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Crazy Stupid Light

Lesson 5 of 12

How to Create Wow

Scott Robert Lim

Crazy Stupid Light

Scott Robert Lim

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Lesson Info

5. How to Create Wow

Lesson Info

How to Create Wow

You know what I kind of sometimes what I'm speaking I kind of get a feel of the audience and ah just things that are going around and sometimes I get prompted to share different stories and so I want to start off today sharing a somewhat a personal story uh it's actually about my friend um freddie okay now I don't think freddie will mind me sharing this story because uh he's actually dead so we don't have to worry about him but twenty years ago on his dying deathbed he was up to me and said scott please share this story so this is first time we're going to share this story so I'm gonna let it rip okay well freddy he wasn't a particularly religious person in fact I'm not even sure if he believed in god or anything but you know what there was this church right by his house and one day he went in there and he said he heard the preacher and this preacher was amazing he was a world class order and every week freddy would come and he would learn these amazing things about life and about how ...

to make his life better and how to have hope and he would be inspired and he just could not get away from this church every week he kept coming and so usually after every time ah the uh during church the offering plate comes around okay and get the freddie and man I don't know um I'm not really at a good place right now I don't think I can give anything right now, but I'm sure there's plenty of other people that will be able to give a pest played on and he gets the next person and that person says the same thing it goes down the line down the line, the offering plate gets passed down the line and everybody keeps saying the same thing and nothing gets put in the offering plate and they need me to get it and even at the end it gets to benny and danny uh benny's name was benny bit torrent and he passed the plate he didn't have anything actually, you know what he did he actually recorded this orators this world class or tres lecture and what he did was he resold it online and this went on for a week in the year and and and it went on then what do you think happened to this church? The church went out of business because no one paid ah and he put anything in the offering plate and so wow, geez, what happened to the pastor and I was leading this search and everything well, you really don't have to feel too bad for this pastor because this pastor was actually he had a very successful law practice and so he went just he just went back to law and he was actually making more money than he was making at the church and he was fine so who really lost out here and still freddie actually he learned a great lesson in freddy's full name was called freddie freeloader, but he changed his name to freddie fanatic a thirty fanatic learned a very, very important life lesson and it wass is that he would he knew that he needed to give value to those who were giving value to him because if he didn't give value to those who are giving value to him that value would go away and so you know what I thought about this and I go you know what creative live is really what it's like a church it's free it helps people but creative life is very, very, very expensive to put on you know why creative live doesn't mess around crate of live hires the best people in the world to put this on and you know if crave lot goes away, all these people everybody I mean, you don't see it back here but there's a lot of people just to put this on just not us up here, okay? And you have to worry about them a creative life goes around cause their best talent in the world they're going to find a job but it's all of us who find value in this we want to keep this alive so what I'm telling everybody today is that please support creative life. I love what they do. I am hooked on it. I mean, being here in person and and seeing everybody's work so hard to put this on, I am all on board with it. I think they have really something magical here, and I just want to see this continue. I want them to prosper so they can even continue to to give you better and better programs. Because I sincerely believe that creative live is doing something amazing. Ah, here, something innovative. Something that you've never even seen before, so ah, I guess I'll get off myself box right now. Ah, and I want to thank you for allowing me to share that story. But I just I felt that that was on my heart, and I wanted to share that with you. All right. So, scott, yes, I recall, at the end of the day yesterday you gave some people some homework. Do you want teo? You know, talk about that, remind people and make sure that they were that they were doing. Yes. So the homework wass this is that you were supposed to be able to control one flash because my theories is this, if you can control one flash you can control one hundred flashes, but what happens is these people start doing flash they don't quite know how to control one and then when they adm or it just gets confusion and it is like chaos, so the first step to controlling flash is toe learn is to use the chart that I gave out and learn how to get ah your exposure at six feet away or sixty eight feet away or whatever your flash is and try it at at different explosions tried it f eleven trying different ideas sos and and kind of practice your distance so you can just kind of eyeball the distance whatever it is six or seven feet get comfortable with that it has to be like it's second nature ok, because you know why you have to know it like the back of your hand because all chaos is going to break loose on your chute and things were going to distract you and it's going to go crazy and the miss of all this you've gotta be able to do your job so that's why it's so important to practise practise practise it must become second nature and so when you when something technical becomes second nature, jess, what you get to go to that next level and then you get to start working on the artistic because you've already got the technical out of the way and that's, when you really start becoming into your own and start fulfilling your vision because you're freed up from the technical and now you can get to the real stuff. So that's why it's important to practice practice practice practice is at six feet practise it at three, feet practice at one and a half feet. Go back to twelve feet and see what it looks like put in and burrell a on it and then after you can master that use a couple jails used that same principle and go ok I now know how to do the main light now I just want to experiment have fun, use one light behind and light it off to the side light up behind and you maybe add another flash and then do a different colors experiment with colors and then try jelling a background or something like that. But see, you already have the concept of one flash and you and howto like that subject that everything else becomes the subject whatever you want to light up. If it's this chair or if it's a car or if it's anything you already understand that and now you khun your frito light anything and so that's what I want you to really do who is to master that one flash first get that down and then bam! The rest is easy uh is there any other questions in there in a chair? Okay, so anyways, uh just to let you know a little bit later I'm gonna put you under the gun and you out there to audience and see if you take my final exam which is too light a subject with two flashes and then gela background okay, so I just want to give you a little heads up before we actually do it. All right? So we ready to learn how to take extraordinary photos? Okay, here we go. Well, I gotta ask you a question what makes a great photo? Yes great composition ok. Any other ideas? Um kind of like the elements of design so shaped flying texture okay, shape line dutcher I kind of thought that was sort of classify under composition right? Sort of a house a different than composition I'm just killing us. I get for giving classes teach it's like a two d are kind of um it's different because it's like where the details I guess in the photograph um what are the colors with the shadows and contrast uh, stuff like that so it's more kind of what's going on that makes it more artistic? Okay, good. Any other suggestions? Yes, neil one that a moat evokes a feeling of emotion low sure, yes, good all right, yes, I'll be the smart ass and say the photographer okay, well that's true I agree with that but okay besides the photographer I'm kind of with neil the content of the story the story okay. Yeah good. Any other suggestions? Those are all very excellent answers okay, so I actually have some ideas about this ah me may like them or you may not but anyway I'm going