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Studio Lighting Basics

Lesson 11 of 14

Shoot: Glamour Portrait with Female Model Part 1

Tony Corbell

Studio Lighting Basics

Tony Corbell

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Lesson Info

11. Shoot: Glamour Portrait with Female Model Part 1

Lesson Info

Shoot: Glamour Portrait with Female Model Part 1

The canvas crushed background that we used earlier is a little more traditional looking and a little more kind of classic looking uh working with a seamless and working with a sweep is a little bit different and so what we want to do here is I want to do I want to show some some more contemporary things with her face obviously as we talked about that but I also want to back up enough to show some fuller length and this is a great dress she's wearing I said bring some things if you're going to go out on the town and this is the perfect dress I just love this dress on her uh and our great make up artist glenn did a great job on her hair and makeup looks terrific so we'll get her on these life in just a second um but then as we go through this I don't want to give you a couple of different variations of what we're doing then I also want to introduce some color in the background uh then I'm going to introduce us adding one and two and three people to this picture so you guys stand by becau...

se I'm gonna be grabbing you and dragging you into this thing so don't be thinking you can hide because you're in the second row because that's not good enough um so yes I think I think we're probably ready to go john you're standing by let's do let's grab let's grab miss caitlin and won't you come on over caitlin and let's let's take a look at you and let's just figure this out then she looks like she's ready to go out I'm telling you it's a really good dress I love that that the cut of the stress it looks great on her I want to start off by turning I want to turn your come out this way a little bit more away from that background love yeah yeah now I'm gonna turn your back to me okay, so what I want to do john with this one isn't gonna bring this guy much like we talked about earlier you guys write with this background at untangle that requires that I closed down the exposure because it's going to be brighter than the meter tells me it's going to be so we're going to illustrate that point again here real quick so let's just take that back to a forty five over on that sat on the left and there you go now up a little bit and we're gonna cheat I want cheat just a little bit with this from where I would normally place it uh and let's go jon let's bring it a little bit closer tour by uh that's a great margin right there now I just want to pivot the head toward the background a little bit and I'll tell you when reid about even a little bit further right about there okay so ms cannon here's what you're gonna do I'm gonna have you turn toward the background and then I'm gonna have you cheat I want you all your weight on your right foot and just let your left foot just push it out of away from you and just yeah there you go now I want you I want your head turned this way right up in here you you almost did exactly what I'm looking for can't just push that off that shoulder just a little bit like that I'm just gonna let that this kind of fall over there you are almost perfect this let your eyes go straight ahead for second right there for one second let me just check my distance and I just need to see your eye a little bit better things move that right there yeah yeah holy toledo huh? Huh? That's gonna work? Yep I gotta meet her. So remember now we are not quite at that distance where it's got to be a minus one and a half but we're probably at the distance where it needs to be about a minus one it's past ninety degrees you guys it's going to get ryder it's going to get brighter writer it's going to get brighter relative to its distance to the camera and relative to that angle it's more efficient that's it it's real simple okay, so let's take a take a test on that you ready to go? Here we go eleven and a half eleven half so if it's reading eleven and a half what do you have to see that not everybody at once if I'm going to go minus one with it it's got be sixteen and a half I gotta shoot at a lower smaller hole then what it's calling for? Because what is calling for is going to make it too bright but I don't want to shoot at eleven and a half for sixteen half so lets his power down just come down one full stop so now instead of eleven half that's reading eight and a half now I can shoot at eleven and a half right so let's just double check that here we go and so not conceited eleven half of my exposure's gonna be exactly what I want so for this let's let me get in position here just a little bit your your head position your shoulders you look great but your arm I need to let your hand yeah, maybe just let your hand hangs straight down that's pretty good turn your shoulders away from me a tiny but the little bit more yeah, now bring your head back further this way and your eyes up again and let the top of your head just tip away from me slightly the other way right there that's the that's the ticket that that so we're at eleven and a half ten down a tiny bit for me kiddo right there good good good