Analog Photography: Natural light and metering | Jahan Saber | Skillshare

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Analog Photography: Natural light and metering

teacher avatar Jahan Saber

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Gear check: all the things you need


    • 3.

      How the light meter works


    • 4.

      Before the shoot


    • 5.

      Finding the right light


    • 6.

      Highlights and shadows


    • 7.

      Reflector and Difuser


    • 8.

      Low Key Lighting Situation


    • 9.



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About This Class

This class is all about knowing what to watch out for when taking photos with natural light using a handheld meter. I'll be explaining what you'll need for this shoot, how all the tools work and what you'll need to watch out for.

The camera i'm using is a Leica M6 with a 35mm Summilux f/1.4, shooting Kodak Ultramax 400 Film. 

The light meter is a Sekonic L-308S Flashmate. 

The App I used for surveying where the sun will be is called "Sun Surveyor" 

Meet Your Teacher

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Jahan Saber


Jahan Saber is a photographer and artist born (1990) and based in Vienna, Austria. He is the founder of "DEVELOP" - a brand that focuses on raising awareness for the analogue process in photography and beyond. Coming from a commercial background in the photo industry he sought out to seek out a means of decelerating the over-saturation and over production of photographic media. Shooting and printing exclusively with the analogue process enables him to further his artistic approach into creating a more honest and connected portrayal of his surroundings.

Jahan has travelled across Europe throughout the past 4 years discovering his style and approach to analogue photography. Throughout his journeys he self published various photo-zines and small book projects.

