Studio Lighting I: One Light Portrait | JP Danko | Skillshare

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Studio Lighting I: One Light Portrait

teacher avatar JP Danko, Commercial Photographer

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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.

      Camera, Lens and Strobe Options


    • 3.

      Triggering Off Camera Flash


    • 4.

      Light Modifiers


    • 5.

      Camera Settings


    • 6.

      One-Light Portrait Example


    • 7.

      Post Processing


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts and Next Steps


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About This Class

In this 60-minute class, photographer JP Danko introduces you to the world of studio lighting. Learn about gear options, setting up an off-camera flash, camera settings, light modifiers and essential post processing. This class is for anyone who would like to grow as a photographer beyond natural light, and is the first in a five part studio lighting series. By the end of this class you will be able to produce your own one-light studio portrait.

Meet Your Teacher

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JP Danko

Commercial Photographer


JP Danko is an active lifestyle photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand. His work is distributed by Stocksy United.

JP also publishes a weekly photography column at, one of the worlds most popular online photography resources.

To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, Instagram and 500px.

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm JP Dango. I am a commercial photographer and this is studio lighting, one where you are going to learn how to take a one light studio portrait. This is the first class in a five class studio lighting Siri's where we're going to start right from the beginning, right from your initial set up. And we're gonna move all the way up to some really advanced full on studio techniques with big giant soft boxes in studio strobes and whole nine yards. No, if you're interested in studio lighting, you're probably around the same point with photography that I was when I decided that I needed to learn studio late. So you've probably got a nice camera. Um, and you've probably seen a pretty nice progression in your photography from where you started. So as you have learned your camera and you've learned how to use natural light, your pictures just keep getting better and better. But you're going to get to a certain point where you sort of realize that you know what if I really want to? Progress is a photographer. I gotta learn studio light, and at first that's a little bit intimidating because Studio lighting is this whole of the world. It's over there. It's a little bit scary at first, So we're gonna try and take all that intimidation totally out of the equation. And we're just gonna have fun. And I'm gonna show you what you need to know. Step by step right from the beginning. Now, through this class, we're gonna address some of the kind of Maine myths about studio lighting. So the 1st 1 is that studio lighting is very expensive and inaccessible. And if you're using, you know, really high end pro gear like pro photo soft boxes and strobes and everything. Yeah, that here can be really expensive. You could mortgage your house to pay for that stuff, but simulating doesn't have to be expensive. So for this class, I'm gonna really concentrate on using gear that's totally accessible to everybody. So I use this DSLR camera. This is a Nikon D 200. I had I've had this camera for over 10 years. I'm just using the standard kit lens. It's an 18 to 55 millimetre kit lens. It's kind of the standard lens that comes with pretty much all DSLR cameras. Um and then for my strobe. I'm just gonna use this hot shoe flash. This is, I don't know. In the early nineties era, uh, Strobe, I got this at my local camera store. Used it cost about 20 bucks. So everything that we're gonna use in this class is totally accessible to everybody. Um, the second kind of misconception about studio lighting is that there's an idea that natural light is superior to artificial or studio, and that's totally not true. But I think what we are talking about when we're talking about natural versus studio light is the quality of that life, not the source of light. So I'm gonna show you how you can change the quality, your studio light so that it's really nice and pleasing to your subjects. Um, the third myth or misconception that we're gonna cover is the idea that studio photography is static and boring. And I think a lot of where that myth comes from is we're used to our experience with studio photography. You know, when we were kids and we went for a class pictures and, you know, the Tarver brought you in, you sat down. He smiled. Camera click. Ok, Next um and that's totally not what we're gonna do in this class. I'm gonna show you everything you need to know toe light your subjects in studio. But what your subjects are doing can be totally dynamic and fun. It's all up to you. So I hope you're ready to roll in the class and your class project. For this, this class is to produce your own one light studio portrait. So this would be a kind of a head and shoulders portrait, something that you might use for a linked in profile or your Facebook profile or something like that. Um, I'm gonna show you everything that you need to know from gear set up to getting your camera off flash to camera settings to where to put your light in reflectors and all that stuff so that you'll have everything you need to know to produce your own one light studio portrait , which then you can then hand in at the end of the class and you will get feedback directly from me and also from your other students in the class. So I hope you're ready to enroll and your get ready to get started with studio lighting. 