Skip to main content

photo & video

Experimental Portraiture

Lesson 2 of 14

Experimenting with Seamless

Jeremy Cowart

Experimental Portraiture

Jeremy Cowart

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

2. Experimenting with Seamless

Lesson Info

Experimenting with Seamless

So the next thing we're gonna do is shoot on seamless with different strobes, experimenting with different lighting modifiers. Um, this seamless for those of you don't know, there's just a It's seamless. So it doesnt you know you can't see the edge. You just roll out a piece of paper. A lot of people have sites in their studios, and the idea is just to get that get that, you know, white solid background or black grey read whatever you want. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of shooting on seamless. I get really, really bored. And I think it's really funny when a client because oh, man, we love you. We love your website. We love your work, love all the crazy tricks you do and all that stuff. We're gonna hire you. We're gonna put you on seamless all day. It just makes no sense to me. But sometimes they do want me to do compositing, which is essentially shooting on seamless and removing the background so that you can go in photo shop and create your background or a shoot another background in a...

different environment, whether it be a cityscape or whatever, and you can That's most the time when I'm shooting on. Seamless is because I want a composite something in later. Um, so we're just gonna dive in here? I don't really have to specific plan again. This is gonna be fairly loose so you guys can go ahead and roll it out. Roll roller. Seamus that again. We wanted to see how the wanted you all to see the full process of how it works. And it's pretty simple for those of you have never used one, just two stands holding up a roll of white paper. Um, I know one thing that Zacarias has done and that I've done a lot as well is that will take a white phone board. Is that the correct term for that board? Guys? Polio. John, What's that white board called that were about the home court court board, Melanie and whatever. Anyway, it creates a reflective surface, and it makes What's that, like a shower? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. There it is. So we're just gonna lay that down? It's actually pull up the seamless, the white, a little more guys. That's all right. that down. Um and I'm not going to stay on seamless a long time because I get bored shooting on it, and you're probably gonna get bored watching me shoot on it. So I am very aware of what is going to be interesting to watch and what's not gonna be interesting. Um, better do you think I'll be able to show you awesome tricks that you can do with your different lighting modifiers? We're gonna talk about soft boxes, bigger soft bucks of smaller ones, different things you can do with self boxes. Um, we're gonna talk a little more about the beauty dish with the grid. Um, we're gonna talk about using the smaller grit sets, um, talk about using a snoot, and then I'm gonna go and use those all on a set to show you even mawr how they might work. Um, cool. You ready? So yellow, sir. The for the board down. And then let's roll my laptop in camera and all the step over here. Oh, remove my remote control because they don't need this thing anymore. I feel a lot of pressure knowing the yeller, like sitting there waiting to tweet a quote for me because I'm I'm not the smartest kid in the class. Um, all right. Exactly. All right, so let's remove this bad boy. This is not my tripod. Um, John here was, uh, kind enough. Last ministry had all kinds of things that still need Oh, man, I need a tripod. I need a trampoline. A needle? What? Us military balloons. Yeah. Yeah, it's a fun little list. Why not have a trampoline on your shoot? You know? Okay, Are we not connected? Shooting tether. It is always interesting because it seems like every time she tethered, something technically goes wrong. I'm really pleased that we haven't had any issues yet, so I'm going to stay with my white balance on Flash. I'm going to get a eso 100. I'm going to go to shutter speed of a 1 25th That's usually my safe range. When I'm shooting most of our stuff, I try to stay around 1 25th 1/60 Um, we'll start at eight of its. That's like you're for me. That's like my standard camera settings. 80 I s a 100 1 25th white balance on flash. Um, all right, So who's our first model? She ready? All right. Nice. This is Becca again. Make a Where were you living in? That's right. Say when? Nice. Um, so we're going to start simple, really simple. And then we'll layer the complexities as we dio. Let's only start with this This guy. The official technical term for this is massive soft box. You can google that. See what happens? Uh, no. We rented all local gear. Was my camera. Yes. Glazers, Faith and Blazers I rented from Glazers here in Seattle. They provided us with all the stuff. So this is not my gear. So forgive me if I don't know the names of everything because, you know, different different camera companies carried different brands and all that stuff. So, like I said earlier gear to me is not that important. I mean, give me the bigger modifier. Give me a tight grid. And this is the kind of things that important to me. I don't care if it's five feet or six feet big. You know, I just know in general what I want to do with light. I don't care what brand it iss. So going to start with just this thing And can you get a shot of thing to show them how large it is. Anybody with that? Yeah. So there we are there. So here we are, at this huge thing. It's very big. What? Six feet, John for best six feet. Um, so in case any of you don't know I mean, this is kind of fairly common knowledge among photographers and photography on all of photography, but the bigger your light source, the softer the light is gonna be on your subject. Um, in the simplest way, simplest comparison is just think of a sunny Davison overcast day when the sun's out, there's not a cloud in the sky. You're going to see the nastiest, hardest shadows in the world on your subjects, especially women. It's really hard to shoot outdoors in the sun unless they have flawless skin and flawless angles. And, you know, those hard shadows hit their face just right. You're gonna you're gonna have a hard time if you don't have that. And so that's why I like being able to use light because you can go outside with a huge source like this and really balances these big lights with the natural light and really flatter your subjects. So now I know a lot of people love to shoot natural light. But it's good to know both natural I and using strobes, because in my case, I think there's always I need for both that every shoot I do. So we're going to start out with a really, really soft sore. So to me, this is almost equivalent of, ah, overcast day. You're not going to see many shadows on her. This thing is so big. Also, the closer that the slight gets to her, the softer it's going to be, the further away we g o the more smaller shorts that's going to be in the harder shadow she'll have. Um, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this because I feel like it. It's fairly basic, but well, we'll start out here and I'm gonna switch lenses. Maybe a 24 to 70. Um, yeah. Okay. Um, so I like this lens. I know