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Shoot: Matching & Creating Consistent Light Part 1

Lesson 10 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

Shoot: Matching & Creating Consistent Light Part 1

Lesson 10 from: Fine Art Compositing

Brooke Shaden

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Lesson Info

10. Shoot: Matching & Creating Consistent Light Part 1


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Why Composite ?


Logic Checklist


What Not To Do When Compositing


Shooting for Composite


Changing Backgrounds and Light


Shoot: Simple Swaps Part 1


Lesson Info

Shoot: Matching & Creating Consistent Light Part 1

I want to talk a little bit about how we might go about matching light and that's really why I would use lights in my process although if it's your process to use lights than go for it now in this case I thought this would be a fun picture to edit somebody into wouldn't it be kind of maybe like sitting on that wing over there of the airplane so what I want to do is ask myself some basic questions in this image and those basic questions are which direction will the subject to be fixed be facing so instead of thinking where's the light coming from first I'm just thinking where's my subject like is it standing or is it sitting it so is she standing or sitting now if she's standing then the lights going to hit her from a different spots in if she's sitting so she's sitting on the wing of this plane in the lights over here then the light would be hitting her face and her hair and stuff like that if she's standing maybe the lights more hitting her hips instead of appear because she's taller ...

so where is the subject facing where exactly are they positioned how are they positioned how do we want to insert them into this picture and that's really going to turn determine how we light this picture in the end and then where is the light source so we can see that there's light in the background this was shot at sunset obviously open an airplane and I knew that the light was coming from here and yet it was so ambient at the same time it was like you could still see lots of fill light it was still setting there were still a lot of light happening it wasn't like a blazing sun in the background very diffused so we know that and then what's the quality of light what color is it what's the harshness of it and can we match that so this light is a little bit yellow I mean I didn't color correct this at all so you can see that it was very late in the evening we can see that there was some yellow light's still in the sky so we know that at least our subjects shouldn't have like a daylight blue light lighting them in this image it should be a little bit toned that's something I'll do later I'm not going to worry about you know like changing my my lighter getting a light that's balanced differently can you don't know how it's possible but so I wouldn't do that but I'll change it later on in photo shop and I would focus on the harshness in this case that would make sense to have two light sources so how I might go about lighting this would probably be to use window light hitting the subject from the front just to be able to get nice even light and then adding a backlight that maybe overpowers the front line a little bit that way we have the ambient light that really soft natural light yet also we have another light source kicking in that is going to highlight the subject from the angle that we need to light them out so that I would go about doing that and then of course the ambient light which I think is really important to note because we have other images here that will show a lot of back write a lot of side light and those don't have so much ambient light that light is so harsh that we need to make sure that we have the right ratio going on this is what I know about light nothing should be too bright basically that's what I know about light I don't know a lot about white I know that I shouldn't make something white I know that it's bad when my camera has that thing where it blinks when there's a highlight that's bad I know that nothing should be too dark that's all I know about light those two things and so when I'm lighting something I don't have a white meter I don't focus on like making sure that everything is perfectly even and I think it's great to do that there is a time and a place for that and that time and place is not necessarily in what I do so what I'm trying to focus on is just I don't want the backlight to be too bright for the ambient light I don't want that fill light to be too bright or too dark and from there I just I fix it later in photo shop so I'm not going to be talking about light in the way of you know make sure that it's perfect make sure that the ratios are exact I'm just saying make sure it's not too dark or too bright and then go from there so we just talked about that image but then we have a couple other images here and I'm going to be matching the light for each of these I've not done this before so we're doing this together we're in it together it's gonna be great okay so the light is coming from the left that much I know I can see that I can see it on the waves I can see that the waves over here are a lot brighter than over here I can see that the shadow is underneath the curl of the waves so it's coming from above that's what I know about the white so I'm not going teo put a light on my subject coming from down here I'm not going to do that because I know that it's coming from above I can see that based on the waves so that's what I know about this that's all you need to know but what else it's defused because there were clouds that day so it's not going to be a really harsh strong light on the subject but instead it's just going to be a soft white on my subject and that is again why we would want natural window like coming in that way we have the diffused sort of natural look in this image with just a little bit of a kick of light and in this one we clearly have backlight I mean there's a sun in that picture so the sun is behind that is our only light source we have birds that are almost black because they're flying into the sun so when we match this light we're going to want to do a really