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Studio Lighting Basics

Lesson 14 of 14

Shoot: Fashion Plus Family

Tony Corbell

Studio Lighting Basics

Tony Corbell

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Lesson Info

14. Shoot: Fashion Plus Family

Lesson Info

Shoot: Fashion Plus Family

So now we've got this little fashion family I'm calling it my little fashion family so I need her big sister oh sister here sister I need I need sister well, you got yellow earrings so you look like a fashion statement obviously stepping right there and we're gonna get sister set up here in just a second oh yeah don't you don't want to lose that um we need her favorite aunt from topeka, kansas come on her favorite hands come on huh no it says I'm don't worry I got a little baby brother coming up in a second so interesting thing about when you're when you're working with a group of people like this there's a kind of a fun thing to think about I think we might need us uh apple box yeah yeah perfect perfect um one of the one of the fun things and it's again rules and photography I just hate rules in photography but there's another rule that I've heard that I kind of like because it kind of makes sense when you're photographing more than one head and you're looking at planes of heads and f...

aces there should be a place where a mouth lines up with somebody's eyes so your math lines up with her eyes perfect your mouth is almost even with her nose so I got to get you a little bit higher so let's see if we can't get pam a tiny bit taller and let's live there you go and you you're sitting parker you're just you're you know you're the anchor there you're the center you're our pivot position so this is great now what we're gonna have to do is get you in a little bit short you're going to move in and put your arms around her and you're going curable on her shoulder and all that stuff and we're gonna move you in there just a bit come around just a tiny bit now the wasted and then yeah yeah yeah and to me just slightly that's it right there in pain you're going to come to me just a little bit this way everybody get this oh, this is good can you just do this for me bring your head pam this way a little bit right there and megan leann and all I need to do now is this everybody bring your heads a little bit close little bit together there you go let's just try one let's see what happens good, good, good, good, good, good good not too shabby everybody here we go the family reunion is just going so well the family they've always got along good, you know anyway and now this is just going to be fun here we go, nobody moves, nobody moves, push that hair back off your left eye just a little bit again for me there let me just close down just a tiny bit here I think that's a little hot here we go good, good good great let's do this let's add in can we have you in julia when we had you in next to pam and I just wanted I want to make an adjustment here uh and just kind of actually you know what? No, I think you're right just move up close as you can get to her and go ahead and put one foot up there but don't step up there let's put the other foot up that's better and now you're just gonna lean in toward a little bit yeah that's gonna be it right there and I'm just gonna come back here like this so everybody is looking pretty good our model is our pivot position, right? I'm seeing a lot of arms do this for you you just let your hand too saying now straight right there that's perfect. Uh uh that's actually not too shabby you guys that's actually pretty darn good here we go let's just fire once if we like it. Good, good, good. Hey, uh, miss may you move her hair back off your left eye just a little bit there you go there you go, kate you're looking pretty good right there everybody's working right there you know you lean in a little bit closer to heart move your left shoulder towards pama little bit that's it? Yeah, that just letting it out. Grey perfect. Perfect, perfect. Pam, can you hide your left hand anyway at all upset in fire let's do that again. Here we go. Here we go. Making let your little finger close up a little bit toward the other ones. Yeah that's it that's better here we go. We're going to do it again. Oh, everybody smiles, everyone smiles. Oh, this is good. This is good. Let's do one more of those on dh good. Now, uncle harry, we need uncle harry. Sorry, uncle harry, I need to put you right in there and then we're going to make one change and I'll show you what that changes let's put you right next to make it move right in there. There you go and you're standing just about right all your weight on your right foot and let your left leg just point right at me you did it naturally you did it great. Now from your waist you just lean toward me does lean toward me just bend from the waist that's it that's it now here's the trick the trick is I can't like this like that, I've got to let this light bill passed halfway our uncle harry is never gonna have the same amount of life that uli is getting on this left edge so you gotta have toe shoot past sinner or it doesn't work and I know that seems kind of odd can we just measure that across let's just measure all the way across in all five positions and let's just make sure that that that that sort of sinks in a little bit uh when you're doing a group with one source from one side, you have to make sure that you shoot past center and aim toward the other side so then the falloff picks up and carries all the way here we go, sometimes I missed it again to a point to was not real sorry, so it put it right of writing a second let me just write the light right there let go of the button, john just you don't have to hold about come knock borough point five it's doing it's going back to jumping around again okay? I mean repower powered off, so we'll do that and then we'll just measure and let it hit the number and then move all the way across real quick and we'll shoot it and then we're going to start taking some questions, so for folks who are new, can you explain how the light is affecting all the whole group so that they are being evenly yeah and on let me let me get this shot before they all fall over and then I'm gonna explain it in detail so um yeah yeah for a point three what something's changed because I'm way up that's ok we'll figure that out we'll take a break here that's why you're still on spot oh, sorry yeah flip that backto ambience sorry, sorry, sorry I mean backto regular incident that's better thanks, john even perfect now let's go see what uncle daniel's getting five six point eight point eight so he