2. Camera, Lens and Strobe Options: Hey, everyone, thanks so much for a ruling in the class. Once again, My name is J. P. Denko, and welcome to studio lighting one. Now, before we get into all the nuts and bolts in the technique that we're gonna cover in this class, just going to take a few minutes to talk about our camera lens selection and some of the other gear that you'll probably need in order to do your one light studio portrait for your assignment. So, first of all, the camera they're gonna use is this. Ah, ancient Nikon D 200 DSLR. There's nothing special about this camera. It's it's pretty old, but I just want to show you that you can get really great results in studio with pretty much any gear. The lens that I'm using is just a 18 to 55 kit lens. It's an F 3.5 to 5.6 lens. In studio, we can get away with using kind of lower quality lenses lenses. Then we might need outdoors with natural light. So if you're shooting natural light and you want to shoot in a low light condition, you probably need in F 2.8 or even F 1.4 lens And those air really expensive in studio most of the time because we're using strobes, we're gonna be shooting somewhere around F 5.6, maybe even F eight so we can get away with using the Maurin expensive lenses that work within that focal range. Now, there are two features on this camera that if you're using a DSLR or a mere lists, you have to make sure your camera has one of these options. So the first is a PC sink port or ah, hot shoe. So here's what the PC sink port looks like. It's just kind of like a little circle within a circle. And we're gonna use this with a cable to trigger our strove for the class, so you have to make sure your camera has one of these somewhere on the body. Now, if your camera doesn't, you can get away with using just the hot shoe, and you can get an adapter that goes on the hot shoe here, and you can use that to trigger flash also, but preferably what we're gonna use in the class is this PC sink port. Now the strobe that I'm going to use for the class is this nineties era, $20 hot shoe flash. You can use pretty much any strobe. We're just gonna be working in manual mode, so it doesn't need to be brand new or, you know, one of the new fancy ones that costs a lot of money, just any any Strobel work. But I want to show you one feature on this strobe that you have to make sure that your flash has. So if we look on the back of the strobe here, you can see that it's got, um, manual selection here so we can go from all the way down here on the right at 1/16 up to full power. Now, you have to make sure that you can set the power on your strobe manually because that's what we're gonna be using for controlling our the power of her light. A few of the things I just want to point out before I show you how to get your can't your strobe off of your camera is you might have noticed that it looks like I'm standing in my basement record, and that's because I am standing in my basement record. The point that I want to make is that you can produce really amazing studio photography in pretty much any space. So in this case, I'm working with, you know, an overhead height of, like, seven feet, just not really ideal. I'd like a little bit more space overhead, but I've got enough room that Aiken back my camera up Zoom in, Which is important for portrait's because you want to shoot at at least 50 millimeters 85 or 100 is even better. So you need the space that you convey back your camera off and zoom in to whatever it is that you're that you want a frame in your picture. Help. All of the things to point out is you'll notice the background in this space is fairly neutral and unobstructed. So I'm gonna move all this stuff on the mantle here and clean that up before I take my portrait. Um, and there's also some overhead the ambient light in this space. Now I'm gonna show you how you can deal with room lights in your studio portrait. It doesn't have to be completely dark, but you do need to be aware of where the room lights are. So if I was standing right under this light, that would kind of mess up my studio portrait. So you have to be aware of just where the lights in your room are, and the last thing I want to mention is you can see that I've got a window here off to the side, and but I've got the blinds closed, so that's important. You want a space that doesn't have a lot of windows? Or if it does, um, has windows that you can close the blinds on and dark in your room because you don't want the ambient light from that window shining in through the room and then ruining your studio portrait. It's so I think that's it for this class, this lesson and then we're gonna move on to how to get your studio strobe off of your camera. 3. Triggering Off Camera Flash: so that we've got our camera and the strobe that we're gonna use for a class. The next thing that you need to know is how you're gonna trigger your stroke. Now, when you've got your flash like a hot shoe flash and it's just on camera, it's pretty easy. So you press the shutter release the hot shoe sends a signal to this flash and flash fires at the same time. Now we want to get our flash off of our camera, so we need to have a cable that goes between our camera on your flash. So to do that, we're going to use the P C Synch port that's on our camera and you need a PC sync cable. So we just plug one end into our camera into the PC sink port and the other end plugs directly into your flash. So if you've got a relatively new flash like this is, this is ah Nikon SB 800. It's got a built in PC sink port right here on the flash so I can just plug one end directly into my camera, the other end right into my flash now, because I'm using this old son Pack Strobe. This doesn't actually have a built in PC sink port. So in order to fire this, we need to get a hot shoud apter. I'll put up some links in the comments for the class. So if you want to see um, where you can pick these up, I'll put in a few links where you can buy them. But all this does is it snaps onto the bottom of your strobe onto the hot shoe there, and then you plug the into that cable into the PC Sync cable that goes to your camera. And now, um, whenever you press the shutter on your camera, it fires the flash. So pretty easy, very inexpensive. Now, if you want to get a little bit more complicated than that, the next step is to go wireless. And there's a really easy and inexpensive way to go wireless, and we're going to use something that's called an optical slave. So again, this is an old flash. It doesn't have a built in optical slave. My, uh, my Nikon SB 800 does. It's this little black circle right here on the side that's a built in optical slave, but again. You can just get an adapter for this. So here is an optical slave adapter. And instead of using the cable hot shoe flash, um, adapter. I'm just gonna take that off, and we're gonna go completely wireless here. So what studies in that cable? I'm just gonna