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Flags and Reflectors

Lesson 15 from: Understanding Light & Light Modifiers

Mark Wallace

Flags and Reflectors

Lesson 15 from: Understanding Light & Light Modifiers

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

15. Flags and Reflectors

How do we control light? How do we bounce light? Flags, reflectors, and subtraction panels are light modifiers that don’t attach to lights but are just as important. Mark creates a few portraits using these modifiers to help you understand the concepts.

Lesson Info

Flags and Reflectors

now it's time about controlling light spilling all over the place are actually adding light into places that we like with special types of modifiers. These are called flags and reflectors are sometimes subtraction panels. And so these sort of fall into the category of light modifiers that don't actually attached to the lights themselves. And so it's best just showing you how this works. So Quentin come on out, we're gonna do a few different demos here to sort of get acquainted with reflectors and flags and subtraction panels and all that kind of stuff. So what we're gonna do is we're just going to start with this is about a two by three ft um soft box here, and I will turn on the modeling light so we can sort of see what's going on and there we go. I think we're good. So we're gonna do we're gonna do a very very simple portrait, maybe uh down to Quinn's fingers, so I can sort of see how the light falls on her. I'm gonna meet her toward our key light here, so take a half step forward. T...

here we go. And then I will do that. So we're about F 13. I wanna get this town about F 11. So I'm gonna take this down just a bit, something like that. That's F 10. That's close enough. So I'm gonna try to be consistent with where we're shooting. Set my camera to F 10. And now let's take the very first photo here, and we'll see how the light looks quick. Okay, now, if we look at this, it's coming up in lightroom, we can see we have sidelight exactly as we expected. But there are a couple of things that I'd like to control, primarily just to show you exactly how to control them. So we can see that over here, we have light falling on the background. We don't have any light reflecting into the opposite side of Quinn's face. And so let's try to do a few things with our reflectors and flags and subtraction panels. Um so there's a special kind of modifier that does go on the light that we haven't talked about it all yet. That's a grid. So I'm gonna start there. So normally I just put a grid on this soft box, but just to save time, I have the exact same soft box already set up with a grid on it. So we're just gonna save a little bit of time and pop this one on. So nothing has really changed. It's just a grid on the same exact soft box in the exact same position. And what a grid will do is it will keep the light from spilling in areas where it shouldn't so keep the same softness, but it'll make sure the light doesn't just go everywhere. So we have the same diffused light on Quinn. But maybe over here that light can't spread over there. You can get grids for different types of modifiers. So usually the hard light modifiers, you'll get grids that are 5, 10, 15, 20 degrees. And it's talking about uh sort of like a cone, how much light can spread for soft boxes. Generally they're about 50 degrees of spread something around that depends on the size of the soft box or modifier. So I think this one is about a 40-50° grid, meaning it's gonna restrict the light. Not totally, but it's going to make sure it doesn't go just everywhere. And so let's see what happens. So, I'm gonna meter this again. So that's 6 3 because we don't have light bouncing everywhere. So I'm gonna increase the power to get us back up to about F 10. See how that works. F 10. Okay, so at the same exact light output and let me just take the same photo of Quinn. There we go. Perfect. All right, So now, when we look at this image, look at what happened to the background, the background just went completely black. So we'll compare those side by side. So the second one is this guy right here, and so that grid just refined where the light goes. But notice on Quinn the properties of light are the same. So, she still has soft light, the transitions on the shadows are still the same. The speculum highlights are the same. We're just controlling how much light is spilling everywhere and that works great. Now, if I wanted to, I can do a couple of things with this. There's all kinds of different shapes and sizes of these, they're called the flats, reflectors, subtraction panels So if it's black like this, what's happening is it will absorb light and it'll subtract it from the image. And so it's the opposite of a reflector. You can get black like this which is a little bit glossy so this will reflect a little bit of light, you can get some black that's made out of fabric and the fabric is much more effective so it just sort of goes