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Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Lesson 5 of 30

Live Demos with Lighting Tools

Tony Corbell

Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Tony Corbell

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Lesson Info

5. Live Demos with Lighting Tools


  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

Live Demos with Lighting Tools

Let's give tessa over here and let's bring that life let's bring that light on and I think we haven't I think we have enough power we can bring into this side just a little bit yeah, that can go from perfect right behind that's perfect then grab this little sit the bet test I think I'm gonna put you don't have some more travel yet good, good, good good good let's put you right about here and I move this over this way a little bit something like that. Great. Let me just let me put a little reflector on that real quick so yes oh, these things just ban it on um and you get pretty pretty used to doing this after a while hello except for when you're on live camera and I'm gonna turn down the power this a little bit so let me change that lamp there we got some nasty down pretty low so now I've got it on relative brightness so wherever I have the power button and let me kill that beat because that's pretty annoying there we go. Okay? So let's just let's just consider here that I'm working wit...

h tessa and I'm shooting from over here let me just raise this up and I'll get back over there in position so I'm not too worried about what we see on her face yet but I do want you to understand one of the main points and I'm trying to make here always be sure and with cords and cables make sure that you're really cognizant of where they are one of the guys that I used to work with was a real stickler for details and one of those was make sure that there's cords are never doing this given to not do that and for me it just always has become habit to reach around and just do that so they're not after hanging you know because somebody's going trip in dark you know and it's always a good idea also to put accord under the leg of a c stand so that there's not a loop like that they can grab a toe so small subtle things like that also we were talking about this last night when you have to raise a light up like this raise the top section first raised the bottom section last because they raise the bottom sex in first and you need more travel you can't because you're not is way up there and you can't reach it so it seems like well yeah of course but when you're frank's new twenty four year old photo student going such an idiot and everybody's looking at you funny because you lower though I stand down then put it back up well I have I have to be honest the tripod the leg on the lens thing it was like uh like you got me on that one. There are subtle little things that we all do, you know? You just have to you have to pay attention to the the small, funky little funding thousands of our craft. So so working with a reflector now, obviously we've got a lot of light in this room, and so we're not I'm not trying to illustrate the point too much, but I will say in the case, I'm just going to move this this can't just happen just one move this guy over just a little bit further if I can just moving another foot I'll be good that's great that's perfect right there. Great. So test let's put you right there, so consider my camera is here and I'm shooting back this way and I've got testes he's being lift from one side this way so let's turn you away from the light a little bit little bit market all your weight on your left foot yeah that's your right foot point right in me yeah it's perfect, perfect, perfect. And bring him to me just right there. Fine, great. Okay, so here we go. We gotta forget all the overheads for the video, but we got our main light coming from forty five degrees I'm gonna have a kid slide at about ten o'clock and right that's what defense? He told me he doesn't even know he told me ten o'clock, but he did so that's what I'm going. So now I want to put a reflector over here, and I want to open up the shadow on this side of her face over here and this case, and for years and years, I did this where I would bring my reflector up like this, and you can see it it'll innit? We'll see this when we get into shooting, but you'll see this lighten up the side of her face, right? So this is another tool with that tool to open up and I can control with my distance, I can control how much of that is being filled. I can control how much of that light is opening up that shadow, but here's something that nobody ever taught me, and that is the prep, the proper placement, it's, easy for me is a member placement of the reflector. I always would just put the reflector over here, sort of next to her and bring it up. The problem with that is if I do that and and I started seeing this in my work as I started becoming a little bit more critical, and I had a little bit more of a critical eye, and what I found was there was a little black strip or not a black strip, but a dark strip running down our nose, and I couldn't figure out what that wass what it was was that light is coming around her face and it's creating a certain amount of shadow on the site I was filling from here, this was becoming a secondary source from over here, but it was it was like on the think about the tip of the noses, like light, shadow, whole, another light, and that would be in a lesser value, but still, it was another source and what I learned that day, when I sort of really identified this look of his life, like what is going on with this dark area? I realized what I was doing, I got light number one, I've got light number two, even those darker it was like number two, and so to fix that, what I had to start doing was bringing my reflector considerably forward, so that this this light and that reflector on the