Know Your Light: Strobe


Foundations of a Working Photographer


Lesson Info

Know Your Light: Strobe

So one real quick thing we're just back to this last headshot session here um if I stayed consistent with my exposure and all of that again this this monitor isn't the best for color correction um it's not the best for contrast in density and all of that but let's just say that I'm working on a calibrated monitor we could talk about more that more tomorrow well and I come in and I get my color temperature correct uh well first I test my uh my exposures I want to push those that was blacks up just a little bit making sure I'm not overexposed upholding the option key down well, sliding the exposure I don't want it to start over exposing like that I'm just making sure none of my channels air blowing out I goto my black slider just I want the shadows do not be too flat I'd like just a little pure black and they're somewhere now this screen up here is just way too red and if you're seeing a live feed off this computer I have no idea what you're looking at right now I'm just simply looking a...

t this one trying to make it look halfway decent um I always usually add a little bit of vignette ing tow many shots just a little bit as we call it a four corner burn back in the darkroom days and let's just say that's it all right, so if I was consistent in my exposures and I was staying on top of shooting and being consistent photographer I'm going to synchronize all of these boom boom boom ba boom there they go and right click and export and I'm done now I may go into photo shop later and pick a few of my favorites elects to crop them to eight by ten just so the client can see them but usually with a head shot session I have the client view the images and they say maybe like number three number eight number fourteen and number twenty one and we need those and then eight by ten crop and I go and crop those out but if I'm consistent as a photographer my post productions done done if these exposures air going all over the place if I shot this aperture priority my exposures would have been shifting um as I got closer in and wider out and then as I change the background that could have changed my exposure as well because the cameras reading some different values um then I'd have to work on individual pictures at a time or three or four at a time if I should fifty pictures there and they're all the same exact exposure I work on one and it's done finished um and that's what I that's my goal as, uh working as a photographer so my post production isn't just insane all right, so moving over to the white seamless alright way have bobby kind of stretching and getting ready for this and this is the um this is the situation where it's not ideal. Okay, typically you're shooting a white seamless set up. I want a pure white background because I want to get bobby to start moving and dancing and I want an action shot kind of thing so we were just dealing with available light over there here we're dealing with nothing but strobes. All right? Fast pops of strokes, their alien bees. All right, if you've seen the creative live studio lighting classroom no, the set up I've got one light on each side and then I have a main light up here for the subject. All right? My goal is to get this wall just a plain white wall to be a stop and a half over exposed from my main light. So if my subject is standing here flash is hitting them at let's say f eight then I want that wall to be f eleven and a half with the meter. Okay, uh, let me grab my meter real quick and let's see where we stand in our light ratios when we grabbed my sick connick meter here I'm gonna put it in flash mode and the beauty of this is that it has a pocket wizard built in all right pocket was their transmitter built in I've said it the channel one and this is telling me and we goto s o one hundred but you do it's telling me that I met f nine right here all right f nine and then back here on the wall I'm in f twenty all right, so basically I'm it'll let's call that eleven to twenty two that's two stops over exposed I'm going to bring those lights down maybe just a stop so I'm going from full power on the background lights toe half and I should be pretty close to my ratio now ultimately that's f sixteen and then I met f nine and that's that's pretty close to where I need to be if I have this too bright if this goes like three stops over exposed that's going to send light back this way in flair on me and I don't want to have flair so I needed to go white enough now normally we'd have white seamless running down here and then we have this tile board here in front. All right, so the tile board is here to pick up a reflection. All right um and I need that white wall to go white no most likely when I'm shooting these pictures, I might pick up a little bit of this carpet area here, which ideally I don't want but you're going to find yourself in situations many times where the ideal is ah big huge tall seamless that goes out nice and wide and you have plenty of tile board and and you've got your shot all right because you have all this stuff uh but there are times that you don't have all this stuff but you still need to pull the shot off white wall and this tile board stuff runs like thirteen dollars a sheet running out from the wall and you can hack it together I can't tell you how many times I've just had that pack something together