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Analyzing the Scene and Mimicking the Sun

Lesson 42 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

Analyzing the Scene and Mimicking the Sun

Lesson 42 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

42. Analyzing the Scene and Mimicking the Sun


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Principles of Light


Speedlights vs Strobes


Compressing the Scene


Location Lenses and Lenshoods


Metering Modes and Back Button Focus


Natural Light Reflectors


Lesson Info

Analyzing the Scene and Mimicking the Sun

in this next video I'm going to use speed lights to mimic the ambient light that already exists there but to improve the quality the intensity and the direction of light one of the most important elements of having successful location lighting is analyzing your scene and that's what I always do I show up to a scene and I scout I walk around I try to see the different environments available where is the light coming from is it bouncing off different surfaces is there open shade is there covered shape all the checklist of the things from the from naturally I take a look for good light first and then I'll introduce the lights as necessary that's usually my approach so let's take a look at one environment that I found here so it's getting a little bit later in the day not not anywhere near sunset yet but I like the sun's in the sky kind of giving her this nice kind of heavenly glow and so I want that to the back of her head but if I stand her out against the blue sky it's just going to be ...

a bald guy it could be blue but I don't think that really doesn't really fit she's this beautiful hair this nice soft dress just blue sky with her against this guy just kind of boring so that didn't really work for me uh if I have her in the direct sunlight over there I could defuse it that could be a nice portrait but I wanted something that included the environment a little bit so I knew that I wanted her to be backlit for that halo and then I put her here and she is in what's called open shade we talked about this so if you look up there's nothing overhead above her it is just open ssh h is in the shade of this tree so she's going to have a little bit of shadows in her eyes highlights on her forehead highlights on her nose except I did pick a place where there was a little bit of natural phil so I found this rock over here and I strategically placed her cross from it because it is natural fill the sunlight hits this rock surface which is light and more or less neutral colored bounces back and fills in for light on her face so now there isn't a cz much shadows in her eyes so already if I just shoot this without any modification the light is actually pretty decent highlight from the sun hitting her harris subtle because it is filtered through the leaves on the trees if she moves over of it and it's just all sunlight on her hair then it becomes over exposed so I'm being like very strategic and exactly where in placing her in the scene so I want to take a picture of what this looks like with no speed lights no stroke no uh modifiers of any sort just the natural light I am going to shoot on aperture priority I s so one hundred and I like to shoot really wide open so I'm going to shoot two point oh and I'm shooting with a fifty millimeter lens beautiful you know this open up I usually overexposed two thirds of a stop if I want the skin to look really smooth perfect so it is definitely really creamy even smooth light on her face and I think it looks really good especially when she lives her chin up just a tiny bit because she has shadows in her eyes a tiny but here and then she lifts her eyes up and she catches some of the light of the sky so watch that even just an inch or two will make a drastic difference now if I looked at this and I thought maybe I want the background to be a little bit darker I want her to stand out from that background one thing that I could dio is if I make her brighter I could make that background appear darker I could do that a couple ways first of all I could go ahead grab a reflector bounce a little light in make her brighter and therefore it when exposed for her the background will go darker I can also do this to shape her face a little bit more add some more contrast for example if I wanted her to have a little bit more dramatic a light on her face if I light from the side more she'll have more dramatic light on her face so I could pop over here light from the side and give a little bit more drama okay well another thing that I could do is actually work with speed lights so that's what I want to do here and I am going to give her just a little bit more shaped her face a little bit softer light there so I'm going to use the apollo orb and I'm going to flip over to manual mode now I'd usually I prefer to use manual mode when I'm using speed lights compared to er aperture priority gives me a little more control I'm going to start at one two hundredth of a second and pretty wide open and I'm not using my strobe yet I'm gonna see well my speed like I'm going to see what kind of exposure I get still so if I want that background to be a little bit darker and I don't use high speed sync I met one two hundredth of a second I s a one hundred and then at four point five and the four point five is not that bad backgrounds far enough away that it's a little bit soft uh if I had teo if I wanted to open up my temperature I have to flip over to high speed sync which then decreases the power of this speed light so I'd have to bring it in or I'd have to find ways to open up my aperture even more let's just play with this for a second to as is we'll be able to see this in action so now notice actually and I find this really interesting I've seen this a lot on set so I don't have any reflectors with me but I do have you can put that back I do have my speed light and it has a diffuse surface in the front