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Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Lesson 14 of 22

Shoot: High Key Beauty Portrait

Joel Grimes

Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

14. Shoot: High Key Beauty Portrait

Lesson Info

Shoot: High Key Beauty Portrait

A couple people including scott hamel had asked about if you could tell us the concept that you're shooting for do you have something in your vision about what you would like this the final product to be or is that would you rather surprise us? The question was do I have a final vision if you could share with us your process of what what your vision is for the shoot so that we can watch it unfold step by step or is it something that you just in this in that situation it was just a head shot beauty shot and at this point it would not be like necessarily a cosmetic shoot like from makeup you know but it could be okay so but in this scenario it could be like for model's portfolio so she's you know, wanting you know, getting back our modeling and so are acting or whatever and it could be good because that's what they want they want a good head shot so that's kind of what I just did there um this scenario is I want to produce the softest amount of light that I can do on a model so that's wh...

at I'm doing right now I'm getting the biggest modifiers and you've seen that my pictures where I had this kind of high key blown out look that's we're gonna do right now this is going to go in the back we're gonna no one on the side we're gonna do the same thing and now these air big right and they take up a lot of room and so I gotta get these through here without killing my model. Okay, so right now I just rotated that, uh, umbrella and the way it's set up the cloth has its little offset so when you rotate it it'll fall perfectly within the stroke did you see how that just did that? Okay, then you take the take the this little section like this hola and you pull it back you don't want it if you use your model night you want to cook your material so then I'm going to spend it now I'm gonna spin it and watch out alex I must make sure you don't get hit I'm gonna spin it so that it sets right onto the backdrop I wanted to touch the white background still about a forty five degree angle okay, so I'm going to use the white background as it's going to hit some light and phil around too so it's gonna be take a lot uh let's help you on this and I'll pop I know this's sometimes takes a little bit of work one person you do that but it takes a little bit of work to get um that cloth on so this is just a big modifier right that's all it is all right we could get in here you were just change october yes give me that what were you get the large one pro photographer I believe he was asking does the white dress with a white background cause any additional lighting considerations other than if you were using like a black dress or something darker with white on white cause any problems yes I want I want the white to blend with the background I have done this with black it looks good um but I would say that the most of snares I've done I've used a white some kind of white so I wanted when I call a high key I don't even know what kind of lighting this is right I don't put names to my lighting and but people will say oh I like your high key light ok what is high key light you know how do we determine what that isthe well that's why I love you that's most photographers are obsessed with what you know putting in a category so it's very it's very refreshing dole this is called the big modifier blown out soft light right it's let's call it the heaven light right it's sending my model to heaven and so let's grab this well just back this out of the way for second pop this up here so now I'm getting my five foot octo overhead and I'm gonna pull this and a little bit tighter so I want this as close to my model is possible without what would still allow me to take a picture right so let's get our boxes all the way up a lot of times we'll have a model sit on an apple box but right now we're not going to that note bring missy let's go and put it right about here case will step up to this and then we're gonna put the big the biggest well that one that one that will be it'll be good that should be enough right about there yeah all right so let's go down perfect john's a good guy he knows what he's doing here okay so what we're gonna do is I'm going to uh because I don't have a flash meter and because I'm just going to take a picture I don't even know what to do in terms of do I go up full power on these or not I don't know I'm going to snap a picture is going to give me an idea and we're blocking that screen a little bit that's okay right okay, here we go. Joel could just give us an idea approximately how far are the the modifiers from the model right now they're about five feet I might bring a minal closer actually do this let's back you up just a sec ellis a fraction let's let's get you a little bit closer to the back what what's gonna happen is my camera's probably gonna pick up a little bit of these modifiers but because I want to have all white if I see a little detail in there and my and my image I just paid it out pure white later so let's get in there and let's move this a little closer because we just backed her up and I'm a scoot in here like this so my goal is to get close to her as possible ready so I'm gonna fire one ofthe same settings I have no idea how close I'm gonna get up that light didn't go off so let me let me do this you go off now oh, something happened we moved it so go up to go up tio hath power at two whatever that is three hundred twenty watts so when I move the light I hit the button I knocked it down. All right, here we go again. So this is going to