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Creating Portraits with Multiple Speedlights

Lesson 9 from: Working with Speedlights in the Studio

Mark Wallace

Creating Portraits with Multiple Speedlights

Lesson 9 from: Working with Speedlights in the Studio

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

9. Creating Portraits with Multiple Speedlights

It's time to put the principles we've learned into practice. Mark begins with a simple umbrella and then begins shaping light by adding additional speedlights to the mix. We begin to explore flash "groups."

Lesson Info

Creating Portraits with Multiple Speedlights

it's time to start adding multiple speed lights to our setup and start controlling them in groups. So I want to show you how all that works. So back here in the close up zone on this camera over here we have a Canon flash. And so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna set this up as a remote flash and put it in a group. So first thing I'm gonna do is turn this on and now you can see that. So what this is you can see it's in T. T. L. Mode, it's already been set up as a remote um flash. So by pushing this button here that turns that on so I can put it on there and cycle through that. So here we go, Slave auto. I've got a green link which means it's all set up now this shows me which group this is in. So there's a button right here I can press that and say be in group B. Being group C B. In group D. Or E. Or back to A. And so as we go forward I am going to be changing which groups each of these flashes are in because I wanted to control these independent of each other. And so on my camera, I can ...

set on this controller here, I can say hey take group A and change the flash exposure compensation up or down or take group A. And put it in full manual mode or whatever I want to do. And then in group B, do this group C. Do this. And so I can start controlling these lights independent of each other to get exactly what I want now for this setup we're still going to be shooting in T. T. L. Mode and then we're gonna get to all of that manual mode stuff a little bit later. But we want to start by setting up a nice soft portrait. So what we're gonna do here so I'm gonna take this light right here and it is in group A. And the zoom right now is at 24 mm so it's nice and wide. And so what I what I want to do is I want to add an umbrella to this. So because I have this nice frio adapter here it allows me to add an umbrella. So what I'll do is take the umbrella, I will put this through this little hole, it's like that bam. Okay so now we have that and notice that this flash is hitting pretty close to the center of this umbrella. Some umbrella adapters have an angle on which way these go in. So this one is sort of flat and straight. Others go more at an angle. So you want to try to get this so it's hitting the center of the umbrella if possible. And then what I'm going to do, I'm gonna spin this around so you can see this is I'm going to hit the flash button and sort of squint at this and see if this light is illuminating all of this umbrella. If it's not, I'm going to zoom out if it's spilling over the umbrella, I'm gonna zoom in. I just wanted to get as close as possible to this entire umbrella zoomed in as closely as possible. So 24 millimeters looks pretty good. I will assume this in maybe have 35 mm. Oh that looks a little bit better. Yeah, so I can check out here. Maybe even go into 50. Yeah, so 50 looks like it's the right zoom setting for this umbrella. That's it. So this is group a So I'm gonna bring this out. And what I'm gonna do here is I'm going to ask Teresa to come on out. So Teresa, we're gonna have you stand right here. No sitting for you today. Sorry, I just realized you haven't had you sit down at all today. And then what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna move this up, just a hair like that and then I will keep that like that. Okay, great, great. We have that set, remove this up just a little bit. That looks pretty good. So this is just a really nice actually let's have you come out about another big step. There you go. So this is gonna be really nice soft wrap around light and make sure all these other lights are turned off so I don't accidentally have multiple flashes going okay, so we have one flash happening right now. And so what I'm going to do is I'm gonna take my flash off the camera. I mean take my camera off the tripod wow it's been a long day. Um And then we're going to shoot a nice portrait. Okay so I've got my lightroom all set up Again. I'm shooting at ISO 100. I'm shooting F nine. I have my shutter speed at 200 so I'm just gonna move this about where I think it's gonna be good and then perfect. I like that. That is what we want. Exactly. Exactly. So we have nice soft light. Now this light here Teresa looks a little bit green. I think it's okay we'll fix the white balance in post. That's okay. So Theresa's gonna have you turn a little bit more towards me so your arm right here. It's a weird angle. We're getting there we go. Good. Actually do this because this arm is sort of falling out of the frame. Excellent. Actually want to do a portrait. Why not? There we go. Okay we have just nice soft light. Now we could work on this light and a massage it a little bit more and make it exactly what we want it to be. But this demo is to show how to control groups. So we're gonna sort of zip through this a little bit quicker than normal so you can show that. All right so the next thing we're gonna do is we're gonna take a second flash. Okay so I'm gonna bring this over here to the close up zone and I'm gonna set this flash up. So I'm gonna turn this guy on. How about that? There we go better. Okay, I'm gonna turn this guy on now. This guy here is already set up in remote mode. It's the zoom here is at 24. I'll probably change that but notice this is in group. A I want to control this separately. