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Lighting 101

Lesson 1 from: Lightweight Location Lighting

Kevin Kubota

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Lesson Info

1. Lighting 101

Next Lesson: Lighting Gear

Lesson Info

Lighting 101

well hello everybody welcome to our lightweight location lighting workshop me and my rooster friend outside and the jets they're going to be talking to you this week and you know we're on location this is awesome to be able to get to some place different ah rhea world for a situation where you walk into who knows what and what you going to do with it right so you have the workshop here is actually pretty awesome and I'm excited to do it there may be some technical challenges but it ain't gonna be a problem because we're gonna work through it what I want to teach with you guys this week is of course lightweight location lighting and let me describe that for yu lightweight location lighting means carrying minimal gear on also being able to come up with just about any sort of lighting situation you want able to tackle any sort of situation with a minimal amount of gear so I have a lot of experience as a commercial photographer as well and I've carried tons cart loads of gear I know you yo...

u know something we talked about that carrying cart loads of gear and it gets old and if we're gonna like weddings portrait ce any sort of event seniors go to people's homes to portrait's you gotta travel light I think to be able to really work to your utmost creative limits so I also want to let you know about what we're gonna do this week so this morning we are going to share a keynote with some really good lighting information cover a lot of the techniques that were going to be working on during the week sort of lay a foundation and make sure that we're all up to speed as far as what lighting terms mean like ratios the types of light we already have been the same page first and then we're gonna move on we're going to a lot of shooting the rest of this week so the morning we're going to talk about that we're also gonna build up so what we do now is going to lay the groundwork in this afternoon we're shooting for what's coming up towards the end of the week we have a really fun shoot plan for saturday and I don't think anyone's even told you guys were going to do but we'll talk about that get you get in on it and that's going to basically take a lot of what we've learned able to put it all into play you guys could help me with that shoot so we are building up we're going to start off a little easier and add things and I want to kind of have a progression of lighting skills then by the end of the week you can just pull from any of those little things there and create whatever it is you need to create right so um a little background on me real quick I've been a professional photographer for about twenty years and I started shooting weddings and portrait's and headshots and fashion and then I got the opportunity to work with a commercial photographer who taught me a lot about very controlled studio lighting so this is live so things happen right so we're uh I learned a lot about commercial lighting and that's actually where a lot of my technical skills came from but the cool thing is is after being a very technical very gear heavy a commercial photographer for a long time I wanted to come back to the minimal amount of equipment and the basics and so that's kind of what I think that most people really want to do is to travel light and to do it easy so that's kind of where we were going to come back to okay so keeping it easy uh I have a photo image tools they're gonna have no no I'm still makes software for photographers I also run a super book yusa print coffee table books for photographers the best printed coffee table books I have nothing do with airplanes I don't have any airplanes yet but I would like to fly one and I have ah almost got my pilot's licence and we have red boot design which is a design service for photographers as well so that's kind of my little background in a nutshell and again after twenty years of doing everything I could possibly think of in photography I like to come back to the basics and that's really just lighting having fun with lighting so let me jump into my lucky note here and we're gonna rock and roll this is our headquarters back in bend oregon yeah something you what have you been there before and we built this building about four years ago and again this is not something that I think every photographer needs to have and I wanted to share it just kind of show where I'm at what I'm doing and also the importance of having a space no matter how big or how small that feels inspiring to you to go to work every day it doesn't really matter if it's a big fancy space or just your second bedroom in your home you could be very successful photographer either way and we started off in our back bedroom and became very successful in waiting photography just out of a second addition to our house we didn't have an offside studio for the first fifteen years and worked very very well run through that real quick for you we walk upstairs and we like to have our meeting area's pretty sparse but only having big images on the wall again highlighting images it speaks to the heart to me and not things that I think will sell and I think that's kind of important when you think about your meeting space and what you show your clients is showing them what really uh what you're really passionate about more so than what you think will sell it that was a big mistake I made when I first started out on the walls there lots of just art image is not necessarily portrait not necessarily wedding but art images again I feel that tells your client that you're passionate about photography and you're not just selling them weddings you're not just selling them seniors but you love photography that's really really important and that at least to me when I booked my wedding photographer twenty years ago I looked for someone who had fashion who had