Lighting Fundamentals: Making Lighting for Photography Easy | Fynn Badgley | Skillshare

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Lighting Fundamentals: Making Lighting for Photography Easy

teacher avatar Fynn Badgley, Fashion & Portrait Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (1h 2m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project Brief

    • 3. What is Light

    • 4. Shaping Light

    • 5. Natural Vs Artificial

    • 6. Shootout #1 - Natural Light

    • 7. Shootout #2 - Artificial Light

    • 8. Editing Light

    • 9. Conclusion & Review

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About This Class

Welcome to the Fundamentals of Lighting! 

In this course, you can use any level of equipment from high end DSLR's to your phone. You can achieve the look we are going for with something as simple as a household lamp or as complex as a studio strobe. 

In this class, we will go through how light works and have two different lighting set-ups to show you the ways in which light works and how you can shape it to create striking imagery. By the end of this course, you will have the knowledge of how to use both natural light, and artificial light and feel more comfortable photographing in any lighting condition. 

This course is suited best for beginner to intermediate photographers, however, photographers from all skill levels can benefit from the tips and techniques showcased in this course. This class breaks down and demystifies light, making it easy to digest and work with. If you've been looking to learn how to light, then this course is for you. 

Throughout this class you will walk away with: 

  • New knowledge of how light works
  • Information on different types of light and how they affect your images
  • Ideas of how to shape light to bring out detail and set a mood
  • Two beautifully lit images from different set-ups
  • The ability to edit you images to enhance the beautiful light you have created

Not only does this course teach the theory behind lighting, but relates it to practical everyday scenarios that you may come across while photographing. You will learn how to adapt and work with your surroundings to have them help your images. 

By the end of this Hour-Long course, you will be more comfortable with lighting and have a solid groundwork with which to work off of. If you're a natural-light shooter looking to experiment with light, or looking to expand your creativity with light, or even just getting your feet wet in photography, there is a great deal to gain from this course and we can't wait to see the images you make with these techniques! 


Meet Your Teacher

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Fynn Badgley

Fashion & Portrait Photographer

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Hello, my name is Fynn Badgley. I am a Toronto-based Commercial Fashion & Portrait photographer. My work has a large emphasis on how light is used, as well as creating a feeling from the viewer. People have always been and continue to be a large inspiration in my work, and a driving force behind the images I create and stories I tell. Through working as a photographer in various genres over the years, as well as working on high-budget Hollywood film sets, I am excited to share what I have learned with you so that we can all become a stronger community of creators, together. 


Feel free to check out my instagram and twitter to keep up to date on my happenings, or my youtube if you want to learn some more. 