put this optical slave adapter right here on the camera. Now, it's, uh it's just kind of like a little black dome, and you have to make sure that that is facing your light source. So how it works is we're gonna use the flash that's on camera, little pop up flash and the flash pulse that this little flash sends out the optical slave adapters going to see that flash pulse, and then it will fire this this flash and not all happens instantaneously and wirelessly. So the only thing that you have to be careful of is that your optical slave is facing your your trigger flash. So I'm just gonna try that and see how it works. We're gonna make sure my flashes turned on and you can see that the little light pulse from this triggers are optical slave. Now, in order to make sure that you're on camera flash. Your little strobe isn't actually providing light to your scene. Go into your menu settings and set the power of this little on camera flash down to minimum , whatever it is. 11 28th or 1 64th 1 32nd Just set the power of this into manual and set it to minimum. So that means that this little flash is going to be sending out just a teensy bit of light . And but it's still enough that this sensor, the optical slave, will see it and then trigger your flash wirelessly. Here we go. Now, one thing that you do have to kind of keep in mind if you do decide to use the optical slave is that if there's if you're somewhere where somebody else has a flash and they're triggering their flash, this sensor is going to see their flashes well, and it'll trigger your strobe. So if you use this sort of like a wedding or something like that and you're in the church and everybody's taking pictures, your flash is gonna be going crazy cause it doesn't know which flash it's looking at. So those air to kind of really easy, inexpensive ways that you can trigger your flash off camera. From there. There, it gets a little bit more expensive and more complicated. So if you want to go to radio triggers, there's a set made by cactus is a cactus V six and, uh, these work really? Well, actually, I've been using these on professional gigs for a while. Um, you won the access, the transmitter goes on camera, and then one the access the receiver and that goes on Flash on your strobe. It sends a radio signal between your camera and the flash. So now I've got my radio trigger on camera. I've got the receiver radio trigger on my flash, and it does the same thing is the cable connection. It just sends a signal from my camera to my flash tells my flash to fire. Now, if you want to get sort of the top quality gear here, you can also go with pocket wizards. Um, they're just another brand of radio trigger. So this is a pocket wizard TT five transceiver and go either on your camera or on your flash. Um, this is the little TT one mini that goes with with the flex. You can also do t t l with the pocket wizards. It doesn't always work that great, but it is possible for the for this class we're going to be working purely in manual, so we're not gonna worry about t t l at all. But if you were thinking that maybe in the future you might want to use T tl the pocket wizard to do technically duty TL Although there are some bugs in the system. So those are some really easy to a little bit more sophisticated ways that you can get your flash off of your camera and triggered your stroke. No, it can be a little bit confusing to figure out what cable goes with what and what connectors you need if you need adapters and all that stuff. So if you're having a little bit of trouble with figuring out what you need to get your flash to trigger off camera, um, just leave a comment in the comment section and I'll do my best. Teoh, help you 4. Light Modifiers: do you remember in the introduction, I spoke briefly about the misconception that natural latest Some house appeared to our official. But what we're really talking about is Kohli like So in this video, I'm gonna show you different ways that you could modify to quality of life from your stroll , using a bunch of different studio like modifiers. So the first thing that we're gonna look at is what everybody is used to looking at when they think of artificial light, and that's we're gonna put just put a stroke right on camera and see what it looks like on a tripod. So I've got my on camera flash right on the hot shoot. I'm just gonna put this raid on my tripod here, pointing flashes pointing straight at me. No modify or anything. I'm gonna get a little bit more into the camera settings and flash sons in the next video. So for this class, I'm not gonna really mention with the clap with the camera and flash or said it. I just want to show you what how we can modify the life. So that's set. They're gonna go back and pulls. In case you're wondering, I'm using a remote shutter release to trigger this camera. Since I'm working by myself, it's a dillo shuttle boss. I'll put the link to this in the comments section for the class because it's really handy to have one of these were about 100 bucks. I've had this thing for years. It's a really handy to have around around the studio, so I got my camera, got the stroke on camera. I'm just looking straight at the lands and let's see what that looks like. And hey, look at that. That looks pretty awful and pretty much exactly what we think of when we stick of looking strictly. So let's get this sucker off the camera where it belongs. So I'm gonna plug in by my Sync cable TV PC Sick port on my camera and then the other end got my hot shoe adaptor way Go. So this goes on our stroke. Put this on light Stand over here. You might want again, like stand or some way of telling your flash. Eventually, you're gonna need one. If you're working in studio, you couldn't kind of set your flash on a bookcase or you know something else to kind of make do but eventually want get light. Stand is I've got an umbrella amount on the top of my might state. So without this, it's just it just comes up. Your lights stay on top of light stands just a a brass plug in the umbrella adapter allows it to now you're strove on umbrella and other modifiers on top there. So So let's see if that looks any different. Now, I just got the my my flash off camera. It's about three, maybe four feet just to the camera right there. So let's see how so the off camera flash pointing directly at me, you can see it looks pretty much the same. His on camera flash except the shadows