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The Highs and Lows of Lighting: Controlling Mood with Light

Lesson 2 of 4

Shadows

 

The Highs and Lows of Lighting: Controlling Mood with Light

Lesson 2 of 4

Shadows

 

Lesson Info

Shadows

So what I'm gonna do is I want to jump in real quick and talk about several ways to create shadows and then several ways to get rid of those shadows. And then and then what I'm gonna dio is I'm going to be demonstrating live. So I'm going to show you a couple of my favorite Loki setups and then we'll switch it and show you a couple of my favorite hiking setups using three or fewer lights. Sometimes it may only be one. Sometimes it might be, too. We're gonna keep it nice and simple, right? So let's talk about shadows. So we're gonna talk about Loki versus high key for creating shadows. The idea is this. If I am the subject, the further I take the light off to the side, the more shadows are, that's the key. So I am going to in a low key image, often find a way to create more shadow than one way would be to take the light off to the side. There are others will talk about that in a second. So some terms that you might hear and I taught a class how long ago was it? I feel like it was really...

long ago, but it probably wasn't a couple months ago I learning to see and read, like so how to look at a photograph and determine exactly how it was lit andan this class. I talked about common terminology, and I'm going to talk about some terms, and the reason that I talk about terms is when I used to hear people talk about all these fancy lighting terms. It did not mean that they were good photographers, So I don't want you to think like if you know, the newest gear that names of this particular lighting pattern. That doesn't mean the person who says it knows what they're talking about, like they might not actually be a good photographer. But when people teach you or when you look at images, it helps you remember them, and it helps you given name to it so real quick if we start on the left. Paramount lighting is when the light is mostly centered, and if you see it's got this, the minimal amount of shadows compared to the other placement of like so paramount is also called Butterfly, and it's when there's just a little shadow centered underneath the nose in many high key images. This would be where that main light is placed because there are fewer shadows. It does not mean like nobody quote me and say, Oh, that's the only like That's not the case. I'm just saying. Often the light is centered because it creates fewer shadows. Fewer shadows helps you get too high key much more quickly. And then, as you move the light a little bit around to the side, it gives you something called loop, lighting and loop. Lighting is when there's a little shadow created by the nose, and it makes a loop tense loop lighting, same thing, fewer shadows. You can fill it in more easily. Take you Maurin the high key direction, All right, But now here's when we start getting a little bit more dramatic as we move over to the third. This is when we get Rembrandt lighting now Rembrandt Lighting. It's got that name, obviously, for Rembrandt, but it's when you see a triangle of light underneath the eye and what that actually is. The shadow of the nose stretches over as the light moves to the side and the shadow of the cheek growth and a meat. That s when you actually watch the light as you're moving it. That's what's happening. So Rembrandt, like, is moving you more in that Loki direction. A lot more shadows you're working with is getting a lot more dramatic. And then you move it all the way to the side for split lighting. There can be high and low key of all of these, but I'm just giving you a general idea. And then let's just watch where the light moves to. So here's centered with Paramount. Move it off to the side, takes it a loop. You see a little shadow from the nose a little further to the side, gives you that Rembrandt light, that little triangle, and then even further gives you split like so. The point of this is just to know if you're looking at an image like I want low key. But there's just so much light, and it's not moving you in the predominantly darker tones. One thing you can do is move that light off to the side. That's one solution that you have. So let me just give you a couple examples here. Thes are both Rembrandts, let pictures and even this picture It is like this is a mix of high key Loki because of the the the color of the tone of the skin. But it's still got that drama because that's what Rembrandt Kinsey Run Brand gives you. That drama self next piece of the equation is something called Short Light versus Broad Light. Let's take a look at what this means. Broad light means that a broader area of the faces illuminated broad, more bigger were a short light. It's shorter like these. Both of these pictures are Rembrandt. Both of them have a triangle, but one is led from the front over here, so the triangle is small, but the area that's lit is large, whereas in this picture the lights around behind. So it's still giving you Rembrandt, but it's lighting a smaller area. You would much more often see short light in a low key situation. You'd much more often see broad light in a high key situation. And just so you can see, this is what I'm talking about those triangles where they're located so broad, like most of its lit short light, fewer of it is And then here's the placement of those mainline. So you've got your beauty dish more to the front. In broad light. It's blighting bright water, a wider area, short light. It's smaller. So so far I'm saying, Okay, further off to the side is going to give me a little bit more low key. More center is going to give me a little more high key if I'm waiting from the front. That's generally more high key, some lighting around from the back. Let's generally a little bit lower key because it creates more shadows, so that just kind of summarizes it all. All right, now where you can switch this all up is when you have shadows, What do you do with them? In a low key