fine art who had a variety of things and great wedding photography when I booked my wedding photographer a conference room we have ah dirty dancing contest in there as well as meeting with our clients those you saw the banter in the beginning that's where that came from all right and before you started here throughout the week I'm gonna be tweaking images we talked about some of the work flow things were gonna be doing so as we shoot I'm going to take the images right into the computer I'm gonna tweak them enhance them in light room and in photo shop and one of the tools of use of course is my own software from damage tools the dashboard for photo shop if you want to download it uh you guys can think most of you might already have it but if you want it download it from the break we can't and it's free to use the basic version with some really cool essential effects and tools is totally free it's a brand new and so downloaded you can play along with us if you want to all right so let's start talking about light and when we talk about light we're gonna talk about shadow because one of the biggest misconceptions about lighting is that lighting is about light on ly and light is as much about shadows as it is the light we're talking about chiaroscuro he has heard that term school who invented that right somebody in italy's totally invented that word we'll pretend it's like leonardo da vinci because he's like super cool and I love him he's my idol we go way back but the term simply means the play of light and shadow it's a great way to describe the mona lisa it's a great way describe images that have depth from the highlight to the shadow and have shadow which is really important it's a lot of beginning photographers over light things you know what I mean I just blasted light or they think well if I put a big umbrella here in a big light there and another big light here another one there lots of light I'm a lighting my scene but that's not really lighting that's just illuminating you're seeing but lighting chiaroscuro is when you have beautiful shadows that shape the subject and that's what we want to do this particular shot here uses some of the tools that were going to play with during the week here and some of the techniques and one of them is a very wide aperture to allow that soft soft background in the middle of the day but how do you get that white aperture in the middle of day and synchronize with your flash that's something that we're going to learn to do you using a neutral density filter sync speed of one two fiftieth with is your shutter sink speed everybody knows that the shutter speed is right say that ten times fast and it doesn't sound good so don't say that and lowering the exposure of the ambient light about a stop to maybe two stops to get something really dramatic in the background like that in the middle of the day and that's not easy to achieve and a lot of times you look in a magical power that just looks different it looks interesting I don't know really how or why I can't describe it but it does and things like that are not something the coming photographer khun take and do with that white after middle of the day and beautiful fill in flip flashlight so that's one of things I want to learn to do it to control and create looks that arm or the unique okay one of things I also want to make sure that everybody understands is that I'm not talking about abandoning natural light I've been a natural light lover for many many years the fact my wedding work is primarily natural light my way work that I become known for for almost twenty years and yet I've always known how to use artificial light flash when I need to and that's the key to be a great photographer is if you see beautiful natural light use it I don't mean because you have flashes you have to use him all the time if you've got beautiful natural light if we can open a door and there's a stream of window light coming through and it's like a gorgeous let's block off that door and bring out some flash unit's no use it maybe use it if you got it but the key to being a great photographer is I don't see any great natural light or I want to shoot right there in that corner with that wall and there is no natural light how can I then get what I want and that's what I think being a great photographer is all about the talented photographers that you can create the light you want anywhere even if it doesn't exist okay so let's go over some really essential lighting is this the beginning of this what you fall asleep on me is a little bit technical but I promise you it's very short and want to keep it simple okay so we understand first of all there's concept will need to understand we're doing the flash is the power of the candle how light multiplies and works together so let's say for example we're going to sign a unit of light so you light is cumulative so you have output from a flash put it full power boom there's a unit of light whatever that unit is it doesn't matter light adds up so I had to flash is boom boom I've now have two units of light right three flashes boom boom boom have got one two three units of light all right so this is an arbitrary let's say one unit equals f for popping another flash I've got two units of light whenever I double my light I change one f stop right so doubling your light doubling the units of light gives you one f stop if I added one more flash one more unit and I have an idea of what we might end up with could we get another s stop throat out there there's no wrong answers there's only stupid answers just know ok lansing for you nobody wants get embarrassed right now three units of light some people say uh when we're f stop fate right that would be a reasonable assumption but in actuality I'm getting f six point seven because I'm adding on ly one more unit I'm not doubling it not a mane jelly bean so if I doubled it to units to four units then I would get the next f stop f ate right and that's important because when we start working with flash and let's say we're lighting a scene and