Shoot: for Business Portraits
So what we're gonna do? Well, get rid of that. You can stand about where you were here, and I'm gonna have you turn 1/4 turn in this way. I'm gonna move this out of the frame ever so slightly. So that's still on. Here we go. We're going to go back and use this as our main light because he stood up. We want to maintain that 35 degree angle, so we're actually gonna raise our light up? I don't let me know how many hits? Pretty clear. Clear enough. All right, so we're gonna call that good. So we have the light tilted down again. It's still feathered in front of him. So we're gonna get that good wraparound light, and then we're gonna move our fill back in. Turn that on. All right. So because we moved everything around, I'm gonna re meter briefly and again. Just going for F eight. I'm not so worried about the ratio. All right, here we go. Where we at eight point to where they will call that. Good. All right. So that works. So the first thing you need to do when you're doing 3/4 length portra...
it if it's just for an individual, you don't need to worry about a whole lot. You just need to shoot. But if the purpose of this is to create something that's gonna end up in a group shot, you need to pay attention to a couple of things. For one, the person's height. I did a person group shot for another law firm, shooting everybody individually over the course of three months. So that brings in a lot of factors that you don't know. That one guy at the law firm is five foot six, another woman is five foot eight and another guy is six foot six. Because if you have them in a group shot and you don't pay attention and they're all the same height, it's gonna look for one. They might not love it because the really tall guy is going toe. People might think he's short, and the person who shorter is now gonna look giant and people in the officer. Oh, I didn't know Julie was the same height as John over here when they're really a foot different, so I don't I'm not having a measuring tape out here. I'm just generally thinking I have a sheet at a shoot that has all the people's names. I'm working with the time they're going to come in and then that corresponds to the file name on my computer. And then what I put is their general height. I'm 5 10 so I'm gonna be like all right, so he's about 616 foot pretty close, right? 61 and maybe taller. Six foot. So there you go. I know if you're off by an inch, no one's gonna know. But if I'm off by a foot, it's gonna look really obvious. So I put a general height about six six foot whatever it is. So that way, when I'm forming that group later, I know that everybody in this file name range This woman is this height. So it just works when you're putting two of the group. So it's those details that later on make the image look realistic. The next thing I'm doing is paying attention to the height that I'm shooting from. Even more important, that is, I'm making sure I use the same lens for every time I'm shooting individuals from that office who are going to go on that group. If you do one portrait at 24 millimeters, the next one at 70 it's not gonna look right when they're in a group together. So generally speaking, I'll use my 50 or even my 35 fix lunch for all group shots because I don't want to deal with 24 to 70 where there could be variation. And then the last thing is the height that you're shooting from. I tend to just shoot from my own height for all these individuals. But if the room or background changes, sometimes I might set an apple box down, and I make sure that I'm firmly planted on that apple box for everybody's portrait's just so that there's consistent angle for all the shots. So that way you know you're not looking up one person's nose and looking down on another person and all that, because it will start to look really askew within your within your group shot. So just paying attention of those details ahead of time will make the back and work a lot easier and a lot more realistic because a lot of times with group portrait, the goal is to not have anyone ever guessed that those people weren't in the room at the same time. And the best way to do that is to make sure that all your details are planned out and the technicalities air taking care of, because then the results will be the best will work out the best they can. So what we're gonna do now is we're gonna do a couple of maybe take 1/4 step this way, your background. I'm gonna move back a tiny bit. And one of the reasons I like to shoot with C stands is because they have an arm. I like to keep this above camera, but if it were just on the stand, I'd be shooting through it so I could just stay right here. I'm gonna do one test shot, So I don't care if we can see the background off the background, the wall or anything like that, because these are all going to get cut out. And I'm just planning a frame. So generally speaking, I shoot from just underneath the fingertips, So if he's standing like that, I'm gonna go about an inch or two below his fingertips and then just over the top of his head. So we're gonna do one test shot here. 123 All right, we're shooting tethered still. So here we go. We have are nice, clean shot, so Well, uh, make a few adjustments here. Not much. I like to keep everything and you can see we even see the light in there. It doesn't really matter. So the next thing I like to do when you're gonna form a group shot, you can't have everybody standing in a line looking the exact same. So you need to go through different poses. That works. So when im posing him, his weights already on his back foot. That's what I tell a lot of people. I want you to be about shoulder width apart with your weight generally on your back foot. What that does for males and females or anybody who has two legs. It gets their hips away from the camera. If you put that weight on the front foot, that means your hips are going towards the camera. That makes this area larger. So nobody really likes that. So I always say all right feet about shoulder width apart weight on your back foot that gets the hips swayed away from the camera. And that's our base. So we're nice shoulder width apart, weight on the back foot. It makes gives this front leg a little bit of bend brings