Natural Light Food Photography - Shaping the Light. | Jimmy & Kasia | Skillshare

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Natural Light Food Photography - Shaping the Light.

teacher avatar Jimmy & Kasia, A Couple of Compulsive Creators

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.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Finding the Best Photography Space


    • 4.

      Gear & Light Modifiers


    • 5.

      Backdrops and Props


    • 6.

      Let's Set Up Our Space


    • 7.

      Shooting in Manual Mode - The Histogram


    • 8.

      Shooting in Manual Mode - the Exposure Triangle


    • 9.



    • 10.

      The Photoshoot


    • 11.

      Editing the Photos in Lightroom


    • 12.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

This class is a fun and not too difficult photography project, requiring only the minimum gear.

It is all about taking the best advantage of natural light in still life and food photography. You do not need studio lighting or a lot of space, just a few cheap light modifiers which I will discuss as well.

I talk about the best space to shoot in, the camera settings, light modifiers and the props you can use to take your photos to the next level. 

The light is what helps us tell the story, there is nothing more important in photography.

I hope this class will get your creative juices flowing! 

A little sneak peek below:

Meet Your Teacher

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Jimmy & Kasia

A Couple of Compulsive Creators


A duo of photographers and videographers with more than 10 years of experience.

Owners of a successful newborn and family photography studio aka

Wedding & commercial photographers and videographers.

Enthusiastic creators who do not seem to be able to limit themselves to one area and constantly try something new.

