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In the Lighting with Flash series, photographer and Strobist blog publisher David Hobby demonstrates how to use compact flash units in a variety of lighting scenarios. In this first installment, he covers the basics, starting with ambient window light and ending with a four-light shoot of a model. Along the way, the course covers a variety of fundamental lighting concepts as well as accessories such as ring lights and softboxes. The course includes diagrams and detailed explanations of the lighting setups.
So let's learn how to pre-visualize this light source just a little bit. I am at a 100th of a second, at 6.3, which is to say that my light source mainly is coming from this camera left side. It's up high, it's in the classic position, and I am letting in just enough of this light to work as fill. Let's scratch that. Let me kill this light as fill. because what we are going to look at right now is pre-visualizing the way that your light is going to look, both from a directional sense and from a wrap sense. So not like rap as in you are going to see me burst into rhyming and stuff.
They are just going to wrap as in how the light wraps around someone's face and where it starts to leave them. So I want to have Ramona, I want to have you stand exactly--like find a spot and keep it. I want to have you look straight at me and chin just like straight up, and I am going to set this light, and I am going to shoot a picture of you, and I want you to look straight at me with your chin, okay--like face right on me. Let's take a quick picture. Close. All right, so now what I've got is nothing but umbrella light on her. The background is even very dark. The hair is very dark, the clothes, it's just like a face floating in there.
So we are going to swap that, and I think it might actually make sense to do this in reverse order. What we have got is, I am shooting her from this position, but the umbrella is really seeing her from someplace else. I am going to pull this umbrella out. Dave, I want you to line up on the shaft of the umbrella before I move it, and Ramona, I want you to look right at me. All right, are you ready? Okay so let's pull this out of the frame. Sorry, a little unwieldy here. Now, Romano, if you look right at me, Dave is seeing you from the position of the umbrella.
So that's what the light is going to see. If I ever want to know what my light is going to light, but what it's going to illuminate from you and I don't have a modeling light, I can look at it from that position, and that's going to--and we can actually take that in and interlace that with the actual picture that we just shot. Okay, now I am going to put the umbrella back in for a moment. Now, you can actually come down on this, Dave, if you want. I am going to rotate it around. Now what I want you to do is to look at her from both sides of that umbrella, right from the edge. So this is why this close-end soft light really is going to wrap.
It's very close to her, and it's very big. So Dave now is on the camera, the far back camera left side of the umbrella. If you look at the far side of Ramona's face--oh that was nice. So Dave is on the far back camera left side of the umbrella. If you look at Ramona's face, there's going to be a place at which you can no longer see her face on the other side. My hand is going to disappear around. That's where the slide is going to begin to fall off. Now, if he comes around and looks at her from this other side of the umbrella, you are going to see where the light is going to end falling off, and you can see, that's a big wrap.
So the light almost wraps completely around her before it stops. And that's a function of how close that light is to her and how big that light is. If I were to back it up, that wrap wouldn't be as soft. What you are seeing is the difference between what one side of the light can see and what the other side of the light I can see. And this is a bare flash. You can just take your camera in one place and see exactly what it's going to see, but with a big light source, you need to look at it from both sides, and you are going to know exactly how that wrap is going to start and how it's going to stop. All right, a little bit, just, okay. I am trying not to lose you here, because I'm going to throw terms out at you and I just want you to just riff on them a little bit, okay.
All right, bring your face back up to--okay, good, good, good. All right, a little bit mysterious, like you are hiding something from me, you are little deeper than that. There you go, good, I like that. Okay, don't move, all right, a little more serious. Okay, good, good. A little harsher. Not so much with the eyes, but with your face. There you go, there you go.
A little mischievous, just like you are up to something. I like that; that's good. All right, chin up just a tad. Not so much, not so much. That's good. A couple of verticals. Sll right, so let me think for a minute. I am working. You don't get to see this right now. It's a very classic work for you, and I am barely separating the black on your shoulders from the black background. Another function of how close we've got the light to her is that it has to travel almost twice as far to get to the background as it does to get to her face, so by the time it gets back there, it's lost almost two stops of the light.
It affected the power. So if I were to move this light back further, I would ironically bring that background up a little brighter than her. Okay, don't move, don't move, don't move. Okay, a little bit of smile. There you go, there you go. Great, I like that. This is really nice light on you. All right, just take a breather for just a second, if we could. You know what, no, don't move, don't move. I want to take this light and put it up straight above my camera. You have got to really--like a nice like slender angular face, and I want to accentuate that just a little bit.
This is not something you do for someone with a wide face. So I am going to put this light right above me. This is called butterfly lighting because typically it's going to make a butterfly- shaped shadow under someone's nose. I think we are going to have to open up just a tad, because the light's a little further away. So I am going to F5. All right, chin up just a little bit, good! And this is all flash. There is no ambient component in here at all. All right, turn and look straight towards me.
Good. No, no I like your hair when it's staring to fall that way. Face like that, rotate, there you go, split the difference, back and chin up just a little bit, that's right. You are too young to remember Austin Powers, aren't you? You never saw--oh, you saw, okay, yeah. I have got the clothes if it comes down to that too, so--no, I am kidding, I am kidding.
Ramona: Oh, I was like-- David: I am out of here. All right, right here. Okay, more serious, deep, and deep breath. All right, now a little mysterious, hide something from me a little bit. Good, I like that, good! Lips together and same thing but lips together. Right, mad at me, a little mad. She went to full-blown like this, just being mad, okay good.
Okay, good, good, good, great. Relax for a moment.
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