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Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Lesson 6 of 22

Shoot: Edgy Athlete Portrait

Joel Grimes

Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

6. Shoot: Edgy Athlete Portrait

Lesson Info

Shoot: Edgy Athlete Portrait

Now let's bring in some glycerin so glittery and I taking abide at a drugstore cvs walgreens you get sometimes in like you know a regular just uh a regular grocery store getting a liquid form and mix it fifty fifty now again someone may have a better plan I've been doing this for about five years mixing it fifty fifty you wanted to beat up that's all you want to be it will eventually evaporate but it slows the evaporation process down so we'll get a little bit of sweat on him and then, um it starts to get a little shine because he's got a little bit of a treatment to it some athletes like the put baby oil and stuff on a little too much but here we go let's try to shoot that ready same thing stare me down ready one, two, three now I got a big big sure that his arm is in the frame because if I drop him into a background and I've chopped off his elbow and I want a nice panorama, what happens? He's got a clip double so I made that mistake and sometimes ill taken elbow from another frame an...

d put it on there but basically I want to get him for this shot and expanded background and I have I think have a locker room shot I'm gonna drop you into um so yes his eyes are a little dark in here I can lighten that up um a lot of times what happens is the edge lights come along and hit the edge of the mill is right in here and some people say I hate that personally I don't mind it so much if it's really too obvious they're not you know we were back to ej lights up so they're not really a problem right here but you might think about that you know how what what if it's you know too much light hand and nose uh but he's starting to look like a superhero here in a little bit more um you know the kind of look that that I like so let's do this let's get a little more glycerin so try to get the bead is heavy as you can on his forehead really is that top of the forehead and right right yeah is the most important joel yeah quite a few questions various questions about catch lights so okay we talk a little bit about wait kitch slice of four and that is this saying well in his situation because he's tilting down yeah he's probably going to hide a little bit the catch light but here's a here's something to dio let's get that phil card if I bring a phil card and it will bring a little bit of a catch like to if he's looking down something always want that is that a mandatory thing for you to have? Well, let's go back to this as my vision is an artist that's not what I'm looking for it's not the most important thing and I know that when there's photographers here let's do a shoot look, look, I'm gonna keep talking there's photographers that will oh, now we're talking like this one, two, three there photographers that are so concerned about how the eye dialects so for example, if I'm outdoors, my eyes dial are there gets the delicious small so I get lots of color, right? If I'm blue, I'd get more blue if it's indoors, they get really bright, you don't open up so a lot people say flip on the modern light to give more color, right? I don't think about that I see so so again, but my personality and my likes and dislikes light how it strikes a face is very important, so I'm drawn to that I miss other things you may be drawn to other things and missed something else, so we're all kind of different now here's the beautiful thing you'll notice that as a general rule, women have a little more sensitivity like, for example, I was looking at a girl's portfolio in mexico and she was doing weddings and almost every picture that she showed in a portfolio it was a couple very romantic she's room she's a romantic type personality she loves you know, guys a kind of clueless my wife tells me I am but so that's the beauty of us you're going to be drawn to maybe something more sensitive then a guy way all have a different way of approaching doesn't mean I can't go and learn to be a little more romantic or you know, you can't learn to be a little more, you know, looking at, you know, edgy lighting, but it's just the point is is that we are drawn to certain things I don't happen to look at the catch light that much or the color of the eyes that much just just something I don't do maybe because I'm colorblind, but, um so the last one here look at the sweat you start to come in look, it does not give you a little more bite to the whole picture, you know, it's just likes like it's starting to come together. Um the headlights are still praying again on the back of my monitor I think is a little smoother uh in terms of contrast, yes, yes, yes. So I think we're still good in terms of exposure on this and let's do this, let me just go and I'm gonna take it down a third zone two I'm taking zone two down third one two three just to see what else I get and let's add just a little more I wanted a lot more drops on his forehead it's the forehead right now that's probably the most critical in terms of in terms of uh sweat yeah let's do it right because I've darkened it and then the mill fill my help so, uh glycerin is a skin can be a skin product so doesn't hurt your model you don't get the eyes that burn a little bit but you know um and usually only a towel on the floor because there is a little sticky so if you have a white sweep or whatever and the little stuff falls it will be a little sticky later. Okay, so here we go. Ready? Ah, yes now we're talking look at this. This is this is this is it right here? Yes and my monitor looks amazing that's it see the difference look at the sweat like the beads he's got the eyes open just about right. The lights have fallen perfectly on the sides. Um elbows air in there. Uh now since I got it I'm gonna do this what's this I'm gonna zoom in and just do this right here one, two, three make sure that I get a little bit more of a punched in tight shot because you never know the climb maybe that I may like it