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Shooting with a Hard Box

Lesson 29 from: Light Shaping Tools for Professional Photographers

Tony Corbell

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Lesson Info

29. Shooting with a Hard Box

Lesson Info

Shooting with a Hard Box

Let's bring in the lovely and talented Ray, and we're gonna pull up this hardbox. This is hardbox, by definition, if you go to their website, this hardbox is designed as the one tool that is the closest thing you can possibly get in the studio to replicate sunlight. So, not bad. We don't always have to big nice soft sources of light. Let's just make light, and let's make it appear like it's sunlight. So, that's what were gonna do. Oh, that's a good look. Thank you. I love that voice, I really want that voice. I really want that voice. And I want that hair, too. Jump back in there for me. I had hair once. I had a lot of hair once. Okay so, I don't think we're going to have any issues with our ambient light, so I think we're okay there. Let's take a reading, John the hardbox is plugged in? Yup. What power do you think we're at right there, do you know where... I'm on full power here, cause it absorbs a lot of light. Cool, okay, yeah, so here's the thing about the hardbox, lem...

me explain to them, let me show them what it looks like. Yeah, let me take the model light off. So, it's basically a strobe head, it's not the mono light, the D1 heads, we're using a different head, we're using the acute D4 head, and basically the head is mounted, this thing, mounts... I gotta be really careful because we took off the globe. So this thing mounts like that. So this thing just fits right down on top of the head, and inside here it's just a chamber. It's just like a mixing chamber, right? And all the light that's in this thing is completely contained and it all comes forward, it doesn't lose any light anywhere any direction. It's all matte black in there, and it can only come out one direction. And that is a shaft of sunlight looking light just blasting forward. And that's what it does, and that's all it's designed to do. It's just a fun little thing. Let me show you what it does, it's pretty cool. Normally these heads have this pyrex tube cover on front, and we took the pyrex off so just the flash tube is going directly at the subject. So you know about, there's two bulbs there. The flash tube and the modeling lamp. We just need the flash tube to just blast away at us. There we go. Okay, so lets look at placement again. You wanna hit that? Great. So I can see my arc up there, so I can see that I'm hitting him right about there with the brightest part of the light. So, we're gonna take a meter reading. Let's do it this way, there, looks closer. Okay, let's take a reading, and we'll see what this says. Here we go, test. 8 even. F/8? Oh we wanna power back up from the other test. There we go, here we go, go. 16. So we're at f/16. This is just...imagine this is sunlight. So I'm taking my color balance, from daylight, I'm driving right passed shade... I'm driving right passed cloudy, I'm going right into shade, to add two steps of warmth to my picture. Hey, sunlight should be warm, right? Cause I'm weird like that. Okay, so, let's take a picture and see what happens. Hey go ahead and put your hands in your pockets for me and just separate your feet quite a bit, and just, you're straight on, just like that, little bit of an attitude there, and bring your head around to me just a tiny bit this way, just bit, this way, right there, yup. Cool, I like that. Uh, sorry, 16? 16, yeah. Here we go, here we go, here we go nobody moves. Watch this, watch this, you hear this "whoomp" when this thing fires off? That's pretty cool. He looks like me. I love this look. And I've warmed it up just a little bit, I've given it just a little hit of warmth. And where it differs from just the bare head, or just with a reflector head, is I don't lose any energy, look at where... Power wise, we're at f/16, and look how far away we are, we're a long way away, and I'm still at f/16. So it's got direct...I mean it's a powerful, powerful light, and it's just like a fire hose, you turn on a fire hose and that water just blasts out, that's what's happening here. That light is just blasting forward out of there. And it's just a cool look, I just want to look at the histogram real quick. Histogram looks great, man it goes all the way across, doesn't it? Okay, I'm pretty happy with that. Let's do a couple of variations here. Let's do another one of these, a little bit of a smile on one of these, right in there, there you go, there you go, good, good, good, oh this is for the poster at Chippendale's right here. This is the one (laughter). He's like, wait dude. Good, good, good. We're supposed to put him in a bathing suit. That's right, with the sunlight. John can we push back the front elements and bring that guy around a little further. Try not to kill myself with this. In fact, you know what, let me do this, let's do this. Distance wise I think we're okay, but I'm gonna bring this down just a bit. And then I'm gonna take it up higher. Let me check