I am creating a series of courses mainly focu... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Light is everywhere around us, whether it's an abundance of light or a lack of it. Light creates drama, tension, and mood. It's everywhere, you just have to see it. Hello, and welcome. My name is Fynn Badgley. I'm a commercial, fashion, and portrait photographer based out of Toronto, Canada. Today I'm walking you through the fundamentals of lighting. There is nothing more important to an image than the light that's in it. It can make an okay photo amazing, or it can make an amazing photo just okay, and all of this can be done with just a couple tweaks. If you've been intimidated by the idea of lighting and trying to wrap your head around how to light an image, then this course is for you. I'm going to break down the light, in and of itself and make it easy to digest and walk you through how you can use light and shape it to create some amazing images. Today we're going to be walking through both a natural light setup and an artificial light setup, so that way you get an idea of both types of light and how to use them. By the end of it, you will have a shot with both setups, so that way you are more comfortable no matter the lighting scenario. So grab a coffee, get settled in, and let's get lighting. 2. Project Brief: Thank you for enrolling in this course. Now right off the bat, to give you an idea of what to expect. We're going to do two different still life shots. Now you don't need to do still lifes yourself, you can do portraits, you can do anything that comes to mind. I'm just doing still life photos to make this as accessible as possible for you, that way you don't need to have access to people to shoot, or anything like that. I'm doing this in the comfort of my own home, to show you that you can do just the same. You're going to walk away with one beautifully lit natural light shot, and one beautifully lit artificial light shot, and you'll have the knowledge of how to shape light and how to move it around your subject to create drama, to create texture, and to create an amazing image. 3. What is Light: Right off the bat, let's break down what light actually is. Everything that we see is made up of light, whether it's a lack of light or an abundance of light, everything we see is within what's called the visible light spectrum. Essentially, there are a whole bunch of different types of light that we can't even see. Ultraviolet light, infrared, etc. The list goes on and on and what we can see only amounts to a very small percentage of the amount of light that is actually out there. This is the same light that our cameras capture as well. Now, any digital camera be it a DSLR, medium format or even just your phone, they all convert light into ones and zeros. Basically, there are a bunch of photons in the air that make up light and your camera senses these and turns them into code, which then reads out on the back of your camera, and is printed, and is seen pretty much everywhere you look. It is these photons converted to code. Now, the visible spectrum of light, as I mentioned, makes up all the colors we can see, and those colors are referred to as the color temperature of light. These colors are measured in terms of warmth and coolness and a whole bunch of other different measures, but the most common one is known as the Kelvin scale. If you look at getting light bulbs and you see certain different degrees of Kelvin on there, this is what it's referring to. Basically, how warm or cool the light is, how orange or blue the light is. Warm being orangey in color and cool being blue in color. Now to give you a reference point, a nice sunny day will give you about 5,256 Kelvin and your typical incandescent bulb, also referred to as tungsten, will read more around the lines of 3,200, 3,000 something and around there, whereas a cloudy day or if you're in the shade, will be somewhere between 6,000-7,000 degrees Kelvin. Now, how does the color temperature of light affect your images? Well, when you see that little white balance setting on your camera, that is what it's referring to, and this will give you a better idea of what that white balance setting will do. Pretty much, it's to make sure your images come out looking as realistic to the real world as possible. Now, that's not all. Another property of light is how hard or soft it is. Basically, a soft light is something that is quite larger, typically, closer to your subject and/or has something in front of it, that kind of diffuses the light. A telltale way to know if your light is soft is if you look at the shadows and see less pronounced, more gradual feathered shadows. Typically, you're going to get a soft light with that. It is also, generally speaking, more flattering and is more desirable because of that. It smooths out skin and reduces any prominent features. Whereas a hard light is the complete opposite. It is a light that is smaller, farther away from your subject, and does not have anything in front of it to diffuse it at all, making it quite harsh. It makes any prominent features more pronounced, which is sometimes why it is less preferred, because if there's any blemishes, anything like that, it will bring them out as opposed to smoothing them over. Now, that said, hard light can be used here. Advantage, if you're going for a specific more dramatic look, typically, hard light is how you get there. The best example of a hard light is the sun on a clear sky day. Now you might be thinking the sun is huge, how could that be hard light? Well, even though it is huge, it is also very, very far away, thus making it, relatively speaking, quite small. If you hold your thumb up to the sky, chances are the sun will be smaller than that. So you can imagine relatively, that's how small that light source is in relative to your subject. Because of that and there's nothing covering it like any clouds, it creates a very hard light and that's how you get those raccoon eyes, especially, if we're talking like noon on a clear sky day, it's right overhead, glaring down, it's just not the most flattering light. Now, you may have heard that photographers generally prefer an overcast day and that is because the clouds work as a diffusion in front of the sun. It not only diffuses the light that comes through, but it also makes that light source larger, and because the clouds are closer to the Earth than the sun is, it also makes it a closer source of light, therefore softening it three times over. Because of that, it becomes a much more flattering light and that is why a lot of photographers always prefer to shoot in overcast. Now, that said, you don't need to be limited to just shooting overcast or anything like that. You can learn how to use a harsh light to your advantage and get some really compelling images through that. Now, even though these lights have their benefits and drawbacks, that is not to say that one is better than the other. I myself actually sometimes prefer a hard light because of the look and the drama that you can get out of it. Now, not everybody shares that same opinion, but you learn what you like the more you play around with light, and that's what we're going to be doing today. 