I've have laid these tile boards out in different locations where it didn't have a white seamless set up so uh we've got that my exposure's pretty good where it needs to be and yeah, how you feeling stretched up remember all right, so these I want to start working on the action shots but I don't know exactly what you do like I haven't seen you perform or anything like that if he hired me for a job and said ok, zach, I need shoot photographs me I would ask him do you have any links to any videos you know that you've done are uh do you have a website with pictures? I would like tio do my research beforehand and if there were some videos of him online or something like that, I'd say who I want to watch those I want to see what he does before he gets to the studio or before we get to a location so I have oh, you know that thing you do with the way you stand on your hands like I want that shot or I want this shot so I'm not quite sure what you do now um my client walking onto a set doesn't know what limitations I have here he can't get back here because if he gets back here then he's in my background lights and those background lights are for the background not for the subject all right? So he can't get here um he can't get too close to my main light because that will change my exposure right? But if I'm here that's f fourteen if he's here that's f ten so if he goes from here to here it just changed exposure so I know where the limits are for my client and I have to explain that to them and if you if you don't explain that to them, they don't know where they need to be right? So use the photographer have to let your client note so I stand in I say okay here's what's gonna happen? You're going to be whatever action you're doing is going to be kind of in this little box right here see this line here to here and inside of here, so whatever you do, we'll get some good screen captures out of this out of me, right? Kind of needs toe happen here, all right? You're not going to be able to go super wide with, like, a stance like I don't need one foot on this side, one foot on the other necessarily, right? So there are some kind of there's kind of a box you got. You got a break in, but I also want to get some of you in the air doing something because that's part of your routine and and we're just going to kind of see how we go. One other reason I didn't set up a seamless there is one little reason of, say, let's not do a seamless is because this wall is so tall that if I get a shot of him jumping like this, I'd have to get that seamless all the way up to the ceiling, just about so the seamless bars not going through my shot that I didn't have to go in post production and take out so he can get up in the air pretty wide. And if I can keep all of this junk on the sides out of my picture or crossing some part of him, then I have a lot of hype. Toe work with s o I like that. We tried this yesterday. We set up on that wall over there. But there's, this big bar that goes across that holds the door. And if he got too high in the air, that bar would be in the shot. So we moved over to here because it's a really tall wall and I knew, ok, I got a break dancer coming in and he's going to be in the air at some point. So I've got to think through right, it's pre visualizing your shots. I got a break dancer coming in he's going to get in the air that's pretty tall. That's a lot of real estate I've gotta have behind him. I just need to make sure there's nothing cutting through him on that wall. So let's, just use the biggest, cleanest wall we can find. All right, so let me have you come standing here. The first thing I'm going to do is find, uh, my exposure. Now this meter is not calibrated to this camera body, so it was telling me f nine so let me take a look at f nine. Come on, wake up. I need it, tio all right, on it was all working just a second ago makes sure that were popping up in light room that was the shot right there we are done. I'll look at that. Look how awesome that is now one weird thing I have is, uh, this black snake cable going on in the background from all of the video stuff we have going on in here. So I'm just simply going to take a piece of white fabric. I could take that out in post production pretty easy, but if I can just lay this white fabric over it and this white fabric can overexpose toe white then that saves me a little bit of time in post production. Awesome. Alright, so way. Check my tether computer. See this black lips right here? This black line back here if I could just get rid of that, I will be happy. Oh, you got a hat? Awesome. Do you, d'oh? Ok, good that's pretty good. So hanging out right there now. Um let's look at just a quick test shot here, all right and let it pop up on the monitor but phone. Okay. So see, that black line is gone because I laid some white fabric over it and it's finished, I could take some or if I had bigger sheets of white fabric, I could lay on the carpet and get rid of that, so my goal is to keep him completely in the white area in post production, I'll go take that carpet out in a heartbeat it's not like oh it's going to take me ten minutes to fix that it's going to take me less than ten seconds to fix that and I already know I'm setting up a pretty sloppy set I already know that I'm going to have some mess I have to deal with him post production it is not perfect and okay it's not perfect so I won't have to deal with