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Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Lesson 22 of 30

Shoot: Classical, Traditional Portrait

Tony Corbell

Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Tony Corbell

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Lesson Info

22. Shoot: Classical, Traditional Portrait


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Lesson Info

Shoot: Classical, Traditional Portrait

And I was thinking about having her kind of use this as a profit let's just have you stand behind it and I want your hands just to kind of rest he's kind of like this is kind of restaurant softly right across top of that and john will be our main light we'll bring that up pretty pretty high and and did we have I didn't I see you put together that will strip light perfect okay, so we're going to use the strip light on the same side so I'm gonna bring this guy back here from that strip light but I got spending around because the words upside down it's making me insane on john's doing that on court and he's doing it on purpose I know it is so in this case we've got this little strip light that's going to be my accent life and it's you know, it's got a little grit in it and you're gonna love the effect of this little grid. It does a really nice job and this is going to be a sort of a classic sort of a traditional kind of a traditional portrait and I love the look that we can get on this ki...

nd of a wall and this is exactly as if I'm in somebody studio sorry I'm in the darkest hole in the studio guys sorry this is as if I'm in somebody's home and I'm truly setting up in their living room or in their study or in their den and this is exactly what I would do I would go in there with us with a strip light too open up all of this part a main light depending upon what I'm shooting and then wherever the set is here I would open all this up and I wanted I don't wantto too much drama back here but I do want to have some exposure back here so it would probably take maybe one of these without the grid just hand you that perspective I would do this back here with no grid, bring the light out away a bit and kind of let it flat like that wall I just need some density back there and I'll turn that down two one and we should be pretty close to ready to go there let me just move this out the way so I can go horizontal if I need to you know you get preconceived notions I know for years and years and years I would never shoot a vertical tight photograph in a horizontal position with my camera and yet I'm finding in my old age, but I'm really like horizontal looks of people standing and horizontal compositions of vertical things, so I'm kind of growing and expanding and I think you know as we all change and as we all grow and as we all age, our tastes sort of change so we don't stay in the same way we do things differently I've had people come in so I can't believe that was one of your pictures well, I'm not the same guy I was twelve years ago eight years ago even a year ago I'm shooting different pictures now then I shot a year ago I think you know, so I think we have to always continue to try to strive to do that kind of keep keep ourselves active and change things up. This is looking really nice, you guys, this is looking really nice. I think maybe just a tiny bit more they're yep. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. And just going to let your hips go that way again about the way that one yeah. And your weight on your left foot and let your right foot just point way out there and just kind of drag your foot in right there. Freeze! Perfect. Your head to me. Just a little right there. Right there, boy, that looks nice. What do you got on the main line? Why don't we go now? I want to take it up a little bit higher, let's, get up closer to eleven if we can and I just wanted I just really want to make sure that this is good and crisp and sharp and I know a lot of portrait people really like to go for the five, six area and really have just a great portrait look, but when I'm in someone's home like this, I want to make sure that I don't miss sharpness on anything. And so if I can pop it up a little bit sharper a little bit higher, I'll do that often. Okay, eleven john. Way to go, john eleven. What about back there in the back? How we doing that? Is that about five, six, five, six on that one. Ok. And what about the background with the with the overall background? Like going off for a minute back toward this? The jamot this lighter here? Yeah. Okay, so that those pop that up plus to get for let's just admit it stops the less to yeah. Oh, it was down on your end. Yeah, so we'll go upto there you go. There you go. Just because we're almost there eight and a half. Well, that's perfect. So that's half some below what I'm shooting in and that's the thing that I've got to think about. I don't I don't wantto think about the numbers as much as we mentioned this yesterday, I want to think about the pluses and the minuses okay, so plus and minuses is a huge deal with me and it's just it's just a lot easier way to work. Okay, so let me just get back to right about here and take a look here and see how we're see how this is coming together in here. Great. So thanks for the crew for putting this light and then this set back there in the background it's looking really nice. So we're at eleven word I have so two hundred in the studio. Good, good, good, good. So we're a little hot in the background and so