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Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Lesson 15 of 30

Shoot: Variations of Modifiers Part 2

Tony Corbell

Studio Lighting - The Power of Control

Tony Corbell

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Lesson Info

15. Shoot: Variations of Modifiers Part 2


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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

Shoot: Variations of Modifiers Part 2

Just for funds these I'm gonna turn this guy horizontally and like the background with the soft bucks it's, like nobody likes a background with soft bucks. Well, I do from time to time skimming over here and again I am I'm kind of new to making the switch into the bowling lights, but so far I have been delighted by what's happened here. The stuff that I'm seeing is I'm really a pretty happy guy here. So let's, I want to lower that down quite a bit. I want I want to try to a kind of a three quarter in a full length with her young doctor bank is a great life source. This is a pretty big source and and again it has a right to exist because when you need that big like look and over a large area that you can't get with putting a smaller, like closer so that's why it exists, the shape does wonderful things that gives a really nice catch. Lightning I when you put in the eyes and we'll see that a lot tomorrow with our glamour day with some of the glamor work they were going to shoot tomorrow, ...

but it is it does a really good job. Oh, and see john is so smart he ran and grabbed a way back for us this a little bit heavier a source so the life shapers little bit heavier so you do have to be a little bit of where that as you go up in size of all of the life shaping tools you really do need to pay attention to what's going on on the weight factor and you can get yourself teetering a little bit it's kind of like it's kind of like some wine glasses you know wine glasses are great when there's nothing but some wine glasses away their shape when they're full boyer they top heavy and it falls they never had that happen you know ok so that's pretty good so let's do this let's do one of you standing and and I'm just gonna back or up I'm a backer in there a little bit um I was in this back now you want both plates on the background now no no well what that other one sorry sorry sorry thanks. So I'm gonna put a grid on that one okay and let's we'll put that on her give you the meter that's a two point five right now okay, I'm gonna take it up a little bit higher and again I'm gonna swivel that's just a little bit this will even the illuminator but I'm going but it's going to get her it's still gonna be a big source but I'm gonna get her all the way that's your hands were going to be well lit and that's part of it when you do pulling through three quarter length, you've got to make sure that the hands hands where life starts falling off usually you want to make sure that the light doesn't fall forty four I want it seems to be on optical slave way haven't turn this one on your way don't try that now we're better yeah ok good so what we're trying to do is just keep these lights from competing with so we're eleven oh there that's good kill it because you're a good man so that's eleven o and this is five six and a third sorry five six and two thirds what that means is that background the accent I right now is minus one and a third eleven here five, six and two thirds so it's minus one and a third this is the way I have to think I can't I can't get lost in the numbers because they're confusing and especially for new photographers if you get if you're getting lost with the numbers don't think of the numbers thank plus and minus so right now my main line is always zero my accent linings to be minus water minus one third are minus one and a half my background like could be zero or it could be plus one or could be minus one but I think in terms of pleasant minus I just need what the zero is zero in this case is eleven so I know I'm shooting in eleven I'm delinda eleven that's the handle the picture ok, that makes sense it's just easier to think in terms of plus and minus you know this one's reading of eighty the third at sixteen in the fourth and this is five six point three no don't give me the numbers just give me the pluses and the minuses you know, lots minus one that's mother plus two that's minus three uh, great and I can sit in my head now. Okay, sir? So I'm soon in eleven and she's looking pretty good right there you're you're just find is like you are don't do a thing okay here's what I'm doing to this? I want you to just shake it out a little bit shake it out shake it out girl it's there you go there you go. Now just bring your head just your head to the light when you head yeah, yeah bring your shoulders away though a little bit more that way and I'll bring you head back turn, turn, turn, turn, turn, turn, turn, turn today yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah there we go now you're cooking now we're cooking, so I'm gonna zoom in just a little bit I would come back more but I'm gonna run over this guy and let's take a shot here and I'm seeing a little bit of that flash in my corner can you just pivot that guy away from me just a little bit oh I guess I should close down to eleven sorry I'm a little hot thereby stop