good I mean this is a minute that's just a tiny bit I need to bring you toward me just a little bit further just twist this way john and pivot that a little bit toward the bagram just slightly and all I'm trying to do a little bit more I'm just trying to get a little bit of a different value on that background okay here we go here we go good correct there we go now it almost looks like whatever is lighting her face is also leading the background and it's just kind of a fun look and there are two difference there two opportunities to do a profile ones affront profound ones back profile clearly this is a back profiled her back is closest to me if I turn her completely the other way and we'll do that then it's a front profile and I just wanted I just wanted this back profile because I just wanted to sort of the drama of that you know one second and I'm going to zoom in and do the same thing but I want to shoot it horizontally and crop it just below the shoulder so one of the things that we'll talk about and we'll talk about this as we wrap this up later if you wanna talk about lends perspective so in case I forget it well one of you guys ask tony what do you know about lends perspective let me talk about that there we go that's really pretty and turned toward me a fraction that's it yeah and john rotate that to me just a fraction oh that's good, good and your eyes are just a tiny bit higher, right? That's too much there you go that's it right there and can you just push your left arm out away from your slightly that's it that's it just gives me a little bit of bass and bring your head to me of tiny bit right there don't move don't move! Wow! Gorgeous gorgeous okay, relax for just a second. So this is a picture that I don't know um if it's something that you guys like or something you want to try to do, I will tell you this you cannot do this kind of a picture with someone with bad skin. Any time light is at an acute angle to anyone, it creates texture right to anyone or any subject, it creates texture when when nasa landed on the moon on july twenty and sixty nine, they picked the time of day that the sun was at the most sharp possible angle across the surface of the moon, so they could see all the highlights and shadows and know where all the holes were and all the rocks were so that when they landed, they would know because they could see the holes. If it was flat lip, they wouldn't know when you're photographing high school seniors, especially boys with bad skin issues, the worst thing you can do is use a small source at a great angle. He was a big source and use it closer to the camera and you smooth out the retouching, smooth at their faces and enhance them right, and a portrait, and especially in a traditional portrait of portrait, is supposed to be a complimentary likeness, so got a compliment don't don't make him look worse by your poor life choice, you know, make sense now, let's do one just like this, just the way your standings perfect what's interesting to me when I'm when I'm working with especially a model with a little bit of experience half the time, I'll just look away and get busy doing something else, and I just kind of watch him they always pose themselves that you're standing perfect, I would just relax your hands a little bit, yeah, bringing together just like this pot around, relax where was comfortable and I just bring your head around over, over, over oh, yeah, yeah, a little bit more right there. Don't move don't move now the only thing that I would do is there's a little bit of hair from the back side that's right under her chin and I would just pull that back just a bit. But otherwise she's just she's she's there she's aren't in it and the difference is pretty small, but I think it's um I think it's a better it might be a better look, I would say keep your hands right where they are because that just raise them up higher. A little tiny bit more and moving to your right slightly right there. All I did their kids by bringing her hands up. All I did was give her a waste with this I can see air through there and through there with her hands down it's just too wide. But with her hands up slightly. Now I got not see your figure and it's a little more slender rising so always try to get a little bit of just a little little hint of air through there. That's real pretty right there now, same thing let your eyes just go up a bit. Higher higher higher higher right there yeah good turn your head away from me a tiny bit more and let your eyes come this way just a fraction and up right there that's it good good good and I think this might look pretty good in black and white there's not any color that's really helping me except the lipstick so I think the black and white would be a killer on this one honestly and I'm pretty I love black and white that's my I'm become the last two years especially I've been crazy for black and white most of my pictures were black like these days I didn't enter color print it's well diane in one color print this year in a competition but everything else was in black I'm a pretty big fan of it okay I like that let me do the same thing but I want to just do one I want to get one vertical just so I have it in the can here so to speak great that's great good let your right elbow screwed out just a little