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Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Lesson 1 of 30

Course Overview & Lighting Examples

Tony Corbell

Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Tony Corbell

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Lesson Info

1. Course Overview & Lighting Examples


  Class Trailer
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2 Mono Lights & Pack Lights Duration:29:32
3 Light Controls & Shaping Duration:30:36
6 Tools of Light Q & A Duration:13:59
8 Shoot: Painting with Light Duration:26:01

Lesson Info

Course Overview & Lighting Examples

Well, thank you guys again for being here, you know, this is when you when you take on the role toe teach there's a there's a certain responsibility of making sure you don't get it wrong whether what I'm any good or not I don't know, but what I do know is I can't make any mistakes or give you bad information I think we have found ourselves sort of living in an industry where we are not uninformed any longer then the internet has made us being informed so much easy, easier but I think that we're often misinformed and I think that we have to make sure that we dig deeper when when someone's trying to teach us anything about photography I think we have to ask questions I think we have to make sure that we test for ourselves that we that we do all that empirical testing to make sure that it applies to us and our situation in our camera, our client, our studio, our meter or whatever it is that you're doing um and then we always continue to learn from each other. I considered lunch and listen...

to brit stories and I'll guarantee I walk outta here with more than you guys were gonna walk out here with, you know, but but I do appreciate you being here this is this is really a big deal for me and I'm thrilled to have been invited back. So thank you guys. Jim. Russ, thank you guys for being instrumental. I'm sure in that twist in a few arms around here, the way this is going to go this week is pretty fun for me. I think day one today is going to all be about the tools for those who that advanced photographers, some of this information you might already know, uh, you probably do know, but today is going to be all about the tools I want to go through and explain each of the tools that we use and the controls and why each product exists in the world of light shaping, for example, all of these tools have a right to exist. They have a specific purpose, you know, students asking all time do I need to buy an umbrella or a soft box? And my answer is always yes, you know, I don't know what you're going to shoot, but everything has something that it is designed to do well, and so we're going to go through those tools piece by piece, and we're going to spend some time with that second day is basically learning all about the light qualities and like quantities of our craft, let's understand not just the quality of our light and the controls thereof, but we also want to spend time about quantity and let's, not miss exposures. I find it so interesting that I'm one of the few guys that here that still pounds on everybody's head talking about light meters and understanding how we cannot miss our exposures by a tenth of a stop. Or we have to miss dinner going back in and fixing things. And for me, it's it's, enormously important. So not miss anything. I want to be able to finish the shoot and have everything. Everything in my computer, exactly as I wanted it to look. Now, if I want to enhance something with light room photoshopped, whatever the tool is that's. That's great, but I don't wanna have ever have to fix anything. I want to enhance something not fixed something. So for me, that's why I choose to spend so much time talking about our exposures and our quantities of like, I think it's critical, important, especially if you've got families, you know you can you can use the meter or skip dinner with your children, it's up to you, that's, that's the way I look at it. So then and then they three is going. I mean, we're going to do a lot of mixed up shooting in here in the middle. But day three is all about variations of shooting. We're going to shoot a ton of stuff in here this week, we're going to see fashion will shoot traditional portrait's we're going to make a one light portrait look like four lights were used. We're going to a lot of stuff in the studio this week, we're going to still life we're going to do painting with light, we're gonna make the studio black and I'm going to pull out a little mini mag flashlight. We're going to light a still life with it, we're going to shoot lots of stuff is a high tech watch shot that I have in my brain and we're going to shoot this week, so we've got a lot of stuff and it's all about the light, so hopefully that is why you're here if that's what you're hopeful and and that you're going to gain this week, so let me run a little show here. I put together a just a quick slide show to show some variations of studio work on it's all this is all studio work that will be showing here just to give you a little bit of example, of some of the things that we're going to be talking about this week in a picture like this, this is basically, uh, overhead strip light that lit my model and the background one light portrait, basically, and sometimes it's, not so much the tools, but the knowledge behind the tools often often it's how you think about a tool, or how you might think about choosing to use that tool, and a strip light lends itself to creating those long highlights uh, ah lot and so it's, something that we can use pretty easily, uh, both of these well, the one on the left, it's a one life portrait, the one on the right is one light on him with a reflector, and then a curtain pulled open just a little bit told that a little bit of light on a white wall. So it's both a more kind of one like portrait, but done a little bit differently. And for me, I've got I was sort of taught