Up and Running with Studio Strobes
Illustration by

Up and Running with Studio Strobes

with Abba Shapiro and Richard Harrington

Video: Essential controls

We've turned the lights backwards, so you could see some of the primary controls.
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  1. 4m 6s
    1. Welcome
      2m 4s
    2. What you should know to get the most from this course
      2m 2s
  2. 6m 26s
    1. Shooting with strobes
      1m 23s
    2. Strobe lighting allows you to shoot with an increased depth of field
    3. Strobe lighting has faster recharge times than flashes
      1m 39s
    4. Strobe lighting is good at freezing action
    5. Strobe lighting offers many modifiers to shape light
      1m 38s
  3. 7m 34s
    1. Continuous lighting is easier for a beginner to understand
      1m 47s
    2. Continuous lighting makes it easier to achieve soft-light looks
      2m 57s
    3. Continuous lighting is useful if mixing video into the shoot
      2m 50s
  4. 20m 47s
    1. Buying piecemeal vs. buying a kit
      2m 29s
    2. Criteria for selecting lights
      5m 57s
    3. How many lights do you need?
      3m 0s
    4. How much power do you need
      5m 37s
    5. Mixing brands
      3m 44s
  5. 16m 40s
    1. Monolights and flash heads
      2m 22s
    2. Reflectors and diffusers
      3m 54s
    3. Lighting stands and booms
      3m 49s
    4. Power pack or power supplies
      4m 29s
    5. Sync cable
      2m 6s
  6. 19m 7s
    1. Handling the lamp or bulb
      2m 52s
    2. The role of the modeling light
      4m 36s
    3. Keeping lights cool
      1m 46s
    4. The master and slave relationship for lighting
      4m 5s
    5. Essential controls
      5m 48s
  7. 14m 59s
    1. Connecting the sync cable
      3m 16s
    2. Using a wireless transmitter
      7m 7s
    3. Slaving with a speedlight
      4m 36s
  8. 34m 6s
    1. Setting shutter sync speed
      4m 56s
    2. Setting an initial aperture and ISO
      2m 28s
    3. Controlling power output
      3m 1s
    4. Moving lights (the inverse-square rule)
      2m 8s
    5. Using a light meter in camera
      4m 4s
    6. Using an external light meter
      1m 45s
    7. Test shooting with one light at a time
      2m 5s
    8. Putting it all together
      1m 39s
    9. Controlling exposure with power or aperture
      1m 6s
    10. Refining exposure with ISO
      1m 39s
    11. Tethering to a laptop
      5m 22s
    12. Checking the shots on a computer
      3m 53s
  9. 31m 38s
    1. Modifying strobe lights
      1m 9s
    2. Bouncing the light with a reflector
      4m 26s
    3. Bouncing the light with a bounce card
      1m 12s
    4. Shaping the light with a beauty dish
      3m 5s
    5. Diffusing the light with an umbrella
      5m 50s
    6. Diffusing the light with a softbox
      4m 49s
    7. Focusing the light with a snoot
      6m 58s
    8. Modeling the light with grids and honeycombs
      2m 2s
    9. Using flags to restrict the light
      2m 7s
  10. 14m 50s
    1. Three-light setup
      6m 52s
    2. Three-light dramatic portrait
      4m 59s
    3. Four-light setup
      2m 59s
  11. 46m 56s
    1. Take the challenge
    2. Solution
    3. Portrait challenge 1
      8m 6s
    4. Portrait challenge 2
      3m 10s
    5. Portrait challenge 3
      12m 55s
    6. Portrait challenge 4
      3m 19s
    7. Portrait challenge 5
      4m 28s
    8. Portrait challenge 6
      9m 5s
    9. Portrait challenge 7
      4m 29s
  12. 39s
    1. Next steps

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Watch the Online Video Course Up and Running with Studio Strobes
3h 37m Beginner Nov 15, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, Rich Harrington and Abba Shapiro give beginning photographers a brisk look at using strobe lights in a studio setting—lessons that easily translate to the field and locations, inside and out. Learn why shooting with strobes and continuous lighting makes such a big impact on your photographs, and how to buy a good, affordable starter kit. Rich and Abba also show how to set your gear up, trigger your lights, and make modifications with accessories like reflectors, umbrellas, and soft boxes. Finally, learn how to make the most of what you have in a series of lighting challenges.

Topics include:
  • Why shoot with strobes?
  • Buying a lighting setup or parts
  • Mixing brands
  • Understanding the components of a studio strobe kit
  • Getting to know your lights
  • Triggering a light
  • Setting up your lights effectively
  • Testing your strobes
  • Modifying strobe lights
Abba Shapiro Richard Harrington

Essential controls

We've turned the lights backwards, so you could see some of the primary controls. We're using two different manufacturers here, but essentially it's the same information. It's a lot like photo editing software or video editing software. While the buttons may have slightly different names, it all pretty much does the same thing. The crop tool crops. >> Right. Exactly. As a matter of fact there's four primary buttons that we're dealing with depending on the light unit you might have additional buttons or less buttons. Some even have built in radio remote controls. >> Yeah. >> But in this case, we have the basic unit and they have little picture, picture grams, or pictograms.

