Soft White Bounce | Transcription

You want amazingly soft and beautifully diffused lights to create superbly flattering portraits. That was so many little adjectives in there, I kind of like that. Well, it’s time for soft white bounce. Let’s get to it. All right, so white surface modifiers is gonna create a much, well we talked about it. A less specular type of light. A more diffused light quality. But in addition to that, it is gonna kick back a little bit less light.

Now, these are a lot of situations where I love using a white balance. Remember, there’s no such thing as a right or wrong, just decide on these modifiers based on the style and the look that you’re going for. Let’s start from the top with the gear that we’re actually using for this sequence of shots. So, number one, we have our white reflector. This is just the inside scrim of a Westcott 40 inch 5-in-1. So it comes with this already. So you don’t need to buy lots of them, I usually buy two or three. Just because I like to keep one scrim always out. This is how it normally is, I keep one on a silver, one just on the white, and I have one back up basically. In case I need a gold. That way I’m not having to unzip this guy, and constantly pull things out and so forth.

There’s also another trick I’m gonna show you, a little pro tip with my silver in just a second. We’re also using a grid. You can use a snoot, you can use whatever you want. You can use a bounce. Whatever, just something to control light from hitting your subjects directly from the tip of the flash like we talked about in the last video. We talked about reflectors, you can also get the Fotodiox the 40 by 60, they also have internal scrims. Just whatever you guys want to use is totally fine. Remember, the larger it is, the easier it is generally to kind of throw light into it and get it back.

Okay, so primary tips. White is gonna provide more diffused light, but the cost of course is the overall light intensity. With a matte surface, you’re gonna get less light back. That means we’re powering up the flash a bit, just remember that. So let’s go over each of these different shots. The first one over here is actually not even with flash. This was with Olivia back in the studio when we were doing all of our different light setups. I show you this because I want to show you the potential of what a white can do, and kind of manipulating light.

The first shot on the top, this shot was with a 100mm macro, it was a F2.8, at 1/20th of a second, ISO 800. We actually had this on a tripod. We’re shooting with the LED light only. You can see that this top image is pretty hard. Like as far as the light that’s hitting her, it has a pretty sharp edge to it. We have pretty defined shadow to highlight transitions. Look at the peculiarity. Look at the highlights on her nose, look at the highlights underneath the eyes, over the chin, on the forehead. This is just after Olivia had applied makeup, and you can still see highlights in those areas. Now if someone was a little bit more oily, if they had a little bit more sweaty skin, whatever it is. If they hadn’t applied makeup perfectly, she’s actually a makeup artist, so this is like flawless makeup. It still brings out those highlights. If you didn’t have that, then a specular light, a silver light, is gonna bring that out even more. It’s gonna exaggerate sweat, its gonna exaggerate oil. It’s gonna do all those things that you don’t want in one of these flattering portraits.

Yeah, you want it in a fitness portrait, but you don’t want it right now. That’s why a white is absolutely the right tool to use in this situation. So look at this, when we bring in the white. This is a white diffuser, plus we added a fill. Look at what it does to those highlight to shadows transitions now. The highlights are so much softer, they’re more diffused. We’re not getting a lot of light kicked back in the lens, which is what those highlight edges that you see over here, those highlight bright specular areas. We have very soft and gradual transitions from areas of shadows into highlight. The shadow underneath the chin has been opened up with that fill. Everything looks so much more flattering and beautiful. We have a beautiful catch light there.

So, the whole point is while we’re not using flash here, we are able to demonstrate that a white does so much in creating a beautiful and flattering light. The only difference here, look at this, settings wise is we’re still at F2.8, we’re still at ISO 800. We just dropped the exposure to 1/13th of a second. So we lost close to a stop of light basically when we modified all the light. So we just adjusted the shutter speed. You are gonna lose light when you use white and any type of opening up of lighting and softening and diffusing, you’re gonna lose light intensity. So you just want to adjust more, but the image quality that you get, the lighting quality is so much better.

Number two, when you’re bouncing outdoors in bright situations, you’ll generally need to be pretty close to your subject if you’re using a white. Once you get around the ten, fifteen, twenty foot range, a white is just not gonna kick back enough light to be noticed. Okay, so really the white is designed to be used between that 5-10 mark range between the reflector and the subject. The closer, the better.