maybe I'd drop him into some I could still drop him into something but I can't do ra wide panorama so let's do even tighter well I can't go too much tighter but doesn't go right here right there and then I'm gonna go and I'm gonna make sure I get the top of his head just in case I go turn it I should have gotten atop his head we'll be one more but look at that that looks amazing and that's that's before photoshopped folks not that photo shop is everything but you want to do as much as you can and camera but that is getting really close to what I want right there so let's do one more really wanted so now we'll do one like this so I have that too so what I'll do is very my angles up just in case later I get a background ago I should have gotten a why their wider look so I'm covered I cover my butt so how does that make sense so now let's do let's do a let's just don't move don't move let's try the basketball again so now we're gonna try a couple with a basketball okay ready this is really why I dropped that chin let me stare me down right there make sure I'm a focused bone I got that one yeah now I can't flip this camera but you'll notice I have a really write stuff ball head tripod everything but I have his l bracket and it's babe I really write stuff and that's the ten years ago I bought the l bracket specifically so I could flip my camera and keep my lens dead center over my tripod and it's the angle so I don't have to go click but right and so that's what started me with the really write stuff in the beginning was that feature of course now the ball heads I love their stuff but I can't do it because the corps were tethered in here right now won't allow me to do that but so and I also want to minimize any loss of real estate on my sensor so in this situation I probably would flip it and then trim off the size and get top and bottom but we can't do that so let's just do this ready one two three so we got the basketball in there all right and then less I'm gonna zoom in a little bit more so bring the filled card up just a tad and we're gonna do one right here with the basketball drop your chin right there so now I have the basketball and there is a reference okay but I'm chopped I've come in I've cropped his head right there oh that looks good that looks really good ok and then let's take let's see if we can get one where you grabbed the ball and the middle bring it to your chest okay for you to just a little higher okay, so I'm going to see if now spend the spend yes, we don't see the logo maybe the other side completely where find go on keep going I don't know there's not a lot of room there is there okay. All right. No worries here we go okay, right there. Okay, we'll try let me try a wide I don't know if this is really I'm trying to move in but just make sure I got a basketball scenario that that I could use tighter I don't know if this will work I don't want to look corny but not bad not bad you know but maybe just hold it with one hand like like you your elbows air down you hold it up right there there you go. There you stare me down stare me down who I love it I love it. So we just got a hit of a basketball in there just in case I want to I want to do that, you know, like a close up but but um maybe put that arm on your hip right there, okay, right, so I'm just burying it up a little bit because I never know and and I do like this but I can't have every picture and portfolio of athletes standing like this right it's got a very deep somewhat so um let's do this is we got it I don't I could put my seventy two hundred on but I'm just gonna go up here like this on a pop and I'm not gonna change my lighting at all and I'm gonna go into right here drop your chin right there oh my god look at this right smack in the middle of close up yeah that's seventy millimeter now with a two hundred millimeter and heywood compact it a little bit more but look at the beads of sweat on him perfect so now it just makes it up I've got enough variation of options uh that I think I go to so at this point it'll take me a second I'm going to take and put my small, smaller octa box as my overhead and let's just do the work with that so I'm gonna step up here john let's get that um and I'm gonna just pop this off like this we'd come down here and we're gonna I'll just break this thing just give it to me and I'll just moves fast I can't hear usually I have an extra speed ring extra speed ring laying around um okay, that doesn't I don't have to pop this and change it out but because I packed everything okay for there so we're gonna pop this up here okay now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna lower this boom right over my camera and I actually show you in a minute why do that all right so I just changed my modifier right so the chances are this is gonna be over exposed because a smaller modifier I don't know one hundred percent how much that is so my lord to stand a little bit and then but I've had a flash meter I could probably figure it out but that's okay I'm gonna make one click here and I'll discover it so let's go back here right here well hello something happened we got nothing out of there I went pure black I don't know that's this thing didn't go off I don't think he went off let's try to get here something sometimes when you get the trigger too close something's happened but I think that went off now I think it's going off now yeah so let's see what happens let's just let's just work on the face here a little bit here yeah you didn't trigger they didn't follow that why won't it go off so here we go it's gonna come up here to second and it's too much light so let's go back so actually was close to what it should have been it just didn't go off when it's tested again yeah there goes ready one two three okay went off so in theory well my background should be darker a little bit darker um the falloff should be greater day so it could give listen listen I'm out back to sing up just a little bit to kind of go back to the same position it was before all right so let's try this on the lower this down lords down right about here I think was where I was that before ready drop your