Member of the A... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction : Hello. Welcome in today's class. I'm gonna be talking about the basics of what you need to know if you're shooting outdoors with natural lights and no artificial light. So how the meter? A scene on what you gotta watch out for when taking a photo. The things that you'll need for this class is the camera of with manual settings that you can adjust and a light meter, and preferably maybe a friend. Or if you have access to a model. Or you could even use any any object just so you can practice and play around with different lighting sees. So I'll dive into the next step, and that will be giving you a run through of all the things that you need on how they work . 2. Gear check: all the things you need: Okay, so these are the two main components that I'll be using for taking pictures. Right now I have my camera. This is quite an old one. The keys just that I can adjust my shutters being my aperture, and that's what I want to be playing with. So if you have a camera with an automatic mode, it's just gonna meet her the scene by itself. And I wouldn't recommend using that for practicing so manual settings very much advised. Now, the next thing that I'll be using is a light meter on. But this is how we're going to measure the light accurately create a scene that we can work with, so I would definitely recommend getting one of these. One of these will also work in a studio with artificial lights, by the way, but we won't be needing this now, so this light meter is an incident light meter. And basically what that means is that we have this kind of bulb here, and this reads the light so it reads all the light that's arriving exactly here. That's why it's called an incident light meter, Um, compared to a camera, the light meter and a camera usually just reads the light falling onto a specific surface, and it's not as accurate. So I really recommend getting one of these if you wouldn't be exposure on your lighting on your metering technique. 3. How the light meter works: so the way this light meter works is really fairly quite simple. What we can do is first of all, we're just gonna powered on and then we're prompted with a few things. So at the top, we can see the I S O The 250 is our shutter speed. The F is our aperture. And then on the top here we have thes three modes. Now, the two flash molds we can ignore because we don't need those now, we're only going to be working with the sunlight here, so we're using natural light. So the first thing that you want to do is you want to set your eye so to whatever I s o speed you're gonna be using. And to do that, you're gonna have toe press down onto the ice. So button here, Andi, On this side, we have down on the number arrow so we'll just press up and you can see the i s. So it's changing. So let's say we're working with I s 0 400 right now just to keep it simple. So what we want to do once we've set the I s so we really don't have to do anything else. All we have to do is take a meter reading, and that's what that button is here for. So if I press this button right here, uh, meter will make a meter reading Andi. It'll tell me that if I shoot with an aperture of 4.0, then I'll need shutter speed of 252nd Teoh take a correct exposed shut, and that's about it. So if I want to, for example, shoot with smaller aperture or larger aperture like 2.8, it'll automatically adjust the setting for the last reading. But it took. So if I want to shoot with F to them, I'll have to have 1/1000 of a second If I want to take a shot in this actual scene right here, metered with the light that's happening that's arriving on the incident meter right here, and you can play around just, um, downs, faras Ugo. And then, if I want to take another reading, I'll just press that again. And that's basically how it works. Eso It's very simple, Onder. What you want to do is you always want to hold this onto the onto the main place where the light is falling on. Do you want to hold it? Always kind of at an angle, So it's not completely receiving all the light but receiving only some of the light. So, for example, half of the light is coming here, and then maybe on the other side, we have bit of a shadow. But the best thing is just to experiment around up because the readings will always be slightly different, depending on how you hold it into the light. But I'll be explained that later on. 4. Before the shoot: So when we're working with natural light, were extremely dependent on the surroundings on and without, you know, a good meter or the right kind of intuition, it will be difficult to really know what you're expecting. So they're a few things that we can do to prepare. One thing that's really good is just, you know, checking in advance. What kind of weather situation you're gonna have Checking the weather report. I know that the iPhone weather out isn't the most accurate, but it's a starting point. You can also look on the on the Internet or some some look at some better, better weather predictions that will be more accurate. And that's something you could do. So this is the first thing that you should do. The second thing that you can consider is getting a nap. That kind of surveys where the sun will be. Andi, there are a few on the APP store, but are quite good. I think this one I have to pay for Andi. It will tell you things like when the sun rises when the golden hour is in the morning, when the golden hours in the evening, the sunset, things like that and that will really help. You kind of prepare on. You'll know you can. You know, For example, if you wanna take a picture at sunset, then you can kind of say that. Okay, I'm gonna need exactly an hour to get specific spot and then I'll be there for an hour and then I'll know Sunset is at 8 30 I need to be there two hours in advance so I can set up whatever. So these are two things that are really helpful that can really make you improve shot on kind of a pair. So the main things that we're gonna have to remember is that Ah, bright sunny day with blue skies, for example, means that the sun will be the main and probably strongest light source. So you want to avoid things like noon, you know? So we have, like, solar noon right here at one oclock, and that will be where the light is coming directly from above on. You'll have harsh shadows in your face like rings under the eyes because the light is coming directly from above. So, ideally, depending on obviously what you want to achieve. But if you have a cloudy day like today, You were actually going to get quite flattering light because the clouds actually diffuse the light. So the light spreads completely evenly. Andi, that creates. Ah, very soft on, basically no shadows at all. So the light is ideal, but this always depends on what you want to achieve. Andi. Yeah, the early hours and like sunrise and sunset can be very flattering in the sense of that produce very nice color tones because of the way the sun folds. So that's something that you can, you know, think about when you're preparing Prissy. So, yeah, in the next video, I'll actually be on location now and then I'll be showing you out how to work with the meter on and how to work with the light that's in that scene. And I think we'll be around lunchtime a bit later than lunch on the afternoon. Yeah, so see in the next video 5. Finding the right light: So one of the first things that you want to do is if you're working with a model like I'm here with Kathy and she's super nice to help me out. Um, if I was going to take a picture right now, I wanted to definitely check out the location first. So as you can see in the background right here, there's a lot of sun on. We have a blue sky right now, Andi, we're standing in the shade and then we have some trees over there. So if I wanted to take a picture in the sunlight, which is something that I wouldn't advise him to do, things would look like this. So let's walk over here on. As you can see, the light is quite harsh on and she can't really open your eyes on. There's a lot of shadows, Andi. Yeah, not an ideal situation. So if we walk back into the shade, So in this situation here we have where we're covered by the trees. Andi, there's a lot of shadow, but the light isn't very ideal, because if I was going to take a picture right now, you can see the background is much brighter than the foreground, so I would have to do something called exposure compensation. Now what that basically means is if I take a meter reading of the entire scene, my camera, my tell me something like that, I have to expose for the brightness in the background. But that would mean that Cat era here would be completely dark because she's standing in the shadows and that's not so ideal. So what we want to do is we want to expose for the shadows, and that means I'm gonna taken exposure reading of her face right