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Experimental Portraiture

Lesson 1 of 14

Experimenting with Weird Light

Jeremy Cowart

Experimental Portraiture

Jeremy Cowart

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Lesson Info

1. Experimenting with Weird Light

Lesson Info

Experimenting with Weird Light

Everybody has going um chase jarvis and it seems like just yesterday although it was a couple weeks ago that I was on airplane introducing tomorrow lacking for last creative life we can workshop and well I'm excited to be here at our basel miami it gives me great disappointment that I'm not there with all your creative life studio in seattle to introduce the guy who really doesn't need an introduction if you paid attention to chase service live on tuesday you picked up some good tidbits on what you're about to see if not, I can assure you in store for an amazing two day workshop with my good friend and this guy you consider him a good personal friend he's an amazing photographer I think you're gonna love this teaching style it's really loose you're going to see and experience a lot of power of photographer works on a photographer of jeremy stature amazing work in music, fashion, portraiture, entertainment travel he really covers a lot of ground and it's his hope I think it's our hope t...

hat you guys you cover a lot of ground in just two days in this workshop um I guess and without further ado I'm going to be able to make it back for the help portrait thing on saturday but you're on you know it's just you you all on jeremy for the next two days and he's gonna treat you right? I promise without further ado gives me great pleasure to introduce jeremy coward. Man, you have a great two day weekend to weekend. Have a great two day workshop. Sorry, it's after midnight here. Um, have a great workshop, and, uh, I'm looking for it. I'll pay attention, tio to the feed every spare moment I can hear from the side of the country. It's a return a bit. You guys who do have a great great weekend. Great workshop. Thank you. Chase. Uh, really appreciate it. Hello, internet. This is a truly bizarre thing we're doing here. We're in the future. No, are we? Um, I want to thank you all for checking this out. I want to thank my seattle class here. And when I think craig and celeste and chase everybody that's made this happen, it really is an honor. I'm long time fan of chases, and I'm a new fan of creative love and everybody that's been a part of it. I can honestly say I'm a fan of love for a zacarias david dishman, jasmine star so this is really cool that that I get to do this, um, today we're talking about experimental portraiture today and tomorrow, and I just wanted to talk for minute um, why I decided to teach on that and my my philosophy is going to be very brief because I don't have any extreme philosophy, I won't bore you with that stuff we want to get this shooting as soon as possible. Basically, I had this real passion, too, to see photographers get back to this child like fascination of taking pictures with the internet these days and twitter and facebook, I feel like there's a lot of there's a lot of us tweeting our pictures all day and looking at other photographers and it's it's often that we're all one community, but I also see a lot of us kind of merging into the same habits, using the same lighting, trying the same tricks, and I want my hope for the next two days is to show a lot of weird ideas, a lot of weird trix things that I've done on my shoots that had been very bizarre but have worked for my clients, and the hope is that you will leave this two day experience with just inspiration, inspiration, and I want you to be go home and trying things and really think outside I'll think outside the box and just found that passion in yourself and find find out what it really is your passion because they know a lot of people. Might be shooting weddings and inside they really hate shooting weddings and some people might love shooting weddings are you know whether it's bands I really want to see people get to the root uh what they're passionate about with their photography to me this is photography is awesome but for me it's it's really a bigger life picture you know, cameras aren't my passion gear is not my passion f stops and shutter speeds on so I could care less that's why I'm a big fan of what zach does because he I know he spent three days teaching it an amazing class on all that stuff all the technical stuff and I think my class hopeful a compliment that because we're just going to trust some weird stuff. So while I do think the technical stuff is amazingly important um in fact I think it's crucial because the more you know, technically the more you can achieve creatively, but I think I think the creative side is really crucial to and I know with social media these days I see a lot of talk about branding and strategy and you've got to be this great personality and you got to do this and this and this and I feel like I'm seeing very little talk about quality like I would love to see more people on twitter talking about man look at this amazing image that this god created look let's talk about this photographer's work and I