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Shoot: Edgy Three Light Setup Part 1

Lesson 7 from: Commercial Photography: From Start to Finish

Joel Grimes

Shoot: Edgy Three Light Setup Part 1

Lesson 7 from: Commercial Photography: From Start to Finish

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

7. Shoot: Edgy Three Light Setup Part 1


Class Trailer

Day 1


Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 1


Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 2


Ten Things You Need to Know about Branding


Shoot: One Side Light Beauty Shot Part 1


Shoot: One Side Light Beauty Shot Part 2


Shoot: One Overhead Light Headshot


Shoot: Edgy Three Light Setup Part 1


Lesson Info

Shoot: Edgy Three Light Setup Part 1

We got a wild look here and we got a headdress. We're gonna probably try to put on here in a minute. Um, so lots of feathers and one of the things that I like about three light look, then you do with the edge lights is it lights the shoulders up, you know? So for athletes that's good for model to it'll give a little depth, so my goal, my goal is we're working in well, we have a three dimensional world here, but we photograph it goes to two dimensional world. What I want to do is fool my audience to thinking it's real. So the more depth you build in a photograph, the more you are able to fool. So a three by three light approach is really good for giving a really crazy kind of like, depth field, so that's kind of why I do it. Um now, there's, a couple things I've been doing lately that I haven't been doing, um and I'm gonna get my son bents more credit here because he told me when we were doing a shoot he was assistant and he said, what if you just downed power one light and then you hav...

