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Adventure Photography

Lesson 12 of 32

Big Sur: Camp Lifestyle Woods Shoot

Lucas Gilman

Adventure Photography

Lucas Gilman

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Lesson Info

12. Big Sur: Camp Lifestyle Woods Shoot

Lesson Info

Big Sur: Camp Lifestyle Woods Shoot

Camping how about we go camping okay so s so we got a little camping segment again in big sur here we had our our guy eric you've seen a lot of of eric you're going to seymour american the next session in person this time a great guy and I'm going to see me bossing eric around a lot more uh and basically we there is a certain time of day it happens every day after sunrise at ten o'clock or eleven o'clock when all of a sudden the light is cooked you're like what do we do now typically the first thing I do is I find open shade s o after light was cooked we went basically and found some open shade and we sort of developed this sort of camp theme because we were in big sur it seemed natural and we're really looking for it to be authentic using props that that lent themselves teo really being a camp experience s o let's go ahead and run this and then after the fact we will talk about how we we used light you know to sort of bring eric out and sort of the different moods and themes that we s...

ort of work through uh some things to think about while we're while we're doing that so let's go and run that way had a great surf session this morning ah and this is this happens every single day as you know the light is eventually going to get cooked in ten eleven o'clock there's you know ah it's going to very high in the sky not flattering so the first thing to think about is to find some open shade uh we moved up the hill fondle a lovely spot we got some old growth redwood you got some shade it's getting hot outside so not only is this a great spot shoot but it's also very comfortable ah and we're going to set up a really sort of interesting little camp scene and the for the foremost thing we're going to think about here is making it is realistic it's possible on dh we're going to go through and ah, this is essentially ah my camping kit mixed with some other things ah we're gonna have you know, props that are going to make this feel authentic and really and just sort of all of this so in my bag here we've got a bunch of pieces they're going to go through uh we've got our trusty hammock which these things they're super comfortable ah, we got a sleeping bag here ah coffee cup always stays in the kit we've already sort of rig this with carabiners thes air great they're lightweight they're easy to carry, they make a great prop ah thermos is always something that's great too have along your bag along with that thermos uh having a little coffee pot little french press ah, boiling unit here is awesome. Not like you make coffee for the crew, which makes him your best friend. But you can have hot water so you can get that you know, shot of your subject with this water steaming out in the early morning uh, additionally, cup cups are very important, you know, it's one of those things where camping's a very social thing. People are typically having coffee. They may be having a frosty beverage, but now having something in somebody's hand, not only is it a great prop, but it gives them something to do because if you have a subject that's not comfortable being in front of the camera by your friend, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, you don't give them something do with their hands all of a sudden their hands are here and they look uncomfortable, but if you give them something to hold like a nice little thermos here ah, you'll give them something to do and something to take the attention off of that, um, again something to hold for somebody else so we have a couple different props. Ah, this is a little water bottle we have ah, cup here is, well, another thing to make it a little more authentic, something I always travel with a solar panel such as this goal zero here were always charging our cameras, our laptops, etcetera, etcetera and in our sort of current day and age we're all tethered to electricity so being able to charge your your smartphone and such is great toe have in camp so we always hang this up first thing we do when we get somewhere so we have that ability you know as far as this background again we're going back to his background theme we picked this area here the lights a little dappled it's not to to contrast ing but it's a very simple background because what we're going to do here is we're going to basically build our little stage and we don't want anything to take away from this ah we're trying to have focus be here ah on our subject and we're going to give them some sort of real life scenarios toe work through ah so that this seems again is relevant and is, um true is possible ah so we're going to have eric here our trusty model who just had a nice little surf session this morning and we leave we've dressed him here ah we work through these this apparel ah prior to coming on the shoot, it wasn't just like oh hey eric, what did you bring ah actually, you know went over to his house who went through the closet in he's done a lot of photo shoots for a lot of different people, and we put together some complimentary things that feel outdoorsy there in my sense kind of generic. I don't want a lot of name brands because being a commercial photographer, I don't want to limit myself in the people that I could possibly have this image be sold to in the future. Ah, therefore I don't want big logos and things like that, but he looks nice, he looks outdoorsy and he looks most important seasonal, you know, you don't want to have him look like he's going to the arctic tundra when we're obviously in california for the rest of shots, so having a beanie and a light flannel makes sense and we want to just keep that theme throughout, but I'd probably go through because we've got too many props here. Ah, this is something I just sort of carry this kid's got a water bottle, we've