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In this photography tutorial, you will learn Lighting Techniques Using 1 large light source.
Tags:Using 1 large light source.,1 large light source,Lighting techniques,lighting tutorials,lighting with one light,model posing,photography tutorials,photojohnricard,studio equipment,studio lighting
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Hi! Today, we’re talking about how to use one large light source for portraits.
So, the light we’re going to be using today is an Elinchrom Octabank. And here it is 72 inches and this light costs about a thousand dollars and there’s a lot of shots you can do with just this light.
Now, if you wanted a light like this, you don’t have to spend that much. Chimera makes one that’s five feet so it’s about right here. It’s about five feet and then it comes with these attachments that you can add on to make it seven feet. So, you pay about $750.00 and you had—basically getting two lights. Then there’s one from Photech that’s only about $250.00 maybe $300.00 that basically looks the same to make seven foot light. So, you have a lot of choices when it comes to these lights.
Now, the reason I chose this particular light is because I like the way you set it up and break it down because for me if I have a light that’s complicated thing to set up then I’m not going to want to use the light. If I say to myself, let’s say I’m shooting with a ring light for example and I say, “Oh, let met use my big light” and I’m thinking to myself you know I got to take one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight rods plug them in to little slots and put it up. If I’m thinking that this is going to be a complicated process, I’m never going to use the light. So, how you set it up and break it down was important to me.
Now, this has a very quick breakdown. I’m going to put my hand here. I’m going to move a little switch here and you probably can’t see it but there’s a little knob here that I’m going to hit and the entire unit is going to collapse. So, I’m going to bring the camera back a little bit and hit the little switch, the light collapse—it’s going to support the weight of it here. Unscrew this little screw here. Lift it up and the light is now broken down.
Now, when it comes to setting up the light, that’s quick as well. Grab the light, I like to support it on my arm here. I’m going to fit this little connection here and tighten this.
So now, I’m going to come inside of the light here. I’m going to grab one to the middle ring and again, it might be hard to see on the video but there’s a little handle inside. So, I place my hand on the speed ring connector and grab the handle inside. Now, it’s just a matter of connecting these three plugs into the three slots here. Okay and the light is connected so that entire set up probably took what, 15 to 20 seconds. So, for me that’s a big deal, if you’re on an occasion you can bring this light, you know you can set it up and break it down quickly and you can do it alone without assistant. So, we’re going to take a look now with some different ways you can use this one light. So, one of the ways I’d like to use the Octabank is to do head shot.
So, we have our lovely model Miss Debbie Park here. Okay, she’s maybe I guess about 10 feet away from this Octabank. And generally, if you want a soft shot, you would put the light very close to the model. You’ll often see people put a light you know a foot away or half a foot away but because this light is so large I can put it 10 feet away. It’s still going to be a soft light on her.
So, the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to take a light reading. Can you hold that a second please? So, we’re going to take a light reading and you’ll see another interesting thing about this particular light. So, I go to take my light reading and I'm reading 8.7 on her face, as I get a little lower I’m reading 8.7, as I get here I’m reading 8.8 and here 8.7 again. So, you see on virtually the same exposure from her head all the way down to her knees at one point I read 1/10th of a stop difference between here and here and then it was right back there. So, it’s basically the same exposure. That can be nice sometimes because if you’re trying to do some kind of like catalogue shoot where you want show clothing and you want even exposure across the board, it can be nice that you can use just one light and get a really nice even exposure.
So, you might wonder, well, what’s the big deal about using one light? If you’re in a studio, why not just set up four, five, six lights whatever and tweak them and get your shot that way. Well, there’s a nice advantage to using only one light. So, let’s suppose I’m taking a shot of Debbie on this gray background and you do a 10 or 20 shots and I decide I wanted different background. So, I say, “Debbie, can you do as a favor please. Step over to this wall.” Put her on a different background. We move our light to here and now we’ve had an entirely different shot because it only took us 10 to 15 seconds to move the light from one position to the other. We would do on five or six lights if it take us that much longer to position each light.
Usually, when you see photographers do portrait, they’ll do something where they have a main light and a fill light. You’re dealing with lighting ratio. I was trying to get some shadow on the face. So, if you look at her now, I put her on a very hard light. This is not a light that I would really use for portrait on Debbie but I’m just trying to illustrate a point. When you have shadow on the face, it can be a very good thing. It can help to define the shape of the face as the shadow moves. Sometimes you can get a really good sense of the shape of a face by the shadows that you see now. Her cheeks are in shadow and you get a really good idea of the shape of her face. So, if you’re using a really soft light like this Octabank, you’re not going to get that kind of definition on the face. However, the way I look at it is we all know what a face looks like. We all understand what we were looking at when we look at a face. So, even if we don’t really see the exact shape of her cheeks, I think I bring kind of fills in exactly what the shape of her face is even without the shadow.
If for example, you had a ball or a sphere and you lit it without shadow, it will be very hard to understand what you’re looking at because you don’t really have a frame of reference. What is this object that I’m looking at and there are no shadows in this picture to give me visual clues. However with her face, we’ve seen a million faces. So, even without shadow, we really understand the size of her cheeks, the size of her eyes. What kind of a jaw line she has. So, I certainly would not recommend that everyone light everything with only one light but I think you can do it sometimes and it does work for a portrait.
We’ve changed the lovely Debbie Park into something a little bit more glamorous and we’re going to change our shot as well. Now, we’ve talked about how we use the Octabank to create a very soft shot. And just to review, we create the soft shot by taking the Octabank and moving it close to her because the light is so large, the light hit certain of a big pattern and it kind of wraps around her body, give us a very soft shot. And the soft shot can be a beautiful shot but it certainly not the only shot that you want to do.
So right now, we want to get something just a little bit more dramatic. So, what we’re going to do is take our light and start putting it directly in front of her. We’re going to move it so it’s only one side. Put it here, you’re looking at the shot from camera position now and if you look to your right, Debbie’s left, you see our light is to the side of her. Now Debbie, can you turn into light a little bit please, right
So, what we’re going to do is we’re going our plate into the light. She’s going to pose into the light and we’re going to shoot from the position you’re looking at now which is a bit sideways to her but because we’re only lighting one side of her we’re going to get something that’s a little bit more dramatic. Something that does have shadows and the shadows will help define her body, beautiful.
So, you want to keep working poses like that. But you want to do it so it feels like you’re not posing. You want us to feel like this is something that’s really happening right now. Don’t look at the camera ever. You’re staying on that light the entire turn. Just don’t go too close. Go back again, back up again, now do that step forward, that’s it beautiful. That’s beautiful keep playing into that right. Even if I’m not shooting you should still be posing because you’re just thinking about the light.
So, walk away from it and step back into it again. Go, get close to it. Get down, you’re never looking at the camera, small smile at the light, that’s the sun, small smile. Keep your legs the way you had it, go back again, stay there, and now just work the right hand on the body.
Hi! I'm Debbie, thank your for watching on set with John Ricard. You could check me on myspace. Hope you’ve learn something about lighting.