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Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Lesson 9 of 30

Shoot: 4 Applications of Light

Tony Corbell

Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Tony Corbell

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Lesson Info

9. Shoot: 4 Applications of Light

Lesson Info

Shoot: 4 Applications of Light

I do want to spend a lot of time talking about and revisit what I talked about earlier today, which was what I call the four applications of light or for what I'm not tools of light but for uses of the tools of light and what I mean by that is, you know, we talked about additives attractive transmission and reflective and I just wanted to revisit those just a little bit because there was the look confusion from a couple of people I got a text from, um additive light again is an opportunity to and light when light doesn't exist when there is no light and you've got to add something to an existing, especially in an ambient light situation that's what additive is all about and and for me, you know, and clearly this is a studio session, but when I'm on location I'm outdoors and this is something I've talked about when I was here before my reason for using flash outdoors has more to do with what I want the densities of backgrounds to be far more important to me than the subject I mean, I ca...

n make the subject anything I want with all the lighting tools and techniques that I have been ableto amassed over the years, but but for me using flash outdoors, it's usually about trying to control that background and it's making it brighter or making it darker one or the other on dso that that's sort of where added it falls in it's attractive again we talked about so attractive in that and we're going to talk about some negative feel quite a bit on utilizing that on wednesday when we're shooting all the variations um we're going to we're going to be creating some negative filled with that's attractive but it also works in the studio for anything I need to interrupt and create more drama on one side of the face and we're going to show that in just a bit uh testing around okay, good so give me just a second but we'll get to you in a second and then I said dad it's attractive transmission again when light goes through on interruption so I'm going to set I want to put that together here and so a couple of different ways of how you can do that with that subtracting subtract er of light on what what it means when you do that in the studio because it does give you some pretty pretty interesting controls uh and then finally reflective. One of the one of the strange thoughts that I had this week was our last week when I was kind of planning this out and and how we're going to do this there's something I've been one to try for a very long time and in my brain there's no reason why it won't work so I'll be a guinea pig, and I'm gonna try it with a whole lot of people watching on that is going to be a kind of a funky way of lighting my subject from behind with a reflector in the front and aim in that light at that reflector. And and I know that this worked in the days when I shot weddings. I know that, for example, I was always a little different. I never wanted to use flash on camera when I didn't have to, and so I stopped shooting weddings years ago, but but I know that I could take my assistant and stand my assistant next to the wedding cake and have him on but n'est ce we always wore suits way didn't a lot of people go and dressed in black and jeans or black pants, or whether we always work suit? Well, the my rule on anything any social event is you're photographing you. Your attire should match the guests attire so whatever the guests where that's what you were. So I was always asked my client what's the guests wearing that's, how I dressed, I want to blend in, so but I would always have my assistant, you know, like so here's my cake, there's my cake. Here's my camera and I would have an assistant stand right over here and just unbutton a sport coat or a suit coat and dropped the coat down like this and turn his back to the kate so then I would stand here and turn my flashing that it is back pardon me by ayman that flash of his back it's now bouncing off of his back and it skims across the surface of the cake which gives me shape form texture dimension highlights shadows I can see all that texture that somebody paid four thousand dollars for on that cake when I flat like that with an on camera flash it's gone so that's kind of the way of thinking there was was that so that's where I got this idea for this reflective shot and I think I could pull it off but I got to think about it a little bit but I think I can do it again so we'll try to in just a second um but I think the first thing that we want to do is make sure that that everybody's settled in if there's no questions about where we are up to this point so far for today you guys are good you guys are all you guys kind of know what you're doing you've all been around a little bit and you can't know what you're doing and plus you're very quiet, very shy very nice well except you know if you think thiss police department thing doesn't work out for you you've got a voice for radio you know well you gotta face radio okay so let's get tests over here tessa jump in here my dear let's bring you up here