in there and just sticks light doesn't escape. It's like a black hole and then inside here we have, we have white and so we can bounce light off of this and that's a reflector. And so we're gonna try these things and try to do something. So the first thing I want to do is show you the reflector because it's a little bit easier to understand. So I'm gonna bring this in just gonna set it to the side of Quinn. Sure, something like that. Beautiful looks great. Now, the closer you get the reflector, the more feel like you're going to get the farther away the reflector, the less fill light. So I've put that about 8" or so from Quinn, I don't have to remember this, nothing has changed with our light. And so Quinn, we're going to look right at me excellent, just like that and Holy smokes, look how much light is coming in. So I will take this and add These three images side by side. You can see this last one, we had a lot of light bouncing, you can actually see Quinn's arm or before you could not. In fact, I'll get rid of this one so you can just see the last two images that Phil really makes a huge difference. Now the other thing I can do is I can move this forward. So let me just show you again this this photo of Quinn here, this last photo notice on her face, we have some fill light, but it's very directional, it's sidelight. What I'd like to do is bring that forward and get it to be a little bit more front light so I can do that by taking this reflector. So maybe on camera to this is going to show a little bit better so I'm gonna move it forward and angle it so it's bouncing in so I've moved it from straight like this to like this, so the light should bounce into her face. That looks pretty good and then maybe I'll even move this a little bit so it's hitting this and bouncing into her face. I'm not gonna do that too much though because then I'll ruin the, the light by doing that. Okay, let's see what we get. I'm gonna get a little bit closer on her face. Let's see how well we did. Okay, we did pretty well, so we can look and see that this light now is a little bit more directional to the front and we've got that nice Phil looks great, really looks great. So this looks to me a little underexposed, so I think what I do here is meter this again, just a bit, yeah, it's me during F nine, so I'm just about a third stop underexposed And I know I like to be creatively correct, so I'm gonna even go to F8 and now let's see how we do look. It's getting better, it's getting better. Okay, that's pretty cool. Now, what I wanna do is I want to contrast this with our subtraction panel. What will happen if I put a black panel on the other side of Quinn? It's pretty cool. Let's take this, I'll hold it over, I'm not gonna hit you. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, that's pretty cool. Okay, now let's see what that does old there to compare same setup as before and it makes a huge difference. So let's do the last two shots. That panel on the left bouncing light in, it's like a totally 2nd 2nd source of light in the panel, The shot on the right with the subtraction panel and we're just pulling all the extra light out of that, so we're changing our contrast. It's pretty spectacular. The only thing we did was change the reflector, that's it um in these two shots and we have two very, very, very different looking shots, Okay, we could play with this all day long but we have to move on. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna put this to the side, put this over here a little bit and hopefully it doesn't fall over. Okay good. It's not gonna follow her. All right. So now what I wanna do is let's talk a little bit about flags. And we have some flags over here. Yeah here we go. We have flags come in all different shapes and sizes. So little flags, big flags, their flags that are much larger than this. But all the flag does is it's sort of like you know if you're driving into the sunset you can't see anything and you block your eyes and now you can see it's sort of like that except instead of blocking the eyes from the light from your eyes, you're blocking the light from either falling on the background, falling on your subject or falling into the camera. It's just controlling light from going to a place where you don't want it to go. It could be anywhere. And so these are made with these little sticks on the end to go on to what's called a grip head. And you've probably seen grip heads. They are these things on a c stand. So this is a little grip head right here so those go in there and so what they do is you can then articulate those, you can move these, you can make them to the side, you can move them around, you can do all kinds of things with flags and so you can get them into a place that's just right, you can either you can also use like an extension arm to get them up and over or whatever. So we're gonna do that in a special lighting setup that I like to call the superhero lighting setup and so we're gonna try this out. So