for placement. Sometimes you have to go to... On this kind of small sources, it's a good idea to get into the habit of walking to the subject and looking and then directing, you don't know where the light needs to go. Go that way, just spin, spin, spin, spin, spin, spin, spin, that's it, that's it, okay. So, this time, let's... I wanna turn you just a little bit to that side. Your hips and your legs, yeah but I wanna bring your head back this way. Turn, turn turn, I want your chin up. I want your eyes right up here. In fact, turn your head just a little bit further. And let your eyes come up a little bit higher. Maybe higher, right...yeah, yeah right up to there. There you go, that's it, that's it. Holy Toledo, holy Toledo, that's an actor right there ladies and gentlemen. Good, chin down a tiny bit, good. You're eyes right at me on this one. Right here, good. Boy that sounds good when it goes off, I love that sound. We had one...a 4000 watt second pack, at one point, and it just felt like there was a lot of power coming off of, if you stick your hand right next to it, you could almost feel it, so we took a piece of plane notebook paper, and just folded it and made a tent, like a stand up V, and stood it right in front of the flash and hit the test button, and it fell over. It knocked it over. These things have a lot of energy coming out of them. Okay, look at that, that's cool. How's our exposure? All we did was what the meter told us to do you guys. It's sunlight, that is absolutely sunlight. Let that clear up, there you go. Can you see the little bursts in his eyes almost? Let me see if I go into...sorry. You can almost see the star burst coming off the sun, cause we're at f/16. It's called spherical abberation. When the aperture is closed down to a small enough number, any bright highlight specular, will mimic the device it has to go through. So, the trick for this, is if you wanna be a really cheesy wedding photographer, you get yourself a piece of black cardboard and put it in front of your lens out here on top of your lens shade, and you cut the hole in there to the shape of a heart, and then you shoot at f/11 or f/ at the altar with the bride and groom, and everything's gonna look fine, and they're gonna look fine, but the candles are gonna be little hearts because of spherical abberation. (chuckles) That's what's causing it. Did you know about that, isn't that fun? Okay, I wanna back up and put him against that paper a little bit. Yeah, and let's bring that a little bit closer to him. And, to your left now, in that little gap right in there, little bit more, little bit more, okay, good. I know I can't get you to lean against that paper. You know what we might do... Do you think we could quickly... I'll do it on the next one, I'll do it on the next shot, we'll roll up that paper and use the bricks, yeah. So just kind of back up as close as you can get to that without smacking into it, and just fold your arms for me, and I wanna turn you that way. Yeah, and you're just standing on the corner, you're just relaxing on the street corner. And just turn your head back to me. Turn, turn, turn your head, and just let your head come down, just let your chin come down, you're just relaxing and you know, you just finished a job, and you're tired and you're waiting for a bus. I thought that was kind of fun. I'm just checking with you guys every once in a while to make sure you're, you know, you're breathing. Yeah I like that a lot. So for me we're getting into something here that could be an album cover picture. Let's flip my camera around horizontally and let's let the shadow be a part. That's it, that's it, go that way a little bit further, around the corner. I'm just elongating the shadow just a bit. That's it, that's it, and I'll just get it into play a little bit more. Can you let your chin come down a little bit more. Just head down and yeah, yeah, that's it, right in there, good, good, good, good. I like that, let's do one more of those. Do this for me, can you just let your hands go down, and maybe bring your... Maybe let your right hand just come up and just throw it up over your head, and you're just, like over the top of your head or something, you're just worn out, you're just tired. I dunno, I dunno if I like that. It might be the other... Swap hands, swap hands, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, good. That's it, and just let your eyes close, right there, good. Nice, I like that a lot, I like that a lot. It's just a little bit of a mood, it's just a little bit of a mood light, it's just a little bit of a mood maker, right? The sunlight can be, if you think about it there doesn't have to be a rule on the shadow, or the highlight, and the size, and the softness and all that, let it get gritty occasionally. Let your pictures show more depth and variety, I guess. You don't always have to do the same thing. I had a friend that one time said you know if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. So, try some new things occasionally. And this is a good test. And if this warmth isn't enough warmth for you, you can change the color temperature in your camera, or