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Dissecting the Face

Lesson 25 from: Build your Lighting Knowledge

Peter Hurley

Dissecting the Face

Lesson 25 from: Build your Lighting Knowledge

Peter Hurley

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Lesson Info

25. Dissecting the Face


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Natural Light Overview


Live Shoot: Maximizing Window Light


Live Shoot: Use Reflector to Enhance Natural Light


Live Shoot: Back Light Your Subject


Live Shoot: Back Lit Subject with V Flats


Live Shoot: Utilize ProBoard with Natural Light


Continuous Lighting Overview


Lesson Info

Dissecting the Face

Let's talk about the face, or what I like to prefer, I talk about watching those nooks and crannies. Everybody's face has shape to it, guys. We're gonna be watchin' that stuff. It's our responsibility to pay attention to every light that hits, and every curve on the face. You see how we've been doin' that? We've been goin' crazy with that? So, beautiful face, lotsa shapes, right? I'm looking at the way the light's hitting that. Remember when we had, and the way it's hitting that. There are places that I'm looking specifically for what light's doing. I want you to look at, you know what, I want you to know, somebody noticed this, something about one of my shots that's in my book. My catch light's a triangle! Some people's noses reflect, right, you can barely see that there's something in here that could resemble that, but watch this shot. Isn't that amazing? So her nose flattens out right in the front, and immediately my triangle's on her nose, right? I didn't even notice it, doesn't bo...

ther me at all, I love the shot, I'm not thinking about it. Somebody in a comment was like "Well look, he's got a catch light on the front of her nose!" (giggles mockingly) You know? I'm like, doesn't bother me at all. But, I shoulda known it was there, because if I wanted to change it, I could've. However, I love the shot, I love this shot! That's Debra, beautiful, right? Amazing, amazing. Doesn't look anything like those other shots I just showed you, right? Nothing in my work looks like what I used to do. So here are the areas we're lookin' at. That's a major area to look at where light wraps around a face, guys. If you're doin' something wrong, it's gonna show up right there, potentially. Nice big hot spot. Alright, place I love the most to work with, right there. Remember, all of my lighting that's on the front is to hit that and fall off of it. And then I use my buddy, or my kicker, to fill it back up. This is building your sensitivity, it's all about the subtleties and watching, being able to watch. Alright, this is where you'll really know what photographers are doing with their light, alright? Do you see how this is darker than that, but this is darker than this, and this is darker than this? I'm watching that, I don't want, if this gets brighter than this, I'm up-lighting, alright? If there's a massive shadow under here it's not my work, right? Look at your work and look under here and you'll know a lot about what you're doing. Every shot, I'm always lookin' in these spots. And I don't want you to put your light there by accident, you put it there! So I was teaching The Headshot Intensive this weekend in New York, and on Sunday we all shoot, and I do four setups in my studio, and I put 'em around and I shoot my Flex kit with one, and I'm shooting there and other people are shooting around. And I'll stop shooting for a second, I'll go watch and I'll be like "Why'd you, I just set this up and I didn't put, "I didn't like put the settings "or put the lights where they should be." "Oh, I just thought it was like this and I was shooting it like that." I'm like (groans). If you get anything outta it, you have to own your light! The minute that you point your camera at somebody and there are lights with you, or natural light, you have to own that light too, right? I was like "You have to own your light, "you can't just have somebody set it up for you! "Look what happened to me!" How are you gonna build your sensitivity to light if you don't touch it? And everything should be tweaked by you, nobody else should touch it. I've had photographers who are further on in their careers who, they don't have to touch their lights. But I'm sure if they don't like where they're positioned, they'll be like "Can you move that one a little bit over there?" Once you get your light down, then you'll be, again it's intuitive, it's in your back pocket, you don't need to worry about it. But no light on the face should be there by accident. I believe it's our responsibility, not only to place the light, but to place where the shadows fall! Shadow density, right? Huge. Every highlight and every shadow is being put there by you, you must own your light no matter what the source, I can't say it enough. This course, I wanted your sensitivity to light to go through the roof, that's what I, I want your eyes to change when you're looking at light, that's what I want. Here's Gare, I love this shot. When you walk into my studio this is the first shot you see. It's amazing, it's huge, it's beautiful, he's a beautiful guy, he's a friend of mine, and I meant to shoot him for like a year. And finally I was like "Okay, let's do it!" And he came in and we created this image. And again, I'm looking at these, I've got a face to sculpt. If you get the opportunity to sculpt a face like this, you wanna do it! I wanted to figure out how to create all these, all the light that's hitting him in these different areas. And again, where do I go? Right there, that's my move. So these lights hitting the shadow here and the fill, that's my move, I'm cutting up the face by doing this. That's my move. Gotta have moves people. See the kick? You wanna have moves, right? And then, what else? You can see again, highlight, shadow, highlight around from the wrap because I did, this is the same setup I shot it in. That is, that actual piece of fabric is this, okay? 'Cause why, we're goin' in here, and we're seein' what's goin' on down there, okay? You are aware of my buddy fill, if you're not aware by now, hopefully you are. (laughs) You're aware of my fill and how I kick it up a notch with everybody, usually, I like that, that's my thing. Alright, so again, I'm gonna belabor the point, I'm just gonna go nuts with you guys on it. Key here, straight for the cheekbone on men. Boom, fill, with kick. So fill is workin' here actually, and then the kick's there. I love it, I love my work, I love to do that with guys, and I love when, you know, they have the faces to do it. And I love my beauty light on women, I love it. When you have darker skin, you need a subtler kick, you know that? Darker skin is more reflective, right? So if I'm shootin', Eulynn and Cameron are not that far, their shades are not that far apart, but Cameron's darker. If you look at him guys, Cameron's darker, so I'm gonna need less kick on his skin than I am on Eulynn's. Like if you shoot, if it was me up there and I had my hair back and I was clean-shaven and you could see a kick (laughs), I would need more kick than them 'cause I'm lighter skinned than them, you got it? So you always vary your kick according to the skin, alright? So Aneal and these guys, oh my gosh, that went too fast, I knew I was, I thought we slowed that down. I love the subtlety of the kick. I can't get enough of this. Look at how it transitions. This is where my work was headed, as I kept fine tuning it. Remember that guy I said it looks like it was shot like a sports figure with those big heavy kickers? Like I don't like that, I like this, I like how this just flows over here, I love that. And Aneal's darker skinned so he needs less kick because it's very, it gets very hot over here real quick, right? So when you were doing this setup with the fabric, could you have done a v-flat and maybe squared her off, put her in there, used the lights and got a white that way? I couldn't have done a v-flat because I would need, where would you put the light? You're gonna get, you need to get that light. Would it have wrapped around enough with the power of that, of her being super close or no? What do you mean, for using a v-flat for fill? Yeah, so box her in completely around a white, all white inside v-flat, she's right against the back, then there's the light, would that have-- No, because I can't, oh. I will never get a white, white background if I put her back against the wall, you're still gonna get shadows behind her. You need to get the light behind her if you want that look where it's totally white. I don't mind shootin' people against a wall, but you're always gonna have a little shadow from the head, their shoulders, or something like that, generally. If you pull 'em off, and you really, you can limit it, but then once you pull 'em off, Inverse Square Law, that wall's gonna go gray, right? So you've gotta play with that. I mean, if you're just startin' to build your base and you don't have an extra strobe to put back there, just shoot against a wall, it's not the end of the world. You can add it as you get it going, as you start charging for your work and your time and your energy.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Gear List
7 Peter Hurley Discount Codes