got a thermostat got our jet boil here, we've got our cooler I'm gonna go ahead and just sort of place eric here in the hammock, we're getting a little bit of nice light in here coming in, we might enhance that a little bit later, we might use a little reflection to feel him a little more, but for now, it's looking pretty good, this is looking pretty over staged I mean, unless eric has a pretty big drinking problem, lots of fluids, we've got too many. Ah receptacles here I'm gonna go ahead and clean this area up a little bit just so you know, eric was kind of hanging out and, you know, I would typically if I was doing this is a really shoot I would have to people maybe a guy and a girl the way it's a little bit easier for people to interact. Ah, but in this case, it's just me and eric on this trip, so, you know, we're just sort of making do with what we've got we've got our back back here just sort of throw it off the side ah, we don't want it to be the main center of interest. Um, the nice green cup here, give him that. Ah, we probably don't need this guy, so we'll just sort of put it over here in the side for later on and now what do we do with eric he's just sitting here in this coffee cup? You know, I think the next step is all right, well, let's, let's get him to get him to kick back and sort of get comfortable and see what we've got because I don't really know the way this scene is going to look and again we're starting with the background first, so we've got this beautiful foliage we got old growth redwood and we're looking at this frame and I'm always looking at these frames like this there's apse on your phone, you can do that as well, but always looking at this and figuring out what I want to include in what I don't want to include and I'm basically just going to include just past these trees and I'm gonna go back just a little bit and shoot a little low so I can get him back on this background and sort of see how it looks, um looking back, it feels like he's a little bit stranded on an island here, you might move these things a little closer, go hiding things that aren't necessarily that integral to the shoot. Um and maybe we'll even just have this guy right here because maybe he's got his note pad or something in there. Ah, the work on so eric, go ahead and kick back. Yeah, it is sort of like that feed out and it's looking really good. I'm like in the scene. Ah, this is a little awkward here looks like it's about to fall over, but it's working, you know, we'd probably that two spices up a little bit, we might actually boil a little bit of water has some steam coming out of here if we're doing this a little earlier in the day and have eric actually sipping on some coffee? Um, the only problematic I think I'm seeing right now is that eric's face is relatively dark hair, ex feeder vote relatively bright. Um, so in order to we have two things we can do, we can either bring out a reflector and feel a little bit of light. Just push a little light in there by reflecting that light off. Ah, this area on to him, or we could just bring a strobe in, like, the be ones we use this morning and just pop a little light on him just to even that ah, tonal range out just a little bit. Ah, I haven't decided what is the best course of action, but these are the two courses of action that you could use. Ah, inversely. We want to go super simple. We could just have eric flip around and see what that looked like. So good. And flip around eric and see what that light looks like on your face. Little better. Um, the light's coming in a little bit difficult. I don't know if we're gonna be able to get a reflector in here so private, bring out ah, one strobe, although when he rocks just a little bit you're seeing that little bit of light go on his face that could actually be pretty nice so we're going to start taking a few shots yes and just sort of see what we get ah again there's no right or wrong we're just working through a process you know we're going to take a test shots you're at the test shot looks good will continue to shoot if it doesn't look good we will fix the problems in the photo ah photography is problem solving it's not if there are problems it's when they're in problem when there are problems and how harder they to fix you know never nothing ever is super simple and easy there's always going to be something you're gonna have to tweak eso we're going start taking a couple of shots and work through the process so the beach we're on shutter priority earlier because the most important thing to us was the fact that we're freezing the action were so we're in a very, very fast shutter speed ah in this situation the shutter speed is not it's important to me we have a relatively sat static subject so what is important to me now is the proper exposure there's two methods to do this ah one of my other favorite automatic setting would be aperture priority which is a on a nikon system which stands for after priority ah I would use that and then I would use exposure compensation either dialing up the exposure plus or minus depending on what the test picture told us or conversely, we can use manual exposure and it will be dialed in for every single shot. The thing you have to remember is if you're using an automatic setting, if you change your framing where all of a sudden eriks a very small part of this and there's a very dark, dark background that's going to change the exposure of eric, whereas if we're on a manual exposure and we dial that in right away, we're not have to worry about that changing barring the son goes behind a cloud or something, but we can get that sort of dialed ah, so I'm gonna go ahead and put this on manual exposure and dial this in we're going to be around the four hundred sl range there's no reason that four hundred is the right number is just a number that I know that there is no noise, I don't need to be in a super high eso and I don't wanna have a ton of depth of field, so I want eric to be in focus and I want it to fall off relatively quickly because there's a lot of detail back here