Blizzard Themed Pre-Production


Commercial Portraiture


Lesson Info

Blizzard Themed Pre-Production

well oftentimes you mentioned preplanning okay when I'm photographing as I mentioned yesterday the majority of what we do on what we photograph happens before we get on set right so if we think about what we're going to be doing here particularly what I'd like to create is the portrait of an explorer okay this is a concept that I've been doing setting up kind of testing for a while to get a body of work which could relate which could be added to my portfolio and could relate to the clients that I want to get in the clients that I already have now the reason why I chose the subject matter of doing a portrait of an explorer it's just because I feel I can use this sort of stylistic techniques to make a really engaging portrait pss later on in my portfolio it can be used perhaps to get advertising work perhaps to get entertainment style work of all these kind of different shows that have adventurers and explorers and characters that's kind of what I'm trying to create for my portfolio this...

is not a commission shoot meaning that it's not something that I was paid to do but what it is it's something that I'm set up to look as if it could be something that I was paid to do so the same level of production value in the same quality so when I put it in my book some people might not know the difference is just a body of images whether they're commissioned or not all this stuff can help me later on down the road so think of like preplanning first what we're doing is we obviously found a subject who fits the role of an explorer he's got like a burly beard okay we found a nice coat that explorer would wear we're thinking about color tones what colors he's going aware we're thing about special effects we put some ice inside of his beard all these things come together to help tell the story of that portrait even though we're just taking one photo can you do it can you take us back a little bit too when you are actually having say f production meeting ok about this what are the elements that were discussed and safer even for example with the special effects makeup artist we have here what did you talk to her about with breeding when you go into preproduction on any shoot the first thing what it all comes back to is what are you trying to achieve with the photo what is the overall mood that when someone who's not trained in photography looks at this like what do you what is the goal first especially in advertising yes we have a photograph but we're trying to make somebody feel something right we're trying to make it this image linked with a feeling or mood that maybe could be related like that could relate to sell a product or have someone to it into a show what do we want this image to cast upon the viewer okay so that's kind of like with discussed all in preproduction everything else comes from there so that ties into expression it ties into what they're wearing it ties into what different elements are going to be used right so that helped shape the set after all that's thought about then I'll start thinking about who we cast for it how they're posed like all this kind of thing comes from the initial mood right so in preproduction what we're doing is we're probably trying to find a lot of inspiration we're making mood boards meaning finding different images online that could relate to how the subject should look maybe finding pictures of riel explorers who have climbed to the arctic circle before seeing how like their beards look right after their frozen we could be looking for images taken inside of a blizzard seeing what the snow looks like when it's berthing into the lens and kind of like assembling all these photos together and kind of grasping this is what we're trying to re create a little bit from all these different photos we're not trying to rip off one photo of the mood board in particular but we're saying that's the kind of mood and that's the kind of goal all these images together will make our image that's in as well as we're thinking about planning we're thinking about budget we're thinking about doing everything on making sure that there's no surprises later how much can we rehearse before we actually get on set to pull off our vision how many how many meetings would you say this is our how much sort of get the team together and then they go off and do their thing on this morning before creative live actually I had a I had a pre production call first shoot I'll be doing for history channel this morning at six a m so nine a m new york time on what we discussed was just the locations okay we discuss what the goal is right what people will take away from from this it could be just that call and then I go back on my own get some references take together kind of plan a shot list could be several meetings if the she was more in depth right so I might go into the office of the people that I'm working with and we actually sit down and talk about it I'd say certainly on a on a case by case basis some shoots are a lot more complex than others s o depends on the shoot for something like this I'd say maybe like one day of pre production is good um and perhaps one morning of pre lighting and then trying to plan the rest of the day for creative live will be doing it step by step so this kind of represents right now what we call like the pre light I'm not talking about the people who might have to run around picking up different materials sometimes it's me for example the code that were working today if you want to count that time I had to run to the store like find the right jacket that might count as a day of pre production sourcing all the materials searching the internet trying to find the model or calling all your friends and seeing who's patient enough to stand in for you all this stuff could be roped into pre production that said that's all you want to know about three productions that was connection that these guys have any questions and in studio waken keep going on this topic yeah great I mean let me let me take some questions here and what I'll do is tell people grasp more what we're doing as well actually walk through step by step what we're going to be doing here that might help people wrap their heads around what exactly this set up is going to be yes so I'm just curious for you in your process and you know how you market yourself I know in different scopes of work you know sometimes there's a separate art director or what have you how involved are you on your commission pieces with decisions like wardrobe or casting I mean are you hands on throughout the entire thing well typically the more I work with someone the more input I have because they start trusting my ideas more if I start working with someone for the first time sometimes I can be a beginning like a diagram or sketch and then it's my job