring your face close to this uh bring your chin this way. Okay, good let me take a quick picture me switch to the photo guys switch to the photos switch to the photos I'm also going to remove this thing I'm going to go toe my flash john, can I borrow you for a second? Let's grab this guy actually you know what? Can you come back ...

over here for a second? Let me we have you sit there butcher put your button in your back against this a little bit more yeah arch your back again now check this out if I put her arm to high took here would that be too high so it's something you don't have to go there right like go on put your arm here like it just looks too high what would be the one way to fix that she could rest her head on her head so now she could actually go like this and you fixed it so there's a solution for things right now her face is is late pretty flat so I would make a small change this way so john let's go over here thank you um remove this I could do what most people do is increase my eyes so to six billion right and take the photo and force crappy light to look okay in the camera don't do that as photographers we should light it should be sacred you should always work with the best life possible don't go to six quadrillion eso because the light's not good I'm gonna go to manual flash here john I'm gonna have you basically before we even do that won't take a photo for real quick and show everybody what he looks like so go ahead and uh yeah rest your hand there normally now tio let me try this again you stay like that you're nice, beautiful bring your chin this way there now move your eye stores may now bring your chin up I don't want to shoot from this angle because it's too much elbow right I want to shoot from here that looks nice um keep your back straight but lean against the couch more if you can now it looks a lot better small change okay I don't have to worry about me losing the cap because this color's contrast each other that brand on her purple tells me this is the couch and that's her address I don't have to worry about it if this was a black couch I wouldn't do that because then he makes her look bigger biggles of the colors all right let's take a quick picture andi it's gonna look I'm gonna have to go I s o one thousand two hundred fifty because the light's terrible sorry that's not the shot uh let's take a look at that not that one the next one okay let me go let me be even increased my eye yourself to three thousand two hundred I never should like this do you know what my maximum I have so I ever uses four hundred that's this high higher ago um indoors in receptions when it's I may go to eight hundred but I never in a portrait shoot I'm always the one hundred one hundred alright in the book that I'm writing the picture perfect lighting I have a charge assess yours changed the light to your settings don't change the settings to the light so I set my settings to a certain settings like I s so one hundred on then I changed the light I increased light or whatever to make sure that those settings making me that exposure to be a good exposure. Okay, all right. So I'm gonna take a quick picture here. Very nice. Okay, now, it's, nice and bright. Let's, take a look at that one. Okay, now what I wanna do is increase the amount of light on one side that's the small change. All right, john let's, go ahead. And the first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go to channel one. I'm gonna make sure that I'm on channel one and that that's on channel one at every worship I teach everybody's in channel one on the other flashes in channel twenty million like this flashes have to match general juan slave a good it works. I'm going to go to my flash endings. I'm gonna go to my group settings. I'm gonna change john that's a right it's on a group. Yes, I'm gonna change my group to manual because I want a little kiss of light. I don't want t l to try to give me an eighteen percent very exposure I want just a kiss of light so I'm gonna go down and I want to go toe one one hundred and twenty eighth flash power so just a little kick stay like that. But what the hell you trying to offend you or not yet? If used so jonah's put that if you sir really close to her face whether on here, let's put that flash a little farther away give her more like cliff. There is why I'm going further away with the lightest because when the light comes out I want the light to spread on used all the diffuser. Now, guys, what if you're a natural life photographer? This is a window it's a window. The photons that come from a window or from the sun are the same photons the come from flash there's no such thing as a natural life photographer because you're using light light is light okay, if you're a natural life photographer in situations like this, you're screwed. But if you're not if you if you just think I'm a photographer I used light however I use light you can give her a kick of light we need a window. Natural life photographers love window light and I do too. By the way, this is the window oh my gosh, we have a window let's go ahead and do that we're gonna put the window right where we want it that's the beauty off not calling yourself a natural life photography or supernatural I have no problem with that. My problem is your limitations as an artist not to use tools to make your vision come to life that's my problem with it I know it's easier to call yourself that so you don't have to worry about all these technical channels and groups and all that but if you just take the time to learn it you realized that natural light and flashlight look exactly the same you know I'm gonna switch this to black and white so I could see my lighting properly on I want to take my exposure one more time except now I'm gonna change my eyes so two, eight hundred and I'm gonna take a test shot to see what it looks like a pretty good for a quick test on manual take a look at that now we want I want more light, more light on this I don't that size I'm gonna make a small change to give him more from mysterious look so what I'm gonna do now? I want more power on one side so I'm going to go to my flash power and I'm going to go to one thirty seconds two more stops of light okay all right let's bring this really close closer even on then angle it like that now this should come from here like that you see explain his arched looks good now I'm gonna increase my aperture a little bit what that shot tilt your head a little bit like that okay we have some funny shadows because of john's arm right there but will take care of that later now we're starting to add more light here is going is getting darker here I'm going to change my my aperture too to a different toe a higher aptitude and tried again you know where jonas see if we can get your arms out of out of the shadow there. Um well let's try very put the flash in this direction let's try this like that you