are starting to look a little bit more interesting. Next thing I'm gonna do is at a light modifier to that. The 1st 1 I'm gonna uses this loom a quest, bounce, reflector. And I've got some Velcro on my story here, and this just goes right on top Instead of that. The light from that flash being really harsh and pointed right at me, it's gonna be deflected a little bit by this diffuser here. So Let's let's take a look there. You can already see. It's kind of starting to soften that light a little bit. The shadows air a little bit softer, a whole lot, but we're starting to get better. Next I've got this is a little quest. Soft box three. Let's let's try that again. You can see that we're making our light source just a bit bigger. So instead of just having that narrow beam of harsh light now we've got a photo image square being like So it's a bit bigger, bit more diffused still looks pretty harsh, but we're getting a little bit better. You can see the shadows in there just a little bit softer. Next modifier. Want to show you? Is this guy here? This is called Gary Form Lights here, and these were pretty popular little a few years ago. Basically, this just sticks right on top of your flash. He creates sort of like a overall sphere, sphere of light. So the lights, instead of just coming in one direction, it's gonna like everything's gonna bounce off the walls off the ceiling, Aziz. Well, as the front that's gonna like me. So it gives a much softer, a little bit more pleasing. Look to it. So you got your flash head pointing straight up at the White Spear on there Could turn the power on that a little bit. Let's, uh, let's take a look. Not a whole lot of change again. I think I've got some proof dark walls in my studio. So the quality of light that you're getting from that still looks pretty harsh, like like an off camera flash. But if I have a lighter wall or lighter ceiling, it would bounce that later, right? A little bit better. So next we're gonna go with a point. Shoot your own, and this is kind of one of the most popular things to use as a light modifier in studio and especially with a small off camera flash. So it's just a white and brown. Normally, you're used to seeing umbrella where flashes pointed at the umbrella. The length reflects off, then lights or subject. That's fine. You can use those as well, but with the shoot through, you actually point to flush into the umbrella like it's the umbrella, likes the whole umbrella and then proceeds through. The difference is that you retain a little bit more of the power of light as it goes through the umbrella versus reflected light, which loses a lot more power. It's not that important when you're working in studio, but it becomes important when you're outside on location and you need as much powers get from your little flashes. So with an umbrella mouth, the shaft of the embryologist fits into this little hole here and then we point our wash head directly at the umbrella. Now, if you could see this but the umbrella mount, it angles the umbrella up slightly and angles the flash down slightly. So the flash head should be aimed directly at the middle of the umbrella. You don't want to be at the top because it won't give you a nice, even spread of light. But here the flashes and down the rows up a little bit, we'll get this up as high as I can. Really, for Dickinson Ceilings here. So that will sell. See how how Look with an umbrella. Now again, we've gone from, you know, just that small direct flash point it straight at me, and we've made our light source bigger, bigger, bigger Now we've got a fairly large light source, so that should soften the shadows in the phone books so you can see the shadows in that in the quality of light from that umbrella are much, much better than they were before. The shadows air much laughter light. Overall quality of light is not as harsh as it Waas. The last day that I'm going to show you is just a small soft box. Now the difference between umbrella and a soft box is Enbrel sort of spreads that light out , and it comes out in all different directions, whereas a soft box is much more directional. So the area of light that will have is relatively the same, but the light from the soft boxes more directional. So in circumstances, when you want to sort of mimic the look of natural window light or something like that, the soft box is your best choice for that because it's a directional light source. This is my request. It's about 24 inches square, so this is his first soft boxes go. This is pretty small, a soft box, but with a small hot she slash it actually. So just put that on my late stand. Okay, so I got my soft box set up on my light stand. You see the flashes just aim to shoot directly into the soft box, and then that's going Teoh, diffuse the light and also give it a nice directional look. Let's take a look and see how that works. So I think that's looking pretty good. You see the difference between that and the shoot through umbrellas. Light is pretty soft. Shadows there nice and soft. But the light is love or directional than it was with the umbrella last light modifier that we can use in studio to change The quality of light is a reflector. So you get a commercially made reflector. This is Ah, last light reflector. They're usually white on one side and silver gold on the other. And if I, uh, just hold this up about opposite the light, what that'll do is it'll So the light is coming directionally from the soft box towards me . The subject It will hit the reflector, bounce off and fill in the shadows on the other side. So let's take a look at that. They can see how big of a difference that makes by filling in the shadows on the dark side of my face. Um, it just it fills in those deep, deep shadow areas, and it looks a lot more aesthetically pleasing than just, um, the flash coming from the one side. You don't need to use a commercially available reflector either. You can use pretty much anything that's white for reflector. So if you go to your local department store, pick up a piece of foam core like this. This works Justus well, and we used these in studio all the time. The general rule with light modifiers is that the bigger that you can make your light source of softer the light that it's gonna give and then secondary to the softness of the light. The other thing that you need to pay attention is to the direction of the light. So a soft box makes the light