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Strobes & Textured Background for Character Portraits

Lesson 24 from: Strobe Lighting on Location

Joel Grimes

Strobes & Textured Background for Character Portraits

Lesson 24 from: Strobe Lighting on Location

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

24. Strobes & Textured Background for Character Portraits


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Develop your Artistic Vision


Learn Strobe Basics


Which Strobe Is Best For You?


Strobe Questions Answered


Balance Strobes with Ambient Light


The Sunny 16 Rule


Choose the Right Modifier for Strobes


Lesson Info

Strobes & Textured Background for Character Portraits

Okay we're gonna keep building on what we've already learned right? So if we had a whole week, just think what we could learn. Right, we just keep going, but I might run out of ideas. But I've got some still, some kinda cool things that I've been doing lately, that's a little different. Still going with the concept of strobing. We're gonna do a scenario that could be set up anywhere. So I use it a lot. For my studio stuff I'll use a white sweep or a gray sweep. But Wescott has this little product that is a pop-up, kind of a pop-up, or display. That I could put some gray on. Gray or white or black. Kind of a felt material. And what that gives me is this. So if you go back and think about your knowledge in Photoshop a little bit. When you have some blending mode options in Photoshop on your layers, you know that if you have a gray, a mid-gray value which is taking your RGB at I think it's 127 value each time. Three, three. All colors are equal 127 value you get mid-gray. I'd have to look...