4. Shaping Light: Now, equally as important as knowing what light is and how it works, is also how to shape it. Now, your first instinct maybe to point the light directly at your subject, just straight on, right where the camera is. While that sometimes may work, that may not always be the best way to go about it, there might be other positions for that light that can give you a very different look. Let's look at some of them here. Because pointing a light directly at your subject can be harsh and flat at the same time, sometimes, it works better to bounce the light. If you have something like a white wall, a white ceiling, a white piece of foam core, or a five in one reflector or something like that. If you bounce the light off of that, it will not only soften your light, but it'll also create a more pleasing, more ambient light that wraps around your subject a little bit, and just gives more visual interest rather than if you just had the light straight on to them, just blowing everything out, making everything flat, minimizing detail and not adding a lot of interest. Now, something that we'll get into in the demonstrations that you can follow along with is figuring out where to place the light that will give you more visual interest. Something you may not necessarily think about right off the bat is having the light to the side or to the back of the subject, either sidelining it or backlighting. That can create a really interesting shot. It can create more depth and dimension in an image which creates more visual interest, giving you an overall more pleasing shot in the long run. The last way to shape light that we're going to be looking at later on in the course is how you can add or remove existing light. With this, we are talking about using white and black material surfaces, anything like that, to add or remove detail and shape what you are shooting to give a more dynamic shot. If you're looking at your shot and your backlighting it, you might want to add a bit of fill, we call it, or using like a white piece of paper, or a white poster board, anything like that to add in some white fill, open up the shadows in your shot to make it more interesting. Now, that said, you can also use a black piece of paper, black card, anything like that on the side of an image to round out certain edges and make it more defined depending on the scene that you're shooting and depending on the look that you are going for. Now, with all that said, it is time to put these ideas into practice. So grab your cameras and follow along with me as I show you how to use and shape light to get some incredible photos. 5. Natural Vs Artificial: Going ahead, there are two more categories that light falls into no matter what type of light it is, and that is natural light and artificial light. Pretty much any light out there falls into one of these two categories and that is because natural light is anything that is not man-made. We're talking about the Sun, we're talking about Moonlight, as well as fire or anything bioluminescent like fireflies, anything like that is referred to as natural light. But the most common form that people will use is the Sun, because it is readily available to us the majority of the day. Now, artificial light on the other hand, is anything that is man-made. What we're talking about here is everything from a lamp to an LED to a strobe flash, anything like that is artificial light. It does not matter the type, as long as it is man-made, that is what we're talking about when you hear artificial light. Now you can use the two together, but today to give you the best idea of how to work with both, we are going to be doing the one just natural light setup and one just artificial light setup. If either have intimidated you, by the end of today, they will be demystified and you will have a good handle on how to work with both of them to create some great and compelling images. Now, one of the reasons artificial light can be intimidating is because you have all the control over it. You decide where it is, what you put in front of it, and there's a lot of finesse that can go into it. It can be as complicated or as simple as you make it, and because of that, it can be really difficult to know where to start with artificial light. Whereas natural light, well, it can be easier to work with because it's just there and it's readily available and you work with what you have, it also can be your worst nightmare if you're in a difficult lighting situation, kind of what we were talking about, like a high noon kind of thing with the raccoon eyes, which is ideally when you would want to move into the shade, if you can. Now in either scenario, I'm going to walk you through how to have control over artificial light and shape it to how you want, making it less intimidating and more accessible to you no matter what type of light you have available to you, and making natural light something that you can shape versus just using as it is. 6. Shootout #1 - Natural Light: We're here at our first setup. This is going to be the window lit shot. We have a breakfast scene going on here. We have some beautiful light coming through the windows. It is mid afternoon right now. The sun is coming around, pouring through the windows, and creating these beautiful light streaks going through here. You can see right now, I am currently backlit by this light and you can see how it trails across the one side of my face. Now for this, we'll probably be making a back our side lit shot and we'll see once we actually get everything in position. Now, you'll see there we have some coffee, toast, and a little plant to add some interest in the background. I have not put the coffee yet because I want it to stay hot for when we shoot because the best way to capture any steam, anything like that, is to have it back or side lit because it goes through those particles and makes them really prominent. Now for this setup, I will be shooting on a tripod with my Canon EOS are shooting on the 85 millimeter 1.8 lens. Now, the reason that I'm shooting on this lens is for one, the 1.8 will give me a lot of creamy bokeh. Bokeh is what we refer to as that blurry background that you see in a lot of images. Now that said, the 85 millimeter itself will also give me a nice level of compression, pulling everything together a little bit rather than a wide-angle lens, which spreads everything apart, puts things further apart in the image. This will bring them