e your one edge light would be like more your main source, so instead of having equal what I do a lot you just downed power one little bit and I thought, ok, that sounds great and so I've done that on a couple shoots and it's like that actually sells a fake in some scenarios better than equal lights, right? So, uh equal light scenario meeting have a door or a window over here adore went over here could be realistic, but it's not as realistic as a door over here and maybe just a little window so I might do that we'll start out equal and we'll kind of move around, but remember, this is you're not locked in the way I do things I just hope that I can inspire you maybe to get you out and start shooting and creating and building your look so I now have a five foot octo, so if I haven't said this and I cannot believe it but any time I talk about lighting, I always say the simplest, most basic rule of thumb about lighting is this the bigger the source and how close it is to my subject, the softer the light or the heart of light back it up gets harder moving in gets softer and how much bounce I put into the scene will soften it more bounce with more ambient, the softer gets so aiken feather and fine tune my look by either getting bigger source or bringing it closer further for the model that's a simple idea now takes a lot of practising to get in your head to where you go okay, so I'm gonna put a bigger overhead modifier on so what does that do if it's the same distance is gonna be a lot softer but what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna back it up a little bit and I don't know how far end up but it maybe forty five feet remember what I said take the diameter of your modifier as your overhead and bring that in terms of distance that's a good starting place now nobody taught me that it's just over years those little patterns start to develop and sums like I'm extents so I like to have a basic rule of thumb but don't go buy it every time do your own thing so let's do this I'm gonna try to get my my light nailed here now I had to raise the back drought up because we're gonna get a headdress over here and it's like feathers up to the ceiling you know and it's going to kind of wild. So what I want to do is I want to have ah like gray background for this scenario because I'm hoping to cut it out and I look at the feathers to see how much contrast I have um because I want to make sure I can get the ex extract you know, not working too hard the last time I have to extract the easier it is for me right? So let's do this we're going to swing this big light over and I might not quite go that high john you gotta bring her in here now what I might do just is a quick little rule of thumb if you run you're light on the leg that's the outside leg like that that saves you from hopefully it tipping over and I don't have any sandbags on here I should but I'm good I think I'm good to go no it's okay that this a big stand okay, we're good shape, right? So step up to the board here right about there and as a rule of thumb I hate to do this let's say my background edge lights I want this portion right here to be about her shoulders that's a good starting spot so let's go and as I moved him in they get softer. Okay, so that's a good spot and I'm a little high some alarms. Well, we got that headdress so I'm taking consideration that so all right, that looks pretty even so let's grab my camera still on a tripod and I think now we've set it up so I can flip it and do a vertical so let's get in position here and I have not changed anything from my last shoot seven point one s o one hundred at two hundred of the second. I'm going to shoot there and see what happens if it's going to need some adjusting this one might be a little close. So let's, back this up. Actually, let's, just do this slide here, so that should be about five feet from her. And I'm a lord down just a little bit more. Okay. Glasses in my mouth whips now, that's. The third time I've done that, I'm gonna try to not mumble as I talk here. All right, so we're gonna focus and I can see right now that my background is a little bit, uh short, but it's okay? Because I just goingto check my lightning right now. Ready? One, two, three. Not bad for first exposure out of the camera or, you know, so I've got my highlights. I've got a shadow under her chin. I looked at that's one of the things that look at that I want how much shadow I want there she looked pretty even here. Uh, not bad for a for a starter. I would say my personal taste is that maybe I've let her a little too much here, so I have a zones. Like a zone one zone to zone three so his own three right now is this a little too little for me so I'm gonna experiment I'm gonna take it down so go up here one two three four five that's a half a stop we'll see what happens ready one two three and so let's see what happens here that looks pretty good you know again the most important thing obviously is your face but we've got a lot of stuff going on here so I want to build some mood in here I want to build some some emotion let's see what happens if she spends a little bit so bring your chest this direction okay and then turn your head back toward and maybe bring that arm with the somewhat how and into the scene just do something there was bringing in here ready beautiful one two three I'm a little bit tight on the bottom here yet but I can fix that in a minute I just wanna get my lighting and kind of get a feel of okay so that's starting to happen maybe swing a little bit because I want to see um a little bit more of the feathers in that little front part okay let's take a look and then what I might do I'm at about a forty millimeter so let's compact it just a little bit that will hopefully solve my background problem there went my glasses again okay, so we can back it up a little bit more I want to compact her just a little bit more here and now I've got to raise by light that becomes a problem so if, um you notice that a lot of my behind the scenes I'm really close I might lenses literally underneath here and that means I have to have a wider lens but it gives me the ability to really find two in that shadow here I have to raise this so that's going to add some definition underneath everything that could be good but so I'm limited now to help um you know, close I could get but let's tear this right here one, two, three and I've got a little bit of film so that's looking pretty good in terms of value and maybe lost a little bit of value on her face. Now I might be able to go back to that because now that she's turned sideways and I don't need an apple box for that so an apple boxes air must in a studio five clicks kind of working five thirds or half stops are usually what I do okay, so let's let's do this right here is perfect okay ready that's about right in terms of actual like your hands here much better see she dropped her hand down here a little bit so here's all this look at this great stuff that's going on here and then the