look at all the light that this son is bouncing back onto her face so actually even I don't have a reflector this speed light diffuser on the front the modifier has actually become a reflector so I'm not going to even shoot this speed like I'm just gonna take a picture of how improved that looks beautiful and so now already there's direction of light on her face without even adding a speed like at all all right but let's go ahead and add a speed light okay turn this on and I want teo darkened down my background so we're going to see about right here and if you look there's a just a little bit more contrast on her face just a little bit poppier there's going to be a little bit brighter highlights a little bit darker shadows it doesn't necessarily look heavily uh let it doesn't look like I've brought speed lights on or maybe just a little bit but it looks pretty subtle but let's say that I want my background to be narrow were deaf the field I wanted to be a little bit blurrier so if I open up tio one point four all the way open for this particular lens and I take that picture it is horrendously over exposed so as we all know I gotta pop over to high speed sync and I am going tio I have a faster shutter speed so one to thousands of the seconds and now there's a lot more separation between her and the background the background softer and there's not much of the ambient light because I've darkened down that ambient light so if you look it looks a little bit more strobe lit because I'm not allowing the ambient light to seep in it's not going to fill in the shadows on the side of her face since it is darker like if I take off speed light here it turn it off and I'm just going to take a picture at that those previous settings oh that's a huge difference and pointed back one more time let's see it with the speed light great there's going to be a massive difference between the two without the speed light there are shadows in her eyes uh there's not a lot of contrast on her face with she pops out from the background I'm still able tto have that narrowed the field so that is going to be the first place that I would see in this environment that I would like to shoot and one of the things I might do is I might wait a little bit later in the day so that son is a little bit lower I could use it to have lens flare hopping in the side of my frame I would compose so it was just barely coming through the side of my composition and I need to wait just a little bit longer for that okay beautiful let's add one more thing into the equation let's say that where I have her posed there wasn't any highlights on her hair but I wanted to look like the sun was illuminating her hair streaming in from behind the trees what can you do in that instance well you can actually add another speed light or just one speed like tear scene and have somebody hold it from behind what we're going to do is we're gonna add this and it's a slightly warming gel on the front of the speed light so now when we hold it from behind we can mimic that as being a highlight from this son so you can get really creative I could do that with a main light and a light from the sun or just a hair light from the sun if I think it already looks great or I could mix I could take a reflector control the light on her face and then have a speed light from behind it's pretend it's the sun so you can just put it on and see think it's good so what have you just come around from behind and hold this up nice and high for me so this looks beautiful let's go teo about their perfect let me do one before without we go and return so yeah that is very very believably sunlight oh however now that light on her face is a little bit dark so I can go ahead and I'm gonna set this up we'll see if we can get that to balance with one assistant so you can hold that for that beautiful caroline this is going to be the main source of illumination on her face and so we're going to give it that sunset beautiful look looking great perfect and bring your thumb in just a little softer yeah great perfect antennae coming just a little bit more just a little bit closer her right there and I'm gonna see if I can get that speed turning towards me a tiny bit late and great here beautiful and turn your arm in perfect beautiful oh great okay her fit open just a little bit more beautiful great and eyes up to the light and look that way one more with your chin good perfect so it makes a huge difference in let me show the before picture and jeff you rotated out wave quick like yeah so there's a huge difference there's so you think multiple speed lights what we can do is we can decide how dark we want our background to be we could decide the shape in the quality of light on the subject's face and then we could also go ahead and may make this sunlight we can add a gel to another speed like use multiple speed lights at once in order to mimic what my already exist in nature in fact were replaced this light right here the reason we place our main light there is that actually where the direction of light on her face was naturally this is open sky that was shaping her face however over here was a little bit more in shadow if we put the speed light on this side it kind of flattens out her face completely it balanced out the light too much so instead we placed it on the side of her face where there is already some direction of light so you put this all together and we're using what we already have in the environment so it's realistic but we're just augmenting it a bit more all right so that's how you go much more of a subtle look to using your strips on location because it already looks like the scene what we had originally was not bad I don't that late isn't that I'd be fine doing a portrait like that but this just adds a little more production value crisper light on her face better direction of light nice catch like a little bit more sparkle to her hair so I am definitely recommending that you