closer together and make everything look nice and cohesive. I really want the focus of this shot to be on the coffee itself. That is why I'm going with such a shallow aperture versus a smaller aperture like F11. This way, I can just have any focus where they want to and the background will be nice and blurry. Now, one of the challenges that we're facing here is the light is rapidly changing going in between clouds and no clouds, meaning I will need to adjust my shot as I'm shooting to compensate for that. Now, even though that I'm using some quite fancy expensive gear, you do not need to own any of this to create this shot. You can do this right on your phone. It doesn't have to be anything crazy. You also don't even need to use a tripod. I'm just using this more so for demonstration purposes for your first assignment, the window let shot now. For this image, I am not having any other lights on. I am just using the natural light coming through the window and that's what I want you guys to do. It can be a partial, it can be a still life setting like this. No matter what it is, just make sure the only source of light is coming from a window. The reason that I choose a window specifically rather than just a natural light shot is because you can position your scene around that window and you are essentially working the scene around that light and therefore, you're able to shape the light because of that. It allows you to have more control and think about what the light is doing and how you can work with it, rather than just showing up and shooting what is there. Let's get shooting. Now we have the camera is set up on a tripod. Now, based on the way I've laid everything out, I am probably going to do this as a portrait shot, meaning turning my camera over to be vertical. I will start lining it up here. As you can see, I have the coffee poured nicely so that way I can see enough of it, and that light is coming through back lighting a bit of the steam, but not too much. Now, for this image, you'll be able to tell that the light is behind our subject here. That way, we are using a back lit shot. I can go around quickly to show you what it would look like here versus if we turned around and shot with the window behind us front lighting it and the drastic difference that you would see there. Now, you can see that based on those examples, actually both shots are quite interesting. The front light shot with those shadows coming through actually creates quite an interesting image. Now that said, I am just more of a fan personally of the look of the back light image. Now that's not to say that you need to light your photos either with a sidelight or back light, I'm just showing you the different ways in which it will affect your image. No matter where you position that light, as long as you are aware of what it's doing, I'm sure you will get a fantastic shot. I look forward to seeing them down below. Now with that said, let's get shooting here. Also, I should note that all my camera settings, because I know some people like to see that and see what I'm shooting out based on this situation, I will post all of my camera settings along with the images. Here we go. I am manually focusing for this shot just because I don't want to have any guesswork. I don't want a in-between shot to go out of focus. I am manually dialing it in to make sure I have everything spot on for every single shot. Now, again, you don't have to. If you're doing a portrait, it might be better to have autofocus on, or if you're using your phone, it should be fine using autofocus. It may actually help. That way, if your subject its moving, it will be in focus more often than not because if you manually focus, of course, you might go out in-between there. But for this scenario, this is what I'm using, so bear that in mind. Now, lining this up, getting it in focus, and see our first shot there right off the back. That actually looks really good. We have nice light coming in, we get those nice shadows, and it's looking quite pleasing and quite good to the eye. But I think we can improve it a little bit. If I come in a little bit here with my tripod, lower it down just a little bit, I think that will create a little more visual interest there. Now, we do have the little post from the window coming into the shot a little bit and myself, I personally find that distracting, so I'm just going to move my tripod over so slightly just to cut that out a little bit. In that way, that distracting element is not in our shot. Now because I did move my tripod, I will need to adjust my frame a little bit because of that. But this is a very good starting point. Now, we've adjusted a couple of things. We moved the plant over and moved the toast and the coffee back just a little bit so that way everything blends nicely together, and we're not seeing that distracting poll. Now, taking a quick shot, looking at it, it's actually quite pleasing right off the back, but I think it can be improved a little bit. You can see because of it being backlit, we are getting quite some intense shadows on the camera side of the coffee mug. While that might be pleasing for a dramatic shot, I want to lift those a little bit. A fantastic way to do this is with some white foam core, A5 on one reflector, or because we're just using a small scene here, we don't need anything very large. I'm just going to take a white piece of paper, something accessible to pretty much all of us, and just lift those shadows a little bit. Here we are. We have our white piece of paper. You can see this side of the mug is in quite a bit of shadow, and we want to lift that up a bit to just make it a more pleasing shot and not have so much darkness. The reason I have folded this guy is to stand it upright, just like that. You can see pretty much immediately the difference of, if it's there, versus if it's not. If it's there, if it's not. You can see right here the amount of difference that makes, and it's because the light is reflecting off of this piece of paper, and because it's white, it's reflecting off of it. If it were black, I would actually be making these shadows darker because I would be taking light away. But because it's white, I am adding in that light. That way, it lifts those shadows and creates a more pleasing image. Now, I think say that much would be a little too drastic, so I'm going to pull it back just to about there. There seems quite natural and quite pleasing for the shot that I'm going for. Now that we have our white piece of paper in place, our white fill, let's take another shot. Right off the bat, we can see the huge difference that that has made to our image. Now myself, just to tweak things, I want to move the coffee mug just a little bit, so to more in that third of the frame, following the rule of thirds, having objects of interest placed on