you've got one flash and it's at full power and you're saying I just need one more f stop to make this work because I'm a little under exposed you know add one more flash but say you've already got three flash head at full power trying to light up the scene on the subject and you're like I just need one more f stop and I've got it how many heads you have to add now go for it go for it you got three heads full power you need one more stop six yes six you need six heads now that's a lot that's a lot more than one so we need to know that so that we can plan and estimate how much light we're going to need for a particular scene so here here's a little another way look at it if these four little heads were f four and I needed just two more stops look what I've gotta have that crazy for two f stops mohr than f or if I'm got four flashes maxed out on a scene lighting up maybe a scrim or whatever we're gonna play these tools and those foreheads air like full power and you're out in the sun and you he barely got it but you're still like two stops under your sink ok all I need is two more stops what am I gonna need in terms of more light power hello it's a heck of a lot more power knowing this of course helps you plan and that's important helps you adjust and when you're visualizing what you're going to shoot and how you're gonna light it you need to take these things that consideration how much light will you actually need look at that cute girl you know what I didn't introduce my lovely wife claire that I was so anxious to get started because we're a little delay I'm gonna introduce claire claire come on up here come on she's going to do a fancy dance for you guys right don't say I'm going to say a joke I'm going to dance for you is my wife claire my better half and my serious partner in the business that keeps me on track when my ideas run rampant and I also need to introduce alicia alicia miller white she has two last names she's really special she's my right hand gal for ah assisting and shooting and creative brainstorming and everything else e I was told that uh by the creative live crew if I'm going to get some equipment or something I'm not allowed to like run off set and grab it cause it looks weird when I just disappear you know to grab stuff said just tell alicia or somebody to get it for you so if I like bossing her around in the workshop don'tthink that's like alicia light stand that's not exactly how we work around here but before the purpose of this this workshop it might be a little more bossy than normal which reminds me of a story I gotta share on those story you guys when I was getting started in l a is a commercial photographer we usedto like pimp ourselves out to whoever would hire us for assistance you know like fashion photographers and there was one big fashion photographer in l a that I went to assist one time me and my buddy both went to a system and on set he was like you know he liked even the other me when he gets frustrated you just stop and go come on you know now one of us had to go run and get him a cappuccino now it's like it's always dealt with the stress I'm not going to know all right so here we go light ratios you guys have heard of light ratios and I want to I want to clarify something is that light ratios are great and important to understand but this is going to be after these next couple of slides were going to be very non technical workshop so as much as it's I think it's important understand light ratios and to kind of have an idea of what a three to one or four to one or two to one light ratio is we're not going to be talking numbers we're talking about the feeling of light and my my style of lighting is more of a gut feel lighting more than lighting by the numbers and a lot of a lot of photographers educators will tell you very differently that you need to know the numbers you need to use your light meter all the time and measure and set your rations exactly that's fine that's great it's just not my style because I've been there done that and I always come back to does the light feel right that's the most important we've got it we've got our back of our camera we can look at it and we can say that's a three to one ratio but I don't like it I mean if you're gonna describe light regina described described the light it's on my face right now whatever terms comes to your mind just describe the light today there's no wrong answer there's no wrong answer well I'm really just been noticing your yellow shirt okay and um the you're very backlit there's a lot going on but then there's a lot of light coming in it's like reflecting on these two sides of your head okay good my shiny bald spot yeah okay that's good to know and your cheek all right so the point is did she go there's about a to toe wanna ratio on your face with maybe a you know ten stops speculator on your bald spot on your head no she's not talking numbers she's just talking about how it feels there's this glowy backlight shiny head whatever it is right but most of us don't think in terms of numbers light ratios and all that we think about what light feels like contrast feels nice there's great shadows there's beautiful shaping right or it's flat it's boring it's uneven so that's kind of high one approach our lighting is what mood what feeling do we want we're not gonna talk about hey I want a four to one over there in a two to one back there and let's do a sixteen point seven two one over there and then make small together taken average and see what we get all right that doesn't make a lot of a lot of sense to any till learning photographer even to an experience photographer but are for you little math slides here what's really interesting to know about this is say for example you have to eight on the shadow side of a face and if you want to show you the ratio just make that one okay that's one one unit you're two eight if I was to double okay so one stop cars doubling or having the light that before and if I had double that again I have five six so how many units would I have now on this