myself to be efficient with, like, it's. Ok, if you've got six or eight or ten lights most, you have one, our maybe two bob, you might be starting out, you might have three, I don't know, but but when you first started, we're going to talk about some of the basic tools that those of you that are just starting out might want to look at look at getting in a sort of a set kit, kind of the thing, uh but for me part of it is understanding those tools and being efficient with him if I could make one light look like two then I can make three lights look like six that's huge for me and when you are under the gun and under pressure of a shoot you've got to be able to pull all the tools out of your tool box out of your back pocket on the fly and clients were throwing stuff at you left and right into space in the world of editorial photography or anything that's high pressure with people that make more money than you I had had the president of an oil company one time where we were in the lobby bringing up all the gear and his secretary said you've got five minutes to get their shot then he's gotta leave and it's like ok it just completely changes your thinking you've got now five minutes to do the shot when you were going to use a set of time of about two hours we lost that so I think there's an awful lot of just paying attention to the usage of the tools again same dancer similar situation same life source just pose a little bit differently uh just a simple little one light portrait one of the things I do is I really do like to study the work of cinematographers and I watch more movies and most people and I study like qualities I'm stuck on a guy named janice kaminski right now who hasn't let so many movies for spielberg and this guy's command of light is incredible and when interviewed he says it's for me said it's, not about light and adding more light, he said it's like it's taking it away and he says I want more negative light than I want positive light and so that makes me think and then I go back and look at great photographers the past irving penn who said the same thing he had a book called passages and every chapter was a different a decade and in one of his decades he did one light portrait's for ten straight years and they were exquisite portrait's all done with one light because he had a command of the craft and he knew what he was talking about that's what we're talking about, we're talking about understanding our tools the photograph of the old antique camera, the left that was done with my many mag flashlight we're going to see that we'll do this picture this week that was done it was about a two or three minute exposure with me walking around a pitch black room with a small little flashlight in my hand that's how that was lit and it's a real simple technique and many people have done it many people have tried it um a lot of students have tried it less students try to use that to get through their school and it didn't work because instructors know how they did it, but it's a great little technique and it's something that's fun and if you're a wedding photographer in your and you are at the reception, you can go borrow the bouquet from the bride and her gardener and the ring in an invitation and taken into a coat closet somewhere, slammed the door and do a little set and make a great little piece of still life art that can be page one in her album and it just takes you a minute to do this as long as you know how to do it, so we're going to spend a little time on on that today and and again as I say it, a lot of it is all about control. The one on the left, of course, is this one it's a it's, a pretty traditional model shot it's, a medium soft box left of camera pie and it's interesting too, when you start digging into if you started digging into the history of photography and then how it correlates to the history of art, you know divinci made it coming you've all heard about that most photographers like toe, work it with with their main lines of forty five degrees to their subject it's funny that sort of came from divinci the vinci and his papers they found he made a comment that the perfect position for light in order to produce produce depth shape around this texture and form is when the shadow on the ground from your subject is as long as your subject is tall well that's forty five degrees lighting it's a brilliant statement I mean this was fifteen o two when he wrote this how did how did he know we need forty five degree lighting in photography? He didn't know how he knows how to make a painting so that's why a lot of like qualities are from forty five degrees on the clock if the eyes o'clock one or two o'clock for a main line or ten or eleven o'clock for a main line if that makes sense so gorgeous gorgeous baby I don't do babies but that when I did love that kid little babies away from atlanta and we'll talk a little bit about mixing colors while we're here we're going we'll do some jail work this week we're going talk about not just using jails but understanding and controlling jails how do you make a jail look like it truly looks without making it look too light or too dark uh use the meter we're going to talk about that I love subtleties this is a one life portrait please with this portrait it's in a national ad campaign right now for uh that's out in all the photo magazines and it's and it's just a great great guy that we did a one like portrait of three by four soft box in really really close that's feathered slightly away from him toe also light up a dark dark dark gray sweep in the background just to give me a little separation but that texture in his face and that all of that character was there I didn't have to place that there I didn't have to do anything in post production to this picture other than converted to black and white that's all I did it was all there captured it in the right way and and it's not because I'm a genius it's because I read instructions and that's the biggest issue for