as a photographer to interpret that sketch and bring it to life with things like lighting posing mood and feel so that would say like on that spectrum that's the least creative things that I'm doing that would be a shoot where I'm given a sketch and I'm have tto add something of my own to it I'd say on the most creative end might be something like we have the client might come to me and say we have this show what are your ideas and I can create something from scratch so for example the job that I was talking about this morning it's going to be a mixture of both I know their needs for marketing what kind of things they need which work to help people tune in but what I'll do is like start adding ideas to the pile so they khun think about them and present them throwing their ideas it will pick the best ones so again it's a case by case basis but a lot of the things that I've been doing for certain clients um more and more is ah collaboration between myself and them all right question just came in from the internet from his name robert pulse his name is robert paulsen of course from hudson iowa as far as charging for pre production on all of that time that you invest going into that do charge a flat rate for your pre production tried you by the hour by the day it's a great question so typically on larger chutes that I do there'll be a producer right ah lot of the times I'm running floating in between different photo shoots and I don't have time to set up everything myself so the producer will get a day rate okay if it was a shoot that I was producing like back in the day when I was doing music what what should happen is thies pre production days there's budget for those as well remember that being paid as a photographer the money we walk away from should be separate from the production budget so we walk away with a photographer's feed the money that you get out of that shouldn't come out of things like getting whites or getting the locations those they're kind of like two separate areas so the more time that we have for pre production the more expensive that it's going to be the more complex and the more organization that goes into things cost more money to do because there's more people uh making it their job to handle that all right speaking of all the people that are involved in making this happen there are onset there's makeup stylists are excuse me there's makeup artists there are actually a stylist on set people who are in charge of wardrobe there are people in charge of lighting in here and who manages all of those people on set are you as the photographer in charge of all of those people on set um on a set like this so complex again a completely case by case there's something where I do a little bit of everything I'm just out there for the love I might be putting like some special effects on myself but for something like this where I do have the opportunity toe work with other people the photographer will be more in control of the creative side right so it will be me who dictates more how things look and how things feel where it's the producer's job or like the line producer on set producer to make sure everyone's going on schedule so in a huge commercial shoot like this I don't wantto worry about you know making making sure the makeup artist knows where to go and if they get lost giving them directions I can't really be doing that because I have to be focusing on the pre light and I have to be focusing on so many other things so sometimes it's really nice to remove yourself from that burden and people just focus on their specific task so in this specific shoot I'm managing kind of all things creative not to say that production is not creative because you need someone extremely extremely talented to handle all these things but I'm talking about like how the image turns out that side of the creativity when we're at pre visualization question from darling d did the vision say in this example do the visions of a photo final photo come quickly to you like the lighting in the overall feel or does it take a few days to bring it all together do you speak see things and then you got it or most times no most times it requires a lot of thought and again when I was talking with chase the other day we think a lot about I know a lot about how like society isn't really structured for creative people all the time it's very hard to just think of an idea on the fly right so you know sometimes I'm listening to a song and I'm like oh I got a great idea for what it would be a great music video oftentimes it doesn't happen like this I need to give myself a few days to like mow it over in my head because initially I might get really excited about an idea but then like the next day I'm like that's like actually not going work so I do like to give myself time okay um to think about things process things in my head but if we're doing something that's rushed and last minute then sort of like that pressure and that deadline will force me to think so again I liketo have time but sometimes it's not always the case awesome one more question coming in from markie know wondering if the process of still imagery and a photography shooting is the same as on a film set large uh films that's are completely different they're way way way more complex right because you think about all the different degrees of things you're managing your managing sound you're managing continuity you're managing all these things that you don't even think about on a films that a lot more people to run the equipment because again we're dealing with constant light right which requires have your generators film sets are way more complex you need a way more experience producer to run those photo sets are pretty simple when you compare them to those now one thing I'll mention which is interesting to draw that question is that lately I've been combining a lot of still photography shoots with film shoots and those we can make run very seamlessly as long as there's a lot of pre production thinking of both things because the needs for stills are a lot different than the needs for film right but we can use the same sets we can use the same models are a lot of things that sort of like blend over and cross over but there's a lot of things that don't so for example the way that a print ad is composed write something that's going to go in a magazine or something that's going to go on a billboard might be a little different than the composition that you would use for a film right because we're thinking about putting together several shots so with film we're thinking long term we're thinking how do all these shots make our vision at at the end of a sixty second spot at the end of a two hour movie in photography we're thinking about what because what is this one picture say right what what what story can I tell with someone just looking at it and say you have got it so it's