that but I cannot if I shoot him in such a way like this watch what happens here but my camera down don't drop it! See this line right here where it's intersecting I need him to be in all and white like this because this area right here could be taken out taken out and I'll have pure white. If I shoot like this in the carpet intersects with some part of his body then I have to go in and get that tow white and to get that tow white I have to be very careful to cut him out there that requires mohr time this I draw marquis around it I hit delete and it's done and it's pure white I draw marquis around it, I hit delete or I take the eraser tool and steps it it's done and I don't have to worry about following the lines of my subject if I get sloppy shooting then I do so I already know shooting crap I have to go in and do some one voter shop to this because I don't have the perfect set so I better be as clean as possible to make my post production easy following along and just watch those details because if I shot fifty pictures here of this and I have to go trace those pants out fifty times I'm gonna hate myself here I don't have to worry about it click click done click click done click click done click click done click click done, done okay all right so mr bobby, I got my exposure set it's all looking pretty good I'm shooting this at f eight at one twenty fifth of a second available light does not matter to meet at all whatsoever it's all about the strobe so it's all about aperture we'll talk more about this if I shoot a picture of this set up it f ate at one twenty fifth of a second uh get pretty much a black screen so it's not about available light at all it's all about flash for this shot all right and I'm going to move from available like toe lit now I got my shots over there I got my camera work and my stuff's going on with you bobby and I have talked where where we have this working relationship now and now I'm thinking more stuff so bobby d'oh within this realm what kind of kind of motions and and moves can you do? I'm I'm thinking like I want I want the body to become shape apps and things like wow yeah okay so just kind of give me a sort of a bit of a routine there um okay all right yeah I'm not worried about that break and worry about you breaking so do you need a little more room on that side as well okay all right the one you just did the flip what would it look like if you started it face sing that way and you face that wall and flipped back to me okay that's interesting the reason I asked him to do that is when he when he's facing me and doesn't slip his his face in the middle of the air is facing away from the camera I'd rather him facing towards the camera somehow so so on a flip like that I'll probably have you face that way and then that way when I catch you in the air you are facing more towards the camera we could at least see your face another weird thing I have to think about is his face is down here I'm lighting him for up here so his face I'm expecting you know a little darker but he's flipping towards white this light fires off hits a white surface bounces up so I should have some light coming into his face understanding your light understanding your cameras thinking about through this is oh that's a cool shot and you think just cool shot well ok but is your light they're ready for it you have to think it through thinking to think it through all right um ok what else uh yes, that is good. What is that move called a pike all right, so let's let's start with a pike let's start with that um when I've got to get a subject moving um that could work too when I have to get a subject moving I need them to do it in one specific spot I need to be pre focused locking my focus and anticipate the peak of that action and when it gets there I just so I'll have, you know, click I want to make sure my light is decent down there it is and let's get ready for the pike so you're going to stand just do that just another a foot or so back that way right there. All right, so I'm going to lock in focus good perfect hold right there and let this pop up good he's all within white so my post production to clean that up is going to be easy I've got light on his face his shoe is not over exposing he's wearing white shoes against a white background so I want to make sure that those don't you know if that white shoe just blend into the background and then he'd be like footless bobby and footloose bobby at your foot went loose and like got removed off your body um so good so I pre focus I have them stand in place where they're going to do the action I pre focus I'm holding my my auto focus down and let's do another one of those good and what's pretty awesome about that is you can hold that yeah yeah not indefinitely let's do a few more like that and again oh I wasn't focused sorry all right standing in spot let me get focused and go awesome wow I wish I could do that you could teach me how much do you think I have to practice and practice and practice to do it a lot right for you zach right right it takes time doesn't practice practice practice okay yeah all right so focus and do that again focus all right just slide a bit more this way awesome and go that's fantastic and let's do this again and chin up a little more in the air when you're there all right and go no but that's pretty good all the same all the same I got you in the air and one thing that's not really