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Understanding Light

Lesson 13 of 34

Shoot: Constant Light

Mark Wallace

Understanding Light

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

13. Shoot: Constant Light

Lesson Info

Shoot: Constant Light

So I wanna show you how you can start feathering light. You don't have to always take a light and blast somebody like that. Like, hey, wake up, good morning! You can take this light and start feathering just a bit. And so from this direction we can see that we have the quality of light that is very, very nice. And we'll raise this up, just get a little bit of light on her face. And then we can start doing things like using a light modifier here to fill in some shadows over there. And so instead of getting this really horribly hard light, in fact, let's do this really fast, John. Let's shoot this photo. Is your camea on the tripod? Yeah, it's all set and ready to go. So let's shoot this really fast. I just want that white reflector there. And I'm going to shoot this in aperture priority mode. And I'm shooting it at, is the tethered capture started, do you know? I believe it is. I'll just double-check. Sure. Yep, it's all good to go. You're at iso 100 right now. Cool, so I'...

m gonna bump this guy up to, because we're shooting with constant light, again, we're shooting constant light because we want to just worry about the light, not the flash and all that kinda stuff. So I'm shooting in aperture priority mode at ISO 800, and I'm using a 24-70 lens, which is not usually the lens that I use, but I'm doing it because we're working in a tight space. So John, what we'll have you do, is we're gonna have you come around to the right side, okay, my right of Lex there. And then I want you to put that reflector up right about there. You want to both with and without or-- Yeah, we'll do it without first. And then Lex is gonna look right at me. Yes, that's what I want, perfect. Got that, and actually, you know what? I had something wacky going on here. Okay, here we go. I had my exposure compensation set from yesterday, and so we'll do that. And I hadn't set my white balance either, so we'll set that. So we have this sort of moody look right here. There we go. So we have this light that I like quite a bit. Another thing with this what we can do is we can take this and convert it to black and white and get that look that we talked about yesterday. So let me convert this to black and white really quickly. Bam, so now we have that sort of black and white portrait-y look by feathering the light. And then what we're gonna do is we're gonna add the reflector really quickly. And we're gonna get a totally different look from this same setup. So let's add that reflector really quickly and bring it just this way a hair. All right, and I'm seeing a problem with this, but we'll shoot and I'll show everybody the problem. Perfect, perfect, okay, great. So let me show you this and then I'll show you the issue that we have with this shot. So we definitely have, okay, the issue with this shot right now is this shadow right here. See that? That shadow is breaking a rule, and the rule is normally, and Lex I'm gonna have you come over here so I can show this on your face. There's this little line, and give me a slight smile. Yeah, see this smile line right here. We wanna keep that shadow below that line. Wanna keep it sort of right here in this area right here. When it starts to get up on the cheek, it looks unnatural. So I'll have you go back. So the way to fix that, anybody wanna make a guess on how we fix it? (audience member talking) Yes, so easy, we move our light up. All right, so we're gonna do that. We're gonna take this, and I am going to move my light up if it works. I'll do this, move my light up. I'm gonna get it about right there. You notice how we're still feathering the light. Yes, what's your question? Is there a rule on on how far you let them, so you changed the angle this way. Is there a rule this way? Yep, there is, and we're gonna do that after we look at modifiers. Okay, sorry. We're gonna talk about all the different closed and open rules. Yeah, so now we've actually closed this loop right here and we'll talk about that. And so let's put that reflector up again, very nice and close. Yeah, so we're getting, let's get this back just a hair. I'm looking at the different, because what we're getting is, yeah, hold that right there. This shadow is just really hard, I don't like that. And so for this, even this reflector, what I would do at this point, just looking at this, and I don't know if you can zoom in and see that. Am I in the way? So the issue with this light is this shadow right here. John, take that down. So when it's hard light, that shadow looks appropriate. As soon as we soften that light, so throw that reflector back up. Now it's distracting, and I don't like it. And so if I was shooting this setup, which I am right now. (laughter) And we put that reflector up there, and I saw that shadow, what I would do immediately is go, nope, that's not the modifier I wanna use. It's just not right, 'cause we're just getting something that's not flattering. And so I would abandon ship at that point with this modifier. It's not giving me what I want. It's giving me something that's, I'm trying to force my photo to work with the light modifier I chose instead of choosing the light modifier that works with the look that I'm trying to accomplish. Does that make sense? Yes? The grid doesn't change hard or soft, it just changed directions. Yes, in fact, let's try, I'm sorry, let's try a couple of things here. What we're going to do, we are going to, so Lex, let's have you come forward a little bit. Just like that. And we're gonna roll this guy back just a hair so we have sidelight. So what we're gonna have here, this magnum reflector, I'm trying to make this enough side light where we can try to control this. Okay, I'm gonna bring it in a little bit closer. All right, so I'm gonna take a photo. Now what we're noticing, and John, you can hop out if you'd like. We're just gonna have modifiers everywhere, just a row of modifiers. So what we have here is we have Lex and then we also have light on the background. All right, so I will take a photo of that just so we have it. And I'm also gonna just set my white balance really quickly from auto white balance to tungsten, okay. So let me just shoot this