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Creative Expression in Photography

Lesson 9 of 10

Images and Process Part 1

Joel Grimes

Creative Expression in Photography

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

9. Images and Process Part 1


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 How to Think Like an Artist Duration:38:51
2 Defining Art and Artist Duration:21:44
3 Being an Artist Duration:25:06
4 Chasing the Unattainable Duration:16:00
5 There's Just One You Duration:37:27
6 The Creative Mindset Duration:37:20
7 Following Your Intuition Duration:16:48
8 General Q&A Duration:13:28
9 Images and Process Part 1 Duration:25:48
10 Images and Process Part 2 Duration:39:15

Lesson Info

Images and Process Part 1

Well all right so we've covered a lot and you know it almost gets a little bit too much I don't want you when you talk about sort of the philosophical things of photography and defining art and all that stuff that's a lot right kind of heavy I don't want that to be too overwhelming with people but what I do want yeah is it change your mind a little bit just to think things through and so what I do hope is that tomorrow you're driving on the road or six months from now you're driving on the road or doing something you go I am an artist I do have confidence to move forward nobody not everyone has to love what I do things like that and then you can move forward in your craft and so I hope it's been a good a good experience for you guys and we're gonna talk about a few images because I love well who doesn't like behind the scenes right? We did some of that in the shooting but who doesn't like to hear about how things happen and you know uh it kind of gives this kind of a fun insight to hav...

