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Understanding Light

Lesson 31 of 34

Shoot: Studio Strobes on Location Part 2

Mark Wallace

Understanding Light

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

31. Shoot: Studio Strobes on Location Part 2

Lesson Info

Shoot: Studio Strobes on Location Part 2

I would like to show you something else and this is something that just so you know that it's possible there is a way to shoot outside in ambient light where you don't have to do all this crazy metering. So I need a volunteer from a student. Which? Alright come on over, come on over. Okay I'm gonna let you walk through this and have you ever done this before what we're about to do ... You don't even know what we're gonna do right? You haven't told us. Nothing, okay. So I need the other transmitter which is In my pocket. In John's pocket. Which pocket, this one. In John's pocket. Okay, so this is a different system that a lot of, it was created for wedding photographers and for location shooters and pro-photo has this if you use a pocket wizard mini and flex with the alien bees you can do this and I know there are some other brands that are about to launch products that do this so I think it would be unfair not to show this thing. So the first thing I want to do is show you ...

how to use this neutral density filter. So people at home know how this can be done and then we're gonna let you shoot with this new light over here. This is a pro-photo B1 okay. So we're not going to use a light meter at all. So what I want you to do is take this camera, are you a cannon shooter? I'm not, but that's okay. That's okay you'll figure it out. So what I've done is I've set this to 200 and 2.8 just like normal. I want to have you go this way so the camera can see you. Sure. So we have you at 200 and 2.8 ISO 100 alright, so you're not going to change any exposure here, but when you look through the lens at the bottom there's a little light meter. Just adjust this to the background until you see that meter correctly. Sure. Okay, so do that. Where's my shutter button, there we go. Right about there. Okay take a picture of Lex. Alright, good. It worked right? Yup. It's balanced? Yup, looks good. Looks good. Alright we're done. Thanks. So that's the new system it's all TTL metering so there's the TTL stuff that we learned yesterday works with this unit and I'm guessing many other brands. You can either go out and get the pro-photo B or use the pocket wizard mini and flex with TTL metering with some studio strokes which I think are the alien Bs and the Einsteins or I know there are some other brands that are going to have this, but what it does is it allows you to use through the lens metering to balance both ambient light and studio strobe. The exact same way that we learned how to use our speed lights yesterday. There is no difference. In fact, we'll just shoot a few shots here. So looking great, excellent. Look into the flash a little bit. Beautiful. It's like that and it just works. So there is a way to do this that is a little bit simpler actually a lot simpler than having to do all the exposure compensation stuff on a meter and metering everything and the reason I showed you that also if you're a wedding photographer or event photographer man what a difference in your work flow right. You just go out and shoot and you're done. So there is that as well. Okay what we want to do unless you guys have questions. We're going to continue on our journey we're going to keep using this TTL stuff for a little bit because it's so fast. Unless people write in from online saying show us more of the metering stuff we can do that, but I want to talk to you about some different light modifiers and how they work outside as well. So what we wanna do John is let's take this we'll just move the ... We'll put that on that. Yes we're gonna use a magnum reflector on this B1. Just like that. We'll turn that, is that on yes it is. Let's make sure that this sync is on. For this we don't want it to be. We want it to be out to the edge there you go, thank you, good. Good and I'm gonna show these guys what we just did if you can hold that. Got it. Thank you. So what we did if you can show right inside here. We wanted to make sure that this wasn't too far inside because it will waste some light. So we put it even so this light is gonna fill this as much as possible. This is where having the other flash that we had, had that little globe that came out. I prefer that for a reflector like this because it's going to fill more of this surface, but this is going to be pretty efficient. What this is gonna do it's almost parabolic so it's going to be very directional and what we're gonna do is we're gonna pretend that we're gonna shoot a photo of Lex, but she is let's say a bride at the end of a church runway or she is a celebrity that we can't get close to. She looks a little bit like Angelina Jolie doesn't she? Or Reese Witherspoon is that what you get all the time? Yeah, she loves that. Or let's say that she is, I don't know, you're a paparazzi person, I don't know. And this can't get very close, we'll check this out. We're gonna take this and we're gonna walk way over here so we are not very close to Lex. How far away is that you think John? 25 Probably 20 feet. 30. 