Skip to main content

Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Lesson 24 of 30

Shoot: Full Length One Light Fashion

Tony Corbell

Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Tony Corbell

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

24. Shoot: Full Length One Light Fashion


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
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

Shoot: Full Length One Light Fashion

You know, I had mentioned yesterday I was talking to someone about the great irving penn, which is this such a wonderful photographer and I think that as as we as photographic artists, it behooves us and it's our responsibility to know where we came from and how we got here. And so we have to study the great photographic history of others and that great passages book of pens every every decade for forty, fifty years he changed. I mean, when he died in his nineties he was so shooting all the clinic ads and all the big posters and everything for clinic when you walk into the department store through the cosmetics counter and all those beautiful light green that logo on that look, that branding of critique irving penn was still shooting all that stuff on eight by ten view cameras in his nineties, and he was shooting fine art stuff of frozen vegetables in the fifties. You know, I mean, the guy just had a wealth of stuff and I think that those are the guys that kind of inspired me to try th...

ings. But there was that one decade in there where he did a lot of stuff with one line, he did a lot of one light portrait and there's a guy in chicago that still does a lot of one my porch it's, a wonderful photographer named mark hauser hauser is a brilliant artist and he does more with one life than most people can get away with and that's sort of inspires me to think you know what as new photographers you shouldn't feel so afraid and so intimidated stepping into the studio because it is it is a little bit of a challenge when you walk into the studio and there's all these lights and you're like I don't even know where to begin I can tell you that we once had an assistant in san diego named kevin scott sumatra and we love kevin kevin was just brilliant and we had left the studio one day came back and kevin had set up this ridiculous picture that had used twenty two lights, twenty four light stands and he had things hanging in pieces of model film online it was a cd player flying through space and cds were shooting out of the mouth of it and there was a mountain range in the background it was an amazing picture that he had done and he was asleep on the couch and we woke him up and I'm looking, you know, we're asking him out we're looking around I said finally we're looking at this polaroid that was exception I said, kevin, I'm looking at all these lights and I just when kevin how did you figure out this lighting and he's kind of sleeping his wife is icicles one light at a time. And I thought that the that's the brilliant guy, none of us where the brilliant guys he was the brilliant guy that day. So that's what we do, we start with one light and that becomes the hub of the picture as dean used to say, or the handle of a picture, everything is based off of that. That is the key light. It gives us direction. It gives the picture life and that's what the exposure is based on then from there it's a building process. Then we just add the second line. What do you want to know? What? I think we should line up the background. Great. Grab number two. What about the bagwell thing, which is separated from background? Great. Grab an accent. Like what about the hair? I think we should have more hair, great grabbing life of the hair. You just start adding and building and building and building on the shot. But if you could do something and make something deliverable with one light, I think it gives you a little bit more credibility with your client. It gives you more confidence to step in the studio with one, two, three, four, five lights, seven lights, eighteen lights, yeah, eighteen lights is I did one group shot with eighteen lights but I think you've got to start somewhere, and so for me, this is it. So what we're gonna do is we're going to a fooling shot. It's going, right? So when coming over, we're going to this one fooling shot with grand. I'm going to start this off with this one light source in this case, we're using the big the large dr banks from bones, the linear octo bank. I just think it's a beautiful light source. It's it's really, really life. But because of its size, that can get away with this. So let's put you win let's put you write about? Not about there. And I'm gonna turn you in to get over here. I want to turn you a little bit more that way now, let's, just back you up. About half step a tiny bit more. Another half step. And now that way. Just a half a step. That's it right there. Good. So when all of your weight on your right foot? Yes. And I would just put your put your left foot out away from you like that. Great. And I just kind of dragging and little bit towards you. Let's, bring it in. There you go. Good. And I'm gonna bring your head around this way and up to the light just a bit right in there. Something like that in your eyes are going to be right in here. Something like that. Okay, johnny, you're standing by let's get a reading of this light and let's. Just see how that how that's looking and I'm going to scoot around about eleven third. Yeah, somewhere way three. Give me eleven three, will you, john? Uh, yeah, they're pretty funny people up in seattle that's all I can tell you they're pretty funny people, so I'm going to zoom in a little bit here, let me just if I could just back up just another half a step would be great. Here we go. I want to try toe not be on top of the video. Guys kind of been on top of him all week so they would go