chin okay I got mine I got your blinking can't see hear my glasses um so the falloff now should be who this looks really good okay see it now it's darker down here so the tensions drawing to his face more so that's a good little modifier now this is made by photo flex and um westcott just now introducing some small cocteau's and uh they have what they call the rapid boxes and they're getting a thirty six inch and they have the smaller ones that go with speed light so you could actually put a speed light over here too because you don't have much power at all this thing right now my strobe said at it's set at between one thirty second power one sixty four power so it's really low but um you see at that drama it really builds the drama so what I want to show you though now actually let me snap a few maybe let's get how's his head look it looks pretty good see how the gless run is not evaporating it sound now actually getting the beads of sweat to look like they're real okay so let's fire if you also I have him okay so I'm gonna go full head there then I'm gonna crop in just slightly here lets me focus again right drop your chin right there okay so I have that one and then I'm gonna go let's take the basketball out and we're gonna go just hips just on your hips right here ready drop that chin right there okay I'm gonna crop in right here this is my shot right here I love this wow that's dramatic right there okay and so I'm even gonna go one two three klicks even lower so I want to push it as far as I can here we go one two drop that chin really stare me down right there I'm really pushing the limits of how far I can go here but I want to really build drama there and I'm gonna try this lets it looks like that that light's got a little more punch to it yes but go down four clicks there I'm gonna go down three clicks here just kind of go one two three we're gonna lower those edge lights just a little bit and I'm gonna I'm gonna add just a little more drama in here ready one drop the chin right they're smack perfect boom now watch we'll just get a little bit I think a little smoother transition here yeah, that looks good I like it you know that's my that's my look right there and now again this smaller modifier just give me a little more drama because it brought the light up to his face again good or bad depending on what your vision is an artist is so, um let me do this let me snap a couple more of this and then I'm gonna show you something. I'm going to show you a little bit of how I um adjust my um overhead light up and down so I just wanna make sure I get this shot get a couple variations so here's with his head in there the whole head drop your chin drop your chin right there. Okay, so this is really far back right here and then I'm gonna zoom in a little tighter right here right there okay and then a zoom in really tight right here it's a little off center mark, let me go right a lot of second let me loosen this up this is up. They're all gonna come in here second, drop your chin, stare me down yeah, sometimes it just fight your job just by down a little bit more intensity right there, beautiful can I lean on me just a fraction in the drop drop drop drop drop right there oh yes that's perfect okay so now I don't tell you is how do I determine my my overhead light you'll see a lot of times when I'm doing a beauty fashion that I'm actually going like this I'm actually letting that modifier sort of cup around so that what that's doing is getting lower which makes the shadow shorter so let's shoot one like that shoot one like that so let's keep our let's keep our variables the same so I'm gonna go here's gonna dio I'ma shoot one here dr chan again right there ready here we go one okay and then we're gonna raise this up kind of got your blinking there but let's go up so uh technically is about four five inches ready? We go already drop your chin right there. Can we look at that? And I watched the difference here a little more shadows in his nose and his lips chin's all that ready there chatel start to grow so we'll go another four inches watch what happens also as you raise this up you're starting to get further from his face and may need a little more punch but let's just show I'm gonna move anything ready one drop your chin right there so same spot so now the shadow shouldn't be longer good or bad it's a artistic decision now again because I write this so let's do this since we got the light level further let's go one, two three I say three should do it let's try another one right there yeah let's stop it here we go. Ready? One, two three ok, so that probably should adjust for the compensation of exposure but the shadow should be longer there air so now good or bad little more shadow here little more shadow here a little more shot onto here and other eyes if you get too much shouting, I shouldn't see the eyes right so it's kind of a balance between but that's how I figure it out no flash meter in the world will tell you what height to put your light it takes an artist to figure that out so there's the difference if you approach for a photograph from a technical perspective you can achieve a perfectly acceptable photograph but be a complete bore how many even hear what boring pictures right off. So if you approach it from a creative intuitive perspective, you create images that rock because yes, it takes two there's techniques here but it's more of what you as an artist are bringing forth and so um here here's the thing we're gonna talk about this on saturday but the problem with being an artist is that when you go down that path you open the door to criticism we hate to be criticized so what we do is we go down the most the easiest path less criticized path and we blend with the masses produced born pictures you take a risk push the envelope uh you remind me a lot of criticism it hurts and that's why on saturday we're gonna talk about being an artist had overcome that problem so that you don't come and undone every time someone predict your work so um so okay so moving the light up and down moving lights this way back and forth get the edge like this gets the shadows filled car fills