take a look on location don't fight what's already there feel free to work with it I think when I use drugs on location some of the images that I like best worked with the ambient light just augmented it a little bit more all right so as you all know this was a one a one class and so what I wanted to do is step by step build howto work with natural light and then when we did strobes on location we could go ahead add that work with the natural light and they talk about the differences with speed lights so I built slowly and hopefully guys feel like you have a good grasp um hopefully maybe some day I'll come back and do an advance lighting on location I wanted to make sure that this wasn't overwhelming if you watch this I think you should have a little bit more confidence and let's say that you fell in love with speed lights and you want to dive deeper I know mark wallace has a class here that was three day on speed lights maybe one dive deeper a little bit more into that s o just know there's more education to be had and I wanted to ask my audience here if there's any final clarifications that you want anything you need de mode for this encompassing location lighting workshop I think god just just clarifying that when you with and almost like broad daylight how you would use p likes to make it almost seemed like it was dark outside your just going down on the exposure compensation correct okay so if you're using speed lights to overpower light in the middle of the day what I have to do is a half to shoot high speed sink so I can have a really fast shutter speed because that fast shutter speed darkens down the end that's how I make it look really dark is a really fast shutter speed when I'm in high speed sync I then either have to have multiple speed life so it's strong enough because high speed sync decreases the power or I've got to bring it really really close with strobes the difference is I could go ahead and close down to like f sixteen of thirty two and pump up the power that strobe or now you guys know about hyper sink so it would be high speed sync for strobes okay all right I've got a couple from online good kind of wrap up questions kitty winter flood when lighting on location do you have default settings that you'll go to as a starting point or do you always start it different settings on cameron on flash drug depending on the scenario in front of you all right so in general I actually start at my camera sink speed usually start at one two hundredth of a second for my ambient light because I like I said I don't want to have to worry about do I need to bring those closer do I need to add more speed lights um and then I can go ahead from that two hundredth of a second and have longer shutter speeds if I need to let more ambien and so I start at one two hundredth of a second and if it's the middle of the day I usually started I s o one hundred and then I look in my camera and I just see for the environment that exists what aperture I need to give me the correct exposure and then I match my speed light to that either t t l letting titi I'll do that for me or I'm eager to match my speed later strope at night typically I will start more around one one hundredth of a second cause I know I'm going to try to bring up some of that ambient light it's a little darker and then I will use an I s so usually starting around eight hundred or a thousand when it's darker so those two are my go twos fantastic so I think maybe a good final one before we have one more video toe look at kind of summing it up and deciding which is best but this one says I'm a professional I am a professional newbie I don't even have a flash attachment for my brand new cannon seventy d what should be my first flash attachment let's talk about what the entry level someone saw this got really excited about it and wants to go out and do something where do they start so I'm going to assume they mean modifier you want to start with that it depends on what you're shooting but I would say if you're shooting events consider one of the small flash benders for your flash or one of the domes perhaps like the gary fong light sphere maybe that's a good place to start if however your photographing portrait I would go for the bigger flash bender or I love my rapid box octa and if you're doing even bigger groups than instead I would go for the apollo orb what it just kind of depends on what you're shooting there but more importantly than even all of that if you're brand new is just a way to get your flash off camera that's what's interesting cannon cannon doesn't have that uh this isn't that night condos where you can fire and talk from your from your camera itself so something depending on what flash you got just to get it off camera that might be a faux ticks trigger a system like that or at minimum even the hot shoe court just to get it off camera a bit because you'll see a big difference in the quality of your images

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This class was amazing. Lindsay Adler is a great presenter...I learned so much.....I love that she spoke about natural light..strobes and speedlites. Wonderful information. I purchased this and I am glad I did. Great job Lindsay. Jean


Lindsey Adler is one of the best and most engaging photography instructors in the USA. I highly recommend this lighting course. It felt more like a 101 and a 102 course than just a basic course. She teaches in a way that makes learning alot of fun and the amount of time & effort that she puts into her video and class presentations are second to none. Her classes are well worth their weight in gold and you will walk away with a wealth of knowledge!


Lindsay is amazing , I love the way she explains everything!! This course is filled with GREAT information and helps you better understand natural lighting,strobe and flash. Thank You Lindsay, please keep your classes coming!

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