give me who? Lots of light. Ok, so it's too much light, but at least I know that. Okay, so now I'm going to back off uh let's go down a full stop so let's go down to quarter stop at one sixty watts and let's see what that does already way we go okay, we're getting better take a look here getting better now I had to determine my overhead lights ozone one looks pretty good zone two is too dark now I need an apple box to stand on because even I am too short for this so let's go up I have a stop ready one two three four five dump here we go ready and now we're starting to smooth out our skin still probably not quite right I probably to go another stop it's getting there so let's go another are half stop one two three four five okay here we go so I'm still just barely I mean just having to stand there so I will work on her position in a minute so now I'm starting to get close to what I like and I could say they're still probably a little too much shadow in here on her eyes and stuff so let's go another half stop one, two, three, four five one time I had uh the trigger was not connected here it's my triggers here were working and I did not know I kept putting more power but it was still this still becomes a reflector even though there's no power come out of this still and looked pretty good it just I couldn't get you more power out of what's going on here so this actually becomes a reflector this becomes reflector but now I'm throwing light through it so let's try one more time here ready one two three so that's getting so I would say this my goal is to push this look as far as I can go before I say it's so overexposed if there's no return now I could turn my blinking is on you know the little blink he's in the back your camera I could turn that on and that could maybe give me indication I've got too much power on the cheeks but even if there's a little teeny blink he's going I'm okay because when I show you how it if I get a chance to howl recover it in a photo shop and I take the skin tones and blow him out then I khun sort of manipulate my skin you know later but I want to go as far as I can go before I said it sze just you know blown it out and I think I'm getting about there right now now that's getting pretty close to well now remember this that monitor is a lot more contrast e of then my, uh screen here and so I don't know about what you people on the net what they're looking at but um I'm watching this this is my real true guide right now and I would say I'm like golden I'm right I'm right there but um let me think about now let's talk about getting you positioned okay, so let's do something that um let's have you just go like this and turn your head a little bit and just kind of again it's angelic little angelic thing gorgeous and ill again I find a little over um we might back back it down just a tad but that's gorelick the hair now see the hair on this one side just don't move so turn see the hair there's a little bit of a gap in between on this one site right there this little piece right there so we're gonna pull that close that down and let's let's do this I'm gonna back this off just come down just a little bit a third of a stop just to make sure I don't push it too hard and we're gonna shoot another one do that angelic look didn't look good see now how did I come up with that? I don't have a clue remember I said the angels whatever so now I'm just going with that thing but she looks like she's from heaven right she's an angel from heaven all right, so go do that look again just kind of turn that look and okay so now I'm just gonna work that and um again even my monitor it looks like it's pretty blown out but that's the look that's how I get this look uh yeah okay, so um let's take just to be safe let me take a look let's take that down on third and I will take this down just to be safe because I know that it looks a little bit three clicks just so that I've got three clicks down okay here we go so do that really kind of stretch your chin up like you're really right there okay so I'm gonna zoom in a little bit more to just see what happens here hey gorgeous hair looks beautiful um so maybe we do this bring your hands up to your waist at prim just that brings the shoulders down gives me a little bit more of a triangle ready yes now do not do this go straight on its chin straight up you're not that's too much that's alright that's alright sometime go up go up go up go right there remember john and sweden we did that one girl uh that we do that workshop and she had her head up like that the redhead looked beautiful and it was the same lighting. So look at that and that gorgeous now and this is before I do my photo shop making the skin look like porcelain so once I get to that stage just mean really glows um here, let me show you alex um I'm just gonna spend that around look amazing she's agreed just because you know we're live right okay, so let's try that again and I'm a zoom back a little bit watch this one ready so now I've got her hands in their hope I got went far enough down but so would be to that one she's kind of like and there's a little smile on her face but watch this one so now I got the full body in there so well I missed a little bit of a chunk of the hand see no that's it's not good, right? I'm gonna go back to shoot that but that way I could knock her out and put her into something so let's do this I'm going to bring those hands up just a fraction right there ready? One two, three now just now drop your chin and look at me just open up right there my gosh, this is amazing. Okay, I'm going to that same shot we're gonna bring that up here to second so I'm gonna zoom in a little bit and I'm just gonna I'm gonna just close your eyes again I think this works right we'll do one like that and then just open your eyes, just