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Flash Exposure

Lesson 2 from: FAST CLASS: Studio Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

2. Flash Exposure

Next Lesson: White Balance

Lesson Info

Flash Exposure

the next thing that will be talking about are the settings in your camera that actually change how your strobe looks. The exposure because your shutter isn't going to make a difference in your weight balance isn't going to make a difference to the exposure of your stroke, but aperture and I s O will. So when you are shooting in the studio, let's take a look at all the different things that will change how this light looks. There are four main things, and this is really good to know because sometimes you can't change one. So you've got to change another. Like, for example, maybe my strobe output. Okay, so let me go through what they are. First one is aperture. And so I'm assuming most of you that are watching have some idea of the Maybe you've heard of the exposure triangle. Basically, what changes the exposures in your images? Well, aperture is the size of the hole in your lens, and the bigger that hole is, the more light it lets in smaller. The whole is the less light it lets in. This...

is your number one control in camera for changing how your strobe looks so we'll put a slide up for that as well. I s So we're probably familiar with eso is a sensitivity of your sensor toe light. So if you're in a low light situation, right, you bump up the so you make it more sensitive to like you could do the same thing in the studio. Next one is strove output, which basically means on the back of my strobe. So I turn it up or down, like, how much power? Um, I telling it to give me and then the last one we're going to get into in another segment. But this will affect the flash exposure, and it's the distance of the light. So we're just going to talk about these ones right now, but we will definitely get into the last one. All right. So as I said, aperture, how much light do you let in? Okay, so I always use my bucket of water. Example. If anyone has seen me present on lighting, I will mention this over and over and over and over again when I was trying to figure out how light works because it's kind of a funky thing, like it's not tangible like, how does it work? I compare it toe water. And if you think of light like water, it actually helps simplify a lot of the things you're trying to figure out. Um, so, for example, with Africa, if you've got a big bucket of water, a big bucket of light and you've got a really tiny hole to throw it through when you toss that bucket of water, most of it doesn't go in right. It hits the edges of that whole, but you get a little bit of water through. However, if you've got a gigantic hold to throw that water through, all of it goes right through, so that bucket of water is light. If you think of it in the studio, if your exposure from the strobe is just really, really bright. If you make the whole smaller, less water gets through so the picture won't be as bright or the subject won't be is wet. But if for some reason you're taking a picture, it's just too dark. If you open up your aperture, you make it bigger. You're letting more light through. You're going to let make that exposure be brighter. So that's your main control in camera of how you are going to change your exposure. Okay, so the next one is isso and that just changes the sensitivity to light. And you guys have probably experiences on location. Like I said, low light condition. You bump up the I s so everything will look brighter. So how I'll use this is maybe I'm shooting in the studio and I don't know, maybe I put my camera on eso 400 and I'm trying and I've got my light turned down all the way and everything still too bright and I'm closing down my aperture. And now I meant, like F 16, everything still too bright. Well, the other tool you have is maybe your eyes so is too high. You can lower it down for 400 201 100. So these things all kind of relate together and their tools you can work with Then you have to remember, as always after tricks affects depth of field and I so eventually you'll run into noise. So it's like you just kind of balancing these things in your head. And the last one is how much light does your strobe actually put out. And so if you already know what is so you wanna be at and what aperture you want to be at, you can leave those b and ideally, just change the output of your stroke. So that's usually my go to Like I walk into a studio space I know what I want my aperture to be at I know what I want my shutter speed to be at I know what I want my eye so to be at And then I see if I could make the stroke match what I wanted to be just by turning it up and down I will talk a little bit about how to figure out if you're set at the right settings So all right, so this is what I come out with. Um, when you're choosing a studio, Strobe, we'll talk about this tomorrow. You have to look for things like wattage, which just means how much like how big is that bucket like? How big could that actually throw water? How much water is contained in that light source? Potentially the other thing that you're gonna wanna watch out for we'll talk tomorrow is the variability of the stroke. How far can you