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Experimental Portraiture

Lesson 10 of 14

Experimenting with Composition

Jeremy Cowart

Experimental Portraiture

Jeremy Cowart

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Lesson Info

10. Experimenting with Composition

Lesson Info

Experimenting with Composition

So we're gonna move to new set that we have not photographed yet. We're gonna move over here to all our crazy shutters and blinds and all this good stuff. So who's going to be nice? Correct. Looking good, bro. It's awesome. Um, where's our other more? There you are. Let's have you. Come on over. We'll do our old school couple here. Long shot. Both. Come on. The composition is what we're about to discuss. Let's see. Let me get one more spring. The telescope in here. I'm adding a few things to our set. Um, it's a beautiful thing about the seven. A bunch of stuff sitting around you can just kind of throw stuff in. We can remove the umbrellas also. Dig. Also dig this. Ah, this netting stuff over here and I'm not sure we're gonna do a ton on the set, so I might steal that netting if anybody can. Oh, yeah, we have that. I have a little bit of that. Yeah, maybe just hang it over the middle. The middle door here. Those doors are awesome, but I think it's still still missing a couple things. Le...

t's get these these crates over here. in the shot. I'm digging those, um and this is also what it's, you know, a real world example of working with a set designer as they you know, it's teamwork. So they get it close and then kind of and you just always kind of saying, No, I don't like that I do like this. So ideally, it's always Ah, um, the team worked to make it happen. Maybe we just kind of stacked over here to the left. And what I'm gonna have you sitting Craig, and it's standing behind her and, uh, give me just very like, you know, how thirties was very formal, very stiff and kind of just a hand and put your hand on the sins of Children. It will make it very simple. And then, ah, lights, we might need lights. Um, let's me go real soft with this. So let's bring our bad boy over here. I feel like let's bring and we close the blinds this time. What's that? Yeah, yeah, I have a lot of you have seen the pictures from the twenties and thirties, and a lot of times their eyes would look very bizarre. And that's because that they would have to sit there to get the proper exposure. They would have to sit there for, like, I think, 30 seconds to a minute at a time, or maybe in like, 10 minutes. And they would literally get a proper toe, hold their head still so their head would be held and they would just be sitting there like this. And during that 10 minute exposure, their eyes would blink or whatever. And so that's why when you see those really old portrait's, their eyes look really creepy and I think kind of awesome, Um, a little fun fact for the day. So let's start just with this and then we'll add add to our And Can we turn this war's Otto while we're That's what you're working on. I think I can do it right here. In fact, that it actually might be your best angle. I don't think you need to raise it. Um uh, Let's see. Now I want to get a little bit lower. There's no talking on set, Guys, kid, we need to give you like some random prop to be holding your some other. We have a briefcase. Briefcase is awesome. Um do the candle anywhere. Now. There's a candle in here. It's blue to have it. We have it. We had a lighter yesterday. Do we have a light? Anyone? Okay, Um can somebody? There you go. We like that guy. And then no, thanks. And then can we kill a little bit of this, uh, overhead for a minute. Celester, whoever's everything. Thank you. And let's go. Let's go all the way down in our power and give me a very stiff Yeah, Yeah, that'll be That might be fun. Yeah, which are set was taller. But that's OK. Yes, I guess. Can you just raise everything five feet, my kid, That's like a nice um, Why do you want a tripod? Get that real quick. Turn my stand out here. Yeah, looking good. Um, give me his formal is you can get to your hand over this hand, one for you, then a minute will kill are mulling light, but basically, I'm going to use this big soft boxes a little bit of a fill toe like the set, and I'm gonna drag my shutter and we're just gonna get proper exposure of this candle and then I'm gonna die of more into, um, reframing this whole thing and getting as many different interesting images out of this as I can. Because a lot of times, that's what clients like When I do is that I don't just sit there on a tripod click click click for 30 minutes and they have the same frame. They like it when I come in and get details and get the fan and just try all kinds of different compositions without changing anything. But I like the shot. And so I'm gonna try toe, get the main shot and then give my client several other options in terms of composition. Any questions while we wait on the trip on? Oh, look, it's code. Oh, thanks about. Usually, I would have wanted lower, but because our set, in fact, I might have a scoop back into the set a little bit. Yeah, exactly. In fact, let's get you back as well. Gill back. It's far. Urs back. Kaspars, you can you get? Yeah, just a little bit looking good. Jeremy, Mike would like you to explain. Drag the shutter. Um, it sounds violent, doesn't it? Uh, basically, um, the flash. Kind of like what we did yesterday. At first, experience shot the flash pops. Everything goes dark, and I opened up my shutter to maybe a, uh, I might try 20th of a second here to let that candle, you know, come into the frame and burn a little brighter. Can anybody quickly throw up that b flat again on those windows toe block that natural light coming through, um, that you're basically just opening up. You shudder to allow more ambient light in that. That's a better one in tow. I'm gonna shoot horizontal. I'm sorry. Vertical woodwork to, but I think I'm gonna start. All right. I'm gonna go ahead and fire a test while they're finishing that up, just to see if we're even remotely doubt in to a good place. Um, hold on. I said get a 25th of a second and let's just see