Quinn, I'm gonna have you come out to about right there, That works pretty good. I'm gonna move our key light way way back, way, way back, something like that. Okay, here we go, and in fact I'm gonna have you take about another step forward there, just like that is great. Mhm. Wonderful. Okay, so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna start with two lights that are called kicker lights and kicker lights um are basically just lights the ad highlight to something. They add a little punch, a little kick. So I'm going to put one over here, I'm gonna grab this one. Yeah, and put that over here. Okay, so let's go to camera two just really quickly. So these these lights right here are going to add light to the sides of quint or cheek to her hair to her shoulders and we want to do that in a way that makes her have sort of like a marvel comic superhero look. So for this queen you're gonna have to have your hair off your cheeks on your back. There you go. And so what I'll do is I'm just gonna use hard light reflectors. So just the reflectors that are on my on my lights. This doesn't really matter if it's hard or soft, but in my experience, the hard light reflectors work better plug this guy in. Turn this on. There we go, something like that. Okay, Alright, so, I'm gonna turn that guy on. I'm gonna turn this guy on. I want to make sure it's the same height. The same. Everything matches the same. It's about the same right there. I'll pull this over. Okay, Yeah, we'll do this. All right, and here we go. Exactly right. All right. So, to see what's going on here, The best way for me to see if my lights are in the right position. You have got to turn them on is I need to see uh everything in the dark. So, we're gonna turn off the video lights. Mhm. Okay, look at this. This is perfect. You can see on Quinn how she's got this outline this silhouette that is showing up on her, but you can also see in the video camera that these lights are in the way. And so what a flag will do if the video camera there was the still camera. What I try to do is put a flag something like that where it's blocking the light. So you see how the light is hitting Quinn but it's not hitting the video camera light's hitting the video camera. So by moving the flag, I'm not changing anything on Quinn. I'm just changing it on the video camera itself. I'm just blocking the light from hitting the video camera. So that's what I wanna do. I wanna put two flags up and block them from my still camera so we can turn back on the light there for a second. So what I'll do is I'm gonna make sure Quinn doesn't move so Quinn stay right where you are, you're in the perfect position. And what I need to do is I need to set up my still camera first, that's the first thing I need to do. So I'm gonna come over here and I'm in the same position that the video camera is. So now I will I'm gonna do just sort of horizontal shot to make this look sort of cool so we can really see what's going on here. Soak Wednesday, right? Exactly like the way you are. It's perfect. Okay, so let's kill the lights in the on the video light. So what I can do now is from the perspective of the light, I'm looking at my camera lens and I can see when the light is in shade on that and that will tell me if my if my flag is correct so that is black blocking the light from that looks pretty good. Then I'm gonna go to this one and I'm gonna do the same thing, I'm gonna block the light from my camera, just have to make sure I don't block the light on Quinn so I might have to back this up just a little bit. Here we go. And you can even move the light like this can do all kinds of things to get this exactly where you want. So now if everything is as I want, my camera should absolutely see none of those video. Like are those lights and it's true, I don't see any of those. Okay, so what I'm gonna do now is meter my two lights and so I think these are the same power setting, That one, is it 3? This is it three. Okay, so I want to make sure that they meet her the same thing, so I meet her this light over here, that's F eight, That's F eight. So they're both F8 And now I'm going to set my camera to F8, which it is. Look right at me. Beautiful. Okay, let's take a look at that shot and you can see that we don't have any lens flare. We just have lights coming from behind and illuminating the sides of Quinn. So now what we need to do is we need to add light in the front so we can turn back on the the studio for a second. So what I need to do is balance this out so I still have this key light, which I forgot to shut off. It flashed me in the face, but I'm just gonna move this over something like that And then I'll meet her this until it gets to F eight as well. So let me do that. Okay, make sure it's in the right position is let's try to see what happens. I'm either this light That's AF four. I need a lot more light from this. Let's see how that goes. F seven. So I'm going to adjust it from here. And what if I've done, I've done