April 9, 2020
Lighting for Full Length Portraits: OnSet ep. 180

Lighting for Full Length Portraits: OnSet ep. 180


Hey this is Daniel Norton. I’m here in my studio in New York City with Emily and today we’re going to talk a little bit about what size modifier we want to use for various things. I get a lot of questions about shooting full-length, because on these videos, just because often times easier to guys to show you the lighting, the way it looks on the body, how, the shape of it. I usually get in close to make portraits, but people will say. Hey, what if I was doing full-length? The main difference there is, you want to make sure you choose the right modifier, and how it’s going to like look on the body… coverage… such. So we’ll talk about that a bit today. I’m going to start off though with this softbox is a 2×3 softbox from Pro Foto. If you only had to have one modifier, this is usually the one I recommend of people. It’s really versatile, but not my not my first pick for full-length shots, but we’ll start with a close shot, which is I think, is what it’s ideal for. I am using the Profoto remote on top of my camera, but I’m going to turn it off for a second. I want to set myself up so that my first frame that I make, is completely black, Right? Perfect! So I’m at 250, at f/8 100 ISO. That means none of the light in the space is affecting my shocks. We’re here in a daylight studio, I want to get rid of that light, but turn this on I am in TTL. I’m in the kind of standard metering here, and because my light is on this side of her. I want to make sure that I’m focusing on this side, because the meter will pick up, that’s my.. what’s important. So that’s not terrible, it’s a little bit hot, as sometimes it’s the case when you have a lot of space in TTL, Iwant to maybe bring it down a smidge. I could either, I could switch to spot metering, which might help a little bit, let’s just try that. It’s now, I’m on spot metering, good, see. If that helps a bit Yeah, a little bit. Right? A little bit. It’s still a tiny bit hot for my taste, so I’m going to go into the camera. Remember with Pro Foto. If you want to make an adjustment, then you only have one light, you need to use the in-camera compensation. So I’m going to go in the camera, and turn the light down a bit. My other option would be to switch to the manual mode now, and adjust that way . The reason why I’m not going to, is I’m going to be moving the light around a bunch. So, alright, that’s pretty good you know it’s a there’s detail there. It’s not blown out, kind of looks the way a softbox looks on the face. We’re not going to work out this lighting scenario, because this is not what I’m here for. But this is a kind of a basic softbox look. Look towards a little bit, a little bit more, you know we can definitely get you know, we can get a few different looks like this. Really nice, but now if I want to go full-length, right, I’m using the 24/70mm, so I’ll go to.. so went to 35… I mean the lights in the shot right now, but don’t worry about that. We can see that, when I do that there’s tremendous fall-off, right she’s lit up here but not so much down here. We can see that the bottom of the dress is not lit. It’s definitely underexposed, obviously her feet and legs are completely dark. That’s because the softbox is not giving us enough coverage right. So the simple a solution is this, is the only thing you had would be to move the softbox right? So if I take my softbox and I back it up. The further away I make my light, the more coverage it will have. Right so I’ve been bring it back here. Now I will point out that as I’m moving these lights around. The background is going to change. It’s going to become brighter or darker, and the reason for that is the relative distance between this light and Emily, and this light in the background. I did another video on that. I’ll put the link in the description there. So if you guys want to watch that video to see that technical part of it, but for now they should do it. Right. We’re going to get enough coverage, and she’s a little bit more she’s a tiny bit underexposed now again. Remember I’m in TTL, so I’m going to adjust my exposure back, and now she’s lit right? We can see she’s lit head to foot, but if we look at the light it’s much more hard than when we had the light nice and close. Right. You see a difference there, so you can do it, Right? But the light is not quite as pretty right? You do get more coverage, the real solution here is going to be to make our light source larger. That way we can still keep it close, and still have it wrap around. For full length stuff, I like to use a big light source, so people can move around. I prefer to use my Scrim Jim.. it’s pretty simple. A softbox this big would be much more expensive than a ScrimJim, so it gives me that option. I’m just going to take my softbox off, toss it over here. It’s soft, so it won’t break anything, and I’m going to move this light in. This light source I should say, in closer now, because this is a 6-foot Scrim Jim. I basically have coverage. I could put it almost right next to her if I want. Now it is generally a good idea, to have your light-source kind of start from above. You know? At least a little bit, so I could put the Scrim Jim flat on the ground, and you know, put it right next to her. Because she’s you know probably barely over six feet tall, with those boots on. So it would cover her, but the problem is that my light would become too much from the side, and I want to create like a little bit of a raise. So I lifted it a bit, so I’m not going to put it right next to her, but I will get it in pretty close, and then the trick here is going to be to get my light, turn on the modeling light, because I want the light. You can see it on the ground probably. I want the light to, none of the raw light to hit her, you see local raw light on the ground there. I don’t want any of that to hit her. Now you might be wondering if I’m going to get a shadow on her from this, and the answer is no, by the time that shadow hits, hits the scrim, it spreads out and you’re not going to see any of that. So again we’re in TTL. So we could find ourselves with an odd exposure here, but we’ll give it a shot. See where we’re at. Oh well, yeah, the light creeped by, and created a cool shadow on the background wall. I do that on purpose. So yeah, you got to be a little careful about that, but if we look. It’s a little underexposed, but look at how nice and soft the light is on her. Let’s actually give it a little bit more juice. At this point since I’m not going to move my light around any more, I’m going to actually switch to manual, because it’s a little bit easier to tweak the light, and now we’ve got nice soft even light across her. If we don’t want that shadow in the background. I just have to move the light, obviously to make sure that none of it’s creeping past. I can actually see that shadow. So it’s just a matter of moving it like that, right? That should be pretty good. I’ll leave the modeling light on for a second, this is why they make modeling lights. Just in case you were wondering Emily, now another thing. I can still see the edge of it. But another thing to be wary of, is I’m below her, so I want to make sure her chin doesn’t go up too much. So when you’re shooting full length like this. You generally want the camera to be around their waist height, so they seem normal, but you don’t want them necessarily look up. So keep your chin no necessarily down, but not too far up, and we’ll get nice even light across her like that. Right? We have a nice pretty light going across her body, and this could be anything. I’m just throwing it against the wall in my studio, because I’m just trying to keep it simple. But if you had a lit background you could throw a roll of paper back there, and again it’s still just one light. Right? It’s one light large source, close ideally you want your light source as close as possible to your model. The closer the light source is, the softer will be. So what we want is big light source that’s the size of the model ideally. Close to her, that will give us the biggest softest light for full length. So you can find Emily on social media, we’ll put the links in below. So you guys can follow her there. Follow me here on YouTube, follow me on Facebook Daniel Norton Photographer. Be sure to subscribe to AdoramaTV and I’ll see you next time OnSet.