stare me right down. That looks amazing so a lot of times I do have someone closed her eyes and then look so some was really nervous sometimes like even just like a guy I'm doing a coach for a football team he's a little nervous I asked him just relax close your eyes and then when I count to three just turn look at me and they look so much more natural so I want to do a couple more of this so this is what makes your hair is in the bottom part of her ready and then hands now no it'll hands okay ready now you got it with me but they're just holding they're ready okay, now give me that look again just stare me down beautiful beautiful and I'm a zoom in a little bit just so I have it right here that's good and so the next shot I want to do is let's try having her since your hairs on the side turned toward the uh lights the audience here okay? And let's try something where? Um it's kind of a little more of a profile here ready? So let's just try now do that chin up looking looking like close your eyes chin up try that right there. You see what that looks like trying now doing your one hand up just do that one hand up kind of thing can open your eyes. Okay. Now here's a little trick I I'm kind of embarrassed to even try this and you know, in front of live tv but it's almost like you're leaning stretching right so it's just not this it's more like you're you're almost like you're launching yourself into something so try that a little more a little more there you go look how that works wow, now do that but step back a little bit and then step into the middle of the frame so you're you're kind of going into its already right there beautiful so all of a sudden that looks so much better than her just standing there wow, beautiful and then let's do another one we'll maybe do a couple more like that then we'll do that curve thing right? So it's kind of curve like this but this do well couple more ofyou stretching like that I think I got it sometimes I'll tell my camera to that forces that launching effect so let's see get her hair right already. So do that do that kind of forced launch but they're beautiful yes. Okay, now do the curved thing okay? Ready? Yes. Okay. Focus on her eye. Ok, now do this actually step forward a little bit and I'm gonna try to get your I'm gonna try to get your face on the right hand side of the frame ready like this focus and this is why back focus I hit I focus on her eyeball move my frame I mean shoot all day long I say all young unless she moves and I'm not worried about my focus so do this turn your shoulders a little bit more toward toward yeah there you go ready so here we go perfect focus on her eye boom so curve that back even more right there right there yeah, yeah beautiful not close your eyes beautiful now don't it takes a little while to catch up here but basically I'm trying to do is I'm trying to get this curved so actually let's do this let's turn your back toward me and then that your chin starts to come toward me a little bit yeah let's see what that does you just see what this does uh but we gotta work on the hair so way could try do the other day let's go this way so you have to turn away from that but you did so now I want to have her shoulder kind of in the prominent that's actually not too bad, you know, and again that back is a little blown out here, but on the back of my monitor here I think I'm good. I think I'm good and and there's a little trick I do is I'll convert it to black and white I'll take another layer we're sure you do that in a minute I take another uh levels layer and I go down really dark and then I could see where the transition is and then I could either dodger burn it perfectly so I don't I could just burn it just on the edge and it brings back a little detail solely alice curve this way and so so go about know turn turn about forty five degree angle there there isn't there now curve and I let's see okay so actually come toward the this phil card here a little bit okay so let's see if we get this all right I'm a zoom in a little bit ready to focus on your eye right here maybe we swing just a little bit more toward the camera right there right there right there. Yeah, look at me oh, I like this so I'm gonna force it a little bit right here turn the camera one too three now bring your chin up right? Danny look at me but still bring it back this way right there that's kind of cool look to you seeing that I've done that where I have and I probably be even more of a curve of the back there's one image in my portfolio that you notice the girls got lots of makeup blond hair really likes can she have that curve? Um that's a beautiful there you go there you go look at that gorgeous swing your shoulder toward me a little more right there so I'm just gonna see if I can get that just right yeah, I'm gonna just pop over here and back up just a fraction now close your eyes now bring oh, yeah she's falling over bring your chin up just a little bit so do that curve and then keep your chin there yeah, right there, right there were exactly gorgeous right here. I'm gonna see that that hair now close your eyes ready? Zoom in just a little bit so I have it I think it's beautiful. So I just kind of watching her and now she stepped out of the big overhead bank a little bit. So what I need to probably have to do is step back and then lean in because I'm not getting his much phil good or bad, you know, that may be a little bit more detail there's good, but I'm trying to get the blown out, so step back a little bit and then lean into my frame that way that overhead light is still lighting you right? Go back. Look at me right there. I think that looks good. So well, I got a blinking there, but so now what I'm doing, I'm still working to zones zone one on the edges, zone two and the well and so do they