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Live Shoot: Back Light Your Subject

Lesson 5 from: Build your Lighting Knowledge

Peter Hurley

Live Shoot: Back Light Your Subject

Lesson 5 from: Build your Lighting Knowledge

Peter Hurley

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Lesson Info

5. Live Shoot: Back Light Your Subject


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

Live Shoot: Back Light Your Subject

We're going to do a couple more setups that are really cool, we're going use Leandra and Aden and kind of mess around and see what we can get out of them. And I'm going to show you some of my favorite things to do. I like messing around with the lets, I'm just going back to my window days, right, I was sitting my butt on the window seal, right, and shooting at the subject I'm gonna actually shoot towards the subject and have them have act like they're sitting their butt on a window seal or something like that; So we've got my scrim here and I've got a stool here, I've got a couple stools maybe we'll get both of them involved and I'm gonna, now I want you to you can see that the scrim is a little darker from where the brick is, so we're going to see a little bit I'll probably sometimes I just will show that in the whole scene and then I can crop it in or something like that and it'll be darker there but I'm going to use this. We've also got a little more light coming, we're facing North...

and the sun is bouncing from over there, so we've got a little bit of light coming through over here, so maybe I'll just pull this out a little bit and that might get our (pauses) operation going. Let's do this, now unfortunately you know what I'm going to have to do, I'm going to have to block you guys again, right you'll live, just everybody relax, come on and guys I know John and I have worked together for quite some time and it's part of our shtick for me to give him a hard time so, right. Yep. That's just the way we roll, that's just it, we've been. (laughs and mumbles) There's love, he's amazing, he knows my whole drill so it's cool. Let's get this over here and let's get me my V-flats and let's go back with Leandra come on come over here, is this going to be too low for you I don't like low stools guys, do we have to spin this thing for it to go up This one might be a little taller. I don't know, 'cause I don't like generally people like sitting on it like this so maybe we'll use this one. Get me my reflector (pauses momentarily) yeah you could sit or put your feet on the floor and just put your butt on the edge and then I can move you around like that. I usually do that guys, I'm not sitting people up on the stool, I like them to be able to move their body. Scoot this way, put the, put the. So I'm looking at my scrim, right. I've got a this is all retouch able right, but if any light shows through it so we'll see what happens We're all gonna also shoot a similar shot with the windows. But I just want to see what this light does when I get. Scoot this back all the way against this thing, and scoot this all the way against the windows. Alright lets try that, go right there let's just see. Now if you look, you guys can see the light on her which we're getting a little bit of light from this thing which is fine, I'm going to block it, but do you see it's pretty dark right, so if I'm going to do my guess shot on this, I want to show you the difference between this and what I'm going to do, I'm only using natural light. So what's my guess shot, if we're at 60th, 400. I'm gonna stay at 400, well actually I can go to 800 right. I'm really gonna blow out, what I want to do is I want to blow out the scrim, right. And I want to get that light wrapping around her, Right Diane, are you with me? Okay? And I want to get that light wrapping around her in a beautiful way, so let me, let me get to my Capture One first and let me make sure we're still all connected I got to turn my camera on again, and make sure we're all connected. And I'm, since I like tripods because what I'll do is I'll set up my shoot now what I'm going to have to do is, I'm going to tell you what I'm going to do before I do it so that you'll understand, I need to be as close to her as possible because I'm going to put the V-Flats here and reflect white back into her, right. But I'm going to take the shot before I'm reflecting the white so you can see both, so I need to be pretty close because the V-Flats are going to be here; Or I'm going to show you a maneuver you can do where you can get the V-Flats there you leave a little gap and then I can move back a little bit and I still get the amount of bounce on her that I need and I'm not in front of it that way, so we're going to try all of that. This is all stuff that I do in my studio. I just shot similar actually this hangs in front of my windows in the studio in half my studio and then the other half has the window light and then I decide what I'm going to shoot so this is a maneuver that I do all the time. If you guys were sitting I'd just have to tell you they gave me choices of models. And I picked these two beautiful people. Right, they are cool, cool looking. But I love your jaw line and your cheek bones and how cut your jaw line is, guys look at her look at them I mean. Do you see the way the light is hitting her cheeks? Now this is one thing as to why I always like women to put their hair up and hair back because she's got this beautiful jawline that I can barely see over here. I can't see any of it over here, right. You need to use the reflected light or the kicker, the light from behind to accentuate her beautiful face. So just don't get that thing yet, just hold your hair back for a second 'cause I want to do both. Okay look at it, do you see now the light coming around? Now you can see the light coming around the face. I always whenever I'm shooting a subject, like a lot of, some women, okay you can put that down, we're going to shoot both so I'm going to show you, but some women don't wear their hair in a ponytail when I like ponytails. I don't like hair half up, half down. And some women just in public they think they're going to the gym if they put it in a ponytail or something like that. But in pictures it looks phenomenal, it really gets us stuff, so I always ask them to do it. And I'll try it and if