we wantto pull that down some I think it's just it's at least a hot stop too hot maybe stopping half even it's pretty pretty hot back then I guess we're right on the incident angle to it too. So we're getting little bit of that the hot spot and you know what? Just for fun, john I think let's go ahead and put that slight not the full cto, but just a slight. The quarter are half. See if you just let it drop over that background like just to soften it up a little bit, warm it up a little bit now we also can always know right there are dalein balance gives us the true skin and the true look of the of the garment she's wearing and all everything is true. If you like warmth, I'm going to the same picture real quick and then he's going to change the color balance to, um too cloudy. Well, move shady here just to warm it up just a little bit and let's just see the difference, and it may be the difference that you like and it might be you want to do this to give you a little bit warmer skin tone. What I find is that there's an awful lot of people that like warmer pictures and not very many people that like, cooler pictures. So for that reason, I'll often change how I'm shooting something based on just adding a little bit of warmth, so I'll leave this on the warmer setting, and we've added the extra warm from the background, so she's going to stay for the next picture exactly if she is in this shot, but the background will be a little bit warmer and I think it's a little bit more inviting if it's warmer just for fun. John, can we bring that background life just a half step closer to her? It won't be in the shot, but I'm trying to try and do is soften that shadow not softened, but but kind of looked just a tiny bit more right there. There you go. I'm just trying to keep that that shadow that's back there from the plant is a little bit too much that one direction so I'm just tryingto eakin that that just a tiny bit great great great great this looks nice. Good. Yeah. So now that's you know, now we're starting to look like we're in somebody's home a little bit it would be a little bit more warm and inviting let's turn your shoulders away from me just a little bit that's pretty good there and I'll bring you head way around in fact let your leave your left hand on the back of the chair and let your right hand just come down and kind of turned backwards like that for me yeah just like that you know nice nice do this run your fingers to your one time on the right side especially there you go. There you go. Good bring your head around perfect right there. Great. I'm liking what's happening back they're done with that accent can you just bring the main light towards you? A half step there you go right there there you you go! There you go. Great she's very elegant looking I am going to need to come back just a tiny bit further guys sorry just for one shot here so I can zoom here's the thing on by talked about this once before and and one of you commented on the first day here most lenses have the same perspective and and so what I mean by that statement is if I'm going to do a head shot of her with a fifty millimeter lens let's say one to a three quarter length our head shot right here fifty millimeter lens on my camera so I'm gonna shoot from here to here with my fifty well, I'm going to be standing probably about here, right? But when I shoot that I'm probably going to see a little bit of that strip light and a little bit of this edge of this background light because the angle of coverage okay? So in most cases then you would switch and put on a two hundred moment our lands let's say I put on my two hundred and a backup and I'm back in this position and now I'm shooting with a two hundred millimeter lens and now I'm not seeing that strip light and I'm not saying that I'm seeing just this compressed background area behind her perfect okay, so now now let's fast forward to the day you show up on the location and you forgot your two hundred so all you've got is your fifty and you're like uh, right so here's what you do you leave your fifty on you back up to where you would be standing as if you had your two hundred and you take a picture and you're seeing everything in the studio but when you crop into the head shot, you get the exact same shot you would with the two hundred did you know that it has to do with where you're standing? It has to do with where your feet are placed? Lindsay the linda's have the same perspective if you're in the same position so when you're on a suit and when you're on a sports shoot and you're trying to get a longer look to your limbs crop in go to where you would if you were shooting with longer lines and then crop and then there's the argument well then it's going to get noisy and then it's going to get I know I know but why you can have can have everything everything is a comfort gay everything's compromise you know? Yeah hey tony, we have some people might run chris pose wondering what affect the strip light is having and maybe we could turn that off and show yeah the defense so so let's kill the modeling light on let's just do this first before we do that kill them on that on the main light so we can see from back here from camera position you can get a good look at what the accent light is doing bring your head around to the life source for the right to come back just a little bit right there I want to be careful with my placement of it so that it doesn't hit the tip of the nose but all it's doing is trying to help outline