and jump on this stool for just a second and I'm gonna have you sit there and I want I want to get you sort of facing this direction yeah that's kind of open you up this way and I'm just going to then bring your head back that way like that so what I want to do kay lynn are you close by cannot get that those pop up reflectors of those all still standing by someplace close well here they are never mind yes oh so let me get the one that's black there we go the subtract er of like you want to hold a former actually you know what, bob bob jump up there so here's what I want to do I'm gonna I'm gonna do one will do we're gonna work with and without this so let me just get you to stand by with that let's turn this guy back up get this on full power I'm going to do this with an umbrella because we haven't used umbrella very much and let me just kind of drop that down a little bit so exposure wise again what do you think I'm going to with the meter I'm going to name it directly under from her chin at the source and do what it says because I don't do anything other than what it tells me it is eleven, right on the button, half eleven even we're going to talk a lot more in depth on this tomorrow. We're going to dig in tomorrow is all about, like, quality and quantity, so we're gonna start out just beating these meters to death tomorrow morning. So that was answers the things that, you know, we're just discussing so that will take care of us for tomorrow, someone shooting eleven. So let me get this thing set up back here. Um, I need to raise us that just a little bit since I had it down lower for the for the bag since I was the bag man in the last segment. Okay, so what's fun about this for me is being able to have an idea and understanding sort of how all the tools worked, where you're not afraid to try something and and you have to reach a point where you're not afraid to try something with a client watching that's. The thing is, you want to practice and you want to get your skills down and you need toe, you know, practice your craft. But then you get to where you don't mind a client watching you trying to work something out because you kind of think it might work or you probably wouldn't be trying it anyway you know so let's just take a look here we're going to shoot this on eleven so let me find I guess I should get off a bulb that probably wouldn't do and I guess I should get off thirty seconds because that's kind of where I'm stuck right now so jin down just a little bit for me during your eyes right here in fact let me have your eyes or hear me yeah there you go right there don't move don't move don't move let's just take one to see what it looks like okay I'm a back up a little bit give a little bit of space but for the most part yeah I'm gonna bring this around just a little bit just a bit just a bit but again look at the catch life position you know again a clock is truly what we're after that light is sitting at about ten o'clock which is where I wanted to be but I am bringing it around just because I want a little bit more light on on this side of her face as well so ok so here we go let me just take a look here just right there good good good nobody moves ok so now let's take a look at this now you're going to see this I pulled it back a little bit it's going to soften her up just a little bit but then there's that instance where we want to do one of two things flip that around let me see the other side of it so I want to do this for me bob go ahead and walk that in and let's bring it up let's bring it up if we can about there and then come to me one giant step I am wave more forward than anybody I know uses a reflector most people I know put the reflector right there next to the subject but if you come back up here this will eliminate this little issue that I have with this dark scandal in this dark spot on the nose and it just kind of becomes a continuation so let me just fire one off right there sorry I'm blocking you guys and I'm doing that and jumping in front of you and the camera guys we're going great good so now take a look at the difference between one and two ready go there you go so not opened up that shadow now stay in the same place bob just flopping around on the black side we're flopping moving in local sir and just turn your head this weekend and your eyes right here at me good, good, good great perfect so now if if michael is listening if michael could put this one and the last one those two side by side that would be great like that way to go michael, could you just be a little quicker please? Michael that's awesome, but look at the difference and you can see that the black in addition to kind of pulling out some of the the light on the shadow side it also took care of the different color shift from all the ambient light in the studio so let me see if I can fix that I would do the same to pictures and I'm gonna see if I can get rid of that here by just bumping my shutter speed up much higher so let's go upto one sixtieth of the second and go ahead and do the gold side yet the silver side and bring it in and and a little bit more and bring your head to me just a bit right there right there don't move, don't move don't move, flip it around bob to the black side don't move don't move don't move don't move and your hand is in the shop by one inch there you go right there you could move