just want to see people talking about creativity and vision and work a lot more and so that's why I'm here and hopefully inspire eo I'm still you know fairly new to this game of bin a full time photographer since two thousand five and so sometimes when I feel like I'm standing up here you guys probably think I'm this insanely professional photographer and honestly I feel like I'm in the same boat as all of us this is still a new thing for may I'm still learning in fact I probably learned some stuff today most of these people in this room probably know more about some of this stuff than I do s so that's what I love about photography too is that I get to learn something new every time I pick up a camera every time I do a photo shoot and so I'm here to soak it up so good all of a cz well um I want you all to be asking questions as many as you want uh where my heart I must leave I'm an open book so anything you want tio to reach out to me today today is is fair game so bring it so with that said I'm going to just jump right into shooting I hope that works for everybody we purposely wantedto start out with a bang so y'all are board hearing me blabber blab ronaldo thiss coward quote thing is really funny to me because I feel like I have the vocabulary of a ten year old so it's going to be really fessing to see all you quote my really terrible quotes so I'm gonna get a kick out of it um so uh we're going to start on this the set my friend kaleo who's right here off camera uh spent a few days building all these these sets for us my favorite thing to do like my dream shoot every single time as a photographer is just a have stuff to play with you know, I love just having sets all of shooting through things I love you know, just just using an umbrella not photography umbrella literally umbrella toe shoe color through all of you know, shooting through glass we're going to trust some tv stuff today which is shooting through the viewfinder and that might my dream is to play on every shoot and so the idea with this set is just a throw up a bunch of stuff and let me do my thing but also we're going to talk a lot about like having limited stuff to play with because frankly that's usually the reality on a photo shoot whether you're doing editorial stuff maybe shooting abroad for her wedding maybe you're shooting a band a lot of times you shipped to the location you've got nothing to work with so I want to talk a lot about that how to improvise you know, a lot of clients just, uh rely on you to show up and be brilliant without having anything to work with so that's one of the the challenges that we face as creatives and as photographers and so that's going to be covered, what else are we going to cover today? I do ramble a lot, so I'm warning you all now I'm very eighty d a ramble like crazy so just hang out with me we're going to talk about, um like I said, this first experimental thing I'm about to show you, we're going to go into, uh all the different lighting modifiers I use against that covered some of that stuff, but I'll show you briefly the different my favorite lighting modifiers and all the different things that do then we're going to go through ah, playing with four grounds that sounds very vague and generic, but I promise there's some fun stuff they're going to talk about getting in camera color whether that's using color jails are, you know, messing with your white balance and there's lots of fun tricks I'm gonna discuss they're going to talk about briefly natural light versus strobes, we're going to talk about lots of other good stuff I've got all kinds of weird trix mixed in with all that and as he said, we're going to be doing the life finder dvd giveaway um and I think that that so let's get started um so this first that we purposefully left the lights off camera because we thought would be a good, good idea for your toe literally seeming start from scratch, I know we could have saved some time by having everything already set up, but I wanted you guys to see just the whole deal I mean, starting from scratch with nothing to work with, um, we do have a ton of lights here we have bron keller, we have pro photo, but I know when I first started out with photography, the idea of lights really really intimidated me, um, I'm typically intimidate by any new technology and so with lighting, I was just clueless and so I want all those people out there who watching today, they're probably thinking will cower has all these lights to work with, I don't have I can't afford that stuff, I don't have access to all these lights, and I wanted to I want you to know that you don't have to have this stuff I mean like lights are awesome and they really, really help but there's some great lighting companies out there I know in national where I live there's, alien bees and white lighting they're very very affordable so you know my thing is just just get whatever you can get access to whether it's one light to lights we have like ten lights today but but don't let that overwhelm you this is just for our class purposes I'm going to talk a lot about to about just using one little portable life I've traveled now to about twenty countries and on all those trips I go on