there's a lot of Linz snobs out there that prefer prime lenses, only prime lenses of the one that don't zoom there. Fixed lens is there generally sharper, faster. But I like this this lens because just all around. Um, it's good for the lazy people who don't want to use their feet to zoom. You can stand in one place. It's a little more versatile and what it can do. Um, and most of the work on the website is probably shot with this exact lens. It's actually very beat up because I can't count how many times somebody has left my bag unzipped. Somebody grabs the bag and all my lenses go crashing onto the concrete. It's a beautiful, actually terrible disaster. I don't recommend always of your bags, but this is a great lens, and we're gonna start here, and I might switch to the 50 millimeter in a few minutes. But we'll just start here and see how we're looking. Um, we're still minimum power going upto calf again. This is typically our works for me. I guess I get it roughly doubt in, and then we just week for a minute, and usually it's pretty easy to get everything Dad, and you're like, how technical that was that just get it figured out if he's listening out there, an awkward pause. So we're a little bit over. Let me fix my white balance report from exposure. So I'm going to go away on the computer. Can we cut to that? Um, someone at this little check box, which makes everything back to default on my exposure. And that is straight out of the camera, Which something seems off. Is that the weather? I'm sorry. The wait months. Uh, here we go. Um, it wasn't showing up. That's what it was. I had my history for now, Um, so that's straight out of camera right there. And it's actually a pretty good guess. Um, I mean her. Where's my highlight warning thing? Let's look at my history, Graham. Yeah. Um, see, I'm gonna go to 10. Let's see again. I'm just always kind of guessing guessing where things should land. Yes. So that's Ah, um, you know, within two shots, we got it. We got it dealt in in the thing. It's looking pretty good. So usually just do you light test to see where we are first, and then I start working with my subjects vehicle. So have you have you moderate it all ever. Awesome. Did you hear that? She's never modeled. And here she is in front of a worldwide audience in front of the whole classroom of people. I think that's pretty impressive for her to do this for her first time. So congrats. Congrats. Oh, I just unplugged. Congrats on being so brave. That's amazing. I don't think I know many people who would do that. So that shows that you are very brave, um, going to take one step back. And so that's everything you're about to see is generally how I start working with somebody. I'm seamless. It's pretty, pretty simple. But I'm gonna move quick, and then we're gonna start adding other modifiers. And so you don't get bored. Yes. Thank you. John just mentioned we have this V flat over here. Um, this stuff is really cheap. I mean, you can get any white board or silver bored at Home Depot wherever. And all this does is fill in, um, the shadows on the side, actually. Let's remove it. And then I want to start putting mawr modifiers in this we go. Thanks, but he'll leave it on standby. I'm gonna put it in really, really quick here in a minute. Whips rapid fire there. So that's without our Phil, um, which actually like that was taken where That second shot. Um actually, like a little more drama on her face. BC Let me, uh, yeah. There you go. You can already see the difference that white board did. Just sitting over there. How filled in her her arms. Right here, Um, in the dark shadow. So some people out there might be preferring one over the other. Um, they're both nice. I don't know that that others there's a massive difference here. Um, I mean, there's a different. There's a massive difference in the way it looks, but not a massive difference in in terms of which one is better than the other per se. Um, but, you know, already we can go in and start playing with with the white balance in the contrast. That's that's where I start having fun, but let me keep shooting for a minute. All right? So give me, um, turn a little bit more facing this way. Give me your right shoulder a little bit higher and your left shoulder a little bit lower head back a little bit. Let this light really hit your face. Kind of flat. Just almost like, kind of really lean back. Yeah, kind of like that. It's a knife. You get the sad model, like down already golden. Yeah, it starts. So as I'm shooting, I'm gonna be my own image Critics already. Let's go back to the computer, See how our arms kind of hidden back there. This is the little things that I look for and that the that my client will be standing over my shoulder looking for that. Like, Well, we want to see more of her arm. She looks like she only has one arm and already does the things that start noticing. So bring the arm out a little bit. Maybe I'm just going to put on your hip, um, and then bring out a little more. Another thing with women that I try to do is, um, always keep their limbs pretty. Not always, but pretty straight. Like if her arm is out like this, it's not gonna look very good. It's gonna look just a little awkward going back directly from camera. But if she brings it out, it makes it look. Makes her look longer. And it just flatters or more with legs. Teoh, You know, if I have a girl sitting on a couch. Rarely do I have her. With everything pointed this way, I try to have return so it makes her legs look longer. All that good stuff. Women, I think no matter who they are, like to be flattered. Is this correct? Uh, so it's generally a good idea. Becca is already six feet tall, so she doesn't need too much for the lengthening. Right? Let's see. Very cool. So I'm not gonna keep shooting this in and boreal with the same image over never. Because, frankly, I'm already bored shooting the same image over Never. So let's go and start bringing other modifiers, then, um, let's start with this. The grid right here. It's a good spot. What degree is that one? Okay, a 10 degree grit spot. Um, these things, they're used all the time. Probably most of you watching are already familiar with this. You might have a great spot, but basically the same thing as the beauty dish. You just really focuses in that light, and it ah, you know, it also kind of flags itself. So you're not getting lens flare when you're shooting, but we use these all the time toe to give it a little hairline to separate from the background. Um, and it's just a nice separation. It might be a little tricky on White, but thankfully, she has dark hair. She had blond hair. You'll probably just turned that blond hair white, which then wouldn't look good on a white seamless because you couldn't separate in photo shop. So, um, but because her hair is dark, I think it will will be nice. And give her that night separation on her arm. Um, this is almost always done. One seamless. Anytime you see movie posters are TV show ads. You'll you'll usually see some kind of separation hairline really easy to do. You're about to see it done. And frankly, I think it's overdone. It seems like every ad I see these days has this white, this white hairline hair light, you are rim. And, uh, you know, I'd like to see us moving away from it because it's been done a lot. But I do want to show you, um