Skip to main content

Backlight Your Model

Lesson 4 from: Capture and Edit Classic Black & White Portraits

Jared Platt

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

4. Backlight Your Model

Next Lesson: Light for Contrast

Lesson Info

Backlight Your Model

So now I need to bring in a model. So where's our model? Ah, model. Oh, you guys want to be among anyone? Want to be a model? I don't think we do. You guys have a model? Anybody have a model in their pocket? No. No. Okay. All right, well, we'll choose a Chris. Me? Yeah. You be a model? Sure. Yeah. Bring your computer. Continue my hosting. Do you got other duties? But just go up there. Okay. Um, you look much better than a coffee mug. Oh, thank you. Um, so now we need something for him. Toe wear. Uh, here. I've got a scarf. Okay, so let's put the scarf on you. You're kind of hipster ish. Anyway, So do, like a drapey thing. There we go. Nice. That's good draping. Okay. Uh, coat here. Coat. Now, remember, we're doing black and white portrait hers, so it doesn't actually matter what color I'm putting on him. I could have like pink. Doesn't matter. So in fact, sometimes when I'm doing something that I know is gonna be black and white. I will purposefully make sure that it's all mismatched c...

olors because then I can go in and I can increase or decrease different textures. And brightness is because of the color. So this color is going to be kind of in the similar color of his face because it's warm, and then this is a cool color so that they're gonna clash against each other, right? So if you want to get creative when you're doing black and white portraiture, stop thinking about matching. Think about texture. Because that's the only thing that exists in black and white is the actual tone, the textures right. So just let it be what it is and have your clients bring all sorts of mismatching stuff if you're gonna do black and white. But remember, once you go that direction, there's no going back. Because if they go, can I see that in color? No, you cannot see that in color because it's gonna is gonna be a problem, right? Then you have to go in photo shopping like change things. And for that you could probably find something here on Photoshopped Week where they will teach you how to mask something and change the color. So I'm not gonna teach you that, because I'm just gonna say plan it out. Okay. I think we're not draping very well here. So little margin. There we go. Nice. Nicely draped. Uh, you don't have a hat? Oh, there's a Hatter's hat. Oh, that's nice. Okay, put that on. All right. Make sure that front of your hair is real. Kind of messy. Yeah. There you go. Good. I don't like the hat. Don't take the hat off. That's going. Can you Can you just mess your hair up there? Yeah. Like like they're gonna fire you there. That's it. Nice. Okay, So I did this to him. So if there's any, like, specific, like, creativelive type of, like, you know, you're supposed to dress this way. This is me. Okay. All right. So, um, there we go. All right, So I'm gonna take a picture of him with the slash light, but he's just gonna be a shadow. But I just want you to see, as we build this in, this is what it's gonna look like. So you can just keep doing your hosting duties. But you can see as this comes in, we're gonna have obviously a problem. The light looks cool back there, but we have a problem with him. Right? Okay, So the first thing I want to do is I want to make sure that that light is perfect. So I'm gonna actually go into the develop module. So I noticed that I just kind of estimated what? We were going to get off of that light. Right. So now I'm going to go in with the crop tool. I'm just gonna crop in on the white section right there of those bricks. And now you can see on the hissed a gram Exactly what I have for an exposure on those bricks. Yeah, you're still at 800. So that's why it there's a big change in the I am still at 800. Very good. It wasn't a question. It was a helpful hint. Helpful hint. Okay, so let's do this again. You're right, because that that was very different. So let's take another shot. Here we go. All right. So now I can take a look at that section and make sure that I have the right exposure on it, and it's obviously much darker and more dramatic, but now it's kind of middle gray. Right? So you see the shadow areas air obviously here, these shadows in the bricks and things like that. But this peak right here, that's your highlight crests right here along the edge. And so that gives you an idea of what we have. Now, if I want to change that in any way because we're at 100 I s o thank you. Um, because we're at 100 eyes. So, um and that is it 10. So it's the highest power it can have. The only way for me to increase the power there is to either do what shutter speed won't help me. So I can either bring up the I S O or I can open up the aperture of the other is gonna help me. Now. I'm f five. I don't need to be it at five, because we're doing a portrait of one person, so I'm gonna actually take my aperture down to four. So now that's gonna be 2/ of stop higher, almost twice as bright. That's probably going to do it. So we're going to take another shot. Make sure that background light is perfect. So again, remember when I first come into a portrait scenario I don't need the model until my background looks perfect. So I'm gonna get the background looking right, and then I'll bring in the model, and this allows me to really finesse that background. Make sure it's right. Then start adding the other lights because at this point, we never have to mess with the background again. Background stays what it is. All right, So we're gonna do another little crop here and show you what we've got. So see, that's much nicer. So it's a nice light grey back there. It'll be perfect. Okay, so I like that. So we're going to reset that crop, and now we're going to start lighting him. So in order for me to follow the light source so lights naturally coming from this side like maybe there's a window up there or there's something up there that's lighting down or there's a 10 light or something that's lighting the So it's coming from over there. So if there was a hair light to separate him from the background, where would that come from? Over there, Right? So I'm not gonna put the hair light over here cause I won't make sense to you because the lights slashing down from over there. So notice that I've put the hair light right next to my pin light that's coming across the background. So I'm just going to go and turn this on. And this has a great on it as well. And the only reason reason it has a grid on is I don't want to spread and hit my lens. I just wanted to hit him, so it's got a great on it so they will face him and hit his head. And right now, this is at 7.4 on a pro photo. You go from 2 to 10 those air your powers and you can go intense. 10th of stops. So 10 stock, 20th of a stop increments. So we're at 7.4 right now, Just so you kind of have an idea of the power of this. So I'm pointing. This is head Chris. Can you look back at me and tell me when that pointing right at you there. Good. All right, work. Okay. So now let's take a shot with that in play, and we'll see how it works. All right, So now you're going to see that his shoulder starts to separate out and you can see, like, you see how you got, like, this area here of the of the the scarf, you can start to see his job jawline and his hair. All that kind of stuff is starting to separate out. Now I can turn it a little bit to kind of get a little bit more on this side of his shoulder as well. So I'm just gonna barely swing it this way, just a little bit that way. It gets mawr that side of his shoulder as well. Plus, it won't be quite as hot on this side if I spin it so. But we'll see that in action now, after we add our next light.

Ratings and Reviews


This course is a good overview and I love the way Jared teaches. But the course mixes basic lightroom handling with intermediate portrait photography and really expensive gear. Which person, that doesn't know the basic importing and editing in lightroom, has three studiolights from profoto with grid or a calibrating system for the inkjet printer?? And be aware, it's only about LR-editing and nothing about photoshop. But over all it's a good overview for beginners - alas not for intermediate users.

TIm Smith

I usually don't write reviews, but thought Jared did a great job presenting the material. Clear, concise and didn't talk excessively fast. Material was well organized and reasons were given for why something was done a certain way. The fill lighting technique was something different and plan on using. The discussion on tones, textures, clothing and background were also helpful when discussing black and white.

Amy Vaughn

I haven't shot much with the intention of turning the photos black and white, but this class piqued my interest in trying it. This class isn't just about how to turn any photograph black and white, but how to think about the photo as you're shooting for black and white. I especially appreciated Jared's explanations about the importance of texture, creating drama and carefully targeting lights.

Student Work