Creative spirits always looking for new challenges. Tech geeks constantly trying out new gadgets. Passionate about DIY projects & cultivating the inner child. Determined never to grow up.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi. Welcome to my studio. I'm Catia, photographer, filmmaker, and creativity addict in general. Together with Jimmy, we have photographed and filmed countless couples, families, babies, and products. This course will be great for you if you feel a little bit stuck in your photography journey. Maybe you want to take pictures more often, but you find it difficult to find an interesting subject or you're not 100 percent happy with your results or your progress. Sometimes you might think that you need to have a huge studio space, be able to hire professional models, or spend a lot of money to get better at photography. With this course, I want to show you that this is not the case, that you can take photos every day, progress and develop your skills without even leaving your home. With the use of objects you already own, you can work on mastering your light, camera settings, composition, and so much more with the help of just a few simple and cheap tours. In this course, I will dive into still life and more specifically food photography. In order to show you how you can shape natural light, we will be talking about lights a lot and why it is such an important or even the most important element in photography. Through observing, understanding, and knowing how to manipulate light, you will be able to improve your photography so much faster. This class will be great for you if you are totally new to photography, or if you have been taking pictures for a while, and you feel you are ready to take your skills to the next level. Or even if you are looking for an easy, fun photography project, which does not require a lot of planning and preparation. You will learn to analyze the quantity, quality, and direction of light and how you can shape it with the help of tools such as diffusers, reflectors, and light absorbing surfaces. Whether you want your end result to be dark, with rich deep shadows or filled with light and cheerful, you need to know how to light the scene to achieve the desired result. We will be working exclusively with natural light. Even if you do not own studio lighting, you can take what you have learned here, experiment and apply it in your work. First, I will help you find the best space in your home to shoot in. Then we'll talk about the backdrops and props we will be using. Don't worry, most of the stuff you already have at home. We will go over the gear and the best camera settings to shoot beautiful, still life, and good photos. I will explain what the exposure triangle is and how you can control the light in your photos with the use of the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. The goal here is to stop shooting in auto mode and master the manual mode of your camera. We'll also touch on the importance of storytelling and how you can use it to transport your viewer into the scene. Then I will show you step-by-step how we set up and shoot this scene. We will be playing and experimenting with light and the different tools that help us shake it. Finally, I will show you how to edit your photos in Light room to achieve that wow effect. If you apply what you learn in this class, you will be able to plan, set up, and photograph a beautiful still life or food scene where the light will support your vision and your story, and we will get into the habit of planning for your ideal light before you press the shutter button. I hope you'll take this challenge and become light-shaping superhero. In the next lesson, I will be talking about the class project I would like you to complete. See you there. 2. Class Project: For the class project, I would like you to create your own still life or food story and use natural light in a way that compliments it. You can photograph cake like me. As you can see, I have my beautiful cake waiting here ready to be photographed. Also the different subjects. Check what you can find in your kitchen. Some fruits, donuts, cupcakes, your dinner, or whatever you fancy. Or you can choose a totally different subject, for example, flowers. This is really up to you and your imagination. The point of the project is to try out different light arrangements. Then choose the one which will fit best the story you are telling. When you complete your project, make sure to share it with us on Skillshare. I cannot wait to see what you guys create. 3. Finding the Best Photography Space: In this class, we will go through the things you want to think about when looking for the best photography space in your house. It's important that you have the best quantity and quality of life to make your photos amazing. A north-facing window will come with a different set of challenges than a south-facing one. I want you to be aware of these things when you choose your spot. Food photography can be shot either with natural or studio lighting. In this class, we will only be focusing on natural light coming through the windows since this is the option available to everyone and a great place to start. Natural light has many advantages. It is really beautiful. You need less gear and it is within most people's comfort zone unlike shooting with studio lights. The first thing I want you to do is look around your house and see where you have a window with some free space where you could place a table or a counter that will serve as your temporary photography studio. If you have a floor to ceiling window, you can actually shoot on the floor. The most reliable and stable will be a window facing north because it will never receive any direct sunlight. But no worries, you do not have to use a north-facing window. Just look around your house and see which windows receive direct sunlight and which don't. Then choose a window which doesn't to shoot your scene. But