what? That looks like really quick. You ready? All right. Um, make sure. And and the other thing you always see, my assistance doing is stepping in to make sure it's aimed right at her cause If that grid is barely off, then it won't hit her. But as you see with the modeling light, it seems to be ah, giving her a pretty good Forget how light there. Um, so let's see Jeremy question from the chat room from Andrew. Are would you hair like a blond any differently? Um, I would probably shoot her on Grey thing if I was doing compositing. I would put her on Grace Inglis and then use the same light. That way you'll still see that the contrast between the white and the great background. Or we could simply bring her about feet forward, and that would and we bring all the lights with us. And then that would turn the background darker. So that's that's the cheap way to turn a white seamless to gracing. Listen, just pull back away from full of the life back. We don't really have the space right now to do that, but I think people know what I'm saying. Um, is that one fire on that Lester. Oh, get you okay? Yep, I'm sure. No, stay closer, all right? And you heard the pop, right? That's pretty nice. Um, and the other thing that I would usually do again, we're kind of cramped in this room, but a lot of times will put lights will aim them at the white seamless, and it literally turns that background gleaming, gleaming, bright white. But I think for what we're doing with the class, I think you're getting the picture. You see this nice little, um, how like one down a shoulder in her hair. It's just a nice separation again. I think most of you probably already know this stuff. Some of you may not Candy. You'll have to kind of keep me updated on that. If I'm teaching two basic or whatever, Um, so that's a rim light. So let's let's keep going. Let's one of my favorite things to do is to take a smaller soft box and put clamps on it. So let's bring this this guy And over here, um, if we can squeeze it in the corner, that be cool. Yeah. Okay. Cool. What? That new ones? Yes, to sure. Why not looking good over there. Craig, did you looking good over there? I won't give you a break. for a minute. Well, then, Becker. So, um, we have a standard. Ah, soft box right here. That again, Pretty pretty common photography gear that we're gonna take clamps. Do we have any clamps available? Um, I'm Jeremy. Get to meet you. Yeah. Okay, man, I have any questions for a minute. Yeah, There was a question from eternal in the chat room. Do you always be your images on a monitor Tethering, or do you use the back your cameras? Well, most of the time I use my camera. Um, but like, I'm like a several on bigger shoots, the TV shoots or some of the bigger budget band shoots, I tether. I know. Seventh RVers, that tether for everything. I find it that it slows me down a little bit. I like to just be mobile and look at the back of my camera whenever I want. So, um but yeah. Yes, the clamps. So we're gonna clamp that soft box shut. Basically, Um, yes, Exactly. And it's okay if it's just a little bit of sliver. I don't know if these do it as well. Yeah, I was gonna clamp it all the way. So a lot of their some soft boxes exist already as a strip bank is what we call him. And so a lot of times of photographers don't have the additional money to bias strip bank. But they do have a soft box. This is the cheap man's way of turning a normal soft box in the strip bank were literally just going. Teoh clamped a thing all the way shut, and it just creates a little sliver of light. And it's fun to play with and we'll even start. We'll even kill our other lights. You can see what that kind of looks like. And in a minute I'm gonna get off of seamless and go onto a set. Siocon see me experiment a little more and later today we're gonna start playing with color. And that's where I started having a lot of fun again, using a color jails and playing with your white balance. Let me see. That's cool. Now let's kill kill these few lights so that they can see what this by itself is doing. Yeah, fun. You ready? Ready for this? So let's aim that when kind of back in the corner, facing this way directly at them. And again, this is another thing that I love too. Dio, when we're talking about experimenting, is I'll get all my lights set up and everything will look beautiful. And it would be nice and pretty. And I'll just say, You know what? Kill three of our lights. Let's just see what this one light is doing. Um, a lot of times I'm amazed at what that one light will do, even if they're backlit. Especially for, like, the TV stuff I do. Sometimes the are directors want the more, you know, like I have a feeling this is gonna create this really nice thin strip of light all the way across this. Ah, this white board right here and it's gonna look like this very dramatic kind of powerful shot. So I'm gonna have you all stand kind of like you own this place, you know? I mean, all right, Um I think probably just a little bit separately. So maybe turn towards me. And that way we'll get the shadows, and it's getting just a little bit and back just to love it, too. Yeah, let's try that. So we should get yells. I'm hoping we get these slivers of light coming from Mike there. And let's fire that really full power and over, uh, overpower that the natural light in the room. And again, we put that white board on the ground to kind of create a little bit of reflection. I wish we had more of it, but this will get the job done. You just answered a question from Steffy in the chat room. Local, so we'll just take a look. And, Jeremy, do you mostly do handheld in the studio? Or do you use a tripod? Uh, handheld? Yeah, it's weird. What is that? Like Kidding. The seamless right there is there as something leaking, but we're getting exactly what I was hoping for. Um, and a lot of time of that. Okay, um, a ton of movie posters that you'll see when you go to the movies this weekend. And you look at the movie posters, Watch how watch the light on all the movie posters because this is very typical of what they do. They'll just, you know, they'll just shoot. Something is dramatic, and darken is this, and that will be they'll remove all those shapes and that will be you know what they cut out in this scenario, I might, uh if we can have somebody turned the script onto the seamless anyone? Anyone. Thank you, sir. Um, yeah, just literally to shine that. Just even just street getting straight across the seamless Justo. So the reason I'm doing this, like, in this case, if I wanted to remove them from the background, I'm gonna have her hit the seamless with that light. So I'll see some separation so that later in photo shop, I could g o and have a very clean line to remove. Remove them. We'll see if that works. Um, and then I'm gonna open up a little bit, you know, scoop just a little bit closer together. Struggling? Yeah, hands. You know, that looks yeah. Now, you see, um, very, very hard separation between the subject and the background, so I could easily go into Photoshopped and cut them out. But in fact, I'm gonna separate them a little bit visually first and give me a little more space. You see how that that distance between your arm and right here you had to see I want to see through same thing with you. Craig just pissed your elbow out a little more. Yeah, and I like that hand