to give you my ideas about it and I think that there are four key elements okay um and these four key elements is one subject what is the subject matter okay to light how is it lit? Three composition four your environment what's the situation where you're shooting at so what I'm going to do is about to break down each of these subjects. Now if you have questions you know during this don't be afraid to ask at this point even with you online audience we have a little bit more time tio expound on things so well being your questions if you have any so let's go into subject oh yeah the stronger each of these elements the better the image ok and for me and I used to submit a lot of images into competition and I and the way I would evaluate things like you know what if it's if it's strong and three out of those four then I think I've got a really strong image to submit for competition and, you know, sometimes there's some element in one of these elements is so superior that that image can stand on its own with just one of these elements but that's a very very rare photo um I like to try toe like have at least three out of four in there uh that very strong okay subject what is the subject to me the subject is the main idea of the photo okay what is your main idea now I wantto askyou a question what makes strong or compelling subject matter young master you guys that well what's really strong so yes I think the facial expressions of it the person facial expression okay yeah okay great. Something that's personal to you something that's personal okay. So let's say it's personal let's say I took a picture of my harry armpit with that the interesting you got any other suggestions? Well about what makes great subject matter maybe the situation may be like a monumental situation like earth winning what's that maybe like a birth or a wedding just if the situation is really strong like it's like a n'importe life event, right? Yeah. Okay. Okay. So that is true right to those people involved with that photo but from a general point of view of just somebody looking at that photo like that they might not even care about that person so that life event might might not mean much to them her connection to the subject in the photo the connection if you have a connection to that subject in that photo if you feel something towards it right if you experience or feel that same life event or whatever okay great any other suggestions all right well I am going to show you this is why I like smug bugged and I say earlier that you can actually find statistics on smugmug that might be very helpful so what I did was I scroll braque and looked at I got a lot of galleries up there and I looked at these numbers of these galleries is like wow this is quite surprising and there's what and so this was from the month of april twenty fourth two may twenty four this's a while ago two thousand eleven but in this particular month I had one hundred thirty six thousand views at this one album the scot robert gallery and then I had this other album that had my travel images from all over the world and it had two thousand views does any of that very ever been to my website actually and so I opened up my website with these pictures and that's what's actually in the scott robert gallery so what do you think it was that made this def huge difference in views here you know these are awesome photos these air like travel photos from italy, europe, china all over the place and then what's in my gallery if anybody's been there what? When you scroll up to my website, you look at my portfolio and you see those that those images going through there what am I showing there? Yes, maybe rashomon stuff that people have never seen before, you know, because we traveled you've seen a lot of you know locations, you know, you could see paris and stuff, but maybe you made a image that it was very original and very creative and it piqued their interest in the scene you're very kind of saying that, but, uh, I write anybody else have any ideas? Well, I know the lighting in your gallery is really strong, good lighting, really interesting lighting really compelling it's like she was saying, its subject matter that isn't so common. Okay, this has a uniqueness to it. Anybody else have any ideas? You want to know my simple plain expansion explanation? There's a lot of hot chicks on that gallery, which comes to my first point beauty beauty sells okay, beauty is rare you can just keep looking at beautiful things all day long, whatever it is. So what I say is when beauty strikes the subject, just get out of the way and freaking take the picture because don't we all experience that when we have this beautiful subject that way we get to photograph and you're looking through the camera and you're going wow this person's beautiful I mean they could do anything they could be like picking their nose right now she looks awesome click click click and we just feel like oh man where in such a groove I mean this is just like wow the best session ever because that person is just so darn beautiful anything that we take it looks good beauty is very very compelling subject matter oh by the way uh does anybody remember that power rangers yeah she's the yellow power ranger by the way yeah the second siri's yeah and I did her wedding so that was fun elite photographers know how to capture beauty and you can simply do that so when I when I review photos and and people have me look at their work I look at the beauty content with it because beauty can just move a person so quickly it is so attractive uh and it has a very compelling compelling um quality to it well how do we max the beauty of of of a subject if we agree that beauteous wow that's the awesome thing how do we maximize the beauty in a subject? Any ideas? Yes um probably the posing posing okay the art of portraiture and that's what it is is the secret to making money with photography is to make people look beautiful if you could make people look beautiful you could make a ce much money as you want in this business and that's what portraiture does it ranges those elements of the human body to maximize that person's beauty now what about you know, portraiture? Do you guys ever feel stuck with your posing it's like home my gash and doing the session I got him doing the same poses every single time it's like man, I really need teo get on creative live and watch download some kind of like posing thing because it's getting really stale right? Do we all feel that right? So well, maybe you guys experienced that have you ever kind of how did you guys get out of your funk? What were some of the things that you guys did to get you out of this funk with your posing that gave you a bit of an inspiration? Yes, for so, um I took a suggestion of going through magazine going through magazines just kind of getting inspiration because you know, the really high fashion magazines but weirdest poses but they somehow make it work. Exactly. It was just like I'm gonna get my friend to do this for me from there, like from the ideas that I got from the magazine and I just kind of felt more open to different posing right? And I was just like in the zone after that yeah, you know, that's what actually what I do a lot it is I looked at a lot of fashion magazines and then I and I look at that work and then I bring that kind of that standard in that industry and bring it into a a different type of art o r like maybe waiting photography and that is actually another way that can inspire you is toe look att different forms of art and bring that art into your work and another great way to learn about post what do what do you think the best way to learn about posing iss from a classical point of view yes oh from classic appointed well anything just go ahead uh I think by doing it yourself I mean looking at other people's work and understanding the basic fundamentals of you know um uh no knowing what to do with arms and the head it's good thing creating shapes out of it but when you do it yourself and your you're like mentally going through your instructions it actually helps you remember that stuff so I actually I got the suggestion from a friend toe get like a human miniature winning model yeah has bendable arms and things I didn't have one at the time but I actually have like a skeleton from anatomy class okay so I use that for a while and it helped yes right that's very good and that all comes down to practice practice practice practice practice it's so valuable and learning well sometimes a lot we can read things but the way we actually learn it is by doing and a lot of us are that way yes oh yeah I get that immediate feedback you can see it's you know it's faras for me and for my body type I can see how yeah how it works you know too before our dry those types of things but then I can you know it's I'm better able to be efficient when I'm trying to tell my client how to how to do it because