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The Business of Photography

Lesson 12 of 22

Dancer Lighting

Nigel Barker

The Business of Photography

Nigel Barker

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Lesson Info

12. Dancer Lighting


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:12:46
2 The Early Years Duration:24:31
4 Developing Your Style Duration:12:57
5 Creating Your Brand Duration:11:03
6 Confidence Duration:11:20
7 Personal Work Duration:08:21
8 Marketing Duration:12:14
10 Side Lighting Duration:08:30
11 Hollywood Lighting Duration:10:27
12 Dancer Lighting Duration:08:50
13 Editorial Lighting Duration:09:06
14 Tunnel of Light Duration:12:24
15 Back Light Duration:06:09
16 Image Review Duration:06:03
18 Connection Duration:09:31
19 Provoking Reaction Duration:11:11
21 Raw Series - Image Review Duration:08:57
22 Image Critique Duration:1:01:29

Lesson Info

Dancer Lighting

One of my favorite types of light source, (laughter) I'm right underneath this Octabank. And you may think, we'll it's the wrong way around. Well, yeah this is how I like to do things. Turn things on their head. And just one light source. Just the Octa. It's got a B1 in here if you're wondering. Actually, they're actually great packs. I have a few of them myself at home. But generally speaking, I use packs with heads. I love this light because it shoots up away from the actual, you know, the actual head isn't directed at the subject, and it bounces all around this silver, and by taking off the silk, it's much more speculative. So all the highlights really pop, and it's much more dramatic, once again. And, I mean sometimes we shoot with the silk in there. It's kinder, it's more gentle on the skin. But when you've got someone, when you have Aronda, I always take advantage of that. So, obviously me working in fashion you tend to work with people who are younger potentially, or have got go...