side if I doubled it twice I have four units right so we have one unit here double it to have four double it again I get five six I've got four units in total so I've got four units toe one that's a four to one light ratio pretty straight forward right sounds good on paper but you know we get down to it all right so let's let's step up from there so what if I added one more unit and behead that that four to one ratio and I had one more unit which was the equivalent of two point eight over that so I had two point eight worth one unit to the whole scene like frontal fill light to that shadow what we had before now because I added one unit to my two point eight I have two units right that makes it four because we double it you get one more f stop but that one unit that was added to the five six this is the important part to just kind of get a grasp on because that was already four units just adding one more unit to it doesn't affect it that much that only becomes five six and an eighth this one doubled from f two eight two four this be only get an eighth of a stop more with that whole flash of f to a seat I'm saying there's there's an exponential factor going on here in that at f four or five to eight adding one unit actually doubles it now you've got double the light here but only an eighth of a stop more here which is kind of cool to know because now when we add these old up we have a two and a half to one very flat light ratio so we look at these together this is the one without the feel light this is the one with the feel light this shadow side opened up quite a bit from here to here from four to one to two and a half to one but the highlight side is almost identical is only an eighth of a stop difference here that makes sense so when you add light the point here is that when you add light to a scene the shadows will be affected muchmore than the highlights or the brighter parts of the scene and that's really important for shooting out in the sun and you want to fill flash you're gonna open up your shadow is quite a bit but the plight parts that are already bright from the sun are not going to change very much if anything noticeable because it's already so bright in that much brighter okay there's a quick question this this could come into something we like we have a scene were like natural light it's soft it's even and you've got about two eight overall and you want to kick in some light from the side to kind of create some sort of a light ray shows it's not flat and we're starting with two eight and I want to get like a three to one ratios have some dimension to their face what would I add how much light from the flash doing need everything's already to eight and I want a three to one ratio I would add f four for my flash because that's gonna give me two units right cause it to eight is one unit double that two units adding a four gives me two more units which I add to the one now I've got three units on the highlight one unit still the shadow three two one light rays show all right so let's let's do an example here waken illustrate this uh sugar packets alright I thought of this morning I was having my coffee and like how could make this make more sense so this is gonna be sweet oh I get it all right alicia come to me my friend okay well we're gonna ignore the actual light on her face but this is a lot of crazy like let's say this is an even two point eight on her face right so she's got two point eight on this side to point on that side to point everybody okay so here's hold your hands out here's two point eight on that side of her face two point eight on that side of her face right she's got two point eight okay so I want to add one more unit of light what's a unit that's a sugar okay so now I've doubled it so I had to say how to light over here boom what's the light ratio of two to one says she's got two sugars here and one sugar there I want one more unit light three two one how many f stops is that the difference between this and this one have stop would be double another stop would be double again would have had to but only gave one so let's say stop and a half so one and a half stops difference give you three to one ratio and if you want his units there's your units three units three sugar packs the one sugar pack that's three to one okay just keep going on about another one there she's got now I'm going to have their floor toe one what's the f stop difference here just compare these fresh stops okay so two would be one of stop when a half have stopped to have stops to have stops difference between the two of those units that makes sense okay again thank you my dear but you know what you keep those that's your parting gift thank you very much lovely parting gifts for my faithfulness isn't so here's here's a simple summary of all that crap we just talked about really the numbers are there to help you get a just a big picture but here's what you need to know most shoots really is if there's a one stop difference in the light you've got about a two to one ratio which is fairly flat fairly boring light one and a half stops of difference between the main the phil and you've got a three to one ratio which now starts to look more like portrait lighting we generally want three to one four to one four times more dramatic more impactful inner light ratio to stop difference is a four to one light ratio and then it goes on and on but we don't really need it to know about me I mean you need to know mom but we're not gonna bother with us and when you add fill light or any more light it's going to affect the shadows muchmore than the bright parts and this goes for any part of a scene when every ad light the shadows are affected mohr sometimes doubling the exposure for the shadows by minute lee or not even noticeably affecting what's already there in the bright spots and that's really important to know too if you're lighting a scene and you've got this bright bright lamp light here and you're thinking well if I add like to feel the shadow's gonna blow out those lamps we probably won't