Portrait Lighting Q&A


Speedlights 101


Lesson Info

Portrait Lighting Q&A

So I'm sure we have questions oh plenty on this stuff we sure dio photo joe from australia austria sorry asks mark you always proceed in that order main kicker background or do you sometimes light the background before adjusting the kicker light so repeat that do you always have that same order main kicker background or do you sometimes mix it up? I do sometimes makes it up so the sometimes I would mix it up if I'm trying to make sure that I am capturing like a storefront or you know, if there was something that was very, very important to have in that in that portrait let's say it's a corporate photo that needs to be, you know, ceo in front of his place and there's the office and stuff I need to first make sure that I'm capturing the ambient light so what we did on this one actually we didn't start with the key bite we started with the ambient light, so we started one step before that and we said, hey, we need to drop all that down sometimes you want to include that in an environmenta...

l a portrait so if we needed for example, to include this television in this background I'd start there and figure out what do I have to have to properly expose this television because it's emitting light and then I would match that with my key light and then build from the key to the next thing. So there are definitely times that there are differences for that question from mary from costa rica can use the grid to make a grady in or does it only give around effect? And then other people were asking about if he could use a snoot in this case instead of a grid we can we'll use this newton john's going to grab a snoot, and then what we'll do is we'll use this newt with sarah and nothing else because I think that's pretty cool, so I'm gonna do is get rid of this, and then I'll show you what a snooty is the those need to be updated that's from saying so I'm trying to give secret signals to kelsey and that wasn't working. So so what we'll do is we'll use this thiss grid here, I'm in this newt, and what it will do is give us a very isolated, um, a beam of light. This is one of the things I loved to do was stick this on my flash, and this is a robe. You this is one of those road flash blender blenders, vendors, and they have it on backwards, so we use this earlier, too. Bounce the light to give a really nice soft phil we put a diffusion panel on this exact same thing to create that soft box now what we're doing is we're wrapping this around onto itself there's little velcro right here hook and loop enclosure sorry brand names um and now we have that and it will be a snooze on my anthem put this down just a little bit there we go okay thing is really cool it's cool all right, so what we're going to do here is I'm going to have a voice activated light stand help me out so that's you john we'll see if we can get this to come off of the stand we do something wacky to put their egos soon okay, so here you go I'll grab that you hold that we'll get rid of this see how it gets very, very small and here so sarah, I want you to stand up you're gonna be back here right here if we can turn those off okay, so let's get this kelsey and it will move this out of the way. All right, so what I want to do is I wanna have a very isolated sarah that's what I want isolated sarah so john, I want you to come back here we're gonna have you on axis as much as possible and we're gonna try to do is trigger this from here and also I'm gonna put this just on teaching emma to start with was gonna put it on t m o from changing my mood back to normal tt theo there we go we're gonna let the ninja do its thing and we'll shoot this at two hundred of a second and I start with f six point three in this we need to lower that just a little bit john shooting a little bit high and looked right at me sara there we go. Beautiful focusing on re composing, taking a shot and you can see how you can really control this like doesn't have a lot of fade off. It just sort of is there has a really hard, hard light and the reason it's hard light is because it's hard light is a very small light source and we can control where that shadow falls so if we're gonna bring you back here and then you're gonna take your hand there right above the linens fire right about like that? Okay, so yeah there it's always fun to do have a corner cello assisting it's really cool. Okay, so this one we didn't get it exactly right. I had a little bit to the right, but the important thing is, look for the shadow happen to the shadow, so if you can, the shadow knows for that one more time and it's going to be to the left, I think, and this is one of the things with speed lights that sort of fun is trying to figure out where the light is so there's one other thing you can do? Yes, and so this is what we'll do is we'll point this at the camera during a pointed right at you so you can actually see this, and I'll take that right off like that. So I have the depth of field preview button on my cameras, this little bundle of the lens, and when I pushed that it makes this flash actually turn on for a while, so you've probably done this with your flash on your camera. You've bumped the button and it's gone when you're like, what is going on, but that is the modeling light, so if we had no video lights here, it was really dark, and we're trying to figure out where the light was falling, then I could just push that button. It activates the flash to fire just a little bit, and this works on canon, nikon, sony, whatever. So on the five d mark to that depth of field preview button is right here when I push it. It makes that light come on for just a little bit you can try this stick your flash on your camera push that button and it's going to go so we have let me borrow your camera on this guy here it has it's one of these guys one of these buttons right here in the front simply that's your dipped the field preview button it will do that want to try and see if it works on this flash may or may not it does check that out so that's a nikon and sb six hundred you've got a five d mark three with a flash on it somebody grabbed this I'll just show you this works with cameras oh plenty so use turn this on my flashes on depth of field preview button down here on that side if I push it same thing so you get the idea pushing that allows you to see what's going on our video lights air really really bright so you can't see that when we're doing this okay let's ask some questions I mean let's answer some questions okay. Um sam cox from colorado ass do you often or ever make these letting adjustments before your modeler client arrives or do you work from some predetermined lighting diagram recipes or is it on the fly? I have a uh I have a um me refresh