those third grid lines. I want to tilt down just a bit as I think currently I am a little too high up. I think there is good, and I'll move the coffee cup over just a tad. I think that's working a lot better now. Initially, I did have to move the white cad that I put in a little bit because initially I put it right in the shot, so I had to adjust it a little bit and now it's in a better spot. But I did just move the coffee mug, which means I will need to move the fill again because it is not reflecting the light in the same way. Let's go do that. Now you can see I did have to move it quite a bit back, but it's actually in a better spot, because the light coming through will bounce off of here, and act to fill in the shadow side. Basically, if you want a good rule of thumb, you follow the light and see what angle is giving you the best fill there. For this particular shot, I think right about there is perfect, because you can see the light coming off, and gently just lifting those shadows. I'm pulling it back just a little bit because I think there was a little bit too much pronounced fill there, so we'll just bring it back, make it a little more natural. I think that will work really well for our image. Now the coffee is starting to separate a little bit. Just so it styled nicely, I will give it a quick little swirl with a spoon, make sure it's all nice and clean there. Being careful not to drip any coffee down the side of the mug as that will give us more to retouch later in post. I think we're going to have a pretty good shot right here. Let's go see. Here we have our shot. I am on a mirrorless camera, so I'm getting the light view preview here, but I do like to just check in the viewfinder to make sure everything is nice where I want it. Again, change my focus area there to be exact, get that locked on. Let me take the shot. Now, that is looking a lot better than where we started with. That little bit of film makes such a difference. It seems like such a small thing, but it will drastically change your image and make it so much better. Now, I do think it is a little bit too much for what we're going for, so I will pull that back just a little bit. I think that's where we want it. I'll take another shot here, and that is looking pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Looking at our image here, we can pinch in and take a look. We can see it's nice and in-focus here shooting at f1.8, and we can see the light coming through is just beautiful, giving us those nice shadows, a perfect time of day for a shot like this, and that nice light just coming in, out-of-focus. Having that plant as extra interest in the background always does help too, and just staging a scene to make it nice and believable. Our fill that we added in wasn't too much, but it wasn't not enough either, so it just gives the perfect amount. You can see in the previous photo, it was a little more pronounced. But I like that more subtle look to it, especially versus where we started. You can see the difference that film makes and how much of a big difference and impact it can have on your photos, especially when you are back or side lighting. Now, I hope you have been following along. That wraps up our first photo, the natural light window-lit shot. Again, this can be frontlit, backlit, sidelit, any way you want. It can be a portrait, it can be in still life, it can be anything in between, anything your heart desires. Just go out there and create an amazing window-lit natural light image, and I'm excited to see what you have created down below. Now, we'll jump over to our artificial light setup. 7. Shootout #2 - Artificial Light: I hope you enjoyed that first natural light window lit set up. Now, I'm just finishing my coffee and we are about to do the artificial light set up. For this, you're going to want to turn off all lights besides your main light. Now that we mainly just have our one light on, again, I'm shooting on the Canon EOS R using the 85 millimeter 1.8. Now, I'm not going to be shooting at 1.8 because you can see here based on my scene, we have a couple of different objects here. The notebook at the back I want to be out of focus, but I want to keep the bag and the camera somewhat partially in focus as they are on the same plane, but also I want a little bit more of a focal plane there. I'm going to stop down to about F/4, maybe 5.6, just to make sure I'm still getting the bag and enough texture on that, and also capturing the details of the camera itself. Now, this setup, you can see it's a bit different from what we went with before, we have a rustic looking idea here, lots of texture. I'm going to show you how you can bring that out in your image. This leather will show really nicely and we also have this shinier matte finish on this film camera itself so that way, it gives you a couple of different surfaces to play with and show you how that light interacts with them. Now, again, you don't have to shoot on an expensive camera, your phone will do just fine. As for the light source you will be using, I am currently being lit, and we'll light this scene with a light panel, a $100 LED light panel, to give you an idea of something you can potentially look at getting in the future as a chief introductory light. That said, for this style of shot, you can get away with a household lamp, you can use a studio strobe and anything in between. The possibilities are endless here, as long as you have a artificial light source, it can be a flashlight, it can be the flashlight on your phone, although you might be using your phone to take the photos, so maybe that's not the best idea. I digress, a flashlight, a household lamp, anything like that will work perfectly fine for this shot, and the fundamentals that I'm going to be teaching you are still the same no matter the type of light that you are using. I'm trying to, again, keep it nice, and simple, and accessible so everyone, no matter your level, if you're a pro, if you're an amateur, no matter what, you can feel comfortable that you can start practicing with light, no matter your experience level. There will be other courses that I make that will involve more complicated lighting set-ups, but for now, we're keeping it simple and giving us a good groundwork that we can build out of. Without further ado, let's set up a camera and get shooting. You can see our scene here. To start off with, I have put the light facing directly towards our subject just to give you the idea of what that would look like. We'll take a shot here, show you what effect that gives, and then I will move the light around to show you where might be the best spot for this type of situation. Now, again, I am manually focusing here. I'm at F/3.5 just to make sure everything that I want to be in focus is nicely in focus. You can see from that first shot, the light