and separate her from the background a little bit that's it's only job is to give a little bit more dimension uh to the photograph with the round grid except that was just on the head and this is going to stretch the body yeah it kind of it kind of long gates and comes all the way down in fact it is down a little we could probably pop it up plus one more stop and get a little bit more strength out of it and we'll see it a little bit easier but it's in a good placement back there for and the thing about the thing about the grid spots is with a grid whether you're using a soft grid like this or a small the hard grid be very very aware that if you get a little bit off access to the light your life changes and falls off quickly so the placement of it is pretty critical where you place that line is it's a pretty big deal okay so let me just double check that go that way just a tiny bit with john just saying it or spin it's been yeah this rotate write that then go back and happening there you go there you go so we should be good there so let's take another look at that and you could bring that guy back up e you for so so my point with the lens discussion there was I needed to back up a little bit so I could zoom in a little bit more with my longer lens so I could get rid of the edge of this gel on this head right here that was my point in fact one of one tip that you can get in the habit of dunn and john will love me for joining this one just you're gonna take it anyway stay put on the side so the tips go up and down instead of stick out you can get three more inches closer, okay, let's take a look here and see what we got came my dear you're looking pretty good. He looks pretty good. So you guys like her and she great she's like oh, what? Tony just bring your hand a little higher on your left hand. Sorry. Yep. There you go. Just arrested really easy. They're perfect beauty and let me just make sure when you do have horizontal lines you do kind of want him to be pretty true and level you know I'm pretty good about sending, uh letting letting diagnose takeover a lot but when there's something that's horse on that's supposed to be horizontal I kind of needed to be horizontal you know um we're going to say that for the next okay section I think but I do want to do one more of these with a little bit of a film that little card still here here if you could grab that card it's just still in her shadow just a bit um I think that I think that would be real nice and then we'll do one more without that jail. Well that's good to do that again. That was nice yeah, but I want to get your shoulders a little bit off texas and bring your head back to me right there my in a shot no, you're good great right there. Good not same thing with just a little sparkle in your eyes on this in your eyes right at me. Good. I want to do one thing, john. You stay where you are for just say I just want to raise the level of that grid and I'm just gonna I don't want a little bit more in her hair take it down just a bit on I'm gonna give it just a tiny bit more output but I'm going to take it up just a little bit higher just kind of like that and again, you know you come in you kind of find ten you refine you tweak my friend clay blackmore is always saying you shoot, you refine you know you like you refine your chute, you light refining, shoot and I think that I learned a lot from other photographers. We all do. We all learn from each other and I'll be listening to somebody speaking some conference and I think and never thought of doing that, you know, it's that's great. We all have to learn. I mean, I learned stuff from joel grimes is coming up tomorrow. I learned from that guy all the time. All these people are really talented folks. Good, good, good, good. I'm liking that I'm liking that a lot. Can we zoom in on the face on this one? I just want to get a good look on her face. You just kind of check that out way. Go. There we go. What do you think, guys? It's kind of a classic look on again that weren't. Now look, if we can go in a little bit closer, mike, and just look at her eyes for just a second. So you can kind of see that the position of the highlight is right at ten o'clock ten ten to eleven o'clock, which is, you know, basically that gets back to our forty five degree lining I think that's kind of what we're after here and you go ahead and pull back a little bit with that I think that'd be great so again my my lenses my seventy two hundred er it's the f four linz and I trim up that exposure I mean that composition I'll tighten that up on the right side a little bit I got a little bit too much negative space there straighten that up a little bit and I'll also do want to flip this around do a couple that are vertical ous well not yet in just a second yeah yeah give me just a second we'll do that this ball head that I'm using several people have asked about this I made the mistake of checking my email last night oh my gosh when you're on creative life boy do you generate a lot of e mails and boy, can you not get through it? So for those of you that road questions from yesterday I promise I'm gonna answer everyone him but I'm not going to eat today but one of the questions was several people asked about this ball head that amusing and this is called it's from a company called really write stuff it's very expensive it's a precision tool that it's the best president ball for myself in years it's called the lx fifty five is the bald head and it's it's just a great