od skin or, you know, pictures are gonna be retouched or whatever, so you can potentially play with things are too hot or heavy as far as the skin burning out in certain areas. Because that's what can happen when you do something like this, 'cause the silver kind of makes it kind of sharp. But I like all of that. I like things that push and pull and what have you. An I use this light set up specifically when I shoot things like ballet dances, or yogis, and things like this. Because, why do you think? Pretty obvious, right. They're chins are up a lot. So you'd shoot a bullet dancer, and she's gonna be, you know, most of the time like that. Not my style. (laughter) And Tobey knows. I do this with models all the time. I'm always saying, "Do this, do that!", and I jump in and start doing it, and they're looking at me going, but I like to think at least I'm trying. (laughter) Of course, yogis are half the time upside down, legs in the air, right. So this is a really great dramatic light for that kind of thing and I use it regularly. And oftentimes much higher than this. Like sometimes you're at 12 feet off the ground, with these huge mega booms, and you're pulling it over and what have you. Okay, Rhonda. I don't think we're gonna have her standing for this. Sitting. I think sit, yeah. It's a little on the high side. Are we measured for down here? Yep. Okay good. Although we do have a high ceiling, this is all good. Beautiful like that. And just, you're right, beautiful, just chin back a little bit. You know what, I'm gonna move you back a tiny bit too. This is neither thing. So oftentimes people are taught to shoot with the model in the middle of the light source, or always aim the light at the person. I rarely do that. I often, pretty much all the time, move the light off the subject. Where people tend to overlight things. I prefer to sort of play with the shadows, and I oftentimes will light someone, and I'm not doing it now. But what I often do is do something like this. And then we'll bring in flags, and just knock the light off this spot, and create extra shapes once I've lit her up. Which is just another way of adding a plane with no shadow. 'Cause shadows are a great way to sort of talk about mystery and create that kind of atmosphere. But, okay. That's nice. Beautiful there. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Beautiful, chin up even more. You can look to me. Chin back. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Beautiful. Beautiful. So you can really get to see here in a shot like this, and obviously the further away you are from the background, the darker it goes, but you could really create these sort of oasises of light and there's a lot of bounce, because she's down on the ground. So that it actually becomes sort of a two-light source as it bounces back up and fills. And it's just a very gorgeous type of lighting. And I use this too as I mentioned, obviously ballet dancers, and yogis and what have you, but also for advertising. For key advertising, quite regularly. So what Tobey is doing right now is just tilting the light, just away from her even more. Sort of putting her out of the light, a little bit more. Okay, 160 11. And you're not a yogi are you? Kind of. Kind of. (laughter) You got anything you can show us? What the yoga pose? Yeah. Ah, I don't know. It's a standing one though. Okay, we'll save that. We'll save the standing one. I'll get you to do that later. I could feel, I could see, I could sense there was a little yogi in you. Alrighty. Let's rock back, and have our head back like that. There you go. Beautiful. (camera beeping) (camera clicking) Gorgeous. Beautiful. Super-simple. Very pretty. You know, I love this too, because again this simple emotion, that it brings into the picture. The rich light, and obviously the fill of the shadows is very, very nice. And I just do this over and over and over again. It's the most classic way to shoot. Should we find something else? Let's do it. I was just wondering on this setup, is there much catch light in the eyes? Oh yeah. So are you seeing it from both the floor-- Listen, obviously if they look down, the great thing is obviously there will be a catch, because it'll be a bounce light. And you don't have to look up. I was directing her to look up, You can absolutely. It's very beautiful when you look straight down and the face goes completely dark. 'Cause there is actually going to be a catch, 'cause there is a bounce off the floor. And normally, I do have people standing. As I said, it's mostly ballerinas and dancing. And because you can actually have this really high up in a studio, so it just creates this sort of huge sort of pool of light for them to dance in. And some of the best shots I get are when they are on the edges of the light, as they dance in and out of the light. And that in itself, creates that kind of magic. Because it's the mystery of them sort of coming in and coming out, and there's a sort of a story there as well. But then just the shape of the light on the ground. Yes. What would be your go-to light setup for someone who is just starting out, who doesn't have a lot of money, but still wants to invest in strobes and indoor lighting? Well it really has to do with, as far as the light setup, it has to do with your style. And you've gotta kind of discover that. Really it's about, you know, as I've kind of talked about, I started with daylight, and then I was using a lot, you know, ambient light in rooms, and then I used a light bulb, then I used hot lights. (woman laughs) And then I used a strobe. But that's not because that was expensive. That was because that was the cheap thing way to do it. That's me using what I had around me. And you can rent hot lights for you know, really not very much actually. And remember I was telling a story the other day, of when I was really young, and starting to take pictures, and my wife who was my girlfriend at the time, was just on the couch, and she was tired and she put her head back on the couch, and the light was there, with a light shade on it. And I looked at her and I was like, "Wow, the light's gorgeous. "It's so rich." And the way it was falling, the exact angle, and I went in and I thought okay, look and measured all those different things, and I tried to recreate it. And it was the funniest thing, 'cause when I tried to do it after the fact with her, what I realized was missing, was the lampshade. I had taken the light bulb, right. So I accidentally put the lampshade into the picture. Then I started to create lighting scenarios that I liked. So when you buy a strobe, when you finally, you know, decide to commit to buying one, and they're expensive, but you can lease them and you can, you know, but I didn't buy one initially. I borrowed it. I asked if I could borrow one from someone who I knew who had one, another photographer friend of mine, who lent me his strobe. And for my very first portrait for Paper Magazine, I actually borrowed the light. And I borrowed it the week before, and then I shot it with that strobe that I had borrowed and I hadn't even paid for it then. And I don't think I bought lights until, I don't think I bought my own lights until maybe 10 years later. Okay, yes (faint speaking). So there's no real like, I don't think there's rush into any of that, and actually now, I own a few lights, but I still rent all the time.

Class Description

“Think Big, Dream Bigger” - that’s the philosophy that internationally renowned photographer Nigel Barker has lived by his whole career. Join Nigel on CreativeLive as he shares how to make your dreams become reality.

Nigel will discuss his journey as a photographer and will teach through the moments that he learned from that ultimately led to his success. From developing your style, creating a brand, owning your confidence and going after and getting jobs, Nigel will help you become a successful photographer while still being yourself. In the class you’ll learn how to:

  • Create your brand by establishing who you are
  • Present yourself to the client so that they understand your style and abilities
  • Build a library of work for marketing your business
  • Use lighting to create emotion
  • Connect with your models and break the wall of posing

Be a fly on the wall as Nigel does a live shoot and shares his knowledge about equipment, environment, and how to work with models. And he’ll end the day with a live critique and discuss the best ways to use your images to present yourself to your clients and customers. By the end of this class, you’ll have the tools to set yourself up for success.


Michael Spatola

This is one of my favorite Creative Live classes so far. The storytelling and human interaction parts were my favorites! The ability for Nigel to get such amazing expressions in such a brief time shooting was amazing. Everything he demonstrated seemed almost effortless, and all without a shred of ego. Great class!

Margaret Lovell

Nigel is a wonderfully engaging instructor. I like that he walks his students through his photoshoots. The set ups. How to interact with the models. Even though there are a couple of genres I'm most active in, I appreciate that Nigel says that you can have different photographic interests, so long as you brand yourself properly. I like taking photos of lots of things, although my outdoor photos generate the most interest. I highly recommend all of Nigel's classes.

a Creativelive Student

Passion, personal, inspiring! Nigel, thanks for amazing class and a lot of great advices.