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna hit my group and put this in group B. So this flash is group B. Now what I'm gonna do here is I want this flash to illuminate this side of Teresa and over here, so exactly what we talked about before. If I said it like this is horizontal. So what I need to do is I need to make this a vertical light so I am going to move this so that it works out perfectly. Okay, so I'm gonna go to the close up camera so you can see what this looks like. That's how I have this set up. So sort of on the side here, maybe even closer like that. Now what I can do is I can move this up and down to get it set exactly how I want it. So that's how that is. Okay, so now I'm gonna put this over here. I want to move this up just a little bit and now I have sort of a a nice light kissing the side of Teresa and I'm gonna take the zoom from about 24 mm and I'm gonna put that up to about 50. We'll just sort of play with that. So we've got light coming in from this side. So again we have group a group B, group T for Theresa like that. Okay, so now we're just gonna leave the camera in tcl mode. I want to see what happens. Let's just see what we get the same kind of thing. I'll take a shot and look at that kicker light. It's way too bright. It's way way way too bright. So you can see over here on this side we have just way too much light. So what that means is that we need to leave this light alone, this is Group A. Leave that alone, but take this light and bring it down considerably maybe by one or two stops. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna show you how I'm gonna do that. So we're gonna go back over here to the close up zone. I am going to move this so hopefully you can see that woo so move a bit closer there matt. There you go. Okay, matt by the way is working all the cameras. So I keep saying go to matt's camera and all the cameras are matte. So that's how that works. And I know this is going to bug you that it's not level but there you go. Yeah, good. Okay, so that was very particular about the angles. All right, so what we're gonna do here is right now this is showing that uh when I do any kind of exposure compensation, it's affecting all of the flashes, all of the flashes up or all the flashes down. I don't want that. So what I wanna do is I want to put this in a different mode. So I'm gonna put this in groups so now I can control each of these groups independent. So now I can go over here to group not Group A. But to Group B. There we go. And then I can tell Group B. To change the flash exposure compensation. I'm gonna take it down to negative three way down say okay so group A. The main light is set to normal group B. That kicker light is set to under expose by negative three. So change the exposure compensation to negative three. That might be too much. But you'll see me playing with this to change these relationships. Okay so now let's go back over here and take this photo again. So he said whoa No, I just kicked the light. Okay now we'll take this photo again. Hopefully I didn't mess it up. I love his life. Okay here we go. We're having fun now aren't we? All right now let's try this again, click and now you can see that that kicker light is it's taken down considerably. I mean really it's taken down a lot. So let me show you these two side by side and I'm gonna show you a problem that we have with T. T. L. Mode. So you can see on this side that kicker light is just blasting her arm is almost just totally overexposed and on this one right here when we zoom in on it you can see that we now have detail in her shoulder, we have detail in her hair and so we took that down to negative three negative three flash exposure compensation. Now here is a big problem with T. T. L. Mode and flash exposure compensation. If we look at that photo again let's go back to the photo in lightroom you can see that it's still a little bit too bright for my taste. I want that just to be a little kiss of light not so bright but right now I'm at the limit. I'm as far exposed under using flash exposure compensation that I can get. I can't go anymore. I can't get any less. And so in this situation I really need to be in manual mode so I can set that light exactly how I want it to be which is a lot less light than that. But for this lighting setup or learning how to use groups and flash exposure compensation for different groups and so we're gonna have to tackle. Working with manual in a future session but this is a good highlight. A good point to show you the limitations of flash exposure compensation and T T. L mod. It's a mod that frankly I don't really use because of this exact same kind of thing. Okay, now let's keep going. I have a third flash. Yeah, this third flash, we're gonna put a group C. And on this flash I have this really cool thing. It is made by rogue flash bender road grids. And so I'll just zip over here to the close up the super close up camera so you can see this. Okay, so this is a grid that goes on the flash and it has two different grids inside of that. So if I only use this one then that is so let's see. It is a 15 degree, I think 25 degrees, this is degrees, This is 45 degrees. If I put them together, if I stack them then it's 16 degrees. In other words it's restricting the light. So that's what these guys are. So what I'm gonna do Is that's just going to keep the light really restricted grids or something I love. So I think we're probably going to use a degree. I think that's gonna be good. And so