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Using Multiple Speedlights

Lesson 41 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

Using Multiple Speedlights

Lesson 41 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

41. Using Multiple Speedlights


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

Using Multiple Speedlights

all right so I want to just talk a little bit of terminology before we see this in action alright so channels ah you may see on your flashes that you have the ability to set a channel and sometimes you said it right on the flash itself I don't know if you can actually see that but I have channel one and then the letter a what a channel is used for is let's say that you're in a in an event hall and right now I'm using radio or wireless triggers and there's an event in this room and in a vent in the other and all of a sudden why are all my flashes firing I'm not shooting because if someone's on the same channel as you in another room especially since pocket wizards for example are so popular it's possible that they're firing your flash cause most people just flip it to channel one so what changing your channel and usually of channel one through four what changing your channel allows you to do is to take all of your flashes and put it in your own areas and no one else can fire them you ha...

ve your own uh channel that you choose depending on what pocket wizard you have there's like you can actually almost like endless channels that you consent things because I've had a lot of events where there's a lot of photographers and you've got to like figure out who's on what channels that you can have your own a set of three lights okay so that's just to make sure you're not interacting with other photographers speed lights but then you have what's also known as groups or zones and that is giving a designation to each of my speed lights within my channel within within the collection of speed light I have so for example this one I consent to a in this one I consent to be and how that helps me out is on my trigger here in the back I can independently control the output of a and the output a b I can make a b t t l and b b manual I can have a b t tio with flash compensation of plus two and the other one could be manual at one sixty fourth power I can completely change the power outputs of those flashes so that is why you would do that it separates it out another reason why you might use channels is let's say you're an uh an event photographer photographing on stage right you're photographing a performance on stage of and really like bigger and productions let's say that you're able to put your flashes on stage and you've got one set of flashes in the back that if the performers go back there you can switch over to channel one and just the flashes in the back will now fire but if they come up to the front of the state and you can have those speed lights that are illuminating the front of the stage beyond channel two and you flip over to channel two or that might be in a an event hall or something you can change which group of which in this case it's which channel is firing so you can use that but if I have channel one firing and this is a and b they'll both fire the only reason this has set his a and this is set his b s so that I can change the powers independently of one another so in uh in uh candidates groups in iconic zones it means the same thing uh so let me just give you an idea so this was a high school senior portrait I did nobody yell at me for the train tracks have heard it took us a long time ago I know it's a thing okay so I took this picture this is what the scene actually looked like and this one I'm using that last light I think called easy box so it opens up a soft box pretty quickly I have that light on him and then I have his sister remember I said it didn't have assistance this is way before I had assistance this was this pictures like seven years ago eight years ago or something didn't have assistance I had his mom and his sister helping me out so no excuses you can always recruit somebody uh so I've got this flash and this one in the background here these are both on channel one and then this is group a and this is group b so what I did as I under exposed the ambient by about it was about two and a half stops like you can see that this is not does not look nearly as dramatic is this so it under exposed by two stops and then I used t tl because I did not understand how manual worked at that point so I had t t l with zero compensation on him just told my flash light him correctly help me out here and then I had this was on on group a and group b was her back here and I said I want you to be plus two thirds clones me like a bright pop alight behind him so what you can see he is correctly exposed and then I had that populate giving him a halo from behind like I said I did not even know how to use manual and it was definitely able to get that with teen she'll just have to understand how tt l works so we are going to watch a short video here of using multiple strobes air multiple speed lights at darker at sunset and in this case I have to they're both on channel one my main light on the subject's face is channel eh I mean ah group a and then the second is group b which was her hair light so it's kind of like this but instead a recent session one of the best times today the shoot is definitely at golden hour but if you wait just a little bit longer once the sun sets beautiful color comes into the sky and it's a great time to shoot but of course this is not a time where you can actually use ambient light just to shoot him you're