turn it up? But how far can you turn it down? And this will depend on, like, what size space are you in? Are you trying to overpower the sun? Or, like, really big spaces or you in a tiny little space? This will make a difference for what you select for your wattage of lights and then the variability of your stroke. But that's just a variable. We'll talk about tomorrow as well, and we're gonna talk about distance next. Okay, so let's kind of put some of these things together. Can I have my lovely model for a second? All right. So I get this question all the time. Hi. How are you? You can take a seat. Um, okay. The question I get all the time is actually on the next slide. Do you need a light meter? And if so, which one do you buy? Okay, so I'm ready for the hate mail. I'm totally ready for it. Um, if you're just starting off, it is a useful learning tool. But you can make great pictures with or without a light meter. In the past, when you're shooting film and So this is what I'm saying is applying to people that are using digital photography, DSLR or whatever it may be, Um, in the past, what would happen is you had to use a light meter to know if your light was set correctly for your camera. Nowadays, if you were shooting raw, you can chimp on the back of your camera to know if you're close enough. The reason I'm telling you this is twofold. First of all, if you're looking to invest in studio gear and you just don't have the money, don't feel like you can't light or like you're not going to be good at studio lighting. It's not the case at all. The second part is now that I am more comfortable with studio lighting, I will just tell everybody I hardly ever use one. It is very seldom feel free toe like send hate mail. I'm okay with it. I know how to use one. I know when to use one. The number one time that I use my light meter is when I know I have to get something exact and be able to reconstruct it in the future. I can always get it toe look right by chipping and because I know my lights. But if I need to recreate it, I usually want to know exactly what everything should be set at. Alright, so let's just roughly take a look at how these things all work together. All right? So if I go ahead, I'm gonna sit on my camera right now. The things we've talked about so far, I'll get toe white balance and just a little bit. All right, so I'm gonna set my white balance, but we'll talk about it. All right? So I said you want to set it at or near your sync speed, so I'm shooting in manual. So everybody who does not shoot in the studio, you've never done this before. You need to shoot in manual. You can't shoot an aperture priority. You can't shoot, and everything has to be manual. Don't be overwhelmed. You have control of everything. It's not like outdoors. Where manual Maybe, um, Cloud comes in, and then you exposures wrong, like everything's under your control. So set your camera on manual exposure settings. Then the first thing I'm going to set is my shutter speed, and I'm going to set it toe 1 2/100 of a second. Because that is my cameras sync speed. All right, The next thing is, I'm going to set the ISO and I So generally that all set is whatever the lowest my camera can do. Natively. So mine is I So 100. I know some people out there your eyes so might be 200 for certain cameras. That's the lowest it goes. It's fine. Really makes not that big of a difference. So I've got my shutter speed set. I've got my isso set. And now I'm like, OK, so let's get this strobe ready. But I have no idea what power it's at, where it should be. I'm just gonna turn it on and see what it looks like. Okay, So one thing you can dio is you can guess. I'll tell you how to get rid of the guesswork. What you could do is you could say All right, let me take a shot here. A lovely model, uh, trauma trigger. We'll talk about that later too. Okay. Okay. Let's make sure everything's OK. So if my friends will bring up light room or the tethering system will take a look at this so you can look at your photo. And I decided I just let it be whatever. It was up there and I shot at f 10. Okay, so here's the downsides and upsides of this is I could look at 10 right now and I can decide if I like that or not like you could make a judgment decision, if that is too light or too dark for you. Okay, so let's say I'm looking at it, and I think I think it's a little dark. Maybe so. Let's go to what? Our controls air. What can I change to make this brighter? Well, the first thing I could do is I could turn off the power of the stroke right now. Notice it's all guessing. So this is like kind of a guessing game. You can try to get it right this way. So I just bumped it up a few points. Let's see if it looks any better. So maybe I think this photograph looks better and I control I didn't change a single thing. Same aperture, same shutter speed. Say my cell. All I did was changed the output of the stroke. So that's one place you could start. Okay, so now me do a different example of what you could dio I'm gonna turn it back to where it waas. So we go back to our too dark of photo, perhaps. Okay, so this is going back to the original settings on the strobe original settings in my camera. Well, the next thing that I could do is I could look at this and say All right, you know