if the only window you can use is one with sun beaming in, it is also not such a huge problem as long as you diffuse the light, more about this in the next lesson, and you are prepared to change your camera settings quite often, you will be okay. As far as the size of your window, it should not be too small or located too high up so that the light can fall on your subject from the side and not only from the top. We will be using a south-facing window. This means that the light will be quite strong, especially on sunny days. This is why we'll also be using several layers of diffusion to make it softer. I want you to think about the fact that your window should have enough space for you to set up your table or to place your props directly on the floor. You should also be able to move around your subject so that you can check different angles and find the one that best supports what you want to show. That's why it's best not to use a very cluttered space or one with limited access. This would be all for this lesson. Let's sum it up. To photograph foods using natural light indoors, you will need a fairly large window. One that is not located too high, so that the light can fall on the subjects from the side. If you use north-facing window, you can expect the most stable and diffused light. But it doesn't mean that you cannot use other windows. You can, if you diffuse the light when needed. Also, make sure that the area is clutter-free and that you'll be able to move freely around your scene with a table or a setup on the floor. Before you start watching the following lesson, I want you to have a look around your house and find the window where you will set up your shooting space. In the next lesson, we will be talking about the gear we will be using. See you there. 4. Gear & Light Modifiers: In this class, I will go through every piece of equipment and light modifiers I will be using and explain why I use each specific piece, starting with the camera and lenses. I will be using a DSLR full-frame camera and two lenses, a 100-millimeter macro lens, and the 2470 millimeter lens. This is a very individual choice and different photographers will prefer different lenses. You can also use a 50-millimeter lens. Just be careful with wider angles, like using a 35-millimeter because they can stretch out and form the size of your photo. The above four columns refer to a full-frame camera. This means that the sensor has a size of a 35-millimeter film. In the class materials, I will include a slide explaining how to translate the above focal length if you have a crop sensor camera. Now, if you are shooting with a smartphone, I encourage you to use the Lightroom mobile app to take and edit your photos. If you want to know how to do it, check out my other class, smartphone photography, composite portraits for beginners. Where in Lesson 3, I explained why and how to use Lightroom Mobile to take your picture and why you should consider shooting raw. Now, let's move to our light modifiers, diffusers, reflectors, and surfaces that block or absorb the light. A diffuser is what we place between the light and our subject. It will make the light softer. For this purpose, you can use many things. A white shower curtain or any piece of thin white fabric you will find at your house, just make sure it's white so that it doesn't change the color of your scene. This is what we use. It is a large diffuser, very easy to fold and also not expensive if you want to buy one. You can also buy large pieces of special diffusing fabric. We have both this one, which is six meters long, around 20 feet for about $30. This is great because you can fold it and you can use multiple layers of diffusion if necessary. Another very important part of shaping the light is using something you can block it with. We will be using black curtains, but you can use pieces of cardboard, foam boards, which are also really inexpensive. Be resourceful here, look around your house and think about what you can use. A matte black foam board like the one I have here, is also a great choice if you want to absorb the light. For example, to make the shadows in your photo deeper. What we'll also need are reflectors. I have some white foam core here. As you can see, it is light, very inexpensive and you can buy it in most craft stores for like $5 apiece. You will use this to lighten any parts of your image that you find too dark. If you do not want to buy foam boards, you can use pieces of cardboard painted white. There are also professional reflectors available, like the one I have here. So this one is also quite light, inexpensive, and it has a golden and a silver reflection possibility. Another piece of equipment I will be using in this course is a tripod. Here I have one. You do not have to use one, but I highly recommend this for this kind of shoot. It will make your hands free to change the placement of elements in your scene and you will be able to use a lower ISO. More about this in the following lesson. One more thing you'll see me using is an iPad. You can use it to trigger the camera and see your photos directly on a bigger screen. This really allows you to focus on the details and see what you're photographing instead of trying to see something on the small screen of your camera. It just makes the whole process so much easier. Another thing you could do is shoot tethered, meaning that the camera is connected to a computer with a chiral, and the photos appear directly in the photography software like Lightroom or Capture One. This is a great solution oftenly used by the professionals. After this lesson, you should know what equipment you will need to capture food photographs and to shave the live bean. A camera or a smartphone, a lens of your choice, something to diffuse, block, and reflect the light. Optionally, a tripod and a tablet to see your photos on a bigger screen. In the next lesson, we will talk about [inaudible] and props. But before you press play, I want you to go grab your camera and tripod if you are using one, and also check if you have anything that will help you diffuse, block, and modify light. All right. See you in the next lesson. 