And, if we go across, you can turn each of these on. And one of these will actually turn on the distance of the eyeball, and that says whether it's employee or the boss. >> Yeah. And, and that's very simple. Over here, they, they've labelled it slave, but it's the same idea. This one basically means with the eyeball, I'm following what other light, I'm looking for input from other lights. It doesn't really matter, but chances are when you pick up a strobe, it's going to have some sort of mode to engage the listen mode or the slave mode, that's going to basically make that sensor live, as we discussed in the previous module.

Now that makes absolute sense, I think that the next most logical one is to know if the light is working. On this case, it's just the test button, and it fires that off. And over here, it's a, a flash button, right? >> Yeah. It's the same thing, it looks like a lightning bolt. And I can test to see if the light's working. And later on, when we learn how to set the levels of the light and work with the light meter. You'll often want to trigger the light, so you can see what the power is and when it flashes. >> I'm hearing a lot of sound here, which is letting me know that the light has triggered. And essentially that beep is an indicator that the lights have reset, and are ready to go again.

So if I was working with a subject, and I wanted to make sure that I didn't shoot a poor exposure. The light was ready. That's an actual indicator. Of course, if you're working with an amateur subject, or you have a child on set that sound could be a little bit scary. When might you turn that off? >> Well for a wedding, I don't want that beep to be constantly heard through the entire ceremony. I might do it at a lot of different events where people are speaking, where they might be a performance. There's a lot of times where you don't want to hear it, and you just have to go with your gut.

But in a studio environment, when I'm shooting. It's real important for me to know that my lights are fully charged before I hit that shutter. Otherwise, I'm not going to have the lighting experience that I anticipate. >> This is a lot like if you've ever worked with a professional video camera and there's a tally light, a little red light on the front of the camera. It kind of lets you know oh, it's ready. And, speed lights have a feedback light as well. Hey, I'm ready. This is just a way, so that when you're not standing right by the light, it's great if it gave you feedback on the back of light. Like oh, the light's turned on, fine. But by giving you that beep, you know that you're ready for the next shot.

But, it's very simple, you know. I could go ahead, just turn that off there. I'll turn off the audio here. And when I fire it, it's much quieter. So it's really subjective. What've we got left? Actually dialling in how bright both the modelling light is, as well as how bright the flash is going to be. Now, depending on the unit, sometimes you'll see two knobs. Sometimes you'll see an up and down switch, where you actually have to press it, and as you turn the dial. >> Numeric feedback. >> It's numeric feedback, and depending on the light, it could be a tenth of a stop with each knob turn.

>> I just want to compare, your light goes to 10. Oh, your light goes to 10, huh. >> I payed extra. That's why it's an expensive light, because it goes to 10. If I really had the money, of course, I would by a light that goes to 11. CR0SS_TALK 11. >> Yes. But actually this is indicating the power level of the light, and that is one way of looking at it. You will see slight variations from manufacturer to manufacturer. There is also one more thing here, and that is as we turn this on, there's an actual light there. And that is the modeling light which is on the front. We've mentioned that before.

Modeling with the d. It's basically used for a couple purposes, mainly to make it easier for people to see on set to give you a base illumination. So people are tripping over things or in a pinch to be used as, basically, a video light but you don't want to over rely and you shouldn't keep that cranked up all the time, right? >> No. As a matter of fact, I may crank it up and see how the shadows play and bring it down again. >> 'Kay. >> One thing I do liked about this light is I do have the option if I have the modelling light on.

And it is dialed down. I can hit one button and see it at full power. And then I can switch it back again to my low power mode. >> So pretty straight forward controls. Just get familiar with what you have on your lights. But essentially you're going to find four to six primary controls on the back of any one of these lights, in most cases. Now, here we have a different style of light and all I see is one button which just turns the modeling light on. That's because all of the controls are back here, right.

So, we're seeing those same things being repeated. So, we can dial in the overall power intensity. For full, half or quarter, and then we have the ability to, of course control sync, adjust the variation of the power with a simple dial. >> And it even has a light sensor, where this could actually be the employee, or I could use another light to trigger this entire unit. I could switch this over to the slave mode and it's going to look for that flash and it will pop all full lights that could be connected to this unit. >> So really, the same thing.

And some lights have the controls built in to the light at the back. Others use sort of a central control unit that also provides power. It doesn't matter. What you needed to learn here is what those modes are for, and now that you've got that down, we're ready to go forward and start to look in more detail at some of our lighting.

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