Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 2 to 6
A couple things that are different if I'm lighting full length is one we're going to check and see if it is still white at the top and wait at the bottom so I might like john doing here want to angle one lower that I might want the angle one of my strokes higher if you happen to have several lights this might be an instance where you get fancy and you could stack of how one higher have one lower on either side on the background and that might be good to buy like maybe some used lights or less power lights something like that just to give us an extra month to the background but we can do it here no problem all right, so let me get this test I still see this spill on him a little bit but ok eleven lovely eleven so what was happening there is he's taking a meter reading in each place across the distance the width of it to see if the lights stay the same it was eleven all the way across which means it's nice and even means everything's angled correctly the question that I'll run into will ...
be up and down so I'm going to take a test shot without without my main light on they're gonna want it to be traditional here or something bigger this to start out with this so let me, uh let's try here all right, so this actually works pretty well to give you a nice white top to bottom now when I look at my history grams and looking at the blinking on the background, it is a little bit later on either side and this is a benefit of shooting tethered if you do shoot plugged into a computer I can tell right away by going over and looking in light room for example, I can tell if that background at the top his gray and if I need to try to angle my light a little bit higher now john could get a ladder and go over and take a reading you could do that, but then you get your background dirty so when I'm I'm trying to get a white background perfect, I might shoot tether just I can see top to bottom how that exposure is even or not and this would definitely be an instance where distance wise I would use the flats but the reason we're not using these classes because you can't see anything if I do that so I would use them to avoid the spill of the light on him as we have that part so far no actually where we have it working is not too bad this floor looks pretty white sometimes, however, depending on how you're shooting on especially in your space if those lights air further towards the background the light doesn't spill out as much and it will start to look gray on the floor I'm sure many of you have experiences especially if you're shooting cloth for shooting a white cloth background will absolutely have trouble getting the background white underneath his feet so there are a couple solutions what you wouldn't do is you wouldn't just light the floor because then you're lighting his feet you're lighting the bottom part of his body and you can't like from behind towards the floor because then you're creating room lines so this leads into your question what you would do is you buy something to put on the ground and there are a few different solutions in my studio space I use something called plexi glass like regular plexiglass most cities have some way to buy it I use clear but you could also use white and I use that's about a third quarter inch twenty what size is normal quarter inches a little more sturdy yeah I think I have a quarter inch plexi it looks really nice because what it does is it will give you even if you have a cough even if you're getting a great background what happens is that reflective surface picks up the light from the background and it bounces it onto that reflective surface and now it gives you pure white underneath their feet so what have you step off and they're going to put the plaque sanders so that is what I have here today, but there is a downside of plexi glass and that it is kind of unwieldy it's kind of heavy to work with, I find it difficult, the one that I have in my studio this's what three by six, I have a four by eight foot, I can't really set that down by myself, like I it's heavy and it's, hard to control so that's the down side, the other downside is they are kind of expensive. I don't know what you guys paid for this one, but I know the piece that I bought in my studio it is over one hundred dollars, is things like one fifty for the four by eight sheet? So you know if you're short on budget and you could buy it's almost by some another stroke for one fifty might want to not want to do that. So another alternative is something called tile board and tile board is something you get at your home improvement stores like home depot or lowe's and it's really inexpensive boards with asia like a shiny white surface to it, and I do not do home improvements, so don't things it's like back bathrooms and stuff about twenty five, thirty dollars, maybe for four by eight sheet to that. So the twenty five thirty dollars version or the one hundred fifty dollars usually waiter black not clear right? So you can only use it on a white background exactly. And so that is a perfect lead into why I used to clear the reason that I spent the extra money for the clear is I can get a nice reflection and pure white on white or if I switch this plexi and put on a black background, I can get a reflection of the subject on the black background too if I want it, so it gives me a little bit more versatility and then if you shoot seamless backgrounds, they're not super expensive, but the problem is, is the shipping or getting them to your space? You end up paying more for shipping than you