Additive Approach to Lighting: Setting up a Group Shot


Commercial Portraiture


Lesson Info

Additive Approach to Lighting: Setting up a Group Shot

what we're going to be doing here is throughout the day we kind of photographed each individual portrait of each of our subjects right so now we're going to growing complexity and do a group shot so where this might come into play for my work is photographing let's think of like a tv show cast right for marketing my client might require group shot with shows everybody and then they also might need to individual portrait so the individual portrait it's are done now it's time to do something a little bit more complex with a group shot becomes a little bit more difficult because there's more faces to make sure that we're getting a nice quality of light on right so all the cetus before we're actually quite simple because we really only had to worry about how one person looked now with in the same setup in which we did our first and second photos we can try to place these three girls together in a composition that kind of like flows together and kind of suits the eye so if we look at the se...

t first something happened during the break this is all the same from where we left it we have the couch here if you remember we had a model kind of like lying down here right we have a slight on that's all the same we solved the backlight coming from here a light pointed on the background to give the glow of the lamp but what's different is now we have these boxes to the side right so before we're posing one model now we kind of have more structure for people to work with it's a totally fabricated set we sources props from somewhere else and we are displaying toward the camera but what we can do is use these kind of things to get and engaging kind of group shot right so one that flows together I'd done group shots with like twelve people at once three is challenging but I think that if we're patient hopefully we'll be able to pull something off here all right so we're at the end of the day it's the last thing that we're going to be doing so the first thing before we worry about lighting some things might have changed while we were over here but the first thing we're going to do is place our subjects okay because that'll dictate how we're gonna light thing so if I could get you girls to come on um forget your name and ends in uh alana alana are just a lana hey look ok a lot if you could lay down kind of like similar to how you were before but maybe we'll like with your face toward me yeah I think something more or less like that we're going to be testing for awhile so like at least make sure you're comfortable but like something like that maybe see what happens when you go down a little lower somewhere to wear way before yeah I think that's oh there it is and as he went lower she got more comfortable so she put her arm up I think that's going to be like really nice okay so there's you um it's gonna be a while before we photograph so just hang tight there now we have these boxes here so what I might do let me think about this if I had one of our models maybe like sitting this way with like nis in and like another one here maybe we could get like two more close together so we kind of have like an interesting composition where we have like a lot of focus here some free space and then another focus here with the lab I don't know uh sit in there for a second if you could sit here and lady if you consider this edge here let me see what happens okay this is actually not bad at all um if lydia and lisa if you could like come a little closer together so what I'm kind of looking for here is I almost don't want my subjects to be like so evenly spread out like it would be nice to have like a little bit of variation so we have like a little cluster so room and then over here but there's a little bit of interest right so in this area we have the background light like the ball there it might bounce out like her fiery red hair might it might be nice if you could sit a little taller at least uh now we have like kind of like this going on that's nice can I see what happens when you two switch positions see if this is gonna work any better hey you did something interesting right there you put your hand down on the on the chaise like when you're getting on it was like back behind you kind of like that um can I see the arm or yeah something like that's nice can everyone look at me for a second ok I think this is gonna be more or less how I'm going to do things um yeah so if you remember like this kind of position doesn't three perfect well will tweak it but somewhere around here okay so with this in mind um I think we can start thinking about main light and what we're going to be doing so I like to simplify things and I like to have an additive process if I were to approach this picture right now it's a little daunting I'm like oh no there's three subjects like they're all looking here looking what are we going to do right I like to just let's let's simplify it let's like break it down and let's start with lighting one subject and we'll see how the light is interacting with the other two on this side so a lot I'm going to start with you first um let's mimic the lighting we're doing first with her laying down before um get this other dish out of the way and no keep keep those on there on the same power as before right pretty much ok cool so let's do a test and let's see if everything is the way that we left it here because we left with a lot of laying down let's see if we have like a slim miller lite as before with a test shot now um going into this uh in terms of aperture before we were shooting kind of shallow right because we're photographing one subject here they're kind of all on the same focal plane but for example lydia's face is like a little a little bit to the back and you're here so I would be really careful with this I would choose like maybe an average of f ate knowing my focal length is a fifty millimeter lens in that way there'll be a little fall off in a little bit of softness on the background but we'll know that at least everything is getting in focus so I won't be able to use that kind of like painterly depth of field that I do with an individual portrait but at least on this said it doesn't matter because there's nothing so far behind them other than the wall right so for me I'm going to be careful and let's give us an f ate on that mainly and let's see um before we are I believe a five point six there the thing is can we get this a heater out of the way okay so let's see if at least everything is kind of like where we left it and let's get a test shot um just to give us an idea of where we're going I might need another pocket wizard I think this one might be dead I don't hear it us are we on channel one okay cool and we're in group a okay and these these air on or off because they're not flashing or are they they're flashing you sure cool all right let's do a little test shot and let's see like how we're looking like straight up straight from just doing this year there's a haze machine in the way okay okay also jesse do you have your ipad tethering or can we move this monitor forward I have I have extremely bad vision without my glasses okay so let me kind of see where at was just let's kind of see where we're at with just like the first test shot all right so it looks like most of the sef stayed the same like before um we have the light on I'm gonna focus on just a lot of first so caleb come look at this monitor with me here's what we need to do first thing I notice is like this lamp is growing out of things so I'm gonna place place things where they should be first um because that'll dictate how our light falls so I can't see the backlight on the beauty dish which is motivated by