what? Maybe my strobe is already at its highest or lowest power. I can't change it so I can say it's a little dark. What can I dio toe? Let more water in? Let more light in Because I wanna lighten that exposure up. I know I can open up my aperture. I'm gonna make that whole for the water. Bigger so that it's going to be brighter. She'll be wetter from the light. So let's open it up. And I was at f 10. It It turns out your camera said if you're half stops, quarters are third stops, but let's say I wanna pop down to like F 7.1. Depends on how you have a camera set pop down a little bit and give this a try. Okay? All right. So now everybody, tell me what I did. You'll see it. Okay. I wanted to include this because if you've never seen the black bar, if you've never been in the studio, you have no idea what I'm talking about. This is what I'm talking about, that you'll see if you go ahead and you shoot faster than your sync speed. So my cameras to 200 on. I'm at 2. 50. So this is something, especially if you're not familiar with your camera and you're trying to change shutter speed and apertures, and you just don't realize that you bumped it. This will happen all the time. You'll get used to it. All right, So but I look at her. Let me fix it now with the correct sync speed, I look at her and now this is a better exposure for me, in my opinion, without knowing any numbers, the other thing I could do is maybe let's say that I wanna pretend my light is really weak. Okay, so this is I just turned down the power. Let's pretend my light is a really weak light. You have very, very low wattage. Not much output. Alright, so I look at it and right now it's really dark, But I don't really wanna go really wide open. Maybe it's I'm photographing a little kid, okay? And I don't really wanna have to open up my aperture to 2.8 or something because they're moving around. I think I'm not going to get them in focus. So perhaps I feel comfortable shooting at a doe or 7.1 in this case. But my light, it's a week light. I can't turn it up. Alright. My aperture. I don't want to mess with that. I know my shutter speed doesn't make any difference. So the last thing I can change is I can change my I s l and so that if I take my eyes so from to let's try on may be a little bit darker, I can get it much closer, right? So, so far you notice everything's been guessing and everything is me just kind of looking at the back of my camera and saying, Do I like it right? So here the pros and cons to that. All right, So one of the benefits of just looking and guessing is that you don't have to have another piece of gear, right? You don't have to buy that light meter if you're on a really tight budget. Okay, But another benefit is sometimes what looks good to you is not necessarily what is correct to the meter. Like I like to shoot my skin tones a little bit overexposed. I like to shoot them a little bit brighter. And so if you're given exactly what the light meter tells you exactly what you're supposed to do it it might not actually be what looks best. The downside of that is several fold. For example. I'm guessing, and it takes time. Like if you were on a tight schedule and you want to make sure it looks good. Well, I'm chipping and I'm changing things like it might be easier to have a light meter that just tells me what it's supposed to be set up. And the other thing, of course, is the back of your screen. Some people, maybe it's not exactly accurate. Or maybe it's not the best way to look at your image. So if you want to use a light meter, this is what you would dio and the light meter that I have here is the sick. Connick Late Master Pro l 47 8 d R Here's the good news. Any light meter will work. It doesn't matter. It could be 25 years old. It's doing the same thing. It really doesn't matter. The thing that's cool about one of thes is it's it's touch screen, so it's all fancy. And if you have one of the nicer, um, meters, you can actually trigger your flash from the meter. Instead of having toe hit the test button to make it flash, you'll see what I'm talking about. Um, there are other things that it does, but good news. An inexpensive 1 60 70 bucks will totally do the job. Or, if you know somebody who has one that doesn't use it anymore, and you want to give it a try, especially if you're trying to learn photography, use whatever they have. All right, So what I'm gonna dio is I'm going to set the things I already know from my camera. So we already said I s o 100 is where I wanted to be. So I'm setting that in my meter and I already know that I'm going to shoot one to hundreds of a second, So I've got that. So what this will dio is when I have her hold this and I trigger the flash. It will tell me that last piece of the equation It will tell me what aperture I should be shooting at, and so it takes, takes out that guessing game, and it lets you know roughly where you're supposed to be. All right, So if you've never used a light meter before a couple things to consider there are absolutely like you could actually teach a pretty decently long class on light meters and like don't in and out and where you're pointing it late ratios, and that's too complicated for what we need. So here's the basis of what you need to know. I want the dome out. Anyone it