Skip to main content

Live Shoot: Working with Shadows for Men

Lesson 15 from: Build your Lighting Knowledge

Peter Hurley

Live Shoot: Working with Shadows for Men

Lesson 15 from: Build your Lighting Knowledge

Peter Hurley

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

15. Live Shoot: Working with Shadows for Men


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: Working with Shadows for Men

Look into the camera. Watch the light on his face as I change it. Look at that, that's really weird. (laughing) Top down, top heavy is pretty nice sometimes. But as I subtly move it, I'm watching the shadow on the nose. Watch, I know you guys can't, actually, you know what, just to help them, let's go to that camera. It's on the screen. Oh, it is? Oh, look at that. Oh, cool, how's the man bun look? (laughing) (audience laughing) I didn't even see. I went man bun today. Maybe we'll bring it down tomorrow. Okay, so you can see it. So, watch the shadow. I'm watching right here, this shadow, watch. Watch if he's ahead of light convergence or whatever. Now, this is kinda funky, right? I can do that, but when can I do it? When do I do that? (audience answering) After I got the shot. Okay, so watch. I'm back to here, and watch the nose shadow. Watch the nose shadow. You see it changing? And this is, there was a question about shaping the nose. You can do it with light. It'll change the wa...

y the nose, you can see it as I'm, watch, his nose is very straight. He got lucky, but in the middle it kinda goes in a little bit, and you can see it goin' in towards the tip, and, look at this. If I go like this, it's weird. Now bring it down, hold on. This sucker's workin' with me. I should get two hands on this. Let me look at you and not pay attention, scooch this way a little bit, a smidge. That was it, he's got it, he's got my, there you go. I'm also watching right here. Right, this, this is his money. He's got the jaw, stop clenching that jaw. Stop that. (laughing) There we go, right there, alright. So I'm gonna go right about here. Let me see that. I'm gonna go right about there. That's where I want you. So, now, I opened up this cheek, but I hit this jawline harder. And we're off on this one. Were we off before? Yeah. Alright, we're off. Okay, let's shoot that. Jam that forehead out, hold that, that's it. And if I jam his forehead out he's gonna move and the light's gonna change, so I'll change it. Alright, let's see how we did. Let's try this, turn very straight to me, a little bit this way. Yeah, 'cause you were looking in the cam, and he wasn't directly in front. I like with the light to jam the forehead out. The light's hittin', yeah, there you go, chin up slightly. Hold that, right there. Good, perfect, I love it. Aiden, you're rockin' it. You're just, you're just doing everything you need to do. See the difference? This changed. See how I brought, the shadow that was here before came in, this triangle came out, so this, I guess, would be more called Rembrandt. I made a shelf so that shadow density here is heavier. And now I've opened up this portion of his cheek, which is money for guys. When I was modeling, all the hottest guys had like the sucked-in cheeks right here. I was like, "How do I get that?" I'm not built with that. I didn't have that. (audience laughing) I was like, "I want that." He's got it, right? So now, what I can do, this is my domain. I own this section of his face right here, and I can put what in there? I can sneak my buddy right in there on him. Actually not fill. _ [Audience Member] Kick. Kick, we need a better name for kick. We need like a guy's name for kick. It would be better. Is there any name for kick for a guy? I can sneak the kicker right in there, and then I'm gonna light this up. But the kick is not gonna effect this, I need this shadow there to create definition on that cheek. I see the excitement. You're gettin' ready for it, okay. So, but I can open up that shadow density with fill. You're fine with that amount of light, right? Yeah. Alright, I'm gonna go a little heavier. Can you go kick, go up to 80 and see if you can handle it. This guy's like super-human. (audience laughing) Alright, here we go. I'm gonna go up to five-hundredth of a second. I was at three-twentieth. I'm at 4.0 at ISO 200. Good, hold it there, chin down, jam the forehead out. You always have to get the forehead out. Chin up slightly, let's see if this is okay. (camera shutter) Good, you can throw in a squinch if you want. (Aiden laughing) Alright, so now I've got even more shadow. Now, I've got shadow density the way that I want. Let's look at it compared to the last one. He moved forward a little bit. But see how I'm totally, I'm creating