do for the actual paper itself, everyone asked to the classes about deflects the flat. Each sheet is probably thirty dollars apiece with their four foot by eight foot, so if you don't have a van, you have to get it delivered and sometimes the delivery seventy or eighty dollars so that leaves me. When I got the plexi glass to my studio in new york, I bought the two pieces of plexi and I think each one was one fifty or one thirty, so it came to about three hundred dollars and it was two hundred haven't delivered so like if there was no way I was going to handle it myself so yeah, so that's one of the issues you run into so the tile board is an easier solution but it isn't as shiny and you can't use it to create shiny surfaces on black the last solution is you can use a piece of vinyl like a white vinyl they sell white vinyl backgrounds can lay the white vinyl across and it just has a little bit of a sheen to it enough that it picks up the lights in the background to give you a bit of reflection I have never used white vinyl, but I've seen people that use it a lot, especially for kids that are running around because this is a little bit slippery and so they use it because they're little kids could be dirty final you can clean up so some type of reflective surface here so I'm gonna ask you stand back there for me all right on it yeah, you could put your shoes back on but you don't have to so now taking that same thing, I'll get a little bit of a reflection on that background and this the way that I haven't set up is you don't see it as much it was a really a problem didn't create too much of an issue for us it did make a huge difference but it will help me so now I owe this was the incomplete thought, the seamless now I don't have to worry about it getting ruined quickly I always put something down so that I don't have to keep cutting and throwing away the seamless after every session or photoshopping out the dirt it ends up being well worth the cost because I don't have to keep reordering seamless but then it makes it easy for me to light a white background yeah, I assume you're still using booties on that to move on to and take off I mean, for him to stand on beacon beacon, stand on it. What I do is you just check is like, can you make sure the bottom of his shoes are dirty but they want to photograph his feet usually yeah, yeah that's a great point. It definitely scratches, so I tryto watch for rough surfaces on the shoes and that's what kills me is I mean, I'm going to have models and high heels on it. It will eventually get scratched, so I tryto not have them like jumping on it too much and it's slippery aspira city flats are concerned with this lighting setup. Where would you position that? Would you position it kind of at a ninety degree angle over here? So what I would do because I would position it like right here so I'm making sure though, that it doesn't block off the light from hitting the background I haven't just found enough away that it blocks the spill from my subject and blocks the light from spilling out to the sides to the other walls some place around there but I use I have four sets of the flats and I use them nonstop because I need to control the light in my space next little trick is depending on how you have your set up done if you don't have any plexi glass if you have the floor that's really gray if you're shooting at a higher angle you seymour of the shadow from the back up from the ground like more of that gray area the lower you get for your angle the less of that shadow air you see it diminishes so ok it's not really showing appears is not something I can illustrate but just try it if you don't have that plexi and the ground still looks a little great when you get further back and get down low it diminishes what you see back up just a little one so if you want you will see a little bit of difference and it just makes it kind of clean smooth white what I do is the reason I have two pieces of plexi and the staff one there and sometimes one in front of that other piece on white so that I would have more reflection if you actually want to see a full reflection when I photographed like a dancer, I would put another piece here on white so I could get that full reflection just in case that's a creative technique you on its try so so far basically all we did is make sure that we've evenly lit top to bottom you could adjust that by the angles of where your light is pointing you want to make sure the floor isn't going to be too dark, so we added plexi glass to it and then we had a light to our subject. All right, so for a beauty dish, you know you're standing with me, so for a beauty dish, this is an instance where if you're shooting full length and you want paramount or centered light, this is where that boom arm would come into play because what happens if I tried to get full length and have it in the center that I can't I can't do it. So this is why I would recommend investing in a boom arm when you have the funds to do it, but I don't really care aiken have moved in this situation, so I just pull it out just far enough and can I get a reading on that one flash? I'll just test it and if it looks good believe it okay, you know sometimes it's just faster if it looks good it's right? And I'm going to turn my highlights mourner off because they bother me just so you know, turning it off here all right? So let's take a look I'm backing up a little bit I really should be a little brighter and I don't like personally the quality of the bt dish light any further back than this just my personal taste too much further