I think oh well that didn't work for me trying to do it this way and think through in my mind how I would say it to them great I do that a lot too that's what I used to do because I didn't know any posing principal so I just used to look in the mirror and I used to actually pose and it really I mean I you know felt a little bit funny but then what's kind of strange is that I used to like it ah, you know later but hey letting my feminine side out but yeah that's what I did a lot of that helps ok any other suggestions of what you guys did to get you out of this rotten teo, eh? I guess they just help the clients because a lot of times they're like oh, I don't know what to do and uh I'm kind of like a natural poser when I get my photograph taken salt you shall I just go next to them and kind of just do it with a right on day feel a lot more comfortable that she's like okay she's doing it I'll just look at her and, um like what I do is I actually like to prose for the bride first so I make a fool out of myself for sauce, eh? You know what? Come over here and I want you to just lean over here look over that way go god, actually you're pretty good and then I break the ice for them and then I let them do it well, case let's get way do have a couple answers online. See says just practice practice practice we learn by doing okay. Lena and joanie practice in front of the mirror, okay? And we have somebody that says pinterest yes and then tinker s room looking at great art that that's what trains the eye to see poses and and I like that one about looking at great art and more specifically do you know what I like looking especially when I go over there to europe and I see a lot of it iss sculpture of human the human form because if you think about if you take a solid chunk of marble which is so stiff and rigid and hard and if you could make that look like the human form dude, you are good okay? And you something about it you think about those famous sculptures that maybe just be sculpting that little pinky they might spend a month on just getting that pinky right they are examining every part of that anatomy and making it look lifelike so if we look at sculpture and we see it and we go wow, that can give us great clues on how to pose our subjects in a classic form that's enduring it might not be over the top great like fashion magazines but it's solid it's consistent it's something we can build a living on because it's classic and it will never fail you you can just ride that sucker all the way to the bank and I'll explain a little bit I might uh there's actually I'll get into a little bit later really? There was just one pose that I knew in the beginning of my career I didn't know a lot about posing but I knew one and I maximize that sucker and that road that polls all away becoming a five thousand dollar wedding for talking for starting at five thousand dollars uh but I'll talk about that a little bit later, okay? So when you feel stuck with their posing here some kind of, uh keys emotion change the emotion okay, so uh well how you create emotion what is emotion first of all so one thing about emotion is that it it actually what you could do one way is to create a story ah story creates emotion and and some people do is they look at movies and they'll kind of remember a famous scene in a movie and then they'll try to recreate that because that kind of create some sort of emotion and in this particular picture I I did this session in new york with this couple and I go wall what is the flavor of new york? Well, first of all I think of taxis and then I think of these awesome buildings with the ladders on the side of them and so you know I go you know what? Let's go get a taxi because that's so new york that's the new york lifestyle let's get a taxi evil's just drive around to some street where it looks kind of with that kind of ladders and stuff like that so we got a taxi um we drove around for a little while and then we die stop right here. And so I had a I kind of created the scene for them. I said, you know what let's kind of pretend that your fiancee she's going on a business trip and you know you're seeing her off to the airport you're not gonna see her for three months and you're saying goodbye to her and then in the beginning we were doing this pills and in a taxi driver he was actually hiding but I thought he was that he was kind of the texture the feel of the mood of that so I said no no no no no no come out come out here towards the front and then he started looking at me going oh no don't look at me just look over there uh and then that's how I created this this picture but it was started from off a story in my mind and you can do that with a lot of shots some people are really really good at it I'm like okay adam it every once in a while might be inspired but it's not it's not really my my thing but some people are really really good at that another way is two and this is what I do a lot is I describe a feeling okay now look at this picture here I am on the great wall of china and do you think you know uh an everyday person will walk along that wall of china and the cover up and close their eyes and look over happened to put their nose to the light? I think that happens by chance know what we had to arrange that what did I say to her to get her to do that? What do you think I did well I said it was like okay but ten year cold and look over there and close your eyes describe the feeling um that's how I got that yes I think her posing like a cocoon like a butterfly about to hatch oh wow I don't know her hands feel like they're comfortable there but they eventually juana come out I don't know it's the feeling and a space is really serene yeah so I get that kind of feeling it's just beautiful oh thank you wow okay I'll take it you can use the same polls for different emotions and you get unlimited poses actually if you look at fashion magazines a lot of times I've this is not my fashion opposing workshop but I broke down a lot of these poses to very basic poses and what makes him different a lot of times it's just the emotion for example the one when the one pose that I did learn was what I call the walkaway post which is you know let's say this is the light walk away from the light head towards the light and then bam popped that hip out so this is the only pose I knew right but if I change like I could do this poles you know we can have a camera but if I change the emotion I said hey why don't you act uh ah loof and regal ok what would you do right I said why don't you act a little bit shy and coy right if I said be happy right it's like the exact same pose but it's just you put different emotions to it and it takes on of new life of its own and one thing about posing is oh this is kind of weird huh? People getting freaked out this supposed be a lighting workshop but okay is it all right people getting figured out not talking about light okay, but uh one thing about posing is if you get the pose right when you know the pose is right anywhere you zoom in or zoom out on that person it looks good so you line that person up and you start shooting it wide it's perfect then you can shoot it in type maybe change the emotion or changed where it's look you could use that exact same pose change the emotion that that subject will only stay in one place and you've got a variety of shots that's what I learned doing as a wedding photographer chris sometimes literally I would have on ly one minute to shoot the bride literally and I would have to get a variety shots all in one minute and that's what I did okay so same pose different emotions unlimited okay and lick it you can use some key phrases to evoke this emotion or for glamour posing one is the hug me or kiss me feel like oh uh hey can you pretend that you want to be hugged how would you feel like if you know oh man I just I'm feeling not good today and I want to feel loved right hug me kiss me well you say kiss me what what would you do put your cheek out to somebody right you describe the feeling and automatically it kind of evolves into itself because certain feelings evolve certain types of physical actions and then with your posing skills you just tweet the arm a bit you tell him to shift their weight a bit change hand a bit and then you just created a masterpiece but you allowed your subject to express themselves in it and it's the combination of both your work together it's something special okay just well say because you said I hope people aren't freaking out people are saying no this is awesome I really need posing a is that really appreciate this it's what I need to work on the most I get so nervous about getting stuck this will definitely help thank you. Great. Okay, good. So get up good feedback a good okay let's do another phrase how about this ravaged me if I said I want that ravage me photos what what this is like from a good friend jennifer hudson uh and okay she took