Adding to Existing Light | Part II | Transcription

Now, this is again one of my absolute favorite techniques to employ with off camera flash. We gave you a demonstration of this earlier, in the last chapter when we did it with bare bulb. Guess what. When we do it with bare bulb, it is a great technique and all. I still use it, but I like it this way.

Now what we are going to do is modify. What we’re doing here essentially is for contributes and attributes, we are shooting Yvette, we are shooting our model in this beautiful dessert scene. We have these piles of rocks behind here. In a really cool location we just happened to kind of come across when we driving on the freeway.

What I have done here, is we’ve placed here essentially facing the direction of the sun. Why? I love the sun. The sun as a direct light is absolutely fantastic, especially when it come to more fashion and editorial type shots. Here’s the thing, that placing the subject back always to the sun, it gets boring. I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know what to say other than just, it gets boring and it gets overdone. I want you to try things like this, because it gets you out of that groove that sometimes we get into as a photographer.

We keep shooting the same images over and over and over. Changing the way that you light, is going to dramatically kind of affect the overall tool kit and the way that you approach each scene. It is really going to open your mind, so you are not just repeating each shoot.

Okay, so process and tips. What I want to start with is contributes and attributes, the first thing is starting with our subject facing the light direction that I want. For this we want her to be facing directly into the sun. She is looking right into the sun here, I am shooting at F2.8, Why? I want some depth of field separation here. I am actually on the Sigma 50mm 1.4, but I am not shooting it at 1.4. I don’t want background to be just smushed away.

I want to be able to tell what is in the background. I want some decent sharpness on her. I just want to shoot at F2.8 so we have good kind of mixture of sharpness and background depth of field, without going to far. I think if we’re to go to like F5.6 or F8 or F11 in this background. The background would start to get overpowering.

This is what I am talking about with certain scenes that can be too busy. It is just a pile of rocks behind her, right? If I shoot at a deep depth of field on this lens. We’re going to end up getting a very busy background. In my mind, that’s the kind of background that’s going to detract from our subject.

I am going to avoid that by just shooting it a little bit more shallow. Okay, we’re at F2.8, we are at mid day sun. No clouds in the sky. We require at least a three stop neutral density filter. Why is it three instead of five? Remember, we already reduced two stops by shooting it at 2.8. If we were shooting it at F1.4, yes we would need a five stop ND filter. Here a three stop ND, or again if you wan to use HSS, you can.

It comes down to your preference of what you prefer. Do you prefer neutral density and shoot it full flash power. Do you prefer HSS, and kind of deal with whatever flash power you might get after that HSS power reduction.

Ambient light exposure, we leave it fairly neutral. We are at 1/100 of a second and ISO 100. All of these shots right here, 1/100th, F2.8, ISO 100. All these shots are at the exact same power setting. That is the final image actually. You can see that the ambient light exposure is left pretty neutral. Its not to bright, its not like light and airy. It is not dark and dramatic. Its just kind of a very neutral exposure.

What we are doing with the light direction, is we have our big boom stick, right? Our big boom stick has our two bulb B22’s on it with that Profoto three foot RFi Octobox and the speedring attached to it. Okay, so we are using that and we are placing that again, on camera right. We’re booming it up, so that matching the direction of sunlight coming into her. What you want to be careful of is, you don’t cast a shadow.

If you put this, if you put that boom stick just directly in front of the sun. It is going to cast a shadow on your model. Then of course you are not getting the existing sunlight, right? It needs to be just a little bit out from where the sun is at, so you let the sun shine through. You flash basically right over it.

Check this out, we’re shooting basically with the two bulb B22’s, we are at roughly around one half to one power. One over one power. Again, this depends, if you are using the Profoto B2. Then you are probably going to be around full power. If you are using the bulbs with two of them stacked, you’ll probably around half power. It just kind of depends on your set up.

Remember that when you are using PocketWizard Plus III to trigger the bulbs, remember to get that splitter cable, so you only need one PocketWizard. You can split the cable into both bulbs, that way you can trigger both at the same time, with out having to buy another PocketWizard.

Checkout what we get here basically. With that set up, here is the original shot, right? The original shot is great, but what did we talk about before? In part one, we basically talked about, when you shoot a scene where the subject just seems to blend into the background. That is the perfect type of scene to add to existing light. Where you just follow existing light and you add to whatever is there. That way the subject kind of just pops a little bit.

What is this? This is, in camera dodging, right? We’ve essentially just dodged her, following the existing highlights and everything. We’ve dodged those highlights, we’ve dodged the shadows to lift her up, to bring her out. Essentially we’ve done dodging and burning without even touching Photoshop. Once we get into Photoshop we can kind of continue that process.

We’ve already started it here, which is going to give us that much better result later on. You can see, just by comparing these two shots. Straight out of camera, how big a difference that light makes. That pop with the light just makes her just stand out from the background. It brightens her up to that point, where it just lifts her off, but in a natural and beautiful way.

Now, lets talk about this. Test shot at half power on both VB-22’s should a great light quality, nicely boosting each other brightness and filling shadows. Light color and light balance from out test shot was great. We’re at 5000 degrees Kelvin. I am leaving it on a little bit more on the neutral side, so we are not warming up as much. I want that, slightly more cool kind of tone to the image. It looks great right there, we don’t need to any gelling or anything.