because they're so bright in such a contrast range already okay some extent because many questions on that yes I I would usually take white away like a scrimmage or flag it to give yourself shadows yeah no that's absolutely whatever whatever is easiest to do to create this dimension in the shadowing so she's she's saying you know you could put a blacks black flag or something and subtract light to create a ratio just as much as you can at light and that totally depends on your scene if you've already got like the light on the face is really nice balance with the background you don't want to add more like because then you'd have to add light the background maybe takes him away to create this racial that's a great great way to do it yeah but the point is creates shadows create shadows all right nothing that I've done to help myself understand lighting is to make comparative matics meeting take your lighting tools go into your studio or your friend's studio or your living room and bring them all out and create a cup aromatic that looks something like this this little chart here I did in our studio was to show the effect of shadow of highlight of chiaroscuro of these different light modifiers the same distance at the same basic adjusted for exposure on her face and be able to look at this you can even pin this chart up on your wall when you're starting to think about okay I've got a senior coming in and she's kind of funky kind of edgy and want something kind of punchy but doesn't have the greatest skin so I need something to fuse a little bit to hide that what could I pick outta here what one of these tools would do the trick and this is a great way that I helped to visualize what light sources will do so if you have a chance to do that it's really important and printed out look at it study it okay the next thing I like to dio is to actually make catch light samplers from those different light sources as well and why is this cool because catch lights are sometimes the eyes is we know where the life of a portrait you know what's happening in the eyes whether they're dark and moody or they're bright and sparkly you know whether sexy or they just like fun and friendly and the catch lights make a big difference and if you look at these you khun tell exactly what light modifier was used by just examining those catch lights but also look at what mood what you feeling when you look at these eyes this is a ring light you cry tell that here from that already and she was kind of alien like but it is kind of funky unusual that'd be a great for ah you're really funky fashion kind of a look er whether it's barely any catch light looks like he's asleep you know lazy sleepy we don't want that then we have something like this it's got a big giant soft octa dome shape in her inner light in her eye and that's opens it up it feels brighter more interesting more friendly as well so catch like samplers great thing to add into your arsenal there and what I what I discovered when I was doing catch light samplers is that the pupil as I moved my modeling light would contract and open up and I also had read something about advertisers in magazines would actually photoshopped pupils of the models larger because we are programmed psychologically from birth to respond to enlarged pupils as a sign of attraction when you're talking to somebody they're not people they're going to boot he this is going good for may and her little boy it also means you could be in a closet you know and it's dark you didn't use any more light in your eyes so it's not like I'm not saying go and uses a surefire way to pick up people in bars but no that were programmed inherently to respond to a dilated pupil as friendliness as a sign of attraction possibly so that's why advertisers use this they do that they blow up their pupils photo shop for the cover models because you're gonna look at it go she likes me I've got a chance with her for him you know whatever so I realized well if I just take my modeling light and if I feather it ever so slightly off my model's face it wasn't glaring her eyes I see and this is really literally just moving the head just a little bit like this her pupils would contract and open just like that and then I start looking angle which one feels mohr like intimate and to me this one feels more intimate that one feels more stand offish it's just a really slight feeling that I get so it made me start think about well how can I encourage pupil dilation that sounds really weird but how can we encourage that reporter and one way to do that is shooting in low light and using speed lights and things that we do now without modeling lights uh helps as well because of course smiling light makes everything contract right when it's really bright so something about it important concept three d and I say three d I don't mean like three d model I'm talking about distance diminishes death the distance of a light source from your subject changes the depth perception or the depth modelling of the object so when the light is really really close you get more modeling and when it's further away you have less modeling from that same exact source so let me just show you a quick example here on our screen we'll take this diffusion disc with a speed light fired through it this is a setup that I used in weddings quite a bit to create a nice soft box look anywhere very simple lightweight easy to toe creates a beautiful light so we put that source five four feet away and we have a pretty quick transition from highlight to shadow it just kind of balls off bright boom shadow right bring that same source up closer to feet half the distance adjust your exposure for that and now we have highlights but then we have soft or transitions to the shadow you can see the shadow edges change then we bring it one foot away now look at that beautiful transition the highlights smooth soft shadows into the shadows out of face that same light source same size just moving it closer the distance away diminishes the feeling of death and this is important because