Lighting Tips & Tricks: Get Professional Studio Lighting at Your Home | Derek Doritis | Skillshare

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Lighting Tips & Tricks: Get Professional Studio Lighting at Your Home

teacher avatar Derek Doritis, Designer & Yoga Teacher

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

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

    • 1.

      Lighting Tips & Tricks Intro


    • 2.

      Class Project for Lighting Tips


    • 3.

      Tabletop Lighting Tips & Breakdown


    • 4.

      Lines to Direct Your Viewers Eye


    • 5.

      Lighting Quick Tips & Tricks


    • 6.

      Portrait Lighting Clamshell Technique


    • 7.

      Talking Head Behind the Scenes


    • 8.

      Congrats! Let's light Away


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About This Class

Elevate the lighting quality of your shots with professional lighting right at your home.

In this class, I will guide you with lighting tips and tricks I have learned in my professional career. We will check out the lighting examples for small props/products on a table and portraits using the Clamshell Technique. I will also bring you behind the scenes to share how I created the lighting setup used in this class. 



  • Essentials of GOOD lighting
  • How to Illuminate a Prop/Product on a Table
  • How to create lighting for Portraits to make your model shine
  • Must-Know Tip for Food Photography
  • Behind-the-scenes tips to help you elevate your lighting
  • The importance of guiding your viewer's eyes
  • How to Re-Create the Lighting I Used for this Class


Lighting is important to deliver your content to your audience. Good Lighting is VITAL to stand out from the crowd and deliver your content in a professional way. This class will help you understand the basics of lighting and how to apply them in your own projects. 


The class will provide valuable tips and tricks for beginners and professionals working in the industry. Even if you are a lighting expert, there is always room for growth. Perhaps I can help you become more efficient or even light up your shot in a different way. Keep on Learning!  


  • 2 Studio Lights with softboxes, grid, and gels
  • 1 Practical Light = Any Light at your Home
  • 1 Houseplant (Optional)
  • Camera that can take photos
  • A positive attitude for learning and your bright smile :) 

Let's get to it!