harsh back right however I would much rather light something like this just a little bit of fill light that way I could be certain that I can darken it later if I need to but I still have some detail in case I want to add that in and another time so let's go back here and we're going to talk about this image a little bit more so first things first let's get our model in hi thank you and you'll see that I have her wearing this really dark dress and I did that something we could play with darker fabric thank you what's your name again sarah this is sarah she has kindly agreed to model she has hair just like what my hair used to look like so I feel like I can do this makes me feel much better okay so first thing why don't you head on over here and what I want to do is first thing is that we need to make absolutely certain that we don't have uneven light on her because in all of these examples the light we wouldn't have weird shadows raking across her body or anything like that in these pictures we do here what we have is light just hitting her from the side because I haven't moved this light at all so I need to start making some adjustments now what I want to do is if I start to match this light the first thing that I need to do is consider where is our light source so is that going to be our light source is that going to be our light source it all just depends on what angle I want to shoot at what needs to be brighter than the other so looking at this image what do you guys think needs to be the brighter light the ambient light or the backlight it's kind of almost even in this picture right because the light is so dim in the background that it doesn't really make much of a difference so that's why I want to start with this one because we'll see how this goes making the light even so what I want to do is I'm actually going to move this white well I lied john's going to help me move away and because I'm very weak and I can't really do anything let's see if my great there which is terrible for you guys and I'm sorry about that but yes we're gonna move it in front so I'm looking at this picture we're going to have her sitting on the wing of it I think that would be good so we'll get a little chair for her a little bit more front keep going a little bit more yeah they're on the ship right here okay perfect so we've got the light and I don't know if we're going to keep it there or not we're just testing this out together now is there any way to take the power down on this light oh okay so we're going to take the power down so this is going to be the strip of light in the back but she's going to be facing the window for this so I'm going to ever face the natural light over here we're going to take this light down and were almost going to try to get this to be sort of an even even lighting here we're gonna have this light b maybe just slightly more bright just to see how that looks but mostly we're going to see if we can get her in position so let's see we need a little stool or chair guess chair would be good can I grab that chair over here I'm just gonna grab this chair I'll be right back okay so we're gonna have you sitting on this chair this chair is going to be airplane wing so you've got the airplane wing let's see now I'm looking at this scene I can't move where I'm looking at the scene it's already shot right so I'm like from the window looking at the airplane so I'm gonna be looking at her from the side and so I need to make sure the light is coming from behind and to the side of her fish so I'm gonna grab this thank you so much huh no could we turn the light down even more oh darn okay then we're going to get really creative then and let's see if we can't block some of this light somehow that would be so great thank you okay so who has ah body ok lots of ugo could why don't anybody come up your two of you how about that so we're gonna have two ofyou blocking this light just like this we're just gonna like stand in front of it and defuse it a little bit yeah come together perfect hold your arms up yeah that worked see man I know howto white things okay great okay now you guys can lower your arms there you go no you're good you can lower them I'm just going to move the light a little bit more so let me know from whacking you in the head I'm just going to move it over back here a little bit more that's good you guys know your job really well it's perfect now I'm going to turn you this way so we can move the whole chair this direction good now you can sit in it there so what we have here is the light is coming from more behind her a little bit off to the side the main light is coming from the front here and I'm going to grab my camera and take a shot okay uh let's do it off for now we'll see how this goes so I'm going to make sure that all of her is in this shot I'm not focusing on angle right now our height I'm just trying to get my camera settings and see how that goes okay all right so now I still think that this light is a little bit too much back here so I'm going to do something that if I were shooting this at home and I didn't have lots of people to try to impress with really fancy lights what I would do is I would go get that lamp over there and play with that so that's what I'm going to do because that's just how I work um let's do the little one so we're going to use a regular old lamp which I'm pretty excited about because this thing terrifies me and we're going to see how this goes because this is going to provide a lot less light oh thank you this is going to provide a lot less light yes it's a bare bulb so if we want to diffuse that we can easily easily diffuse that because we have a soft box here that would be crazy putting this inside of soft box but we might do it because why not so now yeah from photo maker says is brooke gonna flip the plane wing horizontally because the model is facing a different direction than the current open space behind the wing on the plane yes okay absolutely thanks for the clerk yeah I figured it would be a lot easier to do that than to move the whole window so just kind of go with it yeah but yeah I would definitely flip her and to put her on there and I need to change the pose drastically right now because what we have is somebody