um coming through is that hat let's try some without the hat and again perfect and again awesome good, good, good, good I think I can zoom in just a bit more let's do another one I want to maximize the space of my sensor as much as possible all right and go that's better so I my sensor has x amount of resolution and the more just plain white that I'm putting on that sensor the more I'm just sort of wasting I can add white tow it later if I need to so I get an idea the first you know couple of shots of where he's going to be and then I zoom in just a little bit more trying to get him within that frame. Um so that that he's in pure white here when he's in the air I don't need a reflection, right? So I'm not worried about the floor so much when he's just standing there give me somewhere like, can you do something where you're like up on your toes kind of arms out on dh? Yeah, maybe face towards me a little more and yeah let's try something like that now that he's grounded I need that reflection to keep him grounded in the photograph all right and go good hold right there popping up now that he's grounded I need the reflection in the previous picture I didn't need the reflection because he's in the air I'll need a reflection in the air right all right so you had that flip or the one where I was going to ask you to face that way and flip back to me um let's try one of those real quick okay yeah let's go ahead and show it to me so I can see what's going on um go for it do it one more time let me let me see how it looks how about do it sideways so you're like profile starting that way and I want to try to catch the profile of that and same flip but in that direction now all right and go I don't like shooting tethered all the time because it's just such a slow process wow. Ok. All right let's see how it looks and then I've got to be johnny on the spot on catching the just right action of it all right and go I want him upside down. Zach are you taking one shot or how many? One shot one shot. Okay, one shot one kill what would be your like for this shot? Do you want your head straight down? Do you want it? What? Yeah, because I tell you shooting dance is one of the hardest things in the world because it could be so technical especially stuff like ballet I've shot ballet dancers and it's like oh that's an awesome shot like my toes are all wrong right I can't show that picture it's gorgeous no my toes are wrong they're here they're supposed to be here okay all right here we go the other thing if I started obama both of them shooting this my strobes couldn't keep up with it I'm not shooting like big pro photo airs and things like that I think I'd like I'd like to see this as a profile so I see the side of your body um but you know I can on ly suit and my my structure like full power I need to give them a second toe like get back up ok um and like if we look at this picture that's about to pop up you see how my my main strobe did not recycle in time on dh with it not recycling in time than he's too dark so I've got to get it one shot all right and mr bobby again uh she probably shot too soon on that one but did it did recycle twice didn't I hit it twice but I shouldn't have yes right there all right and go there we go I think that's what I want I wanted you completely like inverted on wait for it that that's what I wanted can you do that don't kill yourself we have our waivers signed. Yeah yeah go ahead and show it to me first when when someone's going to do an action shot show it to me first so I know how to anticipate all right, so where you going to be like in the air you're gonna be in the air about right there all right, so I have them stand in I focus and do that again we're gonna see ready that's a tough one because I hear one sound and I'm expecting it there but the move is right after it so I don't know that's fanciful ok, so yeah, that one's like it's ah just like two actions and it and I would have to see it about five times to figure out which action to photograph we could do that now he's going wide with that so I'm going to go wide with my camera I'm gonna change my auto focus point it goes show me that one more time all right, we need to maximize my sensor all right and good and go almost do you want to be touching your feet okay and go and again touch your feet longer yeah, there you go. Oh, almost is there? I got one let's do one more I know you've got to get going here in the second weii go. How is that good? Yeah oh, and I got the fingers awesome did bobby that's it that's good you know you do okay if you've got time I've just got to be concerned about your time frame I know that you've got to get going but dude wait all the time in the world all right? So what's the next one all right so this is one of those situations to where he goes wide and low and I can get carpet and mess all in that so that do that for me but more of a profile that way um do that here in the middle go back a little more back a little right there and do that um but do the whole move you just did all right I'm not sure I can get that one with this set we'll have to get really low minimize all that carpet back there and give me that one more time ugo all right I think for this shot do that for me but you're gonna have to start it a little further back this way keep coming right there hold on I need your body doing that but over here more so when you're in your move your kind of