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Today's Strobes and Determining Exposure

Lesson 23 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

Today's Strobes and Determining Exposure

Lesson 23 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

23. Today's Strobes and Determining Exposure


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

Today's Strobes and Determining Exposure

so far I did not use in what you saw I wasn't using a meter for anything on that just kind of kept the flash and similar power way tweaked it I'm going to tell you that I won't tell you two ways that you can set exposure off course where the meter is more accurate but I will not lie to you and I will not pretend like I use meter all the time I'm just going to be honest because like that picture but this the one on the left there by no means that I use a meter because I was just trying to like I was turning my flash down as low as possible just trying to make it look good I didn't have that much flexibility will be able to talk about it later when we talk about balancing between things so I will tell you how you can use the meter which is a great with film be great to actually have the correct balance of light it makes things faster but it's not the way you have to do it was putting it out there okay so I don't hate on you if you just do what looks right it's just not going to be as acc...

urate all right so I wanted to talk about light meters how they work the one that I have here is the late master pro l for seven eight e r this one I think suggestion I can never remember that it's it's the touch screen which I think is really cool I like it um so anyway let's talk about kind of how they work and what the differences are I will go through the slate slightly more technical version and then like really what would I actually dio because what I actually maybe not exactly what you'd be traditionally taught okay so you don't even have to look at that you can more like look at me but I wrote down the summaries of how things work all right so when you want to measure the light in a scene you're not going for specifically the stroke just going to light that already exists you want to make sure that you click on the little butt in that look it's like a son usually something to that effect so it's not looking for a strobe um the other setting looks like a little lightning bowl which says look for a pulse of light in even this is more advanced so I'm just going to mention it there actually is a setting that will tell you when you just take one reading it'll tell you what the mix between on your subject with the mix of ambien and strobe is will tell you which one is stronger and how they're related ratios wise a lot of the newer including this one a lot of the newer meters let you do that and kind of see what the mix is all right so you've got your ambient mode and what you do is on it you set me click on that you set whatever variables you choose to set which is usually you said your shutter speed in your eyes so and it gives you an aperture value until how it works is if I go ahead and I take a reading I'm going to do I so four hundred one two hundredth of a second and I take a reading right here hit the little button to take a reading well it's dark I mean now we'll say it's is one point six okay all right so what that means is it's really dark in this room and have me correctly exposed I would have to be shooting if I was shooting at s o four hundred one two hundredth of a second I'd have to be shooting at one point six to get correct exposure even though I'm jumping ahead a second what this would mean is if I wanted to match on my face or I wanted to match this scene I wanted to go ahead and have the strobe match the exposure maestro would have to read one point six but jumping ahead so okay so let me to talk about don't mean dome out where do you place it where do you face it all that stuff okay so when your dome thing is in that's just basically acting I just use my camera usually it's just acting like your camera is it's determining everything that is coming in and this is called reflective light because it's the light that's bouncing off everything over there and hitting my meter so we have reflective meters in our cameras we're reading everything on the scene the reason that you don't stick your dome out is because if I'm making an exposure I don't actually care about highlights that air coming from back over my shoulder hitting this dome that's not that's not it off affecting I'm just trying to capture the light that's out there so this is just saying I just care about what's right in front of me more or less when you would change it when you would put the dome out is if you wanted to take a reading of like a hair light and see how bright that is compared to the light on the face because I could go ahead and say how light is old how bright is all the light hitting this hair so if you're treating it like your camera just trying to get a scene it goes in it's out if you're trying to get like a highlight or meeting for flash so we'll get in there all right so what I do is I usually sent a gn here one two hundred the second I set my eyes so and whatever shutter speed it gives me or sorry whatever aperture it gives me most of these have the ability or if you can see this a lot of meters have the ability that if I then go ahead and change my shutter speed it gives me equivalent exposure so it tells me if I go ahead for this ambient light and want to shoot now at a fiftieth of a second instead of one point four I need to be a three point six it gets telling me what I need to dio so a