me is nobody reads instructions how do you use a light near well you guys have an instruction book read it um I love I love verticals I love the world of slim line verticals especially, but in this case I'm kind of funky with my composition on the left uh that's not that's a stretch for me I'm much more of a traditional guy until this feather inherited woman walked in and most of that hair was light green and she was really kind of out there and she was great she was one of the best models I've ever worked with, but I knew that couldn't do anything to traditional here so compositionally, I've changed this and it's again one light portrait studio and then in the center to lights one light on her remain light one strip like kind of like the background I'm just trying to set the stage for some of the things that we have the ability to learn to do this week. Um, and I just I'm looking forward to this a lot. Here's may photographing a trumpet player and my light source was this gigantic round light, right as close as I could get it. And what that does is it produces a look like this. It gives me it gives me this great great light quality on his face that you can't miss. You know, one of my old mentors when when? Whenever there was something that you can't miss, he would always say, what can you hit the side of a barn with a bucket of rice? If you have a big enough light source close enough you cannot miss. You will get a killer killer image, you know, you just would that's just the way it works. The human eye likes that into comfortable. Look, um again one light three by four soft box in close um, this is a kind of a strange thing this is in the studio, this is lit entirely by turning on my itunes turning on music and going to view gold with the bottom of the vue drop down to visualize her. You've ever done that. You guys know about visualize, err on your itunes, go to itunes, go to view and go to the bottom and you'll see visualize er and all I did was aimed a projector, a video projector at her and that's just swirling psychedelic greens and blues that move around and swirl to the beat of the music. And I thought, gee, one of what would happen if I put that on the face and that's, what happened? Who makes the rules? We didn't we're the ones that get to make the rules were in charge. That's the best part is that we get to be in charge. We're gonna do this this week, we're going to shoot a hollywood glamour looking sort of the thing, uh, we'll have some vintage clothing in here, and we're going to some great step with that it's going to be great set up, I think I love that look, I love that look, I just got this two weeks ago in new york and it's against similar kind of a thing where I was trying to go for this this hard edge light source, creating hard shadows from her hair and her eyelashes. And we'll talk about that size of life source relative to its distance to our subjects will spend some time on that this week lots of time on that again studio like pretty simple stuff, their little reflected and blow him there backlit two thirds sort of a profile look and it's okay to get us expressive and you know this this woman who was also on the cover of the front page of my my workshop this week she's, a newscaster in dubai, and I photographed her on the set and in dubai and sees just this wonderfully funny, funny woman, and so I couldn't dare not show that side of her personality, so I had to shoot all three normal a little funding in and, you know, nutty funny because that's, who she is and that's what our job is our job is to produce no matter what situation it's got to be a complementary likeness of our subjects that's what that's what we're paid to do were, you know, for me I'm paid to perform on demand that means I don't get to guess anymore I've been doing this too many years too allowed guesswork to say, I know what's gonna happen, we'll just just one way don't do that way don't just shooting test we know what's going to happen before we pull the trigger we have to this is a funny little a little session and let me zoom in a little bit closer this is a photograph that we're gonna do huh? A day after I think we're doing this late tomorrow or early on wednesday but this is a photograph that was done to make it look like there are four lights on this picture I've got my main line I've got a background lad I've got hairline and I've got a reflector light of phil light this is all done with one light and we're going to talk about that we're going to talk about how I controlled that in such a way that I made it look like it's four lights it's not that tough when you really understand how life works and that's what that's what this week is all about for me is making sure that you guys get a little bit closer to becoming the types of photographers that you want to be and that's I mean that's our that's our goal if I can do that I can walk out of here on wednesday and be pretty happy you know if not well sorry I'm leaving town you guys can't find me so you're on your own I'm gonna um we're going to do this kind of a fun little high tech shot I went down and bought a new watch last but just because I needed a new prop well needed to watch anyway so we're going to we're going to this high tech looking stop that I've got in my head, and we're going to pull it off, and we're going to be using black plexiglass is our surface, we're gonna be bouncing light around, and I'll show you some cool things that we can do on a set up sort of thing. Uh, this is from a shop that I did a few years ago. I'm just wild about this session. I did, I used to take my my studio set up outside, I lived at the end of a cold, a sack, and on halloween I would set up a studio in the cold, a sack, and every kid that was trick or treating that came through got a free photograph that's what I gave that instead of candy. So which was great and accept that I've got interviewed by the local news, and then the next year, my neighbors, my neighbors, wanted me