behind him there's a lot of trees and branches and sticks, and I want them to be a complementary aspect of the photo but not necessarily something that is taking over the photos so by shooting an aperture of se f four from here out it's going to fall off relatively quickly because I'm gonna be in about maybe fifty millimeters because I'm gonna back up so that I have kind of a standard view of field here so quick test to fifty take the back two hundred the four quick test on that and we're really lucky right now because this pool of light that eric is in is actually very cool it looks like we actually almost put up a strobe up above him and actually rigged this so I'm gonna go and work through this a little bit because we actually have some really nice light and I'm just waiting for him in light there he is cool all right, so we've got some good shots how my framing this well, you know, I could go super wide and have all of this stuff over here but the reason I'm not incorporating this over here you'll notice we have from this tree over here through this whole zone we have a pretty consistent tonal range once we get over there all of a sudden that area over there is in bright, bright sunlight so I'm cropping the edge of my frame right here at the edge of this tree because we have a consistently lit background here um the other thing I want to make sure I do is I'm not cropping out this tree because we don't want eric to look like he's floating in mid air we want himto have like when we're talking about the surfing or the action shots give it a sense of place I don't want someone to feel awkward when they look at this photo um you know we're our job the photographer is to give someone a sense of direction yes we can do that for for an effect but the effect that I want to have here is one of ah I call it selling the dream I want to be in this scene I want to go to this place I want to be in a in a hammock in big sur ah sipping on coffee enjoying the day this is to me selling the dream so I want to have this be as simple and inviting as possible because that's really sort of the takeaway from this is you want people to want to be there to be in this scene and to be part of this actually looking really nice you know is is I'm planning this trip? Ah you know it's it's it's to me very, very simple because I have camped growing up and I've you know, done all these things in the outdoors since from a very young age but if you're not an outdoorsy person really, you know, do the research that could be going into your local mountaineering or camping store and asking them all right, this is my first time camping set me up what I need, you know, when they're going to be okay and your stove either ground pad you need a tent and just go through the list and make yourself a little you know, boilerplate list of things that air possibly essentials if you're going to be staging one of these scenes, you know, I have ah, backpack that set with, you know, cups, props ah, you know, water, boiling devices, stoves and all these kinds of things ah, that's ready to go? So if eric and I jump in the car and go to big sur, you know, we're ready to go and we have all these things sort of set up and we can sort of adjust the mood of the shoot based on, you know what we're trying to convey, but if you're if you've never done this before ah, there are magazines such as backpacker magazine look at these camping shops, see what they include, what they don't know include, you know, for instance, you know, very, very, very popular shot is, you know, the shot in the tent looking out with the feet, you know, to me that's the worst shot in the world that's like the selfie of the camping world personally drives me crazy but it obviously sells a time would I shoot that? Not if possible I'm looking for something a little more authentic something a little more you know on our trip um you know, I think this is a pretty cool scene this is this is real to life the only thing we're missing and this is obviously a story about speak sir and we've been photographing eric is what are we missing? We don't have his surfboard this has been an integral part of our our shoot this is the common thread which is, you know, sort of bonded all of these images together um you know, would you would we have a surf board up here? Uh, we were camp probably because we probably wouldn't want in the back of the car on the rack and the sun getting cooked uh or you know, because that's when the things get broken off in that kind of thing so I'd probably grab the surfboard and we probably throw this up here just to give us a little bit more of a balanced but it also if we're telling a photo story or for for instance, your dream is to work for sunset magazine, a travel magazine in california you know, this is something that where if you sell the one photo a big sir to me this is living the dream and this also is summed up in one image you can't rely on all of the images too ah be used together in a sense you can't be like oh well, this is ah my body of work from big sur you want to make sure that each of those images can stand up on its own and be looked at and read very quickly because you know the internet and now streaming through twitter and everything else we have no attention span so if somebody can't read a picture within about a half a second, they're not going to look at your photo so having it be very quick read will help you ah not only sell more photos but have mohr powerful and interesting photos on that's what we do layers we want to have something that's a dominant subject I eric in this position ahh and then we have layers there are things that are more interesting, so if somebody does, you know, look at your image from say, three or four seconds they have something interesting to look at. Typically the most the brightest and or sharpest ing in a frame or a photo is what we look at first so that's why we typically don't wantto have very bright spots behind the subject anything to draw away from what we're trying to convey eso the sharpest and brightest is what we