Once you begin to understand how light modifiers work, you can really have a lot of fun with them. What is a specialty light modifier that you can use to light a portrait? One light modifier you can use is a beauty dish. In this video, author Robert Vanelli demonstrates how to use a beauty dish to light a subject.
- Now once we start to really understand light modifiers, we can have a lot of fun with it. For this set here, we have the beautiful Erin, and she's going to play the assassin. To get this shot, if you think about what an assassin is, they're rugged, they're rough. Even though she's beautiful, we want her to have a little more of a masculine look, but yet still keep her femininity. Well that's where we're going to use a beauty dish. Now for this beauty dish, I took off the diffuser because remember we want this light to be a little harsher coming out.
I don't want to use just a regular flash coming through because it's not going to give us the spread that we want. This beauty dish, what this is going to do for us, especially the smaller one, it's going to concentrate the light and make it powerful and shoot it down right on her. So let me reposition it. Good, now I already metered the lights. So I got the lights looking the exact way that I want. These lights back here are going to be slightly less powerful than this one.
So this one here is my key light. This is doing all the heavy lifting. The back lights are just accent lights making sure we light her hair and part of the chair. Alright, here we go. Let's start making some killer images. I will start first without the fan. We'll take a couple of shots here. And then we'll start adding on to the fan. Body up straight, here why don't we do this, pull your shirt back just a touch. Yeah, pull it like in, not down but back. There you go, good.
That's it. You got that, that's nice, nice, nice. Now swap your knees around. Good, just like that. Body up straight, close your eyes, think assassin. You're in control. Get ready, drop the cigar down just a little bit, right there. Good, ready. Keep your body straight towards me, your head. Beautiful and slowly get those eyes open. Nice, nice, that's it, good.
Two, one more shot, one more shot, then we'll review it. Looking good, little more of a scowl on your face. Nice, good. Right there. Now I'm going to just take one shot, a little bit lower, good right there, nice, nice. Move your hand slightly away from the chair just a little bit, right there. Nice, body straight. Your head, good, close your eyes. Now this time do more of a grrr, and open your mouth just like (makes poof sound).
Ready, and go. Good, one more. Fix the cigar, drop it right there, a little less. Right there, good. Get ready with the (makes poof sound). Go. Beautiful, oh-ho-ho, that's going to look great. Alright, good, relax for a second. We're going to review the images. So now Erin and I are going to look at some of these images and what we're going to do is we're going to critique them, not for the lighting purpose of it but making sure that she really feels comfortable with her posing and maybe some of her facial expressions.
Alright, so let's look at these. So here's the one set. Nice. Two, three, I got you in the middle of the (makes poof). There's the (makes poof). Do you see what that's doing to your face? I like that a lot. I'll frame the shot a little bit better. But now this is what it looks like out of the camera. This is just a real quick edit to show you how it's going to end up looking. I like it. I like it. Alright, great, so we're off to a really good start.
Now what we want to do is we want to add the fan to get her hair moving to give us a little bit more of a sense of motion in the scene. So we use the soft box to modify the light for a dramatic effect. Now we're going to put the finishing touches on. Now when working with a fan on set, always ask a model if they have contacts because you don't want their eyes to dry out. Earlier I asked Erin and she doesn't so we'll be fine. I'm going to start out with low. Good, I'm going to position this right toward your chest, and this fan's incredible because I can maneuver it anywhere.
Now that's the lowest setting. I think that's going to be a perfect setting for us. Mess with your hair a little bit, good. That's it, good, we got a little, ah, I like that, I like it. Here we go. Good Erin, close your eyes. Move your elbow off the chair a little bit, your right elbow, yep. Move it a little bit more towards me. Next you know what come off the chair, there you go, right there. Good, fix that cigar again. Beautiful, do you see your hair right here, yeah, just move your, and actually this time do use your hand to move the hair back.
It's getting caught up in your earring. Good, right there, that's it, good. Alright, here we go. Ready? Give me that attitude again. Good, head up a little bit high. Nice, nice. And go. One, nice. Shoulders back a little bit, good. You're the head, ready, go. Two, I'm going to do one more, one more. Now a little scowl, go.
That's it. Oh, that's going to be the one. Alright, let's relax. Good, let's review. So Erin did great. I like how the fan's blowing your hair. One thing I notice as a photographer itself where I messed up most I cut the cigar off. So we'll reshoot these. So this is one of the benefits about tethering on set because if I were to get home after this shoot and realized oh man, I cut the cigar off, there's nothing I can do about it.
Here we can always take a few minutes and just reshoot it. So far I love this. What I'm going to do is I'm going to shoot a little bit wider just in case any of this happens again and we just crop it later. But I love it. Let's see what it looks like with the effect. Oh-ho-ho, yeah. You like that, huh? - [Erin] They are really cool. - Beautiful, look at that. Alright, alright, let's do another set. We'll do three. If you notice, I'm using what's called an apple box. I have that on the ground here because I want to get comfortable. If you're not comfortable when you're shooting, you're going to want to get it over with real quick.
So it's important to get yourself comfortable. Take a few shots, review, and then get back in that position again and get comfortable. Queue the fan. Nice. That's it. Attitude, ready. One, nice.
Good, good, good, good. Hit it. Good, here's the last one. Close your eyes, close your eyes. Good, everything's looking good. Now give me that scowl, ready, go. Oh-ho-ho, that's the shot! Great, great, great. Alright, last time, let's review it. I shot a little bit wide because I can always come back and just do a little cropping. Normally I love to get everything perfect in camera, but in a case like this, all we have to do is bring it in, and change it just a touch.
And then we can add anything we want to this scene afterwards. Good, apply the special effect. And, there we have it. Oh, that looks really good (laughs). Erin, awesome job. - Sweet. - Alright. So, there you have it. Using that special beauty dish without the diffuser is going to give us the harsh light we needed to make a beautiful girl like this look like an assassin.
- What is a lighting modifier?
- Technical and artistic benefits of lighting modifiers
- Using an umbrella to bounce light
- Lighting portraits with an umbrella
- Lighting a portrait with a softbox
- Shooting with a beauty dish
- Softening light with diffusers
- Adjusting color temperature using gels
- Lighting a portrait with a speedlight