great. Great, great. So we're it f eleven and a third, which equals f thirteen, right? I didn't make the rules. I'm just going to live by him. So let's, fire one off and just turn your head a little bit that way in your eyes. Actually, it's let your eyes just kind of come up right here, right about where my hand is right there for one session. Good, good, good, good, good. So let's, take a look at this. And the reason we can get away with this you guys is because of the size of this source. Oh, oh, that was good, mike. I don't know how you did that, but that was a lovely soft dissolve. Up to the full screen has exposure like you know, what's funny about this is as biggest the sources, and his broad is the sources. We're in a situation where the background actually looks like it looks and the floor actually looks like it looks and it's all with one light and it's, because of the size of the source. If I'm trying to do this with a source that is less of a spill or that is a smaller source, I can't do this, but I can get away with it in this case, because this octu bank sins light out much like an umbrella it's almost like an umbrella with a soft cover over it, but it's sins light out shaping following that shape and that's what that's, one of things that I think that I like about. So many of the life saving tools is when life fires out it'll come out of the life shaper and just follows that same direction unless you do something different with it and control it another way question how large is that, dr bank? I can't quite tell from my I think this one is the sixty inch six yeah or maybe some of the smaller sorry I can have all the numbers of members I think maybe it's a forty eight inch or something I don't think twice cut one yeah yeah yeah so you so it's pretty it's pretty is thinking big but I think one of things that I like about the octomom because it does give you that very unique catch let me I and some people love it some people don't like it but I think it's a really unique kind of a look and it does give us again because of the size that gives us the ability look at the shadow on the ground look at how soft that shadow is. If I lower the side the size of this and make this light source any smaller at all, I completely lose that soft ed show and I've just got a hard shadow on the ground now what I do want to do john and maybe you can help me with this I do want to move this a little bit closer tour okay, so let me let me get in here. Can you just bring that life source closer and let me just look at her face straight on? Just look straight on to me for just a second, your chin up a little bit? All I'm doing is I'm looking at the edge of the shadow on her face. There you go. There you go, maybe even a tiny bit more john and then I need you to drop it down about six inches as I get closer to her in order to keep my forty five degrees, I need to drop that light a little bit. Lord may be two more inches down little more I'm just looking at her kids that their eyes a little bit more little bit more right in there is going to do it. So now all I'm doing is I'm trying to keep a good look on her face and I'm watching that shadow get a little bit softer and a little bit softer and a little bit softer because as size as he talked about yesterday on the quality of life size is always relative to its distance size relative to distance it's a huge source if it's right next to her if I'm twelve feet away it's kind of a small source so it's all about the size of relative to its distance to myself okay sixteen sixteen great so let's do the same thing going let's turn you that way just a little bit there you go your weight on your your right foot perfect in your head right back around this way yes good, good good let me just take a look in here and we're sixteen now excellent when your eyes right here with me for one good good good great I want to turn your life actually like that even better let's let your head come down just a tiny bit and turn just a little bit more this way and your eyes right there great good. I like this one it mike in this in this lesson we just did can we zoom in on that face? Yeah, that one right there perfect and can you get a little bit closer? Maybe yeah there you go. There you go so you can see how even in this direction we still get that nice soft shadow the highlight is going across her lip. It looks like it's still a little bit too big for you. We can lower that light just another couple of inches and bring it in another six inches closer to her. The main thing here is I want to make sure that the ambience and the environment in which she's standing continues to be well lit and so what that means is from this position in most situations, as I've talked about day two, I want hurt the back edge of that soft bucks because of what it does to this side of the face so ill she won like that, but then I'm going to turn it on dh skim it a little bit across toward the back so way probably picked up a third of their sixteen. Yeah, okay, so now I'm seeing that f eighteen so well, let's, just turn you back again on your weight on your right foot. Yeah, and this time and your eyes right about here in my hand right there. Hold real steady right there. Don't move! Don't move! Don't move! Nobody moves, nobody moves and nobody gets hurt. Good. There we go. So now you can see that. Now, at this distance the lights started to fall off just a little bit on the lower half of her. Because it's not getting the same kind of spread. And as I start moving it closer and closer and closer tour things start changing a little bit like that. So let's, go ahead, john list let's bring it in just a little bit. Well, actually, let's do that let's this quentin feather yeah, so here's what I want you to keep the same height and just spin it to your right no, the other right? I want to spend it to the background right