look at first and from there typically we're either looking at leading lines which are lines that come in or or intersect in our photo or if we don't have that typically we go depending on the person either in a clockwise or counterclockwise sort of rotation around the photo sort of looking around to see what we see um and and that's just all sort of basic science the other thing we try to do is we use colors which are bright but they're also complimentary we're not wanted to be our viewers over the head with color but we want there to be enough color there to really draw us in notice that he's wearing sort of a flannel was a little bit of rusty red innit we've also got our hammock here which has those sort of same tones we don't have a neon green hammock you know? So we're working with complimentary tones and we're working through this process everything is sort of in the same color palette and you know I think it's really working all right? So we've just added a new additional prop you know I'm feeling like we're getting a little bored balance here we've got our common thread with out of the surf board and the next thing I'm going to do is you know we're getting close we've got the light eriks you know now in the consistent area of light ah and I'm going to sort of go from top to bottom I'm gonna look at eric shoes his cuffs uh how his shirt sleeves rolled and I'm gonna go through like a mental checklist to make sure that there's nothing that's like oh oops you know when you've seen that movie and the person is smoking a cigarette and they just light and then two seconds later they come back to them and it's like almost gone these are things that are bothersome so things that are annoying so I'm looking at the scene I'm saying ok there's two things that bother me right off we've got a little thermos here that's laying on its side it looks sloppy I'm gonna go and remove that go and looking again eriks looking pretty good uh but we got a big branded logo here well aside we can get rid of that looking pretty good ah the coolers got a logo on the side maybe I'm gonna turn it just a hair so that we don't see this logo I also don't want to see this logo a lot um typically anti logo personally just because it gives me much more flexibility later on and throughout the shoot uh this backpack looks a little sloppy I might just have it sitting here a little more like he's going to pull something out of it um yeah we're looking pretty good pretty good do a couple more test shots I am still on manual exposure I s o four hundred ah two hundred of a second it at four I'm gonna go and take a test shot. Eric, can you give me a little movement there you go. All right. Test shot. Yeah it's looking really nice. So finally that two hundred is a little bit fast on the shutter speed as far as our exposure. So I opened up to one sixty of a second of four again f or is a nice open amateur this two eight lens so I've stopped down just a little bit we've got really good sharpness, but we're still and pretty wide aperture therefore our depth of field is pretty shallow, so that really goes soft in the background. Ah, also four hundred it's basically said I could be a handheld ah type of shutter speed around one sixty I can hand hold down to about a fifteenth of a second, but if I don't need to there's no reason to um you know, through through this process ah, we've basically gone from finding our location, which ah, I found this location basically just by driving down the road. But there are other ways to find locations such as panoramic eo google earth er you're going somewhere you can find lots of pictures on the internet just by googling the location ah, they're all geo tagged these days because people have phones that you attack everything so by just looking on the internet where you're going to go the location you're going to go you're going to find lots of pictures in the exact location this will save you a lot of time ah, the old fashioned way of just going up and doing the pre scout like we've done in this case is kind of fun and there's a little bit of a sense of adventure as well, but if you're going somewhere you've never been there and you'll only have a limited amount of time I would say that you know, using the internet to the best your ability would probably behoove you yeah, I mean it's a lot of fun you know, this is one of those things where it's a process we weren't we worked through this whole thing and we walk away after a trip like this with hopefully a nice body of work ah we walk away with a successful picture package ah and we've hopefully learned something in the process and it's not just about learning something that we did right but it's also what we did wrong what could we do better next time whether that's hey, maybe we should have been there half hour earlier for sunrise or hey, maybe you know we should have that extra piece of year in the backpack maybe we didn't pack enough props uh, you know, all these sorts of things there thinks things to think about when we're planning our next photo shoot on I think it's really important to have sort of a decompression session after the trip with your your model, your friend, your buddy, whoever they may be and talk about how to go, what did you like, what is not like, you know, for instance, after the surf session today, you know, eric and I talked about the waves and what, you know what we thought it would do later on this evening so we could sort of plan the rest of our day based on that on that's very important to stay vocal, I know it's very easy to hide behind a camera and be, you know, sort of the creepy uncle, but, you know, make sure you're engaging with your subject and talking through these processes because you will become a better photographer uh and don't be afraid of direct a little bit, you know, this is, you know, this is this is a documenting our journey, but, you know, don't be afraid to tell her, okay, you know, can you look over this way or do this or do that ah, and within reason, they're going to be more than accommodating so we've eric's