more like instant result so with the film comes a greater complexity really interesting a question from to buy assault solemn when working together with an art director how much or how little influence does your creativity as a photographer come into the final results I think we already went over it with with her question typically what an art director is looking for us to things someone who can pull off their vision right because they have a client of their own that they need to impress but they want to work with someone who can add something to it right someone who could take it a step beyond their original idea and add to it um and influence it as a photographer and collaborate to get the best result possible so we're going to be photographing a portrait of someone standing here right and the good thing about photography is being kind of lie right we can focus in on like one area on lee and say like oh look at this guy hand painted background right we kind of like lie and say that's the way our cameras looking the viewers don't know that that doesn't extend everywhere so what we kind of done is we're going to set up a shoot inside to make it look like a blizzard scene right and we're only gonna be pointing one one way it's not complex like a film but as long as we kind of like set up just a small area people don't know that that doesn't extend off the canvas so yes we're in like a funny room but we're going to try to make it look like we're outdoors when we take the explore portrait so this is a setup that I've done once before but in no way does that mean that this is going to run smoothly today it's not something that's like rehearse we're gonna have to add things step by step but let me give you an idea of what is actually here for now so when we test we know what the different layers of complexity are okay so right here the first thing in the background is we have this like hand painted sky background okay there's two great places that I source all my backdrops from this is from a company called schmidly okay but actually prefer a new one called brought us in backdrops there in new york city and they're like a husband and wife team that like hand paint all their backgrounds a lot of people like to add in things digitally but again I'm a big fan of getting it right in camera so I use broader seuin backdrops quite a lot if I need something specific that they don't have I'll go to this a company called schmidly okay so because we're in seattle we had to ship it this one's from schmidly now this background um looking at it with the eye they did a really beautiful job of hand painting it right but if you look up close like you can still see some brush strokes you might see some folds in the fabric but I wouldn't worry too much about that because we're going to be throwing the background out of focus right so just like real life if there was a sky this would be like completely blurry all that really matters to me about this background is we have variation in tone okay so we look at this and we know like this is clouds okay originally I think the background is actually supposed to be like the other way but we don't have the room but since it's going to be so out of focus doesn't really matter that's a great starting place now let's think about how we're lighting up the background because the goal here is to be able to control every single variable by itself so what I mean is if we have a main light for the subject and we want to you know lesson or brighten it we want to be able to do that individually with this stands okay we want to light the background separately so if the same if we have to lighten or dark innit we can be in control of each individual piece of the puzzle okay so looking at this backdrop you'll notice we have these two umbrellas kay these are for lighting the backgrounds there's one coming from this way and one coming from this way can you bring me the pocket wizard and the light meter now this is where having a light meter really comes in handy instead of taking a whole bunch of different test shots right because if I had to light this evenly what I would want to do is make sure that we have a very cohesive exposure throughout now the umbrella is a great tool for lighting a background cause we get like a really flat light to me it's a kind of like reminds me of like when I used to get school portrait's taken of me the photographer would come with umbrellas it looks really cheesy on a human being to me not saying that photographer couldn't make it look good but it's not my go to modify our choice for lighting a subject but it is for that same reason I don't use it for a subject I want to use it on a background okay so it's given kind of like a nice flat even wash uh john was walking through here okay and he's holding the light meter he's flashing he's getting the reading it's f or there center for also that side f or so not even taking a test shot we know that this light is sort of gonna be even if we had done the test and he walked here and he saw like oh this side's reading a little bit hot and we don't have enough light in the center all we'd have to do is just pan the umbrella right so we're controlling where most of the lights going if we had one light on when we take the test site obviously we'd have light coming from this direction in this falling in shadow if we had something like a grey surface just to work with we might try to make it look like clouds to light it from one side and have that grady ation but since it's already hand painted we could just light it evenly and that's going to be the first layer or the first device in our first puzzle piece of pulling this whole thing together okay that's the background we're going to keep that simple the next thing is is we have the main light k which is affecting our subject the most usually I start with the main light but because we're lighting ah background I'm going to start and make sure that that is looking good okay next thing going through this set up is this huge octa bank you'll recognize it from yesterday that's what we did on the enormous a group shot but it does give a really beautiful quality of light for one portrait as well because just like I was talking about on the first day we could sneak it incredibly close to the face and get that nice coat of like wrapping quality as well as the huge catch light in the eye so for this just as a starting point that's going to be my go to modifier for the subject now let's think about backlight right I have kind of like my favorite thing going on which is the beauty dishes the's are my favorite thing for like most backlight I think every single example almost from uh yesterday was all beauty dishes again the reason I like that his backlight is because it still gives a nice soft wrapping source from behind when I first started photographing I was using a lot of like harsh modifiers