just sitting very nicely and you look beautiful doing that but that's not what we're looking for here we need her to sort of be like I don't know maybe we'll do like hanging off of the weighing or like tryingto tiptoe on the way I don't know we'll see how it goes so we're gonna plug this light and I'm going to stick it inside the soft box maybe that will work for us maybe it'll be too dark if we do that so we'll see thank you so I'm gonna grab my camera I'm gonna work on the pose a little bit I know um if we can flip back to the airplane picture there we go so I know that I need to be looking at her directly from the side so I'm going to make sure that I shoot from over here let's work on that pose s o let's see it can you I know it's a really tiny chair but can you get your legs up on the chair a little bit yeah like that was a very difficult dress and don't fall over in the chair okay that's good can you sit on your butt and do that you're like oh good okay awesome perfect that looks much more natural so that's good so we'll do that and let's see do either of you guys wanna yield the lamp well the lamp because it's not yield okay so let's have you come like right in front of the soft box and we'll just have you make her hedge glow there you go so you can look right out the window and back a little bit further yeah that looks really nice yeah okay so I like this light I'll walk better and but see what we can do here and now the cool thing is that it's already really yellow so I don't have to worry about changing that later on okay all right I like that a lot more so let's take a look at that up on the screen and once that pops up we'll see that we have the natural ambient li but there's also this kick of light here so let's go ahead and turn this off real quick and and we'll see what it looks like without that kick of light and see if we need more light less likes we can always move that light closer to her go ahead just look out the window again okay so that's without the light so let's go ahead and compare those two and when we do that we can see pretty easily that the light is doing something quite a bit of something actually and it's going to allow us to create mohr light in certain places so because we have light over here on her hair and not here we can see that this would be a lot more difficult to brighten up later if we needed to add a kick of white if it's just there to begin with so now this isn't harsh enough I feel like we really need to get that white in a little bit more towards her so that's something that will work on but in terms of lighting this image and making her fit on that wing and making sure everything's okay we have a good start here we can make her face darker if we want that ambient light to come down we can make the back of her head brighter in this case we have all this fall off into shadow on her arm just like that shot with the bees so we had that shot with the bees that was all wrong that I showed you earlier and because of that fall off on her arm it was so obvious that it was wrong now in this case we have that same thing happening here but not over here so this is creating more even light and more of a glow where we need it to be so let's turn the light back on and we'll have you get pretty close to her head like I would say the great here with that lamp down down there okay now one thing that was just sort of we just worked out over here with how tall the lamp was going to be and to me it was really important that we don't have it up here because our lighting source in that picture with the wing that's coming from below so it's going to be pretty even with her maybe a little bit above maybe a little bit below we can try a couple different things so oh yes you can move the salt trucks going come on just step around me for a second yeah thanks thank you now you guys consider your gun okay all right perfect you know what let's move you a little bit sorry to make you move because you're in this like perfect pose here but I'm just going to move this up here so we have a little bit wei have a little bit more natural light hitting your face perfect perfect great oh this looks beautiful okay do you need help she's like balancing like a pro appear with this difficult dress that's super slippery no it's like little little okay great let's hold the lamp down just a little bit perfect that is great okay great all right so now we've got some light going on let's take a look at that so we have a lot more light on her hair now and this is giving us an option for you know if we want that light to be a little bit stronger so let's go ahead and flip back to that airplane shot again and let's take a look at just keep that in your mind so now I feel like the whites not behind her enough I feel like it's coming too much from the side so if we're looking at her and she's sitting here on this plane and we're looking at her profile than this light really should be a little bit more behind her so let's go ahead and make that adjustment just see how it looks so yeah you can just keep walking around let's see that's good we'll try that yeah that's like a really right from behind her it's coming we might even need the white to go right on the other side of her just depends on if you want it right behind her if you want to imagine the light somewhere else so we'll just keep moving now if I were shooting this and I really needed to make absolutely certain that I had this shot I would do this from many different angles I would just keep moving that white around keep making sure that I have lots and lots of options okay so I've got that shot again we have the white coming in now let's do it from right on the other side of her so I want you to actually put this light like right here yep and I'll tell you if I can see it or not but you shouldn't put back a little bit there that's it yeah I'll take a shot like that good okay so now we have the light coming from the other side now the only problem with the white coming from the other side is that it's really quite bright back there I mean it looks like there's a light source happening and this is where I would start to diffuse that bulb so it's ah bearable I mean we're not working with anything fancy here so I