set up and that information is on the year list, which is available for free if you enroll in the course is on the course page. So check that out. Forget that. Yes, it is. Okay, here we go. Good, good. Just bring your hand. Can you just move closer to your hands and just bring your hands up a tiny bit higher, right? So, here's what? I just did see where her arm is. Look where her right arm comes down across her hip. Okay, now, let's, do the exact same picture and your arms are in a much better place right now. So stay right. We are. Can you place your left elbow out a little bit? Yep. Right there. And turn your head and just a bit right there. Great. Now put these two side by side and blow on the screen. There we go. Now put those two side by side. And can you see how much weight we've taken off by getting that air between her arm and her hips and her waist? I can see your shape a little bit better. It just really helped tio not make her too thick. By getting her arms out a little, I think I think it just helps small, subtle thing. And this is one of this is this portrait I think would also look nice in black and white. I think this is one of those that would look that would work pretty well. We'll do a couple more here real quick. Great, great, great. And this time let's bring your hands together like this and just riel kind of softly in fact let's do one without that stool let me get rid of that stool and let's turn actually it's turning toward the light sources to live at this time I'm going to go against what I said about lightning flat in the chest and we're gonna like flat in the chest just because and for this time I want to just yeah, just let your fingers kind of go down like that and just fold one foot over the other whatever is comfortable for you and then just bring your head right into the camera and this is this is just like right down the red right down the barrel so to speak ok and you look fantastic. Great, great, better level of this a little bit the good news about that brick wall back there is you got some horizontal lines you khun level to ok, so now johnson is as close as you are just pull off the gel on that background life let's do one more and then we got a couple of questions before we change this up a little bit okay, here we go good, good, good great. One more of those little little smile on your face perhaps like you're enjoying this wear we go there we go. Okay, good relax for just a second, okay? We had a couple questions out here I think if they do when they photographed the sports or for the paper um my shot put girls and my wrestling girls usually two hundred pounds and they don't like putting out there their arms because they have the bat wings as long as their muscles. So for a girl like that who would want a more of a glamour shot for senior shot in her gear? How would I put her arms? Because she doesn't want to do the if you're are you in a controlled situation like in a studio or something? Yeah. Ok, so so the first thing to do is elevate your camera position, get your camera at a higher position uh people got a little bit heavy kind of like me way will look better instead of this position. Well, almost always look better if we're lean forward this position and it will help if you can raise your camera up to that position also, if you can raise your light source up a bit will always help okay too slender rise a little bit and remember there's always a you know there's a short side of the face and a broadside of face and let me show you what I mean by that this there's you know in the old days of learning traditional portraiture your life your life in a directional life source like this comes from one of two ways it's either broad light are short light and let me let me see if I can define the difference for you so if I bring this right light around here from here let's just turn your head that way for me right right there okay so well come come back to me just a little bit right there from my camera's position if I look at her face turn your head just a tiny bit more sorry sorry sorry and in fact I'm just gonna move this back where it was because I'm a goober and decided to do it the other way um from this position if I look at her face from her nose to her ear on this side it's about that far on this site right there it's like this from her nose to her ears about that distance on the other side of her face from her nose to her ear is about that far got it you see what I mean come stand right here just just get up there come on this is your idea it's not my idea so just looking trying to head just a tiny bit right there so look right here from there to there you see that see that distance? Okay, now see the distance here doesn't matter so there is only that far to that here forget the line the shadow just looking her nose just the width of your face from here I've got that much with of her face from here I've got that much with everything yeah ok so there's a good boy I'm just getting started there's a broad what I'm trying to what I'm trying to tell you is there's a broad side of a face and a short side of the face when they're turned away from the camera okay that's step one we've identified that there's a broadside on the short side now if you light from the short side you khun slim arise people's faces if you like from the broad side you will add weight to their faith bases so here's what I'm talking about right here if she's turned this way she is I'm lighting her from the shorter side of her