it in that's pretty much my lighting folks I mean, when I used to say back in the old days when I did across light and I would someone say how do you like I'd say, well, I could teach you everything I know about lighting in ten minutes with this it may take a little longer but it's not a lot to it. Now the hardest thing is going out and repeating it and building a body of work that reflects that vision let's see what happens when I put a longer lens on let's just see what happens since some people like longer lenses uh, notices you're adjusting the overhead light the edge lights have a little bit of a different effect as you change the overhead lighting do you have ah like a process you go through, do you but just one first and then the other or just we'll go back and forth yeah, I mean again what happens is as I'm looking through here I'm evaluating and so there's like unit is looking this way you know, on the children's playground there's this teeter totter you know you do one thing affects another thing you know, the sas was happening that's what's happening and so I have to kind of do one thing that's just another thing right? So it's kind of like you gotta be quick on your feet to do that, but, um I don't know if I have a formula for that, but I am watching the back of that monitor remember what I said is that when I when I bring a subject in what's most important to me is how light strikes strikes a subject right that's my thing you may not quite have that you know, vision you maybe more a sensitive person feelings, romance, interaction with people, whatever is your thing and so you could build a body of work like that where I can't you have a strength somewhere that I can't do there's some things you can do I cannot do and so that's the beauty of this whole process so what we're to do is we're gonna force the flattening here a little bit um so I think I can go back down a little bit here just get right over right over the top of of um my my box okay, so we're gonna focus right there let's just see what happens here. Boom now it's gonna be a little dark and why is that little dark? I don't know. I mean, you put a different lens on, but look at that that's pretty during powerful too. Okay? So I might take and less yakking reach it, lets go up just a fraction one, two, three just to get a little more punch out of that already dropped that chin down right there. Wow, can I want to do is I'm gonna zoom in. I could know this two hundred I can really zoom in now focus on his eyeball. This is this is building drama folks right there. That is cool. Look at the beach it's wet that's a two dollar blistering trick. Now do this. So you see that picture drop your changes a little more and give me that kind of like I'm a tough looking guy. Yeah, right. They're beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. That is gorgeous, that is gorgeous looking this right there, all the beads of sweat, everything so I'm at uh one hundred thirty five millimetre so I've compacted it so let's do this let me see if I can get packed him with now get a get a problem see here's here's here is a difficult situation to get this lens to clear that I got to raise it up so what does that do this trick that makes the shadow's longer and if I go I don't want that I'm stuck right I'm I'm uh I'm unless I get a bigger modifier maybe and put on their butt or I put a big huge seven footer behind me you lowered the camera a little bit instead of bracewell then I start getting really low but yeah I could do that it would have changed the shadow it does so here's a thing any time I lower the camera lower the light with it because if I lower the camera and not the light the shadows get along so it's almost like this you have to do it together so that's a little bit of a game a little bit of a challenge you have to do but right now let's see what happens put the phil card in there ready? So now I'm gonna be let's see what I could be out here I'm gonna be at a a one hundred millimeter right one hundred millimeter and it's pretty dramatic so what happens that looks good a little darker right but I don't well part of it's probably because I mean again you're moving variables of stuff but I don't know if I want to go too much higher than that in terms of filling him in I'll do three clicks see what happens ready here we go the same shot now look I'm on a tripod right stable but I can keep my part mike framing all the same I don't have to keep huh bring it up and you know um but that's pretty amazing right there I love that shot that's um that's working for me so let me zoom back and see if I go seventy millimeters if I get his arms in their ready focus right right let's see right there so now I got his arms in there and so I could drop him in a big panorama right there that looks good so with longer lands like inducing things uh but it creates a bit of problem but the shadows are definitely longer now because I don't raise that thing to get underneath it so that's one advantage of using a wide angle is like you said it right on top my lens so at this point how do you guys feel you've got to kind of get any questions you gotta understand the process now I'm gonna go through the exact same process with the beauty fashion on lee I'm gonna have my result change but the techniques are the same right? Move light here moving up down with my mom but the and result is different. So there's the most important thing what do you where do you want to end up and so how did I come up with this? We're gonna talk on saturday how I came up with this look right it wasn't out of a book wasn't even really looking at a picture it was just that I put it a guy in front of my camera and started taking pictures and I went edgy I don't know why I just went at it all sounds like oh that's what I want I love it it just kind of like resonated with me that'll happen to you as you do something all of a sudden you go that fits me too that like the glove because you're an artist and it's inside of you have been looking at images you know what kind of music you like you know what kind of images you like so work from that and remember this as as