all travel in one direction versus something like an umbrella , which sort of spreads out that light a lot more. So with a soft box, you can have a lot more control over your light, especially if you're working in a small studio like I am. You don't have as much spill coming off the sides versus with an umbrella which kind of lights everything. So eventually, once you move up to using full size studio equipment, um, you'll start using a big, giant soft boxes like this. So this is an Ellen chrome. It's a 52 inch Octa bank, and you can see the big difference between soft boxes this size and this soft boxes. Just how much bigger the full size studio soft boxes so you can get your light just that much more soft and aesthetically pleasing? But for the purpose of this class, I'm just gonna work with my shoot through umbrella for the rest of the class and, uh, the shoot through umbrellas air really inexpensive, and they give a really nice quality light. And for most of the stuff that once you're just getting started in studio, shoot through umbrellas. Great. If you have any questions about your light modifiers, or what gear to use or what to use in the setting or for the photo that you're trying to take, just leave a comment in the comment section, and I'll do my best to help you out. So in the next video lesson, we're gonna look at camera settings 5. Camera Settings: Okay, we've got our strobe off camera. We know how to trigger it. We've looked at our light modifiers and how those those change the quality of the light in studio. Now, the last thing that we need to talk about before we jump into our studio portrait is our camera settings and her strobe settings. And this is kind of an aspect of this class that seems to be, um, a little bit intimidating to a lot of people because we're working in full manual. So our camera is set in manual mode and our strove is set in manual mode. Now, as it turns out, it's actually a lot easier to set your camera settings in studio than it is when you're working outside with ambient light. That's variable because we have total control over our environment. And there's really only one setting on our camera that we have to worry about and one setting on our strobe that we have to worry about. So first of all, let's get your camera and manual and your strobe in full manual. Now on your camera, we're gonna lock down the I S O and the shutter speed, so I've got the eyes. So on her camera set mindset toe s 0 200 The next thing we need to do is lock down or shutter speed. Now again, shutter speed, when you're working in studio is nowhere near as important as it is when you're outdoors working with ambient light. So you're basically think that your shutter speed controls ambient and your aperture controls flash. So in this case, we're just going to set our shutter speed somewhere near our maximum sync speed that's available on our camera. Now, in a Nikon camera, sync speed is usually 1 250th of a second. So, um, you can set your care. If you've got a Nikon 1 250th will be fine. That's a great shutter Speed T freeze action. So if you've got a lot of action going along going on in your studio portrait on some canon cameras there, Max Sync speed is around 1 2/100 to be safe, if you want to. If you're not sure, just go with 11 25th of a second. I'm just going to show you what happens if you set your camera's shutter speed higher than what the Sync speed is for your for your flash eso in this camera. I'm gonna set it toe 1 5/100 of a second. So remember, I'm using a Nikon can camera. My sync speed is 1 to 50th of a second. And what you're going to see here is you're gonna catch some of the, um The plane of that shutter is gonna be in the frame when I take this photo. So let's see. So you're seeing the curtain of the shutter there in the frame because the shutter speed that have said on camera is too fast to fire the flash with. So I'm gonna set that back down to 1 2/50 of a second there and everything looks good. Now we've got our eyes so set and her shutter speed set. The next thing to set is our aperture on her camera and also the power of her flash. Now, these to kind of work together. So the aperture on your camera controls how much light gets in Teoh, expose your photo. And also the power that you set your flash to is directly proportional to the aperture. So you have to kind of set these both together. I usually start with setting the aperture on my camera. So a good place to start in studio is just set an aperture of F 5.6 or F eight or F four somewhere around there. So I'm just gonna start with F 5.6 and then I'm going to go over here to my flash, and I'm gonna set my power on my flash. I'm going to start right at the bottom at 1/16 of a second, and you're gonna see that this is too dark. So now, without touching the aperture on my camera, any settings on my camera? So I'm at I s 0 200 I am at 1 to 50 of a second and F 5.6. I'm just going to boost the power on my flash manually, step by step until it looks good. So I met 1/16. Let's go toe 1/8 and I'm just gonna look at the back of the camera to see how that looks Still a little bit too dark. Let's bring that up to 1/4. That looks pretty good right there. Just Teoh check. Let's bring it up to 1/2. Now that looks too bright to me. Eso It seems like 1/4 is the sweet spot. So let's bring that power of my flash. They're down to 1/4 power. And then, um, see what it looks like on camera there yet 1/4 looks good. Now, if I want toe, really make sure that I've got the power of my flash set, right? I can take a look at the history, Graham. Now you can see I've got a little bit of blacks clipped on the left on the history I'm here , but I don't have any highway highlights clipped on the right. So that means my hissed a grams in a pretty good area there in the middle, so I'm pretty happy with that exposure. One other camera setting that you might want to pay attention to is the white balance. Now, for the most part, you can kind of get away with using Otto White balance. When you're in studio, all of your lights are the same source you're just using. Strobe is your source. So auto white balance usually works pretty well, but it's a good idea just to get in the habit of setting your white balance in camera. So I'm gonna set my white balance to flash because I'm using flashes. You can also use daylight because studio strobes or balanced to daylight, but flashes just a little