that, I'm starting to use that, I really wanna be able to fill that shadow density so I need the shadow density there. In my studio, can you get me V-Flats? Yeah. I know this is gonna kill you guys, but in my studio with guys I put V-Flats around 'em. I don't wanna block you guys so I'm only gonna do it for a second. And we're gonna see if we can even harness this darkness a little bit more. Give me V-Flat, give me, here, I'll take one. I can also close the curtains behind you. No, that's alright. This is a good lesson if you shoot in a bright studio. I don't mind, but I'm gonna block you just for a second. You'll be alright, everybody just relax. And I'm gonna put the black side in. And I'm gonna put the black side in over here on this one. Just go black side on 'em. And, I'm gonna scooch you back a little bit. Scooch this way a little bit. Yeah, right there, let me see that, wow. That's fantastic, don't move. Good, I like it. I like it, I like it, right there, wow. Don't move, just like that. There you go. Go the other, go, wait, hold on. I like going like this. You just move the kicker out. Move the kicker so that, in the position of the kicker so it's ready. You might have to unplug it and bring it all the way over there. I think you will. Alright, let's try this, guys, here we go. No, no, no, no, not, don't take it off. Well, yeah, you have to move that over there, yeah. Okay, right here, let's look at this shadow density. Right here, Aiden. Good, jam the forehead out, hold that, fantastic. That's just awesome. That's just awesome, I'm done. I love it, I love it. This is my work, I don't know. This is the type of work that gets me all jazzed up. I love it, and I like the hint of the smile. So, see how I brought this shadow back to here, but I still kept this. That's because I angled the light and brought it over his face a little bit. And this is killin' you, right? Is this killin' ya? I've been talkin' about this all day. It's killin' you. But with the inverse square law, I'm not gonna get that shadow density if I move him way far away from that. So, let's move that out of frame and keep it on the same trajectory and the same angle. You don't move, you stay right there. Let's just try this, we'll move it out of frame. And I'm gonna go up. And the inverse square law is gonna say, 'cause I basically just took it and went like that. So it's about the same as it would've been if it was closer to him because he would have been closer, and it would've had to go down a little, right? And, I'm gonna shoot, and now I'm gonna open up because it's further away. And do you know that it's one foot away, I have a whole slide on this, you loose 75% of the light so I just lost 75% of the light. Look at this, this is from I did a DVD with Fstoppers called Illuminating the Face, and we did. We drilled into this, and this was the story. They were like, "You know the inverse square law?" I was like, "I shoot by it." They're like, "You shoot by it every day?" And I was like, "I'm not a techno guy." I was like, "I've heard of it." And they were like, "Well, you're teaching it, here we go." So then I had to learn it and teach it. I was like, "You're right." And I learned so much. And after knowing that, my work completely changed. Even though I was doing it, I was unconscious confident. I was doing it but unconsciously. I didn't know what I was doing. And then once I knew, I was like, "Wow." And now I use it every single day. So, that is, we're gonna, I know it's in tomorrow. Let me just, just don't get too excited. We're just gonna go to it because I'm here right now. I haven't drifted much. Oh wait, hold on. It's not allowing me to go to it. Okay, I'm there, okay, here it is. Every time you double the distance from the light, the power of the light hitting the subject drops 75%. And, guys, if you want, you can get this Illuminating the Face for, I think, it's a hundred or 200 bucks off. Use the code Creative Live, and you can get both of my DVDs for like a hundred and or 300 bucks for both. Anyway, it'll be in the packet so look for it. But this is in that, from that, tutorial. So, look at that. 100% of the light is there a foot away. Two feet away, you're down to 25% of the light. That's crazy. That's why it's more worth it for me to have the light in the frame than not have it in the frame. I have a guy that has a program. (audience laughing) And if you don't have a guy, then you learn how to take the light off a gray background please, okay? If the background is crazy, like if it was the door, I would look at the door, and I'd be like, "Is it worth it or, oh, okay, I can move it back a little bit." You know, if I'm outside, and it's trees or something, and it's hard to