e photographer's work and I don't do this that often but I think it'll be really fun to kind of finish up this session with that in this whole three days but you know I did a lot of tight fifty five pool right? Work before I didn't buy this look, I'm doing today, so I did that about what, seven, eight years? So what did I say? Yesterday? I bought the reinvent myself about every seven to ten years, so I'm on about a seven year run on this new look here, right? So I guess what I'm doing next year or I don't know, whatever I'm going to start reinventing myself again to say, stay current and so the type fifty five stuff I did was really fun. Um, it was yes, that is polaroid negative. I didn't cheat, but, uh, it's a cheat. I didn't add it in photo shop later, but you can see the cross light and this is at the tomb, a cock remission down south of tucson. And so I had a friend come into town and he's from denver, and I said, hey, let's, go out and do a portrait, and again, I was one light crust light and I was just experiment putting some like little speed flashes in a strobe box, you know? And I had a little simple kit, and I said, let's, go down to a cocky to mccoughtry mission to see what we can do, and so I got there and across the street is about there, about four or five restaurants and it's like three o'clock in the afternoon and it's pretty quiet so I said let's just go knock on some doors I go in this little restaurant little greek restaurant and I went up to this lady I said, um I'm looking for a character to do a portrait of over to my cock remission is do you have anyone here that maybe I could take for a hour so our twenty minutes to do a portrait she's like what? I got a character like a carrot someone and it's got a good character she's like what? She just didn't get what I was saying right? I said, you know, like I'm trying explain and there was a little picture and I said like that person she was all that's my brother where is he? Well, he lives about a mile away can you call him and I'm my friends like, come on, joel, this is a waste of time and she goes whole line she calls him he showed up so we took him over. And one of things that I've learned is that overpowering a son with stroke is very difficult so but I learned a little trick years ago remember I told you jason put your subject in the shade so I put him in the shade of this like wall stroke him so the right's going the same direction as a son I'm shooting four by five at wide open so it's really shallow depth of field got my picture so it's kind of fun but again I went out not knowing who my subject was and I ended up with a portrait there still absolutely love today and I think I even have it on my wall and so here's another one of I did a uh rose I think she was about eighty four years old in front of ship rock and in this scenario I actually took a big scrim jim blocked the sun remember I said shade then I stroked her so it makes looks like the sun's coming across and, uh create a portrait that was shot with a ninety millimeter, which is kind of like a white angle and uh uh so fun fun stuff there. So this was my tight fifty five stuff. I did one light cross light um in this scenario, I was in argentina, I had four sheets of film left, so I've been shooting for a whole month or whatever was and is the very last had four sheets of film and my interpreter is taking me to the airport and I said we've got to make one more portrait stopped it somewhere that's interesting like a little pub I think I said, you know and she said, okay, over here she pulls in we got permission I said everything up got little coffee got the newspaper got everything but didn't have a subject. So what did I say? The art of recruiting you gotta learn how to recruit subjects so we go out into the little streets and I'd say that guys looks great and she'd asking we get rejected kept going came when we were always to the park there's men were playing checkers and we ask a couple of no no no we're coming on me back she says I don't think we get a subject I'm like don't give up don't give up we're walking past a restaurant here is this guy sitting in the restaurant with his daughter? I said perfect and she gave a little spiel he's like he looks at me waiting for the rejection he says okay, so he gets up walks over thiss down put the little cup in his hand bone fortune to film got my picture so there is some fun things there in china that was done um uh she was actually standing behind me. I've still got this old lady she was holding a little child just sitting there watching and I turned around and uh perfect turned my lights around in a portrait of her so these air kind of fun things uh I did with my uh big four by five camera and this guy in kazakhstan um he was walking by the side of the road with this little cane and I we as we passed him I said my to my interpreter stop I said I want that guy and so she went back and he gets all excited he's just smile and he's like I said what's going on here today's his birthday and he's so happy to bring you into his home and I went into footed a photograph of him in his home so that's the joy of being a photographer you meet people you do things that you would probably ever have to do um and uh it's just fun so this is my type fifty five stuff all right? So we're gonna go on to my sports fitness my current work and then let's uh let's look at some of these images and maybe break him down a little bit and so I think yesterday someone asked me if I photographed with a little bit longer telephoto wins, right? So my depth of field doesn't carry from the nose to the back of the whatever so she's hunched over right so that depth that feels a lot longer than even of what a portrait would do but this was a little bit longer lens normally don't shoot long but I just happened to do that and I photographed the salton sea so I had the salton sea background was perfectly in focus so there's a problem you got focus out of focus focus doesn't exist in real life to sell a fake I have to throw the background out of focus to match that depth of field look, so sometimes I got to do that but most of my images carry through all the way through the focus and so um but again you see where my edge lights fall right where I want him and that was early on I was learning how to do that um and then again here here's the same shoot right same girl all she did was turned and I waited a couple it took a while to get this background this is up in vancouver, british columbia and I lay love docks I love water. I love swimmers. I love drama clouds all that stuff and so this is all good good, good uh kind of practice here's blake griffin that's that old locker room member I found an old bear down jim and and the universe of arizona probably a flood of people gonna go down there looking for that now, but um so someone asked me what's blake griffin sitting on an apple box so I dropped him and cut the apple box out. Now how do I figure out my perspective this was the hard thing? So where do I place blake on that bench I gotta slide him along so I'm doing this basic and moving back and forth until in my two intuition tells me he's at the right spot now you could take a formula I had someone sent me here is a little formula thing you could do to figure out your debt you know, where do you put someone in your forced perspective on all this stuff? I'm like, dude, you'd understand you're talking to I'm just going to let my intuition do it now does my intuition get me wrong? Sometimes sometimes I don't get it right someone will email me and say, you know he's a little too close so he's a little too far looks too big