to sell my home and leave town because I sort of blocked up the streets with traffic, everybody want to get in and get a free photograph of their kids, but what a what a great thing it turned out to be for me, it was just a fun, fun shoot, uh, and everybody, you know, I didn't you know, do you have to look real closely but you can see look above the right eye you can see those little holding ceos rely in there it was on my neighbor kids named trevor news just a cute kid. Um but yes so I mean that's that's what we do, we're photographers and we love toe to share our craft on the left. This is a very recent picture. This is a little dancer up in moscow. He oklahoma uh and she was just wonderful and on the right, a little model down again and dubai she was one of onset from one of things that we did. And then finally I wanted to talk a little bit about this we want to talk about. This is for me it is it is important and it's probably more important than it is for a lot of photographers. Um russell mentioned last night we will have a little pre production meeting and he mentioned you know, you're one of the few guys that really comes in and talks about meeting a lot and and I don't understand why I'm one of the few guys that comes in here talks about meeting a lot, it seems to me to be so important and and I understand that people want to move fast and it's a hurry up world and let's get moving mike my workshops my advanced workshops that I teach uh we take a piece of black gaffer's tape when we cover up the lcd window in the back of your camera so for the rest of week you don't get to look so yeah he's like well on and the idea there is nothing more than to make you slow down just a fraction longer and not looking and adjusted and looking at a justin looking to just just look meter think about it is it all there and then shoot the picture and I think that is more important than anything that we can do. We've got to make sure that when we pull that trigger it's there everything is correct if it's not we're in trouble I think we're in trouble because then where's then we're catching up so for me, it's the power of control starts with the tools it's all about understanding your tools we'll get to the craft in a second but remember, you know webster's dictionary defines photography as the science and art concerned with a forming and fixing oven image onto a plate or film made sensitive to light science and art you guys can everybody kind of gets the art part pretty easily, but everybody forgets the science and it's exactly half of our craft and if you're missing it then you're guessing and you're missing a lot of pictures that you could be getting and you're probably dumping and deleting a few that you can't use you know, not a good you need a better shooting ratio than that that's what I'm talking about so any questions about that anyone, anyone, bueller, bueller maybe one quick question sure get started about this is you know, we called studio lighting but as we saw for your halloween shots, these aren't you don't on ly shoot in a studio is that correct? All right or how do you feel about that? I mean, oh yeah, we'll take these lights other places oh, absolutely all the light I'm using these new gym and I five hundred bowling lights I've got in the all or a c they plugged in the wall by their I'm we're about to talk about him in depth, but they also all come with battery packs so I've got four different battery packs that I can plug, you know, eight heads into and I'm on my way shooting the same stuff on location, so yeah, studio lighting can be a misnomer I mean, it can be confused with, you know, you don't have to always be actually in the studio and then I do I've done a session I did a workshop years ago in santa fe where it was basically called the daylight studio where we shot outdoors the entire week and it looked just like the studio portrait and it was all ambient light we didn't use a strobe at all so you know, it all depends on the direction you want to go once you understand this craft truly you guys really once you understand this craft do you are not held back by anything and nobody can fool you you know, for years I always want to go scout the location and I need to know I need to look I need to see where everything anymore that's no fun what challenges that I mean, you know, I learned that from a wedding photographer named dennis radio I have great respect for when dennis did very, very, very high end wedding, a lot of celebrity weddings and one of the students one time said, do you always go and scout the church and dennis one I never scout the church because if I do I have a preconceived idea of what I must set the bride there and I'm going to shoot the families there and shoot that couple there and then when you get there, if that door is locked and you can't get in that room or if it's raining, you can't use that courtyard or whatever, then you're just lost you know what to do, but if you know your craft well enough you can't get fooled no matter where you go and I think that's the difference the difference is, if you're going to do this for a career, if it really is going to be something you're going to chase, then learn the tools, learn the craft and you can't get fooled and that's the beauty of this. And then you get to get get home on time for dinner and you get to go home sick psychotic while everybody else is in front of photo shop and, you know, they're posting on facebook all night long all the stuff that they're doing. I hated. I've got forty sessions, I gotta head it should go to dinner. Sorry, sorry, but I do know. I mean, I understand that there's an awful lot of post work to be done, and I get that and I and I eleven and nobody you know I've done is many are more post production videos and teaching opportunities than anybody, and I do get it but it's not to fix something that's broken it's to enhance them that's already pretty decent and I think that's the statement from me anyway.