or hips back, and then we go with hands. So this is where things get a little tricky. You get people who are in fist mode. It's like they're ready to fight, so they're just uncomfortable. So you gotta, you know, you might have just figures out. I generally do one post where it just hands down, and then we moved to the classic like fig leaf. Or it's just one hand over the other, not the most exciting thing in the world. But the reason I have to do this is for group shots. If you have two people, four people in a group and it's a man and then a woman on a man and a woman, and you have someone that their hands out like this hands are going to get close to rear ends and that people don't know that that was a bunch of individual shots, and they think they were all in the group together. It's like, Oh, man, Jim's get a little close to Kathy over there in the group shot. So I like to keep that awkwardness away. So that's why do hands down for males I do one hand in pocket with thumb out the reverse, both both hands, more of a fig leaf and then arms cross, which is kind of like your classic cheesy business portrait shot. But so many companies want something like that. And with arms crossed, one of the keys is, too. As soon as you tell someone across arms and they start thinking about it, they're like, Oh, gosh, it's just as long as you have these fingers peeking out. That's the key. So you want the back arm tucked under and the front arm just peeking out? Because if you go this way, you get these awkward fingers down here. People with rings and things like that. It just looks good like this. So you want to just go back arm underneath, front arm away because anything else and then you get people who can't remember how they do it, even though they've done it a 1,000,000 times in their life. They're just thinking about. So I would say, Tuck your backhand under front hand peeks out so we'll do all of those poses facing towards camera left straight at camera and then camera. Right. So that way, when you're forming your group shot, you don't have a whole bunch of people facing the same direction. It seems obvious, but one of the first shoots I did, I didn't do that. I just had everybody facing towards the light and I thought, I'll just flip him. Well, then, all of a sudden, I had people who had shadow on this side of the face, and the guy next remain shadow on this side of his face. So I thought, Wow, that looks horrible. I didn't really think that through, so knowing to do everything that way. So what we're gonna do is I'm gonna have you pulled down in your jacket just a little bit for guys. I always like that top button bucket top button buttoned. And we're gonna start with this post. So he already has his weight on his back foot. Nice, confident feet position. Just extend your fingers out a little bit, so they're nice and comfortable. You don't have to be, like stiff, but just let him fall where they go now? Yep. There we go. And I'm gonna do one portrait, so I'll give you a three count. We're all tethered up, and we're gonna keep about the same height, so I'm just gonna go right over this. One, 23 Great. Now what have you bring your hands together? Just one over the other. Whatever is more comfortable. So just Yep, down a little bit lower. And then just relax your shoulders. Yep. So right in here. Your fingers are extended out. Just relax him a little bit. There you go. All right. Now I'm gonna have you drop your front hand in your pocket, Thumb out just underneath your jacket. I'm gonna have you pull your jacket for Yep, That actually fell down. Perfect. Believe your thumb out and then backhand just down. Chin down. Just a little bit. A lot of people, when they get in portrait's, they tend to go like this at whether that's their neck, other shirt or their chan or anything like that. But I'm shooting from a down angle, so it's not unflattering. Actually. Looks a lot better if you bring your chin down. So that's perfect. 123 Now I'm gonna have you reverse that through your back, hand in the pocket and the front hand down. And this is just so no matter where they're at in a group, no matter who their standing next to, there's a appropriate hand position for them by mixing it up. All right, so that's great. 123 And then lastly, I'm gonna have you cross your arms, so just have perfect. Just like I said, the front fingers peeking out. I'm gonna have you pulling your tie just a little bit. It's kind of caught down here. There you go. Perfect looking right here. 123 and one Smiling Wonder So we have it in the catalog here. 123 And generally speaking, I would do the exact same. We'll do a couple of them straight on. I don't do all the poses straight on because square to camera never looks that great. But there that was six different poses There. I'll do four of them straight on. We rarely use them. And then I do 60 other way. So that's our 16 and then I do seated poses to actually let's throw is opposing stools. Dylan Here. Let's just complete the whole mission here so we'll throw the posing stool back in. We won't need to re meter. Uh, I'm just gonna lower the lights. He's still screwed up 1/2 of thank you, John. All right. Thank you, Dave. Let's have you stay right in there. I'm gonna do one of these. I'm gonna screwed in a little bit. So we get that the exact crop I want. All right. One, 23 And now I'm gonna screw back so we can not cut off the shoulders. This is just for the client. So that way I have, and I don't have to go back. 123 Now I'm actually gonna have you rotate 1/2 turn this way, so keep going a little bit further right there, So I'm just watching shoulders so they're not square to me, But they're not at a profile. Shoulders a little bit more towards me, and I'm gonna have you move. You reset your feet a little bit. So you're nice and comfortable. There you go. And then a lot of times with men. I'll have them bring their hands together more. So bring your hands together just little bit because you get elbows out and you start getting this weird shape, especially if you're cropping a head and shoulders portrait. So I like to keep shoulders down for females, depending on what they're wearing. A lot of ladies don't like to put their arms flat answer body because it makes you look a little more muscular or just bigger arms. And, you know, not everybody likes that. So I was trying to keep just a little bit of separation between arm and body. So that way we have nice, flattering shot, but for him wearing a full suit with a dark jacket, you can't see that. So I'm gonna have to keep his arms nice and tight. Knows this way ever so slightly. So what I'm doing is knowing my main lights coming from this direction, I want to make sure I get catch lights. There we go. One. I'm gonna scoot, and we'll just do a closer Great. So we'll see how that looks. Um, so you can see I'm gonna have you do one more of those had this way, little bit more and then shut up a tiny bit. So we lost catch, like just little chin down a little bit right in there. 