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Understanding Light

Lesson 23 of 34

Mark's Secret Canon Setup

Mark Wallace

Understanding Light

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

23. Mark's Secret Canon Setup

Lesson Info

Mark's Secret Canon Setup

My secret Canon setup. And the reason this is secret is, this is a, a lighting setup that I created a few years ago to, Canon made some new printers, and they wanted me to test the, the levels of the blacks and the shadows in the inks. And so I wanted to create a lighting setup that would have a lot of dark areas to the image. And I wanted to have a lot of detail. And a lot of, bunch of things. And so I created this sort of wacky setup. And I'm gonna show it here today because a, it's sort of fun to do, and b, it sort of combines a lot of the science stuff that we were talking about. Specifically, shallow depth of field. The inverse square law. The neutral density filter that we haven't looked at yet. We're gonna do all of those things. So we're gonna build this set up, and we're gonna walk through it step by step. And I'm gonna explain to you why I'm doing what we're doing. And, I like the portraits that this setup creates. It was originally created for a technical reason. To try to t...

echnically see how this printer could do. But I liked it so much I sort of kept it a secret for a couple years because I didn't want people to steal off my technique. But now I'm gonna show it to you 'cause nobody stole it so far so who cares. Yes I have an indi filter in my bag. In my camera bag. Which is somewhere around here. Not that one. It's maybe, somebody has, has absconded with my camera. I got it. You got it. Yeah if you just bring that over. So what we're gonna do is, we need a stool as well. Or a chair. Can we steal your stool? Here we go. Here, we steal your stool. All right. So, if you'll set that down I'll grab that. What we're gonna do here, is, we are going to start building this out. In a minute Lex is gonna be sitting here. And here it is. I'm gonna shoot with a 24 to 70 lens. And the reason for that is, and this is not a portrait lens, but the reason for that is I wanted extreme shallow depth of field at f two point eight. And to get that I had to be very close to my subject. And so a 70 to 200 lens wouldn't work. And so what I'm doing here, and let me explain what I'm doing. This is a little tricky actually. This is one of those demos that I'm like, "I hope this works." No, it'll work. This is a neutral density filter. It's a variable neutral density filter. And you can see that as I twist it, it gets darker and lighter. So this, these are the sunglasses I was talking about for your camera. So you can put this on and what you can do, is, if you're not sure how much light you want to remove from the scene you can get one of these and, for example, if you're outside, say you're shooting at a shutter speed of, oh I don't know, you need to be at because of a sink speed issue. And you wanna be shooting at an aperture value of two point eight. And you're not sure how much you need to remove from the light to get to two point eight. What you can do, is you can set your camera to manual mode. Set your shutter speed to 200, where you want to be. Your ISO to 100 where you want it to be. And then, set your aperture to two point eight. And on the light meter inside your camera, it's gonna show that you're over-exposed if there's too much light. And then as you start dialing down the neutral density filter, and it's getting darker and darker, you'll see in your camera that needle on your light meter, or that little dot, or if you're a Nikon person, you'll see it actually move until you have the proper exposure. And once you have the proper exposure you know to stop and you're set. So that's how you can set your camera to a specific shutter speed and aperture value if you're using a studio strobe outside, which we're gonna do tomorrow. Unless it pours on us. And then we'll do it here and emulate that. So that's why this is a variable. So it helps you get to a place when you're unsure how far you need to go. That makes sense so far? So what I'm gonna do here, is I'm gonna put this on my lens. Now the thing about a variable neutral density filter, specifically this one, and this one is made by, I don't even know who makes it. Somebody. It's made by, it's ProMaster. It's a ProMaster. That's what it is. Digital hgx. And, it's a pretty nice neutral density filter. Hoya makes some pretty nice neutral density filters. They're gonna run you, for a nice one, about 120, 125 bucks. Something in that vicinity. Maybe a little less. Maybe a little more. Depending on where you are. The thing with this, is because of the way that neutral density filter works, it uses something called cross-polarization, we don't really need to know about that. It can cause issues with light coming through the filter. It can give you these little, they look like crosses. At some points. And so, if you are doing a lot of portrait work, or studio work, traditionally it's better to use a normal neutral density filter, not a variable neutral density filter because you could have some issues with some stuff showing up. And the other thing that we've noticed on this is it's not super accurate on the scale. So when I go all the way to max, and it should be nine stops, it actually is a hundred percent stopped, and you're getting nothing, no light in. And so you sort of have to fudge it just a little bit. And you'll see that as we work through. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my normal nine stop neutral density filter so we're using this one instead. Because, gotta roll with it. So that's this neutral density filter. Any questions on that? Okay. Let's move forward. So what we're gonna do now is, we wanna shoot at two point eight. That's the aperture value that I wanna shoot. And I know I'm gonna drop my neutral density filter to nine stops. So, normally when I would meter the light on a subject I would meter it at two point eight. But I know it has to travel through this, these sunglasses, and I need nine stops more light. And so, if I normally would meter at f two point eight, nine stops brighter than that is, anybody wanna make a guess, f 64. Very, very bright. So for this, we're gonna use a pack that has a lot of power. And that is this acute two pack. This by the way, I've shot this with about oh ten people. They all say it's not a pleasurable experience. I'm sorry. So Lex is like, great. Yeah. Sorry about that. So what we're gonna do here. We're using this acute pack because it's a 1200 watt second pack. It's pretty punchy. So we have 200 watts more than we do on the other light. So we're gonna get rid of this. The other thing I need John is the two by three soft box. Two by three soft box. And I'll get this if you just