shadow side of her face, becomes a continuation of that. So it's almost as if that light this goes all the way around, it keeps going, people call that a wrap around like, well, I always hate that term because light doesn't wrap, like can't bend, like, go straight until his water then it convince but until then it's water it's going in a straight line so wrap around like that I don't buy that at all and I've heard it from video guys I've heard it from still guys sorry and I don't I don't buy it anymore and I used to dance around and say, well yeah it kind of is like no it's not it doesn't wrap doesn't ben but by bringing that reflect her up here what happens now? I can move in such a way that when I bring it into place and you'll see this as we shoot when I bring in the place now that life is changing the density of her shadow but it's doing it as a continuation of that light is it comes around the face and now we are truly sculpting her face and we're sculpting the features of her face does that make sense hugely important hugely important? Okay, so now I'm not a huge fan of the gold I am a big fan of the silver but on lee if used as a as a reflector below for a shot like that you see that highlight the bottom of rye are you referring to the image in the center the one in the center and you can also see a little bit of it there but it's not as prominent as I put it in that one right there and the idea with that is to open up the shadow under the eyes under the nose under the chin that was primarily what the what? The goal was there if that makes any sense and you can see you can see that because of the placement of the beauty dish those cheekbones are strong but they were almost too strong so by bringing them silver down below it kind of calms down that that drama from being quite so pronounced so let me put that I want to put the beauty dish back up if I could let me pull off this this guy real quick hot hot I think that on there we've got a question from a new open to buy when using a silver or gold reflector does it actually change the color temperature of the light reflected part of the subject the gold yes the silver no the summer's putting neutral with gold will it can it can kind of mess with you perfectly yeah and and to me that's why I don't like gold on the face it gives me an unrealistic look so I kind of try to stay away from gold on face even outdoors I mean, some people will say well it helps neutralize the blue cool sky on a show on the shady side of a building well, maybe but it's a little bit too heavy for me on the face but but I sure do use them but not for face um I'm gonna turn this modern light up quite a bit higher now and we can see let me put this into position and again just like with the tripod is jim mentioned when you're using a life always try to find the leg to put under the lifesaving device it is a soft box or the beauty dish I want a leg directly underneath it to help give me added stability ok I don't want the weight to be between the layers because it can go over to easily but if the weight is right over leg can go over makes sense ok, so I'll drop it down just a little bit more weight yes oh so the beauty daystime I put it in the position kind of like this let me just move this over I might work with it in a position sort of like that you're good right there you're just fold your arms for you and then depending on where I'm cropping, this might then sit them just below here and distance wise it's a pretty it's a pretty subjective thing wherever you kind of like the distance for me the distance is sort of either by because I'm brilliant or because I'm lucky I'm not saying I do know that I liked the reflector with distance from my stand to my model what like this see that distance that's a perfect distance for me now I got a reflector, and often with depending on the life stand, you can just rest one part of it on a knob like that, and if her hands aren't in the side, she can even hold one corner of it, or you can put on a little table or in a small standing clinton however you want. But what this does is, again, just like on that shot, there really opens up under the eye under the nose, under the tent, all that the whole region gets kind of opened up a bit, and it works really well, and that kind of the angle that you like to hold that eyes that kind of a slightly inclined angle, it kind of depends. It kind of depends on how close it is to her, because if it's too close, that angle can be a little bit too sharp. The one right here behind me here, I think that angle was too high, I've got a pretty high and it really did block up the shadow underneath, and I'm not sure that I'm not sure that I am not sure that I'm quite got what I wanted them close, but I'm not quite sure there's a first time I've seen these prints, I just shot this stuff I've seen these like this yet? So this is the first my first view here but I think that that would not be a little bit dense shadow I probably go back and re edit that a little bit maybe opening that's had a little bit since I missed that when I shot it but it's probably on my strip of exposures because I usually very those things a little bit that big thanks the white house for these images yeah, they did a great job. This stuff what's funny about these these images I uploaded these a week ago thursday last thursday at eleven fifteen they were in production by twelve they were in finishing by two fifteen to twenty they were finished and packages that three forty I think and on a truck it for and therefore thirty forties that that kind of turnaround time that's what white house does the's these images are turned like that and there's no cut off for christmas. You need him like the day before we before chris you're going to get up the next day they're going to ship sometimes they love him just good people nice folks, I think that I just love it one way get to work with cool people and they are