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Working in Tight Spaces

Lesson 2 from: Capturing Multiple Looks In Your Portrait Sessions

Victoria Will

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Lesson Info

2. Working in Tight Spaces

Lesson Info

Working in Tight Spaces

So here's an example of ah, set where I was asked to shoot in this hotel room, shooting a director and an actor, and I This is literally the space. I mean, it's like this big. I was like, What are we gonna dio? Well, I have a table, so maybe I could do something interesting with that and I've setting it up. Before I knew what I had five lights set up and I still wasn't getting what I wanted. This is what's happening behind me. By the way. There's no there was no privacy. There was no sort of in the tunnel in a vacuum doing my thing, But I couldn't get the picture that I was trying to get, so I just said, Simplify. Every time I get caught up in complicated, I just go let that's it. Simplify. And so I put down the camera and I put my reflector up here and I just said, All right, let's see what we can Dio Director walked in. He was wearing this great gray sweater, so I put him into the corner where my camera waas and I use the window in the Phil and I shot this Next thing I know, the acto...

r Idris Elba comes in and he sits down. The same spot doesn't really work. It's not nearly as successful in image. But instead of getting stuck and frustrated by the fact that I had no time, you know, this wasn't the space that I wanted. I interest always wear suits. Why wasn't wearing a suit for May? You know, this is all these things. You just have to let it go and be flexible. So instead, I put him to go back to slides. I had him sit. Sorry, Pat him, sit on this pelican and I fat on the window and I took this image, which I never would have made because I was trying to come up with all these environments that I had told myself to do. You know, I would just you have to be flexible and really willing to work with what you're given. So just two weeks ago, Nolan, I were up in Toronto and we were in a conference room. Well, actually, we got there and they wanted to put us in a room that there was a conference in, so we were gonna have 30 minutes to set up. And I politely said, What's happening with giant room over there? Can we just go in there? And they looked around and this is fine finding. Go in because you're two hours early. Just wanted to get me out of there. So we went into this room and we set up a bunch of different set ups, So I have a couple pictures you can see. No, there. This is what we do. Most of the time we hurry up, we set up and then we wait, Right? Hurry up and wait. Three story of my life. So I have one seamless set up over here, and I have this light as my key light for it. That's option number one. Option number two is that I'm gonna turn this off and I'm gonna use this sidelight. All right? This is another view of that. You can see the key and our reflector. This is the other set up. It's white. I've got my foe text here, which I have in the studio. I'll show you how use those and I brought in the table that I found It's a catering table. Here's another view of it as we kept waiting. So if you start to see that this light from these windows from when I got there, to when it was time to shoot three out two hours later, started to come in and get brighter and brighter. So when Lupita came in, this is what I was shooting. This is a photo of the back of my camera. I took a frame with no lights, so the window lights it started to come in. And if I go backwards so she's standing here, the window lights air coming in, and this is acting as a giant Phil. So I took this first picture and I turned to know when I was like, Forget it. We're just going to shoot this way, so I'll show I'm gonna show you my entire take. I was therefore not very long. Shot her on 300 pictures, but I had to shoot her. I had to shoot her, um, her cast partner and I'd shoot them together. And I was asked to make a gift so that to me meant, uh, shooting a couple high speed, you know, frames just that they could string them together. OK, so This is straight out of photo mechanic, so they look the colors a little off and there's a little bit darker, but you get the idea. So here's they're seven pages. This is literally every frame I took and you can see how I think. So I started with the 1st 1 I loved the light. We kept going. I did full length. I had her turn. I had to bring her hands up. Try. I got a nice little laugh down here. And then I said I took one more up here and then I said, All right, no, let's go to that side gritted box. Remember for that from the photos that was up in the side. So I haven't moved. Knowles just gone and turned off the light. And so I did this sort of more moody, and I felt like I had one in there that I liked. So I went back to this natural light singing because I really thought it with her outfit. I just dug it. I thought it was perfect, so I took a couple of more of those and then I went over to the white and what I wanted to do on the white was dragged my shutter, which I did for a few. The thing about dragging your shutter is it's an experiment every time. So I definitely did it a bunch. Then I went and became a little bit safer. Fixed my shutter speed. I got these