the lamp also I think we should move this over here and then with it you're gonna have to change that light that we have the glow from all right so if you want to get on that now right now I'm not even paying attention to the quality of light which is falling on our other subjects here for now my main goal is to get lydia lit up nice and then after that's done we'll kind of go from there so the light is very similar to the second set up from what what we did in terms of like there's a backlight influencing pretending like it's coming from this lamp there's another light pointing at the background pretending that's the glow that's all still the same only difference is this light that's more or less the same as well only difference is we have two other subjects here in a slightly different composition okay so killed that's all changed now the other thing that I want to do is the light quality on alana the position suited better her laying down kind of looking up but now her face is kind of toward us it's a little different so let's walk it this way and was trying to feather it off the wall a little bit as well because I can see like we're getting a a huge splash there nice okay let's see what this looks like to our eyes here and again this light would be flaring my camera right now so I'm going to be very careful with what I do with this awesome lens hood and just make sure that gets blocked out alright let's stick the stick the great card near uh alana's face I look so good in that set up killed were yes if you could great car that for me jesse perfect okay so let's see what's going on here now let me take one more quick test without caliban in there okay let's see what's going on um jesse could you do me a favor and zoom into alana's face okay so looking at her face we can't really see a catch light but the quality is really nice so I want to be really careful with this zoom out again jesse so it looks like we might have to add another light source from here to get a little pop in the eyes or we can adjust this slightly so let's walk it a little bit this way but I'm really like I really like what's what's going on here I don't want to kill it too much let's walk it this way okay stop you're going to go back but I'm going to say the center of the stand kind of like right there let's see what that looks like okay okay nice can you zoom in to alana's face for me okay so now we're starting to see the catch light zuman even closer should just so people tuning in conceived we can see just like a little faint hint of catch light in her eyes if I had a turner chin up a little bit we'd see it a little more azuma in just a year too close let's see how is interacting with the face okay this is looking pretty nice here going a little closer so I think if we just walk it tiny bit this way and then we bring it down in height we can see that reflection the eyes a little more exactly let's take it down like half a foot all right that's good alright and a lot if you could look at me with the same kind of ah expression can we get this like camera crane out of this thank you okay thank you guys and and again jesse let's go into her eyes here okay so there it is so it's a little strong it's it's a little small but if she moves her chin up I think this is a good starting place let's see matt again jesse okay so that's more or less where I think I want the light do you want to flip back for me but go backwards a little bit and one more and go forwards okay so it looks like the beauty dish which were pretending is coming from this light isn't quite on alana killed do you want to get in there and position it so we have that nice kind of like strip so this is the light that I'm talking about here again we're pretending that this source is coming from the light bulb this isn't quite strong enough so we're going to pretend like this light is coming from that source when this light is doing is putting like the kind of glow behind on the wall if everyone remembers from the first set up all right so let's see what this is doing for us again just worrying about alana not wearing that some of the other girls are falling into shade here very nice thank you jesse could you compare this picture to the last one that we took just so people can see the difference and zoom into alana forming on both so and let me see the side of the couch and the elbow so us position that beauty dish kind of increased the power slightly on the right side killed I think that backlight from the beauty dish needs to come up like maybe three quarters of a stop just so we can get really really strong there so I'm trying to increase the intensity of this line right here that's coming from that beauty to source right there so if we turn it up three quarters of a stop hopefully we can get a little bit more impact from it to pretend like it's coming from the light source okay and again if we just raise that camera up slightly so I think that that's good man okay jesse if you could compare that last one uh to the image that I just nice so I think that's a nice intensity from the lab um we see a better separation from her on the background it's on her arm it's on her hair I think that looks nice for alana can use him out so we can see the entire picture just me just just the last one we took us fine okay so I think this is like a really nice kind of ah starting place for now a little hidden hidden gem that I didn't plan for is ah ken you zoom into lisa's face so look what's happening with lisa she has a really nice quality of light on your face that I didn't expecto happen but that beauty dish is still black lighting her from this lamp it's not quite as intense as what's happening to you alana but in real life she's farther away from the lamp right so this is kind of like what actually would happen so for me the light quality I knew lisa is really nice right now so jesse can use him out again let's see the whole photo I think the only thing that we might have to do is we might have to just what is happening to lydia so let me get your post correct first and if you could stand up taller I think you like coming down like that it's kind of messing up my lighting so also in terms of composition it be nice if you're setting up a little higher let's see if that changes anything and can you yes exactly let's see how this changes things can you zoom in to lydia so the quality is really really nice on her skin love the catch line I like what's happening here zoom out jesse what's happening as she's being lost in the background right so we have and again I'm just feeding my thoughts to you as they come they might seem a little like jargon but what's happening is on the right side she's kind of being lost in the background right this octo bank is an awesome modifier so huge we're just kind of like skimming it across all of them so it's even on all their faces that's fine but still lydia's being lost in the background so what I might do here okay we have another beautician on stand by what I might do here is at another backlight for her specifically but I don't want to put a cto gel in it there's is there any uh there's no jelly in that right okay good here's why is because I think come on let me sick well maybe we'll was he teo and let's start without because what might be nice is that have two different colors back colors of backgrounds going on right this might look nice with a white light separating her because the lamp is over here so there'd be like no motivation for putting a color joe behind the scenes here so although it's separating her and it's doing something at least it might look like here's the lamp in the photo and we might have like white light coming from this side again I don't know how it's gonna look but we'll get there we'll and we'll tweak and we'll finally get to where