pointing. You don't want to hold it like here. You want to hold it right next to her face or have her hold it because because if I'm really, really close to the light, it's changing what it will read for an exposure, so you can't just go over there and say like, Oh, what's my light reading and hold it here? The light is going to be drastically different and you'll get the wrong reading. So you do actually have to have her hold it basically right up next to her face. And where I do. What I do is I have her pointed back towards the camera, and I have for put it on the highlight side of her face, like the side where the lightest If you're light center, you can hold it in the center. But, for example, if my light was like way over here, I wouldn't want her to point it this way cause it's not getting the light. It's getting the shadow side. So if it were over here, just kind of more or less pointed towards that light. Okay, so we're going to try it right here and let me let me just hold this because it's cool. Yeah, exactly. So there's a button on the side that will say, Measure, it's gonna be that one, but I've already hit it for you, so just hold it right next year, eyeball and you can hit the test button on the back of your strobe. You could take a picture if you wanted, but it'll give you a little flashlight. Perfect. So with this said, I don't know if you guys can read this, but what it told me is based on the settings that I gave it, I s so 1 2/100 of a second where the slightest placed I should use an aperture of five. So it's getting rid of that question mark for me. I could just fiddle around until it looks good, but then this gives you a little bit more accuracy. So let's take a look. I'm gonna put those settings into my camera. I am so 101 200 of a second 50 and let's see if it looks good. If I like it, okay, Perfect. And it's pretty perfect exposure, so that would be a benefit. You get it right right away. You're making sure that you're close, but you can guess. And if you don't trust yourself to guess, that's another reason. Like maybe you don't quite know yet what overexposed is like your eye. You don't feel confident. You know what? Too dark or too light is you're not there yet. You just wanna make sure it's a good, correctly exposed photo. That would be a use for light meter. All right. So can I go back to the keynote for a sec? All right. So just to give that little summary dome out generally on the side of the face where the main light is, in this case, just a little bit to the left hand side. Um, sometimes different flashes have different modes. Like if you see a sunshine, that means it's looking for ambient light, like if you're outdoors using the light meter. So in the studio, you want a little flash icon. You set your Issel, your shutter speed, and you test the light, and that's how it works. So it's like the very basics of using a light meter. So I'm going to summarize where we are so far and getting this all set up. So far, we've got our shutter speed figured out. You want to shoot at or near your sync speed, which is usually around 1 2/100 of a second, and not slower because you pick up ambient light. Okay, Part number to your aperture. You can pick whatever aperture you want. There are some down signs of picking certain apertures. What I usually do in the studio is I pick F eight. And so that's what we're gonna use at Fader F 11. That's what I'm going to use most of the time. And here's the reason, um, shooting in the studio right now for her. I am not trying toe have a narrow depth of field like a nice, blurry background because I'm just shooting on greater White like it's not like there's any distraction I'm trying to get rid of. And I'd rather not shoot at, like, 40 and have a chance of her moving, and I happened to get the focus off like a f A. I'm gonna get her and focus. The other thing is, many of our lenses are sharpest around F eight F 11 area, so this is going to be a number that is a happy medium, no matter what lens you have. If it's, ah, you know, really expensive high end land, or if it's a lens or if it's a kit lens, so we're just going to say F eight for now, you can shoot at 2.8 at 1.4 if you wanted to. And your lights had that ability, we're going to stick right in the middle. And I would say, 95% of the time I'm shooting at F eight or F 11. Unless I'm not paying attention, which happens next one isso. Whatever your lowest isso is, unless you need to change it for some reason. And we talked about how strobe output makes the difference. I s own aperture. They all kind of affect what this strobe looks like.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Dennis Day

Awesome class. Lindsey Adler is an excellent teacher. She explained some basic concepts that I couldn't figure out on my own. The section showing 1, 2, and 3 light setups moves pretty fast. So I'll watch that again. This Fast Class was nice for me because I don't have time to do a full lengthy course.

Colin Cunningham

Great Course, Lots of great information through a variety of examples. Learned tons from this course, and loved the wide variety of lighting setups for Male and Female models as well as groups. Would recommend it to anyone new to portrait photography.

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