centered here all right try again all right um any I love the stuff in the air uh all right that one's gonna be hard to catch your face what was the first one you did before that one that all right we're gonna go for that one all right so I'm going to focus I'm going horizontal on this because his body goes really wide on this shot I'm going to try to get him just one arm on the white and the rest of his body up into the white of the background I'm shooting a little loose on this because I haven't seen exactly what that's going to look like in my frame yet so and begin wait for it how do you feel about that one? Bobby yeah let's try that a different way. All right let's try is trying different legal yeah, I am given birth to myself she shot too fast again again coming up faces a tough one uh that one's not bad. What do you think of that one that's all right, now I'm really thrown away a whole ton of pixels you take it oh, do that become further this way right in that kind of box area right there right there. Ready doesn't painful oh, I missed that one. All right, hold on uh you're going to another spin right way get set up for it all right and ready awesome. Awesome. I got your vest flying in the background that's good and go and again good, good. All right, awesome. Anything else you can you can you turn your face up a little more when you do that like you're looking at the ceiling? Yeah, yeah ready awesome well it's a bit of ah physical challenge I imagine for you that one looks all right what do you think of that one? All right, so you want you want I like the shot do you want to do that? She didn't try to first base. All right, let's try one more kind of moving motion in the air shot just one more way so that to me profile I think wear one pretty similar to that one. Um this is where my lack of knowledge of break dancing like uh starts to fall apart when I've got that oh, that that that that that we're gonna do that um but I want that in profile here in that little box this is if I knew breakdancing I knew specific names of moves I could say give me this move give me this move give me this move um and let's say a whole breakdancing troop was coming in just a whole day of b boys I would be doing a ton of research on specific break dancing moves so I could speak uh the language of the client I said give me the pike give me the two bit hustle I don't know whatever you know like um then I'd ask do you have a signal it's your move? Do you have something that you do specifically all right um so hee yeah, I know oh, I would totally have music pumping but being that uh rights and all of that then yeah ok so that last move was you were kind of you wint it was two things he said yes something I forgot something yes some like that all right do that first one uh come over this way just a little more with it a little more all right and go all right good. I think we got some good step what? Okay, okay, yeah, absolutely. I need this little alright standing where you're going to be gonna be there so I lock focus I keep it right there and go probably shooting a little too quick there get a little too excited I like that one. What about that? I like the look of it like that your arms kind in front of your face that one more time whenever a photographer says one more time that usually means like, thirty more times yeah shoot ok again they're waiting to get your face in the shot right again again wait that's it I got your palm just the ball of your pump. So ah, real quick we're gonna just look at a couple of these pictures that have just shot um and I talk about you know, I've got to clean it up, clean it up real quick um I was talking quickly because I needed to be shooting um and I knew that bobby was on a tight uh timetable on you know, he had to get to the next place. One thing I was saying was you need to maximize your resolution of of the chip that you're shooting and if I'm shooting on a pure white background all right think of it this is my sensor this isn't the entire sensor in my camera and so this area down below bobby is just thrown away so that's what? I don't know a third of my sensor just going to trash and I want to get is much resolution from that if I if I need to enlarge this picture I'm taking a third of my megapixels or whatever and throwing them away so I as I'm shooting and I'm watching the action I'm thinking ok, I can zoom in a little bit and get that a little more maximized all right uh so I'm I'm capturing him at a higher resolution than if you know here kind of things I'm only covering maybe two thirds of my chip with him here can I maximize that a little bit more? All right, so something like that s o I'm pretty happy with some of these shots so far um I was going to so here here's one where if you shoot too fast someone asked if I was on one shot or, you know, continuous um I'm a big believer in the anticipation of the moment of the movement you can learn so much about photography by studying other disciplines and genres of photography all right, that's why I'm a big believer if you're a wedding photographer if you want inspiration for your wedding photography, don't look at other wedding photographers look at fashion photographers or editorial photographers or something there's a lot of of editorial commercial photographers that should be checking out what some wedding photographers air doing right? You should kind of look for some of your