we need to go but so far so good can I so every shadow that wouldn't be there in their life just let me get let me get there it's it's it's it's this here you're pointing out is it because it's because this light is is is uh yeah if you want to walk this light in and put it more behind so kayla pointed out something interesting if you look at the monitor we kind of see the shadow here from the light because we're pretending that that's a glow all we have to do is move it closer there it is now you won't get that pattern okay okay lost my train of thought hold on so now we have this flash coming from this direction and this flash coming from this direction for backlight the two beauty dishes the only difference is that this one has a cto gel on it right but we have a lamp on that side so maybe color bouncing this little whiter no john it might tie everything together let's match the power of this to the power of that beauty is so that the same so this pack is a four yeah but it is going through cto so so let's uh put a little little dip front let's see in terms of position I think is actually a pretty good for now we'll do a test shot we'll see if it's if it's hitting the background too much it's going nice do that again okay let's have a look here and let's see what's going on I can see in the corner my frame that I fixed it so if you look at lydia's shoulder we can really see what's happening there with the back late jesse could you compare the last shot we took and that was exactly so there's what we have with backlight not perfect but we can tweak it to get better I think what we're gonna have to do guys is this is on a boom arm let's lower the boom arm to get it like more on on a slightly like ninety degree angle and this dish is gonna have to live like right here coming down because I'm seeing the bulk of the light just hit her shoulder here so yeah let's have that come down exactly way see something like that I think thanks well I know this is not tight is this one that's gonna be in the shot I think just walk it out a little bit okay perfect I think you might be clear there I'll look just raise it up so I'm looking at my eyes with the modeling light it looks like it's falling a little nicer can you panic just so it's like hitting the wall exactly let's raise it up even higher so looking at my eyes with the modern light it might fall a little bit more evenly now on lydia okay yeah it was definitely writing a shot all right yeah let's let's raise it up even higher yeah you're clear man thank you okay let's see what this looks leg do we have a little more height out of that thing yeah let's let's take it up just because I can frame it out but it is like just riding on the edge of everything okay do we have ah ladder or something handy so we don't have to like take that up and down each time we tweak it okay let me do a test all I'm trying to do is figuring out this backlight to get it correct for our scene let me have a look here so it looks like the great is really focusing in on the area um caleb do me a favor and let's turn up that backlight by like one stop one entire stop just to see what it's doing okay and let me just turn your body toward me a little more exactly just bring your chin up thank you okay let's see what we have here okay so now she's definitely being isolated from the background let's just do a quick tests just for the sake of the demonstration go up on the ladder just take the grit out and I just want to compare what it looks within without the grid I personally think is going to like throw the light in all crazy direction it's going to hit our background too much um but let's let's see the difference before we decide zoom into lydia's face for me jesse okay perfect so see that see what that back lights doing right with that um well brain fart ok so the back light with the grid it's separating her just slightly from the background right we have that like nice little separation light it's very subtle but since we took the grid out already I can see that it's going to hit our background could look good probably did not look good but let's test it just to see okay well yeah go back and let's put the record back on I mean it's a different look it's not quite what we're going for but it is interesting let's put the great back on the problem is is there's nothing to motivate like a large light coming from up there instead I prefer to like keep it a little little separate let's see right now I'm looking at this image and I'm trying to figure out what to do next if it needs anything if it doesn't need anything to stop I think we're getting pretty close to where I need to go I know something which might be nice do we have another beauty dish yes we do okay cool so looking at this image if we can keep that backlight that's really nice but I noticed if you go back to where we were before jesse go back to the last shot that I took with out the grid and do me a favor and turn that down by like two stops and let's see what happens when we have the beauteous actually on the background okay it could look nice if we get rid of the if we get rid of the glare see that if we have something like that that's more coming from this side just to fill in the background a little bit could be nice let's keep the grid on this let me check that this position of this backlight is good before we move the ladder ok because I think that's pretty much locked in let's just make sure okay so the latter is gonna be in the shop but that's okay won't affect the position of the light too much okay yeah so that's that's okay you guys you should secure that with a little bit of gaff tape uh when you throw it up there I think the uh thing that holds it in a little bit warning okay so if we could get the grit to stand it's gonna look pretty good the other thing that I want to do is you see this area um behind lydia I think we can light that up a little bit right I think we can make it a little brighter um not by much but just to give something a little bit of separation because on the left side of the image we have a light on the background pretending to be the lab right so if we had daylight balance right just kind of sweeping in from this side it's okay I think I think it might work so let's see what that looks like so once the ladders moved what I first see us doing is getting this beauty dish on a low power ah what is this light on right here so let's get this on like a four and let's kind of put it where the ladder is except I want to do two things I want to just like grace her shoulder right here with it and also get a little bit on the background exactly um let's start with the with the grid on so again that's just another white beauty dish that were adding into the mix thank you killed guys this um if you want to grab some more sand this uh this light here needs more sandbags do we have any uh yeah let's stack it around the center because this is just being went on for a minute okay no danger they're going under the ladder okay cool so while they're lighting that up do you wantto maybe we could do a little q and a maybe from our classroom here all the while when we're speaking I'll have these guys set up the other light for the background but I won't test it yet you talk a little bit about when you're bringing a ah backlight in what you're looking for in terms of intensity is I know it's really easy to bring that in um too bright so so what are you looking for in terms of intensity to balance it between not being able to see it being too bright in the past it would have been my kind of notion toe like really ripped the backlight and get like this awesome thing and I wouldn't be enough well you know the difference to me there's no rule of thumb but I like to see a little bit of exposure in the highlights which are backlighting