123 There we go. So actually, like the 1st 1 better and then, you know, it all looks pretty clean. Were on that night clean background. You can see our main light coming from this side, even though we flip the script and, uh, went from here. This is the shot where he's turned towards the light. You can see our main light are Phil is filling in all this shadow that would be caused by the main light and our accent light. It's just gently lighting his hair over the shoulder and things like that giving that little bit of separation. And this light right here will help bring his hair away from the background when you're going to cut him out in photo shop. Because sometimes when you're using a white background, you don't know My worst nightmare situation happened when I had a woman bring in Ah, hounds tutoring hound's tooth jacket that was black and white. So there were all these weird hound's tooth pattern and and I was on a white background, and when I went to cut her out, it followed that. So then I had to go in at, like, 400% photo shop and gently followed that line because it want to cut her out and make her jacket actually jagged. So knowing what people wear, there was nothing I could do about that. Maybe a green screen type situation would help, but I don't do that. So that was just unfortunate. But for these seven shots, this works great, so you can see we had him even though he was turned away from the light. So he's, you know, which, generally speaking wouldn't be ideal turning his head back towards the light. Help that, um, for those of you who aren't familiar, I like to short light everybody, especially in business Portrait's, because I think it's more flattering. So what that means if if you're facing your light and your light is on this side of the head, any time you turn the nose towards the light, you are lighting the short side of the face. So that means the angle between the nose and the light is shorter. than the broad side of the face, the main part of the cheek that's facing the camera. So that'll fall into shadow. If I were to leave my light the same position, turn my nose away. Now the broad side of my face is being lit, so it makes people look wider, so it's a little less flattering. So that's why I had him turn his nose back into the late for one. It kept him short lit, and it also brought the catch lights back in his eyes. So just paying attention of those type of things really helps as well. So, you know, just a good clean business portrait again. We'll go through. We had our one light set up with the reflector are three lights set up our beauty dish. The main difference. There is just the background and then turning away from the light but still using three lights set up. So that's generally speaking. That's what I do. Let's go back to keynote. Let's give a hand for Dave here. Who was our great model? Great businessman. Now he has a whole bunch of photos he can use for his his profile on his banking website. All right, so here's a Here's an example of a group shot that I did. This was a group of attorneys. None of them were in the room at the same time. You can see keeping hand placement. If you look at the guy on the far right, you can see I left Hiss one hand out of his pocket, tucked his other one because you can see where his position by the woman next to him. So it's just thinking of little things like that that avoid an awkward situation or a group photo, because again, nobody. My goal is for anybody who looked at this photo other than the people who are in it, I don't want them to ever think, Oh yeah, these were all shot individually and come together like my goal here is for you to look at us in it, to look pretty natural. I paid attention, everybody's height, and the other thing you need to do when putting these together is remember, shadows. Whoever's in front, wherever your lights coming from, they're going to cast a shadow on the person next to them. So the last thing I do when I'm photo shopping. It is dropping a curves layer in between each person and figure out who their casting a shadow on, Bring the curves down a little bit and then mask that in inverted and mass. That and so that way you can just gently brush in a shadow, you know, say right in here so it wouldn't affect him because he's his own layer right underneath his layer. I'll bring in that curves layer and brush it in on her and her cause he'd be casting a shadow on both of them and also knowing my lights coming from this direction. So the majority, the shadow is gonna be falling this way. Same thing here. Drop a curves layer and underneath her layer and dropping this shadow. It's just it doesn't have to be blatant, but if you if you start doing it clicking and un clicking the layer he gets, you know, it's like, Okay, that looks more natural because if you don't do it at all, it's just a bunch of perfectly let people stacked on top of each other, and it really starts to look cut out. So again I shot that. I think I showed that all with the 50 millimeter. I think I was sitting on it on to apple boxes or something like that. If I remember right and again going through those poses where we had the arms crossed, we have hands down. We have a hand in pocket to keep, you know, it's all it's all conscious work, and we're all doing it with a purpose. So that way I have those options when they say, Oh, we need a group shot of these people And like I said, I did one of 38 people which had to be stacked. It was to, you