Now lets get to the posing and the framing and the shooting. I want to mention this as far as the posing side goes. Do you guys see on the pose that she’s facing the sun and here eyes are closed, right? Her eyes in this shot are closed, because I don’t want the eyes to be, you know. The eyes are very much a draw of attention, right? If the eyes are open, if they are looking at the camera. Then it is going to pull attention into that.

What I want this shot to be about, is to be about the clothing. To be about the appeal and kind of, just that beautiful look that she has. To just be all about her, her form, her figure and everything. Not so much about the eyes and the face, so we close the eyes. She is posing in a way that we don’t get any strange shadows from sunlight. That’s the only trick. The only trick to using hard verse soft light is just making sure that your shadows are in the right places.

Shadows from hard light, are that much more defined. You just have to be more careful where they’re placed in your scene. Shadows from a soft light are not very defined. A soft light, you have a lot of leeway. It can be a foot too far to the left or a foot too far to the right, and it is still going to look good. Its soft light and it tends to wrap.

With hard light, that doesn’t have any wrap. You have to perfect the pose, perfect the direction and everything. Otherwise you are going to get shadows and highlights in the wrong places. Okay?

The other thing to note with her pose is the number of triangles. Basically, what I am trying to do is reveal her form. Reveal the dress. Reveal everything about this, right? I have one leg up, we are showing her sexy legs off by bringing a leg up, and we are bringing on leg down. Again, both of these make a triangle right there. We have one arm out, that kind of braces herself.

Again, another triangle right from the hip. Another arm up that kind of cradles the face, and draws attention right into that beautiful hair as it kind of flows and the makeup on here face. Again, another triangle right there. Everything about this, is designed to draw you in. Triangles are pleasing shapes to look at. When I pose, I am thinking of creating these pleasing shapes with the body, that really draws in overall into the image. Okay?

We even have triangles in the background, look at these mountains right there. Another one right there, another one right here. We have a very kind of cool and interesting image to look at. Now, what did we talk about when you are shooting with direct sunlight? You analyze the scene, you make sure that those shadows are falling in exactly the right places. Simple modifications, simple angling of the chin, up or down just a little bit. Is going to dramatically change, where that shadow is falling on the neckline.

Just remember all those things, you need to slow down further when you’re using direct light and hard light. You slow down things a little more, you watch  closely and you analyze to make sure everything is good.

Okay, one thing that I wanted to say is that since our light is falling the existing direction of sunlight. Use sunlight as a natural modeling light to pose and watch the shadows hide. This is the mot beautiful part about this. Is that, in that slowing down process. You know, normally when we are in the studio, we are using modeling lights. When you are out on site, you don’t have that opportunity.

You have to pop a shot, to be able to see where the flash is landing. Even if you have a model light outdoors, it is not strong enough to see. The beautiful thing is when you are using direct sunlight as the same direction of light as your light source. The sunlight becomes your modeling light. Essentially you can do all posing and everything with that, and as long your light source is matching where that light is coming from. You’re good to go, you’re golden. You don’t have to do any additional posing, and anything once you pop your flash, you’re set.

Okay, so kind of treat the sun as your model light in this type of a scene. All right, this is how we get from this image to this image. You can see the difference in how dramatic, and how great it looks. When we take it to the final image.

Now again, one thing I wanted to mention is that. Is almost every single shot we’ve shown you on this tutorial series. Is straight out of camera, or we have a basic light room preset that just color grades the image. Okay?

Very rarely are we Photoshopping anything. The only images that we Photoshop are the ones that we told you, which were the shots of Yvette, like the fashion type shots. This one is a Photo-shopped image. What have we done here? Look, look how close these two images are. What are we doing? We’re doing certain things like we are nipping and tucking in certain areas, where basically like the shoulder here flared out. Right?

We pull that in a little bit. We pull the hair out, to kid of create a more exaggerating look to it. We kind of, create straight lines on the legs wherever necessary to kind of, enhance that form and figure. Then we dodge, like right along this highlight right there. We dodge right there, just to kind of flatten out the skin and to create a beautiful highlight and shape right there on the leg. That’s really it, we’re just doing some basic cleanup.

Again, 10, 15 minutes in Photoshop to get to the final image is completely adequate. If you’re going to be printing this or putting into a magazine, maybe you will spend an hour on it tops. The point is, is making sure that, from this to this is not a dramatic change. We want to retain image quality, we want to save time. We want to arrive at the best final result with the minimal amount effort in the process.

I know that’s sounds lie we are being lazy, but it is not being lazy. Its being efficient. I want you all to think that way going forward.

Adding to existing light, is one of my favorite techniques. It is one of those techniques that’s going to pull you out of, just that standard. Oh, find some shade, put their back into the shade and face them towards the light. Find the light, and put their back to the light and add light.

It gets you out of these like, just photographer grooves that we get into when you start shooting the same image over, and over and over. I want you to see things differently. Shoot things differently, and with everyone of your shoots. Approach it that way, so you always arrive at very interesting and creative results.