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Live Shoot: High Key LIghting

Lesson 4 from: The Highs and Lows of Lighting: Controlling Mood with Light

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

4. Live Shoot: High Key LIghting

Lesson Info

Live Shoot: High Key LIghting

I promise that I would make this applicable for people that don't have tons of light. So Kevin's a three, but you could do several things with two. I want to show you how you can do a beautiful set up That's high key with one light. Of course, you can do things that are with natural light, but we don't have as much control here, so I'm kind of keeping it to studio lighting. So let's take a look at this set up. What I'm gonna have you do, Joe, is I mean, if you take this off bare bulb and stick it behind the background, move it up a little bit further for me, right there is perfect. Okay, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to create an inexpensive scrim. We actually have screams back here in the back of the studio, but what a scream it is. It's a large frame. They come in different sizes four by 46 by 68 by eight. Told by 12 come in different sizes. And then basically, there's diffusion material stretched over top of it. So the stuff in the front of your soft box like the stuff on the...

front of stop box. It's the same idea. That's what's on the screen. It comes in different cuts, like different stop amounts. Like how thick is it? Basically, those range in price from a couple 100 too many hundreds. Like it kind of depends on how big you get them. Um, but you can also do it as a DEA y project. So here's what I have here in this example. I have got white white curtains, white shears from bad bed bath and beyond. They were in the discount bin, so I think it was like 10 to $12 or something like that, and I have them stretched over a boom arm, but it doesn't have to be. If you had a painter's pole or you have a low ceiling, you just tape it on the ceiling, whatever works for you, but this is fundamentally doing the same thing. Here's how it works. Is if you have a bare head and just gonna have you turn this off and just put off to the side real quick if you have a bare head of your life. Ah, bare head is very small, and there's a ruling lighting, which I talk in depth about many of my other lighting classes, that the smaller the light sources compared to the side of the subject, the harsher, the harder the light. So it's going to give you a lot of shadows really crisp. It's really hard on the skin, the Grady int like if you see a shadow here it is drawn on, there's no there's no smooth transition, not so soft and dreamy and airy and romantic like it. All of the things that we're trying to go for in the high key set up. So what happens is if I've got that small head and I put it behind my makeshift scrim. What happens is when that light hits the material, it spreads out. And so when it spreads out, the light now basically becomes larger, like it is now a much larger light source. So it'll be bigger and softer and wrap around more and more dreamy and area and all of those things that are moving us in the high key direction. Will you bring it up real close? Real real, real close to that background. I was gonna take great and pointed towards me. And can you lower it is that it slows, It goes just a little bit perfect. That's why that's why again we test it out, huh? I'm gonna darkened. Downshift a little so you can see this better. Not too bad, then. So with the like, Close. All right, that gives you this. This blast picture gives you better idea. Okay, so with a light close, what ends up happening is it's the bucket of water. Example. If you're really close, you throw the water. It doesn't have much time for the water to spread out. So actually, the light source you've got is not that big. I mean, like, it's spread out a little bit. It's bigger than the bare head, for sure, but it didn't have time to become a big light source. And we want big, soft, very light sources. So can you move that back? You take the bucket of water and you move it back and you throw. It has more time to spread out so it fills mawr of that screamer feels more of that bed sheet. The problem is need more water, which, because it spreads out so just means more power. It's fine. Just coming through your power more. No big deal. So same thing. But this isn't illustrate. Hold on. All right, this next one will show you the difference. It's no longer really a circle. It basically fills the whole thing by pulling it back. And we, you know, maybe double the distance of it gives it more room to spread out. So tall high, I would have you stand right in front of my makeshift background here with your back. Right up against it. Perfect. So let me give this a quick test. Can we bump it up a little more? Okay. Perfect. We're gonna test this next one. So basically, what it is is giving you a pure white background behind her, and then the light starts to wrap around if you shoot this. Okay, so you set up, you set up your