this photo and if you want a like okay ravage me right oh, you can't do that without lifting both arms up right? You can say ravage me take me now but it has to be this so the feeling will automatically allow a person to do something for you okay? It automatically suggests certain kind of body movements here's another one this is actually a very difficult uh feeling to describe the look at me post it's like you're a model why okay now because she's kind of ah hong kong uh celebrity so it was easy for her to give me this post because isn't this like the competence post say that I feel good about myself so I can do this right? Let me suck my stomach in a bit more see that confidence your clients sometimes will not be able to get to that point until after the session. Okay, you have to billed as photographers it's our job to build that confidence into our subjects so by the end they can fully express themselves and when they can fully express themselves and then you compose them and create a masterpiece out of it you start becoming world class at that point people start raving about you people start thinking you're the best for talk over there is why? Because you made them beautiful like they've never seen before you broke those barriers down and you showed them the beauty that was hidden in them that's how I get paid big bucks that's the rewarding aspect of photography and that's why I love portraiture because if I could see a person and I could see there I can see a certain beauty in them that they can't and if I could bring that out in them and show them and make them feel so good about themselves it's like wow, I don't even need any money for this but I will ask for money but I don't need it because that's my reward and that is the point where we start to become world class photographers so when we can do that alright okay how do you create a more, uh, emotion? This is a very, very, very important point. Your subject will mirror and reflect your positive energy. So this is where you're gonna have to have some social skills and I've seen you know, some photographers do this and how would you like to stand over there? Ok, now look sexy for me, all right? How would you feel? You know, uh come on over here. Okay, uh, that looks okay. Can you look a little bit cuter that's not going to get you anywhere. Come on now, right? But if you're positive, if you're reflecting this positive energy this loving and encouraging energy, your clients will mere or that now you know and I used to do wedding photography and has a good wedding photographer you're supposed to understand why people hire you so a lot of times I would consult with the client and then they would back get back to me later and then they say you know what, scott we were thinking about it and yes your racer a lot higher but we want to hire you because you know, we just think you're going to do now standing job and then I was at that point I would always ask all my clients well what was it that you liked about my work or me that's why you're hiring me I was just curious and I would do aa lot of asian weddings that was kind of my niche and I did a lot of asian winnings and they would come back to me and say you know what? Whenever I look at your wedding photos it looks like everybody is having a great time and for that for asian that's kind of important because we tend to be a little bit reserve and not really share our motion that much sometimes except for me uh but and so that was important to them and I could wow that's interesting that you thought I would have never thought about that and then I thought about it a little bit more and I go you know what that is me when I come to the event I'm always high energy let's have some fun let's do this together and bam that reflects in my clients and then I take the photo and so who you are and what you are will show up into your work and I see this all the time again when I review portfolios and I look at their work ah lot of times I am actually looking at their personality I could see it right in their work that freaks out some people but you can see it it's there if you have a problem showing emotion creating positive energy the outcome of your pictures will be emotion less okay so now if we come to photography because we like all the technical aspects of it and we like you know using the seven lights and whatever and we like the gear and we like everything all the technical things to it that's great it will get you to the certain point but it's not going to get you to a world class imagery it's that extra emotional content that you've got to put into your photos it's got to be your emotional content what you are because that's going to give you your signature style if you are not reflected in your work your signature style is not gonna come out and so it's very very important that that must be reflected be vulnerable to different feelings and show it and if we're a person and I think that's partly I mean decides all my technical stuff that I know I really kind of feel that has been the key to my success because like it just show things I don't care about making a fool of about myself or whatever I'm very vulnerable to feelings like it's kind of easy actually you know you can kind of see it I start getting emotional I start crying in front of people was like, wow that's not that's very un asian right? But it's it's something I can do you know and it's part of my personality and I think that's actually attributes to a lot of my success is because I can be vulnerable to it and you know what? Going back to that point women it's very ous well, I don't want a stereotype people but in general I think women are very, very, very, very good at that men were you look mad, we're great at let's set up twelve different lights here we're going to use video in jails and you know bam one shot yeah, we love that stuff women oh man they go by photography because of the emotion and the feel of it and actually that's the most important part of photography and that's why you see so many women today being so successful because technology allowed them to take exposures quite easily and so they can directly go to that emotional content and they get it so maybe if you were like me if you're a guy we have to learn how to be vulnerable we have tto learn how to express these feelings and then I'll come out in our work okay so what's review when makes strong subject matter one beauty we maximize beauty with the art of portraiture emotion create emotion by telling a and describe a feeling right remember the subject will mirror you all right great okay we take some questions sure way move on so joe the flow asks any posing tip for non glamour families kids sort of to bring out that emotion s o those phrases that you had given us before that's a good question I don't shoot families um how about in the the audience but I think about what I would let's say if I wanted my um family photograph um you know it's very interesting right it is very good experience I had to photograph my brother in law's wedding one time and uh you know, being a photographer I think I was maybe like five or six years in or whatever and I hated group shots right? Like we want to get to the artistic stuff oh man these group shots like who cares about thes man this is not showing off my signature style please but then my brother in law got married and I wanted all those group shots with the family and so I had a different perspective about it and so when it comes to family I think you know to me I just want something that is classic the two things something that's classic and enduring uh not over the top but then also I think I would like some life style stuff where I'm interacting with my kids and they're laughing with me and all that kind of stuff and I think I personally I would like both of those things so I think you know it's very important I think for family portraiture and things of that toe learn the classic rules of the triangles and and the different heights of people and know all that stuff maybe put a contemporary twist to it but no all those kind of classic poses but then also take your clients to a different place and maybe do something that's a little bit more modern and what I love doing is I actually for group posing I love looking at fashion magazine and a lot of times like there's adds like a ralph lauren or whatever will they'll put many subjects in the photo and I analyze that because a lot of times they do great lifestyle group shots in fashion magazines uh and so all get tips from that eso anyways that's my suggest I'm very limited knowledge and shooting family because I actually don't do that I don't know if you guys have any suggestions for families if you connection between the individuals and bringing that out in the photo it's like okay, we're here it's a family session your family you know, I I want to see what you feel is the most important part of