there's a two tenths of a stop fall off so to compensate for that too tense I can go like this that didn't that's okay, I got it it's gonna drop two tenths off of this and I'm gonna pick up two tents on that end so now it looks like I'm gonna miss them if you took an overhead shot of this and looked on overhead to answer the question kenna is it looks like this is not hitting anybody but it's getting them all even now as opposed to trying to angle it in in them it doesn't work you can't do it not with one light from one side not with a big group doesn't work so let's take one and we'll see how it goes hey john how was exposure again? Eight okay, I'll be with us in a moment ah this is good uncle daniel, you look good. I'm just gonna move over to three. Uh, you look pretty good. You know, you look like a happy guy. Good let's. Do that one more time. Can you just let your left your left arm the same? Straight down? There you go. Right there. Good. What did I do? Hear that that's better let's. Do one more of those. And here we go. Here we go. Great. Good. I got it. Yeah, that last one didn't work. This is our this is our hero shot right here. There we go. Ok, you knuckleheads have a seat. Everybody sit for a second. Caitlin, thank you very much. You can go take a break for a bit, and we're gonna talk a little bit more way more stuff to talk about a little bit. So so point the point here on this, uh, that lighting direction think about think about the notion of of lighting. Um, think about have a small source. You've got a small light source and my cameras right here in the center. And I've got a life source it's this big and it's right over here, just out of the frame, right, and I've got a light, all three of you. I can't aim it at her and because you're gonna be off by two stops and if I am it at you will you're gonna be off a tiny bit but you're gonna be off still but if I am mad at you well I'm losing over here yeah but I might be losing the same amount that I'm gaining there and that's what happens so the falloff that's happening here is being compensated for the adding on on that side that's why this works it's almost it's almost a weird thing it's like how do you? I did a whole video on this one time where I had a model and I had her in five different spots and I never move the light but the light look like it never even hit her but it hit her plenty if you you check the meter but at first glance there's like no way that light was ever going to hurt you guys but it hits you find and give me a give me a full f ate like that not bad you know and how does the light look exposure on him looks like it's good as it does on julia guys I'm not a genius I'm not even very smart I didn't even go to college I don't have ten minutes to college which is really weird because I taught it brooks institute of photography for a few years and with no degree back then the accreditation allowed me to teach without my experience counted for something uh but what I do know is that er I don't forgive if I ever make a mistake I never make it the second time I know exactly what I did and all of you have somebody in this room most of you at some point took a picture with a thirty five millimeter camera with film remember that did any of you ever open the back of the camera and with film in it and gone he only did it once because you always knew to check after that and you looked in that little window to see if there was a roll of film in that little window so you didn't fog the film you know we all make that mistake all of these little mistakes that we make in our photo world would only do it once it all goes away after the first time and so I just made more mistakes than most it's kind of like somebody asked me one time how did you get to be pretty good at what you do? And I said I screwed up more film than anybody else I mean I used to test friday afternoons in my studio from two o'clock to six o'clock I never saw a client ever on a friday ever that was in my time I blocked off and made my own appointment for me tuesdays, fridays from two to six. And that was the time for me to test. That was the time for me to photograph the mom and the two little kids that I met in the grocery store that I thought were adorable on you. The photograph. That was the time for me to test a new hair light with your dark hair and your light hair. That was my time to test a new piece of equipment. That's when I tested and tested and tested and tested on a fair most of the time, I was pretty good about not testing on my client's somewhere in there. I just kind of figured out that I want to make a lot of money. I want to add more, and I think I need to raise my prices. And I kept thinking it's kind of it's kind of, uh uh it's a little bit of ah ah oh, it's just it concerned me to to continually try to raise my prices and continually practice my craft on my subjects on my clients and, uh, just bugged me a little bit. So I try not to do that. So I always tried to practice on fridays friday afternoons. It was just a time for me to work, and I always knew I always knew I was available. I don't have to go look at the calendar because that's blocked off every friday, so I just think, it's a pretty good way to go, um, before I sort of wrap all of this up and start talking a little bit more about the wrap up for tomorrow what we're on store for what does anybody have? Uh, for today that you have a question about the loud? Be proud you wanted us to remind you to talk about len's prison? Thanks so there's an interesting thing that a lot of people know in some people don't know, but and I think I might have talked about this and one of the videos that will see on wednesday, but but the idea here is that uh huh, if I have, if I'm doing a head shot, uh, and I'm shooting, I'm not my my choice is always going to be a longer lens, so if I'm using a long lens the same using two hundred millimeter lens and and I've got my head shot that I'm about to do sorry, let me just set this down. I'm really bad about grabbing this and then never drinking it if I've got my if I've got caitlin in the chair here and I've got my two hundred millimeter land, so I'm gonna do a tight headshot for caitlin. And I'm back here with my two hundred millimeter lens and I've got the head shot that I want and all is right with the world all is good now in the background I'm seeing that kind of an angle across the background okay okay so now let's say I'm on location and caitlin needs a head shot and I look in my bag and I don't have my two hundred millimeter all I got to my fifty signed crap okay, so if I go up here with my fifty and move in