a little more. Ford. So you really see the silhouette of your hand? Just kind of out? A little bit way? Probably don't want that. Uh, let's get right there. Pull your jacket down. It's a little too fluffed right there. Yeah, And then, uh, maybe I'm sitting in Nothing. Just drop by like this. Hand up. Yeah, actually, Yeller to two. Similar. Right now, let's have you turn in a little bit to me. Um, that works a little bit of fish that elbow towards me a little bit back right there. That men, just to let this arm drop. Yeah, that feels a little better. Um, and scoot back a little bit. Yeah, let's try that. So I'm basically trying to see through their elbows just to create a little more separation. Um, Craig pushed the arm out just a little more. Yeah, right there. This would also be a good we'll try this in a second. Yes, Kate, just a little closer together. Um, this is the thing that you'll have to keep in mind here is that this image itself is not amazing. I wouldn't put this in my portfolio. This isn't like we aren't going for final image, or what we're going for is what's very normal. And in my line of business is creating basically doing a composite toe where I can take this. The shadow is the body language of silhouettes and do something with that in like a TV ad. A movie poster. So, um, we're just trying to create a general vibe and leave ourselves room and Photoshopped to remove that. So now that we have there their silhouettes right there, let's bring back in this guy and can we roll it over to the right here? Is it really already 12 30? Almost crazy. This is going by fast. Are people still digging? This is digging really good. Um, so this is a really good place to start because you can already see their backlight. In fact, I might even crank that power up a little more. Um, and then I'm gonna have your You're gonna another thing. Actors have to do a lot. Um, one of my first TV sheets was a ah was a show called Prison Break on Fox a few years ago. And, uh, this is a fun, little quick, quick story. I'll never forget the story I was in. I was in Rwanda, in Africa, volunteering for an organization, and while I was there, I got a call to shoot to shoot prison break and so literally went and found this random hotel with decent Internet. And I downloaded the show. And so here I am, laying in a mud hut every day, watching prison break on my IPod at night, you know, to see what the show is about and all that and I'll never forget. I had to fly straight from or Rwanda to Dallas, Texas, to shoot the show. And so I get off the airplane. I go to my hotel, walk in the lobby, and there's the entire cast of prison break. I'm like, Wait a minute, you just killed him and you just, you know, chop his hand off and it was just bizarre. You know how we all get caught up in TV shows and to see the cast sitting there together? Was this truly that's one of my weirdest experiences, is a photographer and to be coming straight from 1/3 World country and experience the culture shock. It was just a wild moment. But on that show, I'm in on that shoot. One of things they wanted was this powerful walking shot. And so the, you know, the talent had toe. I kind of do this looking off to the most robotic kind of thing. So that's what Yeller about to do. Um, we're gonna see if we can a create that. So So imagine Yeller running for your lives. You can even, like, count 23 just, like step into it and kind of look off here and just one small step back. And when I say went to three, just little take one step and I'm going to capture that. Um, Okay. That's good. That's impressive. And so, actually, I'm sorry, John. Let's kill. Let's kill our field one more time. Yep. I missed you. Yeah, Craig was a little ahead of you That they're not. They actually meant to keep this a silhouette shot. Um, I'd like to confuse my assistance a lot, too. So let's try that again. All right? Okay. I'm still a little early on my bed. Um, yeah, I think that's that, actually look better from the side. So you act like you're now running to the corner, so has to take one step back, and I'll shoot once. You both stop. I think I was a little early. Um, Yep. Yeah, exactly. Can start. She was still over that. Craig looks amazing of that hat. We can we keep getting your awkward poses where your volume or that's are. I think that the general vibe is that people know what I'm getting at. They know that we're kind of creating that movie poster. Mysterious, you know, running shot. Let's turn this back. Let's turn the box back on. Go all the way down this very, very subtle Phil. Yeah. I mean, for for this is that can you repeat the question, John? Which was Are you pre focusing? Yeah. I mean, in any job I do. That's a great question. When you're having people run, I absolutely would have them stand at the spot where they end up and focus there and then turn my camera onto ah manual so it doesn't change, and then I capture them in that moment. But because this is so loose, and I'm just giving you all the feel of it. Um, you know, we're not getting that technical, honey. We're limited on time, but But, yes, that's a great question. Typically would have somebody stand in holding, walk my focus down and then have the subjects step into it. So, um, one more time and you actually try to see how far apart you were on that one. Somehow. Try to stay fairly close together. I know. That's tricky. Ready? For that time, we turned the fill on just a little bit. And you can start to see what's what's going on there and get action face. Craig. Ah, it is cool. Um, and so we turned back on the box and you'll see how just nice and soft it iss, um on his face really, really soft. And this is this is a great example of the kind of like TV gigs that would do and the kind of things they might want. And you see the shadow. So anyway, I think you get the idea here of what we're going going for. Let's just you know, it. Just take this box off and let it be a super hard light. I want to show you all the difference real quick. Um, what that might look like. Just click. This part's going to 12. 45. Yes, we're doing questions at about 12. 45 then lunch. Is that one? That's right. Okay. Um, no, I meant not remove the bucks from the Yep. Exactly. I'm sorry. That is that kind of heart. We know we just pulled this one and just roll that one over and take the beauty dish off. I just wanted to show a clear difference between having that big soft source and just using a hard light. In this case, I think a hard light might be good, cause it's more relatable to, like, maybe movie poster. If these guys were out running in a field and they're outdoors and the heart sun is shining, then you'll want to mimic with what the sun would be doing. Which does? The sun would be a 1,000,000 miles away, and it be a very small source and very bear. Just leave it. Bears that get, um, so can remove you. Can you push this up too? Um, you know, like one thing at a time, Karen. Ah, So basically, we're trying to use our lights to mimic what we think the sun might be doing. There's lots of other things that I can show you later today with color. Um, but these are the kind of things we think about on these types of entertainment shoots is because the lead ITunes we already know what the background scene is gonna be. We know where the sun is gonna be. All that stuff is planned out. Because