face looks pretty good little hollow here we see a little bit of highlight on her cheek right here. Now her hair is blocking her face on the other. You know, from that one side, but do this. Just try looking out toward like that. You know the audience. Look over it, cliff, over here. He's he's! A good looking guy is getting a look there. Ah, yes, yes, yes, yes. So watch how all of a sudden you know what I'll do don't move don't move! Don't move! I'm just gonna pull this just a little bit I want to see a little bit of the light on her cheek there so let's see what happens there? One, two, three alana, let me frame of my camera here it's a little bit off here. There we go. One, two, three perfect. So this is this is perfect. Look at that. See in the light hitting her face there now we have value here now that I'm losing a little bit there. So what I could do is and you know what? This is actually too far back if this is this would be I can run a plane right now and this touches their nose it touches the other so that's probably going to bring it that light back into it so I say this all the time and I know this is crazy but about that much moving light can make or break the shot that's how critical lighting is and a lot of photographers have been around a long time they watch me work and they'll think I never realized how much I just kind of put lights here here and kind of did it but moving the light just now watch us let's see what happens ready one two so now look her jaw it should just pop just a little bit like that value and that much better and that was moving the light I don't know a six inches eight inches so now it's starting to come together um we've got let's take I'm just going to move this forward a little bit I want to see a little is it pretty tight on there move it forward a little bit okay and I want to see that okay let's just see what happens I may botch it up can you look away again even more keep looking okay so it's starting to come together there hands are really hard really really hard because you can almost look like well in my hands are terrible but but just by doing say like you know this too this could make or break the shot right? So hands are tough you have to really look at her hands her face looks amazing but I would still try to try to see if you can pull that back how can you get that go back just a little bit just pull it back a little bit more and I want to see that cheek right? They're beautiful oh amazing that looks good she looks great, okay? And I would say let's just do this we're gonna pull this forward about four more inches I want to see if I can catch that cheek a little bit more here we go yes so everything's there now I've got a little bit of a problem here on my fill and I don't think my phil's doing all that much work so let's just take it out let's just see what happens I'm gonna take it out and just see I don't because then I could get her hand in there so zoom back just a fraction its make sure focus on her face one two that should be good now you can notice something on the back graham see the little wobbles hear through the walls on the paper any time you have a white background or any background that goes into a gray value you're going to pick up every single imperfection in that sweep so with one of the things you could do is let your seamless hang over night or spritz a little bit of water on their might help you know smooth it out not too much storing this right good point, john storing your backgrounds on on their end not on the ground but you can see what happens that little wobble now on photo shop I can clean that up but I'm just telling you as a rule when you go to grey it shows up everything so one of the things that a lot of photographers do is they'll make a hard psych they'll build a hard you know, it's not cheap to build a studio with a psych and if you have a good psych you shoot against it smooth as silk all the gray comes out you know? So I'm just letting you know that that I noticed that right away and I can fix that in photoshopped fairly easy but let's take a look but she fixed her hair a little bit oh yeah look at that gorgeous I love it. This is great. Now I'm gonna ask you to number one move your chin a little bit further away so look a little bit further try one like that and then now look different your eyes to me just kind of like that right there that's a good one to um so yeah, her eyes are a little dark not quite if I light her up mohr than it blows everything but photo shop off I'll fix that right so I have an option that later clean those eyes up because they're beautiful um but the wardrobe looks amazing so now try one just looking down okay so just kind of really relaxed so do this now just kind of like it's almost like you want to fall asleep and yet still you have a little bit of that you know kind of that position there now look at me oh yes real bright eyes yes yes yes okay so now I'm thinking about what I'm gonna put her in what's my in result it is a composite I got to make sure that I got everything that I need t end up there so let's look at the background I would say it's a little bit it's a little bit tough in terms of the knock out not bad so john all I want you to do is hold the black behind her head just all I'm concerned about is making sure that head position is got move it to this way up a little bit and so I've gotta frame it picked up some light too so maybe angle it so that yeah not drop it down right there so now I've got a frame that I can actually if I have to go back to and really pull the detail out in this great so people come to me all the time and say it's been two hours total knockout well, if you'd just taken thirty seconds and put a black up behind you'd be fine again now I probably wouldn't I'm not going to do that that often, but if she doesn't completely for change of direction I might do it again so let's try um so let's think about this I haven't done anything tight so let's do something a little bit tighter a little bit tighter and maybe what I'll do is just I'm not gonna worry about the hands someone come back to the here a little bit okay right here focus right there. See what that looks like a gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous okay know that light no, it did go off let's see what happened? Is it not really hitting her but what? I'm gonna do it just for kicks let's slide this one forward now this is probably more forward than I would normally do but let's just see what happens because your hair is coming down is blocking a little bit so let's just see what happens ready bring your chin that way that way that way we're yeah right there that looks pretty good. You look a little bit a little bit cleaner in the last one seems a little dark too now oh, you know what here's not a problem this light's not dead center over the top you say joel come on second, make that big of a difference I believe so watch we got one, two three um all I did was slide that dead center of the camera so