Skip to main content

The Highs and Lows of Lighting: Controlling Mood with Light

Lesson 1 of 4

Class Introduction

 

The Highs and Lows of Lighting: Controlling Mood with Light

Lesson 1 of 4

Class Introduction

 

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

when I'm going to talk about today is one of my favorite things to talk about, which is lighting. And I wanted to start with a brief speech really quickly about something that I see often in people's work that holds it back from being great. So when I look at many people's work, whether it's fashion photography or whether it's portraiture, once people have a base level of technique, right, you know how to expose correctly. You know how to focus like you've got the basics down. I often see people try to embrace creativity, which is awesome, like that's That's one of my things, like nowadays, So many people can take a technically competent picture, so you've got to do something extra to stand out. So I believe in creativity. But a lot of times I look at people's work and it doesn't make sense. And so what I mean by this is there might be a girl. Andi, this is an example like to use. I've said this is an actual example. I saw in like a futuristic silver dress in the middle of a field with...

really romantic lighting, super teased out hair. Then, like a cat eye. And so what I'm saying is these things don't actually fit together. They don't actually tell a cohesive story. So the first thing before I get into this presentation is, no matter what you're doing, ask yourself what the photo is about. What's the purpose that you're trying to achieve? And when you start there, when you figure out what the core of the photo is, you can start to build upon it for this concept, What wardrobe is appropriate? What hair and makeup. If you're doing that kind of shoot, what type of pose would be like you can build from there? And so the element that I'll be talking about today is going to be the lighting element. I will see shots where there's like a girl shouting and really drastic makeup, really soft and dreamy light, which might not fit. And so I'm going to talk about controlling mood with lighting and to specific terms or approaches that I take. But I think that would be my start to you is don't just like I learned a new lighting set up, so I'm going to just throw anything in front of the camera. You can tell you can tell when you were just experiments in versus it was a cohesive shoot. So what I'm going to be talking about today is I'm calling it the highs and lows of lighting, which means I'm going to be talking about high key light versus Loki Light and how you can achieve it, and maybe some of the problems that you might run into trying to get that type of light. So there's a few things that we're going to want to talk about. By the way, I'm going to briefly touch on a couple more advanced setups. So I do have 53 setups at the link that you see on the left of the screen there, and that will give you all of the information you need, like the modifiers, the distance of like the power of, like the height of the light, the distance. LaMotta like all of that stuff. So it'll give you a good place to try something a little more creative. All right, So as I said, you want to start off with that question. What's the goal of this image? And then what? Mood is appropriate? And there's a lot of different ways. You can control mood in a photograph. I don't want just to say it's all lighting because you control the mood with the location that you chose, the colors that you chose. Having bright red, which I use often is going to give you a very different mood than cool blues and teals and that idea. And then all. Of course, they're styling in their terror makeup. In the composition you choose, you could have, ah, low perspective with dynamic angles, and that's going to give you a lot of energy versus something that's very centered and stable. Very different takes on it, but today we'll talk specifically about lighting. So we're going to control the mood and message with lighting and specifically I'm going to dive into high key and low key. And I will also say that in any given lighting set up like not every light is either high kier Loki. Of course, there's everything in the middle, but typically, if you're going for more dramatic mood, either really dark and dramatic, really soft and dreamy, it usually does fall into one of those two categories. Let's take a look at my very basic example up on the screen to describe the differences between the two. Picture on the Left is a good example of a low key image, and the picture on the right is a good example of a high key image. Loki is predominantly darker tones. There's more shadows to the image. There's more true blacks, whereas in high key it's lighter tones. It's brighter, minimal shadows, all of that. So this is the exact same model, and she is photographed in this image about six minutes apart. It's the exact same day we just change the makeup just a little bit, but it is completely different moods. And so an idea that I'm trying to express in one wouldn't be expressed well with the other lighting. I think these tell completely different moods. So I'm going to tell you about my suggestions for lighting setups and modifiers in placement of light and all of that. So let's take a look at some examples of high key really quick. This also gives me ability to show some of my work because I can of predominantly lighter tone. Fewer shatters brighter overall, so if you'll notice you don't really see a lot of deep, dark shadows. You don't see a lot of grays in mid tones. Everything is brighter. But I do want you to realize also that if you say hi key doesn't mean it has to be on a white background. For example, Both of these are on kind of cream toned or later tone texture backgrounds. But the light is predominantly brighter. Not that many shadows, whereas, of course, lower key. That doesn't mean the whole picture is black. It doesn't mean that there aren't true white highlights. For example, in the picture on the left, like it's, there is a correctly exposed skin tone. Loki doesn't mean under exposed. It just means most of the tones are a bit darker, and so this could be for beauty. The