have you hold that position let's fill in zone one, zone two just a little more so go back I'm gonna go have stopped one, two, three, four five ready this will fill in the zone and just see what the difference is so it's all about how my intuition is telling me you know where to go so that fills in a little bit that's a have a stop to make sense so what's right whatever feels right so what if the client says I want more detail less detail? Well, if you're getting paid you might you have to go along with that but again I go back to my client and I say let me do my vision as did you hired before don't at least don't jeopardize the vision of the artist to the point where you could hire anybody do it so um so I let my intuition to be my guide so there's a lot of things here we could do with this lighting um let's just try one last thing because I think we have time to do it I want to see if I could bring those lights in a little bit closer let's see what it does and I'm gonna bring him actually around a little bit so john let's just swing like this right here and we're gonna bring him in still a little bit on a forty that quite forty five but bring that tip toward me okay and then let's go down uh teo uh eight eight power so let's go to eighty wants and let's just see what that does okay some bringing my lights even closer let's try that. Okay, so no those just just straight on let's just try straight on when I come up to the top here right there. Okay let's just see what this does so I'm really bringing those lights and even more let's just see what happens I love it I love it and again it looks blown out her shoulder on here I think we're fine on my pretty blown out there too so um here's what I'm gonna do I'm gonna break my rule and I'm gonna go to f ate okay ready to go after eight that were overall everything just dropped uh that looks pretty good and I think we could probably uh this push this one toward and a little bit it looks like it's a little darker and maybe this light is just a little bit under this the wattage or something slips sorry sorry. You ready? Beautiful that that's going to be such a beautiful uh raw not that one the one in terms of all the lighting and everything that looks really got to do a lot with that image so do this I want to bring those let's bring much says okay, we're gonna bring the arms out so bring your arms up to your belt right about there and it's gonna cause a triangle effect on her on the shape of her body here watch this you see the difference that much better okay and then let's do this drop your chin just a little bit drop it down one, two, three close your eyes okay and let's do one last thing I'm gonna put a longer lens on let's get my seventy two hundred and let's just see what that does because some people say, you know what? I don't like the wide look let's do this and then we'll I'll go to questions so this would be a good little test because I get it I like wide right now what's gonna happen is that you remember I said that on my other lights I had grids. Why for flair? Well, am I getting flair now? Yes. Lots of flair. Okay? And so what is that doing to my overall image flattening it? So in essence, I'm actually letting the flare help create the look good thing happens with flair flare can't doesn't always mean it's bad so let's just see what happens you were gonna automatically see right now that I think I'm gonna have less flair so let me raise this up that's a problem too, because now I got to raise that light up a little bit but I think we got enough so let's do this I'm at seventy millimeters there let's zoom in just a little bit more focused on her ready one two three oh my glasses so now we've instead of the wide angle look it's a telephoto who that looks pretty darn good, innit? All right I'm throwing away my wedding left I'm going to my seventy two hundred here on at no that looks pretty darn cool so let me do this I'm a zoom in a little bit tighter here right here okay open your eyes you beautiful so there is less flair like that and actually now you're starting to see a lot of detail in her skin I didn't see before so I kind of learned something did I I've never actually shot this with a long lens I'm learning something today folks yeah you know so so well so again flare can be good flirt could be bad it depends on you want let's do this I'm gonna raise this box even mohr so what does it do to the shadows along making longer what do you get good and I'm gonna see if I go in a longer lens lets see if I can good even longer here. Okay focus right here. Oh, I made a mistake just trimmed her head I was trying to get underneath the box here or the octo and then that's our biggest uh reflector right now, right? Okay, ready and then let's open your eyes beautiful now instead of doing this relax a little bit like that like you're just you know yeah just right there ready here we go close your eyes again uh john's a smart guy okay I just missed her the bottom off like the opiate cannot look one look up so when she looks up now to the light it's gonna lighten her for vegas wash this okay, so from this one to the next one it's gonna lighten her face see that she's looking into the source that's a pretty cool look there too so let me just zoom in take their hands out but still leaving their ready boom right there now look at me yeah, I got my shot I think is this is killer alex you're gonna love this sum this next one I'm gonna go one, two, three, four, five let's just get up a little more punch on their face that's closed eyes look at me that should smooth at right here zone too just a little bit so that's closed eyes and then the next one should be looking at me right there. Right? So now you see big soft modifiers uh make gorgeous light and so what I know it wasn't able to do but if you