air Horizontal Z. You have to think about that horizontal for delivery to your client. If it's a editor in a newspaper or a bride or anybody, you know, it's horizontal verticals that I wanted to get mawr environment. I liked Thea Table and then incomes her co star, and the story is really about that. She was a movie out right now, and it's about how this is a brand new actress. The costar and Lupita acted very much like a mother to her, sort of helping her through movie and through Hollywood and sort of been a mentor to her. So I knew that. So I did some of these photos that felt that I hoped that would illustrate their connection because they're definitely very close. And I liked a bunch of these and then I felt like all right, I have enough verticals. Let's try some horizontal. You can see where I'm shooting too fast. They're not all sharp. I'm sure. Um, so then Lupita had to leave, and now it's my turn to get, um, my other individual. And so I'm thinking about their layout. They could do them to shoot them together. They could do look Lupita on her own and then have her co star on the side and haven't looked towards each other. You know, think about magazine layouts. And so I got her as an individual and she just started bringing sort of fun energy and dancing. And so we shot a couple of those and then right before they pulled her for May, I said, Wait a second, let's go back to this beautiful light set up and we went to the blue. Now, just one thing to point out is that they're not all perfect. You see, my seamless, you see all sorts of things. You can see the sides of my set because for me, it's about that moment. And you can, uh, you can crop. Or maybe you don't crop. Sometimes it's a beautiful part of the image. So we went back to the blue. Those were the last couple frames, so that's 300 frames these air the files that I sent my editor. You can see where I, um Well, there's a couple of one or two missing on there, I think. But the 1st 1 of Lupita on the blue that I showed you in the back of the camera and then these with the others, that was it. So 15 minutes, which you can see from the time stamp. This one was a 12 53. That's the very first frame, and the very last room was at one of nine. So unless my math is off about 15 minutes, so I want to pose a question to you guys. Which is what are your biggest challenges to getting multiple looks and variety out of your portrait's, whether it's in a short period of time or not. So I posed that question to you guys here and out watching, and while you're responding, I'm gonna sort of start setting up. So for me, the biggest challenge is the different poses, okay? And have to think on my feet to get them to do it for imposed so quickly. Okay, I will definitely address that, Um e think you'll see it? A lot of how I shoot, but my process again. I always say that because there's so many ways to do this. Everyone has their own take on portraiture and shooting styles. And what not mine is to keep people moving. So I, um if I have an idea and I'm trying to get them there, um but I want them to put their hand up and, you know, do something thoughtful. And but if I say to them, could you please put your hand up and then put your arms over your elbow and then look at me. It looks like they often looked like a deer in the headlights, right? Because they're sort of thinking about. So what I do is I'll say, Okay, this is what I'm gonna have you dio I'm gonna have you. Your hair looks perfect, but I want you to fix your hair, right? And then the first time they go No, no, no. What I want you to do is like, how do you run your fingers through your hair? Right? And then I actually shoot that action, so I'm not afraid to stay there, But I'm also willing to leave. It shoots Amore and Seo. Let's go back to that hair thing and sort of give them the opportunity to have it sort of settle in and sink in. Does that help? And I hope you'll see me do similar things. Posing is always tricky. I don't actually think of it is posing. I think that's where my photojournalism background comes in Is that I'm were sort of making something together. And so I will definitely look at their natural gestures and sort of see, um right now, don't move. But tell me your name. I'm a region name tag. A wanna, right? How do you pronounce it? Ivana. Okay, got it. She's sitting here really beautifully relaxed. She just sitting like this. Legs crossed, she got a pan in her hand or pencil, which is holding beautifully, just sitting like this. So this isn't this a great place to start, you know, and you start to say okay, love for your body language is let's say they're going to turn your head up towards the light to turn your head this great. Yeah, exactly. Oh, I love that. Maybe drop your hand. Okay. I like your hand back up. Let's go back up to see where it falls. You know, it's just using what people are already giving you. If you have something very specific in mind that you need, then asked for it and then you know, if it don't be afraid to come back to it, leave it and then come back. Yes, Victoria, I just wanted to give a few shadows to what people are saying at home. Some of those common themes, like you, mentioned whether it's posing, making people feel comfortable in different spots, trying Teoh use one light and then two lights and being able to