a lot of them out of my assistance that I've worked with in the past not alicia of course she's amazing but you know what I've worked with newest distance and I say you know let's put a light source up would want it close to their face and they're like way off over here on this panel on the you know the subjects over there and they're holding it back here make no mean closer okay no no no clothes okay come on we wanted loes you know I mean like literally just outside camera view if you want the shaping on the face there's times to pull it further away but if you really want that beautiful shaping the depth bring it close alright so distance diminishes your depth bring the same source closer and it's soft that was something that actually alicia point out that way way way back when witches getting started she had this misconception sarofim pointed you out here lee should that you know if you had a light source and you pulled it further back it was going to spread mohr and make a softer light and I kind of make sense if you think about it but it's actually the opposite you bring that closer even a little point source light you bring it closer closer closer closer actually it's softer because it now is closer in relation to your subject you think about the son is a son a hard light source or soft light source it's hard why is it hard source because it's a million something miles away right it's a little tiny dot if the son came to the earth and we all got really really tan and the sun was right next to the earth now is the son of hard or soft light source it's incredibly soft it's the biggest largest softest most shadow list light you'll ever see because a son would be encompassing bigger than you could even see from top to bottom that same point light source that was once hard and edgy is now soft rapping and most luscious gentle light you've ever seen right just by moving it closer to the earth so that's what we want we want luscious light up close here's another technique from here to here and let me let's bring out someone teo help us models got so models cappuccino now sorry I just had to do it was just one all right when we gonna use for this I'm gonna use a little five on one disc to illustrate here moto we have a little a duel for her to sit on hello objected to do self to the world there's the world my world this is sydney season be modelling with you know did anyone put a mike on you you know so this is sydney everybody this is sydney everybody here all right so sydney let's have a seat here we must get you over just a little bit just stick close to me so from here to here so this is an interesting concept that's something that I kind of dawned on me a few years ago when I was shooting weddings and I really this was my my tool of choice one because you can do charades behind it what I would shoot like perceptions have my camera but the flash on my camera and for the flash on camera but turn the head run backwards and then put this behind my head like this so it's a bouncing into that walk around you know table shots like this with this thing so of course everybody the tables like I want a goober you don't like I don't get what they think of me they're laughing okay let's do the you know some like or I could just be standing there like oh the angel of death or whatever uh so this was one of my favorite tools everybody should have one of these this is called a multi disk uh again if I was on a desert island and I could take one photographic access me with me to be this because there's so much you can do diffusing the sun far flat through it it's got the covers with the silver and the gold think motive we already know about these things but really there's so much you can do and we'll be using these two so clich so from here to here what I discovered as I was finding ways to get the most out of this one little tool was I could fire flash through it I could have the sun beaming through here and I didn't want to have to hold another reflector for fill light on this side of her face so I realised if I kind of placed it you hold that for me thank you turned towards the peeps here if I gotta placed it somewhere near her ear a little bit forward and I brought it along the cone of my lens so I'm shooting from here all right d I'm gonna angle this in so that it lines up with my angle of view of my lens so I'm seeing this from camera all I see is a slice means it's perfectly align with the cone because you know each lens has a view right it's either a wide angle we're calling was like this or two telephoto where cohn goes just right there so you get this as close as you can along that cone of your lens the light will wrap and almost create its own fill on that side of her face so I didn't need to have another reflector something on this side there's just one thing would light her face up phil gimme some nice chiaroscuro but a four to one light ratio depending what I'm got in the ambient and was beautiful one one little reflector so just remember from here to here when you place your light source now this is not a rule for all lighting because there's lighting where we're gonna have a spotlight way appear there's lighting when we'll have a big panel will be out here but generally with simple things like this when you have something at least this wide from here to here towards you creates a beautiful self fulfilling prophecy but it's not a prophecy so overbilling light source that wraps around her face okay so we'll play with this a little bit later but I want to just give you guys the concept of where you ready here means that makes sense everybody so I had a wider angle lens if you step back a little alicia got a wide angle lens and shooting her ear to hear would be something like that if my cone a view is like this right but still I want to see a slice from my camera view just a slice of that reflector okay thanks questions anybody questions nobody got a body cappuccinos no good okay next idea is follow your nose and follow your nose uh was just a simple way for me to remember when