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Studio Light Q&A

Lesson 12 from: The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Sue Bryce, Felix Kunze

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Lesson Info

12. Studio Light Q&A

Next Lesson: Review

Lesson Info

Studio Light Q&A

so I've set through lighting sinners lighting workshops lighting talks with some of the best lighters in the country they don't understand it I just don't understand it and I'm not stupid trying to add it's always this added complexity sorry I'm looking with camera again so if I don't understand it in the thousands of other photographers there don't understand it and when the whole point of doing this was I just the photography that felix stars and the photographers that he works with I love the lighting like they're lighting is the beauty that I see an image is when I look at them sounds like you need to show me how to do that I need to know how to do this on and they need my wit to be this beautiful I actually want to leave felix for this last bit because you don't know him you know a lot about me um is you know I'm an open book uh so I'm gonna leave him and you guys can ask felix any personal questions I feel like it's incredibly relevant that felix has worked for these photographer...

s I feel like I know why they chose him because he is somebody who's without that you go to learn and he is discreet and he's helpful and he's never afraid ofthe living somebody else go up never let it never be afraid of letting anybody stand with you like this the stage is not mine it is mine to be shared and I would share it with anybody that has got something to give a k a teacher just gifts and that's why I like finding people like clara like felix because open book excited about teaching love sharing but also are still shooting too okay so I'm gonna leave you with felix and um he can finish this day off and I'll see you all tomorrow and I just want really want you to get tonight this man and his lighting thank you thank you thank you so I wanted to run you guys through this again remember this is the last light wraps skylight rapid I think it's called I use it because it travels with me and I love it you can just put a silkscreen here it does the same thing yeah sure let's just do that really quickly comes off the stand you can get someone to hold it it's not that heavy on dh thes little clips they just clip off on dh I'll let john do that while I walk through if you just take it over to the side that just clips off and actually folds into little bag and I just wanted to show that because I think it's kind of neat on and then we have a light here this is angled down to my kind of mimic where the sun might be coming from and it bounces off that wall and actually if you imagine you see how it's hot here were actually creating this window shape this window direction from here and then it's coming back in so I'm really going close to where it is and I wanted to demonstrate it with this because so easy to translate thiss do this does that make sense so you could do this with the speed light and again you're gonna buy one of these because you can profit off like this and you can shoot sports and you can do it quickly with the speed light that thing's gonna overheat in a second you have to wait it's also not you know this is already a little bit of a bigger light source and it's not as reliable and that's all you get with the higher equipment you know it's people ask me all wide why do you use this high end equipment to be honest it's just what I ended up using and I managed to buy a second hand from you know people I was working with was beat up as as all and my first light that I bought with seventy five pounds that's a hundred dollars on dh it kind of like a care click it pops and then I have to wait three seconds and I click and I pop but I shot girls jumping ballet and I just said ok one two three jump up and I use that a lot and that's how I experimented so you don't need to get this we will give you and the bonus material a list of what this is if you have the budget by all means you can't go wrong but you can also just by on ebay you know alien what is it called the alien be alien bees and they you know there's one issue with them is the color temperature changes it doesn't really matter you're not shooting a commercial you know and it's perfectly valid to start with that so john bring that back in am I going too fast anyone have any questions people were wondering how much the last light weighs like is it heavy do you ever have any problems using it like outdoor in the wind yes my um I had to shoot the other day I had one assistant holding a light one assistant holding this and we were in the water on dh he actually had this wedged into the back off his like his back and another system was holding it but they had to kind of both hold it and it's kind of a sale yeah but it's quite lightweight when I pack it down I know all these figures because I travel so much it's about nine pounds the bank so that's nine pounds of shoes and clothes I can't bring with me right so it just pops apart just pull it over on dh just pull these guys this way just show that this's probably as geeky as we've gotten isn't it but I have to say a suit is going toe be here with rolling your eyes at me for doing this but it just packs up like this just drop it down on the floor it does that nita and it goes a little bag and you roll the scrim up and then people like you brought that with you I was in taiwan a couple weeks ago and when I pulled all these things out of my bag so like where did all this stuff come from you just pulled one little bag but I spent a lot of time figuring out my travelling kit because I'm doing that so much on dh so that's why I love this I wanted teo does that make sense in terms of what we did here any other questions about that please what about on the chat rooms absolutely let's go ahead and start here in the room if we've got anything to talk about ok eso one of things that I think people are wondering is the kind of difference between when do you use this like when do you shoot with natural light versus with the artificial because people were saying like well it just seems like the natural light is so much easier course so when do you use the site so someone said to me you have to be brave enough that if you have a sixty thousand dollars budget budget that's hyperbole but if you have a big equipment budget and you've hired a bunch of equipment on the light outside suddenly becomes nice run outside and do it you know what if you live in a new york city apartment and your window is literally a hole that goes into kind of a dark like little shaft and they just they satisfy their legal requirement to have an outside light but that's not going to get you your photograph you know I have commercial assignments on dh it sometimes it takes me hours to set up but I know if I change you like if I'm shooting jury and I have ten different looks I need every one of those two look the same if I'm shooting a lookbook for a fashion label they're gonna you know that's where you're shooting the entire line the model changes comes back it all needs to look consistent anything you do for for web retail any campaigns you need to control that light on this that's where this is really important and using window light like this is only one set up on dh you know if if let's say sue had a client that needed to shoot a