just made coffee we're looking teo again just get a little bit different shot and we're working through this process so we had eric make a pot of coffee we had him put in the thermostat we've got another properly sort of clean this up um I'm looking here I'm not liking the red cooler everything else is kind of organic we've got this sort of plastic red cooler to go and pull that guy out and then all the stuff as well now our light has changed so where we now have pretty dappled light behind eric and what dappled light is it's just this little filter of light coming through the trees and it can either be pleasing if it's in little pools but right now it's kind of bothering me because the background is now brighter than erica's so the first thing we're going to do is I'm going to take a test exposure of my background like I always do ah and figure out my framing of this shot so ah I'm just gonna guess it's a quick test and I am at s o four hundred to fifty the second it at four point five and that's pretty close ah again we're exposing for the background now because it's where that's where the highlights are we want to draw are not draw attention away from our subject was eric which is now he's in the in the shadow here ah inversely we could like the background go and just had to be blown out but we're trying to make this look as natural as possible uh and you know in order to do that we're going to bring in a little bit of light so that's looking pretty good two fifty the second four point five I'm going to go ahead and bring in a ryan here who's got this pro photo be one which we're transmitting ah all the wireless data here we got this set on manual and orion what's our power setting right now four point six so that's about half power on this five hundred watt strobe so I'm just gonna have him go directly with that and point this at eric's face because the face and the eyes or what people look uh instantly in a in a image ah and we're just gonna do a test shot here so do that real quick and we're getting just a little bit of light it's looking pretty good but I'm getting a little bit of a sidelight ah I think I'm actually gonna move it around this way a little bit because if you look in the background the sun is coming from this aspect so I want this to look natural if possible so go this way just a hair and bring it up just a little bit because I wanted to look like the sun is actually coming through these trees and lighting eric up um and I'm gonna go ahead and turn up the power just two tenths of a stop and again we're just do another test and a little more since we moved that so again this is a little bit of a trial and air so it's looking pretty good so we've now added a little bit of light on to eric who's in the shadow and we're basically exposing the ambient exposure for the background and stopping down just a little bit so those highlights don't get too blown out um so I'm gonna go ahead and add that and now we're just going to start shooting a little bit all right eric you can go out and start pouring some coffee oh it's one of those aa in my my haste packing the props actually pack the soup flask is opposed to the thermos flask but it all works the same so it's going to get some shots of him foreign coffee and he's loving this smiling and that deep in the background means everytime I the flash goes off that beep means we're back at full power so I know I could just continue to shoot let's go ahead and put the flask down and cover it back up with the cap just so it doesn't look like it's wide open there we g o and now we're just gonna have you basically just sort of two hands on the coffee cup maybe turn the coffee cup sideways there ugo perfect and just sort of reflecting sort of contemplating and I want you to look over my shoulder sort of off in the distance as though even though we're in like a relatively wooded area is if there's a little bit of a view just sort of looking off in the distance and enjoying your sort of post surf coffee session here and we're having fun no blinking their ugo it's good cool it's looking good it's well lit we've exposed the background ah were using elements here such as these trees is framing elements always like to use a frame if possible if there's some sort of an element whether you're looking out of a cave or there's some sort of trees the sort of frame the shot it just gives you a sense of place and it gives it you know everything just sort of fit into a nice tidy package typically when I when I talk about framing it doesn't necessarily have to be on the exterior of the image which you know a lot of times it is but a frame could be even just two lines you know going behind somebody or going around somebody it just leads you into the shot so those those leading lines or that framing really bring you to where you want to be or that place relatively quickly s so that's what I try to find in every photo um you know, always looking for those those things you know, perpendicular lines or something going around the outside to really give you really a sense of place and really sort of set that apart and now that we've gotten this really nice dynamic ah shot of eric here ah I'm gonna go ahead and I'm gonna drop my exposure or my esso per se down to about s o sixty four and we're going to change our f stop to five point six ah at two, fifty five seconds uh we're probably gonna have a very, very dark frame I'm gonna go ahead and turn the power off here initially I don't want the strobe I'm just doing a test shot and I'm going to see what I get my meters telling me it's going to be very dark and it is very dark ah I'm going to split the difference and I go back upto eso one twenty five at two thirty the second at five point six and what I'm trying to do is now I'm trying to overpower this available light I want to make a really dramatic photo ah this doesn't look like a natural thing, but if this was ah say a shoot for sae ah the thermos company or something like that and I want want to draw attention to the cup in his hand and just eric and I want to sort of