and we get this like really kind of cut out look instead I like it to be soft as backlight also another thing you'll notice is we have grids in them and that's just to direct the light so we're in a very small working space we have a lot of white walls around I don't want that light to bleed and influence other areas of the shot where it shouldn't be so for example you notice how close the beauty dishes are to this background if the grids weren't in we would definitely be getting some splash down below not a bad thing but since we want to control things separately is better to grid them so we can focus it just as a backlight on our subject the backlight not a back round like okay so that's that there that would be the that sort of puzzle piece the next puzzle piece killed if you want to climb up that ladder there in letter rip the next puzzle pieces the falling snow okay this is something that's special for this set up I know it's not something that everyone has access to but if you can't afford to buy a snow machine but you did want to do something somewhere remember that a lot of special effects house hold it for one minute there's there's a lot of special oh and it's going to snow okay well we gave away the surprise with air it isthe so there's a lot of special effects house that'll rent stuff for a day so if there's a certain tool like you wantto do a photo shoot to make it rain right get hayes you don't have to buy the machine you can rent it for one day that's what we're doing here I don't own a snow machine because it's not every single shoot uh that I'm working with snow if we're working on a film like a feature film where we need it for a month's time might make more sense to buy it this is just rented okay now let's let her rip and let's see what what is going to happen is this isa so peak like everyone's getting their cameras this is good so that so this is like a soapy kind of formula oil based that goes inside here and it just creates this kind of like fake synthetic snow right it's not really snow it's just if you hold it on your hand it looks like dish so right so we're gonna have to be very careful about throwing it out of focus so it looks more realistic right as it goes to get stuck to the ground but that's good for now as it goes to get stuck to the ground it's gonna get really really sticky here right but that's okay we just need it for one photo so that's that element now let's think about lighting this so we have our subject which we talked about lighting but we also have almost like a second subject which is to say the snow so when you light stuff from behind we're going to be able to see it more so these beauty dishes will be lighting our subject but they'll also be really good for the snow it will make it come to life oh I don't care at all everyone's doing this like everyone ever in someone getting this is believe me this is gonna be nothing compared to the end of the day I'm going to be completely covered I liked looked over here okay so with that said we have the snow we're thinking about how it's lit right now these back lights are an equal power right they're equal however what might be the case is we could maybe turn down one and have one higher than the other two get it looking more realistic like there's one sun coming from behind or one high noon there's anything that we can do anything that we want to change since everything is split up individually we can tweak it if we're so dependent on one light we would work ourselves into problem because we might turn it here and it be great for the subject but not so great for the snow we turn it this way good for this not so good for this so everything is kind of like on a separate pack everything I can look at test and I could say back lights not looking good we could just go from there let's meet our subject uh if you want to come out and stand here with me all right wow you look pretty good all right here he is all right they explore for today um tell us a little bit about yourself and also you work here don't you oh hola tell us a little bit about yourself uh my name is bret cherry eh I also do work for creative live on lisette set designs that production they don't make you do this every day and explain the process of where you can't came in we had to make up artist yes there she is do you want to come show us your lovely faces well so way had you in the chair today and we put you through this kind of funk maybe if you could too could describe what actually went into this making him look this way okay so and introduce yourself for the people to whom you don't know you my name's akemi and I'm a seattle based makeup artist and my training came in from special effects that's something that I've focused on there's a product that I used for his ice effects and so it was a matter of using a jail like product uh which is this one which is sparkly a little bit so that you have that translucency with nice and lovely the wet so you've got some liquid frozen look to the fabric and then there's a powder so for your light snow and then as you can see in his beard it's the larger chunks so we didn't put us stick his head in the freezer this this is all just part got it and then actually there's quite a bit of makeup on his face as well so that we could weather his face and then our explorer didn't come in just fresh new by beautiful and so there's a lot of stippling that I've done all over his face and getting some lines I've done around the eyes I noticed a lot of his wrinkles our hands and then the it's a ziff he's getting blasted with wind and snow all day and it's cheeks are little rosie I think yes or did they usually look like that sir it's a warming perfect and thinking about his other outfit right we have this jacket which has like a nice furry bram I see you put some makeup on here as well and we have is like kind of like snow blind goggles here which I think we'll just should be a prop around his neck I don't want to distract too much from his face but we might see a little bit of the neck here so just as a a degree of sophistication to how this looks so we're going to do some testing so feel free to go wait back there maybe get that coat off so you're not boiling before we shoot I'm going to show the different layers of light and I'll probably have you back in like five ten minutes cool okay so let's get the camera tethered up there jesse before we have our subject on set what I'm going to do is just show you with the camera these different layers of light going on so gentlemen can we turn everything off except just thes umbrellas on the background okay I'm going to take you step by step off the lighting process of what we kind of figured out here we might have to tweak a little bit but let's see what what's what's going on thank you jessie so um so today we're actually using a different camera system that then was used