they like it since I'm shooting, what, tethered, I can show them. I show them, we discuss it, if we take it back down, we take it back down; So let's do our guess shot. I don't want to go below a 60th of a second, right. I mean I'm already, a 60th of a second, even though I'm on a tripod, if she starts moving around I'm going to get some blur right, right guys? Yes So should I go 800, I've got the 5D Mark 4, I can go 800. I can go wherever, we're gonna go 800th of a second, I'm at 60, at F-4, you think that's funny. You think 800 was a big enough push on that: One stop. I still think it might be dark because right think about it we flipped 'em around, we've got all the light coming from this way, now she's, look at her, she's in total shadow. At least before I get the fill, I'm about to bring in my buddy 'Phil' again, he's an omnipresent force. Let's go up to, let's just go to a thousand and see if that kicks it up a little bit. Again I need two stops maybe with my guess shot. Now I think these settings are for when I bring in fill. I don't think there for this so I'm gonna go, she's not gonna move, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna keep it, I'll go to 2.8 for this, just to see, alright, and then if I don't like the depth of field then I'll change that, guys you just saw something that doesn't happen very often, (pauses) like I very rarely do that, but on occasion. I'm thinking about it now, I'm like should I go back. (students laugh) I just feel so more comfortable with the camera in the position that it's supposed to be in. And the cameras are, like it's designed to be like this right, like once you turn it, it gets weird. So the cameras have, you can crop these however you want. So I always shoot horizontal and then crop. I'm never worried about going vertically. So maybe we'll go crazy and we'll do both but it's very rare that you ever see, this is like a, this doesn't happen very often. But I'll look at it and we'll see, so I'll start like this just to see and I think since I have to be close, I'm gonna start at 50 mil and we're gonna see what my frame looks like, now do I want, I might want to get her in from the feet to the top of her head. I don't mind seeing stuff, like I'm going to see that yellow and stuff like that, I can always crop it out later if I want, let me see the frame, I should probably like wait, if I hook my glasses where I normally put them, it's gonna screw up my, I have a nifty little pocket over here, I'll just do that, alright let me see here. So I'm way low and but I've got a center column on this sucker that I can do, 50 looks good, and actually I like where we are right here, and I actually liked everything. So I just shot it; guys if the model is giving you something don't feel the need to direct if you're going to get something out of it, did that come in. Oh my gosh are we right on, are we right on. Is that gorgeous and look there's nothing going on here. And look at that light wrapping, that's crazy, come on. Is that a shebang right off the bat? Now we could direct her a little bit but look at the way the light's wrapping around the cheek. I didn't even put the fill in yet. Guy's you just need to amp up your ISO, hit your settings and your good to go. That's gorgeous, alright so what I need to do is, yeah I want your butt on it more; I don't want you to sch mush the, and then hook one of those heels into there that's better and then lean forward a smidge maybe there you go, chill out the shoulders, that's it jam you forth though you had your mouth dropped open in that which I kind of like, I need a squinch though. I need a squinch in my life. (students laugh) I need a squinch in my life. So what are we at, we at a 60th of a second, 2.8. I went to 2.8 alright and it's still. It's really pretty good so I think I can go. I think it's perfect actually, her arms are a little bit light compared to her skin tone, so I can bring it in a little bit more, but guys again, human light meter guess shot, You guys are doing great. White balance, are you, I know you're tethering live so you're tweaking it on your camera but are you setting something initially in your camera, shade, auto, what are you doing white balance that way? I think that Capture One overrides what the camera settings are, I think the camera settings are this is set to auto white balance; which let me see if it is adjusting it auto white balance because I like it, I like it. It is on auto white balance it's changing it. So what I'll do is I'll do a shot like this and I'll set it and then I'll probably turn that feature off or I'll set it like that; It actually looks good so I'll let it ride. Let me just check the tint on it. No I brought the tint up for him. I think that these are the settings that we were on before actually. I'll watch it, so we'll take another shot and we'll see if it changes again. I do not want that changing, now as your day goes on, the color temperature if you're using natural light is going to change; Can we just turn these lights off? Because these are affecting our image. I want to try turning off the daylight that we have in the studio and just see, she went a little darker didn't she, right. So let's try the same shot, the same settings, without any (pauses for a second) reflection of the light. All back-lit and see what we get. Obviously, we're going to do the same thing, hold on. Let me see that I like that leaning forward a little, bring your butt off the stool a little bit more, hold that, there you go, now don't lean that far forward, don't go crazy, there we go, good, that's it. Keep your chin out and up, now the other thing is that I'm going to have light coming through the hair here. So if you have a hair and makeup person or two different people, that's fantastic. I usually have one, whenever I'm working with a woman, I have to have my makeup artist there, who has to do hair, like if you, unless you're going to have if you have two people around that's great, but normally you need somebody that does both. So they know that my pet peeve; I'm gonna shoot it and show you what my pet peeve is, let me just make sure I get it. So that it really bugs me. (students laugh) There you go, good, hold that right there. I can work with this, hold on, let me just, that's perfect. Right there hold that, that's great. I like