yes yes I almost always have my lighting set up before my subject arrives almost always and so not every time but almost always it depends on what I'm shooting so if I am shooting a um somebody has is short on time for example a shot a couple of years ago I shot a bunch of doctors and doctors are really busy and so the appointment was to go to a doctor's office and I think we shot ten portrait something like that and I had about three minutes per doctor it's about it about three minutes there's no way you have time to do that so we got to the doctor's office early said everything um I had an assistant there erin was there who was on my last creative life so aaron helped with this and I used her as the the subject we dialed in all of the lighting and then once those doctors rolled in we had a little x on the floor they just stood there click click and out the door and so it was we didn't even need three minutes it was about thirty seconds and so there are times definitely where you'll want to bake in that lighting if I'm doing something that's more of a a commercial jobs specifically doing some fashion work or an advertising campaign something like that um so michael booth he's down there in the frame that guy so he was an art director for a company that we worked for before he worked for us and we did product photography for him or catalog work. He was really specific about the kind of style that he wanted in a lot of our directors, or like this, and so we would go back and forth with sample photos and ideas and tara pictures of magazines and all kinds of stuff, and then sort of this figure out the style of lighting that we want build sets, it's a trip, and then once that was done normally, what we do is we'll bring in a beginner model, and the translation is something doesn't cost a lot of money, so bring in a person to come in and stand in why we build all of the lights and everything around that person takes a test, you to go back to the art department, it's, a sort of an intuitive process to make sure everything is right, and the reason is normally, when we're shooting something like that, we're gonna be in a studio that costs a lot of money, so we have p a s the production assistance, we have hair and makeup artists, we have all kinds of stuff in the dollars per minute it are really, they start to grow quite a bit, and so we can't afford to do that, so we set everything up in advance, so that kind of stuff, yes. If I am asked hey, I need to shoot a senior portrait of my niece and we want to shoot it at the whatever park then no I'm going to set that up at the park where I'm there so if I can yes and in addition to that I have some lighting sit ups that I've designed so I probably have forty different lighting set ups that I've designed based on different looks and so if somebody says hey I won't really soft light that's high contrast that can be shot on a solid background like oh yeah is this one that we shot with marlo that's what one used and I go through a little book I'm like here's the lighting set up what do you think? Yes that's way want um and so I've got those go twos um we have there's one of our digital photography one on one videos on youtube it's episode eleven that goes through things seven of those lighting set ups and then on our studio lighting essentials dvd there's uh I think twenty of those lighting set ups and so yeah, I got a much a long answer wasn't going out of information a lot of information okay, we have two people sean gold and rodeo photo who would like to know when shooting portrait's if you ever closed down an umbrella to make like a poor man soft box do you recommend that I like to shoot through today that's what I call him a poor man soft box is a shoot through umbrella and so let me see if we can do is shoot through umbrella really fast I've got one right here I know I keep exploding these umbrellas so this one's mark kelsey do we have one that's not broken you know I mean it's okay just bring one out that's not broken and I'll take it apart so I can show how to do it but you don't ever close it down all right? I don't do this thing like you know, I've seen people do that in anything so no because its just the umbrellas that we have don't really do that very well ok but no yeah so don't do I want to show how to do so you wanna shoot through umbrella there's a little he's old tabs right here has come off on the edge and just go around and take each one of those off and then finally it's all off and then you can just unscrew the middle part right here and when you do that it comes off and that's what a shoot through umbrella looks like and that's what we're doing what we've done is we've used are so much that we've ripped the edges of a couple of evidently two of them this weekend so but they're these air really old very old like me okay, we have time for two more questions and then I want to show some more port I want to show a sheet through umbrella and some other things but go ahead can I just follow up with mary from costa rica? I had asked can you use a grid to make a grady in or does it only give around fell yeah, so let me show you what the grids do so sarah, you can have a seat and I'll show you this modifier were get where did they put that grid I'm going to use this as the grid so a great in across to get like, light to dark let me show you my way of doing that first let's talk about the grid this is, uh you know what degree grid this is okay, this is a grid less sure which one it is. I'll pop it out here so these come in different degrees you can have five degrees, ten degrees, twenty degrees and depending on that, you get more or less spread. And so this one right here is a twenty five degree grid, so we'll start with that and it just sort of goes inside this holder here scree cool, you sort of pops in there, it pops in their here goes right and we didn't throw this on our flash like this it's cool all right, so what we're going to do here is show you what a grid will do in the background, so we're going to take the model out of the equation. We're just going to show you what this grid will do, so let me do this really fast, so this is going to be at this is just on put it on manual mood, because if I don't, we're not going to be all see consistent, light, so right now I will take this, take it off my slave mode, which it was on it takes just a second here, there we go, sometimes you have to push and hold for a bit, okay? Now put it on manual it so he's having a quarter power, and we will be firing this into the wall. So if I have this on access, I'll take my take my camera here will sort of put it out here, and we were going to shoot this guy sure, I have it all focused up did not fire doesn't see can I get a plus three? Then we're going to shoot