Class Description

Get ready to learn how the lighting secrets every sought-after photographer needs to know. Join creativeLIVE for an in-depth immersion into understanding and controlling in-studio light.

Taught by award-winning photographer Tony Corbell, you’ll explore how to work with a wide variety of lighting tools. Tony will explain how a photograph’s look and feel are influenced by the size, shape, and placement of its light source. You’ll learn about correct light metering techniques and the role logic and physics play in metering and working with light. Tony will cover basic, subtle lighting adjustments that transform photos. You’ll have a front-row seat as Tony applies his one-of-a-kind lighting techniques live in-studio as he shoots both portraits and still-life photos.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a new and improved skill set for working with light and achieving jaw-dropping results.


AJ Photography Ireland

Watching this Course from Ireland live, and at my leisure having purchased the course, I cannot praise Tony Corbell enough. I felt I was right there in the Classroom with him and gained so, so much from stunning course. He really does explain the techniques he uses so well and is one of the greatest Educators that I have seen in photography. Worth every Euro ( Dollar ) !.. Thank you Creative Live and Keep up the good work ! Andy Jay Cork Ireland.


I learned a lot from Tony´s class. Very experienced, talented, smart tips and funny comments. Generous on sharing his knowledge. I am passionate about learning portraiture since about a year or two, had bought a couple of flashlights, stands, modifiers and now the most difficult part, to have my wife and kids be patient and let me practice with them. John Cornicello did an excellent job helping with the lights and bringing his own comments too. They both did an excellent match. This is a class I will watch again from time to time. This is the second course I watch from Tony and about the 15th course I watched from Creative.

a Creativelive Student

This is just a tremendous class. I love Mr. Corbell's teaching style and appreciate his levity. Most of all, I value the expertise he brings to the subject matter. After watching the entire class, I have been able to make adjustments to my lighting that I love and feel like I have a better idea of what I am looking for with my lights. This is a terrific value at any price.