yesterday yesterday we're using of the five d mark three today we're going to be using the mummy a six forty five camera with a phase one digital back okay now you might ask why I change camera systems is because this is a super high resolution camera okay this back makes incredible sixty mega pixel files it's not the best system tau work with because the focusing is really hard right but when we're in control of every degree of light when we have so many things we can get away with using the system it's going to be a little bit more difficult might crash the files are so large but if we can get these files toe work they're going to be a lot higher resolution than the salar the candidate five d okay so I actually used both cameras both of them I have as tools depending on what I'm photographing today to match the other stuff that I've done I'm going to use this camera system okay so looking at how it's set up we have the eighty millimeter lens which is equivalent in foca links to the fifty millimeter lens I was using yesterday it's a larger sensor so the optics read differently a cz wells we have the same like nice fancy lens hood that I'm sure a lot of people in the charms are asking about it is made by lee filters it is called a universal matt box and we're probably not gonna have to nd everything in here because we're controlling all the light ourselves but if we wanted teo we could make sure that the these back lights don't flare our lens and bend it in shape or we could throw in some indie filters in there so that's the basic camera system we have a pocket wizard which is triggered on these lights what channel are we on guys channel one group a so if I test we can kind of see was going on here as I fire the camera it's firing these lights remotely we're tethered to jessie's computer where she's hiding behind here in this box because he knows things could get messy and mess up is electron ics if I were in the in the actual weather outside I might choose to wrap my camera up in like saran wrap or getting like a nice protective case but I mean here whatever let's just do what we can I might have to clean the camera after might get a little sticky I'm gonna have to take special notice to make sure that the foam doesn't hit my lens because that could adjust the sharpness later but let's take us through the lighting here step by step okay so guys all everything's off except those umbrellas perfect so what I'm going to do first is just put the focus on the background it's okay I don't know where I could get the floor thanks though so let's just take a quick shot of the background and let's make sure that that is evenly lit again remember that everything is turned off except these umbrellas k so killed can you tell me what power we have these umbrellas on okay three point oh so I know that when I photographed my explorer I would liketo have a kind of shallow depth of field right but I want I don't want to go crazy with it because if I went crazy like and when a very large aperture like a two point eight would be very hard to get the focus right let's think about what's going on with like the blizzard the snow there might be some movement I want to start off being kind of careful and I'll say we'll do a five point six my shorter speed is one hundred twenty fifth of a second that's just because I know this thing speed on this camera is quite slow we're not including a lot of natural light the lights here are actually pretty dim for the video so I know we're not going to get too much bleeding into it if I have to change things later that's easy my s o s s o one hundred let's adjust white balance right now do we have the great card okay nice great card you're gonna have to press it right up against the background goingto accurate reading okay let's get that and jessie in capture one can you select the eyedropper for that makeshift great card and cue balance us to a starting point for color there it is so you did that little fast but I guess they got the eyedropper and just click around the picture as he's selecting different colors and different things he's changing the white balance right so if he tells capture one that this card is true gray we get sort of inaccurate balance right from the beginning okay I think that background looks good just for demonstration can we turn this umbrella off just so we can see what it looks like when we're not doing things right when things aren't so even thank you caleb let's see so I'm gonna put the focus on the background and this is just with one umbrella on is this guy here so what should happen now is we get more of a grady in't right so turn that back on compare those two jesse we see that the image comparing those to the flash from the right is doing that and both flashes is making it nice and even so again if we had just one color and we didn't have a hand painted backdrop what we could do is get one medium gray or gray or white wall and kind of give us a little bit of grady ation just by using one backlight but because we have the nice cloud texture we can keep both of them on okay let's move on to the next a layer of light let's adjust the main light first okay so guys if we can keep these back lights off for now and let's just get this light into position so I'm going to call our lovely explorer to the stage brett here is he's ready ready to rip let's see if you can stand on your mark here again this is just ah mark we put on the floor just is kind of like a starting point it doesn't mean he's going to stay here it doesn't mean this is gonna work the best but as a starting point will go here okay I'm gonna light him up with our octa bank kind of using the same principles were using before so caleb let's get this up high and tilted down slightly so we have more of a dramatic light right so the lights not coming in flat and let's get it the center slightly higher than I level now you might think it's funny that we're putting the soft walk so close to his face that again the closer is a larger the catch lights going to be the night's air quality of the rap okay let's raise it up even higher we're not quite higher than eye level uh bring it up more keep keep keep keep going ok let's start somewhere around there you'll notice yesterday it was a huge fan of feathering the white which is to say not putting it straight on him but instead turning it away from our subject okay so the brightest part of this source although the bulb is backwards turn inwards the bulk of the light is going to be coming from the center so if we could just kind of like shoot it past him right he'll get like this nice feathered quality could look very nice so his marks here I'm actually gonna be fighting this do you want to take a tiny step this way okay so let's test the main light we're not gonna have any backlight influencing him we're just gonna have these two umbrellas on the background and this