bit away from you yeah that's it and turn your shoulders back to me just a little bit more more more, more more more yeah and john just follow that light around this way a little bit to me just slightly great I'm gonna move over just a little bit right in their books ugo yeah that's pretty good right there relax for just a second okay so I know forget what your eye tells you in here your eye lies to you by the way you guys have all figured that out that your eye lies to you all the time it's it's like I've heard heard a speaker one time so you have to learn to see light what you can't learn to see like you have to learn to think like because your eye doesn't ever tell you the truth my eye sees all this that's going on in this room and all this brightness and that harsh highlight from one of the one of the studio led visits in the roof and it's all different but that's what that's how you have to learn to think you have to learn to think like that and sometimes it's hard to do that but you have to kind of train yourself toe to know how is this gonna look one of those drugs all fire at that given shutter speed how's it going to look at half second I'd be in trouble at one twenty fifth I got no problem makes sense okay, good good nice just turn your head a little bit let's just you know because you're there anyway yeah it's nice fire one of those because we're gonna have a lot of shadow on that one but you get the idea um okay, so let's bring john are you around let me buy seen john yes, master easy. You got a cot back there? You lam down. We're doing like keeping things running. Yes, master oh, you know you've been playing you knucklehead let's uh I think I wanted let's let's bring this thing around front and I'm gonna set this we'll put this silver uh I'll use the silver second but let me bring this around first and, uh we'll get that that they can set up in that position on big silver yeah, but I think I think well, I'll say that for just a second they bringing in a minute so he's gonna kind of block out a little bit of camera position, doctor guy sorry. Uh, let me just look at her for positioning, get an extension. Yeah, we're gonna need to get that extension. Can we get the extension board for the bat? Sorry. While we're changing this court out anybody have a question or a comment? Where? Just don't change an extension cord real quick. Hang on one second. Yeah, a little bit just a little bit about the angle of your lens relative to your models. I want a great question. Awesome question today so this is a have the weirdest answer for this. So for me, if I'm shooting a head shot I'm appear pretty high I'm a pair of my my standing level and as I start shooting a three quarter and I start backing up, I start automatically dropping my limbs and as a back up even further, I start dropping my lens even further and as I'm shooting a full length, I want my lens about belt buckle height and I learned that shooting bright when I first started out shooting brides with a normal lens. I've found that if I was to high shooting down the bride, there was definitely a convergence divergence thing going on and it didn't look right and I couldn't hear what was going on when I figured out was there's a there's a term that some people teach called the law of parallel planes if the lens plane and the film plane and the subject plane are all on the same that they're all parallel to each other, there is no convergence or divergence period so it's a smart idea teo keep your camera level if I fight back up to full length and I'm appear well now I got a tip down like this to get her feeding well, I'm gonna have divergence for convergence can't have it so that's a great question, but the answer is as I back further and further and further away from my subject my camera gets lower and lower and lower and lower so that's the answer for me some people say that's a ridiculous answer but that's that's what works for me and it makes them look the best it's the hardest work for me but it's not about me it's about them I want the extra zero because frankly capitalist pig camera two well that's what I'm saying yeah, but if I don't have to tilt it but it is the further you move back to the less the tilt effects that's right? Two yes. Oh, so like for example, this is a good this here's a good illustration I'll often shoot a full length fashion shoot outdoors with a three hundred millimeter to eight from the ground sitting on my butt on the ground and nobody will know that I'm looking up slightly because I'm so far away that I could get away with it and it looks great her legs look fantastic when I'm sitting on the ground shooting with a three hundred from across the street you know, seriously, how far is he back there? It's like when you see the flare smile you know what dean used always joke about and say, uh, yes, uh I'll buzz your cellphone when it's time to smile but not that far away but yeah, you can get way back there with a long lens my goal is man, the longer the lands I can get away without used it every time and if I'm in a situation where I just don't have the space, then I'll use a shorter lands but for me personally, man, the longest I can get away with, I will if this were my studio and my situation right here, my back would be against that wall with the longest