more, more, more, more, more right there and I want to do the same picture. I'm not going to make any changes and we want to compare the difference between these two and see if we picked up another half stop third of a stop on the backdrop there you go see it? It just popped up that background just a little bit. I'm showing you that because you may be in a situation where you just a little bit of light back there. Great then just spend this rotate this around. I didn't lose anything on her face by rotating because of the size the size saves me and that's the beauty of this thing right now she's working not to the back edge of the soft box but to the front edge of the soft box and a full length I could get away with this if I was going to do a head shot, I probably wouldn't do it this way. Yeah question bob yeah, I'm since you're doing the full length your camera now is I'm a little bit lower low yeah, okay where you focused so interesting, interesting thing about camera position let's talk about that as I shoot a portrait, I like to be a fear kind of here where the faces right. So if I'm doing a head shot, I like to be, you know, if I'm appear photographing her here, I like to be appear in this zone. As I started backing up, I start bringing my camera down lower and lower and lower and lower so that when I'm back here full length, I want to be around waist higher a little bit, a little bit death. I would even be lower than I am here, but I also think about it being a very dependent on what lens you're shooting. Uh, because of the nature of being in the studio and trying to stay out of everybody's way behind me. I'm keeping this fairly wide right now. My zoom is that two forty seven? I'm right. Oh, yeah, yeah, you can see it. There I met about fifty, almost fifty millimeters. I would prefer to be at, you know, eighty five or so, but it would require me backing up another ten feet to do that. But I would prefer that because there is absolutely no convergence or divert converging or diverging lines. And here and here I'll give you a little tiny hit of history on that converging in diverging lines exist any time your camera is not level. So if my camera can if I could level have had a bubble level and level my camera then I could get her and put it right where it needs to be there be perfectly level then there'll be no conversion your diverging lines I don't make her foreshortened are our maker looked too tall and that's the key and photographing brides I see photographers all the time make their brides look a little bit squatty because they shoot so high for full wings they need to get that camera down about waist level get that cap camera equal where the bouquet is you'll find you'll find that your full links look a lot lot better yeah, I was just going to ask I noticed on the close ups especially the eyes today the photos seems softer than they were yesterday well somebody kicked my camera overnight I'm sure where you go ok? I don't know what I don't have an answer for you way actually lowered the sharpness on this monitor because everything was looking to crisp and yesterday there you go with my night twenty eight hundred I have fifty one points and when I'm down like down low I'm still manipulating because I do the spot yeah so I my spot still on the eye but my cameras down low is that what you're doing or are you? Where is your point of focus even though you're down low my focus on her face okay this way just wanted for folks is always going down her face thank you it just it just is um and I and I do a single focus I mean I like a one spot you know I want to be real sure of it but I will tell you this and one of things that I've learned about ten and I'm this is this is a small thing that I learned about the cannon which I like especially when you're working with like they're tl system of speed light wherever your focus point is is where the tpl exposure will be dead on what that means is for people that are used to live in the focus spot in the centre re composing pushing halfway locking and re composing don't do that because you're going to be off when you're teaching l exposures just use move the points around and where you put the point that's where they assume is the most important thing in the picture that's going to be sharp and that's what the tl is going perfectly exposed how about that for a technology that's new and pretty exciting so I've gotten toe habit of really moving that button around and moving that focus point to where I wanted as opposed to refocusing re composing but sometimes if her head or something is out of that zone then I will go to it and re composing come back now emanuel situation it's not a problem for me ok I think that's a little bit warm for me and so I'm gonna go back today like we're still I think I think I'm still in shade from from our previous session because I was warming up that wall and that beijing that beijing gown so I'll go backto daylight and then we've got talk about that shadow because the shadow on her dress you can see wearing this beaded gown and I'm losing so much of the bead work I'm really losing the bead work because of the black and the sequins is this like chrome if it anything that doesn't anything that where it doesn't sea life it was just gonna go dark so we're going to have to bring in something to accent all those beads or we'll never see all those bay they're just pawn in the darkness we can't let that happen so we're going to fix those okay so let me just spin this a little bit that way again hey how you doing, kid? You good right on she's a tall and boy are you wearing shoes? Big shoes yeah all right so let's get back here and let me take a look here uh I move this like back up a little bit so let's do this john why don't you go ahead and open that via? We've got we've got a big four by eight sheet of phone board here taped to another one. So