lot of times and be like I take a reading and go okay well at one two hundredth of a second it's at one point eight I don't want to shoot that wide what do I got to dio to be able to shoot to me it was a group what do I have to do to be able issued it for oh I'd have to shoot at forty eights of a second that's too slow so maybe I would go ahead and bump up my eyes so and see what would get me there but guess what you could do this in your camera like that's this is what I do you can see it in your camera as you change these different variables you see where your little exposure dial moves up and down you can see like what I usually use in manual you can see if it's going over exposure underexposed as you change so sugar speed and aperture so don't men pointing towards a scene dome out a specific area or towards your flash that's what I've tried to do that in camera and it's really bright outside and I'm dying and I get it right with supposedly exposed and it'll jump back and forth and if I try toe get it to go again it'll just keep jumping so having you come back okay so he's talking about when you're shooting in a bright situation and sometimes it'll be perfect pose and you moving thing exposure jumps all over the place some things you can do to help yourself is changing what meeting mode you're in because sometimes perhaps let's say that you're in center waited okay and right now my center waited is on a bright area and when I recompose its on a dark area and so we don't jump and tell you a different exposure so what you could do in that point is you could say you know what I just want evaluative of the whole scene I want you to give me what the scene should look like overall don't just don't pay attention to the subject I'm waiting the subject like I'm not I'm not worried about that I just want to know what the light is in the same so that's I usually just do something like that and just I take a picture overall with evaluative and either check history graham or based on what it said I'll say okay it says that this is the correct exposure it doesn't look so nice so that I can underexposed overexposed to set it where I wanted teo alright so I'm gonna keep going and hopefully it'll make more sense when it's all said and done and seeing in action all right so I mentioned that okay so my next step is once I figure out okay what is the ambient light whether I read it in my camera or whether I take a reading of that whole scene I will go ahead and set it with my camera on manual in my camera okay so the next part this is something I wanted to mention because it's kind of confusing uh is full aperture stops you see these the little numbers next to it you see like the tents so when you are most most meters air sets to show you um full stops so it'll read to o two eight four o five six not the in betweens and then it'll have like a tenth of a stop number after it want like one through nine and so basically five point six seven is getting closer up to eight and five point six one is closer to five six bm between a seven point one so if it said five six five it's actually halfway in between the two so that's just what those numbers mean it's like going one direction or the other uh and so if you see it say five six three that means it's like a third of a stop up so that it's more or less just telling you it's not actually five six it's five six and a bit but not quite a tow you can set it to greet a third of the thirds of a stop in your meter if you want it to be um okay so let's keep going a little bit more all right so then the other one is your flash exposure mode so you went ahead and you said okay I figured out what the ambient light is I set it in mike sarah I get it looking good and I know I'm not above one two hundredth of a second and I decided that the aperture that works best for this is three point two that's what I went with this is arbitrary based on what looks good so you switch your meter over to the little flash said all the settings the same one two hundredth of a second maybe that's what I was at I s o four hundred like me that's what the settings were and then I hold the button on the side and when the flash fire's it'll give me a reading and so if it is three point two perfect because my exposure was three point two now the flash will look correct because that's what I had set in my camera if I take that reading and it says five point o I've got to either turn down the power of that flash to match three two or I've got to back it up so the meter its usefulness is to tell you if that light is too bright or too dim from being correctly exposed so all right so that's what so what I do as I go ahead and usually just in my camera I'll go ahead and figure out what I want the ambient to be and I'll get the we'll get whatever that africa is and then I used my meter to take a meter reading of the flash to make sure it matches that aperture and then I tweak is necessary when I take a flash reading my dome is out and one more thing to note I borrow any real quick you don't actually want this to be pointed at the camera let's say that you are the camera right now okay I know we kind of awkward for view but the person straight in front of me is going to be the camera fuel standard here okay if I meet her straight towards the camera and my light is over here sometimes it's not actually going to give me an accurate reading because the distance has changed and distance changes power the parent power of the light so you actually wanna point that meter toward your light source to get the correct reading okay so this is the stuff I find super boring so I like to just do the practical part