what happens. Ready all the thing. Really? Still, if you can. Okay. Well, we still have my settings doubt in from my last photo. So ignore that. Ignore what you currently seeing and killed have been getting as well. Yep. So I'm gonna drag my shudder even more. Is the white balance. Okay, so I might get a little warmer. That's a pretty good start. Um, that I want I want that candle to burn a little longer again. If our set was taller, I would recompose this to what? I get a little more of her legs. But if I go that wide, then I'm getting the outside of the set. So I only have a very limited space to work with in terms of where Aiken frame this this photo. Um, so, Craig, stay really still has killed the mauling light. Again. I'm gonna get 1/10 of a second. Let's take one more look. Stay very still. Okay. Yeah, I like. Now that flame looks a lot better than the last one. Let's show before and after since he watched the candle. It looks really bad on this screen, but it looks better. My laptop, um, we're just really working with the candle right now. Um, but I'm digging that I might move my subjects more to the right of the frame. I'm gonna accomplish that by moving much tripod instead of reframing. Okay. Kill the morning light. opened up the shutter even a little more of that time. I think I was that a six of a second. And so now you're really starting to see the glow. Come on. So let's sheet one moral quick. I'm liking the composition better. I don't like how the the telescope is going out of frame, so I might quickly move it over here. Since this is more of my I'm sure that on Craig, we're gonna go even longer. Shutter speed. Gonna get a one second long. Okay? Okay. Yeah. Now we're talking a green screen over here. How nice. Very special effect. At least the audience can see it of the See how close some crop to his head. I do not like that. I don't want that. It's way too close. But I love the way that candle looks on his jacket. Even push it closer to your hand in her arm down a little bit. And you just out a little more right there. Actually, not up higher. Now it's living in closer and even get closer to her face a little bit. So we back this way a little bit right there one more time, okay? Yeah, I like the way that light icis creeping on her face, Um, a little bit. And, uh, John, let's, um Well, I think they're getting idea. I I would continue to massage this photo, um, by bringing other lights in. But for now, since we're limited on time, I'm gonna move into what I was talking about with composition. So you can we can kill the candle. Um, you guys can see how I'm trying to mix strobes with my ambient light. Um, it's good to have a tripod. You want your lights to fire and then everything go dark and let the ambient light, whether it's your candles or your what do we use this? Real lasers, whatever toe come into play. Um, and this is very, very common practice. A recent did a shoot for people magazine, and I was shooting a girl sitting on the bed, and she had this amazing chandelier and I had about four light surrounding her. So I had to block all the windows, all the daylight and the only one of that chandelier. So I had to fire my strobes 10 seconds and let that that chandelier and just kind of come into play And it was his beautiful, mixed exposure of our Ambien light in our strobes. And so it's the same exact thing that we were just trying with the candle, um, composition there again. Okay, I tend to lose my train of thought. I got it, Um, sweet. And turn lights back on if you'll need that. And I have to sneeze anyone away with that Hannah, right? All right. Yeah, I'm down a trip on. Okay, so I'm just gonna leave them posing as they are, and, um, yeah, it's good. And that's not saying a minute ago. Um, it's so much fun. Experiment with composition. I see way too many photographers. You know, just they line up there, shot. They've got their lights where they wanted. They've got their people posed and they just stand there. Click, click, click, click. You know, they direct their subjects. Sure, but a lot of time, that's really good toe to move your feet. I love what chase it. The other day, in our interview, he said one of the least used tools in photography is the feet, and that's very true. So I love to move around and explore what else can happen with this, so I'm just going to do a little, uh, quick. 10 minute, um, exploration of what are we can different compositions we can come up with here. Um, So you're ready? Keep being awesome. Like, Ready for what? I'm at 1/60. So we already saw the, um the composition we just got. So that's where I would start in a lot of times, my clients want minutes to work with. A lot of times, my clients want horizontal and vertical. Basically, the more options that possible, more options, the better. So I was trying to say So Distinguished. Craig. Let's keep back a little bit. Second, zoom in. That's good. Perfect. It's very nice. I don't know before still exposed, but can we fill this room? So this is still a really dark photo, but I actually don't mind it at all. I mean, push exposure up a little bit. Might make it a little bit warmer. I'm gonna de separated. Just a hair bump. The contrast just a little bit. Actually, I kind of dig this really dark vibe. John, with this soft box right there. Um, actually, actually, the beauty discredit. Um, let's keep that about about right where it is over there and let that sneak in. I think this would be nice of the rim light. Just kind of coming right through here, Actually. Pretty high. So that kind of rakes her hat as well. Um, and it's really low light. Just a little kiss gets a figure like coming across here. Any questions? Yep. Our concern for you. Yeah, I am a D. Generally try to get them. I mean, there's different ways to get catch lights. I mean, sometimes it's just a matter of, um uh, shining a flashlight in the seventies, eyes on dragging that shattered just a little longer so that there's that little gleam in their eye. Um ah. A lot of people are obsessed with catch lights, and I mean, I don't always have to have it. It does add a little bit interest, more interest in the image