and move in and move in and crop in the camera to get my same headshot, I have a problem and the problem is I'm seeing that brick wall I'm seeing that red gel that life stand and I'm seeing that corner in that plug from here that doesn't work but lindsay's air really weird and optical sciences I found kind of a cool thing because optical sciences designed in such a way that if I stand in the same place that I would be standing if I had my two hundred even though I'm shooting with a fifty if I go back here with my fifty and take a picture, I'm seeing everything now but if I crop into the head shot I get the exact same perspective that my two hundred would get me exactly so if you need to make your lens appear longer than backup and crop in and now somebody's going to say, well, yes, but now you're going to get a lot more noise old, fine everything's a trade off just trying to fix you because you forgot your two hundred. So my point is that I can take my two hundred and make it look like a three hundred by backing up to where I would be standing as if I had my three hundred and I can make it appear that way by just then. Cropping in a bit reframing obit, does that make sense? It makes me I'm I've always thought of myself as a trial. I'm a blue collar worker, I'm a troubleshooting photographer, I get hired to shoot the damnedest things because I get hired to do things that nobody else wants to do, you know, crazy jobs that need some kind of weird thought on how you're gonna like it. And, uh, and so boys consider myself kind of a blue color troubleshooter and that knowledge of that optical science makes me more valuable to my client. I'm in a warehouse, and I can't get rid of that crack in the door, and I can't get rid of that whatever it is, but I come back up ten feet and crop in half an inch, and I can make it all go away without postproduction editing. There's a whole lot. We can do it for yourself and you guys don't don't get me wrong don't don't mis understand my comments as I'm photoshopped bashing are you kidding me? I teach workshops on how to use nick's software. I mean, good grief. I understand postproduction pretty well and I'm pretty good at it. What I'm saying is, let's not rely on it to fix everything that we do let's use our brain let's get these pictures done first. Then we'll make a picture and make a good picture better with enhancements not try to save one that we messed up. That's, that's, my my biggest, uh, message unless it's part of your tools of your trade like start event and his compositing, nobody does like nobody does photoshopped like him. And does those kind of those kind of composites and no one does airplanes like joe. Glad or nobody can retest like julianne. I mean, good grief. There are monster talents out there that do that for a living that are really, really, really good at it. And that's fine that's what they do, but for just, you know, john q public trying to make a picture of you in your office and you're the realtor of the year in dallas. Texas uh I've got to make sure that I nailed this great picture of you as best I can before I ever go try to retouch it and clean it up so that's what I do I think that everybody would do well to really block off some time for testing as I mentioned here at the very end uh I think there's nothing more valuable than the knowledge that you gain of your craft and I think that the more you do that the more it pays off for you it seems like uh yeah, I'm I'm gonna practice I had a friend that used to shoot the l l bean catalogs years ago and she shot some remarkable photography for those that company and she called one time and said hammond be in your neighborhood next weekend let's go out and practice with our wide angle lenses and I said what practice she said yeah, she said I never used my wide angle lenses and I need to practice with him and I'm thinking in my brain I'm thinking with the ma'am I'm a veteran twenty five, thirty years doing this I don't need to practice and she said, listen, you and I need one of us ever use or riding the lynches and we need to practice we need to practice so I'm gonna come pick you up, remove practice and don't bring anything steppe wide angle lenses and she was right and I hadn't thought about it. We have to practice our craft every musician I know plays the scales they practice their craft, they run their scales usually want today, I'll guarantee if you go to a live show with a live orchestra in the pit, I'll guarantee you hear them running their scales up and down before the curtain they're practicing their craft all the time we never do we think we don't need to practice we do need to practice we need to shoot a lot so I can't tell you how important it is to shoot a lot and make mistakes and fall and fumble and skiing. I used to ski a lot snow ski and not water scheme up water skied a lot, but I just drank a lot of lake water that wasn't much fun uh but snow skiing, huh? I know that if I wasn't falling, I wasn't getting better if I didn't ski a lot under the snow wasn't improving, you know? If I'm not falling, I'm taking the safe way downhill. I don't want to take the safe way downhill, let's, let's push myself, I gotta push it's like trying to make that turn over that bump or jump off of that edge or whatever it might have been and if I'm falling, then at least I'm trying pushing the envelope same thing in harvey you're going to fail great. You have to pay for the film processing like we used to every time we used to hit the button it was two dollars. Every time we hit the button, it cost two dollars guess how much it cost. Hit the button now keep hitting the button test test test test so for me, that's the number one thing for today and just understand that all of the skills in the studio especially studio basics of lighting uh, once you master them there's very little more you have to learn about lighting there's a little bit more, but but if someone asked me to teach on advanced lighting class versus a basic lighting class, I would be hard pressed to come up with more than an hour of information because lighting is not advanced are beginning lighting is just lighting it's, beginning lighting concepts and understanding how the foundation of lighting works. Once you've understood that there's no reason why I couldn't take that whiteboard it's over in the corner and pull us over pam right next to you and fire a small speed light into that whiteboard and bounce that light and you and have a big, beautiful white soft light on your face because of the knowledge of how a speed light will bounce off that big white source no reason I couldn't do that