29 thoughts on “Lighting for Full Length Portraits: OnSet ep. 180

  1. I've been looking for some thin Black plexiglass to shoot small products, it has to be able to bend to give that curved background. I tried Lowes but all they have is clear sheets. Can I put a Black roll of Savage paper backdrop under it to get that look or do I have to get the solid black plexiglass?

  2. Thanks, Daniel and Emily! I appreciate all the subtle (and real-time) and detailed differences in the lighting that you point out. It's really helpful, and your results are the proof.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing! After starting following your work, I am starting to get really technical – and find my self adjusting a lot of things a smidge at the time 😉

  4. That shadow in the background actually adds to the picture in a positive way, personally I like the look. Great lighting tips Daniel, Thanks

  5. John Daniel or any one elt's can answer my question. I will be doing some lingerie photo's for a local store for there advertising catalog print and online. These will be 3/4 shots done in my small home studio. What lighting set up would work for these type of shots? I have 3 studio strobes, 3 umbrellas, 1 beauty dish,  36" reflector, white, light gray, black, back ground paper. I usually do Weddings but looking to expand.

  6. thank you for the video. Can you comment about the backdrops? it looks really clean, is it an one piece, what's the material of the backdrop? thank you

  7. Great video, thank you. I struggle to get rid of shadows on the floor next to feet/shoes. Do you have any top tips to get around this with lighting please?

  8. Nice video. Using manual flash is much better as we have control over the lighting. TTL seems to act weird at times.

  9. I need to make a channel like Daniel Norton. We need guidance in Philly and I also use profoto and gels and stuff.

  10. Daniel – your inclusion of the “start with the black frame” practice in each video is tremendously helpful. It reminds me the light is quantifiable and controllable. It also reminds me to think about shutter speed and fstop and not just to “shoot tests until it looks right.” Thanks for all the great videos and the pro models who help a great deal with posing ideas.

  11. I have a bunch of soft boxes and para's in my basement studio. I just leave them set up and they are scattered across the back of the studio on the floor. couple of 72" a Profoto 1×6 rfi. Tip I hate setting up soft boxes plus I need them for travel sometimes. I really like the Glow Para Pops from Adorama. On my 28" the rods seem to stay in during collapse but on the 38" the first time I collapsed it all the rods popped out, so I used an epoxy to hold them into the ring. Should I break a rod which is very rare they can be yanked out because the UV light cured epoxy is on the outside of the ring holding the the rods. Has absolutely no effect on the smoothness of collapsing the Parapop. I have also heard a few people say they cant collapse them evenly and half the side stays engaged. If you put them face down on the ground and squeeze both sides of the disengage at the same time they will always collapse evenly.

  12. Yea, Brilliant, It isn't what they know?, It's, "Do they have the gift of getting it across" again > Brilliant (and no background music to destroy the sound-track) 🙂 & please hit that little bell so you get email advises of any new vids' from these people (I'm already subscribed – just playing catchup) 🙂

  13. Hey I’m starting an online clothing boutique. I’m going to be doing my own photo shoots in my house, can you recommend affordable lighting for this to startup ??

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