30? 30 feet something like that. Alright so let's see if 500 watt seconds can illuminate a person at 30 feet. And so what I'm gonna do. I don't know if this is gonna work or not, but we're just gonna try it out. So what we're gonna do here, that's turned off great. We're gonna try this at 2.8. We'll try it at some other settings as well. We're back quite a ways I've got my ambient light exposed correctly we're still at 2.8. Then Lex is gonna smile, boom. No problem at all. It is perfectly illuminated from that distance. Which is pretty crazy. So depending on the modifier that you have. You can get some pretty astounding results and I like this because it's very specular it looks like we're out in bright sun. It looks pretty good. You're still Angelina. We can also work at different angles. Now I can actually get close leave that over there and let's have you turn towards me just a bit. Now we're gonna get some side light and you can see on this shot that we actually have a nice side shadow to that image and so we can start working with our direction of light let's have you turn this way just a bit. Beautiful, I'm a little bit too close. Awesome and on that shot this looks almost like a sunset shot. Because the light is streaming from the side. So I'm changing myself in relationship to this light and because that light is so punchy I don't even have to be close. I can do a full length shot. I can do nice close shots. I can do really flat light. I can do side light. We can do silhouetted light. We can do anything. Is that showing up? Perfect. The other thing we can do is use a parabolic umbrella. So we're gonna try that out. With that guy we're not gonna be able to get these types of distances. So it's right on the ground right there John. We're probably gonna need some help on this one from John. To make this work, Lex we're gonna have you come over here. Stand right there. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm gonna shoot this way so these guys can see. Yeah from right here. Also we're trying to make sure the wind when it blows it blows it this way on to me not into Lex. Pow, let's stick that right on there. Yes, question away. When you were using the little can thing and it's pretty hard light especially given the distance doesn't that kind of contradict what the background was looking like and totally looking fake? It will look absolutely fake. It's gonna look, yeah, what'll look like is something we haven't described yet called a light isolate. A light isolate is when you have say a very cloudy day like today, but the clouds are broken just a bit and the sun sort of peaks through the clouds and you'll get maybe the top of Mount Rainier is sparkling and great and everything else is sort of gray. That's what a light isolate does so what we're doing is we're mimicking that like almost a shaft of light is coming down and ha ha, so that's what it will look like, but it does look a little artificial. A lot artificial. We'll have people vote at home how artificial does it look. It goes to 11 artificial. Okay this what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna actually shoot right in front of this and this light is going to go around me. It is very directional and it's gonna give light falloff on Lex and John you might have to stand behind to make sure it doesn't fly away. Nope that's good, that good. All good, just like that, perfect. So we're gonna do the same thing here. I'm gonna use my neutral density filter to adjust for the background and there we go. We'll see how much punch this has. This requires quite a bit of punch and we can see that Lex is freezing. Perfect. It works, it works. Except we have a crane right through your head. Now there are more cranes in this skyline. I can see one, two, three, four, five, six, seven there's like seven cranes, eight, nine, we're in the middle of an airport construction zone in the rain it's awesome. So forgive us for that, this isn't ideal location, but this what we're seeing here is that light fall off. John I'm gonna have you hold this just for a second and I'm gonna go to my laptop so we can take a peek at this and I'll see if I can do this. Alright, so you can see me I'll take this off. Always fun, there we go. So what we're looking at is how this light falls off on the edges here and looking at this I can see that my focus was off so I couldn't see that through the camera when I shot, but my focus was definitely off on this shot, but we're seeing how this light actually gives a nice hard shadow at the edges. Let me shoot one more photo where I'm in focus and we'll see how that works. Sometimes by the way that can happen with a neutral density filter. So I'm gonna bump up my aperture value to about seven and we'll see at seven. I know it's cold. At seven we don't have enough natural light so we're gonna shoot at five. At a shutter speed of 200. Perfect. All right hold that we'll see if that works out. Okay, what we're looking at is how this light is falling off on the edges of her face and her ears that type of stuff. And you can see that we get sort of this outline on her body