so for example if he's back lights were incredibly overpowered you wouldn't be able to see the actual tonal range from behind so I do like to try to find a balance which is like bright teo isolate them from the background but not over exposed so if I can follow up on that so if let's say you were doing at the so called right way and using a light meter like I usually do um what what would you be measuring for or would you even bother and just kind of play it by how it feels um okay well if you wanted the light and exposure right which is to say like perfect innit and exposure it's not gonna be blown out so the back lights should actually be pretty pretty even right so if you're light metering you're saying it's coming in like one of your license and f f eleven year to duplicate that I would say that it's pretty even an exposure absolutely and then you could go from there turn it down and turn it up but I would say it's kind of equals the exposure of the reason why we're seeing them so much is again cause or to the shaded side of the face okay we have lots of questions coming in from the internet right now and there's quite a few questions about how much time you see been lighting test lighting your subjects and how much time you spend in front of the clients testing your subjects um well I think what you see today is uh it's a little different because we're doing in educational format usually I can work a lot faster because like I'm not explaining every single step but if this were commercial setting what might happen is we do this before anyone else comes on set to check it out but honestly like the people I work with they as I said before I think the similar questions asked earlier in the day is like they understand that nothing starts perfect and you need to do this degree of tweaking to get something right I've been light setups that have taken five six hours to light one photo and I've done things like today where it's like you know forty five minutes to an hour for someone like this and uh bogey dan is wondering if you spend the same amount of time on your subjects in ethiopia doing light test there yes but the difference is is I might treat that almost like a celebrity shoot right because I'm testing the light on a test subject so even over there it's kind of different it's like they're the people might have all the time in the world to come stand for you but the thing that you have to think about is you might make them a bit nervous like why are they taking on these photos is taking forever you might lose that kind of natural expression from someone who's just sitting too long or like any other human being they might just get really bored and like pissed off so to me it's like you gotta do a really fine line of just like testing with its have subject know everything set up and you kind of treat your subject like royalty no matter where they are in the world you just gotta walk him in these girls are all really patient still should be treated like a reality but today they're patient comes in in an educational setting so again normally I'd be doing this with test subjects all right thank you one more question before we go back over quick one from olympia washington do you ever shoot a commercial job without being tethered yes so the whole tethering thing totally depends on budget uh because again we're gonna have to have another set of hands here right this is a job a digital tech is a job as so is a new assistant so if the budget allows for us to get this whole system here someone to keep another eyes on the computer I would rather have it because it helps me tweak light but there's plenty of shoes that have done editorial assignments where we don't have this kind of set up and I might have to look off the back of the camera or even just rely on intuition I've just kind of like knowing my gear and knowing how that light's fallen and if I were to shoot the whole thing on film which I don't issue exclusively digital but let's say we did then we would be more dependent on a light meter and knowing that backlight should equal this light coming from this way and since it's to the shaded side of the face we have the light here but with digital we have so much more ability to tweak and play around and achieve exactly what we saw in our heads before that's why I'm a big advocate of digital all right all right let's keep going off already okay dokey alright so let's get back in place so if we wantto yeah so the only difference now is we have this beauty dish in the mix right so the goal is I want to kind of brighton this area up in the background slightly without getting a weird reflection toward the camera so let's back this sucker up lets get it a little higher and kind of pointed down let's get it up it was kind of just kind of like grace it inbetween here for flashing this way and I'll do a little test shot I think in terms of power if we can match this light with kind of what we said before um what is the strength of not this beauty dish but what is the strength of this light here see it is a three point five so if you wanted to match that and put this also on a three point five we know that the glow from this volvo is very direct and this is a little further away but hopefully we can get some kind of balance here so let's check the position what's where is appointed for those who can't quite see is it's kind of like in between here and in between here it's kind of like going down the centre what I hope to achieve with this is just a little bit of light on the background a little separation from that side okay uh here we go let's do a little test you guys look good by the way perfectly posed okay jesse could you compare that with the last image that I took okay so looking at the background now it looks like we're doing exactly what we wanted to on the right side we are getting a little bit of phil from that backlight s right from that beauty dish can you zoom in tow lydia for me jesse so does everyone seem with that what that small little soft box doing it's like it's like very very subtle but it is filling in that sort of like darkness there is kind of giving a sense of balance round the entire image um if I had one thing to change can we decrease the power of the light which is falling on lydia because you see this hot spot on her shoulder it's like a little bit crazy right seeing on lydia's shoulder there like that bright hot spot I think we can take that down like one stop and it should sort that out for us okay let's do another test oh okay that looks much better okay perfect yet so that highlight on her shoulders taking care of its not so distracting everybody looks good throughout I think that I'm in a very good place for lighting now this is a time when now I want to forget about it and start working with them it's kind of locked in because like you're going to be laying there no matter what I like to get variations you might do like this or this most of the change is going to be happening with you two all right so let me look through this and let me see what's gonna happen just in terms of composition and balance okay so lisa I think if you moved a little closer to lydia it would help it feel like a little marco he said if you want to slide your bombs forward her as well on the couch exactly um and lydia let's see something different with your hands maybe like one on the box that you're sitting on exactly I think that looks really nice so guys with those positions in mind let's start there and each time I flash will get like a little bit of variation okay let me one second to find the frame andre is okay here we go everyone looks great it's perfect if we had a little bit of music on set it would help everyone get in the groove but uh we can't do that today here it is um lydia if you want to turn your