Class Description

Lighting equipment doesn’t come cheap, so it is crucial you get your money’s worth. Learn how to make the most of your investments in Studio Lighting Basics with Tony Corbell.

Tony is a celebrated photographer, educator, and author. In this class, he’ll help you get more out of basic studio gear. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to use off-camera speedlights
  • The basics of studio lights including; mono lights and pack lights 
  • Combining studio lighting with natural light
  • The properties of light 
  • How to position lights for varied results and styles
You’ll learn practical ways to work with strobes and light shaping tools and get tips on creating the exact look you’re aiming for. Tony will also help you overcome any hesitations you have about purchasing and setting up your own lighting equipment.

If you want to get more looks out of your existing gear or want to know which gear you should invest in, don’t miss Studio Lighting Basics with Tony Corbell.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Essential Home Studio Gear Guide.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Catherine Stevens

Excellent class. Tony does a great job of highlighting different ways to work with light without being prescriptive. He's also a great speaker - very clear and easy to listen to. I would love it if this class came with a gear list and some basic guidance on the different lights as a starting point - I think the class does assume a certain amount of pre-existing lighting knowledge. Still worth every cent though!


I love watching Tony Corbell. He is such a wealth of knowledge. He is one of the Great Masters. Tony is an excellent teacher and he both freely and honestly shares his immense experience. It is truly a delight listen and watch to Tony teach.