face because it's coming from the side over there where there's only about that much whipped. Now if you just turn your head right here turn, turn, turn, turn, turn, turn, turn right there now I'm lighting the broad side of her face because now the short side is over here which is only that wide but this side is that white does that make any sense? Is anybody there going? What the hell is he talking about? I mean, can I can I get that point across this thereby getting that here? Is that there's a thing to think about? Braun lighting is great for adding weight to people that are trim and have narrow faces. Short lighting is great for almost anybody in almost any situation and is really good about celinda rising faces but it's not good about adding weight to faces and here's a trick that I figured out a few years ago if you want to know what you're doing and you can't figure it out, how do I get short lighting it's real simple put the nose of your subject between the camera and the main light that will always give you short lighting. I love it and we do have katie james photo who says it's actually one of the best descriptions of broad and short life I've ever heard so it definitely worked good so let's move on question about we have so very very many questions about the shadows a specifically the shadows on the wall from the plant being that the background light is coming from one direction and the key the key light is coming from another direction does that bother you at all and also, is there a way to get rid of those shadows? Yeah, it doesn't bother me, but in a working situation in somebody's home, in a real shoot, I would fix that. And I would fix that by probably lighting that background up with a couple of umbrellas, maybe a pretty high from back here, so that those shadows will cancel each other out. I think that's a pretty fair question and probably a pretty fair science, which is I would fix it, and you can sometimes do that with the ambient light level. You know, if there's ambient light in the room sufficient enough toe like the background, the trick is always just turn off the model in light on the main light, shoot at a slower shutter speed and let that background burn up come up. And so when you do that, then it does give you a light in the background. That sort of was intended by whoever designed the interior of the house anyway. So yeah, so the answer is it's a great point and yes, I would probably fix it in a real situation. It's going to take me twenty minutes to fix it here and I don't take the twenty minutes, but yeah, I would grab another life, pull out another umbrella, light it up and take care of great question cool thanks tony pro photographer would like to know under what circumstances would you use multiple accent lights and do you ever do that? Yeah, yeah, yeah in about two hours standby we're going to be if we're heading that direction after lunch. Okay, awesome for sure we are we're going we're going to multiple accents. Yeah, fantastic. Any other questions here in the room? Okay, I'm really am I am radio. So tony it's sometimes a little bit tricky for people online to see the distances that your have the camera to the model and then to the back could you talk about those distances and why you make those choices? Yeah there's not there's not there's, not a there's not a consistent and sort of a set distance for me I like I'm a little different than a lot of people. I will always try to work with the longest lands I can get away with because I just think the face looks better in a portrait situation. In fact, if my studio was in a eighty foot long mobile home, I would be happy because it would be very long and I could back up and shoot full length with a three hundred because I love the look of the long limbs and so I'll almost always get myself as far away from my background as far away from my model is, I can't now having said that I almost always I work with my model as far away from the bag drop as I can as well and the reason for that is I can do things back there if you back up two feet for me to three feet so right there she's about six feet from the background well, I'm very limited to what I can do back there because there's not much space I can't get back here I can't get back in here with an accent and like this part of her face without it being in the shot but if she's further away from the background I can and so for me sorry function walked in the dark hole again for me it's it's about having her as far away as I can and I know I started in a small studio I understand when you don't have much space but I would rather have my back against the wall and being a corner where I'm all cramped up then have lots of space around and not have the link that I want so so I would absolutely in this room this is a big room if we were shooting for real in this room and not on live I would take her and me and we would head that way and this would still be my backdrop but I'd have her twenty feet away from that wall because I can do much more stuff behind her. I can put reflectors in place. I could have more accents. I could do more with the background. I can do all kinds of stuff, and I would do that in that situation. Any time I can get further away from the wall. I will, and I will always try to my work myself, away from her as long as far as I can, just because I think it looks great on the face, you know, that's, that's, good enough reason for me.

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.