of light fall-off and that's what a parabolic umbrella does. If this was a little bit more parabolic you'd see that even more pronounced. So it's a very interesting look that you can get with parabolic stuff. I'm getting nervous that this things about to fly away. So let's move to a different light modifier. I feel like I'm about to have another few hundred dollar mistake going crazy. Okay, I'm ready for even more questions. I think that was thunder. Was that thunder? We don't get thunder here. So SP photo would like to know I've seen this umbrella used with a front diffusion panel when used with a diffusion panel does it have the same effect as a 50 inch soft box and I know we talked about this yesterday, but would you mind reiterating please Mark. Yeah so it has a similar effect as a 50 inch soft box so what's happening is the light is being reflected and diffused. The only difference is if you have soft box the light is actually coming from the flash through the soft box and through the diffusion material. So it's gonna be very directional and very punchy and very even. When you're shooting with an umbrella what's happening is the lights going through the umbrella being reflected and going through that diffusion material. So you're losing a little bit of light sometimes a lot of light based on that reflection. So a soft box a is going to be a little more directional, you're gonna get a little bit more light, but you can also move that soft box much, much closer to your subject if you want to use the inverse square law to drop light off. You have a question, yes. I was wondering with your neutral density filter can you simulate in this environment with this light nighttime and light? Yeah let's see if we can do it, I like that. So for this John let's go ahead and use our punchy reflector so what we're gonna do is we're gonna take our neutral density filter and drop it far enough that we under expose everything to make it look like nighttime. Lex we're gonna shoot you this way. Do you need this? No. No you're fine? Okay. Are you positive yeah? We're all gonna go home with colds after today its gonna be great. Welcome to session four, we're all sneezing it's great actually everybody from Seattle's like you guys are wimps. Is that what's happening? Okay so I'm gonna take my neutral density filter why don't you come over and we'll do this together. I know oh my gosh you're ... We'll try this out. What we're gonna do here this is the neutral density filter that you make things darker and are you a Cannon shooter? Yes. Okay, I'm gonna have you do this then. I want you to look through this and you can take it off the tripod if you want. Because it's crooked. Yeah crooked, driving you crazy. Alright, we have that look through there and on the front so don't take a picture yet on the front grab your hand here and rotate this until it shows three stops under exposed. I don't know that part. Okay there's a little thing moving back and forth on our-- Oh is that where the three is? Yeah so move it. There's a little dot moving back and forth. Yeah, yeah. You wanted that dot to go all the way to negative three it's the left hand side. Yeah I see okay, I think so. Is that where it is? I can't really see because I'm blind. Okay. So it's three yeah. Okay, now take a picture. Okay. Alright so let's take a look. It looks like dark. It looks like dark yeah. So it might be that it's so dark in here. Can we look and see where I'm at with the exposure. I will take a look. Because it's on the three is that? Yes so it's about there. So what's happening is we need more punch from our light and we can't see Lex she's like a dot in the distance. Yeah she's like a little dot. Okay there. Oh look it's like nighttime. There it's like nighttime, yeah. Magic, that's amazing. Right, amazing, so we just ... that's the exact same thing we did with our lights so in the studio downstairs when we're using speed lights remember we closed the aperture we sped up the shutter speed so the lamps were underexposed making them essentially look like they weren't turned on. Okay. We're doing the exact same thing here we're taking our neutral density filter and we're turning it and so the natural light is just getting underexposed more, and more, and more until it's actually going to black. Then the flash is able to give us enough light to expose correctly on Lex and so it looks like we have Lex outside in the dark. So on the shot I took it was very dark. What did you do, you fixed it. Yes I did fix it. So what I did is on your shot. Let me go over here and we'll look at the computer. So walk with me to the computer. Okay. You're now an interactive part of the workshop. Alright so on the first shot when you took this shot some things were going on here. One Lex was not the main part of this shot so I use the rule of thumb when gauging my main subject if I can cover my subject with my thumb it's just not. It's too small. It's way too small. So I needed to zoom in. Yeah zoom because we don't even know where she is there. Okay. So that's gonna help the TTL metering. That was that and the other thing that was happening is when you rotated the neutral density filter so the exposure guide said