might take the soft box off we're not going to go through the whole soft box thing right now but let's see who has a piece of paper oh well john has diffusion cloth which is a lot more fancy let's try the piece of paper real quick and then we'll use the diffusion cloth if I were home I would just get a pillow case or something thank you oh that's good ok double paper thank you okay we'll try this first do you think you could do both okay okay so let's see how about luck son okay good spot ah there we go okay wait let's try one piece of paper we doubled up just see great okay now move the paper down in with the light up a little bit down that's good okay okay so what I'm having to do here now is I would have to composite that paper out which is okay because we're on a seamless backdrop but that was too much diffusion for a little lamp poor little lamp so we'll try this and if that doesn't work then I would probably get like a tissue or something I see tissue I'm just so against using this I don't know why but wear uh oh maybe we'll wet the tissue does anybody have a runny nose okay now don't burn the tissue c this is that's good and this is a little bit up a little bit there we go I'm not even focusing anymore I'm just trying to look at the light and that looks kind of nice that's a little bit more diffused I can still see some of the glow coming from it so that's good my trouble though is that this side is still so dark and I really really don't want it to be dark I want to really see what the light is doing over here I don't want this fall off so much so again that's something that I might try to fix so we have another lamp over here don't way let's bring the lamp in baekje yeah I'm curious if you would ever because you've got so you got the light coming from so many different angles would you ever use compositing tio you took a positive light I guess you would try to really get it right I would try to get it right enough so then it's actually hitting everything that it should be hitting but that's not to say that I haven't not done that to I've gone into photo shop before and I've said something like oh my gosh there's no light on the back of her arm so I guess I'll just try to make light there you know and then I go through the process of selecting it bringing those levels up on trying to correct that um and then I've gone through other phases where I shot a person with just even light but I needed a little bit of back right and so I took somebody else's hair that was backward and put it on their heads so then it we gave that illusion that it was backlit so I've done that before as well and I mean they're not ideal situations I'm rather just do it right way get another lamp person thank you so this one's a little heavier but I'm just gonna have you hold that right up to her there okay I'll try to be swift what maybe you're stronger than me I can't even hold that lamp let's not do the tissue this time yeah that looks very nice okay good okay that looks nice so now we have a little bit of glow behind her on her back as well as to the side and the reason why I like that so much having this glow right here is because now I can enhance that if I need teo whereas before it was so dark over here that there was just nothing and the white in my opinion in the in the original plane picture was kind of wrapping a little bit where it would go behind her would go a certain direction yeah run into an issue with like color temperature differences like I probably have a lot of fluorescent bulbs at home and you have that issue fluorescent incandescent absolutely and they don't match all yeah I mean like this like this doesn't match at all you know and the good thing is that we do have ah motivated the yellow light source but let's say that we didn't let's say that it was just like the noon sun and you really didn't want it to be yellow it all I would just go in here later on in photo shop which is a process will go through and select the color within the light and then change that threw something like replaced color or dis saturating at a lot doing something like that so this is the kind of thing that I don't want to worry about changing white balance right now because there's no need because she at least looks very normal yet the back light is a little bit too yellow so I would definitely go ahead and fix that leader and there are a lot of ways to do that so that's why I'm not so worried about it what I wouldn't be worried about though is this hand and this lamp and getting rid of that but that's not to do with color so so yeah I really like the kick of light there and the only other thing that I would try to make it matches to move the white in front of the subject now just in case depending on the angle that we put her in this is why I don't he's lighting you guys because it is a work but at least we're using lamps now so that's a really good thing so okay you're going to stay there with that light source why don't you take this around this way I know I'm so sorry I'm like your guy her toes were like I'm holding on okay and we'll have you just here and bring that light like it's close is you can and I'll tell you if you need to back off or not okay so now we're definitely going to have a picture that works okay that lamp can go up that that's perfect okay looks like a beauty shoot now now the good thing about this is that our model isn't moving she is staying very very put mostly because she's in a chair but now if I decided that I really liked the light that this was giving just here on her arm but I also liked it when it was in the back then I could just composite each side of her in with those different light sources which is kind of like what you were saying you know would you composite that in yeah I would do that if she's staying still enough definitely but I would also try to play up the motivated light later so you know the light in front right now isn't doing so much for her it's not like it's really brightening up at all it's like the dimmest light you've ever seen in your life right so because of that I would probably just do that photo shop I'd probably just work with the backlight and then brighten up the rest later on thank you guys for holding lights you can relax