just spin that away there you go john and you know you're good uh that thinking john he's aware nobody's okay, so I credit her on this shot but I did I mean sorry I normally wouldn't creditors tight is your legacy but I'm doing that because I got video guys behind me so but but again so we've got now look how evenly she's led all the way down her arm all the way down to her hand and I mean we're we're good quality light all the way down so it works I do I do want to rotate I'm going to rotate vertical for one grab here so if you guys will just bear with me let me just shoot one vertical here just because great great great nobody moves nobody moves perfect good so you can see now how nice that like quality is all the way and it's kind of you know sometimes you get people saying why do you need these big lights? Well it's so often comes down to what are you going to do what are you going? What are you going to achieve with the work? You know what is it that you're? What do you after with you what's your goal with this light I'm able to do something where if I leave you right where I just turn your head this way so john let's do this I'm going back this out just a little bit and then I want to go up pretty high with it so I'm gonna tip it down a little bit yeah, maybe right there and then if you give me a new reading with it let me get up here let's get this up a little bit and I just wanna look at the highlights in her eyes. Ok? Ready? Go eight third ok, so late in the third that's gonna make the background lights brighter do you want me to just it's going to make it? And we were at eleven. So it's going to get two thirds hotter that's ok, I can live with two thirds harder. You guys get all that so we're off by two thirds opening so the background is going automatically be two thirds brighter unless we power it back down. Everything is relative to this, okay, and the third is where you work nine get you okay, let me just take a look at this face and again look at some of the things that we're doing here you guys were saying, well, he's doing the same thing it's all kind of boring yeah, I know, but you need I need you to look at what's going on here look at the eyes on this one and you'll see that this has a little bit of a different look than the soft bucks from a distance it sort of looks the same, but as you zoom in on that face quincy middle her eyes and you can see a pretty big change like that, like like that, like michael's going live rooms, not cooperating anyway, you get the idea that the case line now there you go. There you go. Look at that. There you go. Maybe you could even go in a little bit tighter on that one. Yes, so you can see where the eyes you see where the cash lights are placement wise, we're right. We're divinci told us because we're forty five degrees. The shadow on the ground from my subject would be as long as she is tall from that position are pretty darn close, you know? And I think that's one of the silly little rules that kind of makes sense is an awful lot of rules that don't make sense this one kind of does you know then we need to get divinci here on creative life to teaching classes problem is he never will return your phone call think return his calls it's really funny I I was so excited my first trip to italy well my only trip daily I taught a workshop in tuscany several years ago and so to get into the italy spirit I read the book the agony and ecstasy on the flight over on uh so and and I read the part I was up to the part about him going to tuscany to the region outside of cnn to this cory called mariano where he got the rock for carving david so it was it was it was a career uh uh marble like yeah career marble kind of a corey so as I was this guy this this driver this interpreter picked me up and drove me out there picking up in florence and took me we went down this dirt road then we turn in this farmhouse and I said where we're going he said well you're staying at and at casa mariano and as we turn the corner here's a sign that says costume ion oh, and then there's a little sign that was old and falling down that and bad faded letters said my own o corey like I said, you're taking me in the cory where michael angel got his rock and he's like oh really yeah well, okay, and he just kept going. Didn't matter to him. And I'm like, this is huge and he's like, really? And I guess they have such history in europe that you know, something like that is not a big deal to him. But to me, that was huge. Is this is where the rock came from that way. Okay. Let's do this. I want to do the same shot here. John. I want to pull this around, aunt, have it up pretty high and up high in front in front of her. Endless is we shoot thus far off one or two more of these. And then I want to do one little thing with those accent lights. Let's. There you go. And I'll take it up just a little higher. Kind of like coming to see your eyes. Kind of like that. Yeah. That's. Good. And now, let's, just put that soft bucks. That one right behind you, let's put it right here in place of this grid. One thing about these life is that the flash tubes will always fire and be pretty cool. They don't really get hot. Uh, but money lamps always get hot, and we talked about this yesterday, but I can tell you one thing about depending on the brand you have, you can often take a gel a color gel and