of it um so figure out your ambience when you figure out your ambien and it gives you an aperture match that aperture with your flash and then you change your shutter speed in order if you're saying oh you know what I want the ambience to be darker you make your shutter speed faster if I want my ambience to me later you make your ear shutter speed longer okay don't do that okay just no everything that you just did taking a meter reading with that flash on your subject as soon as they dance away it totally changed because they just backed up and they moved and so now if they even added if they doubled their distance away they just quartered the power so that number is no longer relevant so you want to meet her to where they're actually b and if they move you got to do it again or you can change the power to what looks good if that's the kind of person you are just not as accurate so I mean it's keep bowing to this and then we'll take questions when I wrap this alright so determining the exposure to summarize that I set my camera on manual and I said the desired ambient exposure what do I want the ambient light to look like eyes get set and when I'm doing that I usually try to see if I can get an aperture that I like like if I want to shoot it two point eight let's see if with my shutter speed the light that exists theis so if I can get to pointing if I can awesome and so then I add the strobe in and bury the part try to see if I can get it to match to pointing after that I tweaked the lighting all right looks good I think one of the ambiance a little bit too dark so I make my shutter speed a little bit longer you know what I think I want I think it's a little bit too strong of flash on her face so I turned down the power of that light just a little bit of a tweak it and the last part will be the problem solving section which is what we're going to get into next and there's a lot of problem solving because even though this probably sounded a little complicated actually pretty easy to figure out what you want the light to look like you make your flash match that's actually what it comes down to nothing more than that ambient looks good let's get my flash to look good to we use our meter to help instead of just guessing in hoping that it's the correct exposure and then not having to save it in post if you actually match that flash exposure yeah use like live mode just to give you kind of ah if you're trying to create a look and look and get a rough idea of what your ambien lights coming in I don't personally I just did you take a picture have been the live mode but I have no objections to it and it's interesting because then you could yeah it's your shooting in manual it's all the same controls but I use student manual I take a picture um I'll take actual take a look in manual either using spot meeting to take a meter reading or valued of just to give me an overall look at the scene I can go ahead and check the history graham or if I want to see what the meter says the scene looks like I can go ahead put the dome in and get a reading of the scene kind of personal taste I just do it through my camera that's totally me um tell me all right so we just talked about this this was the summary so if you if you guys by the class this is included might my entire presentation is included so it'll go back through this set your camera on manual set the desired ambient exposure you can use equivalent exposures to get to where you need to be so in this example I know I can't go faster than one to fifty if maybe my camera's think speed is one to fiftieth so this exposure's okay but you know I don't think I want to shoot it two point eight because at two point eight it's a group I won't build to get them and focus so maybe I want to go down to five six which is equivalent but maybe I'm shooting at a sixteenth of a second I think I can't quite hand hold that so maybe I bump up my eyes so and then close down my my shutter make me shudder speed a little faster so it's like that whole little dance I get my ambient right I add the strobe in and I take a meter eating to make sure that the aperture I've set in my camera mit matches the reading of that strobe now I know the exposure looks good okay and then I tweak the lighting I can change move all those things around I know I can go ahead and change the flash output if I need to and go ahead and change the shutter speed if I need to and then problem solved is the last one there problem solving some of the things we'll talk about is your modifier choice your neutral density filters that you can utilize equivalent exposures we'll do some of the trade offs there I had a little note here if you don't own a light meter you're not comfortable in the ages of digital photography you can put the flash on the strobe on and turn it up or down so it looks good it's just what looks good in your screen is not necessarily what I look good in the final image because you can change the brightness of the screen on a bright day maybe it looks to contract our doesn't look contrast enough until you pumped too much light and then it's over exposed but if you had to you can get close so what do you want to just be close and quick or do you want to be accurate with the best quality and I'm actually not even going to say which one's better because sometimes I just do it all on camera to look when it matters I use light meter we have nick wortham and four others who say just curious there are a lot of light meter aps I know they can't be that accurate but have you ever used them and what do you think about it's really funny I actually was looking to download one today so I was really