Hey, it’s Jay P. here from The Slanted Lens and we’re downtown in Los Angeles. We came down with no reflector, no strobes and we’re going to show you how to get great light using the reflection from the sky, in the shade, in the shadows. It gives this beautiful light if you set the person up correctly. Jenly is here with me. We’re going to take thousands of images here today. And then we’re going to sort them with Aftershoot which is an AI engine driven program that will cull your images quickly, so we can see the best ones and sort fast and then not have to spend hours sorting through the images. It’ll do it for us. So let’s get started and see what we got.
So when I got up this morning, we shot downtown last night, I wanted to see if this Aftershoot AI culling process could sort 7,000 images for me. I got up this morning, I looked at what it did. I was very pleased with what I saw. We’re going to get back to the lighting and showing you how to use that open sky to light people’s faces. But first off, let’s look at how this AI was able to sort 7,000 images. That’s a tremendous amount of workload to have to go through. It takes a lot of time. I want to show you how it really helped me to get through these images and to be able to get, kind of get it narrowed down to exactly where I wanted it to be.
First off, I broke it in a couple of folders. I put a folder of 2,000 images. In that folder of 2,000 images, when I looked at it this morning, so I have here 469 images that have been selected. It’s put, Aftershoot has put these into stacks. Like here’s a stack of five and a stack of five. It’s saying this is the best one and here’s four others, actually a stack of six. This is the best one and here’s five others that we think are, that were in the stack. And so I looked at this, I thought, “You know what, I’m going to have to look at each one of these and make sure that it got the right one.” So I started doing that. And I’ve used the period here to just go through the images in the group. And I’d go back and forth going, you know what, I’m pretty pleased. I do love the fact that it brings this up here in the corner. If I double click on this I get this large view. I can see the important faces called key faces. I see the important face in every image. I can see if it’s sharp, if she’s blinking. And of course, the one they chose, she is sharp, she’s not blinking. So seeing that face is really helpful for me. If I use the period and the comma I can just go through there, each of the faces. I see a nice large view here. I see her face large. So it’s like it’s punched in. I see those separate from each other. Now if I use my arrows down here I just jump to the next group. And this group has five images and I can either sort, sort, sort, sort, sort, sort, sort and I can start to get a pretty fast process where I’m going. Okay, that’s a single image. I like it. I’m going to leave it. I got three images here. Yep, goes back and forth. I picked the best one. I can just go through this very quickly and see if I like what it’s selected.
You know, one thing I want to show you this really fast. I don’t know why this is so, I went, I did a photograph of my family at a family reunion and this was insane because I’ve done this many, many, many times. I’ve got 50 people, 50 plus people here. And it brings up every key face. So if I look at this stack there’s nine images in this stack. And I’m looking at my key image right here, the best one. There’s my key image in this group. Over here is every single face. And I can see in just one second that everybody looks good. It was so fast to go through this and find the perfect images that it made it incredibly worthwhile. I’ve never had a software that will give you that kind of option. It just gave me complete control to see exactly, whatever it looks like. If you don’t want to work with 430 images, which I don’t, you just got to go through that process. Aftershoot has culled it down to 400. Now you just have to go through the process of selecting your final selects. So once you’ve got your selects down to the number you want you just simply save down here. Or in this case you can export. Now you can edit in Aftershoot or you can export to one of the major software’s like Lightroom or Capture One to do your editing there. Or you can save them to a folder. You can move all of your selects into a folder and then you can work with that folder from there. So we’ll talk more about editing in another video. But just know you have the ability to move it into a software you’re used to. Or you can edit in Aftershoot.
All right, let’s get to some lighting. Talk about that open sky lighting.
So this is the perfect situation where you’re looking and working into the open sky. But what we’ve got here is just really a phenomenon that I love. And that is that I have a building that’s reflecting light back into the shadows here. So look at the hard light on Jenly’s face. I mean there’s directional light there. But it’s not the sun. It’s a bounce off from that building. Which means I can get a great shot of her. That building’s in the shadows back there. I see a deep blue sky behind her. It just looks really, it almost looks like it’s strobe lit. It has a beautiful look. And it’s really kind of edgy and fun. And so we’re going to shoot a bunch of these. It’s a great place. So this is the light bouncing off a building into the shadows. You can see it on the ground. You can see all this light on the ground that’s from that bounce light off that building. So I’ll shoot some there. And then I’m going to move over just into the shade and just show you what it looks like when it’s just the open blue on her face. Take a look at that. So we’re looking for that open sky to light our model.