hundred looks in a day that's not gonna happen between ten and ten a m and two p m I should have to say let's do over five days or higher felix and we can do it all day all night and just get it out of you know if you remember lighting is also to give photographers flexibility if you're shooting so much that you don't have you can't worry about weather delays you have to if you have ah have a thunderstorm going on outside and it's so dark you have no light you'll have to revert to using artificial light and the other point about that russ is this is not yes you could just go back to a window but what I wanted to achieve in this workshop is get people to try it get people to get over that hump of deciding that they don't know how to this is so simple you know anyone could do it you can do it with your little speed like you could do it with the old flash you buy on ebay or finding the in some old bargain bin and you know that's what I found a little I photographed the the actress and singer juliette lewis won my first things the shot is still my website and I walked into this club in london called cocoa on dh she was backstage and she's kind of sitting then she's built beer on herself who and I have no idea what I was doing none I mean this is my mom had gotten me the backstage access this is how long ago this was my mom on dh I just shot I just was like I remember someone saying shoot this flash off the ceiling and then a couple years later I had this heirloom flash that I'd used I showed someone they're like yeah that's from nineteen seventy two that's like uh but it worked you know so I want someone to want you guys to say right I can put a light into one of my situations and try it because then that opens up a whole other world for you it opens up flexibility and opens up the flexibility to say that's not for me but if you never tried another question going this is our mark christopher who wants to know if you could help him by comparing scrim lining with the large soft box are off the box okay and what would be the difference in effect there um a large if you can get a really large doctor box that's really beautiful and it creates a soft light the problem with most self box this is I said before you're pointing that light into and directly at the subject and it kind of ends up giving you a hot spot that's why don'tyou soft boxes and no matter how much I've tried they've always frustrated me I use a lot of screams I use some other modify us but if you don't know how to use those this is actually a really simple set up so in your mind you're always trying to recreate that window okay let's get in a conversation about this has been kind of like soft softer light so well let's talk about like high contrast light because I know we've talked about this you know and a lot of photographers just take a twenty eight inch soft box put it right up in somebody's face and you have like just you know incredibly high contrast so when do you use that life when the model is sixteen on dh doesn't have bags under their eyes and if you want to do that cliche thing with you really show someone's you know the wrinkles in someone's face yeah character that's a nice way of saying it yeah but I I personally I'm always looking for soft light I'm always looking to you know sometimes and I've seen a lot of photographers were with your beauty beauty lighting and you're really like giving a harsh light but that's on professional models you could get away with it from uh you're who you are is a photographer and less technical right about lighting so can I wait for that love it let's do it okay so we've learned a lot about soup rice and her previous create life courses and hurt her journey towards where she is today and you just want to ask you about your journey so you have worked with some amazing world known yeah they keep mentioning that I'm like oh my god you are you know I didn't want to make it about that right now but you've become the photography are today through those experiences so I wanted to know you know as for someone starting out um working with others at what point I mean for me I don't feel like I could ever learn enough so what point have you come into your own as a photographer I guess is that's my question I woke up this morning and I was like I don't think I can do this you know it's my first workshop in high height I don't I'm not afraid to admit I was terrified you know and that it's I think suit talks about that interplay of doubt and knowledge and actually I the way I become I make myself confident is by looking back at my own images and I'm always surprised how I did that you know when I have an assignment that I think I can do I referenced sometimes a reference my own work not to be like oh I'm amazing but like oh I can I can actually do this so I would wager that you are further than you think you are but we tell ourselves that we're not then too so that's my kind of answer on attention but to answer I've been shooting full time for seven years and I've been exposed to photography before that here and then I had a film camera when I was a kid but none of that I think it formed it a little bit but really it's those experiences you know I did a lot of traveling in third world countries in haiti on dh all my big opportunities came after periods where had worked like a crazy idiot hadn't slept for months wasn't in one place for more than five days and if I was too I have had some lucky situations but they all came after periods where I put everything into it and just every know we have so many opportunities that come up that we don't think opportunities you know just I used to just say yes to everything so felix uh suit talked a little bit about your personality and about how you are just a hardworking you talked about that about being passionate and really following those dreams now you were brought in kind of as the lighting expert lighting is a very technical thing it's it's numbers it's ratios what is it that attracts you personally to studio lighting why do you love it why are you passionate about it and why do you think other people shouldn't be um may I'll answer that with a joke I'm german so I think everyone thinks I have to have ultimate control maybe that's I'm german I grew up in england that's why have this ridiculous accent on dh I think that's kind of part of it I found it interesting that the end result I could achieve that's really what drives me and that's why I still don't know what power we had this on because frankly it doesn't matter what comes out at the other end is what matters does that answer your question us a little bit I mean why not yourself as an artist like we're seeing you as a as a lighting guru who is teaching a lot about lighting I want to hear about you like that I love thee too like gave us a time here to sit and talk to you personally so that we can get to know you feel I had I so I'm going to talk ok I had one of the crucial moments that happened my career was when I was shooting everything in natural light and someone said to me you know at some point you're gonna have to be able to shoot no matter what the situation and that was really a turning point for me because I finally had a reason to try and the challenge of it I think is what drove me more I could not care about technical specifications ofthe lights I couldn't care about the shape that light modifiers make I would I'll try a modifier and see how it looks I don't need someone to tell me how