if I'm sure you've all seen a lot of ah movie posters and you'd be talking in the camera only. I'm sure you've all seen a lot of Photoshopped disasters. I think there's even photoshopped disasters dot com where everything is composited so bad that they didn't pay attention to where the light source was coming from. They didn't mimic that with their lighting and cameras. That's like rule number one is, if you're gonna composite something, make sure you're mimicking with your life. What is happening in your environment. If you're subjects were out running in an overcast field, get a big source like that, put it directly over the heads, and in a nice and short just at a camera and mimic that overcast sky coming down. So these are just little like this? Um, yeah, well, we'll do that because they way haven't talked about that. He asked me if I wanted to flag the light in. Basically, all that means is putting up a black fabric that keeps that lens flare from getting into my camera and this kind of shot, it might actually help and might be cool. But I am going to start where I don't see that white and camera. And I'm just saying that hard source hit there, hit them in the face. It sounds violent. Um, Jeremy, is there a reason you would use that instead of, like, just your lens hood? Um, yeah. I mean, it's a good question. She asked if there's a reason I would use a flag over my lens hood. Ah, a lot of times I do use Linds hoods, especially if I'm outdoors shooting son. They do help, but in my experience, sometimes a lens had steel doesn't block all the light I might need. And you in times like this, I just It's easy to have a flag that you can move around by hand. Uh, talented do help. Absolutely. It's a good flight, Karen. That my words this time you'll just stand like we started out before. Yeah, let's try that. Actually, you know, since I'm sure going to zoom in on Creeks Face, I'm gonna let you take a break for a minute and actually do Give me that running and stop thing one more time. Okay? You ready? Nice. So this is actually not the best example, because the light is aimed right at his face, which makes it Ah, it's May actually makes it pretty flattering. Um, What's that? Yeah, that'll work. Um, I thought there would be a drastic difference, but because the thing breaded his face, you do see it. Um, see, right there. How? How hard the shadows are under his nose. That's from that hard light. And you can tell that this is soft, this image of soft and that's what they were talking about earlier, when they said, Do you pre focus? So again, if I'm doing this, actually, let's go and do that. Let's see if we can walk in the focus, so pick your spot where you I'm gonna use my little, uh, auto focusing system in camera. And I'm gonna put my little red dot right on his eyes and see if he can land in the same spot and we'll get it in focus. Charity. All right, let's give it a shot. Won t three go, I hope something in fire. Oh, I see what you're doing. You're try char What we just did. Since we're mimicking the last shot. John is now getting experimental on me here. All right, See you. Thank you. Craig already knows that we need to refocus. Okay? Again, All right. And I'm holding. I still get the shutter button held down to keep my focus. Looked him. Get ready. 123 Go. See if our focus with sharper that time still living, it's definitely sharp. Her still don't know That's perfect. But I think you again get the general concept here. This reference 80 still. Yeah, 880 whatever. You wanna ever going to say it? Um Anyway, I think, um, I'm done with seamless because it because it drives me nuts. We're gonna be on sets the rest of time, which I think it's personally much more exciting, similar to our first set up. And the next thing we're gonna be doing is playing with four grounds, playing with color, which is much more exciting for me. And I promise it's gonna be more fun to watch the seamless and we will continue. Ah, hanging out. We're going to go grab some once, and we should answer some questions we have. Oh, great. So I'm early. Jeremies born with Yeah. Yeah, you can tell how. I don't like shooting on seeing with students. You got so many questions. What are you getting from going from big toe strip? Yeah, a lot of time strips are great for he's asking. Can they hear the questions? Yeah. They'll let us know if they can. Okay, he's asking about stripping. Why is a strip bang? I mean, there's different, different reasons to do that. I know. Again, I keep referring to some of the entertainment shoot will do some of the TV shoots. Um you know, I've seen them use, like, all the way down like a runway, like a road. And so you have this nice light covering their full body cause sometimes. Ah, just a rim light or a beauty dish on Li like light up from the head to the waste. It won't get all the way down to the feet. So a lot of times that really nice long strip bank, we'll give that highlight to the whole body. And so that's why it's good to, you know, sometimes use them. I'm sure the people on the chat rooms have a 1,000,000 more reasons to use strip banks, but I don't use them that much. But it is good for that kind of scenario. What else? Have a question from senior in the chat room? Who noted that your camera height that you got down when you were taking those full length shots? And do you have any to talk about why you did that? Or do you have any tips for camera height? Yeah, I think that's a great, but I think that's a great question. Um, I think that Ah, Camera Heights plays a huge role in my shooting. I'm always I always know exactly the height I want. You know, if you just stay in here and shoot all day, a lot of times that it if somebody if somebody out I line that makes their upper body bigger and the legs more thin. So a lot of times I get done lower, and I like to shoot right about people's stomachs If I'm getting full body. If I'm cheating full body, want to get down a little bit lower like this because it tends to kind of straighten out their body. Um, and sometimes I get even lower. It will make the legs look longer. If that's a need. And then if I get really low, it'll give us that nice, heroic, powerful stance. And so I know, I know. We all know what I'm talking about. Um, and so camera haIf is a big deal to me, and a lot of times it's just instinct. Uh, you know, I think I know. I think you do probably do the same thing, but that's a good question to cover I'm Jen. The chat room would like to know if you do pre shoot meetings with models or subjects in order to make them comfortable before you shoot them. Another great question. Um, yeah, I think if you're it's hard on on teaching the tire because there's so many types of photographers. I'm talking todo she concerts you she bride issued and you know, people getting married, you shoot. Ah, editorial sheet senior portrait's whatever. And so I think in all of those cases that it is a good idea to get to know your subject first, Whether that's go grab coffee, go to dinner, whatever it is you may be doing, it definitely makes people more comfortable. I know that if I show up and I'm shooting for a label and I'm meeting the bay and the day of its kind of awkward because they don't know that they can trust me, um, they don't know if I'm gonna be diva, that they just don't know anything. I remember one time I was