bit warmer than the daylight setting. So gonna set my white balanced to flash? And I'm also gonna make sure that my camera is set to shooting raw because I'm gonna be processing these photos later in light room. I want to make sure that I'm working with a good quality photo file. So the raw file is is the best quality image that I could get for my post processing workflow. One other thing to consider when you're setting your camera settings is the amount of ambient light in your studio. So you can see in this setting. I've got sort of these overhead pot lights, and I've also got my video lights, which are actually pretty bright so I can control the Ambien in this room. So that doesn't even show up at all in my photos by being paying attention to my camera settings. So I just want to show you what would happen if I try to expose a photo for the ambient light. So I've got my shutter speed set at one second. Which is what the light meter in camera tells me is necessary for this pretty dim ambient light that's in this room. So you can see there. If I use a one second shutter speed with I s 0 200 F 5.6, I'm exposing for the ambient light in the room. Now, I don't want that ambient light to contaminate my studio shots so I can do something that we call killing the ambient, which basically means that we're gonna set our camera settings significantly higher than the ambient level, so that the ambient in effect becomes insignificant. So you remember we said my shutter speed was one second at F 5.6. I s 0 200 So if I bring that up, too, um, let's try 1/15 of a second. So you're going to see that the ambience still visible there, but it's quite a bit darker, you know, I'm going to keep bringing that up to 1/60 of a second, and at this point, you should see that the ambient light is is almost gone. And then if I keep going up to my shoot sync speed of 1 2/50 of a second, uh, you shouldn't be able to see the ambient there at all. So the ambient is here that light levels in the room haven't changed at all. But on camera, it doesn't look like there's any ambient at all. And that's because the camera is set to, um, 1 2/50 of a second F 5.6. So 200 whereas to light this ambient level, were down at, like, one second shutter speed. So the ambient level is way, way down here in our strobe light level is gonna be way, way up here. So that way, the ambient won't contaminate our photos. So if you have any questions about any of that, I know it can be really difficult at first to try and figure out what your camera settings are, what your strobe settings are. And it's especially difficult if you're not used to working in manual. So if you're struggling at all with that, just leave a comment in the comment section, and I'll see what I can do. Teoh help you out. So next we're gonna move on, and I'm gonna take you through our one light studio portrait from start to finish. 6. One-Light Portrait Example: Hey, guys, Welcome back. Hope you're ready to go through our one light studio portrait. So we've got our camera flash. We've gone through our light modifiers. If you hopefully have picked one out that you want to use, we've gone through a camera settings how to set the power on her strobe. So we're all set up for one light studio portrait. Now, when you're starting out with studio photography, it's always best to build your shot with one element at a time. So we've got our camera set up. It's at I s 0 200 f 5.6. Um, shutter speed is 1 to 50th of a second. It's set in raw with stroll or flash as the white balance. So just to make sure what that looks like, let's take a photo with Outer Strobe. So we should just see pure black there. So, yeah, it's everything is nice and dark. So even though there are, there is ambient light in this room. The camera is not seeing any of that ambient light. It's not gonna contaminate our shot. So let's turn our strobe on and plug in that into the PC sink port. So where strobe is connected. If you remember, it was at 1/4 power. I believe we've gotta inner shoot through umbrella as their light modifier. So now our first element was just the camera with no strobe. Our second element is gonna be just with that shoot through umbrellas. So let's see how that looks. So let's starting to look pretty good now. The one thing I noticed in that photo and hopefully you guys pay attention to this kind of thing, too. So there's a lot of kind of distractions in the background there. So I'm gonna clear off the mantel here and get those get all that junk out of the background. We want a nice, clean background. As far as the quality of light goes, it's it's okay. It's a little bit harsh from that umbrella. The shadows on this side of my face or pretty dark, And, uh, I'd like to soften those up a bit, So I'm gonna bring in one of my pieces of foam core a za reflector. So I just got that clamped onto this light stand here with, uh, just a clamp. And you kind of see that I want that sort of be a boat, even with the frame. So let's ah, let's see how that changes. Look. Yeah, that looks much better already. Let's try bringing that out front just a little bit more and kind of angling and back towards my face. Just a touch getting some of those shadows shadows out front here a little bit more than the ones behind me. So let's see how that looks. Yeah, Okay, we're starting to get there. Let's try bringing this in a little bit closer to me. Just so it's just on the outside of the frame there. Um, next step is I'm gonna bring in another piece of piece of foam core here. I can see because my light is sort of pointed down a little bit. Some of those shadows under my chin and such are still pretty dark. So I'm just gonna hold this just just out of the frame, and that's what we would call a kicker. So that's going to kick up some of that light into my face and help fill in those shadows just a little bit more than they already are. So let's take a look even better, and the last thing I'm going to do is you can see that the top, my head in my hair in that frame there is still really dark. So I want to fill that in a little bit as well. So I got a big piece of paper here. I'm just gonna take that right on the ceiling just above my head and a little bit behind me . So what this paper will serve to do is bounce some of that light down and into my hair, and it will give me just a little bit of room light and separation from my background. I've got my piece of paper