and I go think about I go yeah, maybe so when I go back in there and I'll fix it so these are things that happens when you do when you do composites koran clemens, the gold medalist um four hundred meters when he bolted off out of those blocks before I told you you want to get about five or six, maybe ten at the most explosions out of a block but when he exploded the block he literally his back foot which would be his right foot was about a foot off the ground he literally go out of the blocks and when I knocked him out and I put him in this background. I put him in the same position and what he should have been. It looked fake. Looked like he was floating, but that's what? He really waas so I had a lower him a little bit and make him look like he's actually, the foot's touching on the ground. But, um and this is early picture um early composite, but how did I get someone who is a world class athlete to pose for me? I started with the guy next door. Build your way up. You don't go get that right off the bat, joe. It kind of reminds me of that story when they're originally filming bruce lee in the movies, they actually had to ask him to slow down his old because he was so incredibly fleury was blurry was going so fast. Yeah. So here's hope solo for a client and all those lights in the background are created. This that background was created high noon. Well know about three in the afternoon, it was night time. I got to create the illusion and those birds. I actually have this. I don't know if you know this, but I have to be able t I can control birds, I just say, okay, could you circle and they circle for me this amazing thing and those birds show up on other pictures too I don't know why they keep following around the world but no those air knocked out of course I cheated and people say you you're a cheater and I say thank you um but we talked about when you do a beauty fashion but yet sports kind of scenario you have to figure out where you want to get that edginess to ej it gets like oh too rough for a girl you know there are the beauty and so you want to make sure there's a balanced beauty it can edgy so that's kind of a balanced in between look now here's koran again um s o I had actually photograph crime three times kind of built a little bit of a relationship he's a really nice guy and um so I have an idea I had photographed this background is death valley background and I thought okay I want to push the death valley floor sane really light so really as a landscape it's kind of over exposed right? And then I want to photograph him to be really, really dark so I put a little spot grid on him and then just let a background so basically our white sweep a little bit of whites blown around him and so I wanted him to go almost pure black now why would I want to do that? Because I'm an artist had idea and I put him in there and again technically speaking, the backgrounds too exposed overexposed and the subject's underexposed technically speaking however, as an artist so technically speaking from a photographer's point of view it doesn't work, but as an artist it works because now I'm just making artistic expression and sew and I have had a lot of people say they love this picture, but I'm just saying I pushed the envelope, but I had to break my old habits of being everything has be perfectly exposed and so it's a hard one for me too dio so here's um uh, this is a girl who at one time was on the us olympic dive team and I want to photograph her and this is actually shot on location. I know this hard for you to believe, but here's, what happened? We were shooting around and you know what? I didn't notice way back in the bleachers, there is her mother someone pointed that out and was that person setbacks in? Like what? Oh, that's your mother should've taken her out, but anyway, the point is we're photographing her and so she's this little petite thing, but right, so what do I do? I'm, um you know, I'm joel grimes, right? I'm just a guy and I have her like this and she I'm taking the pictures and that's ok, I'm like looking at the back my monitor going I don't know I don't know and so she has you know how divers have those little shammy things they dip in and they kind of squeeze you know so I'm moving the light she goes over dips in the water and she does this pose right here and she squeezes and I went stop that's perfect come over here ma'am there's my picture right? So people say well you're brilliant you know what oppose people no, I don't I looked for it though when it happens it happens and I have I'd at least see it so don't be afraid to just let it the things happen and not be uh um overthinking the process just let it happen uh so let's talk about this one um so I had this uh it was actually kind of a client shoot but um we had this surfer guy come in typical um california surfer and so I had a violent against the wall. This is a one big, huge seven foot octo behind me or a seven foot umbrella with the eighty four and so yeah it's a big diffusion like when I shot the other day and so I'm sitting there and this guy's got his boards doing stuff and final and go alright give me the california surfer look do do something bam but I had my finger on the trigger and that's what I got so again I don't know what he's gonna do I don't say stick your tongue out but again it just happened but I was able to capture it and we were talking about this one susan so I photographed charles uh he's obviously I know he looks kind of like me and you know that that six pack is something similar to mine right now I gotta one pack but um and way end up going get a tie remember the herb ritts shot had two tires I think you know, but anyways charles was, uh body building right? So when they when they get ready for competition they basically don't eat for a couple days they had just very little water a couple of rice cakes so he comes in my studio and he's like this hey so weak but he's just ripped so we got these tires and ice okay? Charles qin position would be like okay and he was so exhausted I go this is my time I go this is my chance to go charles, you wanna arm wrestle because like probably gonna beat him, but I got this shot and I didn't have a background for it so it's almost two years go by I'm speaking in uh in new orleans and a bunch of guys we said let's go look for some backgrounds and weird I'm in the back seat I think of this car and drive along and these guys are all laugh and have a good time and I was I see smith tires I'm like stuff there's my background we all jumped out boom bah boom I shot the shot and then I put him in so that's the fun thing about um composites is a lot of times you don't know what you're going to get until, uh, how it all works together until later and so uh I mean I take interesting backgrounds it's just underneath uh, parking garage why can I do that? Remember, uh, vast this question because I can get away with it because I'm not chasing reality I'm not trying to give everything all of information perfectly he's a rugby player or whatever it is I mean it it's just fun to go and build images and you go you know what? I love this common his marriage works and there's not you don't have to really think about it it doesn't have to be overly thought so let's go and let's see, we just keep going here oh, I'm gonna show you this one I'm shooting through at the at the l a coliseum there's a gate right and across the street is a chipotle and that's my favorite place to eat you know? So I'm having lunch with a couple friends you know our friend whatever I said oh, you know what let's go over to see if I can take a look at the coliseum so I