on my Photoshop to know exactly what that is, but somewhere around 126, 129. You get a mid-gray. Overlay, soft light, vivid light, hard light, they all punch a hole right through gray. (finger snaps) So like doesn't even see the gray. So we know this from dodge and burn. You make a blank layer, fill it 50% gray and go to overlay. And you can go dodge and burn on that gray layer. Add noise to it. There's a lot of things you can do. So if you're a graphic designer you know that if you have white type on black you can punch a hole right through the white or all through the black. Depending on what blending mode you choose. So having this little bit of knowledge in Photoshop, the reason why I'm going here is that one day I thought about this. I thought what if I make my background mid-gray? What can I do with that? And so, I tested it out. And I can take a texture, a brick wall. I can take a picture of this metal wall have a file of that and then shoot my subject on gray and then attach that texture right to the back wall or the back like he was standing right in front of this wall or stucco wall, or whatever it is. And so, what this does is it gives me an option to go and have a gray, just a gray background, but have lots of textures you know files, images of textures and I don't have to take and bring in all these different textures in my studio. Or you know, always put someone up against a stucco wall. I can have a library of images. And so I'm gonna do that for you. So let's take a look over here on our monitor. And we've got, Robert, I shot a couple weeks ago. Well, it's been maybe a month and a half. He, I was at a Adobe conference speaking as the Adam Event and he was the, he's one of the speakers there. He was a, he builds, creates costumes. I don't if I should use the word costume 'cause I get in trouble. But wardrobe, you know elaborate, really cool like renaissance stuff. And well I saw his beard and I went, "Oh my gosh, I gotta get a picture of this guy." So I set this little set up literally in my, hotel room and he walked in, (claps) five minute portrait. He walked out and this is the picture I ended up. So I'm gonna show you the parts that I did. So here, I'm gonna be doing stitching, strobing stitching and HDR bracketing ISO, to get one big file and then I put it in Photomerge. And then I end up doing my magic. So there's the straight image. There's I add the texture, clean up his face and then do a little bit of mighty magic on it and so, I'mma try to do this with Ryan here today but I'm actually taking nine images. Nine images total and why would I go to all the trouble and do this? You remember when I talk about, is this something that might fit you? I don't know, but why would I go and now add another layer of variables, like stitching to the whole mix? Well, I got a 50 megapixel camera. That's pretty darn, that's a big file alright as it is right now. But what if, and I have a Canon 9400. It's 60 inch wide printer. So I can make, really easily, 60 by 90 inch prints. Those are big prints. So wouldn't it be cool, if you had a gallery showing with 60 by 90 inch prints hanging in the gallery. Wouldn't that be kinda cool? Alright, so I wanna build a file that gives me ultra megapixels. So with the stitching, I take a 50 megapixel and multiply it three times but you have overlay but I get about a hundred, to 120 megapixeled capture. So that really exceeds any camera on the market today. I think there has now just been released a medium format camera that goes up to 100 megapixels but I can actually exceed that capture by doing this little technique. I'm gonna show you how I got my nodal point and so I am, I am willing to go the extra yard and make sure I get that right to make this happen. Get this file size. So it kind of fits my personality. You may say, "I'd never do that." Well, that's okay, you don't have to. But here's an option. Remember I told you, you got now more options in your tool belt to go and fulfill your vision as an artist. So I want big, huge prints with lots of detail. I'm gonna interpolate a 50 megapixel to go 60 by 90 inches but wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to do that? You could dull that resolution, I say in camera but in the final image, final file. So, we're gonna go and we're gonna set this up. And of course, I'm gonna go and show you this retouching technique in the next session. So we're gonna capture the images now and then we move over to our Photoshop. Then I'm gonna actually do the processing. So we're gonna do two setups here. We'll do the gray. Which is going to add the texture later and then since we got this cool wall I thought look, let's get Ryan up against this good wall and let's see what we can get here with a, with an existing texture. So we're not gonna use the gray and I'm gonna take a look at this wall. It might be a little shiny. Meaning, is this a piece of metal? It's got metal, banged out metal. And it might be too shiny for me to do an overhead light. So I have, as a backup, a big ol' softbox. So I can use cross light as an option okay. So maybe I'll throw that up there and so remember I said this, "Light typically looks best on a face "when it comes top to bottom side across." Alright, so here we have these big beautiful windows and I'm trying to talk Creative Live into letting me use this studio on a full time basis. (audience laughter) And there's a little loft up there, I could just, I could take a little futon. I could sleep up there. All I need is a little hot plate and a microwave and I'm set to be ready to go. Oh I'm tinting line and they do have a shower somewhere in the building. So you know, once a month I could shower. Okay, twice a month. But this is a gorgeous studio. So we had these big, huge lights here. Or sunlight coming in, that's cross light. That's gonna make me look good. Cross light makes me look good, or anyone. So we'll use that sort, the thing about this and we talked about lighting yesterday is if you can get to master two major lighting scenarios which is light coming from top to bottom or across the side, you could make a really good living shooting pictures and portraits of people right? I do the edgy lighting, I add a little edge light here and there to build some drama but really, I'm using top light with some accent highlights, that's what I'm doing. But really, top to bottom, cross the side. Master those two lights, you can just about do anything on the planet. So right here, we have Robert with a light coming straight over the top. So, I like that light and I didn't use this light for 25 years. I've just started doing this not, you know I mean back when I kind of reinvented myself. I never used top light, top to bottom. I never even knew it, I mean, never thought about it.

Class Materials

Free Download

Gear List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Bonus Video - One Light Portrait

Ratings and Reviews

Christopher Langford

I love Joel, even though I'm not a big fan of his style. He's a great teacher, really down to earth, and best of all, humble. He's a true professional and knows the business. Even if you're a seasoned photographer, I believe you will pick up some great tips throughout this course. What I enjoyed most from this course was learning Joel's thought processes and how he takes on challenges.

Dana Niemeier

After seeing Joel at Shutterfest 2016, I am a fan. He is intense, but that is inspiring. I especially like the segment using ND filters as I live in Florida where bright sun can be an issue! His teaching method sets the student at ease. You see him make mistakes and then figure them out! Makes us believe there is HOPE for us in the learning process! I also bought his commercial photography class as an add on. Great to see him work and think on his feet. Thanks CreativeLive for giving artists this platform that reaches out to artists around the globe.

Gilbert Wu

I did enjoy the class despite not being used to the American product placement culture. The British say “the proof is in the pudding”, Joel’s pictures are fantastic and create drama. He has the eye. I like his very down to earth approach which is far better than many youtube photographic charlatans. Apart from the techniques he shared, one very important thing I learned from this class is “Be an artist and not a technician”. If you want to learn from people who can take better pictures and more confident and experienced in his/her work than you, Joel is one of those people.

Student Work