image? You leave him be, You have them be dark in a high key image. You do something to fill them in. Okay, so here's my first suggestion, or I very much can relate to everybody. My very first studio space was about nine feet wide and, like 12 feet long, approximately so. I mean, it was a very compact space, and what would happen is time and time again, I would try to light a low key picture like I would try to have nice, deep, dark shadows But the shadows were always filled in like I never could get that I could never get a true silhouette I could never get really dark shadows And the reason what is In my nine foot small room I had big white walls on the left, big white walls on the right. And basically, no matter where I placed the light in that room, it was bouncing all over and filling in every single shadow that I had. So if you've ever been like Oh, yeah, I want a really dramatic image and you tried to create and just doesn't get there. That's why it's because you've got massive reflectors for walls, your ceiling, your floors, everything. So I'm just gonna give you a couple suggestions. If you're trying to create a low key image, you've got a handle. Those walls. Okay, One of the ways that you could do it is if you've got black fabric of any sort black scrap fabric that you hang on the walls that will dio if you got a V flat. Now the flats are If you actually want to be able to use them more for lighting purposes, and we'll be showing them here. But V Flat is a four by eight foot piece of foam core and then tape it together in the middle. You'll be able to see it, but it's white on one side, black on the other. You could push those up against the walls. Presuming you have eight foot ceilings with mine was like mine was right eight foot like it was nice small space. Or you could do make your own B flats. I mean, any surface that you can put up that you can have black on one side. So technically, if you want the absolute most control over light in any studio that you could have if you want it. If someone said to me, Lindsay, I'm building a studio and I want to be able to control like the best. Technically, an all black studio is the best way to do that. However, I'm here in New York City, we're at a very, very nice rental studio, but the walls are white and there's tons of windows. The reason is, well, I mean, if you're an all black studio. It looks like you're taking your subjects into a dungeon like get super grouping. So just be aware of that. I did. You just put a black me flats just black me flats on either side. You can make your own as well. So that's my first suggestion if you're trying to create Loki. So if I were creating this image right, I was going for Rembrandt. I had my light over to the side, and then I had my white wall that the shadow side of the face would not be dark in a small space with whitewalls. This is why I'm telling you this. You have to You have to actually think about that. So another thing you could do as well is you could just take a black piece of cardboard and hang it on a stand right next to them. And that's called negative fill. It sucks up the light. So now the shadows will be truly dark. Also another solution. If you don't want to have a lot of big flats, no one goes to the effort of hanging up fabric. So in a low key image, you keep the shadows nice and dark. Where is in a higher key image? You're going to do something where you bring in a reflector just to give you an idea. Generally, I use white reflectors for filling in and hike images because it's a little bit softer on the skin when you use silver. What tends to happen is if anybody is a little grease ear like it'll show up. It just it's a little bit softer and showing the details so you can see it fills it. And now the thing that makes this not a hike images the fact that it's on a black background you put on a white background. Most of the tones are much brighter. So here is an example, and I'm gonna show you pushed to the extreme of what this can look like, the more shadows you eliminate, the higher key it gets and then put it on a white background. So here's the exact set up that I have in this picture. I've got a beauty dish above, and so the beauty dish is centered. Why's it centered? Paramount Light gives me the fewest shadows and the fewer shadows I have. It's already moving me in the right direction of high key. But then the other important thing for high keys. I need a lighter tone background. It doesn't have to be white. So what I did is I took a white background and I just pointed to lights up at that background, I'm going to show you some other solutions. If you don't have many lights, if you only had to light how you could get the same look. So we've got our beauty dish in the front center to get rid of shadows. We've got a white background lighting it, so that's nice and high key. But then I took taking two pieces of white foam core like that. I bought him at Michael's There, like 3 99 year, this piece is above poster board, and I put him in a V beneath her chin because what that does is it captures all the light and fills in every shadow, and filling in every shadow equals high key lighting. But if you look back at this picture, I mean, you can see in the eyes exactly where that home court is, and I made it extreme. I mean, you can change the angle so that it doesn't have quite as much reflection. And one other note from this is the closer you can bring those reflectors, the more it feels in the shadows. The further away you have them, the last it fills them. And so these air like just out of the frame here so I can get rid of the shadows as much as possible. Okay, so in other words, feel like moves you more in the high key. Negative, Phil or Dark Shadows keeps you in low key. But let's talk about my other like I love narrow light. What I mean by that is when I introduce the light to this scene. When I first started in photography, I basically just introduced the light to light it like just so there was like, You know what I mean. So it looked like So I just put a light in and go, Oh, it's beautifully