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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.
Remember, what's happening here, is we want to have a dominant side to the face but because we're shooting a feminine subject, we don't want to overdo it. Let's continue our look at using different light setups. So, we're not going to have harsh shadows, but Abba, we have a three light set up here, there is going to be a little bit of directionality. what was the motivation as we designed the set? Now, this is great. We're doing a standard two light setup. >> Well, in this case, I wanted to do something that's just a But because our backdrop was just a simple piece pretty shot, a portrait, something you might see for a school portrait perhaps. of paper, we've decided to push that a little bit further. And so, I wanted nice, soft, gentle lighting. We already mentioned that we put some And I wanted something on the background that gobos on there, or a cookie cutter pattern. would break up that black or that gray. These are a piece of cake for you to make. Just be careful with those razor blades. So, we used a bunch But as you see here, it is putting some pattern on to the back wall, very simple. of different instruments and focused two lights on And this is easy to do. her, and then one light on the background. And let's see how all these results come together to make the shot. >> So, the goal here is that you want your subject to look good. Now why don't we have some fun? But don't forget about the backdrop, even in this case with the simple You're, I want you to loosen up, don't worry about anything. backdrop, we still wanted to go ahead and break things up a bit. Yeah, there you go, you can smile, you're allowed to blink. and we can just, talk a little bit as we shoot. And actually, to that end, we added a You can tell me a little bit about, maybe some of the things that you like to do. modifier to the background light to really enhance it. What's your favorite activity? >> I like to swim. Abba, what do we do there? >> You like to swim so, that's a really >> Well, I mean, some people call this a cookie good activity in the summer because it's been really hot. but, it's basically a piece of foamcore with holes cut in it, and you So, swimming, have you been swimming all your life? >> Since I can cut in different shapes and you can buy these, you can make these. was eight. But the idea is that when you shine a light through them, you get this pattern. >> So, you've been swimming since you were eight, that's great. And depending on how far the light is away from that cookie, it can either very crisp or it can be very soft. Let's have a nice smile. There you go. >> So, we have this overall look going right here. Hm, 'kay. I'm very satisfied with what we have going on. >> I think the shot turned out great. I really like how We've also introduced a everything balanced out nicely. Good, you know, use of key fill light. few modifiers. By using what's called a flag. Really good balance. Describe the backdrop. Essentially, an opaque piece of fabric. This is the same gray paper we saw earlier. You could also just use a piece of cardstock. But it looks like one of those fabric We've blocked off the light so, it doesn't fall onto backdrops that people buy, a dedicated muslin backdrop. the backdrop, or it doesn't spill over into unwanted areas. >> Yeah, and that's be beauty of working with We've really used some of those modifiers gray paper is that, with gray paper I can you learned about earlier, to control our light. throw a gel on it and a pattern, and can make it look almost any color I want. So, let's take a walk around the set, and just point out some specifics. And in this case, I put on an orange because I wanted to have a warm tone. Abba, I see we have a soft box on the front of this light. We tend to think of, like, that golden hour, and. What's that going to do? She's normally very, you know, golden in her face and I wanted to reflect some of that in the background. >> Well, this is the primary light source that I was working with. So, I felt that putting that gold gel And the idea here is that I wanted a nice big light. on it really smoothed out the image. A nice soft light, that would fill her face, and I wouldn't have harsh shadows. Before I had that gel on it, it was kind of blue So, this was my choice. and stark and it just made it warm from beginning to end. >> And I see here, we've taken an opening on the front of the light >> And remember, adding gels to your kits are super easy. that was probably about eight, nine inches, You can pick up a pack of these very affordably at any lighting store online. and we've now spread it across several feet. Incredibly versatile. You can use them for color correction, or to stylize things. So, that's going to really soften that up, right? And this is one of the smallest expenses you'll have. >> Absolutely. By having this large diffuser on becomes a very soft light. But it'll significantly extend your kit. I think And if I wanted it to be even softer, what I could do is move it closer to the talent, because that will give me a more gentle wrap around them. this worked out great, Abba. If I moved it further away, even though I have this I really like how all the pieces came together. nice little box on it, the appearance would be much smaller. Let's do one more three light setup. And it actually will work just like I had a focus light. But this time, we're going to switch to a male model. So, you don't want to put any kind of a And we're going to go ahead and do something a little bit more edgier. soft box and then, move it really far back. This is going to be a sort of, a sports-oriented portrait. >> And what's nice here is, with the opaque sides, we're controlling that light, putting it a little bit more directional. And instead of the soft, even light, let's try some hard shadows. >> And we'll use the same three fixtures. You could achieve similar results, although you'd have more spill if you And I bet we'll get something completely different. just put a silk or some translucent material on a frame on front. >> Excellent. But, this works really well and this is one of those investments that people are probably going to make early on in their kits. Let's take a look at the fill light. Our fill light here also has a modifier on the front. We're using the beauty dish, and with that highly reflective surface, spreading the light out, you've also placed some diffusion over the front. Why so much diffusion? >> Well, sometimes I switch back and forth. If it's a woman, a lot of times I will use diffusion, it softens it. I have a lot of focus with the beauty box. The beauty box allows me to create a nice soft light, but it's very focused. So, it doesn't fall onto the background. But it can be harsh when it hits the person's face. So, that's why I like to put a diffuser on the front, just to keep up with that same of a nice, soft light from the front. >> And, how about our power ratio here. How much less powerful is this light than our key light? >> Well, this can vary. A lot of times, I may bring it down one or two stops, depending on if I want stronger shadows. Or if I don't want a lot of shadows, I can almost match them. But I still think some shadows gives you that depth. So, at least a stop is a good place to start.
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