Meet Your Teacher

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Derek Doritis

Designer & Yoga Teacher

Level: Intermediate

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1. Lighting Tips & Tricks Intro: Hi Skillshare family. Welcome to his lighting class. My name is Derek, and today I will guide you through a few tips and tricks to help you step up your game when it comes to lighting your shots in filming and in photography? No, no, no, no, nothing like this to elevate your game and promote your name when it comes to your branding and to your business, you need shots like this, like can be created right in your living room using only three lights. I've been working in the industry for the past ten years. And I started out as a 3D artists for visual effects, then moved on to become a videographer for various projects to light up, for modelling, to light our four products. And here I am today sharing with you all those tips I learned in my professional career. During this class, I'm going to show you two short break downs to see how each light contributes to create the whole scene. Number one, we're going to focus on an artistic approach like a fine art of a statue of a product on a table. Number two, we're going to explore the clamshell technique that's especially used in fashion. Beautify your model to bring up your face in the light it up and make it shine. And at the end of this class, I'm going to share with you how I created this shot right here using only three lights in my own living room. We have the key light right here shining. I've been bringing the main source of lighting. We have the practical light right here behind me, making orange ambiance in the background of the room. And we have a fill light to the side, projecting an orange rim light to the side to make it look like the practical is affecting me right here. Let's get started For lighting tips and tricks. 2. Class Project for Lighting Tips: Welcome everyone. The project for this lighting class is to help you recreate a short just like this one talking to you right now. This is called a talking head shot. You probably use shots like this to deliver your content, to host classes here on Skillshare, or to teach tutorials elsewhere. And I want to help you recreate a lighting setup just like this to elevate the quality of your content. Now for the class project, I would like you to upload a photo of writing the project gallery so I can provide some feedback for you. And the project is to recreate a shot just like this one in your own home using some studio lights. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or an expert. The aim here is to share and interact with each other the shots we created so we can learn and get some tips from each other. So this steps to take this project. First of all, we need a controlled environment. Choose a room in your household that has blinds on the windows or curtains so you can get complete darkness, pitch black so we can start building up, enlightening up from there. Step number two is to get your light setup the gear. I'm going to show you right here the main key light that I'm using, a GoTalk V L1 50. He has a grid on it with a large soft box and the grid helps to bring the light only on me and has an have less spill on the background. So this slide is more controlled, more on this subject. So the second light I'm using is a practical light right here. You'll have one of these in your household. It doesn't matter if it's white or orange. Wave in blue, find something to place in the background that can also project some texture to create a nice interesting backdrop. You can also combine that with plants, household plants that you have. You can create some nice interesting shadows on the wall behind you. The third layer that I'm using is a sidelight, is an LED, in this case, small LED, and I added a gel on it and orange gel, so we can get this kind of orange color. Now if your practical light is white, you will remove these jokes. We can get a nice wide rim right here. If it's blue, you put a blue gel, play with it accordingly for this shot, for this creation, it's orange. Now for step number three, you're going to follow me behind the scenes so I can show you the whole setup to show you where I'm sitting down so you can understand the context in a wide shot. Let's get to it. So this is the behind the scenes welcome into the space. You can see the practical and the LED light back there. And if I rotate it around, you can see the grid light. So this is the whole thing, nice and wide from top center where I sit as like a place holder. And you can see right here we have the LED light. If I take a direct line, I can see that the huge softbox is exactly opposite it. So you see in the behind the scenes on how this thing was created, the important thing to take off from this class project is that you create this diagonal line with your lights, not side-to-side. Otherwise you'll just get a shadow here in the middle. Keep it a little bit more diagonal so you can get light from the main light to the side of your face and a tiny light here. This is known as the rebrand triangle that you get a nice tiny highlight on your cheek. And then you compensate or you complement more like with a rim light here to the side and make sure you use your practical in the background. Do I invite you to upload a photo in the project gallery? I'll provide some feedback to you so you can learn. So we can grow and elevate and step up the game when it comes to your shots. See you in the next lesson. 3. Tabletop Lighting Tips & Breakdown: Welcome to the first lesson, lighting tips and tricks. I'm sharing this with you because the light matters. So why is lighting important? Because the world around us will not be visible? Why is good lighting important and more accurate question? This is to make our shots. Are videos or photos look professional and appealing to our audience. E.g. the image on the left is a short without lights, completely blank. We cannot sell this, we cannot promote this. Let's compare this. So which image were to click on even better? Which image will stop you from scrolling? Today's world, the audience attention span is getting shorter and shorter, so we have to act smart and fast. Image number one, was you click on this one. Image number two, or would you click on this one? Which of the two which you click on? I am guessing and I'm hoping you chose this second. So let's break down this show now so we can see how the light is affecting the scene. This is completely off. All the lights are off. And we start up by lighting up the subtle key light on the right-hand side. Moving on, you can see I added colors in the background, only one light here. And the core element I added here to create this kind of texture in the background is adding up a tree or a plant to create and cast shadows. You can see here it's just a silhouette. Only the light in the background is lit up right here. And I've removed the plant or removed the tree. So you can see there's no texture, no casting on the background and we can see the difference. So if I go back right here, you can see the only thing I moved here is the the plant itself so I can cast the shadows in a different way. So now let's move on. We have the background, we have the key light on this statue in this shot in particular, I added