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Logic Checklist
Must Have Shots
Favorite Photoshop Tools
Lighting Effects
Practice Files - Cutting out Hair from Background
Practice Files - Building a Dress
Practice Files - Swapping Hand
Practice Files - Levitation
Adorama Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Logan Fox

I'm so thrilled to have come across this course and to have been introduced to Brooke Shaden. As a bit of background I do photography as a hobby, and always had an appetite to composite my work. It's only after watching this course that I can finally put a name to a craft that I love, that being 'fine art photography'. Through my own personal journey I've read various books, followed online tutorials both paid and free. When I came across this course I did hesitate. I wondered 'is it going to teach me anything new'... 'would the standard of the course be up to scratch'. Well, I can honestly say with hand on heart that this is by far is one of the best courses I've come across to date. As a solo photographer myself I've found it difficult at times to be both photographer and subject at the same time. From the outset what became clear was that Brooke is just like me in this respect which made the course so 'relevant' to what I do. Brooke shows throughout the course what can be achieved with a little planning and some creative approaches to situations that can be difficult to pull off when on your own. She is such a joy to watch and listen to, I loved her sense of humor and great how the audience were involved in some of the shoots. All I can say is, if you're in to photography and interested in compositing your work, you should give this a go, you wont regret it!


I'd like to show my gratitude and gratefulness to Ms Shaden and other wonderful people at CreativeLIVE for sharing your vast knowledge without making a fuss. Not everybody has a super computer and a top-notch camera, not everyone has a studio to work in and not everyone needs to know everything as perfectly as some instructors and professionals do. I, for one, have gained so much insight and have been intrigued by Ms Shaden's present and past lessons, she makes the most difficult and surreal subjects unfold so easily and effortlessly. Ms Shaden has made me believe no matter where I be and no matter what i have, as long as i have a good story to tell, and the right vision, I should be able to handle it with a working camera and any version of Photoshop. Unlike many other instructors who kill us every 5 minutes to buy their flashes or gear and support this or that company and agency, Ms Shaden has spent the whole time teaching and teaching and teaching and I am sorry I cannot be there to thank you in person, but you, Ms Shaden, are awesome and nobody can unawesome you :)


Brooke has a wonderful way of not only making it all look so easy, but actually be easy. In a plain and down to earth manner, she can make both beginner and advanced pro comfortable with the material covered in this class. From a simple starting point to a polished post-production finished work of art, she takes us on a relaxed and joyous journey. I am a former professional commercial photographer returning to the art after a 30 year absence. When I left, there was no such thing as digital photography. Now, to be able to embrace such concepts and techniques as taught by Brooke, without any difficulty to me, says that this course provides great value and time well spent. Well done Brooke! Well done Creative Live!

Student Work