that back side of the culture tour that's it right there good great so now this will be a good color bonds should be smoother on this one yeah it's still it's funny oh, I'm such an idiot. I'm not using a white reflector amusing gold? Uh huh sometimes what kind of a goober am I I was trying to figure out why is it why is that warmth coming up? I was thinking this comes of the overhead but that's not those air kino flows and their daylight and that's warm I'll be okay, but you get the point you can see that by putting up the black what it's doing is it is subtracted line away from where I really don't need it and so that's kind of my point is is you know again I follow I follow cinematographers work and I listen these guys in their interview and they all say the same thing you want to create some drama, then remove some light? Where is most video guys that I worked with years and years ago? The video guys, any kind of lighting issue they would fix it by adding light we'll just add more light, especially tv newscasts. Oh my gosh, I hope none of you guys have worked on tv news gas because you're going to throw things at me but video guys working on this on tv especially news teams they fix the lighting to fix the shadow problem they just had more light instead of trying to control the shadow and they make things a lot worse on themselves I think but it's attractive light and taking light away really really can often adm or zest to your picture it really can so give that some good consideration so additives attractive transmission we gotta do transmission so let me do this I'm gonna take this guy let me spin this around I'm gonna pull this umbrella out of here so the top left is with no control the top right is with the reflector and the bottom is with the black I don't know which ones right you guys but here's what I do know what I know is that media ring if I aim the dome of my meter at my camera I'm going to get three different shots and yet my subject didn't receive any more light right that stayed constant but think about that dome of my meter if I am the dome of my meter from here at the camera by the time that black one came in I'm going to have a different reading then when that gold reflector came in I'm going to have a different reading because it's adding life back into the dome and yet she didn't get any more light and that's that's my that's how I defend my soapbox on him in the meter at the light look at the exposure is how the exposures they're perfect hello not because I'm a genius because I do it the right way every single time I pull the trigger I don't ever very from that, and I never miss an exposure ever I'm not a genius, I'm a dummy that's the same thing over and over and over, and it always works and works and works in every working condition with every strobe or life our son are reflected light our flashlight or any kind of light. And for that reason, jim, back to our conversation last night, I gotta have a meter can't live without it can't not want to don't have to I can afford one no, but I got to all right any questions about this? Okay, so let me put the trans loosen up and let's talk about defusing this a little bit I want to show you a couple of things that are, I think interesting, maybe you might not, but I think they're interesting, so we're going to get this guy, you don't bring those up here because that is a little bit higher, okay? Oh, you're just about perfectly it's come to this around a little bit more, not like that. Okay, so we're gonna bring this guy up and I want to get it about halfway between her and they're kind of like that, but I need you to kind of be on this side only because I'm watching what's going on in the background back there your shadows kind of going around a bit okay so let's go let me get a good reading and again it really helps to have the transmitter in the meters because it really helps keep me straight on my exposures and I can just keep meeting so fast but I haven't plugging in so it really makes a big difference so let me just kind of get this right under there fired off right there at eleven the reason is the same is while ago I had it turned that's a texan phrase wall go we'll go ahead and turned around and it was going back in and coming back with the silver knights coming through and it's defused two there so it's pretty much the same exposure so not bad idea but it but it but I'm guaranteed that because I just took the reading so and in here I'm still at eleven so there's no reason why I can't just pull the trigger and just turn your head just a little bit and turn up a tiny bit right there beautiful beautiful hello hello so now look what's going to happen in the background see that so we got to fix that so here's what we're gonna do bob, I want you this they're going to hold that back up there and I want you to move this way a half step and then I want youto feather this guy like that sometimes something don't you get it now? Watch this background. Watch this. There is every blow ready? Go! Here we go. See the difference. Can you put those both up? Mike? Michael, listen to me telling the booth what to do and I'm just loving this. Yes. Oh, so but look at the quality of the light. Can we can we zoom in? Actually, you know what? Let me she won. I'll zoom in from here I'm going to zoom in quite a bit closer on her face and rise and let's