grab that for me. Cool. Yep. Perfect. So we're gonna build this out so we're really close. So I'm gonna take this guy here, and I'm gonna put up over. Two by three soft box. Perfect. And we're gonna do this horizontally as well. Yeah. It's on there. Perfect. That's it. Good. Good. Good. Okay. So we're gonna do this. It's gonna be horizontal. Put this on the ground. Put that about like that. The other thing I need is one of those black subtraction panels. All right. So we're gonna do this. We're gonna raise this up a little bit. And now it's time for Lex, for you to come on out here. And we're gonna start working with this. And by the way, what we're doing here, is a process. If you'll just have a seat on that. Thank you. This is a process that I highly recommend. And that is, I already know in my head what this shot is gonna look like. And so, instead of setting something up and trying to figure out, like, what works best, I've designed this in my head first. And then I'm gonna apply the principles of light that we've learned to make it actually happen. And so what we want, is we want this to be directly behind her. So we're gonna move this back just a little bit. Just like that. And what I'm using that for is I just want a dark background. Because remember we said we wanted a dark, a dark scene to see the levels of black on this printer. So it sort of works. I asked Lex to wear a dark shirt as well. So this is gonna be a very dark image. So, I'll get all that John. Don't worry about it. So the next thing I'm doing is I want to see, I wanna see how close I can get this soft box. Because we need to make sure that we can meter this at f 64. It's gonna be really, really close. So we're turning that on. I'm gonna turn this guy on. Just like that. And for this I know, and this is why I shot with the 24 to 70, I know that I'm gonna have to get in here underneath this to get these shots. This is really fun. So I'm not gonna take a picture yet. Just seeing how close I can get. Okay. So I wanna make sure that this is as close as possible. We need to make sure that meter's at f 64. We need a pocket wizard for this? Yes, we need a pocket wizard for this. And I'll grab a scene. Grab that really fast. And we have one. Somewhere in this bag of tricks here, there is an adaptor. Is there an adaptor? Is there an adaptor? Yes. Here's one. Here's one. Yeah. Take that. So we can trigger this we're using the pocket wizard. Perfect. And I'll also get a pocket wizard to trigger that. Watch your eyes. It might flash. It's all plugged in? Ready. All right. Eyes closed. F 45 for stopping. F 45. And that's at full power right? Yeah. Okay. ISO 200? Nope. What we're gonna do here is we're gonna move this closer. If you just hold that there and I'll trigger it. And tell me if it's at. And actually on this one we're gonna meter at the forehead. 51. F 51. 57. 57. Ready? Yep. 64. F 64. Okay. F 64. So look how close this is to her face. It is about seven inches. And it's pretty toasty when we fired that off, right? So we're gonna have rapid light falloff. Which is what we want. So rapid light falloff. And because I'm shooting so close, at two point eight, we're gonna have rapid falloff of focus as well. So the light and the focus are both gonna fall off, sort of at the same rate. And so we're gonna get this sort of interesting look here. One of the things I know that we're gonna have to deal with here is my neutral density filter, since it's a variable neutral density filter, it isn't, it's a little bit picky where sometimes it doesn't get exactly at nine stops. And so we might have to fudge our exposure just a little bit. And we know that. So that'll be okay. So I have my camera set to 200 shutter speed. Aperture value of two point eight. And let's see what we get. Are you ready? It's gonna be really fun. So this, also, because this is so dark, I can't even focus. So what I'm gonna have to do is open up this so I can see and focus. Once I get my focus, I'm gonna have to reset that so that it works. So we're gonna try and get in this focus done. Cablamo. Bamo. All right. Let's take a peek at this shot. And the thing I like about this, so what we have here is we have our light falling off pretty rapidly. You can see how it's getting much darker very rapidly. And you can see how our focus is falling off pretty rapidly as well. And so we're getting these dark edges around here. And what we can do with this is, the other thing that's really nice about this because we are shooting so close every detail is showing up. So that was the other thing that we wanted to do with this lighting setup was to show off details of people's faces. And I shot this with a bunch of people. And Lex is wearing some makeup. But I didn't allow anybody else to wear makeup. They were totally, they're on my website at Mark Wallace photography dot com and they're called faces. And they were very brave because everything shows. So this we have rapid light falloff. We're seeing how the depth of field is falling off pretty rapidly as well. And we get this really unique look. So, I am curious if there is one of you that is brave enough to have your photo taken. You wanna do it? All right. So Lex we're gonna bring you out. Yeah. Just so we can see. All right. Have a seat there. And what we're gonna have to do John, if you have the meter, is we're gonna have to position you where you're still at f 64. So once you get there. 64. F 64. Okay. And we'll sort of see how these portraits are sort of cool. And we'll see if I can actually focus in the dark. In the dark. There we go. Cablamo. Yeah. These are sort of fun. You see again, this is gonna be, and this is also the reason why I had Lex wear a dark shirt. Because the color in this, sort of, doesn't work for me. But you can sort of see, yeah, how this light is starting to fall off right here on the chin and on the sides. And it follows the depth of field. It's sort of fun. And again we can see every detail. Every detail is there. Hello. I know. You can see all of that. It's pretty fun, right? Okay. So that was just sort of a fun illustration of a few different lighting principles. The questions is, what style of lighting is this? Who knows? (audience talking) Yeah. You all get ten points. Do we have questions based on this? You know we had one from earlier about describing the difference between clam shell and butterfly. Are those the same? Well, no. They are the same. Clam shell light is butterfly light with a reflector. So when you add that, you got a clam shell. Basically butterfly light is that little butterfly shadow under the nose. And then when you throw in the reflector it's clam shell light. So, yeah, I should have said yesterday, or whenever we did that, that it's butterfly light. And now it's clam shell. Interchangeable almost.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers. 

