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On-Location Posing

Lesson 11 from: Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Renée Robyn

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Lesson Info

11. On-Location Posing


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Why You Should Sketch Your Composite


What to Look for in Your Background


Posing Your Model


Communicate with Your Team


Elements of Compositing


Learning from Failure & Criticism


On-Location Safety Tips


How to Nail the Right Perspective for Your Composite Photo


Gauging Light & Exposure On-Location


On-Location Posing


Cliff Shoot Location Final Thoughts


Tips for Culling Images


Culling Images Q&A


Preparing Your Image for Composite


Composite Image Cleanup


Adding Background Image to Composite


The Difference Between Flow & Opacity


Composite Sky Elements


Using Curves to Color Match


Adding Atmospheric Depth to Image


Using Color Efex Pro to Manipulate Color


Using the Liquify Tool


Color Theory & Monitor Calibration


Adding Smoke Layer to Image


Selective Sharpening


Crop Your Image


Goal Setting for Digital Artists


Review of Location Composite


Understand Angle & Height for Your Base Plate Image


Base Plate Focus Point


Base Plate Lighting Tips


How to Use a Stand-In for Base Plate Image


Capture On-Location Base Plate Image


Student Positioning Demo


Base Plate Sketching


On-Location Sky Capture


What to Look for in a Base Plate Model


Building Composite Model Lighting


Composite Model Test Shots for Angle Matching


Composite Model Shoot: The Art of Fabric Throwing


Composite Model Shoot: Working with Hair


Composite Model Shoot: Posing Techniques


Composite Test with Final Shot


Lighting Setup Overview


Culling Model Shoot Images


Adjusting Skintone Colors


Merging Background with Model


How to Mask Hair


Creating a Layer Mask with the Brush Tool


Creating Shadow Layers


Removing Visual Distractions with Stamp Tool


Replacing Sky with Layer Mask


Drawing Hair Strands and Atmospheric Depth


Creating Contrast in Your Composite


Adding Atmospheric Elements


Using Particle Shop


Selective Color Adjustments


Cropping, Sharpening, & Final Touches


Closing Thoughts


Lesson Info

On-Location Posing

All right it got cloudy again. We're winning. (laughter) So now what we want to do is we want to start posing the dress. So fabric is, it's a whole other animal, especially when you start mixing it with the wind. So in this case here, we have assistants, we're gonna get them to throw the dress. So I'm gonna get you to turn your body a little bit sideways, cool. One thing I like to make sure is that I've got permission to be in her space because she's a model and she's a human being. So I don't like to just run up to somebody and get in their world. So I check ahead of time and be like, "Hey is it cool? "Can I like adjust this stuff?" You know, we was helping her get dressed earlier so I have permission to be in her bubble. If I didn't have permission for that, if I had maybe assistants or something like that and they were doing all of this, then I wouldn't try and get in her space. So in other case though, we have permission, so we can do this. So what I want to do, and the wind is gon...