what that does is we're gonna put this on a flash and try to illuminate just the background. Just this area right about here behind Theresa and add just a little bit of a vignette and I might move this a little bit so we have a little bit less light on the background. We're gonna start flavoring this light. So let's do it right now. So I'm gonna put this grid, hook it all together. I love the Rogue Gear. Rogue Flash bender stuff. I have stuff from 10 years ago, 15 years ago. They've got all this new stuff that's really awesome and I need to get me some, but I'm so addicted to the old stuff that I haven't quite done it yet. It's just the way they mount on the newer flashes is much better than the stuff that I have and the stuff that I have is pretty darn good. So it must be amazing. Again, these companies are not paying me to say this stuff, I'm just saying it because I love it. Okay, so now let's set this up. I'm gonna go back over here to the super close zone. I'm gonna try not to smack anything with my feet. Okay, I will go up a little bit matt. There we go. All right, so, oh, we're having fun now on this flash, we have this set to remote mode. So it's on slave mode. It's got a green link. In other words it's attached, but I need to set this to group C. So I'm gonna go A B. C. This is set to 24 mm. I think this zoom needs to change from 24 to about 50 Something like that because the grid is going to be controlling the spread. So even maybe 70. I want to punch out of this light. So this is how I'm gonna set this light. I think it's all good. Okay, so now what I'm gonna do is I don't know matt, if you can show this with your camera, I'm gonna put this here sort of a weird setting. Maybe Um I can move this other way in camera two can show this angle. But what I'm doing is this light is now going to shoot through here and illuminate something right here to try to give us a vignette this light here is highlighting Teresa's arm and her cheek and then this is our key light. Just a big broad light. The point of this setup though is remember this is zone A zone B and zone C. We want to control each of those things independent of each other. Okay, so let's just see what we get right off the bat, just shooting Tt l without really changing much of what's going on here. So, again, same setup that we had before Theresa is looking great. All right, so now we can see that we do have a little bit of light behind Teresa. So if we look here in lightroom, you can see that there's this light illuminating behind her. I need to raise that up. It's also hitting her arm. So I need to change that a little bit. It's going to move this forward, raise it up, raise it up. Okay, now let's try that again with their lights in a different position. Let's see how that works. Pretty cool. Now we're getting there now we have that light behind Theresa. I might move it just a tiny bit to the right. That's pretty good. What we're starting to isolate things and it's pretty good. Now what I want to do here is notice that the key light that's on Teresa now, it's a little underexposed because I think the camera is compensating for this stuff that's behind Teresa. So maybe what I can do is I'm gonna move this umbrella to the side just a bit and I'm going to go onto my controller here and I'm gonna take my flash exposure compensation for group A and I'm gonna make that a little bit higher. So I'm gonna go in there, I'm gonna say a go up By about 2/3 of a stop. And so I'm just massaging this lighting setup a little bit by bit and now let's shoot this one more time Clickety click and you can see that I have increased the exposure from that key light just ever so slightly and so let's go ahead and compare those last two photos, side by side, see how this is a little bit darker. This is a little bit brighter, I'm just changing things using those different groups. Now this is how you use groups is very very simple. It's very very effective. It's one of the easiest things to do. The problem is with T. T. L. And the stuff that we have now this kind of setup um when you're initially setting up, it's sort of hit or miss. There's a lot of taking a photo looking to see if it's right, taking a photo looking to see if it's right because you're totally dependent on the camera to figure out the correct exposures and then you're having to make those adjustments. Now this works the way that we shot it. But what happens if I just move my camera to a different location are those meter readings going to stay? Let's try it and see what happens. So now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna shoot this from a different angle, something about like this and then look right at me. There you go Theresa. Okay, now it's sort of close, you can see that this is sort of close um the key light, the big umbrella light looks pretty good but now we have way too much light on the background that looks a bit wonky so then in this situation I'd have to go back in and I'd have to change my flash exposure compensation on those different groups and as I'm changing where I'm standing, the camera's seeing different things, it's making difference adjustments is deciding the exposure differently based on what it sees because remember it's going through the lens and so it can be a little bit wonky. So for me it's better to shoot in full manual mode and so to learn how to shoot in full manual mode, we first need to understand how our camera's shutter works and so that will help us understand sync speed and all of those different settings, what those rear and high speed and normal sink are and how we can use a light meter, all of that kind of stuff. So we're gonna do that next.

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