genuine isn't it funny how how how our world is we all like to do this is the people that we like the butt heads might have better products sometimes but we don't like him so we don't use them so yeah that's what I feel about anyway no let's keep going any question on this at all yet anything you want talk about before we want I have a question on the beauty dish here are you using it to create a little more contrast in her face or is it just more of an even lightning I'm both of the above I'm creating a little bit more contrast it is a contrast here source but it is also a source with on her skin and her skin and her it really does some nice move things to the skin it almost gives a milky look to their skin I will be real honest and say you get somebody that's let's say way north of fifty not the best like choice because it's going to be a harsh looking like to their skin and you know what? What what do wrinkles appear as I knew you were going to say that I looked and they do appear as shadows on light skin but they appears highlights on dark skin so I know that if I am trying to indeed create a complimentary likeness I've got I've got at least control the highlights and shadows and sometimes with people that a little bit older that have wrinkles those those highlights and valleys that's what they become they're there peaks and valleys on her skin and I know that the larger the source, the softer that all becomes and we're going to talk about that a lot tomorrow tomorrow's a lot about control in this kind of texture textural features of people's faces and stuff so but I think I think the dish the thing that I love about the good dishes with someone like this you can't miss you know you gotta work really hard to take a bad picture of this girl I'm telling you, you know, really hard awesome and so, tony, what are the sizes on these guys? So so the soft boxes that I use that soft ones that I have that's, a three foot by four foot basically great, and that is my sort of my go to guy for most things and I've got three of those that I travel with pretty much then I've got my my larger it's about a five foot doctor bank, which I use, which is brilliant. Then I've got my big boy, which is a four foot by six foot soft box, which is so forgiving it's such it's it's traveling with a window light you know, it's really great then I brought with me here and we're going to do some shows, some shots with my seven foot umbrella I've got a seven foot silver umbrella it's a monster it's only but it's only ninety nine dollars tool you can define it for ninety nine bucks it's the smartest thing I've ever seen best single tool I have and I use it a lot and we're going in fact I'm going to a photograph of all of you guys were going to use one light source and let all of you and I can only do that with this one light source it works really well on then I've got smaller strip lights as well that I've got that I used twin strip lights uh then I travel with as well as and then my beauty this is they're all same size or twenty two inch video dishes and I've got him with him without grids and I've got the socks for them a few socks and all those little accessories for them quick question from julie ducks who says I really really want to know if there's a practical use for the black side of the reflector all using themselves and we're gonna hit it pretty hard on wednesday so beautiful we are you know we're talking about for me I spend a lot of time talking about for what I call applications of light I promise I'm coming back talk about for what I call up the applications of life and that is additives attractive transmission and reflective and I've been preaching about these for twenty years and for this attractive I'm one of the few guys I know that uses that black side as much as I do, but but but I do it because I learned from watching cinematographers and watching movie makers and what they do is you know, they sometimes we'll call it negative phil you'll hear that term is like, what does that mean? I don't want to fill in this saturday I want to create more shadow I want more negative field and so we're going to talk about that especially when we do the full length shot with my seven foot umbrella I want to show you what negative field does with black and then we're gonna flopping around and do positive phil I'm not here to tell you which ones right you guys have to figure that on your own you have to live with your work not me but I will show you what all the tools are and what they'll do and for me a black is if I've got four things of I've got black, white, silver and gold I will promise you I will use the black absolutely at least twenty five percent of time I use it a lot well so we'll get to see it in action it creates it creates more drama and mohr directionality to my life without question let's keep going okay, so let me think uh, this guy off your real quick let me put I think I'm gonna put on I got it in probably here I'll use this umbrella but I will take off this giddy this real quick so let me just pop this guy off and if I could have that too and let me just put a umbrella reflector up and you know don't get too concerned on on exact placement of things sometimes we get a little bit to concern about everything being very, very precise some of the stuff is not nearly as precise as you might think exposures are but nothing else everything else is everything else is a little bit of a you know, not a crap shoot but but certainly there is some room for this there's some margin for error built in uh this is a small umbrella and I don't use them a lot, but when I do use them it's because I want like to spread over a large area and in this case think about put this guy in here so look at the way I've got it placed here you can see how the distances from the head to the center part of the umbrella and so if I move this guy here out further that's going to make it even uh, a larger spread