put right over the flash tube itself and color lights and do a really nice job of making bursts of color and stuff but you can't let the gel touched the model in light it has the only touch the flash tube and you're usually good upto that one or two thousand watch seconds then you it will be okay but you have to like four thousand one seconds on a big power strobe it will permanently shrink wrap with color around the flash to not that it's ever happened to me I just have heard this I just heard the big boys talk yeah, there you go. So what I was wanting to hear I just wanted a twin accent thing, okay, this for fun with twins soft accents on her and that should get us up pretty close toe where we're gonna be breaking next. So let me just kind of make this kind of a twin light situation now because I don't have my grades on the cities boxes, right handling I'm just going to spin this a little bit left toe help keep it away from my lens like about there and we'll just maxed out a little no side we're gonna check are put on here is three even so feel set that output to three even and I'm a three and a half up there so that should be pretty close eight point eight eleven oh you might want to bring that one and just uh oh you're taking back there that was read eleven eight eight eight you're pretty close okay eleven one great let's move you that way a half step right there great so they're almost even with them they're pretty close you want to bring him down so let's draw from now in fact you know what I'd rather do I'm going to take this one up I got a letter e I know I want to take this one up it's like I'll take one you turned that one nib up a little bit there we go you also I can't I can't emphasize enough to get good solid level hardware for all your gear the heart of the lighter weight gear will tend to fail occasionally and the harder said the c stands are just bulletproof they're not cheap but they'll last year for the rest of your career and that's the that's the beauty eleven nine okay eleven nine is pretty darn close to sixteen wouldn't you say I think I could get away with huge sixteen do this when we could just roll your shoulders that way and just fold your arms up for me here and put all your weight on on just stay right where you are you're fine for one yes you just like that turn your head to me just a bit little bit more little bit more this way chin down timing right there good now I want to the same thing but I want to let you switch your weight so put your weight on your left foot on your butt you put all your weight on that foot and know that your other foot just come out away from there you go good now full your arms opinion and bring your head around this way and up just a little bit you go right there along go ahead and drop this main light just a little bit I'm gonna shoot one more vertical like that there we go good, good good great get turned you head that way just a little bit that way yeah your eyes here perfect given one okay, relax for sec. Okay? All right. Nicely done. Bring in I think I don't think I'm good for you for now. Thanks. Thank you very much, theo. The thing is, when you once you start once you get the tools that you're going to use when you when you get your hands on your soft boxes, your umbrellas, all the things that you're going to work with in the studio once you get him, you really need to spend some time in there by yourself with nobody around so you can just practice and practice and practice and work because you're going to like a little subtle changes once you're working there's not a lot of monstrous changes that can be made there are some and certainly creativity wise creatively there's a lot of things that can still be done we haven't touched yet but what? But what it all boils down to is everybody is going to have their own taste and you're going to find you're going to find your own way on what you like the best and you're going to sort of drift that direction there are people that just love working with beauty dishes and nothing else and we're going to spend a lot time with video dish tomorrow but I think that video dishes and ring flashes and all those tools they're great to use but they're not great to use all the time I think they have a place for certain applications but throughout time you'll end up using all these tools all these life shaping tools you're going to use them all you'll use them all. One thing I didn't talk about yesterday was a snoot only because I forgot to send us new here and it's so silly yeah so so we can make a snooze with this's a this is a product that you can get it's called sin if oil uh it's used it's used often in the motion picture world and video world but it's called senate foil certain companies call it black rap there's all kinds of things but you can literally a black foil and it's but it's matte black so it's not shiny and you can take it around ahead like, can you just hold maybe grab that? Maybe that when it's a little smaller you get his hold that for me so you can take a head like this where I've got my umbrella reflect her head and I can give it a rap with the black crap like this and then I can pull it over and pinch it together and then from the front out here I can start making the opening smaller and aiken snoop that like so what that means is on a set on a fine art set on a tabletop set or a