photo of Lex. And we have this very moody shot, that I think is awesome. It's gonna be coming up here. It's pretty cool. All right, so that is very contrasty light. But we have a lot of light spilling on the background. Also notice this; this is a technique that is very simple to use. Notice how we have that vignette on the background so it's not a totally dark background. It has a little light. And the way we're doing that is this light is spilling onto the background. And so we are getting actually double duty out of this light. And so by feathering the light like that, we actually are able to light a background and a subject. And because not as much light is on the background, it's a little darker, and so it's sort of a natural vignette look, which I love to do. Okay, so we can't put a grid on this, because we don't have grids. Sorry, we're gonna have to use something that has a grid. Let's do the seven inch. We also can compare how hard this light is with this seven inch guy right here. Bam, yeah, sorry. So I will put this about right there. And now notice this is a much smaller light source. And we're gonna compare the shadows that we have here. So what I'll do is I'll pull this way back. And you're gonna see a huge difference. So all we did was we put a smaller light source and we zoomed it way back, so it's the widest possible source that we can get. I'll see if I can match that shot. Okay, and look at the difference between that magnum reflector that was feathered and this little guy here that was not feathered. What a huge difference, right. Now watch, let's keep going. Let's take this light source and we're gonna zoom it in. By the way, this is a pro photo specific thing that I'm doing, zooming the lights in and out. So I'm doing it because I can, because we have the good stuff here. All right, so we're gonna do the same shot here, but now with that zoomed in. Good, watch the background. That's what we're looking at. So shadows on Lex's face will remain similar but now it's more contrasty. So look at the difference in the first shot and the second shot that we created here and you'll see that the second shot, the shadows are very, very similar to the first shot but we're changing how that background looks by zooming light in and out, which is really cool. Oh, we're gonna go one step more. So let's try a 20. That's a 10. Okay, this is a 10 and there's a 20 there. Okay, so 10 and 20, these are 20 degrees, 10 degrees. And so I don't know, what I'm trying to do is to get the light off the background without totally eliminating the light on Lex's face. So I'm not sure if that's 10 degrees or 20 degrees or five degrees, and so I'm just gonna sort of look and see. So I think a 10-degree grid is gonna get us where we wanna go. And we might even need a five degree. So I'll throw that in here. And by the way, these grids, putting grids on lights, that is not a pro photo specific thing. There's all kinds of lights with grids. Okay, now we've really restricted the light with the 10-degree grid. And we're gonna look straight into the camera, beautiful. Clicky-click. And you're gonna see something amazing here. And I want you to tell me why this is happening. It's a little quiz. Okay, why is the background blue? Does anybody know? Yeah, the video lights that are on our hosts are actually lighting up the background and so we're seeing light from a different light source that has a totally different color temperature, and because we have lights in the studio on they're actually influencing that background and that's why it turned blue. So if we turned off all the video lights that are here, then that would go away. So we're actually picking up ambient light back there. Pretty crazy, huh? Yes? Are you shooting in aperture priority? Yes. Okay, thank you. Yeah, right now I'm trying to not get confused with all the camera modes and stuff. I'm just shooting easy-smeasy aperture priority mode. I just noticed it didn't seem you were adjusting any exposure, but she has quite a bit-- Yeah, she's staying consistent. [Brunette Audience Member] Yeah, okay. Yes, aperture priority mode, I'm letting the camera handle it 'cause that's what cameras do. But, yeah, that blue background is the color temperature of the ambient light, which seems really low in here, but because we're shooting at a higher ISO, we're getting, and I don't know if you guys can show these lights over here on our hosts. What lights do you want on right now? No, this is fine. This is a perfect example, what's happening. But yeah, we have lights on over our hosts here, and that light is actually influencing this image. And that's something to be aware of. So how would we fix that? Strobe. Yes, we would use a strobe. Because the only other way to fix that is we need to, well, we'll get there. We need to increase our shutter speed to eliminate all the ambient light. And as soon as we do that, then we're gonna get rid of all this light as well, and we're gonna have problems. So that's why we need speed lights and we need strobes is to do exactly this thing. In the next segment we're gonna explain how all that stuff works. But for now, we're seeing two different colors of light. The light from our chat hosts and the light from this. And pretty cool. But once you know this trick, you can do this. You can have a low-wattage light that just has a different color temperature and lookie there, now we have a blue background. It looks pretty good; I think it looks pretty good. Looks great. Okay, we're gonna keep going and talk about different light modifiers. But notice this is all very, very hard light. The hard light, by the way, is not bad light. So that's something that is a misnomer in photography that you have good light and bad light. That's not the case. I think some of that comes from people calling quality of light and so many people think good and bad is quality. But quality here is hard versus soft, not good versus bad. Exactly, there's not a good and bad light. There's hard light, and it's great for black and white portraiture or showing shape and form and that kinda stuff, and soft light that's better for certain types of portraits, baby photography sometimes. And so it's just different styles of light. So it's not good and bad light. Get that out of your head if you've heard that. Get rid of it, it's just different types of light.

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.