taped up to the ceiling here. Um, let's just quickly go through the whole set up, and then I'm gonna take my my finished photos. So I've got my off camera Strobe, my studio light with a shoot through umbrella. This is my key light opposite of my key light. I have this piece of white foam core that's reflecting that light back and filling in the dark shadow side of my face. This is the fill light. Then I'm holding this piece of foam core below. Um, this is kicking up that light into my face and further filling in some of those dark shadows and then overhead. We've got this piece of paper which is reflecting that light down and into my hair and separating me as the subject from the background. And this is our hair light. So even though we're only using one light to light this portrait effectively, we've got a four light portrait key, light, fill, light kicker and hair light. So let's bring that all together. And, uh, we'll do our final portrait here. Now, some of you might have noticed that I am not, in fact, a fashion model, but just a que fue really quick tips imposing. Um, you never want to have somebody face the camera right on. And usually people's tendency when they're having their picture taken is to kind of back up my go. Don't take my picture. Um, you wanna bring your chin forward and down a little bit, So four shoulders on an angle chin forward and down a little bit, and just a little bit of a squint usually helps as well. So here we go. Let's take a few like that. So there you go, there is Ah, one light studio portrait. Um, using really inexpensive, accessible gear. Um, anybody can set this up, so hopefully Ah, really looking forward to seeing your assignments. The last part of the class. I'm gonna take one of the photos that we just shot. And I'm gonna edit that in light room just to show you the final step. Teoh to finish off your portrait. 7. Post Processing: I've got my one light portrait's imported into late room, and I'm just going to go through and do a really quick edit here in light room. Um, it's important that you always edit your images before you publish them or share them publicly. I mean, that's kind of the last step to the photography processes. Taking the picture is is, you know the first part of that process, but you really need to go in and edit these, um, just to finish them off, give him a little bit of polish. So this is kind of my favorite photo from the Siris of Just flip through them quick kind of that serious post. So the first thing I do when I edit a photo in light room is enabled a profile correction. So you just scroll down here to lens corrections. It's under profile. Let's enable that profile correction. So Light Room knows that I was using a Nikon 18 to 55 F 3.55 point six, so it applies the correct profile correction for that lens, so that looks pretty good. Now we're gonna go through our basic light room corrections going to start from top to bottom. So in the basic panel here, the first thing I want to look at is the white balance. And because I set my white balance in camera using that flash setting for white balance, the white balance in this photo actually looks really good. So I'm pretty happy with it as is. But just if you want to see if I warm it up a little bit if you want to give it a little bit more warmth, actually, you know what? That looks A lot better there. It's a little bit more warmth in the skin. Tones there, Um, so you can do this manually, just with the white balance sliders. Or if you want to use the white balance selector tool, Um, you just find an area of neutral gray. Click on that, and it sets the white balance. But I'm gonna go back to where I set that with my slider there. Just warmed it up a little bit. I think that looks good. Moving down the exposure. Um, I think the exposure in this photo actually looks pretty much bang on. If I look up here at the hissed a gram, you can see on the left If I click that little arrow there the the shadows clipping There's no areas that are clipped and all the same thing over here on the right. If I click that highlight clipping, Um, uh, tool there. It doesn't show that any highlights or clip, so the shadows and the highlights are pretty good. Now, the bulk of the hissed a gram is kind of right here, sort of the lower third. So that's telling me that might be just a little bit under exposed, so I can try to raise the exposure a little bit and see how that looks. But, you know, even when I raise it a little bit, it just it looks to break there. So I'm gonna leave it as is down here to contrast. Um, usually images look a little bit better with some contrast. You have to be kind of careful with this with portrait's especially portrait of women. Um, they generally look better a little bit flat, but in this case, I'm just gonna add just a touch of contrast. Now the highlight slider. Um, the highlights look pretty good to me. Um, I might bring that down just a little bit, but I don't want toe get rid of all the highlights. Their, um kind of makes it look sort of grungy. So let's just bring down the highlights. Just a teensy bit minus 13. Now, the shadows. Um, because I did a pretty good job with my lighting here. The shadows actually look really good in camera. Um, on the shadow side of my face, it's not too dark. You can see the detail in there. Um, I think the shadows there look pretty great. But I don't want to kill the shadows in this photo. So if I bring the shadows slider all the way up, it just flattens it out. And it's really the shadows that give your portrait's character the shadows in the highlights. So I want to keep those shadows in there. I'm not gonna do anything else with that. Moving down to the black slider, the white slider. By the way, I usually never touched this, especially in Portrait's in studio. It really doesn't have much of an effect if I bring it up. It just kind of makes it too bright on the on the highlight side. So I'm just gonna leave. That is, as is, um, the black slider. If I hold down Ault on my keyboard and then click the black slider, it brings up the black clipping mask. And as I bring that down, it will show me the areas that are being clipped to 100% black. So I want to bring that down just a little bit toe just starting to clip my blacks. So but minus six looks good. So that adds some depth into those shadows where a certain part of the shadows I think it's on my caller. There is, ah, 100% black