your connection to each other and somehow just by doing that it's like the love comes through you're able to find that going off that idea and this is what I actually doing weddings to is I try to get that connection and then when I see it, I hit the rewind button. Oh, whoa! Hold on. I like that let's, go back to that, but let me move your arm here. Oh, your leg is in the wrong position and so I get that raw. I see that raw interaction, but maybe I'll have them do it over again, but because I know kind of some of the standard posing take sneaks I perfected into a masterpiece. If you want to look at really amazing portraiture of groups, you gotta look at the work of annie liebowitz. Just do a search on that sucker, say any lube what's images on google and take a look because she does the most amazing portrait ah, and you can learn a lot on the way she does things okay, right one more question on c let's go with lake tech ipo and lost archives or both asking about rules for posing men and suggestions for how that emotion in your groom's as well as your brides usually well yeah because you know what? A lot of women have trouble posing men but being a man it's like he's really that's no problem but you know, I used to feel that posing women because I didn't know how how woman wanted to feel or whatever so I can totally understand that with guys okay guys, we are by nature very lazy okay, so if you want to get a guy looking natural do not have a guy just stand because they don't a lot of guys who just don't know how to do that not less your african and all african people look cool and they just give you whatever and it's like amazing I didn't say that but I'm just thinking first like serious but did a guy too ok? So if the guy is free form right to make him lazy actually you have to make him stand on on one put all the weight on one leg okay? Right? Because one were I run into this all the time doing weddings I'll say okay, we're going to take a picture and the guys what did they do? They go like this locked unease why? Because their mom always told them stand up straight so they've got that in their mind I need to stand up straight but this complete opposite of that relaxed it's like okay, whatever uh give me a beer here, right? If you get a little pot here, maybe home lean forward a bit, right? So standing is actually the hardest thing for a guy because they can't naturally do that, but you could get them to sit, get them to lean on something, right? Like my favorite thing to do. So with the chair, they straddle the chair and then they're what leaning forward on that that or get a pillar alive, this one was getting a pillar and they're leaning against the pillar on then they'll look a lot more relaxed and so what? I'm thinking of a guy I'm trying to make him look strong, masculine and then I get him to smile or something or look away or whatever, but it's really the feeling of confidence and strength that I'm trying to get out of a guy when I take a photo, okay, so that was the longest section so light we don't really need to talk about because we're gonna go through that light could set the mood of a photo that I mean the whole lecture after this is all about this, so I can kind of briefly go through this like and set them mood of the photo right? We talked about this this was an interesting photo here because like can create drama and tension and I was at this wedding and I don't know what happened but this song played and this mom gathered her kids pulled them together and she just started crying I had no idea what was going through her mind but I thought it was interesting and so I raised my camera really high and I took the photo now I had off camera flash going here off camera lighting. Now can you imagine this photo if I had my eye on camera flash and I just blasted them with my flash on there or like I took a point and shoot camera just boob took it it would totally lose the feeling you know I used to see the dear drop in her eyes and the light just happened to hit the brightest point there the light I had the light across the room and it was going across people's bodies and structures and that's what gave her these shadow feeling here and it's solely set the mood of that photo. If I woulda lit it differently, we wouldn't have even been looking at this photo because it would look stupid but light can create drama and tension and mood so what is good light? We'll talk a little bit dizzy for there's the main ah main light and I always like to get the main light off camera because it looks more natural that way on there's separation a rim light and then there's the background matching highlights blah blah blah blah well, we're gonna talk about this for a half an hour so we're going to move forward okay good light and beauty create impact baby and I think that's really what you see on my website you see a lot of beautiful people there and the light is uh try to perfect my lighting it's all these photos already see that's my one post my walk away posts but I shot it tighter that way and it looks completely different that's basically the same post too but she's leaning on something right? You look like you, silas I'm even sorry that I even brought up that one pose because you now here to go back and look at my imagery goes scott doesn't do anything different that dude is a complete fraud okay like and care carry an image by itself if you have good lighting it khun just by itself it can carry an image it could could set moods okay location in composition, location and composition as they say when buying property what location location, location okay, this photo was taken in times square okay now actually times square as a little bit differently and you can't even take this photo there because it's complete it looks completely different now. This was taken a few years ago, but this photo, uh it went an award. But I'm particularly proud of this photo because this is one of the first times I imagined a photo three months it's before I took it. So I knew I was going to be doing this workshop in new york, and I thought about new york, and I go what does the eye? Some of the icons in new york. Oh, times square. Okay, now I'm gonna take a bandage there. I've seen a lot of people take images at in new york. What could be different? What happens if I had the lot that the bride lying on the ground in the middle of times square, that that could be interesting? So I had that image already my head. So we went to times square photograph this this's ten o'clock at night. And if you've ever been to times square, there are thousands of thousands and thousands of people walking around at all times. This was no different. But sometimes when you have the vision in your head and you have an idea, the world works with you, and for a very, very brief moment there was nobody around, and I said, this is it get down on the ground now I knew what I wanted to do I figured it all out I had one light over here I took about four shots and then the world came crushing walking by what happens if I didn't have that vision in my mind before I took the photo it would have been there okay so that's how important vision is and this is what you're going to find out you're going to find out the photos that you had a vision for those are the ones that you're going to love they might not necessarily be the best photos but those are the photos that you're going to fall in love with because that best represents your signature style who you are as a person okay okay so location, location, location find the unique qualities of your location finding you need qualities of wherever you are what do you think this is venice, italy right when you say venice, italy you think oh gondolas and whatever so this this this couple uh contacted me and they wanted to do this session in italy and I started thinking about it I go you know what if we're going to italy to take photos were getting in a gondola that's for sure and so this was in my mind before I took it but I wanted to do that and I wanted to show the unique aspects of where I wass where's this hawaiian write the same thing this photo was in my mind before I took it because I said you know what? I'm going to hawaii and I want to kind of do something different oh yeah what happens if I you know get in the water and uh get the model in there too? And so my original idea was without this little red little wreath there but I was walking around longs drugs and I saw these lays and go oh man, yeah, this is perfect we could wrap this around her head and that will do it but because I already had this photo in my mind I can complete the vision by just adding that little relief when I saw it I knew it was for the photo great wall of china a good location could even mean an elevator it doesn't matter it doesn't have to be some stupendous place, but it must be unique build your portfolio with interesting locations and, uh, shots and