know what let's? Assume the flash head so it doesn't belong in a john so let's go to this soon and we're going to go to one hundred thirty five strike again all right let's try that in this way a little bit more beautiful can't just adding more light on now the export the exposure on the background with a little bit dark what I'm doing there is as I start to see the changes okay I have too much too much light on her face I just lower the flash I want more ambiance I just launch slow down the shutter speed until the flash and window light look identical something sense here's what I here's gonna go through this a little faster so, like what I did with katia is what I did with my niece on that shoot. And this is what I got putting a flash tto bring her out off the photograph. Had I not done that, she just would have been pretty dark blood. But the life was being blocked by all of these things. By the way, this's, the organic photograph out of the camera. I changed the color white balance to make it look blue on the flash. Always help. Fifty five hundred. So it has a warmer tone to it. This is the other one where you talk about small changes to create emotion. Um, can can I borrow you for a second? Less try. Can you lay down here? Like, put your feet there, your body there, cross your legs over archer lumbar good. Uh, even more good. If you wanted to catch him emotion, you would make small changes, so basically, I would make her eyes look somewhere down and her chin would be down because chin down means more emotion. So go ahead and rest your head back. Attack. Bring your eyes. Keep your eyes on me for a second. Bring that shoulder down, do not get it, compete with head, remember that, uh, bring your see what I'm doing right now is imagining the post before I even tell her what to do so I can actually, you can do that too. If you practice, you can see the whole post change in your head. Okay, um going on? Forget me and look straight that way. Now bring your chin one inch towards me now. One inch down. Now look at look there filled your head back. A one inch like that that's it actually no sorry. Tilt your head forward. More, more, more, more that's it that's more emotional than hurt with her head chin up wouldn't be as good chain down. Looks more emotional. This has more of a feeling off. Maybe she thought she could be thinking that kind of thing. Same thing with my niece here. Okay, teach chin down. Eyes not at me. It looks like she's really concentrating before performance that's all it is when I move a little faster here. This is small changes big. This is ah, small and big on change of scenery. I know it is the thank you. I know it is the school little lights going like this one. I can replicate them the small change, big impact here was on the shadow. This photo took me twenty times to get it right because the shadow kept being in the wrong place I needed the shadow to know be in the way of this shadow here so we just kept doing it until that shadow was right um if you're watching at home this will be very useful to you small changes in lighting here's natural light you have a nice photo of a beautiful model there is no thing toe not there's no diffuser reflector this is what came out of it. It looks very harsh. Okay, but uh see where's my diffuser hey, john, can I borrow your show? You cut your hear canteen when I put you in this chair. Wait here. If you make small changes to your diffuser angle, you're going to care about twice as much light with the same sun. Okay, so here's what? I was gonna show you what I'm going to show you when the reflector is parallel to the to the floor. So if you do this to defuse the sun you're going to get the sun is going to come hit the race here on spread light from above down into her okay, you don't want unnecessary because the eye sockets are still deeper than the face, so what happens is this entire part of her body is actually losing potential good light source what you're gonna do it turned her body towards the sun so let's pretend that that white blanket is the sun is over there then this guy has to go at an angle towards the sun on your camera should barely clear the bottom with the diffuser so let me show you some examples go ahead and general room with it for a second here's the reflector when you see this again here's the reflective farther away sometimes I see people do this they have a model and they put that reflect the future like right here why is this not a good idea? Don't answer that we don't have time it's not a good idea because the light is coming hitting this by the time this reaches her you lost a bunch of power. Okay, if you put the light here you gain a lot more power because the sun comes makes this the light source and then the license is a lot closer to her. So check out the difference between this and that reflect the farther away reflector closer pretty big change. I mean pretty big difference in a small change. Now we tell the diffuser so johnny see that again? So you put a tail to the future from here on you tilted towards the sun. Okay, when you get this, you get this one the reflector farther away with a tilt now look at this reflector closer with a tilt all of these guys were done in the same setup okay, so check this out you go from this do this with the same diffuser okay, next um this is nice but I could add more life and make it more dramatic that's the small change it's too flat for me so I put a light a strobe on charlie through the diffuser or mean throughout the future and this is a setup it's quite the strobe so you have this diffused is going to hit her face and then this is the final four on that sparkle in the eye is what I want. Okay, so you start out with that you end with that in about one minute just by switching a little bit of changes. Does this help you guys is a good stuffing it's about those taken at an extra step just taking the extra step. You know what else I'm gonna go out of these for a little bit? Yeah, I'm going to show you this. This is important, john let's do this guys when you use a reflector don't I shouldn't say don't because it's photographer you can do whatever you want but avoid throwing the reflectors light right into the subject again so for example let me say this thing actually let's use that reflected him let's say the son is here the sun is directly behind her right that means that she's getting laid by the sun in the back of her head but she's clean off light in front of her face what photographers do sometimes is they grab the reflector remember reflectors are made out of like a mirror stew kind of service on day actually put a reflector right in front of the sun you are throwing the sun into her face is not gonna look good so what you want to do instead is to put it in put terrain open shade turn her away from the sun it's okay, I got you you don't weigh much then I've been working out too so it's like you