still life said I can send light like with your hand I could like just your rain and leave the rest your hand alone I could just let that light down and it gives me the ability to really control it make it in this case it kind of makes a conical snu they caught a conical snoop and it really gives you a lot more finite control so that that's a great little tool you can see this now these air now available for your speed lights too so you can get him on your speed lights until velcro on a strap will wrap around the head of your speed light, but it gives you the ability to really do a lot of things, but with really great control, so we'll use this later in the day we're going to use this uh, this black rap on a set were doing the last shot of the day, okay, any questions about any of that so far? You guys all caught up? We do, we've got one from, say, j v h studio from mexico when do you use the octo versus the soft box? You've got the oct up? They've got soft bucks, what different looks and what inspires you to use one or the other? For one thing, that's the start of part of the starter part, I guess, is are the catch lights an important, integral part of the shot? And do you care if the catch lights are rectangular square or act agonal? For me? I also have a skin that I had made where it fits in the octagonal box, but it's around so I can have a perfectly round catch light. Um visually, I don't see a lot of difference if I met three quarter length if I'm in pretty close, I start to see a little bit of a difference. You can go on most of the lighting companies, websites and look at the effects of each of the different life shaping tools, and they'll usually have a graphic that will show you what what the effects are from each different tools and that's a real helpful thing to see, because that really helps will direct more. You're going to spend your money? What is that you need to like? But for me, the doctor bank I used most often when I really like that, I really want that look in the eye on mostly a non traditional portrait something that's a little bit less than traditional are more than traditional, and in general, I like to work that octo bank up pretty high. I like the look of those shadows pretty strong underneath it's, just that this is a personal thing. So and what are the sizes of the modifiers that we're using right now? I think these two these medium ones, I think they're three by four on and then the and then this is a sixty inch, um after bank, and then also the strip life that the strip lights that I have, which didn't make the trip are exactly one half that whip, so those were great years triplets, triplets about like that, yeah, just like that. And what they do basically is the same thing as these big, soft boxes do, except that it's more more narrow, controlled, and it does keep life from spreading outside of that. Now that does bring up another point if I could just mention one thing when you increase the size of the source, your highlights get bigger, your shadows becomes softer, so think about if I'm photographing someone's face with a big vertical light source and think about that shadow getting big and soft. Now think about me turning this thing they think about me photographing a let's say, I'm doing, I'm doing a commercial shoot for mont blanc pens, and I turn this light source horizontal, and I bring it in and here's my pin laying on the table like this, and I bring this the horizontal light source in right next to my mont blanc pen. I've got this extraordinary, beautiful soft highlight that runs all the way down the mont blanc pen and a soft shadow from that mountain long pin, and I call that horizontal diffusion if I take that source and go like this well, now, all of a sudden, that source isn't nearly as big to the mont blanc pin. The shadow got harder and the highlight got sharper and not quite as big or soft as it was when I was here. So there's a funny little finite control called horizontal and vertical diffusion people at home are going what is he talking about? What I'm talking about is I would use this for shooting a full length of my bride, and I would use this for lighting a close up of a mont blanc pen, and I'm going to get a different effect and it's going to extraordinary by turning this this way and it's not gonna be so great by turning it this way. That's what I'm talking about that's the kind of control that we have to have, we've got to make sure that we understand the tools well enough that when the job comes in, we don't get fooled. You especially people talk about what you're gonna learn from a friend's, that guy I can tell you what I learned from my friends, that guy won't have been the one photo class from a forensic photographer on the guys, and I and I thought that, too, what am I gonna learn from this guy? And he started out by saying, I had a photograph of body recently and the body was it was a bright, sunny day, and one half of the body was under a culvert drain pipe in complete black dark shadow this part wasn't direct, bright sun, and I had to photograph and evenly illuminate this body. And I thought I could learn something from this guy, you know, they get into situations that we would not imagine that they've got a light so yeah, you can learn from her friends that guy believe me, I'm glad you're here, by the way. So red sox nation has