know, ah, front row in the back row. So then that became really, really crazy putting it together with a lot of shadow and all that. So having these options, and then when they call you and they say, Oh, yeah, uh, guy on the right here quit and we have a replacement, which actually happens. We just need to drop in this photo of another person there. You could do it easily, and I save. All these group photos is as PSD layered files. So when when it comes time to change something, it's quick and easy for me to drop somebody else in and usually don't even have to adjust the shadow because that layer is still there as well. So it's easy on. I also charge by the head for group photos, so I charge day rates and then I charged by individual retouch photos. But when it comes time to groups, I just charge, however many people are in that shot, there's a certain rate, depending on depending on the client in their budget. But if I'm dropping someone new in that way, you're not, you know, having to figure out what I charge. It's all clear and and put out there right away. So they know when you're going to recreate something, how much it's gonna cost. And you know that you're gonna get paid for having to replace somebody in a photo, even though you took the photo maybe a year ago, Um, so again, we already talked about posing for group shots, so it's a little out of order, but it made sense when we did alternate angles, having people turn away and all that, um, being mindful of hand placement, paying attention to height, both subject and the camera so again, all things we talk about and then I also know I shoot knowing that I'm gonna be cutting them out in photo shop. So I'm not so concerned about the backdrop. But the one thing I am concerned about is if if this white background is on a darker wall or farther away, there's going to be an edge to that background, where it goes from white to dark. I don't want someone with a dark colored suit hanging off the edge of the background and frame because when I go to cut them out, their elbow might blend in with that wall, and then you're gonna run into problems. So I always try and keep both edges of the background in my frame. So the person is easy to cut out. Yeah, the last photo I noticed he did a little vignette or fade away on the bottom. Just wanted Yeah, we'll go back to that real quick. The reason why I did that was because what you can't see here is their logo was below that it was for an ad. So I've been yet it down, and then their logo is is like blue and red or something like that. So it it just blended into their logo rather than have them be chopped off square. So it was just kind of a gentle way to transition into the logo. But good question. Yes. I just wanted to know what kind of research you did about the location before you brought in your equipment. Do you have a visit in person? And what do you do if they decided to paint all of their employees areas Magenta about color contamination? Yeah, that's a good question. So I a lot of times I'll when I do that meeting the pre pro meeting, all all go in and I'll say, all right, where we're gonna be shooting. Can I take a look real quick? And you know, if it's a lobby or conference room or anything like that, I definitely take a look. And sometimes if they're all painted white, I won't even bother bringing my reflector. There's one bank I work with a lot, and they have one of those stand up white boards that they use. I just well, that thing in closer cause it's always in there, and I asked him if I says the white board still in there yet because that I don't have to bring an extra stand with the reflector. I just use that. But if the room were magenta had a color cast, the only thing you can really do is hope to get as close to the middle of the room. It's possible where you're not catching that color cast. You know, chances are the ceiling's not magenta. But if it is, you know you just have to work around it and maybe bring extra reflectors and things like that. So if your lights are hitting the wall, that cast isn't coming back in there, so that that gets to be a little painful. That's what happened at that heating and air conditioning place that had a navy blue wall. So I just got as far away from that as possible, and that was a one light set up with a reflector. So by moving everything in closer, there was less less room for contamination from those colors. So that's pretty much all you can dio. But I definitely asked to see the space if possible beforehand, cause I like to know what we're gonna work. And so you're not just jumping into a surprise right away, especially when it's an early morning shoot. It's like that's the last thing I want to deal with. So I had a question regarding the media ring. Do you actually do that for each one of those? If you're doing a client every five minutes, or do you just set up and do it once? So generally, what I do is all just sit in all, sit on the posing stool, run the meter and the transmitter in one hand, and that's the only time will do it for that day. So that way I know when my light is right there. It's going to be about FAA Neffa. If it's off by, you know, 1/4 stop or less. Generally speaking, that's fine. You can fix that in raw, and you'll have people have different heights. So occasionally I'll have someone who's five foot and the next person after Miss 64 I'll just raise my light up quick. But you know, remembering to do that is also key. Or else the photos will start to look a little goofy. So I only met her once, and I'll generally do that for the standing shots and the seated shots. So that way, I just I could do it once cause I hate having to get back into the technical side once I'm working with people because I feel like if I'm photographing you and everything is great with you, but my lights are off, I start getting a little. I'm one of those people who either gets too chatty or quiet, and it starts to make the person on the other side think like, oh, is something wrong with me? Like, what's why isn't this working? So I like to have all those technical details worked out beforehand, So that way I don't have to bring out my meter and do all that stuff. I could just have a conversation and make everybody comfortable.