back I start to lose what the quality of light I like s o I take one more in heaven perfect all right, so I like the style with the sox they're looking good. Okay, so notice although I had a little miss crop here that is a pretty pure white floor which wouldn't have without that plexi and it is evenly illuminated top to bottom I am getting a little bit of spill from those umbrellas which gives me a little bit of highlight on either side of his face but it's not too bright so it's okay that I don't have the v flats here basically then to the question all the time that I get asked how do you like someone evenly head to toe in this example? Looking at this photograph I don't care like I don't need his feet to be evenly illuminated in his genes to be evenly illuminated it's completely fine the way it isthe so why complicated there's? No rule that says ok I need to make sure his face is equal power to his feet if it looks good, it looks good where you care is if this is dad and then there's a little kid because based on the distance of the light is his face is here the little kid's faces here little kidsfaces twice the distance which could be like a quarter of the power. So there are a couple solutions to this I'm gonna pop back to my keynote just so we can talk to what we just did and then talk through that next elham and of evenly lighting a subject head to tell pat back to that so first thing reflective floor we talked about that plexiglass clear or white tile board which is inexpensive or vinyl okay, so this was the evenly let's head to toe for number four and you can do this on white. This is this also applies to gray whatever it may be all right so evenly like someone had to tell. One thing you could do is use a larger modifier further away when I have a smaller modifier because I want the qualities like to be softer in this case I want to bring it closer but what happens is that bucket water is just heading his face and so it will hit his feet if I could take a larger modifier say that big umbrella or three with four foot soft box or the shoot through umbrella and back it up then it gives me more even illumination so I could just switch to a larger modifier the next thing would be stacking light for stacking light and I do this all the time and fashion photography all the time as I used to lights on my subject I might use a beauty this year and a soft box down here I could use a big soft box behind and then a beauty dish on the face the reason this becomes a problem is when you're shooting on white and you have three lights because then you need a fourth light and will be in order to be able to stack because you need one light on the face one light to full from below and some of the reasons again he would want to do that would be if you want to light the faith maybe in paramount light you want it nice and flat but for me and fast photography sometimes I want to show texture in the clothing so what I might do is I might have a beauty dish flat to the front so I have that nice flat light on the face and then the soft box so it would be the beauty dish flat to the front the soft box maybe further over to the side so rakes across and creates a little bit of texture, so there are reasons to stack light, but if you're just shooting portrait, usually you just need a bigger modifier a little bit further away. You wanna try shoot through whatever whatever is easiest to set up a box, right? Ok, well, we're going to the three by four foot soft box, back it up a little bit like him evenly head to toe if there's anything else? Ok, well, it was doing this trying to hold on to that great, so it doesn't need to be a huge light source, but you wouldn't want to use silver dish or a beauty dish if you're trying to light dad and child, for example, were whole family, I think, and right now I'm shooting it like f nine. So what I know is that since we added a soft box, it probably cuts out more lights in the tv dish, so I'm gonna have to adjust because it changed perfect. So what he's doing? He's he's pumping up the power, turning up the power since I know that I have two layers of diffusion in there and the way that it spreads out like really makes us and not as much light reaches my subject, we know we're going to have to compensate it's not going to match perfectly to these polling and he's nice and solace or raising a let up because in general you want the light the head of the light nine to twelve to sixteen inches above his head and we're going to give it a quick test the point oh so tight it more so give it a quick test see how it looks cut off the top of your head sorry and so it's not totally even, but if we're able to take a test instead of it being like a full stop or two stops difference now it might only be like a third less for like two thirds less and if it were a big stack group of people that's when I start having to have one light above and one light below, so for if I needed teo I could put an octo box here if you're not shooting on a white background and you only have three lights easy sixty octo box right here to light the subject's below soft box above delight him or the broader group all right time for a little q and a I would be happy to do that sounds good a couple of people were noticing that there is still a little shadow like from his feet there is that something that you're okay with? Is that part of what you're looking for here? Great question the shadow from his feet is not cast from the background it's cast by the spill light from the umbrellas so if we go ahead and we put the flags there that goes away he won't