it's gonna look that doesn't matter to me so I don't feel I never wanted to be a lighting expert but to achieve that you know those photographers I looked up to to achieve that look that they had achieved I just wanted to learn that I wanted to also in my evolution ofthe kind of getting into this photography thing in shooting individuals I wanted to set my side myself apart a little bit you know suicides don't compete and I I think I don't really worry about what other people are doing but I wanted to always be able to add something when I'm on a job with a client over the subject I'm always so I torture myself I try to torture myself so that I'm giving them everything I can and if I can add a light in to make it soft if I can solve that you know and this is before I met soon maybe if admits to early I would never even gotten into lighting because what she does it's really amazing so that's I think kind of the impetus of why I got into lighting and it's never about the lights it's never about the equipment I do not get excited if someone sends me a big shipment of gear people talk to me about cameras and I'm like or they go what do you shoot on and I go a camera like oh being mean for reference I shoot nick on but I have shot assignments on a cannon because oh it's right here so you know you're controlling shutter aperture and I s o and that's all you're doing maybe white balance well I love that we've kind of considered you a gear geek but you're really not know you really don't care about that stuff I love it here in artist I would love to if I could do everything without anything I would love to just have no suitcases to carry with me on international flights that's my biggest nightmare and we have one more question from someone in the audience yes way from sue from usual lunch so I have a ridiculous but I feel like you were a budding photographer you weren't getting a lot of work and you also living in london and all of the seven you're assisting some of the best photographers in the world uh two things has to happen one of them is you have to believe right that you can go after that and the other one would be um there's no such thing as lucky break so what do you believe about yourself or did then that launched you into their studios because I know that you're likable cause I like you but what did you go through your personal process of believing in yourself that's a good story um so I was sitting in my little hometown in england and I have a friend who's an art dealer in switzerland is not as glamorous as it sounds it's just dude that sells out on was sitting and he says to me he says who do you really admire on my name to photographers and he goes right so scrapped the idea that there's a ladder what yeah like a ladder you climb on just go sit on their doorstep and I have looked at him like you're insane on dh I got on a plane to go to haiti this was in two thousand nine on dh this's actually me and laura were talking online and we've never met a large aid on dh so I end up in haiti twice and doing this charity project on dh I was sitting in lying down in the tent we had a tent by the runway off the haiti international airport and as working with orphans and shooting all this kind of third world stuff on dh we've been doing some fundraising and then I was lying then I thought you know maybe my swiss friend is right maybe I can sit on her doorstep and I thought maybe he was just being metaphor metaphorical so I actually was on that floor and I said I have to go back to new york I didn't have a flight booked out of haiti just the next day I called a medical transport back to if you're in a disaster zone that's kind of one of those things you get a medical flight back to miami and I got a flight to new york and that night I went for dinner with laura and she said text and we'd met and we got along very well she texted me the next day and she goes do you wantto come with me to this studio off this photographer I've got a meeting there and I don't know how to get there and I was like yes and to make a long story short that text message that she sent me in a way set me on this path that changed my life but it was it and I think you know so you're talking about this it came from that change in my mindset that the latter doesn't exist but that's a false statement but anyone that tells you all you need to work your way up really slowly no you've gotta reach for the stars and that I could just approach and find a way and if you I visualized it in when I was lying on that tent with the torrential is crawling on it which actually happened that I visualized it and I am not soppy about visualization and all these things but it is really true and that's what happened I just want to say quickly that my story to be here today mirrors that exactly that it's like filling me with emotion right now because I read wallace wattles and listened everything you said and you not only changed my photography career but you've changed me inside and um I went out on a limb and I signed a lease on a studio and I said I can do this and in my business could coach asked me who are two people whose careers you admire and I said soup rice field experience and the next day you came and sat next to me in tampa florida at a restaurant and I was like I truly I let everything go except the the honest truth that this was for me and I deserve this and he walked interesting and completely outside of that I got accepted into this class and I think when you release all of those fears and all of those doubts in yourself and you say I'm this is for me is what I want this is what I want and I finally defined it in visualized it you literally walked into my life my lodger library books on this yes you do whatever you want to holla hello the alchemist that was I read that the very beginning of my career on dh the richest man in babylon it's about money saving but in the end there's a chapter about opportunities and when I I had I had a friend who was in the media she works for channel four in bbc in the uk as a cameraman and I called her up and I said look I've been invited to go to haiti should I go and she said no it's so dangerous you need to wear a life you know like a professed don't go you know I don't want you to die and then I thought but I want to go and it was that like someone saying oh can you come to haiti that sounds like so much work you know how to fly to the dominican republic fundraise or the money sleep on the floor bathed with buckets um all sorts of things and that just sounded like such a load of work and I could have so easily said no alright I thought what if what if that is thies things happen to all of us you know these opportunities and you just have to say yes and I trained myself to say yes even when I haven't had my cup of coffee in the morning and something comes in and they go I don't want to that bag oh yeah that's actually sounds like a great idea I was terrified about doing a creative life terrified but I thought if I just say yes well then I have to do it and that's really the simplicity of it isn't it and that's actually I'm going to take that back to lighting just say yes and try it because if you don't you can't even fail and that I think is a perfect perfect spot end this that was awesome so good to be able to not only see your skill throughout the day but also to hear a little bit about what's going on inside today so that was awesome and thank you that was well christie for sharing that