gonna lose all that color because what happens is if you expose for her face that background is going to go way over exposed and all of that detail all of that color is just lost but if you expose for the background now she's going to be dark and you lose the subject the whole point of the shoot so this is one of those instances where if you are a natural a shooter it's just not gonna work out for you and that's why you need tohave either strobes or speed lights in your kit to shoot so what we're going to do is we're going to use him speed lights captured what we have going on here and I'm actually going to use multiple speed lights so first of all as you're mainly I'm going to use the rapid box octa I have my foot six meters plus and I have my lovely assistant sydney was going to perform some uh intense acrobatics here that's actually totally necessary because we could put a honest and that she could hold it out but it's um it makes for good tv thank you uh and then over here we have iris and what she's going to do is she's going to act as my backlight that is not modified it all it's just going to be a back hair light and then I would have our lovely model interact with me so what I'm going to do is I'm going to start off by exposing for the ambient light make sure I get that perfect then I'm going to set the power of my main light and then I'm gonna add in the hair light so let's just do this you can see what it takes to make this image and I'm shooting with a signal fifty millimeter one point four let me set my ambien first so you don't have to move you can just stay right there and let's get the ambient right alright oh the ambien looks beautiful like that ok love that color in the sky all right let me pop on my trigger and um you such that one off we're just gonna test this main light first so I'm actually going to shoot it let's give it a try and teach you all let's see what it gives me and let me see your face drop your front arms so I can see your face looking good elements testes all right so at tio it's given me a little bit right and I think I want to bring up my background so I'm gonna actually open up my um I'm gonna slow down my shutter speed to one one twenty six and let's show that again okay so I brought a little bit more color in to the background by going from one two hundredth of a second to one one twenty fifth and then I'm gonna just get rid of a little bit of the power of that main light I'm going to go to minus two thirds of a stop because it's definitely a little bit right for me so let's go to minus two thirds try it one more time great okay good so now what I'm gonna do is we're gonna add that hair lights would have iris turn that on and I'm going to set that to let's go to teach yell again we'll try teo and for teo I'm gonna go I'm gonna leave it at full power I want a bright hair lights let's give that a try perfect all right let's try a couple of these beautiful beautiful co good and give you the same thing with your chin down just a little bit chin down just a tiny bit perfect beautiful car in the sky waiting for person move and great all right so now what you have is your hair is glowing I actually included that back speed like in my shot on purpose because I'm shooting and it gives me a little bit of lens flare like that got rich color in the sky that's nice shape on her face and then can you stick your chin out just a little bit I wanted more defined jawline great perfect do a couple more of those beautiful and now I's ways those people behind you move good all right so now let's make this even more exciting and we're just gonna add a little bit of hair flip and I think we got the shot all right free focusing on her and ready one two and three okay try to get on one teo and three good we're getting a little bit more movement so I tried it a couple more times and I think we've got it ready one two and three and I may have to get rid of the people the little people in the shot tried again along let me refocus and you think back but focus locking the focus on her I've got manual exposure and I've got both of those on tt l go ahead that looks cool very interesting all right I say one last one give me a dramatic is possible we'll see how this one goes oh wait let's wait for people hold on got some roller bladers and stuff all right here we go going super dramatic one that was a that was cute but not quite alright some three focusing on her all right free focus alright ready get um so that actually looks really cool minus the hair in the face you won't try it again look school so I've actually got that pre folk goes got it good perfect cool and and this time just do it just do it with your hair flip behind you on three focus okay and thankfully that guy was hidden so it's good and you okay to bring a little closer for me and I'm actually gonna up the power of that main light just a tiny bit I'm gonna go from minus two thirds this time to minus one third make a little brighter and that back like I'm gonna dial down a tiny bit two minus two thirds all right let's try this I want to try it just like that just standing still perfect great beautiful eyes to light good good and just eyes right keep your head where it is but just bring your eyes so light good okay no problem that's good and dramatic alright very last one I'm going to say just like that you're gonna look just keep your chin where it is but look your eyes so light so elbow down a little in the front that way good all right hold on and there's one hair in your nose yeah it's semi not attractive enough already let's get that give me the last all right so just to give you one more summary of what