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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Professional Portraits: Moving Beyond Headshots

Gary Hughes

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

The reason we wanted to put this class together is because one of the things I get asked to do all the time instead of just headshots is professional portraits on top of that. You guys do any head shot work at all? And do you get asked to do anything besides that? All the time, it's like we want a picture of the boss in his office or we want a team photo or we want all different kinds of things, so I've put together a program that's broken down the stuff that I deal with all the time from how to get the work, how to light it, how to shoot it, how to market it, the whole nine yards, and more importantly I've put together a whole system of posing that we're gonna show. How to pose professional people, men and women groups together, it's gonna be awesome. So, when I was in college I took a class where my instructor told me that when you're gonna give a speech you have to tell people what you're gonna tell 'em, and then you tell 'em, and then you tell 'em what you told them. So this is the...

part where I tell you what I'm going to tell you. And so first we're gonna start with my Ten Tips for Professional Portraits. And I put these things together because most of us, including myself, start in sort of the portrait world, the wedding world, fashion, a totally different dynamic, where you're working in an area of photography that is largely to do with emotional selling. Where you're dealing with people where the business model is you create value by taking more time with your clients. Does that make sense? So, what I've put together is ten things that you're gonna deal with in the professional that are gonna be extremely different than what you're used to, 'cause we're dealing with attorneys and accountants and real estate agents and CEOs and all different kinds of people not in the portrait and wedding world. So these are gonna be the things that I do all the time, obstacles I run into and ways to get around them, and things you're gonna need to know to transition from portrait and wedding world into the professional world. The next thing we're gonna talk about is marketing and selling and changing your business model a little bit to get this type of work. I think everybody does a little bit of it. Does that make sense? If you do portraits and you do weddings and you have a website and you get increase you're gonna get asked to do this stuff from time to time, but if you want to build a consistent amount of income doing this, you have to do things a little bit differently. So, I'm gonna tell you everything from where I get the work in traditional marketing, how I optimize by website, we're gonna do some search engine optimization tips, social media and stuff on how to get this work in the door, which should be pretty cool 'cause you could know how to do it all you want, but if nobody comes, you're never gonna get to use those skills, right? So we're gonna start at the start. The next thing is I have people email me and ask me stuff all the time about working with professional people and I've seen some of the photographers that are some of the best I know in their industries, weddings and portraits, that when they get into a situation with a bunch of people in suits in a professional setting, they forget how to pose, like how do you make these people look good, what do you do? And so I've put together a system called combination posing that breaks down it into the most simple ways to do everything. It's gonna be breaking the body down into different sections and poses for each section of the body that you can use in combination to get amazing results with your posing. It's not everything there is, there are definitely other things outside of this, but as we discussed a little bit earlier before we started, sometimes you get into a situation and your brain just stops working. You know, that happens to me all the time. You get into a room full of people that you know are these rich and powerful go-getters and you're like, oh what do I do? Do I tell them to stand like this, you know? So how to do that will make everybody look good, make everybody look awesome and when your brain stops working you'll always be able to fall back on combination posing both for individuals and in the group dynamic. Is that cool? All right. So I think I covered the group part, right, okay. Starting in the next segment tomorrow morning, what we're gonna cover is gear. Now for all you gear people, that's pretty cool. I've actually brought my actual bag that I take on jobs with me on location and I'm gonna show you the gear that I use the most and how I transport it, how I can shoot jobs by myself and the lightest, easiest way to do absolutely everything. What I don't like is when you go into a workshop and the instructor says, "Oh, these are all the things "that I use and if you buy this gear you'll be able "to do what I do." Which isn't true, it's always a bait and switch because a photographer can go out with almost anything and come back with good results. But I'm gonna show you a lot of different ways and combinations to use gear that you might already have around to get the work done. Everything from shooting on location, bouncing a flash off camera, or using a on-camera flash to get good results, using multiple off-camera lights, and using available light. We kinda gonna cover all of that which will be really cool and the gear that we'll use to do it. Then we're gonna go into posing and lighting in the studio. One of the biggest problems that people run into is when you're not just photographing an individual, when you're photographing a group of people. Don't you ever light it when the person closest to the light is 10 times brighter than the person farthest away, and then the back row's darker than the front row? That happens to everybody and I'm gonna show you a couple of really cool foolproof ways to light a group that everybody's gonna be lit great. Does that make sense, okay? And posing those groups. You're gonna pose somebody differently depending on if its a bunch of attorneys in a really aggressive trial firm or they're a tech startup and they want to look really friendly and approachable. So there are different ways to approach every group. And then we're gonna do really cool, which the staff here at Creative Life has indulged me, we're gonna go all over this building and we're gonna shoot in all the different locations. And one of the things that I don't like to do is, it's really tough to see a photography workshop and they bring in the most beautiful person you've ever seen and the most fancy equipment you've ever seen and it's really easy for any instructor to show you how to make that look good, right? What we're gonna do is we're gonna shoot in, I've picked the worst lighting situations in this building and I'm gonna show you how I would approach those. I'm gonna shoot those live. Shoot, pose, and everything just to show you guys exactly how I do that, so I want to show you want you're actually gonna walk into. Sometimes you're gonna walk into a beautifully lit warehouse with 40 foot tall windows that face north and you're just gonna have all these beautiful people in Versace parade in, and sometimes you're gonna walk into a windowless boardroom with a bunch of fat, ugly people. You don't know what you're gonna run into, so you have to be able to do all of it. I mean all of you are beautiful, of course, don't get me wrong. I always pick good looking people for my group. And then, the last, what we're gonna do, we're going to, in the very last segment, in the 90 minutes, we're going to take everyday folks and we're going to run through a shoot just as if I were actually gonna do a client in the studio. So we're gonna use you guys and we're going to create a headshot, we're going to create a individual three quarter length and full length business portrait for each person, and a group shot using you guys in the class.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Ten Tips for Professional Portraits
SEO Workbook
Posing Guide
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Gary is super knowledgable, yet down-to-earth and relatable. I love how he explains the exact gear he uses but also describes ways to accomplish the same look using DIY and less expensive alternatives. The segment where he demos a live shoot in multiple, difficult lighting situations is worth the cost of the class alone! Bonus: He's super funny. He could probably double as a comedian on the side, but I digress. This class was informative, funny, and very practical for any photographer that wants to increase their profit and expand their business into the professional world. He gives all his prices and workflows so you can get up and running in 2 days! :) Awesome class overall, and it's a great sequel to his professional headshot class (which I also bought and loved.)

Richard Blenkinsopp

I love Gary's straight teaching style, and appreciate him demonstrating with regular people, not models. This is the real life of a regular photographer! I wish Creative Live could show more from the photographers viewpoint, so that when he's posing and moving lights etc, we see exactly what he's changing, and can analyze why... not sure how they'd achieve this in a live environment though. Loved his going around to less than ideal locations and finding the place that works. My favourite course on Creative Live so far.


Gary makes taking editorial portraits look simple and fun. I want to start shooting heads! I love Creative live and Gary is really doing a great job. I got to buy the class next. Thank you.

Student Work