lit because there was like, Now what I dio is a carefully and particularly place my life. So what narrow means is I'm placing a light exactly where I want it. Just on the center of the face, just on the torso, just lighting the profile of the subject instead of broadly lighting everything with one giant light source. So narrow light really focused Loki Broad like tossing light everywhere, filling in all the shadows that takes you toe hiking. So this gives you different types of modifiers that might be appropriate. So I'm gonna talk about narrow light and my favorite ones, and we'll talk a little bit about the broad lighting. Everything so narrow light there's a couple. I mean, there's many different ways that you can create narrow like, but probably the most common would be something called grits. And so grids allow you to focus your beam of light. So one of the reasons I like grits. It depends on the brand you have. Sometimes they fit directly onto the front of the light, and sometimes they fit in zoom reflectors. Sometimes they fit in different modifiers. Thank you. So these are the ones that I'll be using today on the pro foto de ones. Okay, they've got kind of a honey comb pattern in the front, and what they allow me to do is control exactly where that light goes. So, for example, hold your home place among my keyboard will see if this works. Okay. All right. So what it allows me to dio is instead of just having the bear bowl where light goes everywhere, I put one of these on, and it focuses it in. So beauty dishes have grid. Soft boxes can have grid strips off. Boxes can have, like they make grids for lots of different things. But you'll see it the effect most if it goes directly on the head or on a zoom reflector. Basically, whatever it's on, the smaller that light sources. When you add a grid, the more focused it stays. If you've got a big soft box in the data grid, it makes it so the light doesn't spill, like it might help you with it bouncing off the walls. You've got a little bit more control there, but it's still gonna light everything. It's just got a little more control over that. So here's how grids work. They come in different sizes, so just know that minus 5 10 20 but they make ones that air 15 30 45. It just depends on the brand, but what you guys need to know is that the smaller the number is the smaller the area it lights, so small number means really, really focused. So if I want just to have the center of the subject's face lit, I'm going to use a five degree grid, and maybe I want a little bit more. I might use a 10 for when I have a little bit whiter, I might use the 20. And the other way to tell is if you look at these, um, the smaller ones have smaller holes, so five degree grid is gonna have the tiniest holes, and it focuses it Ford into one area, If any of you out there super physics nerds, Yes, it's more complicated. It's not technically focuses in its making the light fall more quick. I know. Okay, okay, When it's focusing the light, this is what's happening. All right, so let me just show you what this translates to. All right, So here's what it looks like. A bigger number. Bigger of light. 2010 5 The distances have stayed the same in all of these, So if I am focusing my life, that's going to help me get more of that low key because more shadow. It's another way to create more shadows. So here's an example of it in action. This was just my bare bold, nothing on it for the picture on the right, and then when I've added a 10 degree grid, and so it really focuses it in. Um, I don't I don't know if anyone else is like this, but I go in phases like I go in phases for lighting. We're like, for a while do all light and airy and dreamy. And for like right now I'm in a major grid face like I use grids like just on the face all the time. If you choose to use a grid, I mean you can use a grid on the face. You could use it like I did a Lara Croft Tomb Raider shoot once. We're like she's holding a gun. I use it just to let the gun and give it a little bit of shine. I've done it where I had just a little bit of light on a nearing. You could do that, but if you use a grid on the face, that retouching class will be very useful because it's a very high contrast light that shows a lot of texture to the skin. Once retouched, it looks beautiful, but out of camera you'll win because it's it's really brutal on the skin. So this is why there are things like creativelive that you can watch endlessly. Because if you want to do just one type of lighting, it might be useful to know the retouching. And then for the opposing to match the you can watch it forever and ever. And I think this is my like what I don't I feel like this is like or 15 times have been on creative. I'm not sure. So this is why there's anything. So here's an example of what that light can look like. This is with a degree grid on and then to back for indoors on the subject. But low key light, predominantly dark, noticed. She's got kind of in between Paramount and Loop light on the face, and I said, Wait more like Rembrandt and split light was more low key. But the point is just long as their shadows like it can still be paramount or loop. But I created shadows by narrowing the light so prominently lower key. So it's, however, you want to do it for having broader lit images, I'm going to show you. Ah, lot of that would be sort of using the small light sources. It would be things like big soft boxes that would work to give you nice, broad fill of flight or something called scrims, and I'll give you the concept that little later. But basically, if you can get big light sources that fill in all the shadows, that already automatically moves you towards higher key because he filled in most of the shadows, you can do all of it in between this. So let me kind of round out this part of the presentation saying So let's go back to the beginning. What are you trying to say with your image, what movie you're trying to achieve and what tools are appropriate? So you're gonna create more shadows? Are you gonna create last you're gonna fill them in. So let's