knees more toward lisa just cause I feel like a bit straight on exactly that's nice perfect you guys this is looking awesome and let's have all eyes to the camera so I forgot to specify that it's great and I want it I really like um when your one hand was kind of like on your waist exactly bring it more towards like your hips yeah that's really nice for your figure perfect and again lady let's have one hand on the box on the other hand just kind of like rested on your knee if you'd raise your chin a bit lydia great okay everything looks perfect okay these are all good let me flip through these and let me see uh what's looking good and what we might have to change um jesse you're twenty five percent zoomed in can you just show me the full for him okay good I was worried that I was cropping stuff off so oh yeah this is looking really nice actually let's put can you flip through those backward for me so I'm just looking at each post seeing was working best go back one dressy so if we look at video who is the girl on the far right it seems like when you turn away from her light too much we're losing the light in your face so if you just want to keep that in mind for the next shots go through jesse quick one more okay stop see their lydia on the far right much much more flattering light okay keep flipping back jessie perfect yeah that's way better okay I'm gonna take this opportunity real quick to give the image little color grade and capture one I think this does not need much but just as we're tethering in what can happen is again the looks khun be applied as I'm shooting so I think let me get an example toward the end of what we were doing something like okay let's say something like this take a little bit of the color out just to help it feel a little bit more muted that looks good you play with the dynamic range slider is a little bit I don't like to do to crazy with these instead of like to just get it in camera but just to give us a little bit of ah light in the very very dark shadows and just going increase that by like nine I mean take down the saturation little more let's go into the color curves and if you remember what we did on our second set we sort of color grated the curves to be a butt warmer because we have the lamp motivating this kind of like nice inside vibe right so to make that kind of like orange warm feeling let's dip the blue slightly toward yellow something like that and then we can increase the reds to get a little warmer let's say something around around here I'd put a little too much yellow and let me take that out okay something with that let's compare to up so there's the color grade it's like it's like extremely extremely subtle but I think the image on the left looks a little bit more polished and like fine tune than the rest so jesse when we shoot can you please apply this color setting as they would just come in perfect this is the one here yet so if you apply it to everything we shot and then anything else coming in so I'm gonna do like one more round guys and I think will be good for this setting um for you I've noticed that when you're like down a little lower it's actually better because when you come up to uh up top is not flattering and also like the lights a little flat for me okay cool thank you jesse okay everyone looks perfect it's gonna be awesome here we go okay so again each time I flash we'll switch it up just ever so slightly great and lisa if I could see your one hand that's uh hiding behind exactly thank you and lydia if you want to turn your news may be a little bit more straight onto me now we'll get some little different exactly and let's have your arms lydia on your knees again and just sort of like come down yet exactly there in a uh everyone looks awesome this is good great great and all eyes here on the loons okay perfect so I think we got this set up guys I think we know that that's very nice let's flip through those last pictures just to make sure jesse so yet we have a lot of separation in the shadows but we're still kind of keeping this kind of atmospheric dark tone throughout the whole thing but at least we isolate each subject their clothing is also color coordinated like these dark muted tones if one of them was wearing like a white shirt here it would totally ruin everything so we're kind of like very very thoughtful of what they're wearing also yeah and I think that looks great so if we have any final questions before we wrap it up today um I think we're good with this I also want to thank them for being like so still throughout everything because I know you have to need a lot of patients to do that thank you yes thank you again to our models can we let them go are we are we good yeah we're good all right thank you all right so wait do have a number of questions and we'll start with our studio audience oh they're liking it by the way just just wait because it's important for your subjects like the photo sometimes too do I have any dirt on my face can't see from there I was like crouching on the ground just me here oh god it's like your outs in some other country since the end of the day doesn't matter all right joey with the narrative lighting to think how do you figure out how many lights to bring with you on a set if you want them or do you own them so with the additive lighting technique how many lights do I know that I have to bring on set it all goes into preproduction right so I'm a big fan of drawing lighting diagrams before I approach a shoot for something like this I have my go to tools but even on paper I could think about this and know what I'm going to do I like to be safe because for example in this setup I had no idea that I would do like something like this light to influence a sort of like glow from the bulb so I do like teo get a little bit more gear than I might need because I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it but at the end of the day it all comes down to budget I know if I have a certain amount of tools I'll do anything I can to make those work if I don't have a light to do it I might throw in another like little trick like the flashlight the mirror to bounce to reflect something there to add a backlight it's all sort of has to do with pre planning and drying out lighting diagrams uh before you approach the actual scene if you have a situation like this we have three people or orm or even like eight people there is something like that and you have them moving randomly do you sometimes have to go for like a a compass it image at the end of someone's blanking or if they're moving randomly okay for which prevented act like second life I had taken multiple versions of this image and one girl looks good and another girl was blake exactly if that was I would try to stay away from that first of all in the selection process but let's say it had to absolutely be this post from this girl where the other one looks bad what you can do is yes you can get two pictures and like pull from one into the other you could do that but I try to stay away from it just cause I like the feeling inside of my of my heart being like that's one photo but if it has to be done it has to be done as long as you know we're keeping a really similar composition uh to make that a little bit easier later I could've been locked off on a tripod so that if you did have to compose somebody it might just be a matter of isolating at the area also nobody was really overlapping one another um so it would be really easy in this circumstance yes do you generally plan on one main light for all your subjects and if so how do you how do you decide which subject to kind of focus on lighting first so I can speak in this particular set up first is that we had one main light for all three subjects right now if we had actually done you know what we learn in school too