you can put a warming gel over it, and just tape a sunlight gel over it if you want, to really make it look like sunlight. But I think it's a really fun look, a really cool look. I wouldn't mind playing with that pose a bit more too. Yes sir? Just a quick one, you obtained your sunlight by just going to shade on your white balance? Yeah, all that did is introduce warming, introduced warmth into my color balance. And if you want more, you can go fine tune it on your... I can fine tune it in post production or I can fine tune it here, I can go into my kelvin, color kelvin temperature and just alter the color temperature. I can do it that way, yup. You know, fun thing about that color temperature, people sometimes forget if you really need that sky to be screaming rich and deep and blue, then go to tungsten on daylight, and that makes the blue come in, so then you need to put a tungsten correction filter over your flash, and you get these crazy blues, these great colors. So yeah, it's fun. Okay, relax for just a second. Since you are already here, let me grab you, miss Stacy. Thank you sir, have a seat for a second. Let me grab you my dear, and let's do... I wanna do one or two real quick pictures doing the same thing here, and then I'm gonna change and put up the... Let's put the spot for now up. Yeah, good, and just put your hands in your pockets and just, you're worn out. Turn your head, yeah, just let your head go down, turn it the other way though. Turn your head the other way, and just push your head back. Yeah, there you go, gotta see your face a little bit, That's it, that's it, lower that light for me, just straight down about six or eight inches, down, down, down, down, I'm just watching her shadow, a little bit more, there you go, there you go, good, good, good. So by the time I finish that, and edit that with black and white, this one right here, that one. Go ahead and close your eyes. I'm a little hot there aren't I? Oh yeah, we gotta close... No that's okay I'll get it here. Good, good, good, yeah I would give this a little grit in black and white, and do something fun with it. Yeah, question? Using this technique, how would you fill the shadows if you just wanted to bring them up a little bit? Great question, there's a couple things that you can do, I mean obviously you can bring in your reflector, and reflect into the shadow side opposite, right? But if I want to be careful, and not get into the shadow too much, and I don't want to mess around with the shadow on the wall, what I could do, I could take that light and move it around to this side of the set, in here I wouldn't do it today because of the nature of what we're doing here, but in an ideal world I would probably work with that light over on this side of my set, and let it... There's a lot of light coming out of there, so I would tilt the head slightly to the left. Look at all this white wall I got over there. And I would let it bounce off of that white wall. And it will just totally fill in her shadows for me. And putting out the white wall can bring in... Just big old 8 foot foam core. - 8 by 8 foam core. You know a lot of people don't know about that. If you get two sheets of foam core, you get white on one side and black on the other side, because you get two of those, and then make a V out of them, just put a piece of gaffers tape down the center, so they become what's called a V flat. So it's white and white facing, or black and black facing. So you're adding light or taking light away. And that goes back to, the reason for that, one of the great things about that it goes back to that sequin discussion about your blue sequin dress that you don't have. A white V flat in the shadow side, fills in all of your sequins, and it didn't cost me another light. It just opens up all the sequins. But yeah, I would put that light over here, and you can imagine I mean just look over there, I can imagine just spitting that light over there and just letting it bounce, and it's just gonna come right in and open up the shadow. Yeah, that's good, good question.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Corrective Lighting Techniques for Portraiture
Light Meter Display & F-Stop Setting for Exposure
Scene, Subject, & Light Contrast Article
Judging Image Effectiveness Criteria
Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

Stefan Legacy

Bought this class on sale for 19$ and it was a great buy considering it was my first class I purchased on CL. Tony is an excellent teacher and demonstrates extensive knowledge on lighting and different uses of modifiers. Overall this is an excellent course for any one who is interested in learning studio lighting, this will give you a great detail of information.

a Creativelive Student

This is my first time watching Tony Corbell teach and work he was great! I am a natural light photographer and this class made me think about picking up some lights and umbrellas! You can tell he absolutely loves what he does. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

a Creativelive Student

Important information if you want to be a photographer. Great teacher, good pace!!

Student Work