bed sheets, you put the light behind you, pull it back, and you shoot the first shot. And it's a complete silhouette like it's just black. That means that you have a space. Probably that doesn't have close walls. And it makes sense because there's no light in front. We haven't filled it in. But if you've got a small space with white walls and instead of shooting it what you normally should outlets I actually have 11 start opening up, start over exposing what happens is that, like, wraps around it bounces off all the walls and even without any light source in the front, if you're in a small white space, all of a sudden it's glowing and bright and high key, and it fills in every, even though you didn't really mean to, but like it does, it will give you that nice look. So I'm gonna pop it up a little bit more. Can you turn your body to your left a little bit? Pop up your right knee great. And then come back towards me like death. Perfect hand. Real soft here. Great. So let's take a look. I'm gonna open up even more and all I'm doing I'm not changing anything besides my exposure. I'm opening up my aperture and pumping up my I s o. So we're going to this good going more in this high Qiwei. Okay, now I went I went extreme and it looks mawr accurate. Your your screens in here a little bit brighter. Do one more. Okay. Something around here? What? My white balance is crazy off. Well, more just like that. And Archer back just a little more than pop your arm up just a little. A little less good. Okay, great. This is perfect. Okay, this is the one. That's just about where I wanted to be. So, like, I don't even really have walls, But basically, I've got this massive light source that I lit. And then in the late, just everywhere. So eventually, when I brighten it up, it wraps around her and it bounces off things. But let's say that you're not getting this effect. Can I have my V flats out here real quick? What you can do is you could give that, like, something to bounce off in some way. Give it, give it something to capture. Like so what happens is you got that giant light source behind it pops forward, and then you've got reflectors, so I'm only going to block the camera's view for one minute. Might have just be this camera. Okay. Great. Perfect. And I'm gonna bring over here saying bring the other view flat up. That was well that's come over this way. Great. All right, cool. All right. So basically, I'm creating a giant box. Um, I look for these that happen naturally. Sometimes what I might do is move my space closer. So there's a white wall behind me, and then I don't need this stuff. Or if you have that set up, you could put a white background behind you. Or if you've got one of these, putting it behind its fine, but I'm just gonna kind of show you the extreme of it, and I won't need to overexpose so much, but I am gonna totally guess. Okay away. Good. Right here. Great. Okay, that's perfect. So, what, you'll see, But you got Can't. Sorry is it caught the light off of these flats. And so before, there wasn't actually a decided direction of light. It was just kind of like you could see it was kind of on our side of her face and coming like you couldn't tell where. Now it's really flat and really even on her face. And what gives you high key? Look, no shadows flat, even bright. So I'm gonna take one more picture and then we'll leave it up on the screen for you guys to see Perfect and Archer back a little more in hand, A little hard on looking for negative space since I'm directing or for perfect. So just nice, even light across your face. So doses and, Greg, you can remove the V flats. Now, if you'd like, you guys will be able to see this. Thank you. So this is what feels much more even on her face because it caught all that light that I've got the light wrapping around her. Technically, if you are super picky, you can go. Well, the highlights behind your over exposed that kind of bleeding around the side. And I'll be like, I see it in vogue all the time. It's okay. Like it looks good, in my opinion, is if it looks good, it looks good. And if you make a mistake, But it looks on purpose Golden like, that's like if it looks like you did on purpose, Okay. So I'm gonna have you remove these real quick and I'm going to do my last set up. I think that's about appropriate timing. Great. Okay, so that was my makeshift scrim. It also works with shower curtains, bed sheets. Just make sure that whatever you purchase doesn't have a color tint to it. And can I have the three by four behind her? Yes. So just make sure it doesn't have a color tint to it, cause that will show. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to quickly recreate my one of my favorite setups and just go step by step through how I make this high key by all of those rules that I went through. So kind of the first rule of high key is a lighter toned background. Well, how everyone? So my easy way. And this is great. And time saving is I don't change the background white in this instance. I'm going to put a soft box behind her. And so the soft box behind her I'm going to run you through. Just couple things on your checklist for the soft box behind her. Um, notice I can't get full length, like so that's gonna be that's gonna be sending my hold you back. If you've got a four by six, you could go with a four by six. And that could work. But that's why I do my makeshift scream If I need a full length and I want that. Of course, you can always light a white background white, but that takes more lights. And I like to keep it simple if possible. So I got this right behind her, and I am going to have her go lower it more. I'll tell you when I read that Perfect, I'm gonna have you step back. So it's touching your back, and you're gonna face me straight on. Perfect. Okay. And can you straighten it out? So it's not so crooked. Not so wonky. All right. And what's the power on the back can turn just seven. All right. Great. So real quick. And the light on her neck is just from a reflection. It's not actually my lighting, just, you know. All right. So let's take a look here. All right? So when I take this three by four foot behind her, that's what the light does. So it gives me a pure white background and that nice highlight on her jaw. You take a step forward for me. The further away she gets from that background, the left, the light wraps, watch the highlight on her jaw, Get smaller. And if she comes even further forward, eventually, it should just be in silhouette if you get smaller and smaller and smaller with those highlights. Okay for me, obviously. I said, wow. I want predominantly brighter tones. Okay, this is the exact opposite of that. So we're starting there, Some heavy stuff, all the back. And can I have the, uh, soft box? All right. So I'm going to go. A beauty dish would work find with this, but I'm going to go with soft box because I want a bigger, broader light source. So we're going to go with a four foot Octa box on the front. So basically, she's gonna be sandwiched in between two soft boxes, this one to give me the pure white background. And also, if I want the light to wrap around, even Maura can turn up the power more. But I like what this looks like. And I'm gonna kind of center this because the more center it is, the last shadows there are your hands. Let me know. Okay. Perfect. And what's the light at? Okay. Turn it up to seven and bring it all the way in. Keep going. Keep going like this in June, and now you're gonna raise it up for me. Great. Perfect reader. Great. And I did say I'm gonna be a little short here. Tested, bring a little bit. So next one, she gets beautiful bright highlights wrapping around her job minimal shadows because we've center the light. But if I wanted to go even further like, I'll just give you a couple things I could do if I wanted to be even higher key. I could take white B flats and put him on either side because those white V flats capture any light from this light source and will fill in every shadow everywhere. Or can I have the reflectors? Have a reflector, please? Um so can you make yourself a little shorter? I'm sorry, I'm a little talk. Like I'm not here a little And silver place. Great. And so the only shadows I really see Sure. Their shadows on the sides, which the the flats help me get rid of but underneath your chin. So if I want to go even higher key, I put a reflector underneath. If I do white, I've got to bring it really close to fill in those shadows. If I do silver, I can have it a little bit further, but it might be a little bit. Texture might be a little bit contrast. So let's try silver first. Thanks. Thanks. That's good in Sure. Thanks. Good. So you'll see the shadows kind of fill in in, lighten up just a little bit. So that's my approach to things. I have some questions from earlier, but if we have any lighting questions that be great right now I have one single and non. So this is my question before my Okay, Great. So I'll take some questions from the folks at home. Our good friend Adrian. Far Eddie far. Yes, of course. Always has lots of fantastic questions. So the 1st 1 was back to you when you're deciding on the mood. You had some of those words for us about what you're looking at. Do you take into consideration what that final placement of the image is going to be when you're thinking about how you're going to control the mood with light? If it's a magazine, But you know, ad on the Internet, if it's whatever the placement is. Yeah. So one of the things you have to consider is most of the time when you do. Ah, really low key image. If you've got detail in your shadows, when you put it online, it gets lost. Like if you if And so if you've got you know that that dress and then you popped a little bit of light because you want to see it, you might have to go a little further and fill in that shadow a little bit more just how images are online. It just increases the contrast, and it just blocks up those black. So I think of things like that as well. I also know, and you can kind of see it on screens when you have high key images. Same thing