it's exposed negative one, negative two, negative three, but it was flashing which meant that you kept rotating it so it was probably four or five stops under exposed. Oh I wanted it really dark. Yeah, like way dark. Three stops will do it and so you rotated that neutral density filter so far that the flash couldn't pump out enough light to get through it. So we had an underexposed Lex. All right, I understand. That's how it works. All right that's how it works. I want you to do it one more time I'm gonna reset it and I want you to do it again because there's somebody at home that's gonna try this same thing and the chances are if you have a mistake like that they will too. Yeah. So let's just try it. Okay. You ready, you brave? Oh yeah, I'm standing here. (laughs) I'm standing here. Okay so we're gonna try it again. I've taken this. Okay I do have a question then. What if I don't want to be zoomed in like really tight on her. So do I zoom in get the metering, hold the button down and then click or do I just, no choice? So if you don't want to zoom in super, super close a you wouldn't have rotated the neutral density filter so far so probably the flash would've gotten it right, but if it didn't we're using this as we would a speed light right now. So you would use flash, exposure, compensation to increase or decrease the flash. So that's what we do. Let's say we weren't using it like a speed light we would've metered it and we would've known that the light was at the correct power output. Those of us that don't have a meter, won't meter. I know, you won't meter we're not gonna meter. Forget this, but all these things that we're doing right now will work with the speed light. The stuff that we're doing right now. Yay. So I've reset this so that you're gonna have to do it from scratch. You're so mean. I know I'm so mean. I want you to try it out. Can I go this way? You can, you can go that way. Remember you have to rotate your neutral density filter. Oh that one, yeah I'm changing everything here. That part so that you can see the meter. See it going negative one, negative two, stop when it hits negative three. If it's flashing you've gone too far. All right I'm just going. I don't see anything flashing. Okay. Holy cow, she's standing there smiling. Don't give me a fake smile. I know. Let's take a peek. There you go. Oh try it one more time she looks like she's mid sneeze. No, no. Okay you're beautiful. Okay. It looks good. So we have light at-- Good job thank you, okay can I go away now? Yeah you can go away now, but that's how that works. Yay, (cheers). We have one more question. Yeah let's here it. So a couple minutes ago you had the one light pretty far out ... I'm gonna come right over here because I can't hear you. Sorry, a couple minutes ago you had that one light out about 25-30 feet so was that an example of using the inverse square law outside? It wasn't no, if we were trying to illuminate Lex and the entire city a that light is not powerful enough, but that would be the inverse square law, right. Where the light is dropping off and it's going really low and we have the same amount of light on Lex as we do the buildings way back there, but we're not trying to do that. So all that example was showing us how that parabolic shape was able to push a lot of light a great distance. None of that energy was wasted going to the sides. It was all directional so we're able to shoot at a greater distance with that modifier. There's no way we could've done that with a four by six soft box or even any other soft box or probably even an umbrella because the light is being diffused so much. Not enough is going to hit her at 25 feet away or 30 feet. So that is what that is an example of. Okay, you have a question and a microphone. Two questions and a microphone. Okay so we haven't used the color checker or done any white balance. That's right. Normally this would all be incorporated every time. Yes the reason we haven't is that we're trying to move along at a pretty good clip and so that's the only reason. Yeah we haven't done any post production we haven't done any of that stuff. So all of the things that we would normally do, we're trying to do it in little chunks and then only do those chunks. And so one of the things that that is bothersome to me when I'm doing any kind of workshop, like when I look at these photos, they're orange, they're blue and they're, they're color casts and stuff that I wish I could correct, but because our time limits, we only have so much to do each individual thing. So what I normally do is at the end of the day I look at this stuff and go we could fix this and fix this, and actually we're gonna do some of that in the next segment. Yes, next segment. Alright, we're gonna keep going. Do we have other questions from the folks at home? Actually, people are saying they would like to know how to do all these techniques inside. Inside, me too. Just kidding, just kidding. Okay, keep it up, Mark. This is a question driven segment, so please throw them, throw them in. Okay, are you gonna survive 20 minutes? Yeah. Yeah, alright. She can stand in, we can do that. Alright, so let's try to do, let's see what else we can do out here