of special. It's closer, and you'll see a nice catch light. But but I'm not usually that worried about it. Jeremy. Harry. No. W in chat. Wants to know. How do I become a stylish as Jeremy stylist? A ticket question. Um, start spreading the word for one thing. Start shopping a lot. A good friend of mine named Amber Lehman out of Nashville is my stylist, that I use a lot. Actually, there's about three style of states in Nashville, but she's really amazing. It has an amazing blawg. I think it's amber Lehman dot com l E h m a n that she blog's constantly and she answers a lot of those questions. The question was, with a hurry. Become a stylish as Jerry Oh, right, right. Totally, um, trying to break it up. All right? Yeah, That's just not even. It's funny. I never feel stylish. I'm a dad now. I live in the suburbs and I have two kids. I don't know how it's possible toe for me to be stylish. Um, let's see. So, yeah, let's just try that and see how it looks quick. I'm still pushing my light before So the composition thing again Just see how that lights looking a little bit too hot. But I like the positioning of it. Let's just turn the take it down. Stop. But it's OK, maybe just Well, let me see how that looks first. Yeah, I do. Do you like this? composition better. Um, maybe angle it just a hair away from them. So it's just barely raking Craig's head. Uh, push it back. Yeah, away from the Okay, let's see. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Uh, I don't know how the slips on yells monitors at home, but on my screen, this is exactly where I want that. It's really, really nice. Um, just these tones across the border or really, really even. And I'm I'm a happy camper that So when we get a couple war I see are set this so short and tight, it's hard to really be flexible. Um, that should work. And then let's let's ah, telescope is last time I talked a lot about tangents, and my image critique in this telescope is kind of distracting your eyes away from them. It's that this section of the photo you let's just take it out. The section of the photo really fades off Nice, and its color range in that telescope is just one big distracting thing that we really don't know and remove. That seems that black seamless back there. Um, but I like this. Yeah, that's a good point. Do you want to change that as well. So maybe just yeah, the fan. The fan as well. It's kind of too distracting factory. Might I d like a little bit of detail. What we just see Is it Is it angled down at all? Not so much. Yeah. Keep turning it away from me. That helps. Yeah. Yeah, That should do it, I think. And then bring it back to me just a little bit. Let's try that. Yeah. One more. And there we have it. Yeah, really nice. Um, dig it. All right. So, um, we have all these lovely models available and ready, but let me really quick. Just explore some different angles. Composition. She'll keep doing your thing. This is Ah, literally the kind of thing I would go in and do on a photo shoot. Look off this way. Think of your shoulder. Uh, nice. And the nice thing is, we know all our details or doubt in already, and so I can just move around with my camera and get as many things as they want and shut. Is that one great drug? Pull your hand out of that shot real quick and just drop your hands straight down and biscuit back in right there. I wonder if I could, and this isn't the best example. But I think you'll get what I'm saying. Like, you got to just keep moving around your subjects and try things You never know what may or may not work. Look up at me. So you're right there. And six again. I'm just trying toe give you all the general idea and then have you both stand up. Quick, move. Pull that chair and skin. And just behind her and a little more towards me and looking off that way. Chin up some. And Greg, You looking up this way? I got a blinking on that last one whips. Um, but this is definitely the type of experimenting I doing every single photo shoot. I just start playing even mortgage. Exaggerated, like, really chin back. Yeah, they get a little bit of smile. You give me a little bit. Smile too. Whips. My focus was up there. I don't like that composition, but again, I'm just experimenting. Give me You stand in front quick this time and you reach around him like you're adjusting. Hiss ascot, right? They literally stand right behind him If you reach never shoulders. Yeah, but let me see your head to, like, coming around this way. Yeah. You're looking down at the both of you skin. It was this way a little bit in this. Wrap your arms around, you know, It was smiling at each other. We'll catch a little moment here and go ahead and start just adjusting it kind of to where it looks actually legitimate. Perfect. Look at that.

Class Description

ex·per·i·ment (noun) - a test, trial, or tentative procedure; an act or operation for the purpose of discovering something unknown

How do you make extraordinary photos that surprise and delight? Join Jeremy Cowart and a lively mix of first time models in an exciting, eye-opening 2 day workshop. We'll explore methods and techniques to reveal, highlight, expose, enhance and otherwise present your subject in new and unexpected ways.

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Lisa Carney

This guy is FANTASTIC. Creative and thinks outside the box. Totally had me rethink my shooting style. LOVE LOVE

a Creativelive Student

I almost didn't watch this one. It was a little slow at first, but once JC get's going it's a fun ride. He transitions from using $2k strobes, to using just a few dollars for lighting. This course opens a lot of doors and shows that it's ok to go against the grain and to think outside the box. Lots of good ideas to see in this one!

Mike Taylor

Experimental portraiture is just that. Experimental. However, I don't feel that JC was properly prepared. Shooting a single person with a 2400ws pack is simply overkill, considering that he wanted to be shooting wide open. A fairly simple solution would have been to use a few sheets of Lee ND filter over the light head. I do suppose this was typical of any shoot. Especially a shoot that I'm doing.