the highlights often go out. I don't really change my lighting. I just kind of wince and know that it's probably gonna happen. Whereas if its print, I could be so much more nuanced like I could have just that little kiss of in the shadows. And I can have the beautiful contrast where I could have ah, hike image that's a little flatter. My point is digital just kind of kills nuance, so I usually just kind of push it to the extreme and go, Yep, those air pure blacks And just know that's what's gonna be kind of similar to that question. If it is something that is for, say, a fashion shoot and you're trying to focus on the the clothing itself, what are considerations, additionally, that you would have to think about in terms of if you're doing sort of that Loki look. But there's not a lot to see. So when I like for fashion, I like in layers or I kind of stack my lighting. So what I'll do is I'll do one light for the face, which is different than the light for the clothing, which might be different than the light from the background. Like I treat them completely separately because a lot of times, man the way that I've got a light, the clothing to best like if it's if it's silk and I need to have that nice even highlight, maybe I need a soft box, a large, soft box load to get that highlight. But the client wanted a little more dramatic light on the faith, so maybe up top. I use a beauty dish further off to the side, so I like I place everything differently. And usually what I do is I figure out the background first, because then I can figure out my distances and, uh, well, like the background. Get that all right, and then I'll go in and I'll try Teoh like the subject. I'll try to keep that like tighter, so it's not really affecting the clothes too much. Another way to make your light tighter is to bring it in closer. The closer you bring that light, the less the bucket of water can spread out. And it doesn't matter if it's a great if it's a soft box, whatever. So I bring that in closer. And then lastly, I try to figure out you know what's most flattering to the clothes and I just everything separately. Question from TD Parker. Can you do this outside also? So we're kind of in a studio right now, but could you do this outside any other considerations? And Emily had also asked, Do you have any tips and pointers for shooting Loki at night? Is there a difference? Okay, so I'm going to give you a couple examples, work with me and visualizing one of things you can do, especially if you have a pro. Photo B two or B one is if you use the high speed sink, toe overpower and basically overpowering. It's not really what it is. Okay, simple terms here were overpowering the sun. What I can do at times is I can use the sunlight behind the subject as a single room late. And then I can take a narrow light source from the front to give me a low key effect. So basically, I can overpower the sun and then control where my life goes. You can definitely do it that way. Other thing that I love is right now see how the lights coming in through the window behind me. What I could do is I could take that set up over there with the my makeshift scrim with my bedsheets or with the curtains, and I can put it right here. So there is now a big soft light source coming in behind. I can place my subject there, and I can either light with a soft box in the front or take those V flats again and capture some of that light coming through and create a high key set up there. So that's not exactly outside. But that's using natural light to do the same thing at night. It's just a matter of making sure you can. You can focus in complete darkness. That's that's really the difference. But he knows I had him the other day with the phone, you know, hoping me focus. So long as you've got solutions for that, you can absolutely do Loki at night. Did you have one more set up to be? I got 11 more. Tweak break. Right. Perfect. Um, well, can you grab the other reflector? All right, so I'm gonna dio one more tweak I've got. This is this is a little commercial break, but not really. I've got tons of lighting courses on creativelive of different things. So if any of this you like wow, that was really faster. I need more basic. I've got a lighting. One a one. I've got a creative lighting. I've got a learning to see. The late I've there's there's a bunch. So if it was too fast or too advanced, it's out there. I needed. Both is sorry to both of them. For me. Okay. And then, Greg, I'll have you help me as well, if you will. This is one of the setups that I do often. So see how light and glowy an area We could get it. One more thing. We could do one of you on either side meeting in the middle with the V of the white. So now I said you could put white the flat on either side. I'm gonna have you do, like, right there, and you're gonna come in and great. Perfect. Give me a V closer into your side, Joseph. Like like stepping closer. Her physically. Great. You. Same thing. So what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to catch all of