have this background just be kind of inconsequential this is the way I do it so take one more test shot of eric very dark where we've overpowered this available light and now we're going to turn to stroh back on and we're on c over here and I'm gonna go ahead and turn that power up to about tell me when we get to eat all right? So we're eight so that's most the way oppa's far of the power I'm gonna go out and take a test shot this is just a random guess I don't know how much light we're gonna have here and we're gonna have a ryan point right eric space and boom and cool yeah he's pretty much perfectly lit and it's all about eric this hammock and this cup of coffee now um you know now that I've got my aperture set because this is this is pretty much perfect at five six and I don't like that how dark the background is or how much available lighter ambient light is sort of filtering in because it's maybe a little too dark for my taste we can change that really quickly and we don't even have to reset the lighter anything all way to dio is start changing our shutter speed which is dealing with our available or ambient value and start opening up and when I say opening up making that longer so I'm gonna go toe one sixteenth of a second from two fiftieth so we're going to a longer exposure and then we're gonna have more available or ambient light this is something a tricky khun d'oh ah when you're not really sure how how dark you want thie the ambient or available light in your background you could just thumb through and basically you're almost bracketing and this will let you change that really quickly without having to reset your lights and such one sixtieth and now we're gonna go down to one hundred arab just looking off on the shoulder perfect we're gonna go another eighty eighth of a second and two fortieth and by doing this we've gone all the way up from forty if you know to to fiftieth and we have a very dark background and we gradually ratchet to that back to having a more ambient or available light, so this gives us a lot of flexibility, especially in post processing um if we want to know if we're not quite sure, you know how dramatic we want this to look by doing this, you know, we were ableto have sort of a little bit of everything and work through that process ah one thing to note ah on ah white balance typically I'm going with whatever the dominant light sorts is white balances and that's going to be either sonny or possibly flash uh or even cloudy on some occasions I typically hardly ever and this is with a caveat hardly ever use automatic white balance and the reason I don't use automatic white balance is typically the automatic white balance will change just in a few degrees here and there throughout this scene as as the light comes and goes it will change a little bit I would rather be a little bit off even if I was on say flash white balance or something like that or cloudy on be a little bit off and have it be a little incorrect because in light room when I bring everything in I could work on that first photo fix that white balance to the correct value and then a change and then apply that change globally toe all of the images from this set therefore I'd have to just you basically work on one image and get it all those changes done globally as opposed to going one by one where the white balance temperature of the white balance is changing just a little bit and that just takes a lot more time so I'm always going to be even if I'm wrong and I know I'm wrong and I go oh I'm halfway through the shoot and I look down and I'm like oh whoops I'm on cloudy and we're it's sunny outside and everything's going to be two yellow I'd rather keep it consistent finish out the chute and make sure that I'm on that same white balance, therefore it makes it easier in the post processing to go out and just make sure everything is perfect. Um, my scenario for travel shoot is very similar to this sort of adventure chute is well, early in the morning, I go out when the light is beautiful and I get up before sunrise. I've already got my location scouted, I go out, make those those pictures while the light's good, and then when the light starts to get a little bit harsh, you know, either go back and take a nap or find some sort of an open air market or something like that, something an open shade because the lightest, consistent and that's really, um what we're looking for, we're looking for that consistent light because if we can't have beautiful light, interesting light, you know, right after sunrise or right before sunset, I want to make sure it's at least consistent ah, and that's, you know, in a in a priority scale, if it's not beautiful, I wanted to be consistent. Ah, this dappled light here is starting to be problematic, but that's, why we brought the flash in, and we fix that so again, it's all about the subtle changes and fixing those little problems, which aren't inconsequential problems but it's just things to plan ahead s o that you maximize your time on the shoot and you're spending more time taking photos as opposed to dealing with issues so it was changing up the scenario here a little bit just hold process photo ah just having eric fixes ah single friend here tighten up the fin and just to give a little bit more dynamic shot so he's not just sitting in a hammock so we're gonna have again the grid just lighting up his face a little bit and uh get a couple shots look out again, eric that way and you can see that you know is I'm shooting I'm shooting standing up I'm moving down just a little bit and the reason I'm doing that is because I'm always conscious of what is in the background and when I say what's in the background it's more about where the subject lines up in the background ah it's amazing by just lowering yourself physically moving right, moving left how many problems you can alleviate so for instance, if I'm standing here, I'm looking eric and all of a sudden there's like a little branch going out the back of his head, but if I go up a little bit and I moved just a little bit to the right all