just look at the quality of this great turn your head just a little bit. You're slightly in your eyes right at me right there. Beautiful right there. Don't move! Don't move! Great this like quality is it's really great like quality and it's so simple to achieve this is a bed sheet, you guys, this is this is a this is a pillow case you can you can do whatever you need to do to diffuse that light. But you have to use the light in order to produce that kind of like quality it's. Pretty simple, basically, but look without that in place, that light source can you just move in for a second? And you step out of the way and let me just let me remind you that because I want to show you so we can put the side by side up and look at the difference and so on undirected now sixteen so it's a one stop fabric so that meant that makes sense you can buy these diffusers and all sorts of different densities of fabrics so this is a one stop fabric so I'm just going to take this up to sixteen and turn your head this way just a little bit more a little bit more right there and we do the same picture now notice the difference in two or three things first off she hasn't moved and neither has the position of the light but look at the heart of shadow on the right from the smaller source and look at the speculator ity in her bottom lip on her lipstick ok that's an issue that's got to be that's got to be dealt with and so but if you zoom in on the go ahead mike if you could bring up the one on the left I just want to see your close up of the eyes with soft one yeah yeah can use them in a matter shall I do it here? Oh ho look at you go yeah I'm sorry I wanted a sharp can you give me the sharp one cole holy toledo here's what's funny you guys now now people make fun of me already I'm my I'm only one year into my cannon system when I got the seventy two hundred I got the seven two hundred four instead of the two wait because of wait look at that sharpness are you telling me I'm losing anything because I've got four limbs instead of the two eight lands sorry I'm shooting this is eleven of sixteen but look at my sharpness are you kidding me yeah that is my question because I have invested in the two point eight cause I'm a mostly sports I don't I've never gotten that quality with a two point eight but I get better quality with the force so when I do shoot with my two point eight I should probably shoot it for to keep that because it so sharp that when I will be in focus and the other one will be slightly off two point eight it all depends on it all depends on the sport you're shooting no no no for portrait o report you know sure yeah I rarely shoot in the studio with strobes I really she wide open so I should for problem they stick before I think so I think so I was listening to a children's photographer recently talking about babies and she said that there's a there's a trend in this country right now a lot of the new up and coming women photographers there shooting little ones uh tend to be shooting a fifty millimeter lens wide open at one point four one point eight and the issue with that is they are not holding any depth of field at all and so go ahead and go to it. Go to four look and do some tests for yourself and see what you can live with because that I can live with us you know, if we could bring that other one back and let's zoom in and see if we could see both eyes on the other one you khun if we could just go in enough to see both eyes yeah, there you go, that's perfect that's it, it's all right, their nominee I met eleven on this one eleven. Yeah, my one point four would have gotten one I perfect. Any other one would have been out of focus right now is the depth of it, and if I wasn't at four on this land I would have had the same issue. But this is one of the reasons why when I'm in the studio I really how doors nobody likes a she wide open like me, I'm always wide open outdoors, but in the studio I want that awesome thing I really want to get that and sometimes that means I gotta power my lights up a little bit so but it's so far among among the five hundred second heads that we've been talking about and his terms of output I still have um I've still got one I've still got two full stops and I can go up and I'm already eleven diffused so that means I can go if I could get six I can get at this distance I can get f twenty two diffuse with that head so that's not that it tony quick question not lenses that with image stabilization it is thank you awesome it is great yeah and here's the beauty of it actually one of the cannon guys told me to get it one of the cannon reps said don't get the to wait he said, why would you get to it? And I said because of the speed he said, do you think the new I esso speeds can help you with that? And he was right I have no problem now taking maya so thirty to sixty four I go on up that I so without any hesitation or problems so it compensates for my need between the four in the two eight but it's half the weight and it's two hundred dollars less than cost great thinking, why would I not do that? So I'm not gonna wait I'm like, ok, that beast around I don't need to and I don't need the manning collar any longer I can just matter of my limbs and I've got my really write stuff bracket here, so I'm all stabilized so a couple questions as we're talking about transmitted like we've got a photo wondering