do that quickly and sort of knowing exactly what you're doing. A couple of people talking about working with natural light on location, where it's changing a lot and then trying to think on your feet of how to get a different pose within those settings. So the lighting, the posing on and getting people to trust you. And I know we talked a lot about the way that you connect with your subjects in your previous class on creativelive as well. There's a lot to think about. So, um, the more you do it, the more some of those things become autopilot. And I love the idea that and I'm going to do that here is well, we're shooting with life. But there's this beautiful light that's come in right? This has happened. Probably when we walked in here, it was probably here. But earlier today, when I arrived, this light was not here. But I'm definitely planning on using it because it's really beautiful. So there's it's just that I idea again of sticking someone next to a window. You know, just seeing what you have at your disposal. Sometimes there's a nighttime photographer, so well, you said you are not night time, but astrological. Exactly. I mean, that type of thing you are light painting, shooting at night. That type of stuff is so it can be really challenging, and I remember trying it once. This has nothing to do with portraiture, but it's the idea of thinking on your feet. I had a flashlight where I was like painting, and he wasn't quite right enough, so I just turned my car headlights on. Now I thought I was a genius, and any night time photographer will tell you, uh, that's one of the go choose. But I just thought You just have to You have to use what's there. So as I mentioned, there is a certain point where you have to get comfortable working with other people. I remember thinking I don't want to hire an assistant because I think they know more about lighting than Ideo. And that's OK, because what you need to be able to do is articulate your ideas. So maybe you. So you show somebody a magazine, a photo in a magazine that you ripped out. Or maybe you tell them you wanted to feel very gooey or very high key or Brighton area, whatever it is. But you have to have a conversation with your team beforehand and the whole point of having a cruise that they're there to support you. And you have to remember that there you're all working together and I it's very much a collaboration which I hope to show you. And the reason I wanted to bring Nolan Dave here is to show you how I work in this type of scene, um, on a commercial job on an editorial job. But I I used to be where you guys are. I used to work on my own all the time. And so I just want you to see sort of how we flow together and how we work. Because you do need I want you to put that in your sight line of something to dio um, financially, Hiring crew is definitely an issue. That was one of the reasons you guys brought up for not doing it. But there are also assistance that are willing to learn from you. And I know you guys have stuff toe learn. So sometimes just having an extra hand is the most important in this shoot with them. Lupita, I if I I was shooting her, you know, with the natural light. And I had that Phil behind me and I could have stepped off my box, walked over, turned off that light or on the Pro photo promotes you could just turn it off. But that is time. That's taking away from me building my reports. A knoll just said to me, All right, let's go. You ready to do the dramatic, more dramatic shot? I said, Sure, he just turned it off and we just kept going when you only have 15 minutes, That really is valuable time. So building a report with someone who understands you and is able to help you create your vision is not something you should think of as cheating or, um, you know, anything that should it shouldn't keep you from getting where you want to be. You're gonna keep learning, and now you have the support system.

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

An compact look into the unique and highly successful style of a top portrait photographer. Through intense focus, interaction, and willingness to experiment, she can get in ten minutes what others could not get in an hour. A look at her website shows that her style produces photos with great action and life that seem to jump off the page, in contrast to the static and posed look that is so common. For a more complete look at how she works, and to stretch yourself, also take a look at her CreativeLive course, Portraits Under Pressure. Anyone that is trusted and paid to work with top celebrities–and can produce excellent portraits when given only ten minutes and a closet–has a lot to teach us.

Tricia Rubio

Great class, I felt like I was there watching this live shoot in real time. It was helpful to see how she works through her process and I gained several fantastic tips! Thank you!

Jon Thrasher

More excellent advice and demonstration from Victoria Will. Her casual approach to portraiture and editorial shooting is refreshing! There is a good bit of overlap between this course and her Portraits Under Pressure course, so I did feel like I paid for a bit of duplication. But, they say repetition is good. But, a very helpful, professional course for anyone who shoots people (with cameras)!

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