5. Backdrops and Props: In this class, we'll talk about a few other elements you will need to think about when planning our photo shoots. I will talk about different backdrop options. How you can build layers for more interest, and what plates will work best for food photography. Backdrops and props are a very important element of every still life and food photo shoot. They can either help you tell your story, or, if chosen without a deeper thought, distract from it. Let's dive in. The most important quality of a backdrop would be that it is rather matt than reflexive unless it is an effect you are going for. This is why most kitchen counters will not work very well as a backdrop, you can make or buy beautiful dedicated backdrops for food photography. But in this class, I would like to focus on things we all should have lying around the house or things that are very easy to buy or find. A wooden board or a table will work great as a backdrop. If you do not have one, you just need a few old wooden planks to make it. We will be using our dining table today, which is made of old wooden planks. Look around your house. I am sure you will find something interesting, wood in general is great as a backdrop and the drop or an additional layer. Think about cutting boards, coasters, wooden spoons. It all adds a natural and warm touch to the images. As you can see, I have some wooden boards here. They would be great as an additional layer. Natural materials like marble or stone, you can consider buying one or two large stone tiles with a matt finish. They are not too pricey if both [inaudible]. Parchment paper; this is a very inexpensive option and such a great backdrop for food photography. You can also use it as an additional layer or you can wrap your subject in it, white and neutral colors, fabric like tablecloth or napkins. You can use a bigger piece as a backdrop or as a layer to add a bit more interest. Here are some smaller napkins. These are made of linen. Linen and cotton will work really great. Colored or patterned tablecloths or napkins can do great as a color accent. Just be careful that they don't distract the attention from your subject. I want to encourage you to be really creative with your backdrops and props. If what you want to photograph is breakfast in bed, you can simply use your bed linen as a backdrop. Now let's talk about plates and utensils, something you already have but there are a few things to pay attention to. In general, you want to go with more neutral ones. Those that do not distract attention from your subject. As you can see, this bowl is totally matt. It doesn't cause any reflections. I have some plates here, which are a bit more tricky. You just need to find the right end of the photograph on them. Here I have two bowls and a more matt one and the one that is creating a bit more reflections as well. The same rule applies to the cutlery. I have here some examples. All of these I have found on a flea market. As you can see, they are also quite matt. These are some more modern ones. They are a bit more reflective. Makes sure to never use the dishwasher for your vintage cutlery. It will make it look new and shiny. I made that mistake once, as you can see on this example. Let's sum it up. Some great options for our backdrop are wood, fabric, parchment paper, and natural surfaces like marble or stone. Plates and cutlery work best if they are not too shiny, unless it is an effect you're going for. In the following lesson, we'll be setting up our studio space and going through the last preparation steps before we can start shooting. But before you start watching the following lesson, look around your house and gather everything you think might be useful in your shoot. See you in the next lesson. 6. Let's Set Up Our Space: Let's set up our space. In this lesson, I will show you how I plan to diffuse the light, where I place my table, and how I set up the camera and tripod so that I can give all my focus to perfecting my lights and my composition. The first thing we will be doing is placing a diffuser. This can be a studio diffuser, like the one I have here, or a layer of thin white fabric which we will fix on the window. It will cut out the harsh lights and soften the shadows. As you can see, I have placed my table against the window. Place yours as close to your light source as possible to get the best quality of light. Another very important tip in controlling the light will be switching off all artificial lights in the room, and blocking all other light sources if possible. This way you have the complete control over your lighting. Now, let's set up our tripod. Shooting with a tripod allows you to work with lower light situations because you can use a slower shutter speed without having to worry about lens shake and un-sharp focus. I find it also allows me to be more intentional about the composition of my scene and framing it exactly the way I want. It can be very annoying if I have to put the camera down every five seconds to make an adjustment in my composition. Then when I pick it up again, my angle will always be slightly different than before. Only now, the whole process is so much more enjoyable if your camera angle and the settings are correct. You can focus just on crafting the most beautiful light and composition. As I mentioned before, we will make use of the wireless function of our camera. We have installed the camera app on our iPads, and the camera will send the photo to the app directly. We will also be able to trigger our camera remotely. This step is totally optional, but I find it very helpful. It allows me to see the details of the photo more clearly and makes the whole process so much easier. To sum up, in order to get ready for the shoot, you should take the following steps: place a diffuser on the window, move your table close to the window, turn off all lights and block any other light sources, if you have the possibility, close the shutters or the doors, place your camera on a tripod, if you are planning to use one, and this is also optional, connect your iPads to the camera so that you will be able to see your photos on a bigger screen. In the following lesson, we will talk about using the manual mode in your camera and what you should pay attention to when choosing your camera settings. See you in the next lesson. 