and just a few little spots in my hair or going to 100% black. So that looks good. Clarity. Um, portrait usually don't really want to add clarity. You especially don't want to add clarity to portrait's of women. Um, but for men, sometimes if you want a little bit of grungy look, you can you can add some clarity. Um, I don't really want that kind of look with this photo, so I'm just gonna leave clarity alone, vibrance and saturation. There's nothing really colorful in this picture, and I don't really want to increase the vibrance or saturation of my skin tones. So I'm just gonna leave those alone. Now, If you did have a colorful picture, uh, sometimes you could bring up the vibrance just to enhance the colors in your photo. So that's pretty much it. With the basic adjustments there, The next thing I want to do is go in and see if there's any blemishes or anything in my my skin that I want toe touch up. So you zoom that in 2121 here. And I've got kind of just a few little, uh I don't know. They're not really even pimples Just spots on my my skin here that I'm gonna use this spot removal tool to get rid of. Um, you know, this is completely optional. Depends on how natural you want your photo look. But in most cases, um, people generally appreciate if you ah, get rid of some of those little imperfections in their skin. So I think that looks pretty good there. Um, if I really wanted to, I could try getting rid of these wrinkles on my forehead, but I'm not going to go into that much detail here. so back out. And then I'm gonna ply a radial Grady in here. So I'm going to draw a circle with the radial ingredient tool and place that, um, kind of right over my head there. So you can also do this with the vignette, but I just I'd personally like doing it with the radiant tool gives you a bit more control and more options here with all the tools that are available with the Grady INTs. So just gonna pull that over there, and then I'm going to drop the exposure a little bit. So this darkens the outside of the frame and it draws your attention into my face, which is what I want you to look at when you're looking at a portrait. So bringing exposure down their boat minus 0.49 That looks good. And I'm gonna add a linear Grady it from the bottom. My shirt here, especially this gray shirt I was wearing underneath is a little bright. So I want to darken that down as well to help draw your attention in Bring the exposure down on that. That looks good. Um, now, earlier, I kind of mentioned my wrinkles. They're sort of thinking maybe I will touch that up a little bit. There's sort of a trick that you can use in light room. Used the adjustment brush and you set the clarity down to minus 100 or somewhere in between there. And then you just brush over any areas of the skin that you kind of want to soften a little bit. So you have to be careful. You don't want to soften any, uh, edges. So you don't want to soften like your eyebrows, your eyes or ears or hairline or anything like that. But anything that started in the middle, you can just use that that clarity tool. Um, with a minus 50 or minus 100 just to soften, um, the wrinkles in the skin a little bit. Now again, this is completely up to you. Ah, depends on how natural you want your portrait. So look, But just a little bit there kind of softens that up, and I'm gonna add another one. I'm gonna sharpen the edges of my eyes and my pupils as well. So I've added another adjustment brush. Um, make my brush size pretty small, and I'm gonna bring the um, the clarity on that up I was tried. Plus 50. I'm just gonna brush this over my eyebrows and sort of the eyelashes top and bottom on both eyes. And then if we zoom in, even Mawr controlled. Plus, um, we can touch up my pupils a little bit as well. So let's add another adjustment brush zero that clarity. And I'm gonna bring the exposure on this one up just a little bit. 10.45 I'm just gonna dry inner ring on my pupil there now, yet again. This is kind of one of those things that you kind of got to be careful with because you don't want to give people vampire eyes, but it can help just to, um, just to bring out a little bit of the color in their eyes. I'm gonna bring the saturation on that up as well. Kind of emphasize my my blue eyes. That's good. Keeping that same brush active. I'm gonna move over to the other eye and do the same thing here. See that nice catch light from the shoot through umbrella there. And my reflected in my pupil. There we go. That looks good. Zoom back out. And there you go. So that's pretty much all you got to do, um, to finalize your portrait. So if we go back to what this looked like at the beginning, there's are imported photo. And then here is our finished one light studio portrait. 8. Final Thoughts and Next Steps: Hey, guys, I hope you enjoyed the class. I hope that I've done an OK job of explaining studio lighting to you and in a way that you're excited to get started and do your own one light studio portrait. So the assignment for the class is to basically just recreate this setting. Or you can come up with something completely different, whatever looks good to you, but just use one strobe and produce your own one light studio portrait. It also doesn't have to be just a head and shoulders portrait. You can late anything you want. It could be an action figure. It can be full body or whatever just to wrap things up. This is how I got started with studio lighting. Um, all the gear that we used in this shoot is totally accessible to everybody. There's no no special equipment or any secret techniques or anything like that. So once you sort of get comfortable with this process, you can start experimenting from there. And, ah, studio lighting actually becomes a lot of fun because there's a lot of interesting things that you could do with artificial light that you absolutely can't do with natural light. So really, in court courage everybody to submit that class project. And I'm really looking forward to seeing what you can come up with. And just a reminder that this is the first class in a five class studio lighting Siri's. So the next class, we're gonna build on what we covered in this class, and we're gonna bring in mawr lights and Mawr modifiers, and we're gonna go through Ah, three kind of standard studio light setups. So I hope you're looking forward to that. And, uh, I'm really looking forward to seeing your projects. Thanks for watching.