this is a very, very, uh important uh, aspect and the reason why I say that is that you got three images to capture captivate the imagination of your future client and what I mean by this is a new client someone that you don't know is checking out your website for the very first time your image is start to show up image comes up uh I am which is okay seeing that before next photo image comes up ah ok yeah it's all right seeing that before image comes up huh? Seeing this before what do they do next website you have got three chances teo captivate your audience you gotta hit him it was like it's like a pop song pop songs are only what three and a half minutes long and it's and has a captivate you what within the first thirty seconds or else you lost it okay same thing with your your photos I don't care if you have to spend twenty thousand dollars to get those three images you got to do it your business your livelihood you feeding your family depends on that it's imperative you've got to make the sacrifices to put everything you've got into those first three images or else what he's just clumped with the rest the thousands and thousands of other photographers that are out there okay location and composition composition can create an idea or suggest the thought removed and what I like about this photo it is like ok to me I go okay, I see the dessert and then I look at what's behind our go okay, I get it she's dessert afterwards I mean that's the way guys think of it I guess and so what you choose to place in your image can suggest a thought where mood or your idea of who you are and what you want to say to the world so, uh the way you arrange it and what is it what you put in it can create a story and it could be your story uh but so you gotta put some thought and how you're going to arrange your photos good composition starts with a central idea and all the elements compliment that main idea okay, now fortunately before I did photography I was a graphic designer for twelve years and I would understand this concept so that's why? I think a lot of times if you have graphic design experience you could be a very good photographer because you already kind of get good composition now how do you you know, I it's a little bit of a test right now don't worry about this because all you guys are fine and you guys already passed the tests already because I've seen this task specter this uh you know, this personality trade in you is do you want to know if you have good composition skills? But this was a one little kind of thing that I've uh just used across the years that's been somewhat good is that I look at a person the way they dress because if you think about it composition is combining elements colors, texture, jewelry, whatever and putting it all together into one cohesive idea and that's the same thing with your composition with your photo is that you're trying to do set up what's the central idea and then compliment everything around that to tell the story so and that even helps you with the editing of your photo so I took this photo right and I love the graphical where this was taken in hong kong were going to go back in hong kong in august so you can come with us so this was in a cafe and I just love these these lines that came across and sow those lines kind of draw you too her first and so when I added this photo michael I gotta bring down everything so you see her first, okay? And then you see her and then you look across the page and a compliments and they go oh that's not in monrovia, california that's somewhere else that gives you an idea of where she is and so it draws you bam you hit her, then your eye goes across the entire page and that's what you want to do that creates impact how do you create impact in a photo is that you have one central strong idea and it hits you first now if you have ah picture and there's a bunch of elements and you're going I don't know what the look at first here uh you lost in pack but you want to hit somebody what's your main idea, complement everything around it and make the person look at the entire frame of the photo they should be elements in there. Another key on whether or not you are good at composition is is a lot of people who suit portrait and that's the majority of their photos and they fill the person up with a portrait shot up and down it's because they're not very good compositionally because it's easy just to fill the person up in shoot portrait and then they don't have to worry about any other elements in that photography but when you shoot landscape that's a little bit different because you got to put the the the subject over here and then there's other space that you've got to do something with and somebody who has good composition skills can put that all together and and I told you, I'm a college dropout, right? And the reason why was I usedto watch a lot of movies? Probably I just got hooked on movies and I didn't do my homework or whatever didn't care about it and how do you look at movies? It's all landscape, landscape landscape so study movies again it's a tax write off, go to movies look at it right and you can understand composition and lighting at the same time here's another shot landscape one central idea him right and all the elements around him and the light focus on him and you know when you're a photographer ok, to get this foot photo subconsciously because I practice so much I waited for a fraction of a second for these elements to be exactly where they are and I took the photo it's not by chance it's by practice, thousands and thousands and thousands and hundreds of weddings that I've done and somehow in your mind used just start to know when all those elements are in the right place and subconsciously you take the picture and when I watch a lot of inexperience photographers let's say like, if they come on we workshop, you know, sometimes I'll be watching them and I go oh, they missed the shot there fraction of a second late I won't say that in front of them but I can tell and that's how I khun judge photographers to all I see when they're clicking the photo up they got it, there is damp, they hit it and so it's just this innate feeling it comes with thousands and thousands and thousands of shutter clicks. It just falls in your brain you see the composition and damn you hit it, some people are a little it were natural at it than others, maybe because I had my twelve years of graphic design experience that it's easier for me to get that moment, but you can get it. You just need to practice focus on one. Okay, when you're shooting couples, would I like to do? Ah, lot of times not for the whole session is who you feature in here first. And of course, who do you think? What I like to feature on first the hot chick, right? So I'm gone with the girl and then I'm using him to compliment her. I'm setting her up constantly because why brides are the ones who pay me bison, the ones who who are into their wedding and there the one to me when I'm in a consultation, I'm winning over the bride because she'll eventually went over that her fiance. Okay, so I do that I focus on her right? I bring her. I'd bring her beauty out her face out if I if I had them face each other that's what I call it equal billing shot, you're giving each person equal billing, but what I like to do is I like to make a front person. I like to make a main show in a sub show. The main show a lot of times is the bride and the sub show the opening act like I say is the groom and he compliments her and so that's how I pose it a lot of times okay, well, who do you think you see for here first you got her and you know dude he's in the background there right? And it creates impact because you know what to look at first don't you immediately bam I'm looking at her then your eye runs across the page we'll stake him impact what are you focusing on first it's the setting here right whom I focusing on her is obvious she's there he's behind there he's setting her up you can also reverse that two in the session don't always do it about with her but you can throw somewhere he's in the main act also what's happening here same thing, same thing here it's her her her her and if you look at a lot of the top wedding photographers in the world this is what they do. This is where I learned this from setting her up first. Okay? When shooting a session we're talking about, you have to show a variety and that what I mean by that is you've got to shoot some portrait you got to shoot some landscape, you've gotta shoot tight and then you've gotta shoot wide you've got to show your unique environment where you are. Why is this place special what's cool about this place? You've got to show a variety of emotions. Okay, then you've got s o u can even do color and black and white, the post processing that you do individual one person or the group, or to people or whatever, five people or whatever it is, and then you got to