the on the left here we can see a light. This helps us a tiny light that helps create depth and distance in our shots. Moving on. An accent or rim light from the left to support the fill light, the depth delight that we added from before. So we can see here that. And then rim, you can see the difference. And then I added a tiny light, a small light behind the statue just to give it a small extra pop to make it and help it separate from the background. Now, I'll show you this all these one-by-one in a sequential order at the end of this class, so we can see how they move, how they interact with each other. So in this shot in particular that we just break down, you might think that it's a bit of an overkill because there's just too many lights. But indeed, too many lights can often cause trouble than good, right? And that is why at the end of this video, I will show you a technique on how to use only three lights and to light up just shot light for good by using sparingly. In my professional career, I like lysine up the shot one light at a time and I added the key light and then I play with the rim light on the opposite side. And then slowly, slowly I see how I can combine my shot. And I know when I went too far and I have to remove light rather than add. So one-by-one is the technique to go. So moving on, here's the breakdown in a sequential order. You can scroll this back and forth if you need to speak and see how it looks like. And coming up next, we're going to see a quick class on how we draw a line so we can direct the eye of the viewer towards the center of the image. Let's get to it. 4. Lines to Direct Your Viewers Eye: Welcome to this lesson, which is all about guiding the audience eye towards your image, towards where you want them to see on your image. So you can see, we're going to have a breakdown here of another image using the same statue. Here we have a background light just to give some ambiance to the scene itself. Moving on, we have a direction light. We can see there's a line casting through the image. And then a key light just to illuminate this subject itself to make it a little bit more appealing. And then a soft fill light from the left to soften in the shadows. I can show you the difference here. The shadows here a little bit darker. There's more contrast is more dramatic. Not too important. You can choose between these two options. The main element of this breakdown itself is the line behind this statue that helps bring your eye to the center of the image. Now, Gobo, you might have heard of this term in your industry, in your professional career. Gobo is short for go-between optics. And there's two ways you can apply this effect in your shots. One is using a phone board to occlude part of the light source. You can see the image right here on the right has a huge foam board on the table. And there's a light come in here from the left in this direction. And it's casting onto the foam board. And it's only letting half of it out to pass through enlight up is subject right here at the center of the table. This is technique number one. You can use a foam board to occlude light. Technique number two is using a gobo lens. This lens, you can strap it and put it on top of your light. And you can put filters on it and you can choose what shapes or lines you can cast through your light, through your spotlight, onto the subject itself. You can see here the difference. This is a global land is a more defined direction of line towards the subject, towards your statue or towards your product. And here I'm using a foam board, which is a little bit more spilling the light across a scene. I prefer this, it looks more natural, more, more organic in a way, and less technical. So that's it important to guide the eyes of your audience onto your subject to create lines can also be done with other lights in your scene. You know, with prospective photography, you can still work with bringing a line to a subject with lighting. This is how you do it. Coming up next, I have more tips for you, quick and easy so you can apply in your shots and you're filming and you're photography's. Let's get to it. 5. Lighting Quick Tips & Tricks: Let's get started For quick tips to make your shots pop nice and easy. So this tip is all about adding a glow behind your subject so you can help it separate from the background itself. This also helps to direct the viewer towards the center of the image because it's creating a shape. Shapes and eyes are drawn to each other. And this shine in the background helps to make your object pop to stand out from the image and separated from the background in particular. So we can have an example here, an easy example of an apple before and after using the shine behind the subject. This is before, this is after. Let me do this again. Before. After. You can see is adding a shine to make these subjects separate from the background. Now that we're talking about apples and food in particular, let me show you a quick tip that we seriously elevate your game when it comes to food photography. There's a substance here that I like to call Mr. Shine. You can use a spray bottle, spray water bottle, and you add a ratio here of glycerin, 30% of water, 70%, and you shake it out. Now glycerin is like a syrup. They can find in stores. You mix it up with water and then you grab this liquid, you grab this mixture and you spray it on food to make it look more appealing and more fresh. This can also be applied on cans on soft drinks to make them look really appealing, to make them look like you're thirsty and you really want to drink them. So let's check out examples. Here's an apple without the spray, without Mr. shine. And here it is, width, no light difference, nothing changed except me spraying this mixture onto the apple itself. Let's go back without and width, which Apple would you rather eat? Look at it. It just makes it look fresh and makes it look ready and edible. That's it for today's lesson. Quick tips to apply in your own workflow. Moving on next, we're gonna go into portrait lighting and I'm going to show you a breakdown on how we apply the clamshell technique. 6. Portrait Lighting Clamshell Technique: Welcome to this lesson about portraits, but I'll show you how to make your models shiny using the clamshell technique with a breakdown on how each light is affecting up this subject. So having here the clamshells technique is called a clam shell because you simply have a pearl in the middle, your model, your subject, and then the shelves closing it in, making it look appealing, beautifying it. Think of this as Venus or Aphrodite in the climate itself or in the clam shell. And you'll want to elevate it to make it look like a painting. Let's break down this shot right here. You can see here simple removal of a rim light. This light comes from the back that's adding a shine to the hairline itself back and forth. Then we move forward where a switch off the lights in the background. You can see here I use a similar technique that I've used in the previous shot with a statue on a table. I've added a plant, I've added a light with a gels and then a cast onto the wall itself to make this interesting texture on the background. So we can add some interests in the whole image itself. So now when it comes to the clamshell lighting, this show that we see right here has only two