looks a little too direct and a little too flat, everything is just front lit and just blends in with each other. Now, another thing that I noticed in that first photo was the bag looked a little sad because there wasn't anything in it. This is something to keep in mind whenever you're photographing any bag, anything like that, is stuff it with anything. I used a blanket in this case, but you can use pretty much anything just to make sure it is nice and full, and looks nice and happy, doesn't look all sad and flumped over so that way, you add some life to your shot. Now, let's start playing with our light position to get an idea of what we want here. I tried using that front light, we saw it didn't really work. Now, let's see what it looks like if we do what we did in our last shot and we back light it. I'm just going to take my light panel and move it around to behind our scene here. Angle it down a little bit, almost as if it were a nice big window. Now, the thing here is, this is still very direct and it is very harsh, but we will get to that in a little bit. Coming around now to our camera, when we look through the viewfinder, we can tell it is a very different style shot all of a sudden. If we take a photo, there's a little more flavor to a little more interest, but I think it can still be better. It looks okay, but I don't even know if adding in that fill would help, it's a little washed out and I feel like we could use a little more punch for a shot like this. Now, we have tried the backlight setup, but that's quite not giving us the look that we want. It worked in the natural light shot, but I think we can do something a little different here, add some drama and really bring out that texture in the leather and everything like that. This time, we're going to move the light around some more and we're going to try more of a side light set up, something like that. Now, again, this is very direct, see what this looks like, it might be too harsh. If it is, we'll play around and work to finesse it a bit, and really nail down the shot. Now, over here, at our camera, we'll get this set up and try taking another shot. That's looking closer to what we want, although it's still a little harsh, the shadows are a little pronounced and our highlights are a little too bright. There's a good fix that we can do to mitigate that, and that's what I'm going to show you right now. The way that we can solve this is by bouncing our light. Now, we talked about shaping light earlier and how you can bounce it to make things look more flattering. Now, we're not going to bounce it off the ceiling because that would flatten things out again. We want to still keep that level of contrast that we're getting. We just want to bring up the shadows a bit and bring down the highlights, so everything is nice and a little more pleasing, a little more smooth, etc. To do that, I'm going to use a five-in-one reflector, you get these guys pretty cheap, they are about 20, 30 bucks, depending on where you get them. They just come like this and they fold out. Now, I'm going to use the white side as that is going to be the most flattering for what I want to do. I'll just pull out the diffusion disk, flip it around, stick it back in, and zip it up. Now, that said, you don't need to use one of these fancy reflectors. By all means, you can use a white piece of foam core or Bristol board or anything like that that you would find at a dollar store, and that'll work just as well. This is just what I have on hand, so that's what I'm going to use. What we're going to do here, I'm going to set up my light stand. We're going to put it just beside our light. Then you might need to shift things over a little bit, so where we can pose when you get to the camera. But with our lights then setup, we're going to take some clamps. You guys can use hardware clamps. You can take anything at all that will make it work for holding your little reflector, whether it'd be one of these disks or if it's a piece of Bristol board, anything like that. Or also if you don't have access to any equipment like this, you can also borrow a friend who can hold it for you if they're nice enough to do that for you. Position that how we think we want it. I think right about there will be good. We'll just turn the light around and we'll see what kind of look that gets us in camera. Now that we're over here, let's see. We do need to adjust our settings a little bit just based on how everything was shifted around there if we take a shot. Now that's looking pretty darn good, especially compared to where we started off from. Now I do want to raise up my tripod a little bit just to angle down on our scene a little bit more. That's looking a little better already. The reason that we are side lighting this is because that texture on the leather, that's how that comes through. Whenever you side light something, that's how you get that texture because the light comes across and it gives a lot more pronounced shadows. Now, the bounce here that we added softens it out a little bit, but because the light is still coming from the side, it still acts as that nice texturely, contrasty light. Now the one issue that I am running into here is the background is a little too bright for my personal liking. I would like it to be a little darker that way. The main focus is on our scene here and it kind of fades off to darkness. So for that, I'm going to turn our reflector around a little bit and this will actually were to block the light from hitting our background, and that way all the focus is right where we want it on our subject. You can see now, although the light will be bouncing, it'll come across and sweep across our scene nicely, giving a nice soft light, but is still direct enough to leave that contrast that we want there. You can see from the grain of the leather it comes out nicely because we are lighting from the side. We can see that has actually neutralized the background quite nicely. It's taking a lot of the light off of there, so that way there is more focus on our actual product. Now, that is looking pretty good. But I think you can still play with it a little bit just to get the shot right where we want it. I have made a couple of tweaks here that you will notice. I have moved the reflector a little bit so it's a little more in front. The light bounces off and it cascades nicely across the front of our scene here, illuminates the leather nicely, and it's almost like a backlight to the camera that I have angled a little bit and because now the camera relative to the light is being backlit a little bit. I have reintroduced our handy-dandy piece of paper just off frame, so it just fills in where the logo is. I also played around with the object styling just a little bit and made the camera strap flow a little bit more into the back of the frame, and