have that but it is from the spill of light because I could I could see it and if you look at it you can tell also from the direction now the shadow you have directly beneath his feet that's not a shadow that's a reflection if you didn't like the reflection than use tile board things there won't be a reflection it'll just be pure white so that's nihilistic but the's shadows that air slightly to the left and right are from the spill light of the umbrellas easily fixed by the flats great thank you any questions in our studio audience here all right we had for all of these getting in the background wait questions we had several people asking about product photography now while it would be on a a smaller scandal would you go through the same steps for product photography I will you have well depends on the size your product you put it that way for a car or something like that yeah you would have to do the same thing and I've seen sets where they have the pure white background where they're using a gun of lights on the background for a small products you could use one light on a white background were there a lot of different set out to have translucent material that you actually like from behind to turn it white that's more popular what's that called but a frosty place it around set clear, perfect andi could also use if you wanted to the example that I did yesterday with the soft blocks further away if you had a small soft box, it depends on how much control you want over the light, so size of the products will determine what you're doing. Thank you. Another question from e d w should you also consider the subject's clothing in problem solving, for example, solid dark saw light colors or even combination of colors? Would this affect the look and the lighting of trying to get pure wait? Well, so the backyard would still be pure white, but when he's wearing darker color clothing, I have a little more leeway if my backgrounds a little bit brighter that it won't kind of blowout at the edges, especially with this spill light. Right now I just see a little bit of highlight and you can see that on his clothing. If you look at the photograph here, you see the highlights the's highlights to the side that's from spill from that umbrella, which would begin gotten rid over the v flat. It becomes problematic, however, in this case if he were wearing or a woman were wearing white it's, a white wedding dress because that extra light could now perhaps cause that dress to go over exposed in that area. So it makes it that you have to be a little bit more concerned about how precise you are and that it's not going to over exposure, that you're not having spill like if they're wearing white tones, black is easier to work, whether darker colors. All right, let's, get moving. Okay, let's, take a look at the next one. Okay. This is a big one where people have been asking this for three days. So the question that I get and if you want to take a seat, you can we have, like, a couple minutes of this discussion. All right. So the next question is, what color should I paint my studio walls for? What color room should I be shooting in? And I have some interesting responses to this. Technically, if you want to go mathematically, what is best? What gives you the most control? Technically, your wall should be black here's. Why? And nobody hate on me yet. There's more to it than this. Ok, here's. Why right now? If this were a room that is all white, including that white wall over there, looking at this umbrella it's kicking like, back this way a bit. It's definitely going to hit that white wall, which is definitely going to hit back on my subject, which could also perhaps be hitting that background, bouncing off my weight ceiling and it bounces everywhere and it makes it very difficult, very difficult to get true black shadows or to be able to get a silhouette because even if the lights over here and they say they were, my audience is a white wall white room that I'm in even if the light is on this side, it bounced off that white wall, which is basically like I had a huge white reflector there and it fills in the shadows technically black any light that you introduce the scene, it does exactly what you want now bouncing where you don't want it to be. You have complete control and decision making over this. The problem that you have is that second part your space could look a little bit like a dungeon, and it might be a little odd for a portrait clients if you perhaps have a basement studio and you take them to europe black painted walls, basement space. So actually, if you see most studio spaces are white and we'll talk about that in a minute, most of the professional rental space is the most important part is that it be neutral that is the most important part that it be white it be an actual neutral gray wall or that it be black, no color cast at all. Because what happens is that lights bouncing around whatever colors in that room. If you have a slightly blue gray, all your pictures will have the slight blue cast to it. The original space that I was in was a rigid with the first studio that I ever had was previously a lawyer's office. And they had white paneled walls which had yellowed. So I always had a little bit of a warmer tint to the shadows because it was bouncing off of those walls. Everything makes a difference there. What you khun d'oh? If you wanted black to control or to be able to control the light, you could introduce that to the scene. You can add black v flats. You could add black fabric as needed. So the reason my space is white. One of the reasons