7. Shooting in Manual Mode - The Histogram: In this class, I will try to convince you that you should start using manual mode to take your pictures if you are not doing it yet. Manual mode gives you much more control over your camera. You do not want to trust your camera to make the creative decisions. Your camera will probably not know that you are going after bright and airy or dark and moody result. It will also not know what the main subject of your photo is. That's why we want to take over control and tell the camera what to do with the help of the manual modes. If I take a picture now, while in automatic mode, it will look something like this. It might be what you are going for, but not necessarily. To set up the correct exposure, we will use the information provided by the histogram. On my camera, I can see the histogram when I press the Info button twice while my picture is being displayed. As you can see, this is the histogram. It has a form of a wave, and I can see that the wave is precisely in the middle, which means that there are no parts of the image that are too dark or too bright. I encourage you to read your camera's instruction and check how you can access the histogram function. In most cameras, you should be able to consult your histogram after every picture. Now, I will put my camera in the manual mode, and I want to make my photo light and airy, so I change my settings a little bit, we'll talk about the camera settings in detail in a moment, I take my photo. Now, I can see that the wave on the histogram has moved to the right, which means that most parts of my image are in the highlights, but I can also see that the wave of the histogram is not touching the edge, that means that nothing will be clipped. In this lesson, we have covered how the histogram works and how you can use it to correctly exposure your photos when you are in the manual mode. In the following one, I will be talking about the exposure triangle, what it consists of and why it is such an important concept in photography. I will see you there. 8. Shooting in Manual Mode - the Exposure Triangle: In this class, we will be talking about the exposure triangle. It is a very important photography concept to learn. If you understand how the exposure triangle works, you can get out of the outermost and into money well modes, which is the ultimate goal. This is how you take control of your camera and exposure in photography to get the results you want. The exposure triangle has three elements, the aperture, the shutter speed, and the ISO. In every situation, one of them is in charge and the other two needs to follow. You can adjust the brightness of your photo by changing any of these three elements. Let's see what other things each of them control. The aperture is the size of the hole in your lens through which the light comes in. This is a bit counter-intuitive because the lower the aperture number, the bigger the hole will be letting in more light. For example, the aperture of 2.8 will let greater amount of light in than aperture 10. What is also very important about the aperture is that it controls the depth of field in photography so that we can decide what parts of our image we want to be in focus and what areas should be blurry. You can make the main subjects really stand out by blurring the background using a wide-open aperture, a small number. If you want more of this theme and your story to be in focus, close the aperture a bit more, choose a higher number. I cannot give you a fixed aperture number, which will be best to use in food photography. It depends on the effect that you want to achieve and the story you want to tell. The shutter speed. The shutter speed controls how long the shutter is open, and therefore, for how long the camera's sensor is exposed to light. But it also decides whether the movement in the photo is frozen or not. Shutter speed is normally not a priority in still life or food photography. However, it is in certain other situations. For example, when you are trying to freeze movement in sports photography. In our setup here, we have a south-facing window and we have a lot of light available. But if we didn't, for example, on an overcast day, placing the camera on a tripod would give us a great advantage. We will be able to use a slow shutter speed, for example, one minute, meaning that the camera's sensor would be exposed to light for longer. Why can't we use slow shutter speeds when we hold the camera? Well, because it is not possible to hold your camera absolutely still. The longer your shutter is open, the more camera shake it will register making your photo unsharp. This is why we place our camera on a tripod and we use a slow shutter speed so that we can make our photos bright enough without having to use a higher ISO. If you do not have a tripod, it is totally okay to shoot hand-held. Just take into account that you might have to use a higher ISO to compensate for a shorter shutter speed. The ISO is the third element of the exposure triangle. What is the deal with the ISO? Why do we want to keep it as low as possible? The ISO defines how sensitive your camera sensor is to light. The lower the ISO, the less sensitive the sensor will be, and the opposite. High ISO means none the sensor is very sensitive to light. This is great. Well, that is one small catch. The higher the ISO, the brighter the photo