I started using more direct light sources grid spots something that we're going to play with it's really fun to add this uh edgy type of light to your shots but the important thing with edgy light is that it has to follow her nose or you're going to cast just crazy shadows okay you guys have seen that before right the hard light here big shadow she looks like she's got double nose and a big missing spot in her face and all that stuff not so good so let's grab that thing fall you know the simple is wherever she's turning her face that's where your main lights going to be so if we're going to use that as the main light and I want her looking up there so you're gonna look right up there doll and we shoot boom the light's falling her nose and she starts looked more towards me come on over this way okay you're gonna follow her nose and then we're gonna kind of look up now look upto the sky look for airplanes okay so lisa's gonna follow her nose there and if you look more to the right we'll follow knows this is really the most important when you have something like a grid which is this due to do this is a rogue grid which we put on speed lights this is an often accessory which will play with a little bit later uh road grid has different grids that actually fit into the face to change the spread of the light from very very tight like ten degrees to medium wide and this is what I use first this shot here is a road grid on a speed light basic can pretend like you're her and turn up towards me so pointing right at her nose right just like that and she turned her face a little bit that way would follow this is one reason I'd like to use a stick extension pool is that you could move quickly and you can follow quickly if this is on a light stand it's a pain in the butt right really so if you khun have light on a stick that's the way to go so as she's turning her face would just follow her nose right this is from last light it's like one of those painter pulls you could make your own if you wanted to uh little painter pull here extends we could put it just about where we want and it's great we use this with our doctor box as well to have a light that follows and goes with us where we want to thank you right one of the next thing that we want to think about is your background I read an article in one of these professional magazines not too long ago that they surveyed buyers of photography and like moms who generally admires the most things and they asked what's the most important thing what most influential top three things that influence your decision to buy a portrait and I was expecting a whole lot of different things and one of the top three was background was thinking really the background is that important people I thought it was like something we just kind of threw in there you know to kind of fill in space but really they want a happy pretty smile right but background was in the top three things that they thought was important to making the decision and so it made me start to think maura about my backgrounds and how it was lighting them and what they were saying in the background and how they complimented the colors the shapes of what we're trying to shoot there's an example of a background this is from a white house custom color they print these beautiful backdrops and used in a studio with a pregnancy type shot the background is really really versatile as faras the colors the simplicity of it we've got some we're going to play with actually later and later in the week we've got some cool backgrounds backdrop but this particular lighting we're talking with lighting comes from a very simple set up and this is one of my favorites but I want to share the guys and we'll play with is my own uh kev box for lack of a better term which is a diffusion scrim and I'm gonna show you guys an interesting way to make one of these yourselves well er douze fusion scream in the front and a little triangulated to more screams with white reflective fabric on the sides to create your own boxed window and this is lightweight collapses down into a little bag like that I've got like six of them in that one little bag right there you don't need that many but that little setup creates the greatest light it's like window light when you want window light you can take this someone's house you could set it up in the bedroom you could do kids sitting on the floor you can have you know obviously a maternity shoot um that particular views for head shots have set that up all depending on where you place it in how far away you can control the shadows the shaping of it it's just a really versatile easy to go anywhere set up the same backdrop was used outside for a senior chute and this was shot in the middle of winter and bend oregon was like forty degrees outside like how we make this thing feel like huntington beach surfing in the summer let's go outside and spray it with water and she was actually pretty good about it and she wanted to a surfing shot and that was kind of her thing so she brought her surfboard we went outside and said the backdrop to make it just kind of look like it's the back of ah doc or kind of blurred out of focus down the beach or something like that but here's the set up backdrop we got some hos drilled holes in the hose to create the little sprinkle the effects a soaker hose might work but then it just kind of dribbles out it doesn't really spray out this way it sprays if you want to do some of the water you have to back light it to get that effect so back light behind the model to make the water sparkle and then a single octa box just like what we had up here a minute ago with a single light trick head battery powered very important working around water she's battery power instead of a sea power and its following her nose off again if you look at that she turns her head up we kept told ok when you turn you got to turn this direction because that's where light is it's going to follow your nose and shape your jaw line and keep shadows from the nose casting okay all right questions so far boys