just grabbed my camera and I walk up and there's this gate and the sun is just starting to pique right through that edge of that corner on and I took the lens cap off stuck up my tripod still stuck up between the slats of the the gate pop up up shot three frames and that's my shot for the background so again I was restricted but then I was able to um you know, get a shot and here's koran again ah, the background is the sapo via dam in uh l a outside of l a and um I like to use this picture and given illustration that he is not perspectively correct in that background meaning he's bigger than he should be I put him there in real life he'd been smaller so I actually went made him small ego doesn't work made him big it fit my perspective my intuition said right bam that's my picture is it technically correct? No now that I've pointed out to, you may go right it's not but the fact is I am not worried about being perfectly technically correct that's not my goal if that's your good goal boring build images that have impact and I think that all that measuring how high off the lenses off the ground and what millimeter lens he's twenty four millimeter lenses backgrounds sixteen millimeter put him together I'm selling a fake so what's most important is does it work isn't much harder to put a put a full size person into yes, absolutely because you got about shadows shadows building shadows very difficult this is actually kind of a no older uh you know, image I've gotten better today than it was a year ago or two years ago or five years ago. Uh but it's still the hardest thing is building the shadow under somebody. So joel coming from diem eh photography who said that they love your style and that your work looks like movie posters and I thought that was interesting because you said that that is what you get your inspiration just right. So you are you do have like a grand cinematic kind of style. Yeah, I love horizontal is now because of the websites but here's another example of me taking and pushing the skin tones to be light and a little bit more like porcelain and overexposed and then I take the background and do the same thing it's not tenley can correct from a photographer's perspective but I felt I let go of that and then I was able to do this so that's the joy of it is let go and let it happen and so let's go let's see if we could go to another any other questions at this point I'm gonna see if I get another another uh I don't wanna go through every image here but uh I mean, how can you go wrong with a super surfer dude right with the santa monica pier in the background and here's one I don't show this image very often, but this was shot in that same tank as we had a picture yesterday on the wall but to get that color uh I take a seamless and running over the top and then should stroll throws strobes into it and I get that reflection in the water it's really kind of a fun look, I don't know if you want to pause it there are quite a few questions coming in okay this's from the three the free minder who says the swimmer image the backgrounds a little dreamy did you add a white color layer to that? Absolutely member we showed that? Yes, it said foggy I'm following it and I'm doing some funky things to it too, but being colorblind you think I would be like completely lost right? You're right, I am but I just keep working until the fifths and let go who cares how close in color balance is it? It is for me I'm not worried about it, but in that kind of fun, so being colorblind has a benefit except when it goes to buying a car, then you gotta be careful asked you, ask your salesman, what color is this car that I'm buying? Kind of important thing, right? Hey, joel, andrew would like to know when you're on site, do you ever put place people or yourself into the positions where you might see a character going in just to get a frame of reference of the lighting in perspective? No, I don't, but but because I've shot so many portrait's on location literally twenty five years of it, when I walk into a scene, I think where would I position someone so that's going through my head doesn't make sense and look at look at this, let me give you a really kind of a neat little guideline about doing backgrounds. This will save you, I think you look at my backgrounds, they are the wall of sand wall, I'm shooting is flat forced perspective like this one here or forty five degrees angle down the line. Those three scenarios are about ninety nine percent of my work straight on uh, forced perspective or down the pike if you're just like this is a slight off to me it looks too terrible and I see people do that to me all the time um were there similar pictures just like you? They were just a little bit straighter you're saying I think yesterday I think it was a conversation in the other room that you shoot it up normal height and then get one down. Good. Good idea. Okay, so that's a question that was asked and then this is good. I'm glad someone ask so let's say I have an athlete stand like this like right here where it is a rapper mustafa and he looks like an athlete too, right? Um I would shoot where my camera lll be right about here should you slyly up right so that's for the waist up portrait but if I'm gonna put a full length of him in I usually got to go a little lower so I take a picture usually if the sea it's a really good background should hear shooting here so how to run my tripod down shoot it right here. Shoot here. So if you're gonna stand full length I would put the probably put the camera down just at the lowest setting of my tripod but two angles yeah, so it's a little bit of a pain to go, you know, up and down but again I want to make sure I got it and so let me let me just answer another question that people get. I'm shooting my hdr backgrounds. Two stops under normal to stops over five stops spread, but only three klicks. I run it through. Most of these were photo matics. I'm now I use nick a lot, and now I'm do thirty two bit in photo shop and it's. Absolutely amazing.

Class Description

This course is part of the Joel Grimes Bundle.

Every photographer is an artist, but few consider their photographs works of art. In this one-day online workshop with iconic photographer Joel Grimes, you will learn how to ditch ratio-driven staid photography techniques — and how to embrace the artist within. By unlocking your true creative potential and tapping into your artistic intuition, you will radically transform the quality and range of your photography.

This one-day workshop will teach you how to identify your unique way of seeing the world. Joel will walk you through every step of the creative process, starting with the human condition, how we define art and what constitutes an artist, and why chasing the unattainable is a process crucial to your success in the industry. A photograph is not a reality; it is a representation of reality.

By the end of this workshop, you will understand how to harness the artist within, take bold risks, and make a name for your unique style.



I loved the course, i laugh because Joel and I are kind of alike in General. Hey Joel if you like Ray's music you might like A guy by the name Amos Lee, Different than Ray but great song writer.

Kelley Hurwitz Ahr

One of the things that I love about Joel is that he has a great message along with great photography! I find him to be relatable, an expert in the field and quite motivating. Highly recommend any of his classes.


That was excellent. Loved the seminar and you hit on a lot of great points when it comes to defining yourself as someone who uses photographic equipment as a tool to be creative.