something horrible to my light meter. There we go. F seven. Almost there F nine. I overshot it. F. A. Okay, our F eight. And now let's try to see if you look like captain America bam that is overexposed. I must have metered something incorrectly. Let's see what I've done here. I did something wrong, you reset this clearly, That's too hot. Okay. That says F. H. And that is all good. All right. Yeah, so let's see what's going on here. I did something to my light meter. I'm not sure what it was, but I think I did an exposure adjustment accidentally, so I will just quickly do make a manual adjustment to get us back where we need to go. Okay, there we go. So look right at me. Perfect, see if I can get a little bit closer. Excellent. That's what we want. Just like that. Look how cool this looks. It's so cool. So you can see those kicker light's hitting Quinn, you can see the highlights on her cheek bones. You can see that we filled in this light on the other side of her. We might want to add maybe some uh reflector or something or to fill that in. But you get the idea, I just want to show you this one more time. But this time without the flags, so I'm gonna remove the flags so they're not doing anything. So the flags are out of the way. Let's see if that causes us issues when we take this shot. So you can see Yeah, so I widen that out a little bit. You can see that we have that, that flare there. If I put the flags back at that same angle that's back. Put this guy back. There we go. Now let's see if we can do that again with the flags and the shot. And now those flares disappeared. So flags are really fantastic. It works really, really well. Okay now we've done flags, we've done grids, what we want to do next as we want to talk about other ways to control spill of light. And so I have a really fun um sort of one of my favorite light modifiers. I know I say all my light modifiers. My favorite, but this one really is fun. So it's this giant silver deep umbrella. So what I want to do with this because I want to sort of put the light almost directly going down. So we'll see if we can get this to work. Okay, So Quinn, if you could come forward a little bit more. Yeah, there you go. Like that. We're gonna sort of surround Quinn with this. I might have to raise this up even more. Here we go. Let's power this guy up. Yeah, like that. Okay. And then I'm gonna shut off these guys behind Quinn. We don't need these anymore. Let's get rid of those. I can go away. This flag can go away. Yeah, we'll do the same with this. All right. And that also can go away. Now what we'll do. Hopefully my meter is working correctly. Now we'll see. We'll meet her up. That's F 16. That's way too much, way too much light at 63. A little bit more F eight. Okay. I think I've hit exposure conversation on that light meter, so we'll see if that actually says F A. And it works at F eight. If not, I know I have to fudge it a little bit. Okay, So now we're F8 and we are going to take a shot of Quinn And it's over exposed. Probably F 10. I've I've hit exposure compensation. Clearly, that's what I've done. So one more time we'll do this. Okay. Much better. We're closer. All right. So yeah, what I need to do here is it's pretty cool. I like this shot. What I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna put this in normal mode. So what we need to do here is we have lots of shadow on this side and in the back I'd like that to be a little bit more grayish and so um what we'll do is we'll see if we can change that by adding where is it? Here? It is by adding something that we haven't used yet. Yeah, it is called this. It's a translucent umbrella. Okay, so this translucent umbrella when you see this just allows light to bounce all over the place. And so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna see if I can illuminate the background using this. So I'm gonna bring this guy over. Yeah, put this in and let's sort of put this over to the side. Something like that. Turning on, we'll season this to taste. All right. All right. I'm gonna see if that's in the shot or not. Is definitely in the shot. Okay, I'm gonna move that back just a little bit. Okay, let's try that is still in the shot a little bit. I'll just zoom in just a hair. Okay, let me move that back even more even more. Here we go, something like that. So now I can use that translucent umbrella here we go. Perfect. So I can use the translucent umbrella to change how much light is hitting the background. So I can make it a little lighter gray, dark, totally white. I can do whatever I want with that. And it's gonna work pretty well. And so let's let's us around this out by seeing if we can add a little bit more light to the opposite side of Quinn and do that. Using nothing more than a reflector. Okay. We're probably gonna have so many light modifiers that you won't be able to see what I'm doing. I'm gonna build a cocoon of reflectors. Yeah. Mhm. Okay. See if we can do what I want to do. Alright. We still have a camera