we see that there are so many different types of music jazz you know and within jazz how many different styles of jack's right but you got heavy metal you got super heavy metal you got okay you know all these punk you got wrapped, you get a country western you know all these ever styles right the same that diversity of stiles is in photography we just don't recognize it is enough because we don't usually tech attack a name to it country western turned around and you know, so what happens is is because we can't attach a name we don't really understand all that's kind of edgy look or something maybe, but so if we could attach a name, it would probably better to say I may this kind of photographer like I'm a country western singer. Then we go okay, we've put you in this category. You said I don't like country western, okay, no problem, you don't have to, but was photographers when someone says, I don't like what you do, we go, it hurts, but we don't recognize that we have all these diverse styles and we like different things, so we're gonna cover that mohr on saturday, which is really totally fun. I love it. I love it to get people excited about thinking like an artist. But you see how simple it is now, philip, it was great to have him as a good subject. He worked perfect, right? This is exactly what I want to do with with, um, an athlete, so we'll get him jumping and to do that, uh, it takes a little bit of ah, uh, we nicer? It would be nice if we had a twenty four foot white sweep, but we could do it. I've done a lot of basketball players on a sweep like this, but I can tell you right now he jumps in the air, he ends up in the rafters and it's hard to keep him in within the boundary of a nine foot seamless but well, problem maybe move it closer and do that. But that's not going to be our, um, session right after lunch, so what I need you to do is get some good food in you so you can get some good jumps and here's. One thing I want to remember I don't remember just say later is that when an athlete jumps through the air or goes out of a block right, you see those runners I have going on the block you're not gonna get thirty explosions out of block out of an athlete, even a world class athlete. So you gotta have your stuff together because you might get ten pops ten now jumping, maybe you get a little more, but when I photographed, you know someone like blake griffin, you're not gonna get thirties jumps in the air, you're not gonna get it, you get maybe ten so two or three year kind of goofing off to get the lighting right and then you end up with six frames that's a lot of pressure okay, so we'll keep in mind that so with that do we have any more questions from our audience? Yeah, we've got a couple we'd love to take a couple questions I'm gonna start with one from summer crook who is talking about skin tones with the with the edge lighting does the bold effect need to be amplified when the subject has lighter skin? Well yeah, my value change of bringing my lights up and down are goingto change with each skin color, but I don't have to worry that say when I have enough african american athlete in my shot or have a really light skinned person, I don't treat any different in that when I'm looking at the back of my monitor, I'm going it's too light or too dark or it's not enough here and out of there so it's not like I treat some with dark skin different than I would with light skin in the end it's all about where my intuition takes me so don't think about okay, so with a light person I'm gonna have it this change in ratio of exposure that would get me nowhere that makes sense is that kind of answer the question I think it's let the intuition tell you when a white skin persons over lit or under lid and when a dark skin persons over lit or under lip does that makes sense I love it I love in your style joel levin it alright question from bat cave studios who wants to know if you are are not concerned that the model is not centered between the back edge lights and won't extracting him be easier later if you're free and clear of lights way were moving around a little bit here and I had the edge lights kind of showing up and then what happens is anathema will do this right you stand him here and then they go like this and there relax and also in there a little bit closer to one light right so you say moved this they go and then also you already they go like this so it's like oh you know it's like this little game but um with longer lens you saw and you don't see the backgrounds and you know what I could have done I could've back to those lights up a little bit and then I would eliminate him you know from having that problem but yeah I would do ultimately want him dead center between that's the best way to do it uh hello jordao photography is wondering shooting horizontal versus vertical what are your thoughts on that? What makes you choose one versus the other? Alright well that's a good question because when I shot four by five the large format camera most of my portrait's were vertical the format kind of dictated it the pull rade type fifty five I love the little perforated top and in the squeegee marks on the bottom so you look at a lot of my time fifty five step almost all my vertical now ah thirty five millimeter type camera like we have is a lot more kind of a panorama approach right it's got a lot more length to it top bottom or whatever the ratio is stretched more more panorama when I shot there are z six by seven it was a lot more squared right? You should have some black obviously you know a square or really solve a lot of times your format sort of dictates how you approach now also think about this on a website you have all this real estate that goes like this so you look at my website almost every pictures bam huge panoramic x because it fills all the real estate on eh website you put a vertical in there you know all this dead space unless you stuck a couple of verticals together so I tend now to run mohr horizontal because of the format and because of my n ews I love horse I love panoramas so that is swayed me to go more horse I don't know why but that's just my style now

