Bare Bulbing Done Right | Transcription

That’s right folks. A direct flash, sometimes is the exact right kind of light that you want for your shots. I’m going to show you why in this photo here. Now, let’s think for a second. With direct flash, what kind of light are we getting? We know that this a very small light source if we’re shooting say, a person. It’s going to be a hard light. It’s going to have a hard, very defined edge between where it’s lighting and where there’s shadow. 

We also know that there’s no modification here. It’s coming strait out, so that means the light going to be very specular. It’s not going to be diffused. We have a very, kind of edgy and hard edge light to this, so what would it look good shooting with? If our subject, if what we’re going for is an editorial raw and edgy look, then this is the exact right kind of light. In fact I’ll prove that it even looks better than other kinds of light that might be softer for this particular situation. This a effect that is used a lot in say, music and editorial and fashion photography. All these genres where they need to create that more edgy and raw look, that unprocessed unmodified type look.

Let’s start from the top. I want to mention what gear I’m using here. I’m using the Canon 5D mark 3 for my body and then I also have an 85mm 1.2 L. Together this is like, 5 6 thousand dollars of camera gear. Again, from photography 101 we taught you all, don’t get caught up in the gear. If you have the 85mm 1.8, which is a couple of hundred bucks, a few hundred bucks, and a Rebel along with a cheaper on camera flash, maybe a Phottix Mitros+. You can get the exact same look guys. This will yield me maybe a little bit better quality, but the only reason I’m using this is because this is what we have in the studio, okay? There’s not really any point to using anything else. Use what you’ve got and you’re going to get the exact same look. The quality, the difference might be 10 or 15% or so. If you’re a professional, maybe that will make a difference for you in your craft. If you’re a professional it absolutely will and that’s why we pay for more expensive gear, but don’t get caught up in it, okay?

Whatever you got, I have an 85mm view, if you want to use a 24-70, 70-200, that’s totally fine too. Here’s that first shot. What are the settings for this shot of Yoko here? One thing I do want to mention too is look at the way Yoko’s dressed. We talked about a more raw and edgy type feel. Everything from the way her makeup is done to her hair, to her jewelry, to her clothing, it screams that look. This is what I mean about fitting the right type of light to the look. Back to this. This first shot is done with the 85mm at 1/200th of a second at F 1.2 and ISO 3200.

What is this shot? This is the ambient light. Is the ambient light actually coming off of our video lights, or the ambient light that might be just present in the room that you might be shooting. It looks okay, and actually because we have video lights set up, the light direction, light quality is actually pretty decent. You can see that we don’t have a lot of light, we’re at F 1/200th of a second and 3200 ISO to get to the proper exposure. We’re letting tons of light in and it still is a little bit on the dark side. Either way, it’s okay looking.

We go over to shot number 2. This was a bounce flash off a V flat. We’re going to cover that technique in just a bit. The look that it creates is a very soft wrapping light and it looks great, and it looks nice. The settings were 1/200th of a second at F 2.8 and ISO 400. Obviously we’re getting a lot more light because we’re not at ISO 3200 anymore, we also brought the aperture up too. It looks better in the first shot by quite a bit. This looks like a catalog photo. This looks like a photo that we might see in browsing a clothing catalog or something like that. It doesn’t have any feel to it, any emotion to it. It’s not the right kind of light. It’s a soft light, it’s a great quality light, but it doesn’t fit the look, it doesn’t fit the scene.

Going down to these images, these are hard direct flash shots. I think you all agree with me that these look best for this type of shot. For this type of look, for that editorial edge, this looks better than this light. Yet this light is a far better quality of light than this one. This is the point I’m trying to get across, is that there’s no such thing as the right light, the perfect light. There’s just the right type of light for the scene and for the look that you’re going for.

Now, let’s talk about how to get this shot and the gear used to get it. You’ll notice this top right shot. This top right shot was taken with direct flash but there’s something wrong with it. I don’t know if you guys see it, can you guys see it? What’s wrong with this photo? If you said the shadow, then you guessed right on … I feel like this is an episode of reading rainbow. What’s wrong with it? Can you all guess? This is what my children see when they watch their television, and then you wait for them to answer, and then, “If you guessed this, you got …” Okay.

Yes, if you guessed the shadow, then you got it. Look at this. I’m shooting portrait aspect ratio, right? The camera’s like this, which means my flash is coming actually to the left of the camera. What does that do, is it pushes the shadow to the right. The problem with that is that it doesn’t look very natural, it doesn’t look very good either. When we want to shoot portrait aspect ratio, we have a little bit of an issue if we’re hot shoe mounted with our flash. If we’re shooting landscape aspect ratio then we’re totally fine because now the flash is above the lens and that’s great. When light does not come top down, when it comes from the sides, when it comes from bottom up, it tends to look a little bit unnatural.

How do we do that? I want to demonstrate. What we’re going to do is we’re going to use a gear involved. We’re going to use a bracket. This is the bracket that we’re going to use. Oops, that was a nice … sorry Joe about your screen. This is the Vello flash bracket. A very inexpensive bracket, it’s 20 bucks and it’s a great modifier to get the flash above the camera. The other thing we’re going to use is a TTL cable. This is another inexpensive TTL cable. This guy is 25 bucks, or no, this guy’s 15 bucks actually. Together this is only, 35 bucks.