na make this really fun, (laughter) is when I'm holding this fabric, I also make sure she's got pants on underneath, so she's got nice flat shoes, she's comfortable and she's got pants so she's warm, but in other case I'm gonna hold this out, I'm gonna hold little pieces of fabric here, I'm gonna get you to turn your body a little bit sideways, nope, other way, yep, good, good. Arch back a little bit, nice. So and then on three you're just gonna kind of hope that the wind does what we want it to. So one, two, and three and it kind of behaves stuff and it kind of doesn't. In the studio, it's easier. Watch your heels, sweetie. There we go, perfect. So, like wait for it. One, two, three. There we go. So if it does something like that, we're good. So we're just gonna try to get you guys out of the frame as quick as possible and then well hopefully, the universe will deliver us perfect sunshine, perfect light, perfect wind and great pose, and everyone will get out of the shot all at once. Or not. (laughter) We have our light on, we have our model freezing to death, so we need to be kind of quick and we have two assistants here who are gonna try and wrangle the fabric genie, while we deal with the wind genie and the sun genie, and then hopefully everything's gonna play nice. So, yeah, I have her standing in front of the post that says, you know, "Danger high fall-off." I could clone that out if I wanted to, I could also just hide it with her and then I'm gonna wind up cutting out most of this anyways so we're just gonna see how this works and, yeah. Dear creative genie, please show up today. (laughter) All right, so fabric magic, let's do it. (laughter) Awesome and you don't have to worry about necessarily looking at me. Let's have you kind of with your eyes that way. Beautiful. That's awesome, nice soft hands if you don't mind. Like softer fingers. Wiggle them out yeah, and then, yeah, there that's it, beautiful. Okay, one, two and three. Nice. Sweet. Turn up the power on the light. Nice thing about Profoto is these little triggers, they can turn up the power from here, so I don't have to get up or tell an assistant that they need to do stuff so that's kind of fun. All righty, don't worry about the hair getting in her face. I actually don't mind if it's like a little bit messy and a little bit gets everywhere, it's totally cool with me. So let's change your pose on your legs just a little bit, sweetie. So right now you're really flat. Let's see if we can get one foot in front of the other. All right and then let's stretch out your, other way, yeah, good. If you put your weight, so let's switch feet, yeah, good, not so much cross to cross, that's fine. Just, like, a little bit softer. Bring it up, good. If we put your weight, away from you on the hip. Yeah it's gonna stretch out your torso a little bit. So, let's see. Can I adjust your hips? Okay, put your feet flat. Little bit wider. Cool, so, wait. There we go, good. So that's gonna stretch out your mid-section nicely. Gonna, like, wiggle that down a little bit so that we have a little bit more length in your mid-section. Okay and then this front foot here, let's just make it a little bit softer. Yeah, so that's, toe, yeah, good and just lift the heel a little bit. Nice, okay. We're not necessarily going to see her feet, hopefully not, but what that does is that little tiny adjustments are gonna change out her torso a little bit and that's gonna look really nice. So and then if we see her feet, they'll be nice, they'll be pretty. All righty, one, two and three. Ooh, that turned out nice. Let's do it again. (laughter) Awesome, beautiful. Can you stretch, stretch your, yeah, good. Yeah and let's tip, beautiful, very nice, Ms. Lady. One, two and three. Nice. So I'm always trying to time the fabric not necessarily when it's really big but just when it hits the ground and expands nicely 'cause I don't want this to look like we were throwing fabric everywhere. I just want it to look like mother nature did this and was awesome, even though mother nature never delivers us fabric that nicely, but we're gonna create this illusion that we did. We're replacing the backgrounds with mountains so whatever. (laughter) Let's do it. Let's hit it one more time. Good, yeah, let's tip nicely, beautiful. She has great jawline which is really, really nice and it lights very pretty. One, two, and three. Nice. Caught a little bit of toe on that one, but that's okay. Awesome, okay let's turn your body towards me. We have, your shirt's just pulled up a little bit in the front, let's fold that over again. Awesome, cool, so let's, like, yeah, let's do stuff. All right, so, in this case here, let's, nice shift in your hips, good, awesome, yeah. (laughter) Okay, so don't worry about crossing your feet. I need you to be a little bit more stable, that's cool. Let's have... Turn your hips away from me just a little bit. Beautiful, just like that and then we'll shift your shoulders. Great, yeah. Okay. Can we flip your head upside down? And let's shake the crap our of your hair. (laughter) There we go. Yes! See? That looks cool. All right, so now we'll get you back into that pose. Yep. Nice, nice toe. Yeah, just like point a little bit. Good stuff, right on, okay. And don't necessarily worry about looking at me. You can look just above camera, you can look just a little bit left, a little bit right, you can play with this a little bit, too. It's totally cool. We just want to make sure that your hands are nice and soft, very feminine, very delicate. Ya know, this is gonna be like swirling the storm and crap like that, I don't know, we'll figure it out when we get to editing. (laughter) But we need a really good base plate to start with and so this is hopefully, this will get us there. Turn your hips away from me just a little bit more. Awesome, so what I'm doing, when I have her turn her hips away from me, it's just leaning out her hip-section a little bit more making her torso a little bit longer. So with a dress like this, sometimes it can make things seem a little bit shorter so we're just lying using angles. Awesome, one, two and three. I shot that a little bit too soon. Let's try again. Your face is awesome though. You're looking really good. Just a little bit higher with your eyes. Yeah. Awesome, I love all the wind blowing your hair everywhere, it's beautiful. Point your toes, yeah, good and then lift your heel a little bit higher. So it's okay if you bend your knee. That's perfect. Awesome. And turn your hips away from me a little bit more. There we go, perfect. One, two and three. Nice. Very nice, let's turn your head, let's tip your head just a little bit for me. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's great. Beautiful. What we're doing here is we're, like, sculpting the pose. We're getting it closer and closer, it's like, it's kind of like sculpting stone. You're just chipping away at it until we figure out, we just get the magic formula and then it all works and the sun disappeared, so that's awesome. (laughter) One, two and three. Let's try that again. Try it from the other side, just with the way the wind's going, let's try it from this side. Okay. One, two and three. Gettin' there, gettin' there. Awesome, one, two and three. There we go. That was awesome. That's what we're talking about. So now he have, like, this huge floofy thing of skirt and fabric and it looks totally rad, and her pose is awesome. I like that one, that's cool. So that's me photographing stuff. I'm like, "Ah!" like a little kid, I get all excited. It's how I know I still like my job. So one of the things you'll see there a lot is I'm not necessarily taking a shot and then figuring out that I want to adjust her pose. So I sit there and I'm having her move a bunch of stuff. I'll look through the camera and I'll see if I see anything and then I'll be like, "Oh, can we just make that small adjustment, "can we get your hands softer, can we get this, "can we tip your head a little bit?" So, that comes from a technique that I'm gonna show you guys in a little bit, of habits that I've built for myself in training my eye to see stuff before I take the frame so that the wildcard, really, is the fabric and her hair. So everything else, I'm trying to control it, and so I'm trying to see it before I even take the shot so that we're just leaving everything else up to the things that I can't control which is the wind, the fabric, and the hair, and the sunshine and everything else. So, yes, you need a microphone. Do you ever compose your subject from different shots, like, the upper body and the skirt in this case? I've totally, I've totally done that. I've definitely stitched together pieces where I'm like, "That face is awesome and that arm is awesome "and that fabric is awesome!" A lot times though, that's a lot of work. (laughter) So if I have too, I'll do it. I'll mostly do that with self-portraits, though. So, like, there's a picture where I'm holding a mage book flying and there's, like, a wand here, and hair's going everywhere, that was like 12 image stitch. So we were like, "Okay hold the body the same," and the camera was on the tripod and I had a remote in one hand so I was like, "Okay we'll get the hand shot," so we got the hand shot. I was like, "Okay, don't move anything else, "trade that, get the wand in the hand, shoot the hand." Right, and then we were like, "Okay, get the hair, huh, click." (laughter) Right, and then like, "Get the other hair, "all right, switch in that hand, click." Right, and then there was a little fabric here so we were like, "Okay, who's got a reflector? "One, two, three." And then, whoosh, and the reflector moved the fabric around the belt. Right, so and then it was like, "Well I was making a derpy face "in the one where the hair was perfect "so we'll stitch the face from another one." Right, so if I'm really stuck and I'm like just doing the shooting myself, which doesn't happen that much anymore, I'll stitch things together but if I have a team of people, I'll try to get as much as possible in camera. So the only time that I'll really give up on that is, like, if I get an epic fabric throw where the fabric is just doing everything perfectly and you're like, "That's never gonna happen again in my lifetime," which has happened. Right, but then something else was wrong, the pose wasn't quite right. The pose was like 75 percent of the way there, but maybe we could make it better, then sometimes I'll stitch things together. So, once again, it's not like, "Oh you can't stitch things together." I'm like, "I got a toolbox man, I'm gonna use it." Right? If you have the skills to stitch things together and that's what's required to make an image that you want, then do it. Absolutely stitch it together. It's just it's way more work. So, ya know, it's the time and money calculator. Do you have more time or, like, you know, you can have it fast, cheap, or good. Yeah. That's what it is. And you can have two of three. You're not usually gonna have all three in one 'cause if it's fast and cheap, it's probably not gonna be good, right? So you get two of three of that wheel. So decide what's the one that you can sacrifice. If you can sacrifice time, stitch it, absolutely. So, I mean at that point, if you're doing a huge composite, one part of me is like, "What's compositing a body? "Whatever, it's only gonna add an hour and a half." If you're working on a two-week composite, an hour and a half is a really small amount of time. If you only are getting paid 300 dollars for your composite, you don't wanna spend an hour and a half stitchin' together body 'cause now you're workin' for really cheap and that's no fun. So decide what that pricing is, if you're charging for it, doesn't mean you are, but if you're charging for it, make sure that you are allowing for the amount of time to the amount of money, to what's gonna make you feel good at the end of the day 'cause nobody likes spending a weekend on an image for 150 bucks. And if you're doing that, eventually you'll get tired of it. Like we all did, so, a lot of us start really cheap and then we decide, "This is dumb, 'cause this is a lot of work." (laughter) So, do we have anything else goin' on there? Yes, we do, so I wanna read a really great comment from the Internet. Uh-oh. It said, "I'm so happy to see "how you respect your models, bravo." Yay. And then a follow up question to that, can you talk a little bit about some more posing tips, like how you like the hands, like, you were