In this video I create some dramatic moody lighting using just two speed lights. Hello I’m Gavin Hoey and you’re watching AdoramaTV brought to you by Adorama the camera store that’s got everything for us photographers and once again you join me in my small home studio for something that feels a bit more like a photo challenge. Because recently I was chatting to a fellow photographer, who said when I’ve got a small home studio, but I don’t do portraits because for lights, all I’ve got are just two basic speed lights and surely you need more things for a creative photo shoot. Well I disagree, in fact I think it can be extremely creative using nothing more than basic speed lights and that’s exactly what we’re going to do in this video. Now to be clear, I am just going to use two flashpoint speed lights. Well, two is better than one I guess, however I do have a big advantage that my studio walls are painted white and the ceiling is white, and I have got a bit of an idea of where I’m going to head with this shoot so let’s get a model in, let’s get shooting! So once again I’ve been joined in the studio by Fern, who’s going to reprise her role as Red Riding Hood for this shoot. Now let’s talk about a lighting. I’ve got the two speedlights at either side of Fern and they are equally spaced and also right in line with her shoulders. Now this is going to give a very specific sort of lighting. It’s very edgy, it’s very contrasty, quite heroic sort of light. Before I take the pictures however I need to check the power. So I want the lights to be equally spaced but also exactly the same amount of light hitting both sides of Fern. So let’s see what we’ve got. Let’s do this side first of all. And I’m getting F4. Okay, F4 sounds like a good number to shoot at. What about this one? F5.6 so I’m getting more light this side than the other if I reduce the power of the lights using the remote control I’m getting F4 equally both sides. Okay let’s take a picture like that see how it looks. That looks very edgy, very contrasty, very dramatic lighting. But what if you don’t want that really edgy hard shadowy lighting. Is it possible to get softer? Well actually yes it is and we can use the fact we’re in a small home studio to our advantage because rather than having the lights pointing straight at Fern let’s spin them around. So if I spin them around so they face the wall what’s going to happen is the light will bounce off the wall. It’ll spread and give much softer lights onto Fern like it’s a small reflective umbrella without actually using one. However if you change the direction of the lights, you’re going to change the power, so let’s re-meter see what we’ve got. So I’m back down to F2. Wow, lost two stops. F4 there we go, so the same thing applies to this one let’s check the the power of this light. Also F2. And back to F4. So again same power either side. Let’s take a picture of Fern, see how that looks. So this time we have much softer lighting. The shadows are there but they’ve pretty much disappeared, and it does look like we just used a couple of big soft umbrellas. However it’s not just the spread of lights that’s going to make a difference it’s also the height of the light. So these speed lights are roughly the same height as Fern’s shoulders but if I get the same lights, and I drop them right down low, let’s spin them back as well so they’re no longer soft, we’ll go back to the hard lighting. This is going to have an effect on the shot too now it’s worth saying that if you move the lights in this way, I’ve got to re-meter once again So out with the flash meter. Let’s check see what we got, let’s bring it back down to F4. And with both lights now at F4 again let’s take the same shot. Lighting from below gives a very distinctive look It’s sinister, it’s more edgy, it’s scary, it’s very cinematic in it’s appearance. However it still has that kind of hard edge fill so wouldn’t it be good if we could get that low slightly scary looking light but still get the softness from the other shot well we can again using the fact we’re in a small home studio What I’m going to do is going to get exactly the same lights but this time I’m going to bounce them off the ceiling. So with this angle of light the light is going to come up bounce off the ceiling and come down, but because it’s still down low, some of that light is still going to come and hit Fern in the face and give us that edgy look that we’re after, so there should be a combination of looks. Let’s meter that out because of course now, that light has further to travel it is going to be less powerful. And once again we’re back to F4 for both lights let’s take that shot. And there you have it soft lighting but with a sinister edge that works really nicely and I reckon that’s the light we’re going to do when we do our shoot. So Fern are you ready? Okay let’s take some pictures. So there we go we’ve got some really great shots of Fern there. These do look superb straight out of camera but of course there’s always room for a bit of Photoshop, so let’s get one of these into Photoshop and we’ll do a quick edit right now. Bouncing light around a small white studio is never going to be the best way to give control and direction to your light, however, I can fix some of that using post-processing tricks. So I could do this in Lightroom I’m going to use Photoshop Camera Raw and we’ll get to exactly the same end result. So here’s the picture I want to edit. Looking at it I can see clearly the top is brighter than the bottom which makes sense because the light was bounced off the ceiling and it’s also a bit brighter in the corners than I’d like as well, and that’s really because the lights work closer to the edges. So to fix both of those problems I’m going to come over to the local adjustment radial filter right here. Now the radial filter is a great way of adding a sort of vignette to your image. Before I use it I’ll make sure that it is set to outside which it is and then I’m just going to change the exposure. So I’m going to come to a little minus button here and just press it a few times till I get to minus two exposure that might be right, it might not be, let’s come into the middle and I’m going to click in the center of the image and just sort of drag out just like that, and that gives me a lovely vignette. Now I can move it around by clicking and dragging and it probably wants to go somewhere around about there. That looks pretty good, okay, maybe minus two is a tiny bit strong, let’s just bring that back a little bit like that. Okay that looks pretty good, there are other local adjustment tools, as well including the adjustment brush. Now with the adjustment brush I can choose something like clarity, I like a bit of clarity. Let’s increase that to plus 100 I’m going to paint some clarity, hopefully just onto the background, and a little bit onto Fern around the edges like that. Now it’s going to bring up all of the texture in the shot. I think that looks really good with this image, and background combination. However I want to make sure that I don’t get any on Fern’s face because in fact I want to soften that slightly by coming up to the adjustment brush and choosing the new option, and then going down to clarity, and using the minus button all the way down to minus 100, and with a smaller brush we can just make sure we remove any clarity and soften Fern’s face a little bit. Now that looks really good so far, but what about the axe that she’s holding now that’s a really important prop for this shoot and lighting effect to come together, and I really want to emphasise that. So I’m going to add a little bit more detail to the head of the axe. So once again it’s a job for the adjustment brush and once again I’m going to come to the to the new option here, and then I’m going to increase the clarity just to really push some some contrast into the head of the axe, and also while I’m here I’ll increase the shadows in that area too. Now if you’re going to increase the shadows, it’s worth remembering you might bring up some noise so I’ll add in a touch of noise reduction. Right let’s come over to the head of the axe, and we’ll just paint on that and you can see how that just brings up a little bit of detail there, and maybe with the same settings we’ll just do a little bit of these shadowy areas like that to add a bit of extra detail in there. Okay with a few other little tweaks and adjustments, there it is there’s my final picture completed. And I really enjoyed that challenge and yes with just two bare speed lights, a bit of planning and a bit of post-processing it is possible to create some amazing portraits. Now if you’d like to take up this challenge yourself, brilliant. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below, let me know how you get on. Even better of course if you want to see more videos from myself and the other amazing presenters right here on AdoramaTV you need to be clicking on the subscribe button. I’m Gavin Hoey, thanks for watching.