angle that works. Okay, good. We need a sky copter or something. Fly over the top. All right. We'll see if this is gonna help us out here. Perfect. Ah We're getting there. Yeah, we're getting there so you can see that we we were able to fill in some of that light. Move this a little bit closer And then one more time. Yeah. I think that reflector is helping us out. Let's take a look at before and after the reflector. Yeah, you can definitely see on her cheek that we're able to fill in some light there now with the background. If we wanted. Maybe we could go full blast. Let's see if I can punch in a lot of light. So I'm gonna do a lot of light. Yeah. And this might mess things up. And if it does, we have a fix. So we shot that blanche. No, but look what happened that made the background white, but it also totally illuminated Quinn. So we need to fix that. We have light that is. Let me move a couple things here, man, so maybe we can see. So we've got some issues and that, is that the light that's coming off? This translucent umbrella is also bouncing on this, and that is bouncing over there, off that it's bouncing in. It's changing lots of stuff. So what we need to be able to do is somehow control this light from flying all over the place. And so lucky for us, we have this. And so what this is gonna do is it's going to make the light go out that way from our translucent umbrella and keep the light from going this way. So, this is essentially the same as a flag. So, let's do that. What do I do? I'm gonna take this off and I'll just build this out uh right here. So you sort of put this over the umbrella, like that paul comes out the middle, and then just sort of cinches on cinches on there. There we go. There we go. Mhm. Oh yeah, almost there. It's exciting. This is exciting, thrilling photography stuff right here, watching me put on a skirt on an umbrella. Yeah, okay, you made it happen. Okay, now you can see what we've done there. So I'll put that back on and perfect. That's n can put this little sleeve over this cinch that up. All right now we've blocked, we flagged all of that light. Let's see if that helps us out with our shot. Nothing changing, everything is the same as before. Take a shot and it does help us a bit. So look at Quinn's face. Between these two shots, you can see that the light falling on her face is different, the light falling on her hair is different. But what we're also seeing is that the contrast of this image is low because of something that happens when we have too much light going into our lens. So what's happening is not only was that light bouncing off the wall and everything, so we sort of eliminated that, that fixed the stuff that was happening with Quinn's face, but we still have this tremendous amount of light coming back and going into the lens that light bounces all over it lowers the contrast of our image. So I'm gonna take this light and I'm gonna take the power down by about a stop and a half. Hopefully that still lets us have some white light back there without the issues that we were seeing of light bouncing into the lens. And so yeah, so now we're seeing that we still have our getting white but we're retaining those values that we have on Quinn's face and now we have controlled all of the light, so we've controlled the light from bouncing in. We've controlled the light on the background, we can raise it and lower it. We have made this very directional, we've bounced light from the other side and sort of, you can play all day with reflectors and modifiers and sort of shape light exactly how you want, and that's how flags and reflectors and subtraction panels work. Okay, next up, we're gonna do one of my favorite exercises, so don't go anywhere. We're gonna get to that right now.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Bonus YouTube Videos.pdf
Frio Grasp Mini Discount.pdf
Pop Quiz.pdf
Sample Photos for Pop Quiz.zip
Tether Tools Pro Kit Discount.pdf
Tether Tools Starter Kit Discount.pdf
Understanding Light and Modifiers-presentation.pdf
NanLite_WALLACE5.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

user-a07413
 

Wow, Impressive with lots of information on light modifiers. Lots of variations of use and the bonus material. Mark is very good as a teacher. Glad I purchased the subscription plan so I can see the other Mark Wallace classes. Now to go to work and use the information.

Paul
 

I've heard much of this before, but this class really does a good job explaining and demonstrating the principles and techniques it covers. Mark is certainly quite knowledgeable, and he makes the material accessible and easy to grasp. It does cover quite a lot of ground, and while others may go into more detail, I think this class is great for building a good foundation.

Mario Furtado
 

Mark and his crew did an excellent job in this class. Now I am eager to see Go-To Lighting Setups and Studio Lighting Essentials. Congratulations.

Student Work

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