and almost make it a softer quality of life that covers a larger area but if I'm going to just photograph just her and I want to bring that light down a little bit then I'll bring the rod down and I can bring that guy in here and then I'm lighting us a bit of a smaller area and it's kind of I'm not going to say it's making a smaller source but it is it is concentrating a little I'm still going to have that area lit but it is going to concentrated slightly almost like a little bit of the light than yet yeah that you can't identify soft edged very very soft eggs then yet it is just a little bit hotter in the center than the sides over area ok makes sense okay quick question danny didn't just a real quickie I've known as a photographer and doing the same set up I've never understood why I don't see the shadow of the light when it's bouncing backwards where is the light actually come out of this set up all around it okay you the only time you'll see the shadow from the life is if you photograph a wine bar okay or something that's highly reflective that's dark ok it's still in time you'll see it you'll never see it on the face yeah which is why which is why you could get away with lighting someone with these ribs the metallic folding rods the ribs that are inside the umbrella those never appear except they would in your classes okay, if you're holding a glass of of of cabernet they would because it's dark right if it was clear and white water they might not be seen so you have to think about this it's it's almost like working with light tone ality subjects versus dark atonality subjects if I'm working with something of a light tone all of my contrast controls have to do with something dark so like if I'm going to photograph your white shirt for the catalog for, you know wal mart however you get that shirt it's my job something somebody had to say something seriously if I'm shooting if I'm shooting a life clothing yeah I've got a skin light across increase shadows or you wouldn't see texture like if there's fine lines or logos or whatever you'd never see the texture right which is why on a bride with when you photograph a bride you absolutely with lots of beadwork you want that bride you've got a show that main light say let's let's let's do this let's put let's put you right back in the position that over here for me so if I photographed her and she is my my new bride, let me raise this guy this a little bit the letter turned started toward me a little bit with him right there the last thing that I would ever want to do it so let her like this with a large source or an umbrella of any kind the last thing I want to do if she's wearing white is toe like flat into her chest because I have no contrary it's just flat sorry audio guy bam he's somebody in the control room this way I don't want I don't want to flat like anything that's why I have to have shadows across something that's white so I would turn you the other way now I'm skimming light across or I could lighter from if you're if you're standing in that position I could like her from back here skimming light across this way as long as I'm skimming light across white I've got shadows shadows show me contrast and create dimension, shape form texture all that and then now it's conversely that was talked about something that that's black and shining for example then my highlight is all that matters on the black right shadow doesn't matter when photographing something black I don't care about shadow but I do care about the highlight and often highlight becomes a part of the design element think about think about think about that if I'm photographing a white car I could light it with a speed light because you'll never see the reflection of the speed light in the white car but five photograph a black porsche nine eleven with the speed like what you see is one hot white spot around the hood not good that's why we have these big gigantic kino flows and we've got the studios with big white soft boxes that I can drop down over the hood of a car because then the highlight is the design element for this picture not the shadow it's all about photographing something dark and shiny makes sense it's hugely important to understand what side of the scale you're going to work on you know and I and I know that I kind of get on some box a little bit about some of these things and I get a little bit analyst some of this stuff but for me it's just that I don't want to be fooled I was fooled for years I don't know what I didn't want them for years I was buying houses and cars because I was friendly not because my work was any good you know? And then I met this guy named dean collins who said you got to get better what you should improve your work a little bit you could be better okay and I started getting better you know? And I think that's that's part of it is you know when we critique pictures and when I judge photo contest and things of this nature you got to be honest with people when you look at the work you guys say this is great except here's we need to improve it once objective tips that's your opinion but object of things that you might improve upon or things that you might just want look at differently. So how did I get over there? You guys just said, dan, there he goes. All right, let's, we're right back down that rabbit hole just a quick reminder for let's see who wasn't scitex who says tony ran through the four applications of like, pretty fast through? I'm familiar with, but what was the fourth after additives attractive transmission and reflective additive so attractive transmission reflected we're going to hit these really hard later in the week, basically additive when you've got a given amount of light and you're bringing more light to it subtracted, I'm taking a lot away from where I don't need it or I'm trying to remove light that is giving me a kn pleasing result here's approach example of subtracted life think about