will be. But it will also contain more grain. Grain is something we normally would like to avoid. In food photography, the common practice is to use lower ISO. Now let's talk about the camera settings if you do not have a tripod and we'll be shooting handheld. If you are holding your camera, you have to take the same decisions. First, which aperture you want to use depending on the artistic effect you are going for us. Given the aperture at the setting, chose and select the shutter speed based on the focal length of your lens so that you do not end up with unsharp pictures. But what's shutter speed is safe when shooting handheld? The rule of thumb is that when holding the camera, the shutter speeds should match or exceed the lens's focal length. But from my experience to be sure that your photo will be shake free, it is much safer to use a rule where the shutter speed is at least twice as much as the focal length of your lens. For example, if you are using 50-millimeter lens, the shutter speed should be 100th of a second or faster. Let's sum up this lesson. We have talked about the exposure triangle and its three elements being aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. You can make your photo brighter or darker by changing any of them. But you also have to remember about their additional effect. Aperture changes the depth of field, shutter speed, the site is the motion in the photo is blurred or frozen. ISO, the higher it is, the more grain in your photo. That was it for the theory. Now I want you to grab your camera, tripod, if you want to use one, the diffusers and reflectors and set out by the window. I will see you in the next lesson. 9. Storytelling: Before we start shooting, I want to mention one more very important thing. Before we decide on the light, we need to know what story we are trying to tell. We should always pay attention to storytelling in photography because it is what makes the viewer emotionally invested, connected to your photograph. For this class, where light is the main focus, I have chosen to photograph a bull cake because of all its beautiful surfaces and angles. The first story I want to tell is of a Sunday morning, somewhere in the countryside. Someone is baking a cake and decorating it while the rest of the family is still asleep. I want a lot of soft light, soft shadows. The cake will be the darkest element in our photo and like this, it will automatically draw the eye. Then I will gradually change the story with the use of light. I will block more of it so that our subject becomes the brightest element. The second story will be that it is winter, late afternoon. We are cozy at home baking and decorating a birthday cake for someone we love and we want to surprise them with it when they come home in the evening. Storytelling is really a big deal. You hear about it everywhere and in different context. It is also important in food photography. The story connects the viewer emotionally to your photo. You can tell a story through creating a specific moderate light, with the use of props, the camera, angles, the colors. This is why we want to be intentional with the planning of our shoot. I want you to ask yourself these questions. What exactly is the situation? Is it a breakfast in bed? Christmas Eve? A family pizza night? Who is having this meal? Let's say that we are going with breakfast in bed. Who is the person? An elegant woman in a fancy hotel in Paris? Some girl living in a cottage in Norway? A family of five? In case of breakfast, maybe you want to make your shoot light and airy. Imagine a spring morning in Paris. If our example would be family pizza night, how can we make the scene believable without placing an actual family in the photo? Maybe it will be through a messy table with several pizzas, small, or less eaten, a lot of plates, mismatched glasses, maybe some toys lying around. What is the mood? Joyful and full of positive energy, warm and cozy. How do you want to reflect this with a lighting of your scene? By thinking about all those details, we want to transport the person doing our photo in the middle of the scene. Now I want you to go to the class resources, and fill in the story planning questionnaire. This way, before you start thinking about the specific backdrops and props you will need, you will have created the story you want to tell. Make it as detailed as you can. Then go on to planning props, backdrops, and lighting. I will see you in the next lesson. 10. The Photoshoot: Let's start shooting. As you can see, I have turned off all lights. The only light source is this big window. The light is also diffused, so we have one big diffused light source. Also this room is totally white, so it acts like one big soft box. If you are in a darker room, you might want to grab your reflectors. I will maybe use them as well, I don't know yet. Let's first set up our light and everything. My camera is connected to the iPad, so I can see directly on the iPads when I'm making any changes in my composition. This is more or less where I want my main subject to be. When I have decided on the location of the main subject of my photo, I will go back to my camera, zoom in, I will toggle to the spot I want to be in focus, and I will make sure that this is sharp. I'll zoom out again, and now I can start working on my composition. I think I like it like this. Let's play with the light a little bit more. Let's see what the effect will be if I absorb sunlight with a black foam core, or maybe I will also try to reflect some more lights to this darker side of my image. Now let's go in the direction of dark and moody. Let's move to our winter afternoon. It will be dark, cozy, and really beautiful. I will change up my props to darker ones, and I will start blocking the lights. Let's do it. In the meantime, the Sun disappeared, so I removed one layer of diffusion from the window. Now we'll shoot our dark scene. I will be working with dark curtains, as you can see here. I will manipulate the lights to only receive small amount of lights landing on my subject, and the rest of the photo, I want to be dark. Let's do it. I think we will wrap up our session here. Now let's edit our photos. 