that expression too, that was good. I like the mouth dropped open it fills the lips a little bit; change your, we gotta change your hands a little bit. Put your hands on the back of the stool. Yeah do something like that, lean back a little bit. So that's how I'll start to work. I want to show you guys something. Not that, I don't need to; This is the area. This is the area that I can't stand. Right here, see this face, the gap, I hate that. Now my re-toucher could get it, right. But that doesn't need to be there. I need to stop, if I don't have a hair person there to handle it, I need to go do it. She can not do it, you can't see your hair can you? No. Do you have some kind of magic that could put your eyes out here so that you could see yourself, no, right. We can't see ourselves, you have to go in and do it. So I'll either pull it in like this, isn't that better? Now I got it, now she's going to be moving because I want to move her and try different stuff. Lean back a little bit into your arms, like try different things, as I start shooting I'll have her moving around. What we're doing is we're building a shot so the lighting's the base and then the shot is actually created from little movement and what you do is you try and get them, and I'm obviously not doing a posing class or anything but I want her to get a good shot anyway. So I'm going to build the shot and I like the models that I'm working with or the subject's, I shoot a lot of normal people you've got to put them in positions. I call it positioning, I don't like people feeling like posed, but once I find a position that works I'm going to work around that to keep improving upon it. So usually as you set up a shot, you're going to get better and better and better when you get towards the end you got the shot, you know you got it. You're not working backwards, and you don't let people move much because you're building upon what you already had. So I'm building upon where we were. I put the arms back, her arms were in front. I like, let me zoom out of this now. So I want to try the arms behind her, that's it, hold that. Hair looks good, there's still a little piece. I have a pre-shutter release split second checklist that I do and one of them is hair and clothing scan. So what level am I at, I'm about right here. I like that height, I might go a little bit higher, and I might want to see the feet. I might have to move back to do it. Let's just see how much we have on this 24 to 70. And I might do something that's even a little bit distorted, don't lean back that far, don't go crazy, lean forward a little bit, keep going, there you go, good. Chin out and down, down that's it, hold that Leandra. (photo click) Good, so I just did a full frame with a little bit of distortion and stuff because of the and I'm aiming way down, which means does it look like I'm shooting high? No, but to get the foot in I had to go all the way on that angle which is a little weird, let's go back to 50. But this is how you build out shots right, I do everything that I want, that I could possibly imagine to build out a shot, if I wanted to get the feet I'd have to move back, probably, to get it without distortion, but I get a really nice shot right here, ya know if I just set it up like this. There she looks good, I'm going to go for, okay. I think we're getting somewhere. And I like the expression, and did I get the gap, the gap is gone, is the gap in the hair gone? The gap in the hair is officially gone. Why is this window so small, how do you make this smaller? There we go, get these out of here. Alright, gap in the hair is gone. Right, I don't have that pesky little thing. This one doesn't bother me. I love the cheekbones though. So I gotta get her the other thing is that since I love head-shots I always have to flip my camera back and get my headshot once my settings are good. Because I just love it and I can't get enough of that. I like to be at about the chin height whoops, little trick to do your tripod, use your thumb to set up the level on every angle so that you're good, now I'm good, now I got a center column so I can adjust my center column. Leandra's giving me a good look, so I don't even have to direct her and she might have blinked in that one. Let's try another one just in case. Settle down those eyes, no; look at the way the light, this is gorgeous light, simple, gorgeous, like you can't do it any simpler than this guys. Simple, gorgeous light right. Give me a little squinch. Give me a little brown pressure, hit the bang. Let me just see now I can work, hold that right there. Let me see that, let me see this. Beautiful, there you go, I like the mouth dropped open. Like that, hold on, what's going on? I moved the frame, okay, now what I'm going to do I want you to, do you have the hair clip? Yeah. Put the hair up; I want to see if I can get that light to wrap around a little bit more and then if I want a decrease if I think so there's a ton of light wrapping around her, right, it's a lot, if I wanna decrease the amount of light wrapping around her I can put some reflected light. I can push some light into her and stop down a little bit right, and it's gonna do that. Now I want you to watch the difference. Can you do, well no, try, let me see. (model laughs) Well I was gonna say do a double ear tuck with your hair. Like tuck it in the ears, both, yeah like that. Get the bang in front too, look at them. See the way it wraps around, that's good. That's good, now you see the light just coming around her whole face 'cause the hair is out of the way. Whenever my hair is massive these days, and when my hair is down, but the photographers shoot me at the workshops and I do this one called 'The Headshot Intensified', where they get to shoot me. And they are always putting the kicker light on me and my hair is down and I'm like I mean you might get a hair light out of it, but you're not getting the kick on my cheek. Plus I got some hair on my cheeks now, I grew a beard. Alright we're gonna see the hair, hold that smile. I'll take that, there you go, beautiful. Your smile rocks. Look at the difference, the hair blocked all that light. Like crazy, right, and now it's like she's like just. I don't know what the word is, there's just light coming from everywhere.

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