know sorry that's on the sun basically glances the reflector glances it and then you throw you throw the light at an angle from the sun so it should be like this ok, the sun is here the reflector gets thrown in a different direction that is going to improve dramatically the beautiful forest is gonna look like no reflector was used but it's going to look like the people glow okay, do you have one of the most voted on questions? Was is there a quick one two three type mantra proposing that we should automatically go teo and then start doing these small tweaks from there in the first thing is changed the weight distribution to something that's not standing in both feet second don't necessarily stand in front of your subject directly in front of them all the time maybe if their subject is here maybe move that maybe move yourself to this position okay um and third I would try to imagine what is the purpose of the photo to see what context that pose has once the contact has been achieved that's it she could be resting she could be sitting on a lounge she could be waiting for someone to come you can come up with whatever excuse to make the post look natural but doing that crazy stuff with the posters like this and she's kind of doing all the star for it's just it's posing without any meaning makes sense it just posting with nothing behind it. Um anyway you guys really knowing you guys are going to stay you know questions for us you have one question nobody has questions. Yes, one person think god has a question well, thinking about fashion world imposing in the fashion world you do see a lot of crazy posing. So how do you balance? This is why I want you guys to toe ask questions because that's a good one in fashion photography posing doesn't matter neither neither those lighting for the most part that when I do fashion photos the art director person you're supposed to actually come up with the idea off the shoot that's what you're supposed to do with the passion of your own is early the photographer you just kind of the idea guy, okay, if the idea is you're shooting for gas genes, if the idea is to do this rough, rugged lighting that it's like in the beach and you don't care, then the lighting really doesn't matter. The post also doesn't matter. She could be can you just go like this for a second? She could be like that and that will be the post, because when you're driving, you see the billboard, if the photo looks like she's hurting or she looks like she's having an issue, maybe she's gonna throw up or something like, just like, right? She looks like something that compels you to look at the billboard that's. The goal of fashion photography is to make sure that when you're driving and you passed through a thousand billboards that when did you shot catches your viewer's attention? Okay, however, a lot of fashion photos require toe that they actually wanted to no good, not every ford or not every photo shoot is extreme, and that means, you know you need to know howto make I don't make small adjustments, you know those small adjustments make a really big difference on if you were to ever come with me on a fashion shoot you will see me on the art director and the other person like that all the four people who are watching over my shoulder there like because it could you move your nail one millimeter down just one millimetre let everybody let's get this one hair out of the way like it's seriously like that okay, it's almost ridiculous but if you're shooting portrait or weddings high school seniors, children, families, everybody's back and spine should be totally straight then that that will make him look engaged. They should have um their weight should be distributed to one side or the other that will make him look more fluid on if you're shooting a single person or a couple, try to create a feeling that why? Why are they doing what they're doing? Don't just put have them in front and case and have them in front and have him sleep on each other's foreheads like let's raise the level a little bit let's raise the level a little bit uh my friends are shootout eddie this is free by the way, this is nothing more than free they put together opposing died a business guide our marketing guide on how to use facebook guide you guys should all be downloading these guys these are for free on they do they are a phenomenal they spend like seventy hours creating each of these I think it will be very helpful if you're watching at home. You spend no money and you get to learn a ton in this kind of with this kind of guides. With that being said, I wanted to thank everyone a creative life for inviting me and cannot for hosting on all of you for coming. I hope you remember that. Push yourself a little bit before you push the shutter button, try to ask yourself, what is the one thing I can do that other photographers brother wouldn't think off what compels you and take a foot off? What compels you on ly be selective on. Don't raise your eye risotto six. Sixty million try to create better lighting. I'm being respect the light like respect, the lighting as a photographer. Respect the light. If he lights no good, make it better. Don't raise your s o and with that, thank you guys so much for coming.

Class Description

You can make a big impact on your final images by making a few small changes while shooting. Learn how it is done in, Small Changes, Big Results with Roberto Valenzuela.

In this class, you’ll learn tricks and techniques for getting an incredible image without relying on extensive retouching. You’ll get to watch Roberto at work as he discusses what he looks for in-camera and the eye he brings to lighting, posing, and framing. He’ll demonstrate how minor adjustments to each of these elements can really make an image pop.

Get better at getting it right the first time in, Small Changes, Big Results with Roberto Valenzuela.  

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I can always depend on Roberto Valenzuela to come up with great content. This short lesson really got to the essence of making those small adjustments in posing and lighting that refine your photo. He shows what bringing creativity and not settling for the usual can make on your photography. I just watched Robert Scott Lim in Real World Lighting: Advanced Techniques and he was saying something similar and showing how making small changes to refine the shadows in your photo can take your photo from ordinary to world class. Roberto is one of favorite photographers and he always get to the point and I don't get the feeling he is saying things just to fill up time, brag about himself, or mainly to sell you on buying his gear or whatever. He is true generous teacher.

a Creativelive Student

It is a short but nice course full of tips to improve my photography. Very basic info but valuable for sure

Rafael Santiago

Nice short course on not overthinking and keeping things simple.