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Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 7

Lesson 31 from: Studio Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 7

Lesson 31 from: Studio Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

31. Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 7

How can you prevent the subject from casting a shadow on the background? In this lesson, Lindsay explains how to tackle this tricky challenge.


Class Trailer

Day 1


Studio Essentials: Shutter Speed


Studio Essentials: Flash Exposure


Studio Essentials: White Balance


Light Principles: Inverse Square Law


Lighting Patterns


Shoot: Demo Lighting Patterns


Quality of Light and Modifiers


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Diffusion and Grid


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Umbrellas


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Softboxes


Shoot: Choosing a Modifier - Extra Stuff


10 One Light Set-ups: 1 and 2


10 One Light Set-ups: 3 to 5


10 One Light Set-ups: 6 to 10


One Light Set-ups: Pop Quiz


Day 2


FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 1


FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 2


FAQ for Purchasing Studio Light Part 3


10 Two Light Set-Ups: 1 and 2


10 Two Light Set-Ups: 3 to 6


10 Two Light Set-Ups: 7 to 10


5 Two Light Set-Ups: 1 & 2


5 Two Light Set-Ups: 3 to 5


5 Basic Three Light Set-Ups: 1 & 2


5 Basic Three Light Set-Ups: 3 to 5


5 Intermediate Three Light Set-Ups: 1 to 3


5 Intermediate Three Light Set-Ups: 4 & 5


10 Common Lighting Mistakes


Day 3


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 1


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 2 to 6


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 7


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 8


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 9


Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 10 to 12


Portrait Lighting: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Beauty Lighting: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Lighting Groups: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Lighting for Drama: 1, 2, and 3 Lights


Your First Studio Lighting


Lesson Info

Solving 12 Common Problems of Studio Lighting: 7

We have done one through six of my twelve common studio lighting problems, and I hope everybody is finding it very useful because these are all things that I did take some lighting classes for sure before I really started my business well, when I first started, I didn't, but as I started to gear up, they talked about what you're supposed to do in general, but not the things you're not supposed to do, and you don't know you're not supposed to do until you do him, and you can't figure it out, that kind of stuff, so I'm trying to show you the problems that I have run into time and time again and how I fix it. So here is one of the more challenging ones, and this one is how to avoid the subject casting a shadow on the background and the e and I have a whole bunch of different things with the easiest one is, well, it's his shooting on a white background when you illuminate the background pure white, you don't see a shadow, so that is a benefit. If you're shooting in a smaller space and you ...