a follow up to the soft box question and wanting to know realistically, what is the minimum ceiling height needed to accommodate soft boxes? And we're getting other questions about small studios, people working in their apartments and your recommendation for your go to soft box for small areas? Well, yes, so the soft for smaller is this soft box that I'm using back here these were this is a small is I would really recommend anybody going because you've got to be able to have some soft quality, like the hype is an issue that the ceiling height has always been an issue, and it has been in small studios forever. Um, and the only thing that you can do about it is one thing is trying to sue fewer full links. You know, if you can see your client, you can you can come closer to working for a longer period of time, so to speak, so I would I would first and foremost, consider working with your client seated when you can on def, you can turn your I mean, if you think about it, if I push this light up to the ceiling, well, I hit a ceiling spine I'm kind of done, but if I can turn that horizontal, I just gained another seven or eight inches and then I can move it up a little bit higher, so turn it horizontal and push it up all the way, and that helps gave me a little bit more hyped with the light getting a light up a little bit higher, but it's, not it's, not an easy thing to do working in a small, low ceiling it's it's kind of a challenge I can tell you that I learned early on and my first studio I was in had pretty low ceilings and I couldn't get my hair light where one in those days, I use the hairline always and I had it fixed, much like the kino flows and the ceilings that had a place to live, and I couldn't get it where I wanted it because the singing was too low, but what I did do was put on that like that standard, a little umbrella reflect her head, I put that on one of my strobes and I raised it up just out of camera viewing, and I angled it right into the ceiling and just bounced it the ceiling was white so I have position in such a way that put enough parenteau that it bounced into the ceiling and then came down with a big, soft firelight, and it worked out beautifully, but I couldn't get a soft box up there because the ceiling was just too low it's a challenge and there's not an easy way to it. I can tell you that took control light in a small studio. Your best bet is to use soft boxes with the honey come grids the soft grids for them. You put an umbrella in a small studio and itjust king's around advances off everyone and every ceiling and everything in the room and everything will look flat because everything's lived, you know, in a small studio, so you're kind of stuck there tastic, so we had a few people who are asking questions. I know that this course is primarily about strobe lights, obviously, but a lot of people are wondering, can the site techniques be used with speed lights? You want to talk a little bit about maybe mixing the two? Just your thoughts on speed lights in general? Yeah, I wouldn't treat speed lights any different than we're treating these droves in the studio speed lights have come so far with the technology I've got the new transmitter for the cannon six hundred, which is the he t three r s v p r five four nine they got a lot of numbers, a lot of numbers and letters and it's remarkable how smart it all is and how it all talks to each other with the built in radio now so in the studio, the thing about this speed lights is all of these soft boxes all the tools that I work with all my life shaping stuff although that they make brackets every one of those make brackets for your speed lines and so there is no reason that you can't use your speed lights in the studio. The only thing that's limited is the apple it you are limited to certain amount of output and you also don't really get the modeling feature it's hard to see what you're doing it's hard to see what your shadows were doing and it's hard to gain finite controls and small, subtle details when you can't really see what you're doing that they there is some meiling that you can turn on but you'll go through batteries that also affects the size of the iris with you're like a a larger small irs if you want to constricted or yeah and that's a good point on there there are some celebrities out there for example, the great paul newman I heard that he had a contract with all of this photographers if they would on ly like him in a very, very brightly lit room so that his iris would contract constrict down, his people were closed. His aperture would close, basically so that beautiful color of his blue eyes would show through if he's in a dark studio in his eyes, open up, you lose some of the color, so so the brightness of your money lack light can effect the look of your subjects, eyes and you lose that ability with us be like. But let me just say this for those that are on a budget, you are just starting out. It isn't. It is a great way to go get your an inexpensive little soft box that'll fit on your speed lights and do all the things that we're doing right now, all the stuff that we're talking about today, you can do with speed like it's, just it's, just a little bit more of a challenge of the speed light. But you absolutely can do, and it's a great place to start.

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.