of a sudden it's kind of a clean frame, so I'm moving just subtly to put him in the best spot to have the cleanest frame every single time and so I'm starting again with the background first moving forward so I'm looking to see what's directly behind him and how all of this lines up and from there background subject placement subject expression obviously we've already got our lighting dial because you've already taken your test shots and by doing this we are able to produce really consistent photos and not be worrying about things changing on us because we're we've already worked through all these problems so we're just sort of wrapping up and you know one of my favorite things to do with uh any athlete and typically this happens in the beginning but sometimes it happens in the end as well eyes to dio like a kind of a cool portrait and we're up here and there's these really cool red was and I thought you would be really cool to do kind of a moody like portrait everything we've been trying to shoot before this is kind of true to life but we're gonna go ahead and take over here and deal something a little more creative so see here thinking maybe if you just got right between yeah like right between these guys and I'm gonna actually have you just light his face is one of the only thing it's gonna be like we found our background we've got these really cool trees um and eric is our willing subject, and what we're going to do is just sort of work through this process. I'm gonna find miami and exposure like I do every single time uh, for this, and that looks like it's going to be that for four it's pretty dark were at so we were unable to get to a comfortable zone, you know what I mean? Comfortable? I want to be able to hand hold something around sixty the second, but typically not any slower, especially with the high megapixel camera like the d a ten I found that if you are hand holding something, er, it is so sensitive as faras what it captures that any movement will actually cause a little bit of ghosting, so I'd certainly like to be around the one twenty five ah, the two hundredth of a second range, so I'm going to raise my eyes so here, uh, to compensate for that so let's, sort of sort of go and see where we're at here see, I s o hundred and it is really dark here, so we're getting in the ballpark at one thousand s o at four one two hundreds of a second, so I'm gonna go and drop that down, teo one twenty fifth of a second just get a little more ambient light in there, um and then we're going to add our strobe which our trusty assistant or ryan's got here and I'm just going to go ahead and start it four five can you tell me when we're in for five okay perfect so we're right around four five about half power and we're just gonna do a quick test shot um I'm actually gonna have you come over and I want you to get pretty close I'll tell you when you're in frame and the reason I'm having him get pretty close is because uh this is we got a ten degree grid on this pro photo be one here and the further the subject is from that ten degree grid the mohr that light is going to spread out a little bit but I'm very close it's going to be a very small pool of light and I wanted to add just a little kick just a little light on eric's face ah because I'm honestly thinking that this image there's not a lot of color and it obviously we've got an orange board but um you know I'm always thinking about like what's the final use and for me this it's kind of a fun photo I'm thinking this would look really good in black and white kind of gritty you know we got the bark and everything I'm gonna go ahead and have a ryan sort of move in keep going keep going keep going and step back do another test cool looking pretty good um going turn that up just a hair to move five I can see it now we're five we're going to go and change your aperture up to five six knock down the background and being just a little bit and we're gonna open up just a hair eric look right here for me is good and we're sort of his dancing right here we've got are strobe and I turned up the power just a little bit too much I'm gonna go back down to four looking good cast eric likes to blink a lot so it's one thing to think about if you're on a chute, you got art director there and everything else ah lot of times if you're getting paid it's it's really good to do a test shoot with the subject if you hired somebody from a talent agency or you just found somebody ah in the neighborhood there are certain people which have an uncanny ability to be able to blink at the most inopportune times s so unfortunately not everybody is students who being a model and such but eric doesn't blink all the time therefore we keep him around for sessions like this cool and let's go ahead and step back just a hair for me and just feather the light just a little bit to the right and when I say feather means we're just taking it off access a little bit so that the light is not as much on the surf board and I'm going to be a two fifth of a second and let's see here, seventy millimeters, keep steppin just a hair for me. Run uh, there we go and feather a little bit to the left again and a little higher. Cool looking pretty good. Go ahead and open it up. Just a heritage a little more ambient light are settings now one sixth of a second for five s o one thousand and we're just trying to balance that ambient light with what's coming off the flash. Perfect looks beautiful. Ah, we're going to go and do one more shot here. Uh, just to change the framing and do something. There you go looking off, eric right off where you were. Looks good. So even though I moved myself, obviously the exposure doesn't change because we've already nailed that down. Ah, we're shooting in emmanuel setting here because we've got a lot of different things going on. We got a dark trees, got back light. We got a stroke going on. But, you know, people are overwhelmed by shooting in manual mode, but once you nail that initial exposure which is super simple take four shots take five shots take one shot however many you need