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Light for Contrast

Lesson 5 from: Capture and Edit Classic Black & White Portraits

Jared Platt

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Lesson Info

5. Light for Contrast

Lesson Info

Light for Contrast

Our next light is the forward light. So now we have the dramatic look. We have the slash of light. We have the light coming in towards him. Now we have to do something to make him look good. So because we're doing black and white because we're doing a kind of ah, hipster guy, right? We don't have to use a soft box or a beauty dish or anything like that. We're gonna make him look cool, right? So it's dramatic. I want you to think of like, uh, think of Joseph Karsh. Does anybody know who use of car ships? He did the famous portrait of Ernest Hemingway in the big toothy sweater, you know, on the beard. And like, think that were talking dramatic dramatic lighting cause that's great for black and white portraiture about black and white does great for, like, soft portraiture as well, But it's more fun when you're doing, like, lots of dramatic stuff. So what I've done is I've got the pro photo. This is a friend l small eso. It basically mimics the old lights in the studio like the Hollywood s...

tudio lights. So it's But instead of a constant hot light. It's just gonna pop a light in there so I can actually turn on the modeling light so that I can see. And it's actually very useful to do this. Someone turn on the modeling light so that I can see what it's gonna look like and let me make sure I get the full power there. Okay, see that? That's the modeling light. It's really useful because if you have, there's like a little focus thing up here. If you turn the focus down, it's very targeted and you can see that it's actually not even hitting him now. So I have to spin it, See that like it can just target just his I, which is not gonna work for our portrait. But that helps us to gauge exactly where we want this light to be. So now that I've got the light set, I can just take the zoom. Where did it go? There it is, and I'm gonna bring it out. See that they were increasing the size of that light. All right, which is great when you want things to fall off, right? We wanted to get darker on the edges. So now I'm just gonna bring this down a little bit right there. So I wanted to fall off kind of at the top of his hair and right, So now I'm getting just from about here to about there, and then it's going to just start falling off, right? But notice also that as I'm doing this, I can bring this around more like this and watch that knows, Shadow. See that? So if I go here not very dramatic, pretty flat. So I'm gonna bring this thing around and make use of his nose. Now, can you turn this body this way a little bit there, and then you're gonna turn your there just like that? Okay, So I'm gonna bring this around like that and then watch. That knows Shadow. And it's gonna go up and down now, So I'm gonna take this up. Do you see how the nose shadow is moving up and down? So what I'm trying to do here is I'm trying to create a nice broad light here, but it's gonna get softer here. See that? That works. Okay, So you're not seeing exactly what this is gonna look like because those of us who were in the studio. We have a light up here that is not going to be in the shot. But right now it's lighting this side of this face. Yeah, it's kind of bluish light. That bluish light is going to be a shadow. So I'm looking at this right now, saying, Okay, anyone, any light that I see that's blue is dark shadow. I just have to think through that because because right now we're not actually seeing the full what it's gonna look like. So we're gonna just the closer I bring this in, the softer the lights gonna be. Even though that seems weird because I'm getting closer, so it seems like it's getting more powerful. It's getting more powerful, but because it's getting bigger and relationship to the person, it's getting softer, right. So you can choose to be really hard light if you get further back or you can soften it up by bringing in close. I'm gonna put it right about here, and we're just going to take a shot there, so I want you to bring your chin down a little bit. There you go. Yeah, just like that. Good. Okay, so let's see what this looks like. I'm gonna turn off my modeling light, and we're just going to shoot. Okay? Lean into me like this. Yeah, right there. Good. I'm not to reframe Refocus my light because you just moved. But that's OK. Go spring it down. There we go. Yeah, that'll be nice and dramatic. You see how I'm looking at this? Slash of light coming across his nose. They're So we're getting that. It's gonna go into his eye, and they're gonna get a sparkle out of his lie there. So that's nice. All right, here we go. You have a sparkle in your eye. I'm gonna turn this off. All right. Good. Nice. Okay, so I like that, But he's too bright, and I can tell that, obviously, by looking at it, but also, if I take the crop and I just go right across his forehead, you can see Look how bright that skin is. That is not the correct tone for his skin. So rather than taking three shots, I should have taken just one. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna come here. This is a 4.5. I want you to pay attention. The powers here. That power is it 10. But if it's half as powerful light, so it's really a five. Okay, so that's a five power. This one, is it? Seven something 7.5, something like that. And this one is at 4.5, and it's too powerful. So I'm gonna drop it down by a stop and 1/2 so I'm gonna go from 4.5 to 3, and that's gonna bring that face toned down, but always noticed that my forward light is always less powerful than my lights that are coming towards the camera. Always. I can't think of in an instance where I do it the opposite way. Okay, here we go. Yeah, that's looking good. Okay, here we go. Now we contest that exposure again. Now we're actually getting the right skin tone. See that? Okay, so now we've got the skin tone down, so that's perfect. Now, the last thing that we need to do before we're ready to just start ripping and taken some cool pictures is we need to take this little guy right here, and our model is gonna hold this right like that. Make sure you Don't put your fingers in front of that there. Okay? Bring close to your nose. So that it? Yeah. There we go. See? You. Look your best that way. You look great. Perfect. Okay. Here, raise it up a little bit. Got a little dark up higher right there. Now. You look great. Good. Okay, so now I've got the light on this thing so that now I can actually calibrate, and I don't have to do it now. I can calibrate later and make sure that the whole scene is calibrated perfectly for this camera and these lights so that the color is perfect. Now we're doing black and white, so this may not be necessary, but every time I'm doing a portrait, I'm always taking a picture of this. It's called a color checker passport. I'm always taking one photo of this in a given light source so that then I know that my colors are accurate. And have you ever gotten, um, to the end when you're editing something and then you're looking at the following like that color looks weird. And then if you go down in the develop module, you go down to the camera calibration. You have these options, like adobe standard faithful landscape monochrome and you choose them. And each one looks a little weird and they're like, that doesn't look good on that. Doesn't look good. That doesn't look good. If you take a picture with your color checker passport and then you use there, there Ah, it's basically plugging that goes into light room and I'll show you it in the next segment. Um, it will literally take the colors and neutralize them so they're absolutely dead on accurate for this camera with those lights. So then you'll have a specific poor Ah, a specific camera profile for this circumstance. So very useful anyway, so that's something we'll always do. And at this point, now we're ready to start photographing. But before we do that, I'm gonna actually go. Let's take one shot. And now I'm gonna turn it to black and white. So I'm gonna take this shot and we're going to go into our settings here, and we're going Teoh, go into our black and white and then we're going to go into the black and white settings there, and we're just going to double click that, so that It's kind of, um because it automatically tries to change the colors, and we're just going to bring up the yellows and oranges a little bit in the Reds. Okay, so we're gonna start with that as our black and white. So now we're just seeing black and white come in. So as it comes in, we and the client get to see what it looks like in black and white. Yeah, with the color. Chika, do you need to take another shot? If you were just the lights at all the power of the lights No, once I mean, as long as it's decently exposed, as long as you've got the right exposure on it. No, because the lights stay the same color regardless, assuming that using decent lights, there are some lights that when you change the power on him or whatever, they're not consistent on their color temperature. But when you use a decent light, especially when using pro photo, they're dead on consistent some. Yeah. Will there ever be a situation where you'd actually change the settings in your camera to shoot black and white versus color benefits because it doesn't do anything. So when you change your camera to the style of black and white. It's still shooting a color photograph so it's raw as long as you're shooting raw. If you're shooting J Peg its shooting in black and white. But what it's doing is it's shooting the raw color image, and then it's making a black and white J peg to show you on the back of the camera. So there is a time when I knew that. So if I'm shooting and, uh, like out on the field and I want to show the client something and I'm going to be showing it in black and I'll turn the picture style the black and white and shoot in black and white so the client can see it in black and white on my camera. But when it comes back to light room, it turns to color, and then I have to turn it back to black and white time. But it's very useful when you're on a wedding. How many of you shoot weddings? Anybody? Okay, so if you're on a wedding and you shoot a bunch of images and then you change 12 black and white and you show it to the client that like Oh, that's so beautiful. Can you do it in color like crap? So what you do is you shoot at least a portion of the portrait session in black and white. And then when you show your client like, Hey, look how cool this is and they see it in black and white. Then when you show them things in black and white later on the computer, they think, Oh, yeah, he was shooting in black and white and it prepares them for the idea that you actually are creating black and white or color images when you're creating them. Let's face it, we are doing that in our heads already. The question is, does a client understand that we are seeing it in black and white? Right? So when I am photographing Chris, I'm seeing this in black and white because it's going to be a black and white image. And so now I'm looking at it and I'm saying, Okay, I don't care about the colors. I just care about the textures. One of the reasons that I'm using a harsher lens light source is that I want the textures to really pop out which I might not do If it was in color, I might soften up that light a little bit. And so I'm playing with things based on the understanding that I'm going to be putting this into black and white. All right, You gotta see in black and white when you're shooting for black and white because it's different.

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