I pushed in for the actual camera angle, that way we're catching less of the background and the shot is more about the scene here itself. There's more focus on the camera, on the bag. Then we have the notebook out of focus in the background, so it creates a really pleasing shot in the background. Isn't really a distraction; it just falls off and serves the shot as a whole. We do have the lens cap here just adding in. If this were something for a film camera or something like that, you would have that nice logo inclusion there which client always love. Now that's said, with this setup, I know I have a light panel into a reflector dish here, but you can do this with something as simple as a household lamp, like a lamp for your night table or something like that, and set that into a white piece of Bristol board or a white piece of foam core, something like that would give pretty much the same effect that you're seeing right here. Now for that, depending on how bright your lamp is, you might need to have a slower shutter speed so that way you can let more light in, and that way you get a more pleasing shot out of it. Now because of that, you might want to use a timer on your camera, that way you don't get the camera shake of your finger actually hitting the button. Now with that said, if you're using a phone and you can set that on a makeshift tripod or something like that, that can also work for you. If neither of those situations are what you are working with, then simply take a lot of photos and try to be as still as you possibly can, that way there is a higher chance that you get something amazing out of it. Now, with our setup finalized here, let's go take some shots and show you what it looks like through the lens. You will notice I upped the camera angle quite a bit and pushed in. Again, that is just so that way we have more focus on our scene itself and less focus forward onto the background and everything like that, just helps focus everything in and make it more uniform. We'll line it up here. I will also set this on a self-timer just because I am shooting at 140th of a second. That is slower than my focal length, which is 85 millimeters. It's a good rule of thumb there, especially if your hand-holding. But on a tripod, it's a little more forgiving. If you want your shutter speed to be at least equal to what your focal length is. In this case, I would want it to be about 100th of a second, and because it's not, I just want to make sure I don't get any shake in the camera when I'm pressing the button. So I will set that on a self-timer. We'll take a look, and right off the bat, that looks pretty good. I do want to shift the bag just a little bit, just so that way we can catch a little more of that front face of it. Now, will take another shot here. That looks pretty bang on to what I was thinking. We'll take a couple extras just in case because you never want to just get one shot. You always want to do a couple just to make sure that you're in the clear and you have what you need. I think this looks pretty good. This is exactly what I had in mind and I think that we have it there. If you've been following along up until this point, now we have our natural light window-lit shot and we have our artificial light shot. Again, both of these were still setups that I use, something of a lifestyle genre. But that does not mean you need to replicate the same thing. You can use anything, portraits, product, anything in-between, the sky is the limit, and I look forward to what you create. Now, before I let you go, we're going to jump over to the desk, to the computer, and we're going to show you how you can play with the light in the edit to just make everything nice and uniform and just give it that little extra something that makes your images 8. Editing Light: Here we are in Lightroom. I've gone through and selected the photos that led up to our final shot and the final shot itself. We rated them differently in terms of stars to know which is which. So we can see coming over here, we started with the regular window-lit shot here, and it looks pretty great right off the bat and then here's when we added in that fill, that white piece of paper, and you can see it is still a little bit too pronounced right in this area so we pulled it back just a little bit and that looks a lot more natural. Let's open this guy up in the Develop module. Because we want this to be a fairly warm, cozy shot, I do want to increase the warmth just a little bit, not too much. You can see the difference there if we undo and redo that; it just makes it feel a little cozier and that said, I do also want to just open up the shadows, bring down the highlights just a little bit, something like that. I'll bring the brightness up just a tad, just a little bit to add in a little bit of vibrance and saturation, or what have you, up the contrast just a little bit as it was, kind of a fairly neutral shot. Now, over here in the tone curve, I do like to add a bit of an S-curve to my images, that means lifting the darkest darks and bringing down the whitest whites and just kind of adding something like that, and you can see it doesn't make a huge difference but it is quite subtle and I enjoy it quite a lot. Now here in the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance tab, I don't think I'll do too much. We can see what happens if we play around with the oranges. This shot does have a lot of oranges in it, maybe bring them just a little more red but not too much. Overall, I think that looks pretty good so far. Maybe I want to open up the yellow just a little bit, adding a little bit more of a glow to it and I think that it's looking pretty good now. Something I sometimes would do in the shadows is add a little bit of a greeny-blue tint and I won't ever add a lot, so I'll bring the balance up and then I'll bring the saturation down, just to add a little bit of a feeling and coziness and that vibe to it. It's very subtle, but it often really helps create a mood and a feeling out of it. Now something else that I just want to do is create a radial mask, something not too pronounced, so invert it. Currently, it is on my previous settings for different photo I was editing but I'll reset that, and I just want to add just a bit of haze to it to make it a little more dreamy, you might call it, and we can see there that's looking pretty good right off the bat, off of those small adjustments. We can see it's nice and sharp. Maybe we'll go down to our lens profile corrections. We can see we have a bit of color fringing just along the lip here, so I will remove those chromatic aberrations and we have a couple of spots on the actual mug that could just use a quick little touch up here, so that's what I'm going to do. I'm just going to quickly go through nothing too crazy, just tidying the mug up just