So one thing I’m doing here that makes this work is I’m getting her in this position where she has really a beautiful butterfly light on her face. Or she’s getting a nice Rembrandt. That light is high enough that when she turns you get that little loop light to the side. You get a beautiful Rembrandt on her face. So I can turn her and look directly into that sky that way. And look at that. That’s just a beautiful light. But it’s all from that bounce light off the building across the street.
This works a lot better when you get down low when you look into the blue sky because it simplifies the background. You get rid of all that foliage and everything back there. And it just looks beautiful. So I’m going to get low. So Jenly just moves beautifully. It’s just so fun to watch. I’m using that building in the background as kind of a balance item. But looking into the simplicity of the blue sky. Oh that’s wonderful.
So with Aftershoot culling this it’s going to be much easier. Because every time I change a position with Jenly here, it’s going to make that a group. Not an outfit, not a location, but every time I get into a new kind of framing. It’s automatically, because of the AI, going to turn that into a group. And then it’s going to select the best image. One that’s in focus, one that her eyes are open. It’s going to choose the two or three best images. I may ask it to choose the four or five. But I can decide how many I want to choose from each group. It may have a group of just one. Maybe then do a next group of eight. Then a good group of four. Then a group of five. And it’s going to sort through there and give me the best from each one of those groups. Now I can quickly go through and make my selects. And it just makes that end process so much faster. I’m shooting hundreds of images here today. So it’s going to make that a lot easier.
So I have her now dead in the shade. All I have is this blue sky back here that’s lighting her face. I see a highlight on her face but it is very subtle. I’m going to have that really backlit building behind her. So it’s going to look fairly nice. I’ve got nice blue sky in the front. But it’s not going to have the highlight that we got with the bounce light off that building. Let’s see what we got here. So you get a very different look. Her face is not as bright. The building in the background is kind of blown out a little bit. So it’s a different look. But it’s very interesting. We’re using that sky to brighten her face.
So I love shooting a silhouette. I’m shooting towards the bright light of the sky. That bright light of the sky is going to give me a silhouette of her. If I expose for the sky it’ll be very blue but silhouette. If I expose for her face then it’s going to start to be very white.
So I’m going to flip around now and try to use the brightness of that sky back there as light on her face and see what that looks like. So I’m at f/2.8 on 180 millimeters and that background is falling way out of focus. But I’ve got Jenly facing the sky where the sun is going down. Not direct sun. Direct sun isn’t hitting her. But it’s the sky back there. The sky is very bright. The sky is giving us beautiful light on her face. The skin just looks beautiful. We get that butterfly under her nose. Great cheek, I mean it’s just a beautiful light from here. So I’ve turned her towards the bright side. This is west, where the sun’s going down. And that bright sun is going to light her face. So that bright sky is going to light her face. So you can see that this is working. Look in her eyes. You see the sky. You see the highlight her eyes. When I look at it, it’s just beautiful in her eyes. You see that highlight. That’s from the sky behind us. So beautiful.
So I’ve been shooting with this 180 millimeter lens at f/2.8. It’s beautiful. But I’m going to go to a wide lens. I’m going to go to this Tamron 20-40mm. I’m going to try to lay on the ground and look straight up at the buildings and some of the things around us here. And just see what that looks like. I think it’ll look fabulous with those long striped pants and Jenly’s long legs. I mean, it’s just all going to look good. So we’re going to go that 20-40mm.
So this is a perfect example of using the sky, or in this case it’s the sky and a building across the street. That building across the street is like a large reflector. The sun is still on that building. It’s bouncing light in on her face and it’s beautiful. We can work in this shade for a long, long time just because we’re getting the reflection from that building behind us. So it just gives us beautiful light. Even after the sun comes off from that building we’ll get the sky up here. It’s the bright spot. We’re looking towards the west a little bit. It’s going to give us really bright light on her face. And that’s going to give us an opportunity to work in here for a long time. So it’s a gorgeous way to work.