it with radios instead of this, so we know it fires or fortunate and that we can just say, oh, give me a plus three, so you're not gonna be able to do that, so what will you know, whatever you have, you'll have to learn the tricks of what will work and what won't work and howto get around that stuff so um okay, so if this is on axis like we had it originally and I take a shot, what we're going to get here is a round just around light that's it and it'll fall off to the edge but I think what you're trying to do is have bright here and ingredient this way I think that's what we're going for and the question I mean, I read into it so josh, I want to know where you are going to be where you are so I'm gonna take this to the side here and see what happens when I skim this light on the background I'll go ahead and take a picture there when I skim the light, you'll see that it does not give us the grady and you're looking for it gives us a starting point, but that's still got a pretty big hot spot and you can also see that I am this is about ten, fifteen, twenty feet, something like that, so unless you have some space, you're going to run out of room really quickly trying to do this with the grid so what I would recommend doing instead of using a grid is use a soft box or an umbrella so we have a normal umbrella we're gonna try and normal umbrella and this will work a little bit better ok got it thank you stick this guy on here all right uh then move this around light modifiers could be fun he's trying to figure out which modifier does what so now we have this umbrella here you see how much we can see no much okay and we're getting a shadow based on the lamp there so that would go away but you could see that the umbrella doesn't much better job of creating ingredient so if we had no new lamps so we'll have that lamp go away there that's going to go away thank you well actually focus this time good yeah you could see that we're getting a much better grady int from this so uh bright too dark much much better okay so it depends on what you want to do the grids I almost never used I think I never use those for ingredients but um umbrellas were great the other thing a soft box will do is instead of having this hot spot right here you have a maury even distribution of light so you can do that for ingredient as well ok let's do a couple more questions okay let's do that let's find a good one for you mark ok so chippy dee would like to know why don't you just always these radio traders why do you go back to the line of sight for some of the demos are I do always use radio treatment that's I thought, yeah, I do always use radio triggers, but we're trying to make sure that we teach to this many people as possible because nobody has miniatures. So I used radio triggers for years. I mean, a line of sight. For years I did use those because I was shooting before pocket wizards existed, so I was using those and sing cables and all that kind of stuff. Um and when I learned of pocket wizards and saw what they could do this when I made the jump, so yeah, as soon as I discovered the existed that's when I started using radio triggers and that was around, I think the plus was out at that time, something like that. So yes, using speed lights with your your pocket wizards, you just said all the speed lights to slave no, if I'm using pocket was arrested tio master, I mean, tio manual mode, right? But but I meant your, um the speed lights themselves, you know, you have no, they have a saint cable. They have a little sink port it's triggered by the same port on the side, okay, it's a physical switch, so you need a pocket, was it for each yes, he's like for every speed light, you have to have a pocket lizard, ok, so does it work like speed or whatever the master and the rest of slave and it can hits him? All right, so this is a radio right when I said this to slave it's looking for light to trigger it right? And so that functionality doesn't doesn't communicate with that raid works when you using the other, the actual can correct, correct, yeah, so when you're using radios you have already used in the studio because the studio, you know, we need to one right it's different in studio because one of your master than the rest fire off in a studio these have sensors on them to see other flashes exactly, and I feel like I don't have a grace you need one for each one for each one correct that's correct ok studio blitz from india asks, what would you suggest is the best light for good contrast, especially when photographing dark skinned subjects for a portrait umbrella, soft box or straight flash dark skin is I love shooting dark skin because the speculator highlights are different than light skinned people. And so specifically, if I'm if I'm shooting any kind of art photography, then I'm I want dark skin, right? I want to I want to have like my my forehead beams was light differently than somebody with dark skins head will be in with light the spectator highlights or different and so on. When you're shooting dark skin, the those highlights don't get blown out as easily as light skinned people do and say, you're able to do a lot more with our skin than you are with light skin. So so what I like to do is use large light sources really large light sources when I'm shooting dark skin because it's just beautiful, I love it, so I'm normally using a four by six soft box or seven foot umbrella, so in speed light world, you can't do that unless you have, you know, the multiple speed lights to illuminate something that fast that that large, so if you're using speed lights and you're illuminating dark skin, I used the largest light source available, and I'm always going to, um, cheat to a soft box. I'm soft boxes are always my favorite because not only do I get soft light, but I get soft controlled like

Class Description

Once you know what’s happening with your camera and flash you can do almost anything. Speedlights open up a new realm in your photography. They are light to carry, quick to set up. And you never know when you're going to need that extra light for a more dramatic image.

This workshop will give you the confidence to incorporate small portable flash in your photography toolkit. From shooting receptions at weddings or adding drama in senior portraits, this workshop will include lots of live shooting examples that will help everything make sense. Get ready to take your photography to the next level. Once you start working with portable flash, you'll never understand how you lived without them.


Aussie David

Truly a fabulous class. Mark has such a gift for taking a complex subject and making it so understandable and fun at the same time. Mark is easily one of the best instructors out there. Highly highly highly recommend this class.