can illuminate that background, there won't be a shadow on it. The only way you would see a shadow is if your background was not true white. And you hadn't actually correctly meted across and maybe the right hand side was darker and you see a shadow in that instance but it should be fine but let's not talk about just where you're lighting the background, how but if you're shooting on a back on without it being illuminated or a great background or color background is a lot of different things to keep in mind. So one of the things to keep in mind is that a harsher or a more contrast the light source shows shadows more which makes sense, but you know we use a high contrast modifier you see how chris the shadows are in the side of the nose? Well, it'll do that as well. It will show the shadows cast by the subject on the background more so that would be one thing use a softer light source to create less defined shadows and generally a larger light source. What will have is it it wraps around and search to fill in some of those shadows all right next would be create some distance between the subject in the background. If the subject is really close to the background it doesn't have room to the shadow doesn't have room to fall on the ground sometimes what happens is if you were another two feet out, you wouldn't actually see the shadow because it just cast on the floor behind the subject but when you back up enough, it doesn't have time to hit the floor in the background is right there, and so you get that shadow, so if you can do something to create some distance between your subject in the background, that will help you out. And then also, we said softer is better if you can bring that main light source a little bit closer to your subject a little bit further from the background that will be a softer shadow. So anything that's making that light source more contrast e further away, when you're closer to back on all those things, they're giving you problems, so I'll give you a demonstration, you'll be able to see what causes problems and what doesn't another one is you will likely see more shadows when that main light is more centered, because what happens is if your main light is far off to the side, the shadows cast out of the frame. You don't see it, but let's say you're in a loop lighting position. Basically, the shadow gets cast right behind their head a little bit to the side, so avoid letting street on or just a little beside a little bit further will help you get it out of the frame, and they're also a higher angle of light. Now I have used this knowledge to my advantage before to go to the exact opposite extreme I've been plenty of chutes were on purpose, I want shadows on the background, and so what I would do is that have the light source really low, so it cast those shadows up onto the background and on purpose I move the subject really close to the background. I use a really contrast the modifier, all the things you're not supposed studio, but it creates a cool shadow, but knowing this that that's what it does, I know that if I use a higher angle light like we have here, the shadow gets cast down onto the ground, it won't be something that will be as noticeable and there's no problem with shadows being on the ground, so these are all kind of things you're looking for. What modifiers you choose bigger and softer? What distance pull the subject out from the background? Get that light source closer so wraps around the subject and also use a higher angle of light but not straight on to the subject, and that data angle of light to the front makes much more of a difference if you're in a tiny space where your subject cast to be close to the background that's where it's going to be much more of a problem if I came back my subject fifteen feet out from the background is that the shadow will hit the background as long as the light is high enough it's more when you only have five feet to work with that this becomes a little bit more of the problem solving for us as photographers and then we talked about lighting the background also it is much more noticeable if you're using a white or light gray background the backgrounds already dark you see the shadow is much because it's already dark not that its you know the best way because there might be times when you want a lighter background but it could be a situation where you're just in a small space you're doing all this problem solving they're still a little bit of a shadow maybe instead use a dark background and to separate them from the background so they don't blend in you use the room like it's out might be a better solution depending on the size of your space so I would love to give this a little demo and whatever one of my lovely models would like to model for me we weren't serious with the heels today yeah that's that one was so concerned yesterday about the no shoes huh yes that's the view is can she stand so you know I can I can have you said to so you don't even need them sure oh no sorry you bring the store yeah, no let's bring it let's let's do bad first let's bring it all the way back and I'll just it's fine we can just ruin it because well we can cut it right cut it after school all right take a look see yeah ok perfect. All right so let's assume that we're shooting in this situation and these lights right now are not on because I told you that's kind of the cheating part so if you eliminate the background it's not a problem right? So we have our subject here right away I already know if I use a contrast the modifier it will be a problem it's going to cash it was in the background much more likely says it okay let's start off with a bigger light source something a little bit more broad and we've kind of set this up here someone is going to make sure we get bad first help me do bad light first and I'll figure out where our meter so there got it perfect. Great thank you back ok, so we're going to give this a test and take a look at the shadows we create on sand looks ok that works all right all right, so I already and helping myself out before I even started by picking a softer light source all right, so you have a shadow that you see behind her well, even just here raising the light up will help a little bit to cast that shattered down a bit and it also helps if I just pull her out in the background now this late is too low in my opinion but I'm going I'm going to bring you back for so let's dio if I pull her away from the background coming to come in a little bit further that they have a nice decent size space let's try this and you want to meet everyone okay, I can guess you don't mind she felt right a little bit right? Tell me okay so the shadow is soft often too soft into the right really it's not that distracting but it's still less than ideal I still don't want to see it that defined so I pulled her away from the background I've moved the light uh with her the next thing I could do is raise that light up, okay? We're going to raise it up and what that will do is it takes the shadow from being behind her to casting it somewhat downward so it will be opposite of the light source so but like the shadow should be a little bit lower so we'll see you right now it goes up to maybe her shoulder and now it's just barely in the bottom of the frame and even more so if I pull the lead off to the side it casts it away so it's down and it's away right now there's a different shadow that I'll talk about in a second so the right hand side it makes it soft and makes it further away. You may touch on this anyway that if this is a beauty type shot would you use a reflector to fill in which wouldn't cast a shadow right? And if you use a reflector that won't cause you any problems the now if what you'll see is we did cause a problem with a shadow the shadow that we have on the left hand side and this has caused which is good or bad attend on the look you're going for its caused by feathering the lights to see how we're pointing the light towards you guys instead of really towards our subject if we want to get rid of that shadow when angle it back so it illuminates the background and so now efforts a little hot was turned down just a bit it one more time one more time okay, much better so in this next shot there really I mean maybe you could say there's a little shadow in the corner but it's I mean it's pretty much eliminated because it is a soft light source subject further from the background we made it even softer by bringing that modifier closer to her we cast the shadow out of the frame by bringing the light off to the side, and we raised the light up so the shadows cast down and out of the frames. So all of those things are working together to help us avoid shadows on the background. All right, so let me just pause and see if you've tried this and still struggling. Where the question areas I just think it's a little house for me personally because trying to understand how to avoid shadows, I think, is a huge beginner challenge. So, um, so thank you. Yeah, well, the champ, the shadows that I see the most are because people are in very small spaces and they have maybe a silver umbrella that they have further back, because what ends up happening that makes it more contrast the light source, they're already in a small space there, close to the background that make the shadow harsher like that would be a common problem. So your solution would be trying to pull your subject further away, trying to get a softer light source and bring it closer to your subject and anguish in a way that the shadow goes out of the frame. Objector any object is to the white source, the softer the shadow is going to be I mean, just think of with the sun and a tree. The sun is far away but she tree is on hard shadow in the clinic's cloudy the light source is closer than the shadows later it's not only the subject but it's also your go bos when we put flags up the close of the flag is to the light the softer that edge of the flags going to be as you move it back towards the background the harder and you're going to get there just keep the subject is close to the light and it's gonna be a softer shadow and I just would say like mentally I didn't quite get that until recently and if you look at my portfolio I just shot a new image where there's a really really chris shadow across the model's face and that was because I figured out that rule that I had to put the flag real close and they had used a contrast the modifier instead of the soft modifier with the flag far away so like it's much more advanced but when you get those concepts it's gets exciting as you start experimenting in the studio and figuring out these cool things that I've seen in magazines before but never knew how they did it it was only using two lights it's just using two lights in a smarter way right that's awesome can I ask a quick clarification because it's hard to see from the camera angler how far is r model from from the back door I was looking johnson terrible guessing about seven feet about seven feet great thank you and we can't do this let's let's give it a little bit try I'm gonna pull you back let's assume that you literally have like almost no space which is the next section right that's what we're known it goes where today so we're kind of desperate but assume that we have almost no space so the rules that we had in mind let's get these after a good good point all right and no idea what this explosion will be tested okay and still even in this first shot we do have a larger modifier so it really isn't that terrible of a shadow it's still there but if we were using a beauty dish or a small silver umbrella it would be a much more noticeable uh shadow so now we're going to bring that in and we have the light modifier a little bit further off to the side perfect thank you and get the same one attest are you just in that dump that a little bit okay? It says that people on to the late room people broke and can't back it up just a little bit for my space right there so again so I guess this could be done and what size space you know, maybe like the ten by henderson mauler and so let's try this hey, she's got a little bit of shadow kicked to the right so we could mayes it up a little bit higher. You raise that light up a little bit higher, it's going to throw the shadow down a little bit more and because we really put the light off to the side, it's taking it that way. I mean, as soon as a shooter, vertical instead of including the whole thing in the shadows gone, and she had back to the light for me somewhere. You don't see the shadow until I was shooting wide and it's. I'm trying to show you like if I were shooting the whole thing and see a little bit, but it's basically kicking it out of the frame no closer, I can get that light, the softer the shadows will be and it's going to wrap around the subject further. I could bring her out the left. I have to worry about where the shadows are.