curious if I tested them out once I think this one's called pocket light meter I don't I don't know and I don't care what other people say about that because then maybe you don't have a light meter but like you try to get close and does it work with strobe look I'm not even sure so it sounds really interesting to me and just I want to clarify something too when I was holding this before when you're doing ambience you just hit the button it gives you a reading when your switch it over to the flash it has something has to flash in order for it to give me a reading otherwise it'll just be blank until my flash actually fires so that's why you might not see a number back there one other thing that reminded me of the apt question this is related to any type of location lighting there are several aps out there that exists that help you with determining light in a location so I own I own several they all do the same thing but I guess I want to try him out there's one called sun seeker there's one called helios and what they let you do depending on the app is you can put in the gps coordinates of where you are so I mean you could stand there and to save mark this spot you put in the exact date the exact time and you can actually hold up and it will show you where the sun is so you can go ahead and like I'm saying you see through your camera and if I hold this way like this is the composition I want at that exact date and time it shows me the sun is right there or it's right here and so I can actually decide maybe you know what the day I'm here I'm scouting awesome it's a cloudy day what if it's sunny is that still going to work and I can go ahead and check and see or you know what I plan on shooting four months from now I can put that data and see how different the sun is going to be so there's a ton of abs that do things like that that make it easier as photographers lighting on location to see the variables that could come up in a location I think it's really cool it's great now one person or a few different people were wondering would you say a meter is a necessary investment I use if you're gonna use studio strobes on location and not used t l and you are trying to not do a lot of photo shop then yes like if you don't want to do a lot of work and post and you're not using tt l and you just want it to be right then yes but you don't need anything too fancy it just has to give you the reading of the light suits by something used or buy something well that was exactly the next question was we have a few people who say I'm a budget photographer what's the best bang for your buck light meter what would actually change that to what do you think are the most essential functions of a white mare there are a lot of them they're a lot of old school ones that you can get used that air purely manual there are a lot of folks who are there a lot of fancy digital ones yeah what you think this one's over you're taking tests and it was kind of coming up he says it's coming up kind of this kind of coat is pretty close but this is that this is the the app version hopefully no one text you well holding this up quick I think this is actually the light meter and I don't remember how much it cost but this is the first light meter I ever had the similar make and model because it's it's basic but it does what you have to dio and where you place the dome this is the equivalent to not using the dome when you move it off off the little meter there when you move on that's equivalent of having the dome out and this does the very basic essentials you khun select whether it's ambient light whether it's flash or whether it's flash and constant mixed and you put your information and it gives you the reading like that's all you really need the reason this one is nice and this should if I click on the side it still gives me equivalent exposures which is something that's nice clean would say okay I don't want to be the thirtieth if I asked to get to one one twenty fifth I need to be at one point think it gives you that information um anyway what this is really really good for some some meters right now if I want to take a flash reading someone's got to trigger the flash I've got to take a picture or I've gotta have a pocket wizard in my hand because it's iconic and pocket wizard are owned by the same overall company you can actually trigger the flash from your light meter depending on what light meter you have so it's a convenience thing then also like other things that were built into this one our meter readings intended for cinematography so you can work in your frames per second you can work in a variety of different things so like there's an entire like ht cinema ambient light mode so it gives you those kind of capabilities that's what you're paying more for things like that all right and it looks cool so I love where we got to in this segment let's talk about what we're doing in the next segment okay so I actually think is the next segment is where I get like I find it fun you know we had to do like all the essentials talk about exposure how it works next segment we're going to talk about lets watch a daytime exposure how do you build it and then what kind of tools do you have to make it look even better we'll talk about some neutral density filters and how that can improve the look and when you would use those and what you're looking for so that's like what we start off with in the beginning setting an exposure and using neutral density filters

Class Materials

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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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