like point your light on the person you're lighting it I would have not affected the other subjects right so instead you saw what I was doing was weaken see it's like kind of pointing away right we're kind of like lighting the audience right now but what we get is like the feather on all three subjects which is kind of like equal power because as this feather there's less variance right because there's no hot spot so to answer your question is have I done lighting setups with a group shot where people are left with more than one main light absolutely for this specific thing since everyone was sitting on the same focal plane didn't have to do it but let's suppose like lydia I was a little bit setback and she wasn't on the same plane is this feather what I might do is throw in another light just for her but what I would be very very thoughtful of you is making that light come from the same kind of direction as the other main light right because if you had this mental main light coming from her and someone sitting there was like very dark if you like put something from this way it would totally ruin all the shadows and all the quality that you've established coming from this direction right so I might choose to put another main light but put it beside it just angled slightly on that subject I would make sure that they're all coming from the same position how do you deal with situations like with fx you were writing that was sunny in philadelphia you had to have crew go ahead while you were shooting and build the next lighting setup you don't even get a chance really to have somebody stand in do you I do because if okay so let me give a little clarifications for anyone who doesn't know what you're talking about sometimes on sets will have multiple setups right so let's give an example like this where we have the group shot and we left the individual shots from today also open right so it might come the case where I need to leave is everything set up at the same time for when the talent gets on set it's like bam we did this set up van we do this set up family to this set up that's great in an ideal world but sometimes we don't have that much gear or we know the budget to rent that much gear so what we have to do is maybe have to lighting setups ready to go and when I'm photographing on one the one that we just use is being broken down and reassembled I just wanted to a preference so people who don't know what you're talking about now how do I do that if I do I just trust assistance to throw up lights not really all that kind of stuff is being predetermined before in the pre light so we might mark the floor with tape write down the exact power and then it just might we might need to take ten minutes for me to get on set and tweak a little bit but all that's kind of been predetermined before we get there equally so the people that I work with like caleb like he knows the style and he knows more or less like what I'm going for so if I was like look we're going to go here and over by this window I need a beauty dish remain light and something ripping through outside just do that at least we could get that set up so that when I come on we're in a good place to like start tweaking and there's less time actually like building lights and putting stuff on stands can you kind of walk us through and again like tell us exactly which lighting here you chose for this particular group three when and you want a little walk through one more time take a little bit complex especially for those who just tuned in toward the end earlier we were in depth doing one of the lighting setups and then took a step further so I'm going to take everyone let me do a little recap of everything here okay for those who just missed the first set up earlier in the day okay all right I'm gonna move around here so if you guys want okay first thing I did was opposed the girls right I had them in the position from where they should be we want to worry about main light what is the main light in this setup it's this octo bank I knew I had three subjects one here two here so we couldn't really point a light directly on who were photographing instead we needed the feather like I just described with your question so this describes that main light angling outweigh all the main subjects are getting this like nice feathered light right then we move on and we say what else is going on in this scene this lamp is sort of a subject in itself right it's kind of like has its own little identity going on we have to light it separately we have a lamp in this scene which we need to augment if we were just to take an exposure with just the lamp we wouldn't be able to see how it's affecting our subject here so if the main light coming from this way casting a shadow on this side of the face this beauty dish here that's just to pretend that it's the light coming from this lamp no other reason except that so that when I had a subject you know laying out here it looked as if the orange light was coming from the lamp that's that light next thing we did was we determined that there is no glow behind this lamp it was just flat so this little light here has a ten degree grid inside and all it's doing is aiming behind here and giving us that little kind of cast jesse if you want to pull up that image is their group shot open right now just so they can flip in between there's a little bit of glow here okay that's what this lights doing their next thing we did was we found that lydia especially and this side of the image was being lost in darkness okay so she was sitting here but there was nothing to give her back light from this direction so we added in this beauty dish with a grid here to give her a little bit of separation from this way but there's a difference between this backlight and that beauty dish there and that is this one has a cpo on it because it's motivated by our lamp light source and this one is not motive motivated by anything it's just to separate it for eyes so I purposely didn't put a color joe in this light so we have a little bit of difference between these two lights the last step that I did was I added another beauty dish just because the wall behind lydia was now too dark and there was kind of like we have this glow coming from here but this was lost in shadow so I added another white beauty dish with a grid no cto just pointing this way took a couple photos gave them some direction and that's how we ended up with a group shot more or less from ask jessica how often do you shoot with a tripod joey almost never look for something like this if we had to be locked down like you mentioned putting in different uh different people all right swapping in different images then I might be locked down with a tripod if we had to drag the shutter incorporate some of the light passed what I can hold the camera steady use a tripod something like this was locked down okay I wasn't like moving around a lot so yes a tripod probably would have been a good idea here I just I don't have one with me but for something like any of the other set ups I like the idea of just being able to like bounce around and use my intuition so my whole thing is like one something is lit then I'll just like use my feet toe like go around so how often am I using a tripod maybe like five percent of the time thank you all right s w photo is wondering where do you get your jacket from jacket is from all science all right but I think I guess that's a good thing so we have a question about people always like to know where our instructor's got stuff that they use in their sets and such and so somebody is asking about the metal background that we have here and now joe I know you didn't source that specifically but what are some things that you have used that might be similar to this look more than years the background