Class Materials

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Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


If you're on the fence about this class I can easily answer your concerns. BUY IT. Lindsay provides top notch professional education while keeping things interesting. Her words are precise and direct. I actually felt GOOD just watching and learning. I mean, like someone surprised me with a cupcake kinda GOOD. After the class I could immediately see improvements in my photography. The best part is that I learned enough to see the wrong in my setups. Knowing what's wrong is just as important as knowing what's right. She is funny, easy going, energetic and filled with knowledge. I would also highly recommend her Posing 101 class as a must have addition to this course. I feel like I have learned more than I could possibly use. I will be going through this course over and over again just to make sure it all sinks in. There's THAT MUCH she offers that you will always learn more with each time you watch. I hope this helps someone make the decision to up their game. That is exactly what it did for me.

Jason Ashley

I loved this course! Lindsay spent so much time with explaining each set-up in-depth that anyone picking up a camera could understand how to accomplish their lighting goals. This course covered so many unique (but, most likely to come across scenarios) and how one would approach the challenge and how to successfully accomplish with incredible results, not average-sub-standard or basic results, but above entry-level standards, high-level, money-generating lighting expertise! ZERO laziness in her explanations to the point where she is constantly refining her course in the middle of the 3 days. Her passion gleams throughout each days lessons with so much energy. You know she really wants her students both in-person and through the screen to be successful in whatever type of lighting they choose to dabble in. I am so happy, I have bookmarked, and i'm so happy and fortunate to have this course to reference for hopefully –everrrr. Thanks!

Beatrice Palma

Hi, I am Beatrice from Italy. I think this class is superb. I finally understood what are the guide lines to follow, I tried for years but never found such a good explanation. Lindsay is a wonderful teacher, she explains in a simple way, she shares a lot of knowledge and she shows in practice what are the results of every single choice. Thank you so much, it was really amazing and super interesting!!!!

Student Work