shooting a band, and, uh, the first thing I said is when they walked up, I realized that what I was wearing it was a really bad decision. May I hate the short story? Why I said it, But they instantly started dying, laughing, and they thought that was funny, how insecure. I waas about what I was wearing, and that's based on the first thing I said. And I tell that story to say that if you could do anything with your subject beforehand, go to coffee, grab dinner, they'll get to know you get to know who you are and know what to expect on the photo shoot. And so um so, yeah, I try to do that as often as I can, but not every time. I mean, that's just not possible. A lot of times. Question from a grand a net in the chat room. Do you always shoot loose and then crop? No, I like toe. He's a really great question. Um, I like the crop in camera. That's just me, that I think that's my design, my graphic design background. I know a lot of people just like toe shoot really wide and crop in, and there were cameras or how residents these days to where we can crop a good bit. But my preference personally is I do all my cropping and camera unless the client tells me specifically she really wide I mean, sometimes with these Ah, I'm forgetting the H two h three Hasselblad like 60 megapixels. I just shot with a P 60 recently and, uh, you know those files air so massive that you can shoot water and so on. But typically I tryto zoom in and crop were out. I need to do my thing so and the questions keep coming. Fox in the chat room wanted to know. What do you say to models to adjust their emotions or get the right emotion that you want? I know we talked about posing, but emotions are a totally different thing. Yeah, emotions are different thing, and, um, it depends. I mean, a lot of times on those types of jobs I have our directors with me are directors air, beautiful thing if they know how to our direct because they work with a sudden models, too. But I mean trying to think of, I don't shoot a ton of fashion. I knew chased, mentioned that is intra video. So as far as models and doing fashion stuff, I don't do a ton of that. I have done a few shoots, but generally for me, it's like most of models I've worked with have been personal work. So I typically go for that, you know, darker more. Ah, and more harder looks. I mean, I don't do a lot of that. I have been a few lifestyle shoots where I try to get the happier stuff. And in that case I just tried to engage with the model. You know, tell jokes, talk about movies, talk about music, get them not thinking about the camera, just let them loosen up. And we just try to chat. And I really try to capture those when she starts laughing at something. And, uh, I'll grab those moments and try to if I have assistance or if I have, you know, whoever I'll literally go tell everybody on set to talk to the model, um, and specifically try to tell jokes would be funny. And that loosens everybody up. And I'm able toe step back and do my job and, uh, and grab some great smelling moments. But if I'm going for the darker stuff, you know, that's a hard thing. Say it's doing it step at a time and figuring out if the models to, you know, to Salam to dark whatever same thing with bands over the dark. Gosh, bands are a whole different story. Hands, air, usually always awkward. It's the whole I don't know what to do with my hands thing you know, um and so even some of the most well known bands I've worked with those guys usually just a really awkward, you know, they're used to being on stage with Qatar, doing their thing. And so, generally, what I tell them is just get in the habit of moving, moving, moving literally, every shot. Every time that light flashes, just adjust. You know you can fidget and grab your sure you could get a typical one galic an away thing, I said. As long as you're moving with each flash, it's gonna help us, because that way, when we go through the chute, you might like your the way your the light hits your nose right here. But you might hate it right here. So if you just keep getting in this habit of moving after every flash, it gives off some more options and it gives the gives you more options because I know when I see my picture pictures of myself, there's nine out of 10 shots that I think you're terrible. But if there's if the light hits me right in one image, I might think, OK, I couldn't deal with that and pretty much everybody knows the same way. So just get your subjects moving, Aziz. Muchas You can, uh, especially bands. So cool. Gen in the chat room and a couple other folks at goad the question Um, could you have any tips about shooting people with glasses? This is one people often wanted. Yeah. Gosh, that's always I mean, that's always an interesting thing to to shoot people with glasses. I mean, I think you know, the obvious thing is to make sure the lights are in a position where they're not reflected into the lens. It's I mean, it's about obviously to get some people where anti glare glasses which helps. But in general you have to move your lights in accordance to where that light it's sitting there glasses and make sure, even just turn their head to where I'm not seeing that reflection. Pretty simple, simple stuff. I'm Stacey wouldn't like to know if you could discuss composition when shooting people the do's and Dont's well, we have a whole I'm gonna talk a lot about composition in the image critiques, and I'm going to talk about explore experiment with composition tomorrow in our today. Yeah, tomorrow in our composition section, So, yeah, I think we'll get a lot of that later. Okay, I have another one then. Okay. Okay. RBS would like to know if you ever use open flame or other alternative types of consistent lighting rather than strope cis, um, like, hot lights and says, uh, here she says open flame or other alternative types open. Uh, blowtorch? Yes, Blowtorches. Oddly enough, we are going to be using another MacGyver trick later with a lighter. That won't be a a fun little experiment. I mean, I love all kinds of of light sources. I mean, I've I've used IPhones to lead a subject. I mean, literally one of my favorite photos was lit with an IPhone. Um, the hot lights. I haven't actually played with a ton. I do think they're awesome. I just knew that every time I tell my assistance, we may be bringing holidays. They get really annoyed because a lot heavier, Generally, they're a lot more knowing toe work with Oh, this. Yeah, yeah. Um and so I'm a stroke guy. I generally prefer strobes. So how often do you show your subjects your on the photos that you're taking? Yeah. He was asking that early, and I thought that was a good question. I know a lot of times photographers tend to show their subjects as they're shooting every shot that comes up on screen, and I think that can be a good idea. But I think it's generally bad. I usually don't show my client or my subject anything until there's something that I really love personally, because then they see my excitement and they get excited and it just creates an energy on set. Whereas if you're literally letting the subject see every shot you're taking, they start seeing their insecurities. They start, you know, you might do a test shot and show them and the lighting will be terrible. And then they'll get that in their head that that's what the images are gonna look like. And they're