Number three, this is my pro tip of the day. Well, of the video, or of the chapter. Either way, what we found, if you guys look at a studio modifier, we’ll show you guys studio modifiers later on. You’re gonna find that often times, in a studio modifier, let’s say for a parabolic for example. The inside of the parabolic is silver, and then the outside is diffused with white. What does that do? Well, the silver picks up tons and tons of light from that flash that’s firing inside of it, and then the white diffuses it so it softens it up. Well, diffuses as in, makes it less specular, right?

You can do the exact same thing, portably. Portably? On location. Is portably even a word? I don’t know. But all you do is you take a white reflector, or just a white scrim, and put it over the top of a silver. So when you need more light, but you want that light to still be soft, then white over silver is the name of the game. That’s actually probably a technique that we use more often than not in a lot of these shots is we go white over silver because I want the most light possible, but I still want that light to be a little more diffused and have that softer kind of quality to it.

If you use just a scrim by itself, that’s totally fine, and at nighttime it works fantastically well. Just remember that if you’re using a scrim by itself during the day, a lot of the light that bounces into this from your flash is going to pass straight through it. So that’s why putting a silver behind that is great, because whatever light hits this is gonna hit the silver and come back through the white. So you’re losing less light than you would if you didn’t have the silver there. So that’s my pro tip of the day.

I always have off camera lights with me. But you know what, if I don’t have to use them, I don’t. A lot of these techniques that I do, these are my preferred techniques because they’re simple. They’re easy to do. This is one of my favorites right here. All I’m doing, is I have my assistant with a white over silver off to camera right. I’m kneeling down, let’s look at the settings. I’m on a 50mm lens. The 50mm 1.2L. Again, any 50mm is gonna give you a very similar look. I’m shooting at F2 just to make sure that we have enough sharpness in the image. We’re at 1/200th of a second at F2 and ISO 50 and while it does decrease dynamic range a bit, it’s okay because I’m going for a more natural look in the shot anyway. I don’t need crazy dynamic range. I’m letting the background blow out if you notice.

So what do I do? I take that first shot. No flash, I’m just exposing for the background. I’m testing my background exposure, getting it where I want. Remember, I want a more natural look to this shot, so I let it be a little bit brighter. I’m letting the background blow out a little bit. I want that look. I don’t want it to be super dramatic and stuff, this is a nice and airy family portrait. If you wanted it to be even less dramatic than this, this already looks really natural, but if you want it even less dramatic, you could brighten up the background one or two more stops, and lower the flash power one or two more stops. It’s just that balance, and you’re gonna decide that balance based on your own style, your taste and what you’re going for with the image. Once I have that dialed in, then all I do is I turn on my flash. Again, I’m using the grid here, not because I’m worried about background spill. I’m worried about spill from this tip of the flash onto my subjects. Because my reflector is about right here, kind of in front.

So I’m bouncing into that reflector, remember, this is in the shadows. So in the shadows I can do my same little test here. I can turn it on and then do my little flash test to make sure my light is landing on my subjects. Let’s take a look at this. So white over silver, you can use TTL if you want to, we’re fairly close, it’s fairly simply for TTL to work, but again, I like to dial in my flash power setting so I get consistency between all of my images. We’re at around 1/2 to around 1/4 power for this specific shot right here. To get enough light in there, with our ISO set to 50 we need to be a little bit higher in our power setting. At 1/4 power, that’s about where I would, and I’m pretty sure I was at 1/4 power for this because it’s one of those things I always look for. If I want to get expressions and I want to capture shots and move quickly from shot to shot, especially when we’re dealing with kids and families, 1/4 power is about the slowest you want to go.

If you can keep it around 1/8th power that’s even better recycled time, quicker shots over and over, you won’t miss any expressions. At 1/4 power, if I’m firing four or five shots, on the sixth or seventh shot it will need to slow down a little bit just to recycle.

What other tips do I have with these techniques? White modifiers are fantastic when you want a more flattering and less edgy look to the images. Well, duh! Why am I saying that again? Because you might think that it’s always right to have a white modifier, but let’s say in the instance of some of my athletic portraits or the fitness portraits, when we’re going for that dramatic look, if I have beads of sweat on a fitness person’s body. If I have them all kind of worked out and they’re ready to go, and then I use a white diffuser, it’s gonna eat up all the peculiarity of the beads of sweat and that silver and the glisten and so forth. I want to use a silver in that instance, because it’s the right light for that type of situation.