If you get the Canon version of this, or the Nikon version, sometimes they’re pretty expensive. This is actually a really good quality TTL cable. What this allows us to do is to connect the flash to the hot shoe through the cable so that they can still communicate. When we’re doing direct flash shots like this, I probably would still shoot TTL. There’s not really a reason for this particular shot to go manual. It’s going to be consistent enough when I’m using direct flash with TTL.

How would we do that? I’m going to demonstrate this for you, just so you guys can see how to set up a bracket. I’m going to pot the flash off right now. If you want to, you can mount it without the lens on, it’s a little bit easier. We’re just going to grab this bracket, and you’ll notice that the bottom of the bracket right now, let me set this down, it actually slides up, and down. What I’m going to do is I’m going to put this into the up position. That way it’s easier to screw on. We’re just going to grab our little camera here. I’m going to place this over.

I’m going to screw this into that quarter 20 slot in the bottom. We’ll demonstrate this once just so you guys can see how it works and then we’ll just assume that you know from here on out. Next we’re going to grab this little Vello cable. You’ll see that the top has a hot shoe and at the bottom is just a connection basically. This bottom connection goes right onto the camera’s hot shoe. I’m just going to put this down here for a sec. It’s a very long cable which is great if you need to take it off camera but, if it’s on camera it’s pretty long. We’re going to take this bottom, or the other end of this, I’m going to wrap it around the cable just a couple of times maybe to just make it a little less lengthy. Then we’re going to connect this to this guy right here. Once this is on the other side the bracket, now I have a hot shoe that I connect my flash to, so that these 2 can communicate.

All I’m going to do is I’m going to put this guys right here. I’m going to lock it in place, and now I have a hot shoe mounted flash. Basically I have a flash that’s directly connected to my camera’s hot shoe via this cable which means that the camera and the flash can now communicate. Now, If I want to go with whatever aspect ration I want, let me just pull this up, I can go sideways. This is my direct landscape shot and my flash is still above the camera, or I can go back to that landscape and now that flash is still coming from above the camera. That’s how you set it up so that regardless of what aspect ratio, regardless of whether you’re shooting portrait or landscape mode, you’re going to have a flash above the camera. That’s what we’ve done. Here you can see the shadows coming from left to right, once we take that flash and put it above the camera, then we’re good to go and we can start shooting.

The final tip I want to give you guys number 3, is to remember that you can use the zoom on your flash to actually control where the light is going to be hitting inside of this frame. For these particular shots in the bottom, I want to be the frame to be evenly lit from the edge, all the way through. I kept the zoom fairly wide. Anything, like, 24, 35, 50 at this distance is going to be roughly the same. If you want to get that more pin lit look where the edges have a vignette around it and it looks like the light’s only hitting the center, then you might want to zoom it in. Zoom it in to 105, or 120, whatever your camera, or whatever your flash will allow you to go to.

All right. Let’s keep going. What are the final camera settings? Let me go over that now. The camera settings for all of these shots on the bottom, it’s still in the 85mm, we’re at 1/200th of a second at F2 and ISO 100. Why am I at F2? You can shoot as high as you want in the aperture. You can go to F4, F5, F7, whatever you want to go to is totally fine. For me I want this ice laid look where it looks like it has hard direct flash, yet only her eye and only the hair in front, and only that stuff in front is focused and sharp in the frame. It creates a really cool look. Particularly when we start getting closer to the subject.

From there I just have her working the poses and as she’s doing that I’m taking my different shots. You can see with the shadow falling behind. We have this beautiful hard edge shadow that falls directly behind her, it looks really cool, really edgy and hip. I think you’ll all agree with me that these look better than the V flat and the ambient light. Even though this V flat is a higher quality of light, I would still prefer these every single time. When it comes to the processing side, these images have lightly been processed. We try to lightly process all the images just so that they look finished and polished. We’re shooting raw in camera. All we’ve done here is we’re just producing it to be a little bit more warm, a little bit bright. This is the kind of look that you want to go for for this. It’s going to be bright and high contrast.

No Photoshop has been done on any of the images we’re showing you, just usually a subtle bit of color adjustment. A subtle bit of light and processing. Light and processing is kind of it’s own beast on it’s own. If you want to get into our workshops on that, we have a full workshop collection on just light room raw processing. If you do take it into Photoshop, I would say you want to process just for skin tones. If you want to remove certain highlights, certain places. The kind of reason we’re using this hard edge light is for those highlights. If there’s any area of skin you want to retouch or fix, you do that in Photoshop. That’s it for Bare Bulbing done right. Hopefully we’re able to show you that direct flash when used for stylistic purposes is still a fantastic type of light and fantastic look, so long as it fits the image and it fits the subject.

CHAPTER GETTING OVER THE FEAR, HYPE, & MYTHS

CHAPTER 2: THE BASICS OF FLASH

CHAPTER 3 UNDERSTANDING LIGHT

CHAPTER 4: ON-CAMERA FLASH GEAR BASICS

Chapter 5: DIRECT FLASH DONE RIGHT

Chapter 6: STUDIO LIGHT? JUST BOUNCE IT!

Chapter 7: MORE LIGHTS, REFINEMENT, & CREATIVITY

Chapter 8: CASE STUDIES

Chapter 9: BONUS CHAPTERS

Total Course Run Time: 8H 17M 4S