this, tessa c I just sometimes I get in sometimes I'm like carol think about think about we're shooting on a on a on overcast day I've got this soft box in seattle, you know, the day I've been here, I know how this works in seattle. If it's not raining, it's sometimes can be a little great, I know these things, so the life saw is so soft it's beautiful, but it is downward casting right, because it's down we're casting I got a shadow under here I got a shadow under here and I've got a shadow under her eyes so I can take instead of just adding flash to that or adding a reflector on the bottom bouncing right back in let's take the black let's take this the subtract er of light and let's put it over head like this to interrupt all that soft light that's coming straight down from the top and as we move it forward or back we're placing it in such a way that bread can you come up and help me just hold this one side for one second you since you're so tall, I do remember that about you weii did this on a very hot day that I got some bird now this moving forward about a foot okay, so right there so let's think about this if I'm if I'm lighting her I'm looking at this from the side and I'm looking at this front edge as as sort of the interruption keeping that soft line that top like coming down so move that way just a half step a little bit more a little bit more now, then I'm just lower in my life source down now now it's coming at a different angle to a face that's a lot more pleasing and that's why you subtracted light so much that's just one of the ways to use attractive light certainly aiken take this thank you. I could take this and I've got her being lived by the umbrella on this side of her face and I can bring this guy in all these walls in the studio are light colored this light is advancing all over this room which is great when you want light bouncing all over this room and it's awful when you don't so you gotta have the black to interrupt the light that's bouncing all over the room I could bring this up right here and it totally will change this photograph completely change this picture and all of a sudden now I'm introducing more drama now that I'm introducing more directionality that light because I'm interrupting anything else from getting in there so additives attractive transmission anytime light goes through an interruption right? So this completely one hundred percent transmission life light has to go through this and it's enormously important that I use this and I'm again I'm gonna cover that pretty heavily as we get throughout the week and then the other one additives attractive transmission in the reflective and reflective is exactly what it sounds like you know, reflective that's reflective source some people wouldn't agree with me but it is lights one of their bouncing around and coming back out using a reflector reflective source like that in the studio is pretty important you know, all of these tools all they all have the only important if you were all one family and you came in the studio for christmas card photo this week because you know, people always wait to the last minute seriously, I mean, it would be one of those situations where how much into this I can't do that I can't let you guys with a soft bucks not evenly that one umbrella I could like you all evenly and it might be that in terms of placement, if I had this thing turned towards you and I was over on one side just a little bit like here and let's say I was just going to like this family up, the last thing I would want to do is aim it here because you two guys are gonna be great I've lost the rest of you I mean it's just going to get playing like, but what I could do is aim it past halfway I would turn it like e like that and then I might have to power it up, but even so, I could get even light on lee and I could get the same amount of light on bob by doing this way and just in case people at home can't tell from the angle of the light is actually pointing directly at lee, which is the farthest person in line yeah, you go way past halfway if you're light has to be on one side which is always almost always does so it's going to be in your shot so you know, but it's important I think I think this kind of stuff is pretty important that we make sure that any time that you're controlling light, whether it's a soft box on umbrella not to bank all that stuff think about that placement and and why you're shooting and why you're setting up your literally looking at your subjects and you're and you're going like this okay, I get it right about their family now rise just came to life, we're right there they might not and again with an umbrella and in the studio it might be that if I was just fully roughing one of you maybe bread I might have you well, I'll do with tessa so with tessa here right here, I know I've got x amount of light getting on my background, but if I cheat just a little bit I know I've got a lot more light on my background and that just makes me more valuable to my client, you know and part of it you know, it's it's sometimes sometimes it can be a timing issue and it could be an economical issue some people charge by the day for their time or by the hour or by the shot so for me, if I, if I'm efficient with my time and couldn't get it done, especially some of this complex, if I get in and get a shot and get out quicker than the next guy, should I be penalized because I'm fast and get paid less? Because it, I'm paid by the hour? I don't think so. I think I should be paid more because I was so efficient took five minutes of the ceos time instead of three hours of him, one, you guys ready for this yet? I mean, I got it done, I'm out, they loved that about me think I'm I might not be very good bye, very fast. Signed my prince, they're not very good, but they're really big. You want your pictures a little good, make them bigger.

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.