11. Editing the Photos in Lightroom: As you can see, I have imported our photos to Lightroom. What we can do now is go through all of them and choose the ones we want to edit. We are in Library, but I want to have a single photo view, Here is where I should click. Let's go through the photos. As you can see as well, I was playing with my reflectors. Here I was reflecting a lot of light and here I was not. There is a very big difference. I actually like both of these photos. They have a bit different moods. But I think for our light and airy example, I will go with one which does not have such deep shadows. I always also like to zoom in to see if the photo is really sharp. Yes, it is really sharp. Then I will give it one star, so that I know that is the one I want to edit. Normally my selection process is a bit longer. I first give one star to the photos I think I like, and then I compare them side to side. But here we don't have so many variations, so the selection is quite easy. Let's look at our dark and moody photos. I quite like this one. Here the shadows are a bit too deep. Let's see what we have further. Here I changed the position of my cake, but I think the previous one was better. Here we don't see the wood anymore. I think I prefer the wood version because it gave a bit more texture to our image. I like this much more than this one, I think it's a bit more interesting. Let's go back and see which ones are interesting. This one is also nice and it's sharp. Let's maybe take this one. Now we have two photos that we have selected, a lighter one and a darker one. We will start our editing with the lighter photo. The first thing I will do is change the background to white, so that we can clearly see if our background is also white. I can see a little bit too much green in it. So we will see if we can correct the white balance. I will use this picker tool here, it is a really nice tool. I'll have to click on it and then I have the picker. I can go to a part of the image I think should be white. There's a lot of choice in this case, and let's pick. I like it, it's quite nice, but maybe I want it a little bit cooler. Something like this looks great. Our first step is done. What I also always do is going all the way down, and in Lens Corrections, I turn on the Remove Chromatic Aberration option and also enable Profile Corrections. As you can see, there is a slight vignette in my photo. If I turn it on, the vignette disappears. This is what I want in this case. What I will do in this case is increase the contrast a little bit. Since what I want is that the part of the image that is surrounding our subject is really light, and that our subject is the darkest part of the photo. In this way, it really attracts the eye of the viewer. As you can see, contrast really makes a difference. I like it at around 27 in this case. What I also can do to make the lighter part of the image even lighter and brighter, is lifting the whites a little bit. As you can see, this makes a big difference. What you can also do is click on this little triangle on the right side of your histogram. Then you will see if you have some areas where you are losing your image, like this. So the parts we see in red here, they are actually 100 percent white. We don't want our subjects to be affected by it, so I really want to see like only a little bit of the red. Let's turn this off. The rest in this case we will leave it as it is. If you wanted more contrast you could also lower the shadows, but lighting in this case is not necessary. You could also lower the blacks a little bit for a bit more contrast. But I like this light and airy look at a lot. Now, this is a fun part. Let's play with the texture a little bit, not too much because it can get really ugly. Let's go to maybe around 20. Clarity as well as you can see. This gives your photo a real punch, but we want to be subtle here. Let's say 16. Another slider we can use is dehaze, it will also draw the attention to our subjects. But this can get really ugly really fast, so as you can see, must be really careful with it. I think 12 will be enough. In this case, I will not touch the vibrance and saturation, I like it the way it is. But you can of course play with it if you like your photo a bit more desaturated. I will just leave it the way it is. Now we'll play a little bit with the tone curve. I will make my shadows a little bit darker. I also want my blacks to be a bit lifted. Let's give it a bit more of a vintage look. Okay. I had considered my highlights here on the right side also moved down and this is something I don't want in this case, so let's move them back up. All right. That looks nice. Now, if you feel like you can play with the hue saturation and luminous sliders, I really like this option. For example, I find this orange maybe a bit too dark, so I will go to luminous to make it lighter. This is a little bigger, just click on it and then you can select the parts of the image which you want to adjust, click on it. Then if you want to make it lighter, just drag up. If you want to make it darker, drag your mouse down. I'm dragging up, I want to have it lighter. I like it somewhere here. It's not a big change, but I think it's a bit better. Now, I will not be desaturating this image because we don't have so much color. The only color we have is our cake, and this will be our complete image. There is one more thing I would do. Maybe I make it a little bit brighter in general. Now, the really, really last thing I will do is a vignette, because I can see that I have darker areas here and the size of my image, and I don't really like it. I would like it to be really light and airy. So let's use the vignette. As you can see, if you slide it