So just remember, that soft and diffused light isn’t always the best. But for flattering portraits, oh yeah it works great. Okay, so that’s great. And what kind of lighting are we creating here? This first one by the way was what? Hopefully you all said, hey, that’s a clam shell lighting setup because Pye is lighting from the top, diffusing it, adding a fill on the bottom, it’s clam shell. What is this one? This is closer to probably loop, and it’s really gonna depend, on the girls face, it’s loop lighting. But on mom and on dad’s face, it’s really closer to Rembrandt. It’s just based on their facial structure and so forth. It’s kind of in between, it’s just off camera, between loop and Rembrandt lighting.

All right, lets go to this shot on the right. Now, this shot on the right is part of our case studies which we’re gonna discuss in detail later on, I think this one might be too. So I’m not gonna go too much in to detail with this. Just know that I’m under a bridge right now, it’s fairly dark. I could shoot natural light if I wanted to, it’s not pitch black, but I don’t need an ND filter, that’s for sure.

I’m at 1/50th of a second, F1.6 and ISO 200, and I’m on my 85mm F1.2L. Again, 85 is totally fine, and a camera is totally fine. So for this, I’m going for the actor in this shot, asked for a more sinister looking shot because as we’re gonna talk about later, he played the part of Scar in a recent Lion King production. As soon as he said that, I said, Hmm, more sinister. That kind of equates to more dramatic. I’m gonna do either split lighting, or Rembrandt, or maybe I’ll do a little bit of both.

So the reflector is placed heavily off to his right. It’s almost where his shoulder is off to this right side. What do I need? I need a grid on my camera once again. I need a grid on my flash because otherwise that flash is gonna spill into it. If you guys are our model, my flash head is going to be pointed basically like this. Now, if that grid was not on there, than that flash would spill directly into you guys, into him. So I need to control that, so I have the grid on there to control that. Again, a tighter grid will give you a tighter spread. So on this one, I’d probably recommend using a 1/8th grid, just to have a tighter spread in there.

At that point, we take a shot for the background. I always start with my background, I don’t even worry about my flash, I just decide what I want my background to look like. I want it to look dark, I want it to look dramatic. Why? Remember our little drama equation right? You want more drama, you need more shadows. You want more drama, the background gets darker. The flash power goes up higher. So that’s exactly what we have here. This shot is white over silver, so we’re bouncing off the white over silver, the assistants holding far to the right of him so that way we get that heavy directional light, far to the right of the camera, to his left actually.

If you’re shooting a TTL, fine, if you’re not listening to anything I’m saying, but I’m shooting manual. We’re at 1/8th to 1/16th power. Why? Because we’re at F1.6 ISO 200, so we’re letting a lot of light in. So we don’t need to go too high on the flash power. Generally, if I’m using the grid, I’m not too worried about my zoom, but if you’re seeing spill you can zoom it in even further, so you can zoom it and then put the grid over it.

So that’s how we get that look, and you can see that we don’t have any spill. Now if I want to control the amount of fill, so this is the fill light that I have on the other side of his face right here right? We have a little kicker coming from this light that we’re gonna talk about in our case study. We have a little bit of shadow over here, and if I wanted more fill on that side, what would I do? I’m gonna wait for you guys to answer. Okay! If you said slow down the shutter speed, you would be correct. We could slow down the shutter speed to allow more of the ambient light in, which is not going to affect flash power. It won’t affect the power of light that’s landing on the side of his face. What it’s going to affect is how much additional ambient light is being added. Which would add a little bit of fill to brighten up this side of the face, and it’s also going to brighten up the side of the face that has flash on it. Because, well, if you brighten up that side of the face with ambient, and then you add flash to it, even though we didn’t change the flash power, the amount of ambient light did increase.

So it’ll brighten up both sides, but it’ll add a bit of fill to this side. I can adjust the flash power accordingly. Just remember, that if we’re already at 1/50th of a second, you might need to adjust ISO as well as your shutter speed to do that as well. So I might keep it at 1/50th, and just boost my ISO up, and then take my flash power down a little bit. That’ll give you basically the same flash exposure by taking the ISO up to 400, bringing the flash power down by one stop. Now I get double the amount of ambient light and the same amount of flash power. So that’s how you’d kind of balance those two things out.

Again, we’re gonna reiterate this as we go through, cause I want to really hammer these points home as we’re going through the course.

That’s it for our video on soft white balance. Hopefully you guys can see the different situations where it makes sense where the right type of light is gonna be a soft white. And again, I started with a rhyme, and I ended up with a rhyme. What’s up.

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