asking her to shake it off a little bit, what were you seein' there that you weren't happy with? Awesome, okay that's actually a super great question. We're gonna spend a lot of time on posing over the next little bit and, once we get into Capture One here as well, but posing is huge. So, I fortunately come from a dance background, I can thank my parents for that, dance and martial arts, somewhat body wear but if you ever want to study great hands, look at dancers. Watch videos of dancers. Their hands are perfect all the time and you're just like, "How?" But they look amazing and then you look at paintings from Renaissance and stuff like that and the hands are always beautiful, right, nothing will, there's lots of things that will screw up an image and make it awful and make it really terrible but hands are one of those things that, I mean, how many times have we seen a great photo and you're like, "All the things are great but she's got claws," and you know, or like, "His hands are weird." Like, if you ever see photos of, like, band photos where they got like both hands and just the thumb sticking out, and, I mean, for some of us, that looks really strange. I prefer to like just put the thumb in and leave the hands up but not to like starfish them on the thighs but just so that they're nice and relaxed because hands will totally share if you look terrified or not. Right, how many times have we seen somebody giving a presentation and they're like gripping their paper? You can tell that they don't want to be there. Hands are extremely expressive. So in this case here, she was freezing, her hands were like this. Right, so she's really cold and I was feelin' bad 'cause we shot that in about 15 minutes. It was pretty quick but 15 minutes is a long time when you're freezing, you know, and even though we did all the things that we could keep her as warm as possible, apart from, like, taping warm things to her legs, she's still cold. It's actually part of the reason why I didn't have her arms come up in a pose, like, it would've been really nice to have her arms come up, something like this and having her tip her head like this. It would've been beautiful but she'd have froze and I can't help but feel really bad if I'm photographing somebody on location if they're cold. So, I can do that kind of pose in studio where somebody's warm. So I know that I can composite that in the studio and keep somebody warm. If you have a friend who's like, you know, from Inuvik, and they're like, "Yeah man, whatever, minus 20. "Got this bro." Just like, sweet, whatever, we can, you're willing to freeze and they're cool with it and some people are. I'm just, coming from the other side, I've been that model, outside in the blizzard, in, like, not a lot of clothes and just freezing. Like, I've frostbit my hands and my face and my legs from photo shoots before. I don't wanna do that to anybody else and I don't want to do that to myself anymore. Were the images awesome? Yeah. I guess I just don't want to do it anymore. But, so for posing that, that's one of the things that I'm gonna keep in mind, is keeping my model as warm as possible. So having her hands up, something like this, it means her underarms are gonna get cold, which means her body temperature's gonna drop really fast, which means now my working window got really narrow because as soon as somebody gets cold, if they start shivering, if their face starts going red, whatever, little tiny things are gonna change in their pose, where their shoulder's gonna hunch up a little bit, right? Their face is gonna get a little bit tighter. If somebody's cold, and I'm sure a lot of us have done this, we've shot somebody outside where you're out playing outside and you're cold, you can see the body language change. It takes a massive professional, somebody who's very good to be able to work through that and still look totally relaxed and totally cool even though they can't feel their fingers. I'm not willing to do that to somebody, so, keeping the posing as soft as possible in a way that can keep her warm so that's why I kept her hands close to her body so that the core temperature's gonna stay as warm as possible. I beat that one to death. Going forward from that though, I studied, like I said, a lot of comic book art, having a dance experience background, or martial arts background, it all helps but if you don't have that, just study videos, watch people dance, like, take pictures, even if you have a friend that dances or if you go on to the school of YouTube, screenshot the hands. Ben Von Wong did this great video of the woman in the red dress. I don't actually remember the name of it, that might've been it but it's a dance video of a woman in a red dress and two male dancers and there's lots of shots where they're like, the pose is kind of stops into the frame. Hit pause, take a picture of that and study the hands, study their toes, study the bend of the knee and the twist of the body and why it looks good. Analyze it, deconstruct it and see, explain to yourself, "Why is this pleasing to me? "Why do I like this?" And once you figure that out, then you can start getting other people to do that. Goes back to the mood board, right? So if you have these screenshots of like, "Oh I love this pose for reasons X-Y-Z. "From this camera angle, I think it's gonna look good." You're not really gonna know until you take the picture, right, and you go, "Oh wow, that's the wrong body type for that pose. "That is not gonna work." Some people don't look good if you photograph them from low on the ground. Some people don't look good if you photograph them high. All right so once again, it's gonna be aware of what your model's limitations are because we all have different bone structure, we all have different features, right, so going forward, it's like all these things are gonna start coming back together so we're bringing in all this stuff that we were talking about this morning into the posing, so, dance videos are hugely important to understand great poses and then, of course, going forward from that, paintings, comic books, everything else.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Texture Sample Pack
Layered Beach PSD Composite
Layered Cliff PSD Composite