with this building. Man, this building that's got some color over here. so we're gonna try to do the exact opposite thing. So we talked about underexposing the background so we have, so we can sort of squish an ugly environment. So what we're gonna try to do now is see if we can bring in a different environment. So Lex, what we're gonna do is we're gonna have you stand right here, right there would be great. And for this one, I think we'll just use an on axis four by six Softbox. Since it's there, why not? One of the questions that was asked during lunch actually was why did I switch to my 70 to 200 mm lens today? So who asked, you asked me that, yes. So it was like, hey, you've been using your 24 to 70 lens and all of a sudden now, you're using a 70 to 200, why? Well, the reason is when we were shooting inside downstairs we have to do everything in a very small environment. I have to be able to illustrate a point with Lex or John, somebody like three or four feet away. And normally I'm gonna be shooting at a much greater distance. And the reason for that with a longer lens like this guy, this is a 70 to 200 which is what I normally use for shooting. There are three things that happen. The first is you get a nice comfortable distance from your subject, and so yesterday I was shooting Lex and we were inches away from her face. You remember that when we were like, that is not something that I would normally ever do. In fact, I like to shoot probably about this distance. So we're about 15 feet or so away from each other, and it allows the model to be a lot more comfortable. You don't want to have that creepy weird guy feeling. And if you get really close you get creepy guy feeling. So this, that helps with that. The second thing that happens with a lens like this is your compression, you get a lot of compression. And so what we're doing now is we have Lex and behind Lex, we have that apartment building back there. And if I use a wide-angle lens, the apartments behind her are gonna look like they're really far away. The longer the lens is that you use, it compresses that, making it look likes it's closer and closer to your subject. And so for a situation like this where I want that background in, I'm gonna use a longer lens. And then the other thing that we get from a longer lens is our angle of view is narrower. So instead of seeing all of this stuff, we can compress that and see much less. So when we're shooting downstairs with those V flats, we kept seeing the edges of the background. The reason for that is normally I would have been about 10 or 15 feet farther back, zoomed away in and so instead of seeing the back, we would have just seen Lex in the pristine background. And for a situation like this, we have this apartment building, but on each side of the apartment building, we have construction and cranes and all kinds of nasty stuff. So we want to compress that and make sure we don't see any of the extraneous nastiness. And so that's why I'm using this. And also it's just a cool wide lens, so why not? So Mark, I have a quick question from Jim who wants to know why you're not using a lens hood out here? The reason I'm not is that this neutral density filter is larger than, I can't put it on and the lens hood. So that's the only reason I'm not doing that. Normally, if you get a kit with neutral density filters or any kind of filter, there's a kit that actually screws onto the end of your lens, and it allows you to put what's called a mat box on there, which is like a lens hood and then you're dropping in filters. So that's the preferred method. I don't use my neutral density filter enough to invest in the five or $600 kit. So I've got the less expensive one. Alright, so John, let's take that and turn it toward her. I've just left it loose in the wind until you're ready to go so it wouldn't blow over. It's a windsock right now, tell the helicopters where they can land, awesome. Okay, so we're gonna try to do this vertically. Vertically, alright. We'll do this on a tripod. And Lex, let's have you take a halfstep this way, a little bit more, there we go, stop right there. Stop right there, perfect. And we're gonna first adjust for our ambient light. That looks pretty good. And now we're just gonna snap a shot. We're gonna do that one more time 'cause I got a warning sound from my flash. There we go, there we go, awesome. So what we have here is we have a starting point. We have some compositional problems, so I'm gonna fix those. Her fingers are chopped off and part of the building that I don't want to see is showing up. So I'm gonna fix that. So we're gonna have you step just this way, just a bit, there we go. Too far, come back. Perfect, perfect. Yes, I love that smile. We're gonna shoot. Excellent, excellent. Now we have that blue background. It looks better, I don't necessarily like the Windows that are there but we are able to really quickly shoot something and balance a background with a nice soft light just very, very quickly. It works great and I know you guys can't see it but it's pretty good. He is good, and then normally what I would do is come over to my postproduction over here. And I'd take a peek at this, and on this it looks a little