and girls we're going to have a portrait lighting short course short course lighting the face and form so you guys are familiar with lights right and the you know that each light has a name is that manny moe jack we have names like main light feel light hair light background light what's everything background light in a kicker and ej light you may know that kicker life face person so background light will be where we need to light up our background it's directed away from the subject uh kick your candy a couple different things I use the term kicker traditionally it is it's an edge light that supplements the main light adds like a nice little highlight in your jar whatever um I also call it a kicker and edge like I'm the same way if I'm using that light to hype separate the body from the background have a little glow on their arm may be all way up the jaw line that little edge like kickers really important it's really cool and you're gonna find that it adds a whole other dimension to your typically let shots just adding that little kicker edge light and then there's a backlight rim light and the reason I separate those is a back like rim light is gently when you have something that's completely backlighting your subject may be a glow around entire body or maybe flaring into the lens a little bit it's directly behind looking into the camera which will be different than the kicker and the edge which just stays here okay there's a lot more but these are really the ones that were gonna focus on you know there's names for other types of lights and everything else and variations on those so here's a little here is a little example one of the main types of light that we use a short light and short light is basically the main light illuminating the face from the smaller spirit hear smaller side of the face that tends to slim the face because we now have shadow on the wider broader side of her face to help slim it so short light simply means the light is coming from the smaller size as seen from the camera on her face and this is really good to know because a lot of a lot of beginning photographers will go in and just use a standard lighting thing you know they put the light here in their studio their subject comes in and then they might ok after we're light the lights all measured it's great your subjects turning into light that you say you know what your face looks better turn this way turn your face this way and you start shooting it that way well now you're broad lighting her look at the difference in her face between short light and broad light so broad light means the light his hitting the wider side of her face as seen from camera makes her whole face look broader wider heavier compared to short light and she's not a heavy gal by any means but we made her heavier by broad lighting her this is a big mistake a lot of photographers do is they don't pay attention when the model turns their face is that light still flattering is it the best place or should you move that light with her face follow her nose so to speak from this side so we maintain that short lighting that flattering light I'm not saying that broad light is bad but you need to know when to use it if someone has a really really thin face then brought light may be the best way to go give some volume to their face okay shadow this light is when it's direct like a ring light just like this where there really are no shadows and this is something you could be careful using unless you have a model that has a really beautiful angular face already the shadow this light just kind of takes away all the dimension and shaped to their face okay we're going to talk about blending light and blending light the ambient light that we see with us and we'll add some flash to add shape to it is a simple matter of medics setting the exposure for the ambiance and we're gonna get into doing this when we start after the brakes here the ambient controls the fill light the flash will be your main light and we just adjust the flash to match that ambient light it becomes pretty easy when you think about it and what I'm going to talk about first with our lighting is called safety lighting and safety lighting means we're going to light so that if your flash doesn't work you're not screwed so you set up a scene that the natural light will work it'll be better if that flash actually worked too and we're gonna add some flash but we're going to make sure that if the flash didn't go off or if the flash wasn't quite right we'd still be ok with that natural in this safety lighting basically what I'm referring to

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Kubota - Lightweight Location Lighting.pdf
creativeLIVE Kevin Kubota Lighting Diagrams.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Karen Witter

I LOVED this class and I don't hesitate to recommend it! Kevin did a great job explaining how to incorporate additional lighting for on-location shoots and what those items would be. Then he illustrated those ideas for the class in various types of shoots. I loved the gear he recommended and especially his DIY suggestions. He has a great sense of humor and I felt like I was right there in the class. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who shoots on location and wants to make sure they're not only using the best lighting options but also the best lightweight lighting options.


I am enjoying this course so much!!! I am 100% happy with it. I just became a big fan of Kevin ! Great personality! Makes the use of flash a breeze. I just want to go outside with my gear and have fun now! thank you.

Maxx Walske

This workshop is fantastic! Kevin goes over every little detail you need to know for Lightweight Location Lighting. He shoots during the workshop, instantly shows the image and talks through how to see the light and make the proper adjustments for a fantastic image. He includes details about all his gear and post-processing tips, too! Kevin is incredibly inspiring! The course is easy to follow, fun and worth every penny!

Student Work