you don't have to have the model standing in for you just get that dialed in and then that's not going to change but we knocked out too pretty cool portrait horizontal or vertical something also like to do with portrait's is to make sure you shoot both aspects both horizontal vertical for the lifestyle stuff and the obviously landscape stuff I stick with pretty much all horizontal shots just because it it seems more natural but when it comes to doing something like this that may be there may be some processing involved or something like that down the road uh, we make may go black and white it lends itself to maybe shooting vertical uh maybe being a little more artsy let's see a couple more shots and I think we're going to wrap again we just moved a little bit so I want to make sure things good doll that light down just two tenths of a stop and the great thing about you shooting with the ones is that I can be in control of you know not only three different banks of lights, but in one tenth stop increments aiken really dial that up on dial it down so instead of having to yell in assistant over here and over there to dial things up and down I could just from the top of the camera, deal with all of that and make some really cool artistic and interesting photos so just wrap some really cool pictures of eric ah I usually like to start or finish a project with a cool portrait ah and it doesn't always have to fit the mood ah in this instance we went a little more artsy ah, you know, overpowering the available light using profile to be won with a ten degree spot and just really like lighting up his face because I'm thinking ah that this might be a cool black and white shot and it doesn't necessarily have to fit uh in the mood of the rest of these shots um to be something for posterity's sake that could be used for something else you don't get wrapped up and be like, oh, all of the shots have to match um you can shoot anything you want ah with these projects but you know, just be sure you're being creative and thoughtful of like how they all work together. If you're going to send this whole project to an editor in a travel magazine or something like that, I would probably keep all of the images consistent as faras they're color palette ah and their mood and when I say their mood are they approachable? Ah what's what's you know what? What do you what's your reaction to these types of images to me what I'm usually trying to evoke when I'm doing these stories is you know what I call selling the dream you want people to feel like they want to be in those photos that they want to be in that location, whether they're the photographer taking the photo or this there the subject and that's something that is very approachable for most people for other shots like the shot we just wrapped with here doing an artistic sort of ah portrait is something kind of cool and it's something that's for posterity's sake I think it's really important you know, to take some different shots of the people you work with ah, that might be something of ah you know, a legacy of things you've done that weren't necessarily for the sake of the assignment but we're something that we're interesting and unique and continued teo foster those creative juices um you know, working through this process allows you to not only do what's on your shot list per se which, you know, we have had a long shot lists you know, we started before sunrise we got up, we added a proper we lit the prop we added eric, we had it too sir forward we let eric we worked through sunrise, we shot some action stuff ah and we just continued to produce content and you know, I try to really try to stay in the moment as much as possible during these things, and I'm not chipping. And when I say chipping, I'm not looking at every single picture. I'm taking my test shots. I'm nailing that I'm making sure everything's working, the light's falling where I wanted teo. But after that's done, quit looking at the back of the camera, be looking at the nuances of the subject, be looking at the background. We're looking at how all these things line up together and really trusting yourself and wait for those special moments to sort of, uh, show their heads, and throughout this, you know, it's going to be fun. Ah, and people, you know, your subjects and or the people you share these pictures. Ah, will really appreciate that sort of realistic and candid view of your trip, your journey, your destination and hopefully, your career.

Class Description

Learn how to capture the intensity and movement of an epic experience in a single, still photograph with Lucas Gilman in Adventure Photography.

Lucas is one of the most celebrated adventure photographers in the industry. His work is infused with color and energy and in this class, he’ll show you how he creates his amazing images. 

You’ll learn: 

  • How to take powerful adventure and outdoor images
  • The key to selling to commercial clients
  • Gear and equipment essentials
  • Post-processing tips and techniques

Lucas will share the history and process behind some of his most challenging and exciting shoots. He’ll also offer tips on how to prepare for long stretches of intense outdoor shooting and how he keeps his gear bag stocked for adventure.

Let one of the industry’s most exciting photographers show you how to inject excitement into your outdoor images in Adventure Photography. 



This class is perfect at all things. The best class for nature photography with or without model. Personally for me this class is best of all because we have most practical learning, that is perfect. I have sense just like I am there. I am gladly wait for starting today class because this class is two days. Buy it that material must to watch and have it on your hard disk! Just perfect. Regards to Lucas and Creative Live.


Lucas is an amazing photographer. I love how he keeps it simple with the way he explains and shows things. This class is perfect for anyone with a camera, as you can take his teachings and apply it to not only adventure photography but to any style.