Day to Night, Flash to Candle Light: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

December 9, 2019 0 By Peter Engel

In this video I’ll turn day to night, and make it appear as if my model has been lit by a candle. 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 today I’m gonna do a location portrait, where I turn daytime into night-time, and light my model with a candle or at least that’s the impression we’ll get! Now the first thing I need to do, is actually take control of the lighting in this lovely old room, and you might think night-time… I’m going to close all the curtains, get rid of the light, but that’s not true, in fact I’m going to open the curtains and let the light flood in, because we’re going to use that as part of our illumination on the model, but we’ll get to that in a little bit. So let’s get the curtains open, we’ll get our light set, let’s get a model in, let’s get shooting. So to help me out today I’ve got the amazing Jade. Jade’s gonna be the model, and as you can see, she’s dressed in a suitably Tuderish style, and that’s because the location we’re at
here Rowfant house, dates from the 16th Century. So it all kind of makes sense, and ties in together. Now the first thing I need to do is, to work out the exposure of the candle. It’s the brightest thing in the shot, and by trial and error I’ve come up with a setting of f/2.8, 1/100th of a second, ISO 400. Now I’m gonna take a picture at those settings, but without any flash, just to see how the ambient records at those settings as well. So let’s have a little look, as you can see I’ve got detail on Jade. There’s a little bit of detail in the background, and there’s a little bit of detail around the fireplace, and that’s what I want. I want some detail, but not too much, remember this is nighttime effectively, even though we’re actually recording this in the middle of the day! Thanks to the amazing people in Hollywood, we always assume that night-time is blue in color, even though it’s not in reality, but to simulate that, I’m going to change my white balance, now I could go for something like the tungsten white balance, or on my camera I can set a custom white balance, so that should make everything really blue, let’s have a little look, and sure enough everything is dark, but is now really blue, so we can kind of think that maybe this is nighttime. So now with the candle lit I can see whether this candle will actually put any light on Jade whatsoever. Let’s see how it looks, and not surprisingly the answer is no.. not at all, but we can see the candle in the shot, and we can see it’s a different color to everything else, because the color of candle light is much warmer than the color of natural daylight. So to light Jade I’m not going to rely on candle power alone, I need something with a bit more punch, and the thing I’m going to use is an eVOLV 200. Now I’ve got it in a standard reflector with a grid to really just try and target Jade, so the light doesn’t spill too much everywhere on the scene around me, but the settings now… I need a very low power, and this goes down to 1/128th of its full power, so that’s where I’m going to start. Let’s see how this looks, and that looks about right, if the flash is too bright, I could move it further away, but if it’s not bright enough, I could just increase the power but the obvious problem here is the color, everything is still, really, really blue, including the light from this flash. If you remember earlier on, I turned the white balance of the camera to a much colder color, and the light in here is actually just daylight. So daylight is coming out blue, and my flash is more or less daylight colored as well, or so of course, I’m firing effectively blue light onto Jade. So to make this look warmer as if she’s being lit by a candle. I’m gonna put a warming gel on the light. Now if I just put a standard orange gel on there, that wouldn’t be enough, that would just take you to white, and candles have a really warm white balance, so I’ve got more basically every orange gel I own, and shove them all together, this isn’t an exact science, this is going to be a pop it on see how it goes, and then maybe fine-tune in post-processing later, but we’ll get to that in a little bit. Let’s test this, here we go now. It’s worth remembering of course when you put the gels on your camera, it will adjust the brightness from the flash so you may need to adjust it a little brighter to compensate, and finally there’s the background of this shot, which is still very dark. I’d like a bit more light back there. I can’t open any more curtains, I can’t make the light outside any brighter. So instead, I’m gonna add a second flash. So I’ve got an Xplor 400 here, and this is going to go on its lowest possible power. It might even be that I just need to use the modeling light only, that could be just the right amount of light. Again this is a fairly daylight balanced light source, so it should throw some blue light back in the background, so this looks really good. Everything’s come together really nicely. I’ll take a few pictures here, and then we’ll move Jade around and do a shoot, ok Jade you ready? Okay? Let’s do it. Here we go. So the whole idea here is to balance the exposure with the candle-light, because you don’t want to lose any detail in that candle if you can avoid it. Now that might mean actually closing curtains, if the daylight is really bright. It could mean that you have to open curtains and add a little bit of fill flash, like I’ve done, or if you find yourself in a really dark room like this. We’ll forget about the ambient light, just put a flash somewhere at the back hidden away, and that’s what’s lighting my background. That really worked, it does look like Jade is there at night-time and being lit by a candle. Okay there’s a fair amount of artistic license used, and definitely some need for photo shop. So let’s have a look at the post-processing. So with this picture, the first thing I can see is the right-hand side, which is much warmer than I would like, and that’s because the light that was on Jade, has just spilt and caught the back edge of that bookcase. So to make that a colder blue color. I’m gonna use layers so in Photoshop.. is layer, new, layer, click OK, and then I need a blue color to match, so my foreground color currently black click on that, and then choose from a highlight. I think that bit looks pretty, good, a nice blue cold color. I need the brush tool, and I need a big brush using the right square bracket to increase my size, and have a lovely soft feathered edge, and there you go, I’ve painted it blue, but it looks absolutely terrible, and that’s why I’ve done this on layers, because now I can change the layer blending mode to color. I can also drop the opacity down just to blend that in so it feels a little bit more realistic, that’s pretty good, but there’s other areas that need a blue touch as well. So let’s make another new layer, I’ll click on the new layer icon this time for speed, and I’m gonna go underneath the candle, because this area probably wouldn’t be lit by that either, and then I’ll change the blending mode to color, and just drop the opacity down again, so it it looks about right. Okay something like that I think looks pretty good. Finally there is just the back of Jade’s head, so let’s make another new layer there, and I reckon again that would be a little bit cooler in color. Change the blending mode to the color blending mode, and drop the opacity down to whatever looks about right. It’s worth saying if you do that on the main picture, and there’s a reflection, remember you need to do the reflection as well. So let’s just put a little bit of blue onto the reflection, and again we’ll change the blending mode to color, and we’ll take the opacity down until it looks about right. So that looks pretty good, but just like the night-time is blue, we assume that candles glow, and they don’t.. but they should do, if we believe Hollywood. So let’s add that glow inside a Photoshop as well. So this is another job for a new layer, and this time I need to paint a different color, not the blue, but a much warmer color from the candle I’m actually gonna sample from Jade’s neck, because the sort of color that works well, is more of a a pinky red than a yellow, and all I need to do then is just click… maybe with a bigger brush round about there, that looks pretty good, and this time I’m gonna change the blending mode to lighten. To bring the flame of the candle back through. Now this wants to be an effect that is barely noticeable, so bring the opacity way way down, it needs to be there, but not exactly obvious, and if I do that to the candle that she’s holding, I need to do it to the one in the reflection. Once again put this on its own separate layer, make a smaller brush. Paint that in, but the same technique, change it to lighten blending mode, and drop the opacity way way down. So there is just there the hint of a bit of a glow, and a few other tweaks and adjustments. There it is, there’s my final picture completed, and there you go our day to night shoot is done. Jada’s done a fantastic job as our tutor character, and the photos look absolutely brilliant now. if you’ve enjoyed this video, don’t forget to leave me a comment below. Click on the subscribe button, and click on the bell icon to get regular notifications of all the new videos right here on AdoramaTV. I’m Gavin Hoey, thanks for watching.