we got white on one side, blacks on the other side and what I wanted to do here with this flying v is bring it in. I'm not really worried about the shadow on her because I kind of like shadows, but I am I am mostly a little bit concerned about the bead work, so let's, go ahead and bring it in a little bit more and back towards you. Just a little bit right in there right there. And I just want to check the bead work. Can I just get you again to turn just slightly that way and come back a little bit right there. In fact, if that's where you're going to be, I'm going to bring this around a little bit more in front right there. Hold that. Just like that for just a second job. If you get to study that and then just bring your head around just a little bit right there. Great. Okay, nine okay, great. So I'm going to zoom in a little bit tighter on just I just wanna look at those beads little bit so let's, take a look at that good let's, do the same thing and let's just turn you this way just a little bit, rector yeah, good, good, good great let's turn the turn your dress more toward the reflectors there you go. I'm going to zoom in on this and just shoot this a little bit closer up way go so you can start to see now on this next shot and then you can zoom in on that mike on this next one just run the mid the midriff area right in there you can start to see how the beads air coming to life not from the main light but because I've got this big white card that's kind of giving me a little bit of phil it's just giving me a little bit of density and I just needed to see something because if it doesn't see anything, it just goes to blank and you know, as we've talked about all week there's there's we've gotta have highlight controls and we've also got have shadow controls when I'm photographing something dark and shiny I have to have highlights if I don't have highlights, I lose the picture, you know, if my highlights of my subjects eyes don't have a catch like I lose my picture, I've gotta have highlights where there's dark I've gotta have shadows where there's light or we have no depth and that's what defense he taught us, I've gotta have depth, shape, form, texture and dimension and I could only have that with how ice and shadows and that includes every little stink and beat on that dress, you know, as big a pain as those little stinkin beads are we gotta lightem up. Okay, so let me do one more. I am going toe back up a little bit and I'm just going to come in a little bit tighter this time. Good. Unless again, let's, just turn your shoulders that way a bit. Yep. And now your head back right up here in your hands, your eyes right here in my hand. Ok, right there, john glenn. And moving in just a little bit closer. I think I'm just gonna here I'm gonna shoot this a little bit three quarter like, and I just want to show that beadwork yeah, you're you're good right there. That's great. And just turn your head a little bit further right there. Right there. Right there. Good. Your eyes right at me for this one. Great, great, great, great. So now you can see also look at them as we come into this shot, look at the face and look at the ratio in the face now, it's a lot more of a pleasing ratio and I've got this light sort of position in such a way right now that it's coming just a little bit past her to this side but I'm kind of still not getting as much of a punch is I want there so I'm gonna do this john I want to bring this forward and bring your wing in a little bit more there we go there we go and I'm gonna do that one more time good you're fine right where you are going you just roll your hips that way just a little that's too much comeback right there that's it and your return you had record me great great great great nobody moves nobody gets hurt there we go there we go now we're cooking so now we can zoom in and you can start to see what we're talking about it's hard to see on the monitor and it's kind of hard to see with that really looking at it high rez but you can start to see that you can fill in and open that all up now let's do the opposite can you just stay right where you are and let's flip this around let's go to the black side and you can see how when we when we make this a negative uh you go that way I'll go this way yes so now we'll stop that life from bouncing around the studio it was even without this some of that light is hitting that white getaway that we've got a white wall with the white window shaking all that's. All that all of that side of the set is getting light, so this will just eliminate that. So, you know, the great cinematographer is called us and negative phil, you know it's so positively filling in the shadows were negatively making sure that nothing gets in there and just rotate your hips that way again you go and turn your head back and your your eyes right here I mean one more time. Let their good and I hadn't make had made any other change other than the black. Good. So now you can see and we'll put those two side by side. Mike. And you see, in this kind of look at the two and compare the two exposure hadn't changed. And here's, this is the part that some people get kind of freaked out a little bit there. Look at this and go well, the exposures to dark on the right. Well, exposure is perfect on the right. Nothing changed. She still receives exactly the same that light, it just might be more. Contrast it then you want but exposure. Still say, if you were to take a dense atomic her reading over forehead are look at the information on the forehead on both pictures it's gonna match. Nothing changed, you know. So the main thing here is it just gives us a little bit more control toe. Have the big black panel and a big white panel and the larger the source man, the more you could get done, the happier, happier I am in working.

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.