take an example if a client, like so I'm versus kinda did. I'm a fashion photographer. That's tense way of my studio in New York. So I do fashion and beauty and things like that. So if a client comes to me and they say these keywords, all right, We would like to do a cosmetic shoot that's fresh and glowing. We want it to be happy and upbeat. Then I I already know like it's got to be high. Keep. It's gonna be white or light colored backgrounds. I'm gonna fill in most of the shadows. The makeup is going to match. Not a lot of dark makeup. The mood is going to be in her posing in her face. It all works together, but here's an example of one of the times that I was shooting for bright and high key. So I will break apart this and then I will. You'll see all this kind of stuff de mode so bright and high key. I can kind of see in this image you actually see it. Very minimal shadow cast by her nose. So, as I said, higher key, more paramount or loop. Not super far off to the side. So minimal shadows that works, and then the shadows underneath her chin like third there. But they're not like dark shadows. Maybe there's a little bit of fill light, and then a nice, bright white background that wraps around her. If you take my class on learning to see the light, you'll be able to break that, just like breaking apart, just like I did there. So here's actually how it's let this is lit with a beauty dish in the front reflector underneath the fill in those shadows and then a soft box behind. So this is what I was referring Teoh earlier. If you Onley have two lights, you can still get a beautiful, glowing Hai Kee shop. And one of the ways I do this is I like to put soft boxes directly behind my subjects because then it gives me a pure white background. Usually, if I want a pure white background, let's like let's say I wanted to do exactly the shot, but I didn't want to put a soft box behind her. What would end up happening as I would do a white background? And then you take two lights on the background so there's two lights and, like, let's say I really like these highlights on either side of her face. So then I'd probably take to rim lights to give the hot sweats four and then a light. That's five. How many people have five lights. I'm an ideo Did it all work super well, but like, you know, you got some older ones, but, uh, I got four that I use most often three or fewer. But anyway, you can do this instead of having five lights. You can do it with two. You can keep it nice and simple. So this is my definition of what a high key light sources. But if you wanted to light more full body, maybe you take a bigger soft box so it lights more of the subject. It could be a three foot soft box, a four foot soft box, five foot. It just depends on office space You have to work with. You could do something like that. Broad area of light Fill in the shadows. Nice white background. Okay, I example to someone says to me, Alright, for this makeup look want dark and mysterious something maybe a little sexy or sensual and going to be a cosmetic beauty shot then I know I want a lot of shadows. Want a lot of mystery. I want to be very dark. But the thing with cosmetic and beauty shots is you still want to be able to see all the skin, even if it is dark. That is part of 0.3 advertising the skin. So I know I want some fill light, even if it is dark. But not a lot of it, like just a little bit. So that's the example that you see here in this next shot. So in the pictures, if you see the actual the actual originalist, you see all the detail in the skin and you see ah lot of shadows. So what it is, it's narrow light with a teeny bit of Phil. So let's take a look. This is a five degree groot on her face, five degree grade. Focuses it in just a tiny bit on her face. And then because all like, it would just be a floating head, like it would just be a floating middle of her face with no fill light. So then I've got a beauty dish with a grid filling in the shadows a little bit. So there's context, and not just the floating center of the face thes air. Just to that, I wanted to show you up here. I'm gonna actually demo some but these are like opposite ends of the spectrum. But there were both beauty shots and they were both done with two lights but completely different look. And they could also be done in very small spaces. You could easily shoot both of the shots. I just showed you in an eight by eight foot space like you don't need a lot of, ah, lot of room to do them. So it's more knowing how to control shadows. What modifiers appropriate? What placement? All of that. I'm gonna add one more thing before I move on to Demo. But one more thing is both of these air dramatic like a high key. Like I think that as a high key image like this is, this is a dramatic hike, even though it's not dramatic in the dark sense. But then, you know this is dramatic in the dark and mysterious sense one tiki ones. Loki. So there's there's in between. So just know that I'm not saying like you can do dramatic in between. So for those of you are a little bit more advanced. Here's an example of him between. It's got a white background, but it's got narrow focus light, so it's got a piece from both. So my point is, the more you understand how to create the low key and really control it, and the more you understand how to create hiking, control it. Then you can start mixing them, and then it goes on forever and ever and ever. So just to give you an example. But this was, you know, the first example I showed you in the second. It's the two of them together, the five degree grade on the face, but no fill in the front, but from the very 1st 1 it's a soft box behind. So this is why I think of I feel like lighting is kind of like cooking, like I've got all these ingredients and there's endless different ways to put them together. I just got to know which ones mixed well together and which ones don't, and that helps me be more successful. And then how toe handle that lighting. And here's it behind the scenes picture of what it looks like

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!