light here caleb knowing that I'm using a five point six right now could you tell me what this lights reading and could we have a light meter I saw one hundred okay yeah let's let's let's studio so that's an f a a so what that means is if I want to shoot on a five point six apra sure this was probably going to come in a little hot but hold on hold on let's just less let's test it so we know that it's over exposed so I can tell you exactly how to dial it down later right we can use our capture one trick to tell caleb exactly we know mi five point six but let's proper let's purposely overexpose this okay so again brett I'm not worried too much about how you look in these in terms of performance I'm just testing the light if he was getting ready and make up I would have you know jesse or caleb stand here and tests on them but since he's ready and he has like his beard looking so good he'll give us a really accurate look of how things were going to turn out so let's get you your eyes just in the camera so I can notice the catch light and let's start here it's going to be a little over exposed on the face but let's see what's going on jesse I'm going to kind of have to walk back and forth between here oh and actually on eight on that pack is fine so since this going through some layers a diffusion since one of five point six I mean it's still reading fine can you show me the history graham on that jesse okay so it's a dark image um it seems to me looking at this first test the ellen chrome octa bank is actually in a beautiful position right right from the beginning we knew how to feather it let's look at both sides of the face on the left side that's where the lights coming from its kind of like putting the other side of his face in shadow as a starting point it's good jessie can you zoom in to the eyes for me so look at that nice enormous catch light we have in the eyes it's a nice natural shape right it's a circle is this where a square box it might feel a little bit more studio oriented like we're inside all right I think this is like a really nice starting place it does look bad for the first test shot looking at his face I do think we'll be able to get a little bit more emotion and a little bit more depth out of the light if we raise the height slightly looking at the eyes it looks like we have ah a lot of places to go that's good killed and let's see what happens if we feather it even mohr turn it toward me slightly okay let's see what that looks like for us okay and bread again if you just want to give us like a similar pose just looking right here uh trainer chin a little this way thank you perfect okay let's compare those two jesse very very subtle tweaks what we did with this light here if you could compare those two on capture one zoom into the face little bit for me so it looks like the image on the right is slightly more dramatic right because we raise the light up weaken especially see this in his nose shadow it's like just slightly different it's it's very subtle but to me the image on the right looks better right so and looking at the history graham came out for me and just show the last image that we did look thank you looking at the image by my eye and as well as reading the history graham it looks like the back lights are coming off a little dark knowing what I know about lighting let's raise those up by one stop also I think that this light's not on oh oh oh they're not on it all okay well there there is let's turn his back lights are so it looks like any light that's coming on the background here is actually from the octo bank we don't want that we want to be able to control it individually okay that's good so let's get those lights on and let's do a comparison with just the octo bank light feathering on her background and now we have the umbrellas okay they're flashing okay and brett everything you're doing is great wouldn't change anything it has okay so jesse if you can compare those two now so there's a difference in both of these image the main light is on okay the difference is we have the umbrellas as back lights so we can control those completely separately if we desired it to be brighter we could increase them if we desired to be darker we could look at more we could make it look more like the image on the left but looking on this I think it's actually a pretty good balance to begin jesse can you pull up just the last image we took yeah I think it's ah it's a pretty nice starting place my only tweak might be I think I would like to keep it dark because I know that later on we're gonna have falling snow right so if we increase the brightness of that background too much what might happen is we won't be able to see the snowflakes as well so let's keep it dark if we need to change it later we can but to me I want to see like the contrast of the falling snow versus that like kind of stormy background so I think this is a good place to start doesn't mean we're not going to change things and tweak things later so the next thing before we move on to backlight do we have a light board do we have a b flat but then we're going to block the view hold on so let's not use that instead let's do something slightly different so looking at his face it looks contrast e to the right side of the image see how it's like falling into darkness it's certainly adding a lot of drama but to me it's probably a little bit too dark in that area so what I can do is I know I'm not going to photograph him standing straight on like that right that might be a nice variation but we're going to change up his post so it's not completely dark on that side so let's see if we can fix that without moving lights what I might go to is like adding a white v flight here but then you're not going to see anything no that's fine don't worry okay so brett let's turn your your shoulders this way and let's turn your face like looking that way toward the light exactly maybe a little more turn your head so we can adjust his pose which then might get us like a more flattering kind of life the other thing what we could always do as well as we could add another layer diffusion on this so it throws a light softer but I honestly think that their income compare those two jesse so it's going to come down to like posing and what exactly we're doing here to get different looks so see like the light is not so dark on his face we just change the position um this's a good starting place for that so moving on to the next step we have the main light for our subject but we don't have any backlight so guys let's sneak those uh beauty dishes on and I think for this I don't want to kill the look right I don't want to be too dramatic with the backlight and make us look to cut out or to overproduced instead what I think will work best on this it's just to sneak them on on a really soft power so we can see the snow flakes being lit up and we might be