oz no touch and gary nine for three basically holding the reflector up how is that different from say, turning the umbrella around and shooting through that or using a soft spots with the diffuser panel? Is there any difference? Every single one of those has a different look and throughout these three days I hope to show what they are but so much of this is testing for yourself I mean there's a there's an awful lot of testing to be done here and, you know, shooting, spinning that umbrella around shooting through it which will do this week is a kind of a nice look, but it is a different look than shooting through that panel, which is a different look than shooting through a soft box, so boy, they're all just a little bit different, you know? And it's not does not really one right way unless you're going to the same thing over and over day in, day out, if you're shooting nursery schools and that's, all you're going to do is you're gonna shoot four hundred kids a day and the day on the golf course by two then then by all means get not not I started a motorized get get normalized and get worry it's a habit and you're doing the same thing over and over and over that's fine you know I love rich d photo said which one is right depends entirely on what effect you want in your finished image sometimes you want soft unflattering other times you want to contrast tree and dramatic and I love that you said that you know which one is right I don't know I don't know I love it I know that with sometimes craggy old skin looks great with a small source when you're trying to show the craggy old skin but if it's a traditional portrait of a crazy old guy you might want to soften him up a little bit if you're hoping he's going to buy big branch you know so sometimes you have to always, you know, always refer back to that old adage that beauty is in the eye of the checkbook holder no, it really does. It really does come down to a matter of you know, what do you want, what you really trying to accomplish here? You know, I would say that maybe we could get caitlin if she's around our maybe mandy or someone could take that umbrella the small umbrella that's right there are many barber somebody and people the black skin off of it so we can make that a shoot through and I'll show you some of the differences with that and that's the one we're doing that I do want to just make sure that we're real clear on understanding that when that when bob brought that panel of there's, a couple of things that happened in one of those was we were getting more or less light in the background and I'm and I'm gonna try to avoid going into that anymore right now because I've got a whole section on we're gonna talk about that control a lot, but any time I used a scrim or a panel that's diffused I have the third dimension that I have, which is I have the ability to like the background with the same light so that's kind of a neat kind of a neat effect, frankly, okay, so yeah, this is good. So now we're gonna do this let's put this shoot through up there and we're going to get it in and I want to move it and kind of close and so you can see what that is. So then after this picture we take maybe we can compare this one to the new one so these guys in the booth or off something way already get a thumbs up yeah, yeah mike's got this yeah, I got that whatever you want I got that I'm just going to move this in a little bit closer and you can see look at the background as I swivel as I pivot you see that edge so I wouldn't want to shoot it like that because I'm going to get a partial and non partial right so but I wouldn't put it like maybe right in here somewhere like right in there and we got lots of life we have lots of like quality discussion tomorrow and bringing in soft boxes and where to place our subject relative to the box and things like that so that we're going to hit that pretty hard tomorrow so but in the meantime let's let me shoot one of these and let's just see where we are here so right there it says sixteen four that's pretty hot I think that's a little sharp for her features so I'm gonna power that down a couple of stops but I'm in pretty close so I think this should get me down there around eight or so a little over eight maybe point one pretty good guess pretty good guess ok, so the meter reads f eight point one what you think I'm going to do that not everybody wants no ill suited shooted faa if I'm within a ten thousand ahead music that one but if I go more than two tenths I go the next third the challenge for all of us and especially new photographers is that we've got these meters that read in one tenth stop accuracies most people's cameras don't some do but some don't and they're used to look into this and they're going ok the meter says f eight point oh four let's f eighteen four tenths that's almost eight and a half so so the next third up above f eight is what halftime right well most people don't know what that means because that doesn't say that on the meter it says f eight and a third like how do we know this well I put together hand out about it so way but we do need to understand what are our how the how the how the roles fit between one ten stop accuracies from the meter and one third accuracies of our camera and also our esos remember our ice ozer in one thirds also you guys know that right this is yes yeah all right so