not gonna be happy. So I generally say, Hide your stuff, you know, Hide your images, hide your wife, hide your kids some skin. Um, hide your had your images until you have some that you really love and your subject looks beautiful. But sometimes on my bigger shoots, when I have, you know, 20 people standing around my shoulder looking at a computer. You just don't have that option. But it is nice thing because you have clients who are they know when they've got the shot so you can move on and you don't have to keep shooting. Um, but, um, I generally say hide your images until until you get something that you like. So So you Jeremy had talked a little bit about shooting bands, but a few people in the chat room RBS of G. M s wants to know. Do you have a favorite question toe? Ask a band or musician to get the best feel for what kind of photographs that they're looking for from you. Um, tricky question. I mean, not really. I again it depends on the shoot. I Ah, a lot of times, music is the biggest. Um, relax, er, especially from shooting a hip hop. And obviously, I'm gonna bring I'm gonna usually prefer to ask what kind of music they want to listen. Teoh generally have bands or my subjects bring their own IPods and music really loosened things up. In fact, I was hoping we'd have it today because it just loosens me. Oppa's Well, um but I don't know that I have any magic questions that I ask. I mean, I tryto I want one Funny trick is to have a really random worried off. Today's word of the day is something, and it will make them laugh and kind of listens them up, especially if the artist really wants The art director really wants him laughing or smiling a lot off, say today. It's worried of the day is moist, so we're just gonna We're just gonna think about the word moist and, you know, just stupid stuff like that. And Sabella's awkward is the word as it gets, and a lot of people who say a lot worse things. I'm good. Um, it's really ran them where to throw out there. But so does that. Answer that question. You didn't think I was? In some ways, you ready first. More questions already. Bringing J T. Would like to know or says that he's running to the feeling of plateau ing with their with his work. I think it's a he. And would you give some suggestions of how to break out of that? Yeah, I love that question. Um, plateau ing, that's it's a beautiful question. It's why I'm teaching this workshop. Because, um, the problem with with working with clients is that we tend to shoot what we think that they want. And so what we tend to get caught up in, Well, the last guy they hired did that kind of lighting thing or their other shows. Are there other album to look like this? So I'm gonna deliver, um, What they want and what I found on my own career is that I even tend to get caught up in the same old tricks the same. I'm gonna put my soft box here. I'm gonna spit my my grid back there behind the subject. And after a while I find that I'm so focused on pleasing the client and making them happy that I'm bored with my own work and I'm very much plateauing. And so that's why I think this whole idea of experimenting is so crucial. And honestly, I see it a lot on the Internet. I mean, I just see the same old tricks over and over, and and I just think it's so important for us to do that in a way specifically to do that are things like, uh, my DVD A talk a little bit about this, but maybe like something as practical as changeup, What you're looking at every day. If you spend a lot of time on the Internet, change up your bookmarks. Toss all your bookmarks aside for a while, start following different people on Twitter. If your wedding photographer go start following people in the advertising world, If you're an advertising photographer, go check out the editorial world and see what they're doing. Get out of your industry and you'll start getting other ideas. Other things that people are doing things that simple is like driving new way to work every day, you know, find a new a new, longer route that takes you get the work, but you see new things. Open yourself up, toa New experiences Listening to new music Go our interview. One of your favorite photographers. I mean, there's so many things you can do to really get yourself stirred up creatively. But I think overall that the theme would be for me is to change up your routine. Whether that's your daily bookmarks, your daily Twitter, feed your daily drive and just just mix it up and maybe even Ah, no self assignment. Like do good to a Siris on your grandmother. You know, maybe never falter after grand go photograph for for day, Take all your lighting and just try things that you've literally never tried before. And I think somewhere in there you're gonna you're gonna stir things up creatively for yourself. Just one. That's awesome. People are loving that advice in the chat room. Uh, M l t 017 is asking. Have you ever experimented with underwater photography? And if so, tell us about the project. Did one shoot? Um, underwater. And there was a blast. It was very tricky because, you know, usually people take scuba diving lessons when we learn how to do it. And I had to learn how to scuba dive in about 20 minutes. So that was interesting. And I was terrible at it. Um, but we're shooting a band called safety suit for the album cover. They one of this shot of them floating underwater, and, uh so I had to learn how to scuba dive and go in the water. And we didn't. This is new to us. We've never done it. And so for us. We thought we had the proper equipment to fire. Get the strobes to fire. Once I took a picture that ended up not working, so I had to go from I so, um, toe more like 1000 I. So which was a much grainier image? And we turn on the modeling lights above the pool and there's still some light on the water, but it's still much Granier, and I didn't like the final result, but I know there lots of amazing underwater photographers and exacted that in his last workshop. And so I would like to explore that more so It seems like a good time. And I know Craig wants to do a class on underwater photography here. Creativelive. So I have a question from Ad Guy in the chat room. Um, is Miami really better off with LeBron James or should have stayed in Cleveland? LeBron James should have definitely stayed in Cleveland Micro. Jordan stayed in Chicago. He didn't go compete again. He didn't get play with Magic Johnson. Come on. Yeah, States should have stayed in Cleveland. Question from the chat room is, Do you ever experiment with Poynton shoots or disposable cameras. Yes. Yes. Um, there's a story I wanted to tell about that. You all should Google a guy named, uh, Ryan McGinley. I don't know, Ryan. I've never met him. But from what I understand, he does most of his jobs with a eighties, uh, like a contact point shoot from the eighties. It's like literally this big, Um and that is his work. Be careful, cause he has a lot of if you're not. If you don't want to go see a bunch of naked people, maybe don't go to his website that he tends to shoot a lot of news like out in the desert. And it's actually really interesting lo fi stuff. And he's done so much of that that now he's shooting campaigns for Ringler and Levi's. He just shot for New York Times. A good bet doing campaigns for them. He's just walking around this little camera. No, none of this stuff. And