able to see like a little bit of backlight coming on his hood here in the in the hair but we don't want to like kill it so I think guys what is one of those sent on right now four point oh and what are these umbrellas on let's let's keep it on let's put on a five just so we can see it and then we can always take it down from there just so we can see what we're doing with these back lights so right now both beauty dishes are even both are on a five let's see first if we can see the difference of what they're doing and again let's just have you turned straight onto me for the test okay let's see what's going on here is that the image that just came in okay could you compare that one not to this but this one so here's to similar image is going to just like on the hood here let's see if we can see anything at that low power on both on both sides and just zoom in right to the to the fine particles here going a little close there okay and let's go to the same on the other side perfect so we can see a little bit of backlighting going on we can see a little bit of the crystals can we yes was a little bit of difference but just for the sake of the lesson let's turn them upto like it's on a five now let's take it to like a nine just so we can really see the difference that we can kind of start very ambitious with a light and kind of scale back from there those were really ripping now I can see them in my eyes okay let's see what's going on wow you can hear it bang okay so jessie can you compare that one to the last image that we look there he is all right so it looks to me like this is like pretty crazy you see what I mean by like a little overproduced even some lights bouncing off one of the background let's not do that I used to what things that looks really cool like maybe five years ago but let's not do that all right let's let's turn that back down to what we have in the beginning a four five let's try that again real quick just so we can come compare let's put the five are okay and let me see if this any change caleb let me know when that one's going okay so let me see here what what we're back to okay let's see this one come in there it isthe I think we're in a good place for a backlight so jessie can you compare that one to this one here so look how weaken just kind of suddenly see it just on the edges of him all right it's kind of like a little bit more cut out oh thank you for doing that very nice now if this were a real life there would be no way that we have equal light coming from the background right they make no sense to have these in the exact same power so what I'm going to say is let's increase it just one of them so we kind of like motivate there's a sun somewhere the reason why I chose from this side is because let's look at the background look at how the clouds are changing just from side to side the lighter clouds are in this area on the right so knowing what we know about how skies look is if this backlight we're increased we could kind of motivate the light to be coming from that side so it be more like real life so let's take this up what is that now you said four or five all right let's take it up to like a seven so he's increasing it by a few stop and now let's get a sense of what's going on here well focus is a mess there it is okay thank you so let's compare those last two photos jesse so let's look what's happening on his left shoulder which is right side of the image is see we have that kind of like cut out now which is being influenced where the actual clouds are okay that looks kind of nice to me it motivates zoom out to the whole image it motivates how the clouds get a little lighter on the right side of the image but for me it's might be still like a little overkill so you move that too from a five to a seven let's put it on like like a six and let's so that's taken down an entire level right so let's see what this looks like now okay okay so that's me and jesse if if you could compare those last two let's look particularly on the shoulder which is to the right of the image we do have a stronger backlight coming from the right side it's very subtle but that small variation is going to help it feel more realistic okay so that would kind of be my lighting approach doing things step by step but before we move on tio uh answering some questions and before we move on to the actual photo shoot we're gonna have to see how this looks with actual falling snow because that could change everything so just you might want to take your ipad out of there all right and again right now we're just testing for light although this first test image might might look good might look bad I don't want to worry about directing you to much in terms of posture and in terms of expression instead we're just doing a little test for the falling snow so let's let's let her rip caleb and I think caleb what would be nice is if you kind of like walked that back and forth this way and that way because we want to have a little bit of death to the snow right we want to see some particles behind some more in the foreground because if it were truly falling snow it wouldn't be just like in one tiny area like we're in the truman show right it would be like kind of spread around like this so caleb as your spring the snow let's just kind of like put it that way in that way all right so you ready here's what I'm going to do is I know it's going to be very difficult to find my focus when there's all this junk in the foreground going back and forth so I'm just gonna hold it and lock it in and I'm gonna let you know when I'm ready killed all right there it is so you can let that thing go it's gonna take a minute to warm up and get spraying there it iss okay and caleb if you can throw some more toward me perfect toward the camera that's that's awesome and a perfect okay let's turn it off all right kill it nice and just be cautious when this falls let's not let's make sure not to much hits your face because we'll ruin them the makeup he's got some soaps does up here these will eventually pop and dry out but his makeup will stay the same jesse could you turn your computer a little bit for me oh that's nice little flabby okay perfect so let's see what's going on here just if you could flip through those images for me back were just go slow and let's see what's happening with the effect of the falling snow caleb on that machine can you control the size of the snowflakes slightly so looking at this image it seems to me that the snow's like a little too chunky if it were really falling like that we might have a few problems okay so it looks to me killed like if you could get the size down maybe a little bit from from there the other thing that I'm looking at this monitor that I'm liking it is I do like to see some of the flakes thrown like toward the camera because let's go to an example jesse see what's like kind of happening down here