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Setting for Peter Hurley Westcott Flex Kit

Ratings and Reviews

Hannah Walker

I truly enjoyed this amazing lighting class. Peter Hurley shows you how he achieves his signature look using all forms of light shaping tools from natural light, to speelites and high end strobes. Seeing first hand how the placement of the subject to the light source and your lightning set up is so important to avoiding the hazards of flat light and haze. He teaches you his unique methods and secrets on how to make eyes pop and get the best color contrast without harsh shadows. You will leave this class energized to hone your own creative vision with light and shadows using the methods taught by Peter. It was a privilege to learn from a master like Peter Hurley. Thank you Creative Live for another amazing class!

pete hopkins

Peter Hurley is the real deal. Not only does he know and share a ton of really practical knowledge of studio lighting for headshots and fashion, but he cuts through the crap and tells it like it is. He is very encouraging and serious at the same time. He had our attention from Day 1. and never lost it. *Bonus Gold - You've got to check out his Hurely-isms. They are priceless! Aside from the new bag of industry tools to work from, Peter gave me a real, sober perspective on what it takes to be PROFESSIONAL fashion photographer! And CreativeLive provided the perfect setting as well. The whole CL staff were warm and inviting and the food was great! I highly recommend CL and P. Hurley to anyone who wants to learn from the best of the best! I can't wait to start shooting with my new skill set. Sign up for CreativeLive! Take advantage of all that they have to offer! Build a foundation, own your light, and Shebang!!! You'll be at the top of your game in no time!

Student Work