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Lighting Challenge Workshop Guide Part 1
Lighting Challenge Workshop Guide Part 2
Sue Bryce & Felix Kunze - Gear Guide
The Lighting Challenge Syllabus

Ratings and Reviews

Aliah Husain

I loved this course! I purchased it as a beginner photographer, unsure of whether to shoot natural or studio light and how to get the best results. After watching the course, I am fully confident in my ability to use both natural and studio lighting in my photography. And most importantly, I feel I have the knowledge base to be able to experiment with lighting in any situation. I am both grateful and inspired by these two amazing teachers sharing their technical knowledge and a personal piece of themselves. It is clear that they genuinely care about making their students better photographers. Thank you, Sue and Felix!!!


This is the best lighting class I've done, including several in-person ones. Covers so much, and the contrast between and dialogue about the two styles (natural vs studio) was so helpful. I didn't think there was anything at all negative about how Sue spoke with Felix, which a few reviewers said. Clearly she has great respect for him, which she sincerely says at one point, and explains why. Wonderful to see specifically how they both shape light. So many topics are covered. Loved Felix's clear and specific explanations about studio lighting. This class is worth every penny.

Wasabi Ben Kenobi

This was a fantastic introduction to studio lighting, and one of the best courses I've watched on Creative Live. I've only ever done natural light photos, but I want to learn more about studio lights because I'm creating a basement studio. I'm already a big fan of Sue's approach to portraiture. Now I'm a fan of Felix's soft lighting approach, too. In this course, he demonstrates how to replicate natural light portraits with a simple lighting setup. With a big scrim, a strobe or constant lamp, and v-flats, you can do so much! I'll be watching this course again.

Student Work