to use this background really different and things that you used yesterday we use the green wall nothing special about it but we gave it a little bit of shape and dimension with shadows we put on it really there's nothing complex about it is just a green wall that happened to go with their subjects right so it doesn't have to be like this you can go dumpster diving and go to a scrapyard and you confined so many surfaces like this right on old rusty piece of sheet metal planks of wood you can get a table right put it on its side you something like that so there's so many different things that you can use for a background aye I like going dumpster diving and going to a scrap yard you confined sheets of metal like this and they're happy to sell it to you for extremely cheap awesome quite a few people have asked throughout the day uh for example in this last group shot who are you focusing on where is your focus focus point so remember that were at an f ate right so it's pretty sharp throughout but we're all kind of on the same focal plane um so all the girls were like more or less distributed evenly like where their eyes were she was here all right again like so the focal plane was kind of here so for this setup at f ate it didn't really matter where the focus was because they would all end up in focus anyway when doing a portrait with something shallower that's when we would want to focus on the eyes and be really careful on the eyes that's where the focus waas so for this particular image um I I don't even know where it was but it was on one of the models are on the same focal point thank you yes sir uh when looking for assistance how do you keep them not bored how do you keep them interested and also how do you I guess keep them from from wanting to take the camera and do it themselves I guess especially when you're starting out it's kind of not that I don't know how do I keep assistance not bored how do you keep it a sister jobs be bored if they're bored then they're probably not wanting to get into photography so if someone's assisting me on set maybe they want to learn something so if they're soaking in the knowledge than that it's good for them how do I keep them not barred on set I don't really care that get all the whole thing gets bored as they want it they don't want to be there then they could go it was kind of a dickhead answer but it's not like my job's a leg well I'm a clone are you happy now I'm shooting but um yeah I mean does that answer your question I don't know what you are you bored no good all right I'm gonna make you break all this down later okay sure all right joey so here we are and we're in a studio would your studio b something similar to this because we then when a move to talking about travel do you have all this in your studio do you rent it I don't have the studio okay don't own a studio I have a closet that's full of shit drop and give me a yeah okay I know I don't have a video I have a closet that I can't put any closing it's like full of gear but typically I'm on location right so if I had a studio to work it'd be great um for me the overhead is not really worth it from where I'm at right now but I'm a location based photographer meaning that I do environmental portrait so every single shoot is going to be different so for me it doesn't make sense to invest in a place like this because like how many times could I do this before clients like hey that's you did that for this that's this is a different show why is it the same setup so for me I like to location scout and pay someone a little bit of money to use their location or try to like trade them images in exchange for being there um and then kind of like the whole world is your stage and you khun pick the best one for the job and you don't have the stress of having to pay rent on it every month so I just like to choose my locations a little something for our shoot and then never have to deal with it ever again what I love about that too is a lot of people get intimidated about oh to start up and being a commercial photographer I have to have a studio yeah no I don't hear a prime example hit you can have a closet and closet this way two minutes so so building upon that because we are getting a lot of questions about your travel work from photo cmo how do you go about in regards to location scouting for your personal projects and I would say your commercial projects too especially when you shoot with on location studio strobes the lighting that I'm using on location is a seven b pro photo power pack plugged into an ellen chrome rhoda look octa bank rhoda look socked a bank with a head and how do I location scout when I'm shooting actually when I travel I'm spending a very very small amount of time actually photographing right for that I might reserve for just sunrise or just sunset the rest of the day and the rest of my time there is spent setting up shots finding locations picking out places that have something to do with my subject that something's true to them but I can still sort of contrive a scene around something that looks visually interesting but it's also going to give my subject proper context these are things that I'm doing before any photographs are taken I can't just show up and be like oh you happen to be in the great spot in the great light three for what I do for my style that's not how it works instead I spend the majority of my time sort of thinking and planning and then when you actually click the shutter it could be only a couple of minutes right in comparison to how much time you spend scouting and figuring everything out before there are so many beginners and young viewers and our audience right now and they really really looked up to you and do you have any words for them and were things that they can dio to start today we'll forward I think there's this big misconception for like anyone starting today yes younger beginners but even you know someone older picking up a camera is this this huge misconception that this goes back to the portfolio thing that I was talking about yesterday that here's misconception that need like hundreds of images to get a body ofwork that seems daunting like oh I'm starting from scratch like I'm gonna have to do all these shoots if you count the number of shoots I actually display on my website there's not that many the difference is they're sort of very like curated right and anything I've shot in the past I've just built off of so I can throw it out it doesn't mean I wasted my time it just means I've grown as a photographer so the thing which becomes daunting to someone starting out no matter their age is that they feel like oh I need to do like all these shoots but actually as I said yesterday if you set up like ten shoots all right and spend a couple months doing those and you get four shots that have every shoot you can build your first portfolio so when you break it down like that when you break things in steps just like I'm doing with lighting it doesn't seem so daunting also I like the whole idea of just stepping back there's so many workshops where uh photography is like sell sells out money money money if you come in with that approach first you're going to walk away with like no good images so if someone is like fighting to survive off photography trying to build their first portfolio it it's not really a good starting place instead it's better to step back and have like a very methodical approach of how these images are going to shave your career

Class Description

Joey L. has balanced hard work, technical execution, and boundless creativity to become a commercial portrait photography wunderkind. In this class, you'll learn how Joey gets inspiration, organizes his shoots, and processes the images to create the stunning shots for which he has become so well known.