is because it looks cleaner and larger and more inviting. So it's kind of an aesthetic thing. It feels more comfortable for most people. So myspace is white. The reason that all those big studio rental spaces are white is partly that reason. But also, if you're not right up against that white wall, it makes a significantly less effect. Like if the white walls twenty feet away the light fall us it's not going to reach all the way to that twenty foot wall and bounced back and make a difference so those huge studio spaces it's not like the walls right there on day have all these black flats that they can introduce if they do need to control the light now you could paint neutral gray because then all right it's not so dark but the neutral gray isn't going to balance a lot it's going toe bounce very very minimal the biggest problem that you would have is making sure that neutral gray is actually neutral gray because most of the time gray paint that you're going to be has some type of color shift in some direction so some of that has to do with taste of what you're looking for in your space but make sure it's not yellow it's not green it's not read something neutral hey yes how do you do that how do you make sure it's it's not slightly something other than dead white or black or neutral don't do they actually have paints that tell you that it's neutral I would imagine there cos like roscoe or someone like that would would make paint that's neutral so you get a three places like the set shop in new york I would probably call them and see if they can recommend to paint I mean that's the set shop sells all the phone quite you know when you're in a big city it's easy to find something like that, but I'm sure you can call them and ask them but I would imagine that there's probably a couple of companies that make also l a area call some of the cinema houses and see what paint they recommend some I'm sure there's a company that makes paints just for sets, yet the floor that I have in my studio, my floor is not white because that would not stay wait very long, so I do have great and it was not a well researched decision on gray, but in general the floor is not what's balancing the light, so I kind of went with it, but I think that is a great suggestion and for everybody that makes all the excuses of like, ok, well, I'm not near you that thing's ok? You can have like, paint ships, but the v flats in the plexi glass and near any city you could get something that will serve the purpose more lindsay and this is from phil birdie with some votes on it as well. Is there a proper white of paint that you would ask for like, is there a particular type of white? So I did buy we do have a white that was purchased from a set shop that doesn't have a clock as I couldn't tell you with the name of it is but we did buy it because it was meant for painting studios and that's the same and the reason that this exists and we know specifically is because when people have white psych walls any time someone steps on the wall so basically what a cycle is it's that it's this curve that you have here from this background but it is actually permanent wall the problem is people walking on it you have to paint the floor or if the wall gets hit and just a little story about me as I lasted a whole two weeks at a job at a rental house because my job was painting the white cycles and it was awful because I just have to brief come complained it was an infinity room so it was psyched on every wall, right? So you have a big music video our production in there and it was huge and when they were done, I'd have to take the rollers that you could put extensions on to make you go twenty feet up the wall and paint those walls terrible job anyway, I didn't last too long at that job, but um but anyway, so yes, they do make white because it's the white that they're painting the psych walls with so we got something similar like that okay, so this goes on that was part one of number five, and this is part two of number five is we talked about how important it is in that section not to have color casts, but what are some things to watch out for that create color casts in general, one that I don't have on here, that I have noticed, and I think, like what? I have an umbrella sitting around here that it's really, really old and it's a white shoot through umbrella that is no longer white, it is yellow, so if perhaps you're buying some used gear or you inherited the gear and the diffusion panels are white anymore, they've yellowed that'll affect the color balance and the white balance in your image, so it would be something to watch out for if you're buying used scare, that might not be the best, but there are some other things, and first we'll start off with what we talked about in day one that would make a difference in the first part would be ambient light when I am shooting in the studio of the reason I'm shooting close to my think speed so that I can cut out ambient light, the faster that shutter speed is tim icing speed, I won't pick up. The daylight balance leads in here, or that may be a huge window that's leading light in that would create could create a color caste or the tungsten or fluorescent whatever is there so you do want to shoot at a faster shutter speed to find some way to eliminate the ambient light as much as possible, and that doesn't mean you need to shoot in the dark, but if there is a large window that you're not using, get curtains, or if there's fluorescent lights overhead you probably if they're not daylight balance, you probably want to turn those off. And so this