to the left, it makes all these corners darker, and if you slide it to the right it makes it brighter. Let's say plus eight will be nice. All right. Here you have it. This is our finished picture. This is our before, and this is our after. Let's go to our dark and moody photo. Which one was it? It was this one. Now I will change my backgrounds to medium gray. Again, the same thing I did before. I will start with the last corrections. It's just nice to do it in the beginning so that you know what your base photo actually is. Let's go back to the top. I will first check what my light balance should be. I have some white powdered sugar here. Let's click here and see what the white balance should be according to Lightroom. I like it. I will maybe make it even a bit cooler. Something like this. All right. I think this is nice. Next, I will increase my exposure a little bit and I will lower my highlights, and lift the shadows a little bit. I will also lift the whites. It gives the photo a very nice contrast and a little bit of a punch. I think the blacks should stay where they are. Now let's go to our favorite parts. Let's increase the texture a little bit, the clarity. Not too much. As you can see, it really quick can become too much. Let's leave it around here and let's see what the dehaze does. I think in this case, it's really nice because it darkens our background a little bit. Yes, I like it. All right. What I will do in this case, I will desaturate this photo a little bit because I really want to achieve this dark and moody feeling to the image and I think the bright colors don't really help it so I will decrease the saturation to mild sat. That's looking good. Now, let's go to our turn curve. First, we will pull the shadows a bit down. Let's pull the blacks up, as you can see, a little bit to give it that vintage look. Now, let's fix our highlights. You can keep playing with this and just look what it does and what you like, which effect you actually like. You know what? Actually, I think I will also move the mid-tones. Now, I will play with the colors a little bit. I will play with the saturation of this orange flowers because I think they attract too much attention and they are not in balance with the rest of my image. I will choose this little beaker and now I will click on one of my flowers and pull a bit down. Then they get really desaturated. I like it a lot. I will also play with the luminous because why not? Let's pick a flower again and let's make them a little bit dark. I'm pulling down. That looks really nice. Maybe a little bit more. Yes, I like it. There's one more thing that I don't like so much. It's this lighter area here behind the cake. I think it draws too much attention. I want it to be much darker. I will do just a local adjustment. I will choose this brush tool. Here, at the bottom, you can choose Show selected mask overlay. I will select it, and I will start painting on the area I want to be darker. Now, I have different options here. As you can see, my mask also includes a part of the cake and this is not something that I want. Let's change this range mask option from off to color, and now I have to choose a color picker to sample the color that I want to be masked. This works really nice. As you see, the mask ends here and my cake will not be dark, and if I darken this part of the image. What I will do now is remove the show selected mask overlay. Now I will lower the exposure slider. Now I have the feeling that it doesn't distract attention from my main subject. Let's click "Done." One more thing I will do is make this foreground a bit darker as well. What I could do with this image is go to the Effects and choose the post-crop vignetting. I will not do it and I will show you now why. If I choose a vignette, as you can see, it makes the whole area in the corners and the sides of the image darker. But it happens that my main subject is also more to the side. So this side of my subjects becomes darker and this is not something I want. That's why I will not use this option. If your subject is precisely in the middle of your photo, you can use the vignette without a problem. But in this case, we have to use something else. I will go up and I will choose this geometric form here. This is a layer which you can manipulate in this way that you can make it wider or less wide by just dragging it, and you can also turn in the direction you want. I will turn it a little bit because this area is already dark, and I will decrease my exposure. As you can see, the front part of the photo is now much darker, so it doesn't distract from our main subject and also this nice part of fabric which has such a nice texture, which I really love. I like the fact that it's lighter. Let's leave it like this and here is our finished photo. This is our before, this is our after. All right. That's it for the editing part. I hope you enjoyed it. Here we have our dark image, and here we have our light image. If you want to compare your edits, go to Library. Choose this view and then select both your photos, and if you press "L" twice, the background becomes dark and you can compare your edits, the light one and the dark one. I hope you enjoyed this lesson and I will see you in the next one. 12. Final Thoughts: I hope you enjoyed this class. My main goal here was not to teach you everything there is to know about light, but to encourage you to grab your camera and try out something new. I want you to compose your scene and then, focus on shaping the light. Try to go from big and diffused light source to concentrating your light more and more. Play with it and see how it turns out. Try to use a reflector and then you something that will absorb the light. See what lighting situation you like most and what light best supports your story. But most importantly, experiment and have fun. Now, go grab your camera and try this stuff out. I can't wait to see your projects. I will see you in the next class.