underexposed, but I'm gonna trust my histogram here. We might be able to do a little bit of that. Take this white balance. Bring it down just a hair so it looks normal. Then we take these blues. We'd saturate those blues just a bit. I might crop that a little bit to get rid of the bottom right down here, we don't like that. That's a good starting point, I like that. I like that as well. Okay, I have a comment from SP photo who says the amount of lighting knowledge I'm gaining from this course is astounding. Thank you Mark and (mumbles) so that's very cool. Looking through questions here, do we have any final questions for you guys? You guys are doing alright. People ask questions and then you answer them. Pretty much that's what going on. We're gonna do one more thing though while you guys look at that. Okay, great. Since we have the time. We can also add a second light, so why not? Let's take this guy and instead of taking the sandbags. I'll just have you hold it. We're gonna turn this on, and this is syncing to this. So it should just use TTL. So if you'll walk around and what we're gonna do is we're gonna have you just give us a hair light. We're gonna play with this just a little bit to see like what happens when you add something to maybe, so let's see if you can get a little bit closer to the edge of the building. Yeah, keep going, keep going, (laughter) There you go, just like that. And then what we're gonna do is we're going to try to just hit the back of her head, at the back of her hair, beautiful. Ka-click. Awesome, so now we're getting the sort of side light, and it's too side lit for me. So what we're gonna do John is we're gonna have you keep going this way until you're almost in the scene. Alright, take but a half step back. There you go. Beautiful, excellent. Now what we've done is we've made this look a little bit like, it's very artificial at this point. So we've added a kicker light and when we take a look at that, you can see that we've separated a little bit from the background. What we'll do is we'll go in here to the develop module, we're gonna bring over the adjustments we made in that first photo and apply them to the second photo. We'll say sync settings. We're gonna sync all of them, really quickly. And then what we're going to do here is take a look at this and you can see that now, this looks a little more chiseled from the background. And again we're seeing this focus issue. I think this focus issue, and I've seen this before, the neutral density filter can throw off your autofocus a bit. So we're seeing focus issues constantly today. And so what I would normally need to do is take that and either manually focus and slow way down and make sure we're tack sharp or shoot tethered with something I can really see to try to compensate for that. So this neutral density filter is definitely altering the autofocus, so we'll look at the end and see if there is a, if there's an issue with all of the photos. If so, we know okay, it's the filter. If not, then we know okay, it's the Wallace. So it's gonna be one of the two but I've seen at least three out of focus shots so far. So something is wacky there. The filter or the wallace? The filter or the Wallace, it could be that. Alright, those are options. Question from Fashion TV from Singapore. If we want to shoot a low contrast image while outdoors, so a soft look, how would we shoot it while balancing ambient flash? Okay, here is a, that's a terrific, terrific question. Because, so they want low contrast which means no shadows. They want to balance ambient and flash. Okay, you'll have to work in the environment that you are given. Right now, guess what we have? Low contrast light. So what I would do is turn my flash off, you're done. Why would you use a flash in that situation, because you already have low contrast light and it's already balanced with the ambient light, and so there's no need to use a flash in that situation. Instead of like trying so hard to force a piece of equipment onto something that you're trying to accomplish, a lot of times you just get rid of that piece of equipment and you're done. And so yeah, and not to pick, I wanna call him Digital Rev, he's not Digital Rev-- No, it's Fashion Tv, his name is V. V, so yeah, so V is not alone in, I'm not saying that is wrong thinking but in that type of thinking where you're thinking, I have to use my flash because I brought it with me and we're shooting outside, and you're trying to get a certain type of lighting that already exists. And that happens in the studio as well. You might have one light that's gonna do the job but you tend to like start adding more and more and more lights, but you just don't need them. So the answer is don't overthink it. Don't overthink it. Now let's pretend we're in a different, two days ago and we had bright lights on. In that situation, what we would've done, in fact, we're gonna set this thing up. It's not gonna work here but we're gonna go ahead and set it up anyway, okay? 