I love that story because it just goes to prove that you don't have to have all the stuff to be good photographer, you really don't need any of this. And so as long as you have a good eye vision, and you can do pull off unique images. That's that's what this is about. And so I love Ryan story for that reason. And I know a lot of people that just sheep Polaroids and are amazing photographers. Very cool. Go. Um, you want a couple more Britain? Okay. Emanuel would like to know if you ever get star struck, and if you do, how do you deal with it? Yeah, I have been started a few times. I got the photograph steam in 2005 and ah, I remember the client told me not basically let me give you the back story. I was hired to shoot a live show for his trumpet player at the time. Chris Brody. Think that. And so Chris had all these special guests come like staying? It was, um, Paula Cole. It was Jill Scott, all these different artists. And so the client said we just want shots on the stage. We don't really need the images of we don't need headshots because we're not going to use that in the album packaging, But I'm sitting there going, okay, I'm a photographer. I have all these heroes of mine. I'm gonna go for the head shots. And so sometimes you have to kind of balance. Ellen, you don't wanna make your client mad, but at the same time, you do have to be brave and bold. So I decided that you know what? I'm gonna go backstage, and we're gonna set up a couple glides down the basement, see what happens in the basement, the stairs having to be right beside the dressing room. So I hung out back there and of standing next, staying in. Ah, David, uh, forgetting his name David Foster, and said, Can I borrow you guys from men? I'm shooting the album package and I would love to grab your head shots. I told the truth, and sure enough, they were like, Yeah, sounds great. So they walked down the stairs with me, and it's literally this tight little hallway with two lights. I've got one light behind me on the stairs and one stacked in the corner. And at that moment, I'm like, What in the world is happening right now? I'm cheating Sting and, you know, already have song start going through my head and little That's the only time my hands have ever shaken because there's just like staying in a freaking out and I don't even know we talked about. We talked for a good 15 minutes or so while we're shooting. I couldn't say the first thing we said cause I was star struck. And then, ah, when we're done, he turns around and starts walking up the stairs and I'm trying to walk behind him and he stops and it's so tight that I can't walk around them and I look up. Then he's talking to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and I'm just like, This is insane. That was my first year of being a photographer, so that was really bizarre being starstruck experience. I guess you get so so. Jeremy, you talked about ideas. If you're plateau and whereto kind of look for new things. But a couple more questions on that from Rob G or 85 Klink Cailloux on Chat is what are the things that inspire you the most. And where do you go for inspiration? Uh, that's a loaded question. I mean, inspiration is huge for me. There's a lot of other photographers I admire. I'm sure people want to know who in the entertainment industry. I'm inspired by God and Frank Talk in Fells Art. Strieber gotten and meet both of them recently, which is really weird was actually added art directors meeting where a few photographers were showing portfolios and I'm standing next to Frank Aachen fills and I'm like, they're not gonna like my stuff next to yours. I can promise you that feels very honored to meet him. Um, there's a lot of friends in Nashville that I admire. I love feeding off the local energy of my friends. A lot of my friends are musicians, and, uh, there's a few bands that I wanted to play today. Like the daylights Andy Davis, Trent Dabbs, A lot of my friends. Their music really inspires me. Obviously, my biggest inspiration comes from my own family. I have two kids at home that are ages three and four and there easily the biggest source of my, uh, happiness, my inspiration, everything. And so, um, but I'm also inspired by by general light and architecture, and I know when I walk through airports, I love watching how the light falls in some of these different airports in our country and just watching light all the time. I get inspired when I'm in an airplane and looking down on the world and seeing the shapes that that happened, you know, when you're looking from 30,000 feet up, I mean, I think it's ridiculous for anybody to say that you're not inspire. It is for me, inspirations everywhere. I mean, every every time the sun sets, I'm a little bit blown away Just cause I know that this sunset I will never, ever happen again. It might sound a little cheesy, but it is just the truth, you know? I mean, I'm constantly inspired by my surroundings, and I'm hoping that all of those things, you know, make me who I am is a photographer. Another deep question. John Pride would like to know What is your main goal in your photography? Is it just experimenting? Is it just to have something different? And these are big questions. Good grief getting to the root of Ellie. That's what we're here for. Yeah. My goal is a photographer I touched on. This should be talking to you all our camera or everybody where you want. Yeah, Um, my goal is a photographer. Its ever changing, for one thing. But the other day, in my interview with Chase, we kind of talked about this. My big My big thing is for me. I don't want to be famous. I don't care to be a rock star. I kind of hate that word for me. This life is very short, and to me, it's not about becoming famous for being awesome or having you guys admire what I do. It's about being good at what I do. But using that platform to do good in the world. You know, I'll like the thought of of me being able to do things like Help Portrait, to be able to go to Haiti and use my gifts as a photographer to tell a story. But I also know that in the entertainment field a lot of people are. Culture does kind of lift that up and glorify Well, if you're a celebrity photographer, you know, I think that's awesome. So I like to use that platform to say, you know what? This is awesome. I love being in entertainment photographer, but these are the things that are bigger in life, you know, being able to use my camera with help portrait and to serve people. Um, I just know that that is the most fulfilling thing for me as a photographer is to be ableto do things with it that a greater than just taking another amazing picture. You know, I think it's it's kind of Ah, a dead end road If you think you're gonna be the best photographer in the world, I don't ever think I'll be the best because I think, you know, that's just a weird, weird goal. I mean, you could ever say that they're the best. I think it's just drive. It's good to be excellent, but I think it's more important. T do things with that gift. That's my personal go. I guess the the The short answer is to keep doing what I'm doing and, uh, figure out ways toe tell stories and toe to do good. I feel like something very that's a very inspiring answer

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

Related Classes


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.