guys have this light right here if you take just one of these and bring it over behind you and you're about four five feet of subject. O r just light is really soft. Overhead. Light it's behind you, though, because you can't shoot underneath it. It's like you have to have in the rafters. That's, a beautiful light member. I said the two of these on one side. Take this one out. Super soft cross light. So, with two of these, you could do a lot with one. You do a lot, so mix it up. Once you have these, you can mix him up. And, um, now taking these outdoors and when'd can be a problem. That's the downside to him. Yes. I think that this modifier would be too big to use a speed light with. Okay. Yeah. Speed. Like so let's talk about speed lights. The biggest problem that would see for this is that yes, on a speed like you go zoom into twenty four, maybe. Why'd you put a little thing on front mixing wider. The whole key is to get these as wide as possible. Just make that instead of making it a thirty inch reflector, a eighty four inch reflector. So it beam. Or about the spreading of the angle of light than anything but power output. You'd have to raise your eyes so and you would have to probably around eight five six from around there so yes it's doable you know um I don't know if I've ever used a speed lighten this but I've used a speed lighting not like this same problem but you gotta get that spread and so a lot of times they put to him in there just angle miss a little bit apart put a little wedge in between and then boom so I just take time out one rubber band the other one our budget and spread a little bit yeah I've gained three nikon nine tens and it's acceptable but there's not with the with the disc users on the on the flashes it still takes out a lot of power takes a lot of power so that's the biggest single drawback to speed lights is that comes down the power especially outdoors so indoors you could get away with it and there are some photographers that have sort of mastered the speed light and modifiers you know kind of thing so don't be discouraged if that's all you have speed light use um take him play with them but eventually I think you're going to have to end up with some studio type strobes to really do the control that we're doing now so but that's a good question speed lights don't but remember I said you could take one of these and create a whole body work the whole body of work with one light big huge light I a lot of times we'll put a model against a white wall so they're leaning against the white wall so it gives him a little bit of comfort then I put this one seven feet eight feet back I'm saying in front of it and I shoot the white wall acts as a reflector into the skin so people say oh you're using three lights there one light but that white is bouncing light back in here so I almost gave me a beautiful soft natural light so that's a little trick still one light and I don't use a phil usually on that situation because there's so much beautiful soft light so lots of fun things to do with this light and I call this the money light we'll make you a lot of money was that yeah, it doesn't cost a lot of money don't make you a lot of money if you put her in front of it give you kind of ah could give you kind of ah too light light on your side when you say in front if the models in front of the lights behind her use it in the background okay I've done that now on my octo which is smooth front I do that I've done that a lot in here you got you gotta block that light right so you could do it but it's a little hard to do right john you can be done she's kind of nice and thin jazz will be a hard time but we'll achieve the too light will it achieve that to light kind of look yes okay so in my portfolio I have a rapper members showed the real thin little overhead light in front of ah octo it was in front of an octo I made that white pure white just so again member I went back and said when it comes to exposure wise you bring up the power until the wrinkles disappear that's all you want you want to go beyond that because then you start flair and light around so uh all right do we have any questions from our audience absolutely do we have any questions in the studio audience anymore? You guys are all set okay we did have one question that came up actually there's a lot of questions but wickham in said have you ever been shooting and the visualization is just failing to come together your heart rate is rising your breathing is getting quicker and if so how do you deal with that how do you get your mind control? Great question okay so remember I went back to the fact that I said this I think yesterday I didn't say it I'm going to say it again I am not brilliant and I'm not a creative genius but I have a passion for the creative process, and I'm a really hard worker. Yes. Have I been in a situation where my brain goes blank and everything I've done is just like a bombing? Yes. You know, it's not like I snap my fingers and magic captain's. So in that case, a lot of times, it's all a matter of saying okay, let's, regroup, let's, get a different dress on a different idea. Let's. Just put a different light on let's. Just start over and often it's just a matter of going. Okay, where do we go from here? That's not working. And, uh, let's, let's, just, you know, like, say, regroup, but yes, that happens to me. And so and I've been on shoots. I'm getting paid lots of money and things aren't going very well, that's, a lot of pressure. But I think for the most part, when you realize that's happening, just say, okay, what can I go back to? What kind of fall? Back to that? I do really well, and I do a lot of and then usually you're backto, you know, doing something that just falls into place.

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!