show the details of it, maybe it's just the sun glasses in the hand or it's just the ring or whatever, or just the midsection or whatever it is, they're just lips you gotta combine all these things I think I'm gonna put try to put all of these things in a session, and then you tell the story off the day, or of the of your couple, you got to show different heights, keep different heights, and sometimes this is difficult when the couple is the same height, and I ran across this a lot when I'm shooting asians because the asian guys there sometimes not that tall, so a lot of times they end up being the same height, and so I had to learn how to overcome this situation. Focus on one one idea per frame, what is your idea that you want to accomplish depth gotta have depth in the photo, a variety of lighting maybe there's some natural light maybe there's some created light video light uh shooting in the day shooting at nighttime a wide variety so you got to tell a story with your sessions and I would like to show you assess in actually, uh I guess I would say some of my brightest students okay? And uh this is really quick before you jump in, the story is there anyway so we got a lot of response to that image of the woman in the elevator. You really curious about the lighting of that shot with the mirrors and like how you got to shoot on that look occassion perfect. Anyway, you could explain that. Okay, so I was actually in korea on that shot but it was and I thought it elevated with school and so we were getting into going to the reception and we start walking in the elevator and look hey, this is really cool stop hold the door so they pulled back and I did what I did was the basic walkaway pose right she's holding onto the elevator on looking out the door, leaning forward and closing your eyes and all I did was take one video light and shine it at her face and then I wanted to show mohr of that elevator so what did I do is I got down low and I gave her that hero feel and I shot up so not only am I giving her more of a hero feel I'm getting mohr off thie environment in the photo okay see how that's that's my basic that is my basic walkaway post ah body away from the light faced towards the light lean forward a bit then the arms slightly take the shot with video light literally thirty seconds take that shot like I said, you need to get the technical out of the way so you could get to your creative that's why practices so important so you can see these things and just rip it off in thirty seconds because that's all you're gonna get so I see with wedding photography it's fantastic yes thank you. Thank you so, uh let's move to the okay good there helping me over there. Okay, so you got to show this of right emotions now what I want to do is I want to show a session actually of some of my students who doing quite well actually, uh and they've started I've started mentoring them on ly a short period of about four years ago, okay? This session was actually taken two years ago, okay? So there cringing right now because there's thank you go don't show that so we're we're so much better now right and I know they are but I want to show it because it's some good examples of how you you create this variety and they've only been photographing literally, seriously, under me for two years when I first got them, they were very, very, very, very raw, and when I remember having them in my first workshop, uh, I remember jeremy scared to take a picture with an off camera flash, and I literally had to force him to do it because he was so petrified like, oh, I can't do it. I'm confused every square law, right? And he was at that point, and then how I see the matters like holy cow light years, and so they had demonstrate a lot of these different things, and I want to show their session and what they did, okay? And it's jessa, I don't know if you know them, but man, if you know if you go to w p p I you know who they are because they went ah lot of awards. Okay, so let's before because we're running out of time here a bit. Okay, so this is what they did. They went to paris, ok? They went to paris. They went and came to my workshop, and then they set this up on there own dime because they had a vision that they wanted to do bridal sessions in exotic places, and so if they wanted to show their vision and they paid for all this themselves. They arranged it out of their pocket. Spent a lot of time and effort and resource is to do this session. Okay, um and so look at different heights and another thing is don't always have this subject look at the camera, have them look away because and then creates a more photo journalistic feel when they're not always looking at the camera looking at the camera, it appears that you're just a fly on the wall and you're watching this session go forward. Okay, so look at them. Remember the first photo here, right beauties and starts off with that damn close she's beautiful. You look at that photo. Go. You know what? I want to look at the rest of these photos. It's engaging you with her beauty. Basic portraiture set up different heights, including him in the story, right? Focusing on her doing it portrait now getting her with a different emotion and then showing their unique environment. That does not look like where I come from. Monrovia, california. Wow! Where is that? I want to be there. Right, it's. Interesting. Okay, then creating a scene he's like he likes to smoke, so they just incorporated that into who they are, ok, then you're featuring him putting her behind changing it up then they actually got crazy and hired this guy to come and play the accordion for him that was they set it up they paid money because that set the framework of paris what do you think of parents you think accordion right then and that music is going through your mind you set the scene then you go that was far back now you go tight and you go wow she's beautiful I want to kiss her but you're right there then they said a scene right and actually they won the international image of uh image of the year award with this photo but during submission they turn it all see pia s o if you go on w p b I whatever you'll probably see this image floating around so but they want international images of the year with this shot here okay? Different settings right? Changing the environment now you're going inside different lighting telling a story they're not looking at the camera using props in their details what's it like to be there in paris having a romantic dinner and having some liquid refreshment nighttime moulin rouge an icon of france featuring him okay smoke light behind eiffel tower in the background ending it with a shot beautiful lighting setting for the background at this time they weren't sure if they were even going to make it with photography they were struggling just like us but they still spent so much money their last dollars coming to paris come into my workshop setting this up, having this vision and creating it, why aren't they here now today? Well, actually you'll see them tomorrow, the afterparty. But why? Because two years later there in europe right now and they spent the last two or three weeks setting shooting ten payed sessions and they're going to make it now because they had this vision they believed in themselves. They understood the elements of a great photo and they went out and did it, and now they're doing it. I was so proud of them because this year, man they swept so many of the ward's name after name oh, james hood, sabrina day goes like, oh, gosh, another one right? Four years dedication they're now in a world class level you can do it, folks. It's quite possible. Um so let's review what four elements create a good photo view subject matter, the beauty of it light off camera well, we'll talk about that next hour composition. You gotta focus. Ah, what you gotta create a singular focus, a main idea and then all the elements around that need to support it, and then you need to show a variety of different things in your photo during that session and location. What are the unique qualities of that location, and what is the wow factor? It could even be an elevator, all right, but you have to see it. You have to tune your eyes to see it, train your eyes constantly, look around, examine your virus, constantly, looking at light. You have to be absorbed in this sucker. Man. If you want to be world class that you want to take it to the next level, it has to be your passion. You have two, twenty four seven live this because that's what's going to take.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Learn how to find the best light available in this CreativeLive photography course with Scott Robert Lim. The award-winning portrait photographer will help you master simple photography lighting techniques by using available light and small portable strobes, you can create amazing images on location and almost anywhere within minutes.