In this class, you'll learn:

  • How to embrace the creative concepts that so often stay trapped in our heads
  • How to merge cinematic lighting techniques with onset special effects
  • Joey's post-production tips in Photoshop



Are you keen to learn about creating painterly portraits - as much in-camera as possible? Then you likely get how important lighting is. What you may not realise is how little a role photoshop plays in creating such effects: what such JoeyL like portraits seems to mean is: - thinking about portraits - what they are - how light creates them - how therefore to see and manage light "if you can use one light you can use many" - how to tune the image to create the output in your vision. Within this there are thoughts about photography as a business, workflows and data management. It's all remarkably accessible, too. Joey's teaching approach is calm and effective: he has mastered the art of the recap to make sure everyone is on the same page " first we did this; then we did.. then we did..." THe pragmatics of the course - the lighting/shooting sessions - are sensible progressions from one light (including using a flashlight and a foil lined cardboard box) to a multi-light set up. Intrigingly the lenses are limited no. of primes in the dlsr sections; the medium format is well motivated too, and clearly not a limiting factor for creating the desired image look. This course should get bonus marks for going above and beyond expectations on two counts: the portfolio section for people looking for work is v.well done in that a) it exists at all and b) Joey is not just highlighting his own work, but showing the work of others to allow him to explore options in presentation. Fantastic. The discussions of workflow- including data back up strategies - and image processing including print and web - are also sufficiently detailed and rational to be able to test out quickly. Delighted to see this work being done in PS v6 for those who haven't leapt to CC versions yet. It's also rewarding and inspiring to hear Joey say "i don't have a studio" Likewise, though Joey does work with a crew, it's clear they're working as a team and for very specfici purposes - all of which get costed into a budget. There's a lot of questions about the experience of shooting for a client - about the air of calm one has to maintain even if freaking out - to get through these points. It's all very real. WHile joey is clearly very confident about what he does, he's not arrogant, and the confidence is earned and reassuring. IT's clear he's an alpha kinda guy, a little competetive, and working for him (preferring folks who don't sleep - oh dear) may be different than attending a class - but this IS a class and his manner and way of teaching/organising/presenting work extremely well. Because the course is so complete, going not just from a to z but -z to +z it seems, these next bits are small beer: There's a rather surprising section with CL founder Chass Jarvis - but many CL courses have guest teachers bring in guests to add perspective. Here the section mainly demonstrates how gracious Joey is as an interviewer. And because all the other bases are covered it's no loss to have this business discussion of de-bunkings about how to get into this game. In other sections we see Joey as a patient guy too - answering quesitons it seems several times that had been answered previously in the course - while not everyone has tuned in for the whole thing, it's undrestandable why live questions weren't better filtered to highlight new questions - but Joey calmly will indicate as discussed before...and then give the answer. Never get the sense he's irritated by the repetition. While we hear his father as a strong critique his folks must be well pleased with how Joey's doing. This course has no extra materials - and that's ok: the links to the portfolios and software used are all in the discussions. Joey's blog also goes through a lot of discussions about gear lists. So head to his blog for supplementary detail. Overall it's hard to find a more complete course in CL on a complete portrait photography workflow. Scott Robert Lim's somewhat more frenetic but incredibly detailed 10k wedding photography and Joel Grimes Strobe workshops are also v.good in this end to end regard. But this one goes a bit beyond these perhaps in terms of vibe/cohesion (that may be unfair - it's just a feel thing between the three). Some folks label courses as "something for everyone" - i don't know if that's the case or if this case largely appeals to keen beginners who are exploring lighting and thinking about business thoughts, or if more experienced/pro photographers will be gripped by each moment, but my suspicion is that even for experienced portrait'ists it will be engaging at the very least to see how a fellow pro manages a shoot. Excellent excellent offer. With the guarentee, this is a no risk, slam dunk if commercial portrait photography (or painterly /cinematic and maybe earthy portraits) are for you. Thanks CL for bringing this together.

Vinh Huynh

I think this is a great class. You can definitely tell Joey L is a master of his craft because of his simple explanations. He's concise in the way he teaches, demonstrates, etc. The most important thing is his workflow or process he uses while setting up the shot, how he builds, etc - it's essentially a "checklist" of how he likes to do things. Something newer photographers need to know. He did forget a couple of the models' name here n' there, but I'm sure he met them shortly before filming for the day started, lol. This is something you should not do, but he apologizes and openly admits. There are times a couple questions are asked and he has no shame in admitting that he's just "openly thinking of what would happen," but does not know for sure because he shoots in a specific style. For someone his age (younger) who has penetrated this tough industry, you can definitely tell why he's successful - very mature with a great knowledge base. You can definitely tell he sees lighting differently from how an advanced amateur or even semi-professional photographer does... even in the introduction he talks about how important lighting and the quality of that light is. For those who are more advance, there might not be as many nuggets and pearls. There isn't any information on how he got into the industry, how he grew his business etc - with exception to how he feels you should display your portfolio in both web and print format. Overall, I think someone who's looking to get into commercial photography would benefit from this workshop. However, someone who's already getting paid and just looking to advance his or her own career probably already has the skillset that Joey L teaches and is best spending time just studying light. A little about me... I'm primarily a natural light portrait photographer specializing with families, kids, pets, etc. I'd consider myself an advanced amateur and I found this workshop beneficial. I hope that helps!!