now. And then on the photo, you'll see that the background will be much brighter, but her face will be exposed correctly, and that's something we want to go for if we want to have a correct exposure. So as we can see here, most of her face is exposed correctly. But the scene isn't really ideal for a portrait, because the background is just way too. Let's there's too much lights, and that kind of distracts from the actual portrait the actual face on. And I would not recommend taking a portrait in a situation like this, unless this is exactly the look, you're going for now that we've established that the background is way too, bride, we're gonna choose a different situation. So if we were gonna walk over here, Okay, so if I was gonna take the portrait right here, we can see there is still some bright spots in the background, but there's a lot less brightness. So, technically, I could take a portrait right here on day. I have the shadows from the trees that are making a very nice light. You can see on her face there No direct shadows. Um, the nose doesn't seem bigger. There aren't any rings under her eyes or anything like that. Yeah. Yeah. So she looks good in this light, and that means it's a great situation to take a portrait. So this is the scene that I am most happy with from this location. The light from the trees is very diffuse. There is very little strong highlights in the background. That kind of distract Andi. All the attention is on the subject. The model Andi, like this, we can create a new ideal portrait situation 6. Highlights and shadows : We've come here to a part where we can explore the different lighting situations. We have pretty much blue sky today. There's only minimal clouds. Um, we're going to look at the highlights. The shadows. I got a friend here Catie who was helping me with some explanations. She's gonna be my model for today. Andi, I'm going to give you a run through all the basics that you need to know of. What kind of lighting situations you're gonna work in on what you can do, what kind of tricks you can have Teoh help you improve the lights on and what you need to watch out for. So two of the first things that were going to do is we're gonna be able to take two different readings. And as you can see, um, on this side of the face, we have the sun coming right here and on the other side of the face, we have more of the shadows. Right now I'm gonna take one meter reading here in the shadows. Andi, the meter gives me ah reading of with eyes. So 400 aperture. Four on 400 of a second. Now, if I take the same reading in the highlights. It will give me a much smaller aperture 5.6. And that means that we have more light here and less light here. So what we want to do is we want to get an average reading between these two. So what I could do now is I could choose, for example, Thea Picture of five and I will give me an average reading between shadows on the highlights. So 22 pictures. First of all, I'll take a picture just meeting for the shadows and then one just metering for the highlights and I'll show you the difference. So in this first image, I was metering for the highlights. That means I held the meter towards the lightest part of her face. So that was the left side, Andi, As we can see, the area around the right side of her face and around her neck is very dark, and the contrast to that will be even more clear once you see the next image. So this is what it would look like if I had just metered for the highlights. So, in comparison to the first photo here, I was metering for the shadows. That means I held the meter towards the right side of her face with. Shadows are and you can see that we have a lot more shadow detail in her face and her neck and her hair. 7. Reflector and Difuser: as the sun is coming from this side. Now we can see that the shadows they're gonna be much longer in comparison to if the sun was much higher point. So this is actually starting to be a good time to start taking photos. I need anything that's closer to midday would be too harsh. Um, if the sun nonetheless is too strong, there a few things that we can work with if you have a diffuser in your reflector than you can use that to make a very common even light, and I'll show you what that looks like. So, basically, reflector is one of these, and you can get, um, on all sorts of sizes. They usually have the gold foil and then silver foil. Andi, you can use them to reflect light in areas where you want them to. But the most important thing in a situation like this, we have one of these, which is a diffuser. Now, if I hold this like so we can see that the light of spread much evenly, Andi, the face has a much better lighting and we don't have these harsh shadows anymore. So this is something you could technically use if you're, for example, shooting in a very harsh lighting situation like today, and this is what the image would look like when using a diffuser. Now you can see that the light is spread out a lot more evenly, and we have a lot softer contours in her face. So this is something I would recommend using and very harsh lighting situations, because it just gives you a softer look in the face and doesn't create any harsh shadows. So if, for example, I wanted to keep the illumination on this side of the face active but as well illuminate the other side, what I could do is with The Reflector, I could take the sunlight and created even stronger effect. Obviously, now you can see Catie is not very happy about this because it's very bright. But technically, this is something you could do. Maybe not at this time a day, but a bit later it would work, and this, with the image would look like using the gold reflector to illuminate the other side of the face. Now, obviously this effect is very strong Now, Andi, it's probably not advised because the light is very strong, But if you have a situation where you have, ah, weaker lights and you want to highlight something like the other side of the face or a specific area that I would very much recommend using one of these. 8. Low Key Lighting Situation: Okay, so the last thing that I'm gonna be talking about is high key and low key lighting. Now, high key lighting basically means we have very bright tones, minimal shadows. And in general, the scene is very bright now. Loki is kind of the opposite. They're much more darker tones, and there's more shadows on and even areas that could be completely black. And there's there's no there's hardly any detail at all. So this kind of scene that we're in right now we can see that catty. The model is standing behind thes thes branches. This leaves Andi mainly. Most of her face is in the complete shade, so we have a lot of shadows in her face, just with a few specks of light. Now, when I'm shooting a scene like this, it's very important that when I meet her that I don't meet her for the highlights. Because if I meet her for the highlights, we we get this image right here and you can see that most of the scene is completely under exposed, and then we only have a few bright spots were exactly the sun was shining. So what we want to do is we wanna meter for the shadows were exposed for the shadows. And as you can see, this other image, the one that's after here, you can see that the scene is just a lot better. There is a lot more shadow detail on, and the bright spots aren't too harsh. Teoh kind of take away from the overall scene. So this is one thing that you've got to keep in mind when shooting a scene like this, which would be a typical low key scene. 9. Conclusion: and that's about it. I mean, there's really not much that you need to pay attention to. I think it's just important that you don't often rely too much on the meter that your camera has. Sometimes it's good to have an extra handheld meter, especially if you're taking shots that are very important because there are situations, like if the background, it's a very bright on before ground isn't and then the model is standing in the foreground , like with one of the examples that I gave you. In a situation like that, your built in camera meter can often trick you, so it's good just to have an extra meter and to kind of know what you're watching out for when you're outdoors. So at the end of the day, I think the most important thing is that you just learned to experiment around on. Take your time. When you're shooting Andi with practice, you'll get better and you'll be able to read a lot of lighting situations, and then you'll be able to understand what kind of situation you're getting involved in on . Do you know what to watch out for? So this is about it. If you have any more questions than feel free to always write me on my Instagram channel? I'm always available there. That's do you develop? Andi? Yeah. I hope you have fun. Andi. Enjoy shooting with natural light. For me, it's one of the best things there is. Take care.