retouch, I'll get the light out of the frame. Don't, just, you know I'll do it, it's fine. It's no big deal. Alright, let's go back to Capture One, and let's do this shot. Alright, so since I lost 25% of it, I'm gonna go back to one one-sixtieth of a second, how's that? What was I at? Five-hundredth? That's a big difference, right? Let's see if I'm right. Jam your forehead out, do the same exact thing as before. Hold that right there, nose this way. Lose the smile, you were serious before. What are you doin'? (laughing) (audience laughing) I mean he has a little bit of a, he pulls his mouth to the side in a really cool way, right? That's the human stuff. I love that, I love that. Alright, relax, you got that vein that pops out in your head when you get excited. Stop that (laughing). (audience laughing) Okay, good, you're good, you're good, you're good. Let me see, I don't like the shirt. My shirt looks good though. It's a good look for you. There we go, alright, scooch just a little bit. Right there, right there. Let's try this. Now, let's see, I might have to, I'm basically guessing because I moved the light away. And my human light meter thing, when I'm on and then I'm off, I think I'm right though. Jam the forehead out, chin up a little bit, good. Watch the shadow density on the cheek. I am right, aren't I? Look at that, I nailed it. Okay, good, I'm glad because I didn't wanna not nail it. Look at the shadow density on the cheek. So, the highlight on the head, it's a little bit brighter on the highlight, but look at the shadow density here compared to that other shot. That is why I get my lights that close. It also brings the background down too, right? I'm movin' the light away from him. I'm essentially movin' the light away from the background. I've gotta open up on him so that the background opens up now too. So, if I want the background even darker, I get the lights as close as I can get 'em. You with me? Yeah. This is good stuff, guys. This is good stuff. Alright, so what I'm gonna do before I bring in my buddy fill and the kick, I wanna, Drew, there's gotta be some questions, guys, c'mon. You gotta lay 'em on. There's gotta be some questions, c'mon. Let's blow through some. Can you get the same effects with Speedlites? So, some of the stuff you're doing. Oh, this is such a good question. Gimme that, do we have them? Where are they? Guys, we got Speedlites. Alright, so this is the Westcott Rapid Box, and it's, basically, it's a strip box. It's very similar in size to this. It's a little bit skinnier and a little bit shorter. But I like portability, and I like to be able to, I have three Speedlites 'cause I can do my triangle, and I can do my men's set up and I'm good. I can add a fourth if I want, and I can do the four light, the square. So, I'm usin' the Canon 600EX-RT, and then we've got, give me one of the Profoto CF's. So, we got the stuff, guys, and what did I say about the stuff? I know you want the stuff. You build your kit the way that you wanna build your kit. If this is your least expensive option to get into this, and that's where you're at at this stage of the game, then that's where you go. You start here. I can show you how to do it here, alright? If you're goin' Profoto, and you're in Strobesville, and you love your strobe, boom, look at this. What have we got there? Holy smokes, guys. We're basically in the same situation, right? So, I got this, and this is the way we set it up. Now, I don't like the width of this underneath, right? 'Cause I go with the one by two, this is three. So, underneath, I'll use, and I usually won't grid it, but I put the grid on. I love grids though. We're shootin' with all this really cool gear. I'm lovin' it. But, that being said, you know, when I started, I saved my pennies to be able to buy the product that I thought needed, and a lot of times what I thought I needed wasn't what I need. But if I hadn't bought that Kino Flo set up or that Acute 2R 2400 Pack, I wouldn't be where I am today. Those really, if you invest in anything, like I would go, I was not makin' any money. I could barely afford the studio that I moved into. My girlfriend at the time, who's now my wife, was a model too, and she's much better lookin' than I am. And she worked a lot more than I did, and she floated us while I was tryin' to build this business. She took care of it, and I actually took the money that I made from one of my first jobs. I was shooting for Reebok, and I decided that I was gonna take the money from this Reebok job and buy that Acute 2R 2400 Pack. But then I had to wait to buy, I bought a Pro, big umbrella. Back then, they had like this seven foot umbrella. Now, so I was told that you need something big for