Part about what makes this concept work is that I have the person in the shade. But I’m facing them towards what I would call, the hot spot or the bright place in the sky. That’s usually the direction the sun is either coming up or going down. I don’t want direct sun on them. But I want the highlight from the sky to bounce light in on their face. So if I just get them in the shade and there’s a bright sky out to my right or if there’s a building just reflecting on my right, that’s going to bounce light in and give me a beautiful light. Then I have to expose for the face. I’m going to open my exposure up. I usually shoot these in manual so I can open that exposure up and expose for the face and let the background be a little bit brighter than I normally would. But it’ll give me a beautiful image. It gives you beautiful light on the face. And you can shoot all day long using this principle. Find the shade, look for that bright bounce light from the sky and expose for the face. And then shoot away. What you want to do to make this work is not face the dark sky like I am right now. But just move your model around. Look towards that dark background. And now the bright light of the sky, the buildings that are in the sun, will reflect light back on my face and give you a beautiful light. Beautiful light on the face. Now you’re exposed, when you’re exposed to the face, the background gets darker and gives you a really beautiful looking light. So keep your model faced towards the light and it looks great. If you come over here it looks dark and not interesting. Over here, bright.
So this is the perfect situation. It’s dark behind Jenly. She’s just on the edge. So that the light from the sky and from around the buildings here is lighting her face. It just gives you the perfect juxtaposition because it’s lighting her face but the background’s falling dark. It’s a perfect situation. Like you say, it’s the same as at a doorway when there’s bright sunlight. Or even like late in the day like now where there’s just light in the sky. Dark background behind her gives you a beautiful light.
All right, so we got one more outfit to shoot. We’re going to get out here and shoot down in the alleys and some things. So it’s kind of a more grungy look. Let’s get out there and see what we got. It’s getting dark. We got to go!
So the sun’s gone down now and we don’t have any really glow in the sky any longer. We’re lighting Jenly’s face with the street lights. But I want to shoot some. It’s fun. It’s kind of gritty. It looks interesting. And Mertie, our dog, is barking. So it must be time to go home. So we’re going to shoot a few. And back to the studio where we get into Aftershoot.
So we’ve been shooting for several hours. We’re done now. So Jenly, thank you very much. You did a great job. Let’s get back to the studio. I’m so glad we’re using Aftershoot because it has that AI sorting the images for us. It’s going to go through this really quick. We shot a lot of images. I’m glad we’re going to have that speed to sort through them. So let’s get back to the studio.
I went through a process of setting up the AI so that it would make selections that would kind of narrow this down a little more for me. And if I look at this I go back here to my albums. This is when I did, it’s a little smaller, I’ll just show you how I did this really quickly. I’m going to restart the culling. And it allows me to come into, this is the menu where you’d make your decisions. So I’m going to do an automated AI culling. I made this kind of standard for about the amount of selected photos. In some ways I could have done few. Which would have meant that it’s going to give you less selected images. But I kept it standard. It allows me to have one per stack. And it’s going to show me quite a few. This makes your groups. I like bigger groups because I shoot in burst mode a lot. And so that burst mode is going to allow me to see all those images that are pretty similar. And it’s going to select the best one for me. You can go large which is big. When I say groups, it puts them in stacks. That stack process is really good. Blurry, I was very strict about blurry photos. I didn’t want anything blurry. I want things very sharp. If you’re doing something that is really kind of, you know, motion driven, you would want this to be less strict. And then of course closed eyes are important to me. And just start the culling. And after it goes to that culling it’ll give you the stacks of images that are similar and the one that it thinks is the best. All right, so now at this point I have my quick filters here. I see that I have 460 images. If I want to, I can go straight down and I can just look at these images and put them as a three if I don’t want them to get them out of my selects. You could certainly go through here and I can look back and forth between the ones that I liked. You see the key faces. I mean it’s just, it makes it a much quicker way to be able to go through all the images.
You know, I think this is what AI is meant for. I think it’s really a super good application because it allows me to make decisions about images and to be able to cull the images. I mean, when you send your images off to another person they’re making decisions. And those decisions are based on the criteria you’ve discussed with them or what they’ve learned in the past. Well AI has the ability to do that same thing. I think this will even become more defined in the future as they add more ways to kind of work on the algorithm and to make it more specific. I think that’ll be interesting to see as it grows. But right now I’m very pleased with what I’ve got.
All right, so let’s wrap this up. I had a great time shooting downtown. I love that open light look on people’s faces. It’s a beautiful light. It was so easy and just turn key to cull using Aftershoot. It made that whole end process, even though we had shot so many images, just a very easy process. It saved us a lot of time. I think as an AI process this is what AI should be doing. And it really makes for a great way to save you time and to get you through that process. If you’re shooting weddings and portraits you’ve got a workload that is overwhelming when it comes to culling images and making decisions and getting things out to your clients. This is going to speed that up for you and make that much easier. It certainly is for me. So if you want to get some other lessons on this kind of thing check out these lessons. But I hope you enjoyed this. AI is the future and Aftershoot is there. So keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’!