we had going on here because we have the beautiful color in the sky so accept my camera on manual and then under exposed to get that color but then she's in total silhouette which is actually still cool shot but now this is my subject maybe it's a portrait I want to see her face so what I did is I added one light over here it's the rapid box octa uh in depending on where sydney held it I would control how much shadow and drama there was if she held it back further there'll be more shadow towards the camera so I'd be a lot more of its silhouette uh rim light she brings it more to the front it's going to be more front let a little bit more portrait feeling so we went ahead and I actually shot knothole usually would shoot what we shot with tt elk so under shoe that is definitely a way you can shoot and I would control it using flash compensation if the flash was too bright I dial down that compensation if it wasn't bright enough I'd bring it back up so we had this one most of time dial that about one third under or two thirds of a stop underneath and then we had this hair light back here and most of time I had it about full power because I wanted a bright pop of hair lights and then it all comes down to getting that pose right the curves making sure the hair isn't in the face of the hands aren't casting shadows and so were able to get this whole scene using strobes and you wouldn't be able to get it with ambient light and it just takes a little finessing the more you practice the easier it is all right so here are the images as it progressed this is what I got when I shot aperture priority because it's saying that sky's really bright she's really dark let's cut it in the middle and it is there there's nothing there for me and so this is why I know in those type of situations this is one of those times were naturally just isn't going to work so I really do lean towards naturally unless I know that it won't work like this so then I underexposed in my camera so I could get the color in the sky and I build one light at a time that's how I work so I built in my main light got a position where I wanted bill in my hair light and I included the edge of the flash on purpose because I wanted to give it a little bit more drama lense flor if you don't like that that's fine you couldjust recompose I purposely composed so like I said if it's on the edge of the frame it gives you that's where you can see the individual lines of the light versus if it's in the shot just the flash itself so any questions on that from you guys ok I feel good I feel no I feel good about that because I think I think we built pretty well exactly it's just it's the same thing we've been doing just putting it all together you got one put any modifiers only your hair light or anything do you just run pretty much just a bare flash or can you get my the grid over there so what I'll do is if I want it to light her entire body her arm her back her hair then I just leave it as is if it is blocking if it is creating lens flare that I don't want I'll have whoever's helping me either put their hand there or if I had that spin light light spin it's been like okay with with there's actually a black piece of plastic you can wrap around so what that accesses a flag so if I'm pointed at her hair I can put that black paper on this sign so it won't create the lens flare but if I just want it lit on her hair this is made by rogue and this is a rogue grid you point towards the camera and so if I just want a spotlight on her hair not lighting her entire body then I would do something like this instead and that just wraps around the flash the same way everything else does fits on perhaps around super fast that would be just like a little bit of hair late instead of the whole body okay all right so in this example we have done the exact opposite of the ambient light I've given her some it's dramatic light on her face with some shadow but that is not meant in any way shape or form toe look like the light in the ambien is not meant to mimic its its contrast ing however sometimes I think some really successful shots is if you're mimicking would already exists out there for example if I have my subject posing and there's open sky to this side of their face when I introduce a strobe or speed light I put it on that side instead of over here because I'm trying to work with the quality and direction of light that already exists just make it a little bit better what happens is let's say that this is where the direction of light is in their face and I put this drove over here it flattens out because now they're about even and I want a little bit of shadow to shape their face and make it look realistic so often if I want something that's not super dramatic and clearly not in the scene if I want going to look realistic I have to analyze the scene exactly like I did on the first day with natural light sake eh where's the light coming from it's there I like the direction but it's just a little dark in the eyes and then add my speed late not gonna overpower too much I'll turn it down but just enhance what already exists there are a lot of fashion photographers when it's like you can't quite tell I think that strobe I think that's what they did in that shot because there's a lot of contrast in a good direction alight it's usually that they paid attention to what was already there and they just added a tiny bit more they do that a lot in commercial shoots as well we take what already exists in the scene and just at a pop to make there a little more contrast a little more sparkle in the eyes

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!

Student Work