Lighting with Flash: Basics

with David Hobby
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Lighting with Flash: Basics
Video duration: 0s 1h 50m Appropriate for all


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.

Topics include:
  • Starting with window light
  • Adding a flash and umbrella
  • Using multiple strobes
  • Layering and creating a cone of light
  • Creating classic ring light glamour

Setting the stage

(soft acoustic music) - So we've got Ramona coming into the studio today and we're gonna do some sort of headshot and three quarter shots and maybe full body shots of her, which are gonna be used for her portfolio. Normally, I don't shoot models, and Ramona is sort of a part-time model, a part-time professional, so I'm approaching this almost from more of an editorial portrait perspective and she's approaching it more of from a "What can I have for my portfolio?" perspective.

So we'll try to mesh those two together and teach you a little bit at the same time. Important things for dealing with her, and she's not here yet so we can talk about her, I'm really gonna be trying to do everything I can to keep her at ease. And no matter what she's doing, everything looks great and I'll steer if I need to steer. We've got Amy here, who's gonna be her makeup person, and that is as much for Ramona psychologically as it is for makeup. We're going very light touch. Anything that you can do to make them feel more comfortable when they're being shot, you just do it.

Anything you can do to bring in and build rapport is really helpful. Gonna be a little bit clumsy today compared to normal because we're shooting Ramona on one level, but we're also teaching on one level. So I'm gonna be backing away from her conversationally more often than I would like to be doing, but that's just a little bit of a wrinkle thrown in for this. The important thing to do is not just to shoot and then bail off and then look at the back of your camera every time, because then you're not maintaining continuity with the person that you're shooting. It's all about setting up a nice rapport and creating moments and then catching those moments; or creating scenarios where people will give you a look that you're looking for.

That's almost a little bit of a minefield to walk through sometimes, but you kind of have to play it as you go. It's more of an interpersonal thing than a photography thing, if there's one way I can put it and that's the hard part. The lighting part is easy. It's the how do I get to that expression that I'm looking for, or how do I loosen this person up, et cetera. That's the tougher thing that you have to solve when you're shooting somebody.

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