she filled the side of her face is a bit more I just knew something wasn't quite right there and I was I was assisting a photographer bill robinson now speak our teaches at brooks um and the studio manager lost diffusion panel on the front of the modifier back then was about car and so right before the shoot he panicked and he went in got a piece of plastic diffusion and he kind of cut it out and put it in there and bill walks in first task boom something's not right, right? So he kind of looking around and he's like she's another one he didn't know was going on right? But just that changing that one panel out changed his what he's been used to write and he knew something was wrong and it wasn't till he looked what you know what you do and and so that's how it is because even though I was what six inches off center I knew something wasn't right wait a minute not dead center and so that makes a difference so I get used to something I'll tell you this is a uh quick um sort of illustration when I was in college a painted houses painted new construction painted you know existing homes and stuff but I got to where I got really good at cutting in on the line and make a straight line right and that's hours of paying four years all year and summers and whatever and so I would walk into a room and I'd look up and go what a lousy job someone did painting right? Because I have trained my eyes of four years looking at paint, you know, quality same thing happens when you start shooting is the more you shoot, the better your eye gets it looking at little teeny things that are off or just that little subtlety that you could do by one moving lights four inches will change the whole look that just takes this there's no shortcuts to that you can listen to me, you could assist me every day and you won't learn it less you're processing in your brain okay, so that that's a little bit tighter there let's see? Let me try a horizontal I love horizontal because of websites are horizontal and the way they're not, they're laid out so let's do this we're gonna do a tight one here to bring your chin toward me right there beautiful try that looking looking out that way again even more really swing your chin out right there see let's see let's see ah beautiful, beautiful I'm just gonna do this now, whenever we do a workshop, my wife always introduces, you know, the models, whatever she says, don't creep out the models, okay, so when you go on, you start touching a model's hair big. Just be careful, don't, you know, don't creep the model out she's laughing now she can't help it. No, gorgeous. Look at this. Oh, my gosh. So, in terms of a composite, I could see this really being a beautiful, beautiful, you know, sort of expanded background behind her. So let me get myself a little bit more room, some of zoom out now I'm losing a lot of mega pixels, folks, so I have to make a decision. At some point, I'm going to put the camera because I don't want just dead grey on both sides. Let's im gonna cover my butt, right? So let's, just real quick. I'm breaking my rule here. I'm just gonna pop one. So, like let's say, I was shooting her on a rock or something and she's out in the middle of the jungle or the desert or whatever to see focus let's. See what that looks like a little dark under here. I may not be able to cut that out, but I should still be able to cut it out on the on the shoes and stuff there I don't think we really thought much about the shoes on this but we do have some cool boots but anyways I'm shooting up a little bit and so now look at me do one you're looking at me yeah, beautiful all right, so let's do one thing so john come over here on this side and all I want you to do is do this just go a little bit of I really want the o'hare is pretty stupid. Not much on the hair. Well, okay, there goes, but I want to see, like, if she's outdoors there's a little bit of ah, and you know, a lot of times that just actually changes everything right? So let's see if we can capture that hold on. Okay, get actually meet back up. Okay, I gotta get your hands in there. Focus. Raise us up a little higher twisted. Come back. Okay, okay. So let's, make sure that that is a follower. There would be a disaster. Okay, so don't take your hand that right one and bring it around like you did or something, you know a little bit right there. Ready? Here, do this. I think you're safe right about here, okay, so go and it's za second after the flip it's not even doing it okay so my little trick didn't work I need a big old fan right like you know I do have a couple of fans in my studio but using this works if the hair's not ben's hair sprayed down below here goes okay so all right. Well ok so how did you get my point there's there is have used that successfully in the past okay, so we did a full length let me just before I leave this we're gonna put the headdress on let me just shoot a couple more full here stand on a rock in the middle of the you know edge of the ocean ready so let me get my focus point here already do that okay yes beautiful beautiful now do this try to maybe lift one leg a little bit just tilt in the back there just a little bit there you go. Uh gorgeous gorgeous okay, now look at me. Yes, yes, amazing. Okay, beautiful. Now try crossing that leg in front. There you go. So I have a couple of these in case I want to feel it with my tripod now I feel like I'm drunk here it's like crooked, right? But I'll have a couple of those and if I try this this is not bad either see who I'm shooting up on her here um that may not be a bad look

Ratings and Reviews


Joel Grimes reflects the true meaning of a passionate modern artist. Seamlessly blending his old school film techniques in todays ever-changing digital world with such amazing realistic results. Not only in his own body of work, but achieving the same outcome while teaching LIVE, even when things don’t always run smoothly, much like the real world. Thank you Joel for sharing your hard work and talents, your struggles, most importantly, your honest open teaching style with such detail in every segment. Much appreciate CREATIVE LIVE for keeping it real with good talent, on and off screen showcasing common humanity in us all. Indeed, a revolutionary company. Manny DaCunha.

a Creativelive Student

As an editorial and photographic professional it's refreshing to find new cerebral information that goes beyond simple instruction. It was motivating to see Joel, a highly respected professional who is successful in "real-life", display his thought process, points to be successful, and insights into his art. When you have been in the industry, working full time, you need those moments to relax, visualize and re-energize so you can look at projects with a renewed vision and passion. Joel and his Commercial Photography course did that and more for me. If my schedule allowed, I would certainly join Joel at one of his workshops. Only thing better than this CreativeLive would be attending live. Thank you Joel.

Student Work