Class Description

This course is part of the Joel Grimes Bundle.

Commercial photography isn’t about mastering complex lighting ratios or obscure retouching techniques. Successful commercial photography hinges upon your ability to turn your creative vision into a polished product. In this class, commercial photographer Joel Grimes will teach you how to think of your photography as an artistic process, not a mathematical equation.

Joel, a commercial photographer with more than 25 years’ experience working for top advertising agencies, will reveal his signature lighting, shooting, editing, and marketing methods. Joel will teach you to trust your artistic instincts by demonstrating how he conceptualizes two different photo shoots: an edgy athletic portrait, and a commercial beauty shoot. Joel will also walk you through how to identify the right lighting to attain your desired result.

After transforming the way you think about conceptualizing, lighting, and shooting, Joel will unveil his creative compositing techniques and tips and tricks for retouching skin. By the end of this two-day workshop, you will have a tried-and-true playbook for creating works of photographic art that dazzle commercial clients.

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Fantastic!! He is so down to earth and humble. His work is unique an exceptional and he shares his techniques, experience, tricks, and best of all his life stories that took him to where he is now. One of the best instructors in CL. I love how he checks the ego at the door and just shares his art and techniques with us. I definitely recommend this course and I was lucky enough to get it at a great discounted price but it is worth its regular price imho.


He's my new favorite instructor, there are many CL instructors I really like but the second I watched and heard him I bought the course, love his style, love his knowledge and the way he conveys it. His way of Frequency separation is fantastic and pretty precise and takes care of a lot of flaws. Learned lots! Thanks Joel! Thank heavens I am not color blind ;)


Joel makes it easy to follow when it comes to editing and shooting. He is a wonderful teacher and very easy to learn from. I enjoyed the photoshop techniques he taught as well as his approach to lighting. My favorite part is his advice on business it's very motivating and inspirational. I thoroughly enjoyed this course!