Ratings and Reviews

Dino Maez

i have to say, the class was AMAZING! in every way from the tricks and technique's of mastering this art form to the personalized attention given by Renee. through the class you are able to learn information that would normally take the average person years of trial and error. Renee gives you the gift of benefitting from her her experiences and what she has learned THE HARD WAY! Renee is an outstanding instructor full of passion for what she does, and with a strong desire to not only improve the art, but more importantly, pay it forward, by sharing her knowledge with others. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the event in person, truly a once in a lifetime experience for me, the staff at creative live were THE BEST! they are helpful in every way and really made this event something special, i can't say enough about the experience i had and would highly recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to go down for a class, it will be an experience that you will never forget. but the best part of creative live is that wether you are there in person or wether you are watching from the comfort of your own home, you are involved in the class in REAL TIME, you have the ear and attention of the skilled artist giving the instruction, being there myself i can tell you that Renee was regularly given questions and comments from the viewers via the creative live staff and she would respond to them as they came, in that way you are very much apart of the class you are never left without getting that personalized attention of an amazing artist or that specific question you have answered, and even better you have the option to purchase the class and have it as a constant resource in your tool kit that you can refer back to at any point that you need a refresher or want to recall that special technique that was demonstrated. thank you thank you to renee and all the staff at creative live you have a life long member in me. and i would recomend that everyone take advantage of this valuable resource dino maez

stephen lenman

I have completed many creative courses. This is by far the best so far. Quite the most amazing and inspiring presenter with a true passion for their craft. The core information is excellent, but the thing i liked most were her subtle tangents, dropping incredible information completely on the fly. A complete real world honest view of business and practical side of the industry. Especially her advice on how she started to her business. Saving up enough in her day job so she could pay the rent, and do photography for 3-6 months.

Sheldon Carvalho

Awesome class. I've been following Renee for a very long time. I love her work and to finally see her work and get an image done from start to finish was quite something.. I love the way she sees things and the way she treats her work and all fellow creative. I would recommend this to everyone interested in getting into composting. Looking forward to creating and making my own art work. But it now :) Have fun creating. :)

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