picture on the right is the definition as far low key as you can get. All it is is too tiny highlights carving out our subject. And I put this image in here because I wanted to give you a heads up. There is not a landing page for it yet, but the very, very end of November After Thanksgiving, I'm teaching a class on fine art news on creative life so stay tuned for that. And that is a fine art nude in one of my favorite lighting setups for something that is a little bit more subtle and more of an implied nude instead of being so in your face. So here's some more examples. So also, same thing with Loki doesn't need to be on black. Could be darker on a sky. It could be on a textured background. It could be on a dark grey, so but you see the thread that holds them together. All right, so we're going back to this thing again. Remember what you're trying to say. Here's how I'm gonna help you out. And it's not that these air exclusive. But when I think of a shoot that I'm doing if I say things like bright, joyful, airy, dreamy, I know that I'm going to fit into the high key category for the most part there. I mean, there are exceptions, but pretty much that's where it sticks me. And if I'm thinking dark, moody, dramatic, creepy. Like any of those words, it puts me Maurin, the low key category. So that's why you know, in general, let's say I'm shooting a maternity session actually shot a maternity session this weekend. One of my high school friends actually spent my friends in elementary school. I did her maternity session, and so what? I would ask myself. Both of these are actually completely valid for a maternity session. But what is the client or my subject want? Do they want something that's soft and romantic and dreamy? Or do they want something that's a little sexier? Maybe a little more dramatic? And I've had subjects on both ends of the spectrum. So it's not like one subject fits one type of light. You got to kind of figure out what fits best. And so similarly, I wanted to put up this lie. This is a project that I did recently where I have some basic make up in these. Raul shot the same, but I would start with what's my concept? And I say OK for the 1st 1 I know I want the makeup to be like light, fresh, cosmetic and so I did the makeup. But the lighting's what takes it there, because if you look at the top, I mean there's differences in the makeup, for sure, it's important part of it, but the lighting takes it the next step. Beyond that in the next one, I said Okay, so the 1st 1 was high key. The 2nd 1 I wanted to be playful, feminine, a pop of color. And so that's it's higher key. It's predominantly lighter tones, maybe not super bright, kind of in between. And then on the far right. I wanted something dark, something sensual, something makeup you call of vampy. And so the makeup on the right isn't gonna fit the lighting on the left. So just notice that they all kind of work together. And so this is when you go from, I've learned my basics of lighting and posing toe, elevating it to the next level up. So to put this on your checklist for creating low key, you want more shadows and darker tones. I'm going to show you how to create more shadows, and I'm also going to talk about people that shoot in very, very small spaces. This becomes a little bit more challenging, so I'm just gonna give you some tips and tricks on that, a smaller area of illumination. So somebody isn't generally lit from head to toe when you're going lower key. Usually it's maybe just their profile, that slit or just a spot of light on the face, and I'll show you some tools that are really good to use that I'm not going to be showing you any specialty modifiers. I have classes that touch that, but I want to make sure this is applicable for everybody. So I've got some core modifiers that most of you have or would be inexpensive to purchase. Usually there's less feel like meaning. If there are shadows, they're usually a little bit darker or deeper shadows. They haven't been filled in. So there's a lot of these hills or like in those shadows. And then, lastly, it's usually more dramatic angles of light. That main light is usually further off to the side or higher up, because that makes the shadows longer and deeper. So it's kind of our checklist for our low key lighting and then hike e the exact opposite, right? So it's going to be fewer shadows. The shadows that do exist are usually filled in a lot, so we'll talk about some ways to control your shadows. Mawr of the subject is lit and It's generally flatter lights that's a little bit more centered. I did put up an example here to show you why I'm saying generally. So if you look at this picture, she's actually lit more from behind and the shadow is towards you in the front. If we didn't fill in the shadow, it would be darker and it wouldn't be a low key image, but it would be kind in between. But it's the fact that we filled in that shadow so much that makes all the tones predominantly lighter puts it back in that category.

Class Description

Understanding light is a powerful tool for helping you control mood in your images. In this class fashion photographer Lindsay Adler will show you the extremes of creating powerful mood using studio lighting. She will explore her favorite low key and high key setups, and explore how to integrate style, concept and technique for impact. Whether you want to create images that are dark, moody and mysterious or scenes that are glowing, happy and ethereal... this class is for you!

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

Lindsay is an amazing instructor. Her info is clear, concise and relevant. She has a great personality so it is fun to be a part of her classes - whether in person or on line. I would recommend any of her classes.

Brenda Pollock Smith
 

Fast class, jam packed with precise instruction. Thank you Creative Live and Lindsay Adler for yet another fantastic course. Great course to own to refer back to the details of the set ups.

a Creativelive Student
 

Lindsay is a wonderful instructor! You can really feel and hear her passion and she really considers the various budgets and equipment each photographer may have in her class. 1-4 lights to achieve countless lighting solutions. Thank you!