was the example from day one, this is what I'm shooting and watch her left cheek. This is when I shoot at a sixty s of a second and keeping everything else the same when I shoot at one two hundredth of a second, though it had the color caste created by a tungsten light in the room, you shuddered, speed makes a difference. We talked about that in light one ana day one but here's a really, really important one. If you have someone helping you out, you have that friend who said, sure, I'll come hold reflectors for you all assist you, they need to be wearing neutral colors, and I have a rule on my sets in new york, it's all black, everything things like jay z style. Okay, but it's all black because I don't want someone with a white shirt standing next to my subject and it filling in the shadows that I did not intend or another color shirt and have one example here. But this happened to me a couple weeks ago. The kid showed up to assist me. He was brand new assistant. I had said all black and he had forgotten and he was wearing his garish like, bright green shirt and so I showed him right in camera. I took a picture and showed him how it created ahe color cast on my subject and a bright green highlight catch light in her eyes so I made him put on a robe intended for the models that was black toe hold it can be an ending a little bit mean, but I'll show you the difference that it makes watch her left cheek. This was my assistant. This one was a plant. He did not have this sure, but this has happened to me in plenty of time, so I have him in this kind of like bright salmon colored shirt watch when he switches to black. That is, nothing has changed with the shirt that he's wearing. Not only did it fill in the shadows, but it also gave a color cast to the shadows so that's get another thing that you want to watch out for and you might have that problem if somebody's wearing a bright colored dress and you have someone sitting next to them there's not much you can do about it, but at least to be aware of it that those reflections could make a difference yes, so I noticed you're wearing red when I shoot when I shoot I do where all black almost all the time it's actually like a more or less a dress code for the studio unless I was like this unless it's feature about me like someone shooting behind the scenes because then I want to stand out but I'm not right next to my subjects, so the amount of light that bouncing off of mays is probably probably nothing but I also don't want to be the one to break the rule if everyone else has to wear black so all right, so if I may go on to number six, all right, so number six would be how do you get true blacks in a small white space? So if you are in a teeny little room and you want a silhouette, what can you do? But we talked about some of these things already, but I I thought that there was I didn't know this I thought that there was something magic about being able to actually get a silhouette when I had my first studio space because I told you before, it was like twelve feet wide, seventeen feet deep, eight or eight and a half feet tall ceilings, and no matter how hard I tried, if I had a white background, there was no way I was getting a silhouette. It just did not work. You could always see my subject, and I told you the reason why is that light bounces off that background and everywhere else off the walls, off the ceiling. So a couple things that you can do is I told you those v flats, this is something that I would recommend that they aren't super expensive. If you could do make your own at home depot, harvard, maybe to something where you can line the walls with black foam core when needed. Yes, how do you handle on location? I assume you have the budget to that little rent, a van or whatever, but how do you handle on location with the flats on location? I don't use the flat, I bring black sheets or fabric, and we just it won't be pretty well duct tape on your gaffer, save him to the wall, probably gaffer's tape, because if it's somebody else's wall, the duct tape can damage and plus the paint, the gaffer's tape tape won't. So it's why out another reason I always have that gaffer's tape with me so we'll hang fabric as long as it's not totally translucent black fabric that work totally fine just a side note lindsey you have a whole class on location lighting one a one here on creative live so for everybody out there who wants more of that you drink that glass out great the other part would be whatever light you're using right now my way that I'm illuminating my white background in this case is I am using umbrellas umbrellas throw light everywhere and it's going to make the problem worse because it's going to throw some of those that like even further onto the side walls into the ceiling so I might not use an umbrella in this case I might use if I have them too soft boxes pointed forward because it forces the light in that direction and the light doesn't spread out as much if I'm not illuminating a white background which basically becomes like a big white reflector it's easier to get true blacks as well and I'll do the same thing if I would say this background is black instead of using a large shoot through umbrella I would use a soft blocks because a large shoot the umbrella it will hit that wall and still back in the soft box I confederate away from the walls that's a white wall leading my subject now aiken feather it so that, like, isn't hitting the white ball. So I'm looking for these types of things. The flats feather your light and use modifiers that don't disperse the light quite as much.