this light in a big reflector. Last light makes something called a Trife Lecter that has three reflectors. You could do this. So it's basically ah, big scoop of white that just catches all that light. And Westcott has an eye lighter that will do the same thing in silver s. So it has more contrast. But it fills in all those shadows, so it helps you get a high key look good, and I think it Thank you. Perfect. So you'll see like this because it's white. It gives you just even creamy, smooth skin throughout the entire thing. I often have done setups like this for if I'm going for the dreamy maternity kind of shot, we'll have a big soft box or scream behind. And then the white B flats in front and then maybe a kiss of another light. Whereas I use the first example with the two back strip lights as, uh, rim lights to show the form. If I'm going for Loki both totally acceptable. Okay, so you guys are so my last set up is just to show you that in between. Can you take off this soft box, please? Great. All right. So the in between is in between example I gave you. You can take something high key, but then you can narrow the light. And so what we're gonna do is we're just gonna add the five degree grid on this, and so that's neither hiking or low key. But it's cool. And when you know how to mix them, you can. So you could use the scrim set up that we did over there and add a beauty dish with a grid that focuses the light. And you could do that. So I did a boudoir shots in lingerie not of me, but of a subject in front of the bed sheets. Lots of curves. So the like kind of wraps around, you see the form, but then a beauty dish with a grid and close. You could see her face a combination of all of them. So here is the last one here. Great. I'm gonna totally guess my exposure as per usual. So I've got the five degree great on one note on the five degrees or any of the grids the bucket of water thing I already talked about before. The closer you bring it to somebody. Thank you for being you. You smile and not at me. So I assume it's OK that I invade your personal space repeatedly. Same thing I'm really close. It doesn't have room to spread out. So if you've got a grid and let's say men, you've only got its a 5 10 20 you've only got the 20. The other thing could do is try to bring it in. Really close, it'll focus the light more. So is the same thing with her. The distance that I move that light will change how much it's focused. There are other things to do is well, let's try here. Just like that Looks great. Perfect. And I have again no idea of exposure. We're testing here pretty close. So it's kind of like an in between of the two. So my recommendation for this, I mean, I've done beauty shots where it looks nice, but I think it looks really beautiful with something fine art, nude boudoir, something to that extent. So you've got the highlights that create the beautiful, glowing, airy shape around the form. But then you've got that little bit extra poppin drama by narrow light. You're mixing the two together, so that is everything I'm going to do. My little my little summary of stuff that good to go perfect passes off to you. All right, so I guess my clothes of this all is I talked about a lot of different modifiers in a lot of different tools. I guarantee you whatever tools you have, you can do the same thing. Like even if you don't have the grid. If you have barn doors like do, you can make solutions that will work whether you buy something cheap from bed, bath and beyond, or whether you sin if oil to make a snoop or to focus your light into their absolutely solutions. And I think that, in my opinion, this, like making these conscious decisions, is what takes your work to that next level instead of here's a soft box and, like just throwing light at the subject. But why would you focus that light? Or what is that room like doing? And how is this low key fitting the mood? And, oh, can I add color to enhance that mood? Or what can I do to get rid of even more shadows and make it even more heavenly? So, really, what it comes down to is the reason that you watch all these classes and things so you can figure out the solution based on what you have. And then the next year you have ask yourself what words come to mind. Is that the dreamy, very romantic, or is it the dark, dramatic and then push in either direction? But that doesn't mean you have to be on either extreme. Everything in the middle is also acceptable, but it's good to know how far you can push it.

Ratings and 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.

Edmund Cheung

WOW! Must watch. Packed with information and discoveries. I am more of a landscape photographer that really wants to expand my knowledge and repertoire. So been practicing my portrait shots. This quick course is a must and so helpful. Lindsay really breaks down lighting, high key and low key shots perfectly. Would absolutely recommend this class for all photographers no matter what level or type you shoot.

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