lens I have for almost anything I do here because that's, what I like to do, that's what I love to do it's a personal thing, you know? I know guys, I've got really good friends that won't do anything that's not twenty four millimeter I can't shoot twenty four can't think twenty four I can think seventy maybe I can think fifty maybe, but I can't think twenty four because it's, not me I've got a sixteen to thirty two letters that I never use because I don't do architectural I don't do I don't need that sixteen, but I got it in case I ever do okay, so we got power way got stuff going on, you know, so different so let's just try this and see what happens if I let's get a reading right there done on that uh um and he guesses how far how much different is this from where it was earlier than it is the distance from the light to her faces than it was earlier feet and stops and no I'm distance is about the same closer a little closer closer closer and what they read before I believe it would be here right now so this is probably gonna read about eleven eleven and a half okay, so yeah eleven half now I don't have to stop down right? Because now it's on the right correct angle so that whole angle thing doesn't even apply any longer. The idea is this folks I want this light in front and this is going to be more of ah more of a glamour look where I'm getting rid of all the shadows on the face there is not going to be any imperfections that her scan I am smoothing all of that out uh by design for this picture and then as we as we go into this, we'll start adding some elements to this so let's take a look at the first one to see how close we are. Ideally, this might be a good candidate for using the light on a boom if you've got a grip farm for a c stand or a kind of a mini boom or something just so you have plenty of travel and you're not encumbered by the life stand but this is okay and it's just a whole lot less trouble for what we're trying to do here so okay, let me just take a look at that face and so what are you reading? Eleven yeah, yeah, I knew that. So so if eleven and a half was the exposure I'm dialed in here on thirds, so I've got some options or don't what's my first exposure my first third of the stuff above eleven is what? Anyone? Thirteen next after that is right in the next after that sixteen so everything's in thirds, remember so third stops matter. I like tohave my meter on tenth stops because I want to know what those tents are. How close am I? So what? I'm what I'm going here if I go to f thirteen, I'm going to be oh, a little bit, right? If I go to f fourteen, I'm going to be a fraction dark I think I can I think I can deal with the fraction dark because I'm gonna bring in a reflector in a second so I'm gonna go at fourteen and take a picture and see what happens and I think I know what it's gonna look like anybody have any what? Don't confuse me igor, go back to your what hump? What turn here is just about right there. Good, good, good right there. Great good beauty, beauty so everybody in the world when you light him like this, everybody in the world can use a little phil from below it's like this is this is the exact same effect on the same kind of a look that you will get on soft overcast day on a soft overcast day everybody thinks like quality is just absolutely gorgeous and it is really great like body but it's a downward casting light and it needs some work even though it's a beautiful light source so let me do a couple of these and then we're gonna change it up just a bit ten down a tiny bit and bring your head around just a little bit right there good great can we just, uh steel in the booth can we just zoom in on her eyes there for that one just on this last shot there you go. Yeah that's pretty sharp uh s so maybe hit fifty percent instead of one hit it hit it a one to two instead of one one on the left yeah, okay that's good. No, somebody has exposure. Look, we don't have any areas that we've lost detail in oh, I see oh, I see what we're doing. Okay, sorry you were you were already there. Weren't you okay back back up because now I'm getting seasick back up s o but I don't see any areas where I've lost any detail, so I'm not concerned about anything there at all the instagram probably that right there I've got a good gap a serious gap because there's not really any issue at all now just to be clear let's look at the light hitting your chest. I would probably either put a very slag radiant backed by using my selective brush selective adjustment brush or you know I'm fine with that. Ok? Everybody knows the selective adjustment brush in my room. Okay, good. I would either use that or let's fix it by just very slightly turning our chest away from the light just a little bit that way there you go. Now bring your head back in kind of strong but the shoulders back a little bit this way right there that's it that's it right there now bring your head to me right there, right there. I think the chest will not be quite as much of a light trap and we can put them together and take a look so now it looks a little bit better, right? Okay, I like that and I like what's going on in your eyes. So now the only thing that I want to fix is I really want to open up the area under the eyebrows under the nose and under the chin so let's open