'Cause it is to do exactly what he's trying to do. So we're gonna set something up that we're not going to use because we don't have the right type of light. Alright, so Lex, we don't need you for a little bit so you can freeze in peace for just a second. We do need students. So I need at least three of you to come over here. I'm gonna move you guys to the side. So step on out, come over here, we're gonna get one of these. Come on over. (mumbles) okay, we'll have you hold this, just like that. And just like that. Need another one? Need another one. Okay, what we're gonna pretend is we're going to pretend that, if you can bring me that umbrella. Just stand right there for now. Yes, right there, yes, good. Don't open it up. Is this the one? We're not gonna use it. We're not shoot a picture. So you're gonna just hang out right there for just a second. Actually, why don't you stand right here? You're the model. You're actually the model now. Okay, so let's pretend like we have the sun right there and this is gonna represent your shadow, okay? So we have sun and we have shadow coming this way. Actually let's pretend this, because the cameras won't be able to see. Let's say we have shadow going this way, okay? Sun over there, shadow going this way. And so on you, in our fake outdoor, really bright sun, we've got, wanna move you this way. We have shadows being cast all across her face. Are you visualizing this? Good, our fake sun. So what we wanna do is we're gonna take this, we're gonna put it right here at a 90° angle to this shadow. And what will happen there is immediately you are in shade, and so the contrast on you is just gonna go boom. It's gonna go way down, and so what we'll do over here, is you are gonna go right here and hold that. And we're building a little box. And then what we'll do is we take one more and we put it across the top of those, and you would actually have a black square, a black box. And what will happen is you're gonna be about two stops less exposed than the background, and then we could add a flash over here that has more frontal light. So we have, and big, big, soft light. And then we can control the light that here and balance that with the background. And that's how you do that. We wanted to do that today. But then we realized there is no sun, so it wouldn't work. 'Cause you notice that when we put these up, the light on you doesn't change at all, so it doesn't work. But if it was really bright sun, we would build this little box, you would be in low contrast light and then we could bring a flash out here, throw that in and do some other things. The other thing we could do with this setup is we had no flash. Forget the flash. What we'll do is back here, we'll add two white panels and then what we'll have is the sun is gonna illuminate these white panels and they're gonna be nice and white. They're gonna be nice soft light and we have built an outdoor natural light studio. And those lights look, those shots look great. I've done it a few times. They look terrific, and then the other thing you can do in a situation like this where you have nice white panels right here is you can, when you're shooting from this direction, I know, you guys can put those down if you want. 'Cause it's like is so windy. You can actually add a very small catch light to your eyes by adding a speed light to the camera. So the speed light is not actually going to illuminate you, it's just gonna pop a little bit of light into your eyes and that's how that works. Alright, good job you guys, spectacular. Okay, so that's the answer to that. We don't have that light out here so we can't demonstrate it but that's how that would work. And I'm ready for another question, if you have it. So June in the chat rooms would like to know your opinion on constant lighting vs. strobes and mono lights. Alright, so we touched on that a little bit last couple of days. Constant lights are normally hot unless they're LED lights so they're going to be difficult to work with sometimes, LED lights are okay. But constant lights aren't nearly as powerful of light output as a studio strobe, and so what you're normally having to do is open up your aperture pretty wide, increase your ISO and depend on your shutter speed to freeze action. And it's really, it's difficult to freeze action with constant lights, so there's one. The second thing is gonna be very, very hot, and you don't get all the light modifiers that you would normally get because they have to be built specifically for high temperature situations. And so you're limited with hot lights when you're trying to do anything, it's freezing action or really sculpting light. Unless you're shooting video. And when you're shooting video you have to have hot lights 'cause you can't illuminate stuff with studio strobes right? It doesn't work. So generally, I stick to that rule. If I'm gonna shoot something that needs consistent light all the time video, I use my hot lights and any other time I'm using strobes for those two reasons. Now the other thing to consider is hot lights are generally a lot less expensive than studio strobes, and so there's nothing wrong with starting and using them for an entire career actually. But there is nothing wrong with using hot lights, it's just my preference. Okay, well, interesting question from Gilrod. If TTL for a speed light is stupid, why is the TTL on the ProPhoto studio flash smarter? It's