lights. The low light that comes down towards the chin, and the light comes from above, right? Two lights only. Top light, you can see a soft illumination on. It's all part of this model right here. And you can see the lower light that comes down towards the chin, right? So how was this thing constructed? I can show you here in this image on the left, you can see this subject sitting on the chair. And there's two lights. One comes from above, top light, which should be around 60 to 70% intensity. The low light as smaller softbox, if you have one available, can be around ten to 30% intensity. Now, these numbers are not fixed, but as a general rule of thumb, the top light is always brighter than the lower. Play with these numbers and see what works best for your model, for the skin colors, for the skin tones, and for your environment in general. So the background light on how I illuminate it and created a texture. You can see here from the left we have a rim light, which I added to create a shine onto the side of the model. And I added a Fresnel lens on this so I can soften it and make it less harsh, less harsh shadows onto the subject. A Fresnel lens is this one right here. You can also attach gels onto it, so give them color. And I like this because you have the flexibility to soften the shadows onto the subject itself. And I've used this in both setups, right? We have a rim light with a Fresnel and solve it to soften the rim light onto the model. For the background itself to create a texture on the background without a Fresnel, right? Just a spotlight to create a bit more harsher shadows. This is not strict. We can also add a Fresnel lens. So choose which options works best for you, spotlight or Fresnel's. But the main important aspect that you should add here is a house plant. Most of you have some lying around in the house. It should be tall enough so you can use it to occlude the light itself. And with that, you get a nice shadow cast onto the wall. And you play with a light, moving it around so you can see how the shadows are cast onto the wall itself. And by moving the light closer and further away from the plan, you help create the shadows to make them softer or harsher. So that's it for this lesson. Coming up next, I'm going to show you how I created this shot right here using only three lights. Nice and easy. Let's get to it. 7. Talking Head Behind the Scenes: Welcome to this last lesson of this lighting class. I'm going to show you how I constructed this three light setup right here in my own living room. We're going to target one light at a time so you can see how each affects the scene. The subjects. We'll start with the first key light right now, the main light right here. So you can see now the main light is off. There's only the background light illuminating me and some rim light here to the side. We're going to go ahead now and switch off the fill light here on this side. So the only thing remaining right now, practical light here in the background, we're going to switch that off as well. So now we're in complete darkness. You don't see the short, we'll roll up the blinds as one as we can see how the living room looks in a normal environment. So this isn't the environment. All the lights are off. I've rolled up the blinds so we can see the natural light coming in. You can see there's no illumination on me. The short is quite dark. And we're going to reconstruct these now one by one to show you practically and guiding you how to switch on the light one-by-one to see the effect. Blinds first roll down. So now in complete darkness, nothing is visible as sort of a controlled environment. We're going to switch on the key light, the one in the front. So you can see right now the light is on the main source hitting me, only me. And by using the grid that I've shown you before, you can see that the light only spills on the subject, on me and less on the background. If I remove the grid, which I will do so actually, so I can show you the difference with the background 1 s. So check out this difference. I just remove the grid, no change in the light direction in the intensity. Just remove the grid. I can see all the background is wiped out with a lot of Leiden and spill. And I'm going to put the grid back on. We'll switch on the next slide. So here it is, only the key light with the grid on. I've shown you already how it looks like without the grid, everything spills in the background. And now we're gonna go ahead and switch on the practical lights. We can see how that pops and create an ambience in the scene itself. So you can see practical now is on. We have the main light casts in here and the practical and to connect both together so they can seamlessly blend in one environment. We're going to switch on the side, fill out here to the side. So you can see now, we can see the ruler here on a spill. The whole scene is connected and it's kinda shown that we are in one environment. The practical and the silo hear offscreen is helping create the effect here on the right and the kilos illuminating the subject. Also the practical here is creating an ambience for the background. So we can have an interesting texture. Right here in the back, is only using three lights. There's definitely room for improvement. You can add more likely if you need to. But just for the sake of simplicity, three, license enough just to get your message across because you can promote your brand and build up your name using a nice, cool looking shot. Thank you so much for joining me. How a beautiful day. 8. Congrats! Let's light Away: Well done on finishing this class. I would like to thank you for joining me and trust me to share this tips with you. Then this light in class so far we have covered, number one, we targeted table lighting for products on how to create a nice setup. One at table. Number two, I've shared tips regarding the glow behind your subject and also the glycerin spray on the RPO so we can get food photography more appealing to make them look more edible. Number three, we've seen ported likely using the clamps or technique one light up, one leg down to illuminate a subject like the URL inside the clamshell. Number four, I've shown you how to create a setup right here. The same shot that you're looking at me right now, this talking head shot using three lights, key light, practical and decide fill light right here. And if there's one thing I would like to take away with you from this class is to simplify your lighting setup. Use a controlled environment for your talking head shots. Main key light to illuminate just you. And then in the background you can play with a practical light and the side in order to create something simple, yet appealing and professional so you can deliver your content in a better way towards your audience. Now I invite you to elbow their photo in the project gallery. Use a similar lighting setup like this one right here, does grow a photo uploading the project gallery and I'll provide some feedback and I can guide you from there. Let's all share with each other. Now, if you enjoyed this class, Let's share the love and rider review below. How did this lighting class help you and benefit you as a creator? What was your favorite? Follow me for more clauses in the future to come. Thank you so much for joining me. Have a beautiful day full of life. See you next time.