that stuff up just a little bit anyway and so john let's clean roll that in place, my dear, I think you're probably fine right where you are and we're gonna put this silver and here we'll try well, she one with the white in place but we're not going to see a lot of kick from this one thing one thing that you can do I've got this tip down pretty far I'll drop this a tiny bit but I will usually when I'm doing this kind of a setup over exaggerate this guy slightly down more so than usual if I'm in white especially because I need the extra kick off the bottom toe open up the eye sockets and under the nose a little bit so I'm really trying to smooth out any imperfections and skin lines on the face if there's any you know blemishes and imperfections anybody has this goes a long way to help kind of fellows in and compensate for those a little bit okay so let's just bring your shoulders a tiny bit to me and bring your head or and just a little bit more right in there hey john, can you just raise me up a happening? I just lowered it right into my view just very slightly that's good that's great right there nobody moves good, good, good, good. Yeah, so totally different picture there, I think yeah, yeah ready set go kind of start to open up things a little bit dunnit okay, now uh there you can see if you could cement on that one still that'd be great. I just want to see both eyes. We zoom in on this, you'll start to see the bottom of the highlight of the castle in the eyes you start to see just a little bit of the white but it's not very pronounced because it's white the silver, however, will make a difference. So let's, drop the silver right on top of that he's laid on top of that white here, take a look at you from here. Great, great, great! Yeah, so I left it. Yep. Honey, I need a lift. Ege there, mr cornet tel l me know if you get into the frame great. Turn your head to me just a bit this way sorry, sorry, sorry. Little bit more little bit more right there. Little bit of us sparkle in your eyes on this in just a little good that's kind of pretty that's pretty pretty. Yeah. So now we got something sort of starting to happen there and again a speculum highlight. Remember what? The definition. But by definition, a speculator highlight is defined as a mirror image of whatever created the highlight that's what a speculator is a catch like me, I that's a speculum highlight because it's very, very clearly a reflection aw reflected image of whatever created the highlight so I've got to there now I've got the one from the top and then can see the one from the bottom do we have uh do we have a silver that's not round? I wonders it's semi round all under the table down there? What about what about instead of that? What about that? What about our building insulating piece of board? Is that in the room? Sorry, I want to bring it out we'll grab this up we're going to do a little segment on household things you find around the house to use in photography we're gonna bring that up and later segment when we get inside the house inside the home studio but but this is a perfect opportunity because I wanted to do something that's not the same round shape on the bottom of rob, but I want something a little bit more rectangular and I don't have my rectangular silver close by, but we do have a piece of silver insulation close by so we can use that I think it will I think it'll do the trick, so we have a moment probably to ask a question if you have anything, anyone, you our studio audience here let's see this question had come in from gwen g and there are some boat tanaka's well, question was when you're aiming for the full length are you still focusing on her face on the single point of so so more so than any thing in photography there's only one rule that I adhere to if I lose the eyes, I'm dead, I can't sell a picture if I lose the eyes, so just you know, you can tell I'm moving my I'm moving my focus point around and then sometimes it's just out of sight of my range, and I'll just go up and hit the focus to that my back focus, I have to make sure those eyes are sharp, I'll die if my if my eyes were soft, I'm out of business. So that's a pretty important thing for me. Yeah, back, but thanks for asking, how do I use the back focus? And I didn't for years and years because I didn't get it, and then when I first started using it, one of my friends I said it just seems a little uncomfortable to me, he says use it for three days and don't turn it off just keep using for three days and you'll never go back to the regular focus on flight fine it's like it's like julia cost trying to teach me how to use a welcome tablet, use it for a week and don't touch your mouth and you'll never not use it she's, right, so the back focused button, what it does is, once I hit my focus, I don't ever have to touch it again. I haven't changed. My model hasn't changed, I can just start shooting up a storm and nothing is changing my focus. There is no, this is, is my lenses aren't going freaky. I'm just because I've locked in on that back focus button, it's, great for me. It took me a while to get it, get it, but no, once I got it now, I understand now, he's all the time, all the time.

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.


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.