there in one third stops okay all right so this is an faa now right? Oh, look at this girl's face would you ok, so let me get this back they're hoping for good let's go I want to turn you a little bit more that way and I want to see a really good talk and it's kind of lean forward right over your belt yeah, yeah yeah now bring your head around right there but why do you think I did that freeze for just a second why do you think I did that just now everything about her looks more feminine that's all it was that was back to the rule that I said earlier anything metal bands bending sit back up like you were just relaxed now turn your head this this just turned this way right there. Okay that's one shot that's fine, but what's the change in her now so good in tallinn I just lean over forward and you see all of a sudden now bring your head around I've got an s curve from her head to her next to her shoulders to her back to a rare tour hips it's great I got all feminine stuff going on now makes him looks awesome bringing head around here let's look at her she is the all american girl okay check up just a tiny bit and bring in just a little right there right perfect right there that's it don't move don't move perfect awesome. So now this light and look at this what's this ready set go let's take another look at you, my dear and bring your head just a little bit this way there we go and I'm coming in closer I'm coming in closer I'm coming in closer sent up a tiny bit can you just reach in there coming you got things here you go yeah bang is all up in there there you go there we go now turn your head this way a little bit more right there great don't move get your ok so now what's happening now is because of the way the shoot through works it's sort of containing that life from going back and reaching the backdrop get the idea and we were kind of letting some life spill around with panel by itself I just think it's a good look and if you could zoom in on the one on the right and let's just look at her eyes and let's look at those catch lights yeah that's okay you know be advised that when you shoot at these kind of temperatures when you when you everything sharp everything shows and that's good in some cases some cases it's not good you will know the difference ok and also, you know, one of my old mentor has always said on a show like this he should be real careful on that on the tendon right there on her neck right on her collarbone worth little I call it a light trap that's one of those things that I'm might want to try to flag that off or try toe repose her just a little bit because that light is hitting it pretty hard and it's a little bit distracted and could pull your eye down there now some of you would say what I can fix it photo shopped pretty easily yes, you can and you'll miss dinner again that's my only statement and how many of these did we shoot and how many did she buy and how many times do you have to do that? How long does it take you so I'm not photoshopped bashing I'm really not but I am saying let's fix what we can let's instead of always automatically defaulting to retouch let's do what I like to think of his pretension there is one other thing I want to show I want to try one of the thing from this position without changing anything else I'm gonna add this light going to spin this light quite a bit this way toward I'm just getting a little bit of the edge of it on her and I'm going to power it up just a little bit to compensate for what I just took away sort of like that and we're gonna reese meter that and again I'm just playing bumper pool with light I'm just I'm just passing stuff all over the place so that last one was at eight o right there I'm at eight in the third so I'm getting playing a light out of that like I'll bring that down just a little bit uh okay let's, try this again, okay so now again, we're trying to do here I'm just trying to find this a little bit, turning out just a little bit of time right there. Great. All I'm trying to do is sort of fine tune and dial in uh what? What feels right here? What looks great in what feels good? Um, can we look at those last two and just kind of side by side with those and just take a look at the defense? All I did on the right was just level that had just a little bit around and I didn't and it and it wasn't at the cost of any real life quality loss on her face also got plenty of her face and her face. The light quality is pretty good still, ok, but I picked up another half stopper, two thirds on my background and at f eight, which is where I am now, the background got blown out of focus if I needed to be sharp, do is power that light up to three stops and go back up to eleven or sixteen, I can pull that pull that focus right back in there, okay? There's so many little subtle things that you can do in the studio, it doesn't all have to be that one light on that one x right there with a string attached to it don't be afraid of the studio, and this is what I tell new photographers all the time. It is a scary, scary place to step in the studio for the first time, and you don't quite know what you're going to do, and you're kind of floundering a little bit. Don't be afraid of it. Don't be afraid of that studio jump in and it's going to be. You're going to like it, it's going to be fun.

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.