Scott Robert shows you how to shoot in lighting environments from extreme bright sun to dim light and partial shade. This course also covers how to use lighting recipes to maximize your shooting time and capture a variety of stylized images. Finally, you will learn to pull off crazy "one-shot" images with Scott Robert's amazing off-camera lighting techniques.

Class Materials

bonus material

Crazy Stupid Light Slides

Master Flash Guide

bonus material


Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I just finished this course today, and I'm so happy that I bought it! It's been on my wishlist for months, after watching it as a rebroadcast here on Creative Live. I absolutely LOVE Scott's approach to lighting. The way he explains how to light manually is so clear, and easy to understand; he also has a great sense of humor which takes the edge off of trying to get everything perfect the first time. I like how he encourages the class to just try new techniques, and if mistakes are made, that's okay, just adjust and keep moving. This has allowed me, as a perfectionist, to try his lighting formulas, with a lot of success. I'm so appreciative that as an instructor, he took the time to create a class that helps us as photographers to be more creative. Because of this course, I feel so much more confident as I experiment with light on my own, and then apply it to my work. I feel that I have all the tools that I need to create amazing images that really stand out. Thanks Creative Live for making this class available, it has changed how I shoot! =)

Jack C

This course is simply amazing, super good, and completely exceeds my original expectations! Scott is such a brilliant photographer and teacher. His way of teaching is of great fun, and he delivers the ideas so well. I learn really a lot from this. Thank you so much Scott! Creative Live is doing such a wonderful job!!


This is by far my most favourite course on Creativelive. It's inspiring, funny and most educational. I learned so much about flash and lighting and can't wait to practise all that I've learned. Scott is an enthusiastic teacher and his way of teaching just clicks with me. Highly entertaining! And it was fun to also get some posing, composition and other tips out of the workshop for variety. I 1000% recommend this course if you want to learn more about lighting in an inspiring way.