inspiration in the photo industry outside of the genre that you're shooting all right, so one oh it's! So I've learned some things from sports photographers some of the best sports photographers that that I've met are not sitting there just but uh, they're anticipating the peak action, and their goal is to anticipate that action and click and get it, because what happens is between when you're going to tentative with your shutter, you've got this motion and this motion. But the peak may have been in between those two frames and the best sports photographers. The ninja sports photographers are watching, watching, watching, watching click and they're looking for that they're not just laying on the motor drive, right? I'm in photo shop now, all right? And if you have seen the other one I talk about, like I needed be a quick fix, right? Yes, I am saying ok I'll fix it later and photoshopped the absolute thing I said don't say right but I'm setting up a situation that is not perfect but if it's a quick fix it's a quick fix so I have uh get my thing over here here we go I'm on a just a locked background layer all right it's not ah you know multi layer picture it's just a flattened image my background swatch is set to pure white I need this background to be pure white I have some mess over here I got a c stand leg I've got the carpet to deal with I did take care of this black cable snake had I not laid that fabric down over it then I'd have a black line running right through his head then that means I would have to come down here into his you know this area and cut that out and that would take a little more time and finesse with with this otherwise what I can do is I haven't eraser tool out I have my background swatch set the white and that's gone give myself a little more room and then I come over here and that is gone and I'm done so put click yes dave how would you compare this to shooting against the cycle? Because it from here it looks like there's not too much difference and there's not getting but content where no want to delete two white I forgot to see us fight yeah there's really no difference here uh because think about a psych wallets it's a white floor in a white wall what do I have here? A white floor on a white wall, right? I'm just missing the cove now if I wanted that shot where where the background went great and just co ved into a grave floor that's not happening at all if I know that in my shot I need pure white background and subject lit in a little bit of a reflection all I need's a pure white floor in a pure white wall and I got a white wall and I got white floor and I'm done right um I've done this kind of stuff on like it's just a white cement floor with like a glossy paint on it you don't even need the all the tile board and all of that you can just shoot there. Um I've even gotten light colored hardwood if it's glossy it's going to pick up the reflection of the white wall and blown a white and there you go but what would happen is we'd see glossy hardwood floor right there kind of thing um so you could say that was shot on a cycle or you could say that was shot on a white wall with peace fabric covering up some video snake and, uh, thirteen dollars piece of plexi on the floor, right? But I did need that white. I did need the white to extend from the wall all the way out, right? Because if I didn't have the white one near the wall, then I'd see carpet there. I'd have carpet behind him and I'd have to go in and cut that out around there, right? So I have that shot. I'm gonna get my crop tool. If we're needing to make a poster like he's got, like, breakdancing party coming up and I need to make this a vertical poster, I can do that, all right? And he has room for text logo's, whatever. Whatever that so I love the white, just white, and I shoot like every job ends up on a white wall somewhere. Start with what you know, all right.

Class Description

Want to be a good photographer? Want to do it for a living? Want to rise above the bottom? Then join Zack Arias for this creativeLIVE course. Zack's first workshop was all about studio lighting. This time around, he's covering what you need to know to be a professional working photographer. Many people requested a class about business. Many requested natural light. Plenty wanted strobe + ambient. Everyone wanted more “client interaction” and posing guidelines. Zack's digging deep and covering as much as he can.



Outstanding! There are so many gems, any photographer aspiring to venture into business will gain much from this course. There are plenty of technical how-to's with superb examples, from choosing the right lens for a given situation, to learning about reciprocals, expressed in Zack's warm and fun style. He's a joy to watch. But, this class is much more than that. Zack is extremely generous in sharing very personal experiences and insight, on how he began from early days of struggling, to current projects, how he built his portfolio, and looking ahead to the future. And, in the final discussion with his wife Meghan, they open up and share their personal struggles balancing work and family life, and their strong support of each other. We can all relate to this. This class is a great guide on what it takes to start and become a successful pro photographer, and pulls no punches. It's not easy to do, but with some creativity and an insane amount of hard work, is doable and very rewarding!