that's interesting for me that one's a little big let's see if there's something else when things are like this see this area here worms like kind of scrubbing over when things are out of focus it gives us the illusion of depth it looks like there's snow all the way through so I'm not sure if you could move that ladder back a little bit but is it possible to move it back or at least maybe spray more snow in my direction yet so before we kind of started behind them so just be cautious when when you're going let's do a layer behind him and then throw some toward the lens and then what that's going to do is like give us the effect of depth also looking through this I think there's probably a little bit too much contrast between the background and between the snow see how the background so dark but this nose bright I think we can kind of like blurred the line between those two tones and increase these two umbrellas uh equal so one of those umbrellas reading right now three point oh cool let's take them to like a four point five okay so we're just increasing the exposure on those umbrellas so that our back round becomes brighter okay so let's see what this is looking like now caleb if you could have a little snow again please okay those particles look away nicer okay the ones we're falling toward the camera now great everything you're doing looks great brett okay kill it that's good okay let's review these jesse if you get turned toward me again here because I can't I can't come over that okay so could you compare I just held one okay could you compare could could you compare what's going on here versus before when we adjusted the light let's flip through them backwards slowly first so here to me the particles look a lot more realistic don't they it's like a finer snow we don't really see like the thickness of the soap suds in this particular image we have some kind of like toward the lens so we get a little bit like out of focus so to me it looks like they're snow both in front of him and behind him so if you were truly in a blizzard if he's truly where it's knowing this would happen in real life also uh let's foot back and let's compare one of these two how the images look before we change the background all right so comparing these two images I think the image on the right actually looks more realistic because the sky's so dark the one on the left is like a little bit more dramatic but in terms of like tying everything together I think the image on the right looks little nicer I feel like we might want to go like in between these two right kind of split the difference because the shadows on the side of his face are really dark where the backgrounds bright so uh the original setting three then we went to a four five so how tight can make you do like a three point eight okay let's do that not three point nine with three point eight let's do that and let's split the difference between these two back lights to get kind of like where we need to go again everything is being controlled separately so we can like really tweak and really control the exact depth of color and exact depth of tone that we want on the background okay so you dump those all right caleb let's let's let's let her rip again here comes so kill it that's good you can kill it okay cool all right now let's look at that background like jesse could you pull me up all three variations I think we have a really nice balance now so let's compare one of those two there's the brighter version and the darker version there okay so there's all three on the screen okay top left we started dark top right we kind of went a little too bright last one is like just right just in the middle okay I think that's like a really nice balance because the background is dark enough that we see the individual snowflakes but it's not too underwear it doesn't match what we're doing where is the second which is the top right the background is too bright and it doesn't match the shadows on the face so as a starting point to start photographing and start to actually work with our subject I would go with our last variation which is like having exposure somewhere in the middle of those two tests in terms of like the way the snow looks jesse can you flip back that last round we did let's flip through those very nice no go to the go to the very end okay and everything looks good still with particle size of the snow to me this is like everything's getting tied together pretty well so this would be like considered the end of my pre light okay I have the lights in place to the point of where I can actually begin working with my subject and photographing I'm going to add some more special effects we're almost at the end of our segment next time we're going to come back and actually start shooting and working with with our model trying to get an engaging expression but before we do that I think we should take some questions to see how at least we got to this point so again these are not the photos that I'm going to actually use thes air the photos which are just testing light this is a test subject when we come back I'll actually start working with him actually like to do something but him just standing there it's not a bad start he's looking good any questions from our audience we do but joey just have tio reader tio how much the internet is loving this shoot and the fact that it is in need snowing here at five so thank you this is just really incredible to see let's start with questions here just a few uh in terms of coming up with a concept for the shoot you're you're talking about taking a few days to mull it over for something like this are usually doing that on your own in your own head or you having like a brainstorming meeting sitting around with crew going okay what can we do that will be awesome throwing everything out collaborating what I like to do in terms of ah collaborative process is I like to give each entity their own time to be on their own to think to come up with ideas to bring to the table once every individual person has that then we can all meet and share I don't like going from scratch and sitting in a table and like bouncing off my ideas because I don't think you can get things to refine point so in the most ideal circumstance I like to like split off individually first then come in with all individual ideas and determine which pieces we can use from each person to collaborate a lot of times I can't happen just because of timing right something's come up fast so if that's the the case the answer is working with people who are on the same wavelength as you write working with people who think the same of you I have a lot of friends that I worked with and just get it as soon as we start talking about concept we're very much on the same page so um it depends who you're working with and how much time you have

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!!