not smarter, it's not smarter. It's still gonna have a lot of the same issues because it's not the ProPhoto, it's not the Prophoto light, well, there is. There are two differences. It is a little smarter. I don't wanna sell these lights 'cause that's not what I'm here for. It's a little smarter for this reason. If you have, and so John I'm gonna use you as this example. If you have a speed light, you have this pre-flash that happens and the metering is dependent on the pre-flash. So I don't want you to come too close. So stay back like you have the plague, just a little bit. Okay, like there, perfect. Say we're using a speed light, and let's say John is even farther away, but let's just leave you there for now and let's say that you are the speed light, right? So we click the shutter, the pre-flash, comes over here, bam, it reflects, comes back through the lens of my Canon or Nikon or whatever camera, and it tells me what the exposure is. Well, if I'm using a flash that has 10 times the power, that pre-flash is gonna be stronger. It's gonna be brighter and come back. And so theoretically you should get better results from your TTL metering because the light that's being used to judge that is a little bit better. So that's one of the reasons but the actual TTL metering that's happening is happening in the camera, not the flash. And so it's the same thing, it's just that the light that's coming out is a little bit different. So it could be better, so that's it. The other thing is that it's more consistent from shot to shot, the battery, refresh rates are a little bit different. And in my experience, we actually did a demo for ProPhoto where I had to show that the flash wasn't working right. And it took me forever to make it not work right. It was really difficult so I don't know. You have a question, yes? Yes, so mine is more universal. Are there certain trends in lighting that are coming in and are in style right now and ones that are kinda passe and going out, and do you see things on the horizon that are kind of progressive? I don't really pay attention to that. So I can't answer that specifically. I know any answer I give, it's gonna be like a million people going, ah, what does he read? So I don't know. I do read a lot of different magazines, but they're not mainstream magazines to sort of see that kind of stuff. I have seen a trend in nasty lighting, where it's like on camera lighting, like Terry Richardson. That type of light where it's just like a speed light blasting somebody, so I have started to see that in a lot of the malls and the little the ads and stuff you see in Target, not Target but like other brands of clothing that are out there. Yeah, so I've seen that. I think I've only noticed it 'cause it's so bad to me. It's just like ugh, it's horrible. But I have started to see a lot of that. Other than that, there's not something that really sticks out to me, but that might be something that people watching could say, oh yeah, there's this lighting style, I'm emulating whatever. Some photographers have a style that shows it's them, we're supposed to, myself and I think Mark, we're trying to make the subject look good. We're not trying to identify ourselves in every photo we take by having some weird thing going on. Right, yeah and I know there are photographers like Rankin is a photographer I really admire and he shoots with a very distinct lighting style and wide-angle lens, from a low angle of view. So you always get like Bill Clinton, hands on, like Abraham Lincoln and it's this sort of stretched-out stuff with the vignette on the background. So there are photographers that definitely have a style that's very recognizable. Annie Leibovitz, uses soft light in pools with grids, all that moody stuff. If you look at The Sopranos posters, she's done all that kind of stuff. And so there are those types, but I agree with John. I'm wanting to make sure that the person is illuminated appropriately in the environment that they're in. So that's sort of where I'm going, yes? Alright, well, so let's do one more review question and then we'll wrap this up. Okay, there was a question from Gilrod again, who asked, will mixing light sources like the ProPhoto with Alien Bs as background light create light temperature consistency problems? It can, yes. It shouldn't, depending on which things that you're mixing you might have consistency. So I had for a while, I bought a Nova Tron 3 light kit that was at least 20 years old, but I got three lights and a pack for, I think I paid $75 for it and it was in a case. And so I'm like, how can you pass that up? I used to use it to do light up things like curtains and backgrounds and things like that. And there was definitely a shift in color on those. So I would always use them in a situation that I didn't have to worry about it. But you shouldn't have too big of an issue with color shifts between brands unless it's a very, very inexpensive branding and you might see that. The biggest thing is when you start making speed lights and studio strobes, you might start to see some color shifts but not significant enough to worry about it, I don't think.

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.