a little bit and you can see that just makes it a nice little difference and I think that is a fantastic shot right there, especially for such a simple setup that nice natural window light setup that we had there. We just created a beautiful image here; it's nice and homey. We have that cozy feeling from it, you get your toast, your coffee, a little bit of plant in the background and that nice sun coming in. Even though it was shot in the afternoon, you could see it being a beautiful morning scene and that's what I wanted to go for here. I'm excited to see what you guys do with your images. Now, moving over to the bag and camera setup here, you can see this is what we started off with. This is what you get with that direct light. This was when we had the light almost right beside the camera and you can see it's very flat and it is quite harsh. You can see the shadows here when I was telling you about that harsh light, it creates those really hard shadows, this is what I'm talking about. You can see the line there, that shadow is very pronounced and very harsh. Now, moving over, then we tried a backlit setup which I found was washed out and didn't really give the feeling that I was going for. It was okay but not something that I think would work for the final shot. Then moving along, we to go to the sidelight setup and you can see really how it brings out that texture in the leather, look at that, it's just beautiful, but it is a little too contrast-y and intense for what I wanted for the shot. Then we also did some tweaks to the actual set itself, punched in a little bit on our camera and then we get this final shot here. Now I'm going to step back just a minute because you can see the difference that adding in the contents of the bag makes, it just gives it some life and really helps out a shot. Now, back to our hero image here, I might want to bring up the exposure just a bit. I think it was slightly underexposed, but that's okay. Then we'll bring down our highlights just a tad there and you can see we still get that nice texture in the leather and everything's beautiful. We get that nice filling in the logo on the camera. That's something if you're working with a brand, you really want to highlight that logo and that's what we did here. Now, again, I'll bring up the shadows just a little bit and then we will give a little bit of an S-curve here. Now, you'll notice I'm skipping over the vibrance part of this just because I don't really want to increase the brightness too much; it's already a very color-rich photo with those orangey tones, so we don't want to play that up too much. If anything, I might bring it down a little bit just to have everything be nice and a little muted and work together. Now, let's go over here to our hue, saturation, and luminance where we look, let's see what our yellows are doing. So they're not doing too much, but that's affecting the notebook in our background, so I want to desaturate that just a little bit and maybe darken it down. Yeah, that looks good there; it just helps it fall off into the background, maybe not so much. There we go, that's better. Now our oranges, we can see that is a lot of our shot there. You can play around with it and get it how you want. I like increasing the brightness on that. Actually that works nicely, the luminance, I should say. Now, let's see here, so far that's actually looking really good. Now, I will come over here and do a similar treatment that I did to our previous image where I'll get that blue-green tone up the balance, so it's just affecting only a small portion of the shadows; bring it down enough and that way, you just get that nice little bit of an extra something in the shadows; it doesn't make a huge difference but it's just enough and that's what we always like to see. You can see there, we've got the lens cap note is a little dusty, that is something that I would go into Photoshop and clone stamp out. But for the purposes of this, I'm not going to worry about that too much. We want to be more so talking about the light here and how we can shape our light, mood, and color. Now, with that said, I might add a very, very slight vignette. I'm not a huge fan of adding vignettes, but I think in this case it will help just add a little bit of interest. We will feather that greatly though so it's not so dramatic. There we go, that's just adds a little something to the edges and pulls the focus in where we want it. Okay. Now that is looking pretty good. Let's see the before and after there. There we go. You can see the difference just a couple of tweaks makes it softens things out a little bit. This shadows are nicely brought up. Maybe I'll bring them up just a little bit more. Yeah, I like that. Then we can maybe bring the texture up just a little bit to really emphasize the texture and everything in that shot. Now we've look at the before and after. You can see what a big difference just those small changes made and that is our final image there, and I think that is a great shot that very well illustrates how you can use artificial light to create mood, texture, and really shape your scene and image. So here we have two incredible shots, one natural light, backlit image and one artificial light side-lit shot, two different moods, two different vibes, a bit of a similar edit across the board just to give them a bit of a similar field but not too much and there we have it. These are some editing techniques that you can apply to your images as well to give them a nice feel, mood, and work off of the beautiful light that you already created. 9. Conclusion & Review: If you've been following along with me up until this point, we now have two beautiful images and we have the knowledge of the lighting fundamentals that we can now take and use to make even better images. You now have a beautiful window lit, natural light shot and an artificial light shot, whether it be backlight, sidelight, frontlight, any thing in-between using fill, not using fill, direct lighting, anything like that. You guys will use these techniques to create some beautiful photos. If you want to see more from me, I will be making future courses, expanding on lighting, photography and all things imagery. I also have a YouTube channel which will be linked on my profile. Feel free to follow me along there as I make short bite-size videos that take you along the photographic and videographic journey. Now, with all that said, if you've made it to this point, thank you so much for watching this course. I hope you gained a lot of value and information out of it. I am so very excited to see the images that you guys post down below. If you have any questions for me, I will be active in the discussion, so feel free to ask and I will chime in and give you some feedback. I look forward to seeing what you guys create. Have a great day.