The success of every photographer — artistically and professionally — is based on a strong understanding of how light works. Join photographer Mark Wallace for a three-day course that will demystify the fundamentals of lighting and give you the concrete skills you need to get a powerful image using the right lighting every time you shoot.

Mark will cover everything you need to know about hard, soft, directional, and diffused light. You’ll learn about reading natural light and manipulating it with tools like reflectors and diffusion panels. Mark will also guide you through working with light in a studio environment. You’ll explore using basic studio lights to manipulate and shape light and working with strobes and speedlights. You’ll also learn about shooting on-location and how to balance shape, and color ambient light and light from a flash.

By the end of this course, you’ll be equipped with a whole new understanding of light that will help you to shoot more efficiently, capture consistently well-lit images, and reach new creative heights as a photographer.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Presentation 1

Presentation 2

Presentation 3

Zone Lighting Basic Setup

Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Claudia Ochsner

This is an excellent course. I recommend this course to every photographer, of any level who want to put money into lighting stuff. Mark Wallace has a gift to teach and to truly enlighten his audience about complex issues in photography. The money for this course is well spent, the time is more valuable than hanging around in forums and ask questions to others who don't have a clue as well. The products used ( partly promoted ) are very "American" - I have to say that as Swiss. Because you know there are two other brands which could compete at the top level of studio lights as well. Just kidding - But seriously - many thanks to Mark, John, Lex ( Gosh - you are so beautiful ) , CL and their team to help me to reach out for a new level in my photography. I am now going to push my boundaries, well knowing that understanding light is science, but for sure not rocket science.

Rose-Marie Gallagher

This was an outstanding course! Mark presented TONS of quality information, starting at the very basic concepts and working up from there. He is interesting to listen to and very understandable. Great examples that expand the learning. Highly recommended! Thanks for bringing Mark's class to CL...I hope there will be more.

a Creativelive Student

This is probably the first Creative Live course I have purchased that I've watched in its entirety. Every single solitary video. I feel so strongly about Mark's teaching ability that this is also the very time I have written a review. I first came across Mark Wallace on Adorama TV. Interesting and so knowledgeable. So I explored and found other tutorials by Mark on Pocket Wizard. So when Creative Live offered this three day course - I bought it without hesitation. Mark makes the difficult - easy to comprehend and the un-understandable - understandable. I have learned so much from him and I haven't even met the guy! There are so many questions I'd like to ask - that doesn't mean that the videos were lacking in any respect. Rather, time constraints prevented Mark from covering topics he wanted to cover. I am definitely going to purchase the original Mark Wallace Creative Live course on Speedlights. I am also voting for a course: "28 days with Mark Wallace," so that we can tap into his genius with Lighting. How about it Creative Live? Bravo Mark - a very successful course. I am looking forward to the next one.