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Live Shoot: Metering

Lesson 15 from: Editorial Portrait Photography for High School Seniors

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

15. Live Shoot: Metering


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


How to Make Senior Photos Stand Out


What is Lighting in Layers?


Build a Lighting Foundation


Layer One: Main Light


Layer Two: Fill Light


Layer Three: Accent Light


Layer Four: Additional Light


Lesson Info

Live Shoot: Metering

So we're still gonna go for five, six. So again meter on. Everything is set where it should. 200 shutter speed, 100. We're gonna go for five, six, so boom. There seven, you can see we moved our light so now it's too bright. We'll go down two-thirds of a stop. Oops. Five, six there we are. And every tenth on the digital read out on the back of that light, every tenth is a tenth of a stop. So I knew right there, going from f7 down to five, six, we needed to go down two-thirds, so I went down essentially six, seven clicks and that's why you get the readout you want. So now we are back at five, six. I'm gonna shoot one this way, so the light's roughly, you know, about three feet from his face and he's about three feet from the background. So I'm guessing right now the background's gonna go a little light medium gray. And we'll shoot pretty close. So just looking right here. One, two, three. (camera clicks) Yep, so it's essentially the same look as it was before. Now what I'm gonna do, is w...

e're gonna leave all the camera settings the same, but I'm gonna move this light significantly further from him and what you're gonna see, is because of the fall off and the inverse grow off, the background's actually gonna go lighter. So a lotta people think, oh if you move your light further away, the background will go darker 'cause the light's further away. Well no, it's also further away from him, so to maintain that exposure of five, six on his forehead, we gotta turn the power of the light up, and this relative distance that was from here to here versus here to here is now greater from here, so the fall off will actually be less. So the background is going to get lighter. And what that also tells is, we need to move the light up and we need to turn the power up. This is strictly a guess. We're gonna re-meter, just so we can get the exact same exposure as what we did on the last shot. So again, we're going for 5.6. This can actually go up a little bit higher. Kinda get a similar angle here. So this is still in front of him. And we want five, six. I can already tell that needs to go up. Meter, bing. Five, six, that was lucky but, sometimes that happens. (audience laughs) All right, so we will essentially take the exact same frame, just below his elbow. So I'm looking right here. And what you'll is your background will suddenly get lighter and lighter as you move your light away. One, two, three. (camera clicks) There you go. So you can see, as the light was there, nothing changed with his exposure, but the background got lighter. So that's kind of a quick and dirty way to explain the inverse square law and how you can make a white background white or gray. If you really wanna make it dark, what we'll have is, come out here about five feet. Bring the stool like all the way here. We're gonna keep the light close to him, so we gotta bring it back down. Turn it down. We'll meter one more time. Try and do the same angles and everything. Turn a little more this way. Meter one more time. And again once I've metered a lotta shoots, I just do it the one time and we try and maintain all the same stuff, so you're not constantly fiddling with it. But for educational purposes it's good to make sure. So again, we're at five, six. I kinda remember what the settings were before. So we're good. Now the background should go a much deeper gray. So we're gonna shoot the same framing and I can also see a little bit of the floor, but oh well. One, two, three. (camera clicks) And what'll you see here is the background will go much darker. So again, in my studio, I only have a white wall, but a lot of people think, oh we want the gray backdrop. And to me that's thinking okay, then we'll shoot farther away. Just to see, so that was the light close up and close to the white. This was with the light far away, where he was at the same spot, and this is what happens with the light close to him, but our subject further away from the white backdrop that is now gray.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Lighting Gear List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lighting Terms Guide

Ratings and Reviews

pete hopkins

awesome teacher and awesome technique. after soooo many webinars, it's really great to see someone break it down to the bare bones of lighting with exceptional quality results. i can listen to Dan all day. no pretense, no over the top emotional pleas, no drama! did i say awesome!!!! Plus, I'm a huge fan of the B! and B2 systems. Freedom is key. Now I can shoot anywhere, anytime. Thanks Dan.


This is by far the best class on senior photography I have found on creativelive. Dan explains the technical aspects in an easy to understand format. He does a great job going through studio shots, outdoor shots, editing and marketing. He's given me some great ideas and inspired me to be more creative. I am going to rewatch the lighting set up for the "hero shot". It's super cool!

Tristanne Endrina

Dan was great. His class was very comprehensive but easy to follow. The slides he used weren't flashy. Instead, they were simple and he went at a good pace. I left feeling like I could really pull off the lighting techniques he taught. I'm excited to put what I learned into my photography. :) Thanks, Dan.

Student Work