soft light so I bought this massive umbrella. And I had to wait 'til my next job to do that, and I built it up that way, you know. I didn't have an expensive studio. I was shooting out of the studio apartment. I had this big seven foot umbrella in that tiny studio apartment. I did whatever it took for me to do. I'm one of those guys that will save up to buy the best thing rather than buy my way up with stuff. I just wanna buy the best and then not eat for a couple months (laughing). You know what I mean? I'd rather do that, that's what I do. I like to buy whatever it is the best and then, now, fortunately, I had a business that afforded me that. If you guys are tryin' to break into business, what's free here right now? (audience answering) Stop it, don't have any excuses, and don't go out and buy gear if you can't afford it. But I'm tellin' you, if you can stand behind this thing, put a person in front of it, and get paid. I don't think, I don't, I love my job. I don't think I would be happy doin' anything else. I love this, and this is awesome. How do we get to do that? That's amazing that we get to do that. So, you build your kit however you can. That's why I wanna show you Speedlites because a lot of you have them, right? I don't shoot Speedlites, and I'm gonna go out on a limb. I've shot them before in classes and stuff, but I don't own a Speedlite. I borrowed them from Canon so that I could show 'em to you, so I can show you the same set up. If you go on the B&H website, there is a video of me shooting Speedlites at B&H in a class. And I pulled it off perfectly, and I actually, I shot a Canon SL1 Rebel against a 5DSR and a Flex kit with the Speedlites and the Westcott Rapid Boxes. And the shots are phenomenal, and I loved it. So, we're gonna go into that tomorrow. It's amazing. Alright, where were we? Did I tell them about the lighthouse yet? (laughing) (audience laughing) Okay, let's go, no, we were at questions. Questions, do you wanna do one more? That's what started the question. Do you wanna take one more. I want another question. Okay, one more, is it personal preference or does Capture One have advantages for you over say Photoshop? Is it because of your medium-format work? So like, talking about tethering, I think. Alright, so Capture One, for me, first of all, it's not like Photoshop. I shoot into it, and I process my files. I get the high, the best quality processed file to put into Photoshop out of Capture One. Now, I never used Lightroom. I was a medium-format shooter. I shot Hasselblad for years, and they use a program called Focus. And then I switched to Phase One, and then I switched to Canon. So, I, and whenever I, I kinda look at it like this, commercial jobs in New York City, right? In all these studios, every studio I've ever gone into, other photographers', there's digital techs working Capture One all the time. There's not, I don't know digital techs that they hire to work Lightroom. Like you just, I don't know if it's there yet or if it's that popular yet, but I just know that Capture One is the ultimate tethering software in the world. And they just came out with Capture One 10, which is awesome, which is what I'm shooting into. You get the best skin tones out of it. You get the best, if you process images in other programs, and you process them out of Capture One, you will see the difference in your files. The speed of the tether is phenomenal. I very rarely ever have to restart, ever have to restart Capture One. And when I'm on a shoot on a commercial job, I don't want that client lookin' at me like, "Come on, take some pictures." And I'll be like, "No, just hold on. "Oops, I gotta restart my computer because the whole thing crashed because of some tethering software." Never happens with Capture One. It's very rare that I ever have an issue. But I love it because it allows me to adjust my images on the fly, again working on a calibrated monitor. I'm gettin' the skin tones that I want. I can really go in and deal with that. I've got the speed that I want. When I'm shooting, the images are coming up. If I have a client watching that, I want the images to come up quickly. You see how they're jumpin' in there? It's not, there's no lag really. It's really right there. When I shoot, and I wanna look over and chimp, I don't want you chimping. But if I wanna chimp a little bit, it's already there by the time I look over. I look back, and I haven't lost my client yet. The minute you chimp, the client's gonna go like, and try and look at the screen that you're lookin' at. So, I just like doin' it fast, just to make sure I'm on track. Once I know I'm on track, I don't chimp anymore.

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