I'll take one light with me and it's a very small pack that literally fits in a backpack that goes on overhead airplane with me and so I definitely want to cover that and show you what are you can do we're just one light that can fit in your camera bag um again I'm I'm stuttering and I'm rambling all over the place so back to the set we're going to use I think three lights on this first set and I'm gonna mimic an album cover that I made I guess a couple years ago some friends amount of nashville started this uh they started this cooperative between a bunch of musicians called ten out of ten and it's basically bench of singer songwriters they decided to go on the road together get tour bus go on the road together so they put together christmas album and the idea is that it's the best ten artists out of tennessee and so they called me and they said hey man, we really really need an album cover we don't we don't know what we want the art director just didn't have any direction for me which is fun that that's the way it works sometimes the client will call you and have a full on concept and then a lot of times they call you and say hey do your thing uh where this is up to you we don't really care what we well what we end up with we trust you and so that's that's nice the people trust me but it can also be overwhelming but this is kind of the one of the times a lot of times I think my work sucks to be honest but this is one of the times that I was actually pretty uh happy with with what I was able to create and this is very much an experimental uh portrait that I did at the time and so I'm just going to walk you through that how I made that album cover how I made the photo happen and if you google ten out of ten uh t e in out of t e and n I think you can see the christmas album cover that we made um so let's just get started uh john over here is going to be my first assistant today um and for those who knew who art of photography on the bigger sheets that I do that kind of how it works with me I usually have about three assistance you know first second and third assistant first this isn't usually my right hand man he usually knows the gear the best and he's kind of my trusted person he kind of you know a lot of time to call in the second or third assist until look them he'll get everything lined up and he's he's my guy and so we also have your mother goes I'm so embarrassed or not I'm going to forget everybody's names uh niki's right here she's gonna be helping me I know you can't see these people right now yeah come on out john coming up john uh if you notice has thes show my glasses I mean does that not say first assistant like seriously uh this is nikki right here and they're kind of yes we have our tech remind me your name again sorry tiger that's right uh rule number one of photography remember people's names that's still a rule I'm trying to master s oh they're going to be helping me she's going to be running the the computer and capture one is what we're going to be tethering too to shoot my images to that's typically what I use on my photo shoots and they're just going to be helping me out with whatever I need with lights and computers and all that good stuff so let's get started showing um so john r kaleo can we bring in these uh these curtains over here it's really exciting, isn't it? Let's bring in the curtains awesome. I'm kidding uh then john we're going tio set up the beauty dish with grid um beauty dish can we bring that up over here quick? Probably a lot of you know a lot of this stuff already, but in case you don't want to cover a lot of the basics but this right here is probably my favorite lighting modifier that I use all the time and it has a little honey come great on it and basically what that does is kind of focuses the light a little more on dime I'll show you later before and afters of what it looks like toe use and not use that grip but this thing to me is just gorgeous portrait lighting modifier that I kind of lived by, um because if she did with brandi carlile that's one of my recent favorites and I use this thing all day so so john basically, I mean coolio basically what we're going to do is just kind of create a little bit of us like kind of figure just toddies off just your typical split curtain down them yeah, that kind of thing yep and then we're going to scoot it back about four feet about halfway yeah, by the way uh some of the other gear we're going to be using during this workshop is balloons, lighters. Glitter got me is ending a lot of glitter uh, one of the toys that we buy glowing hula hoops uh, christmas lights, christmas balls we have all kinds of a really expensive gear today I think the balloons cost to get two bucks. So anyway, um, all right, so let's keep let's, keep the beauty dish about forty five degree angle forty five degrees to the right. Um, when I first started cheating one of the most helpful things that anyone ever told me, I remember going over this girl's house and she had she had her first note. I'm sorry she was already shooting at that point, but I had never seen a work with light and she said, well, the first thing you want to do typically is keep your light at forty five degree angle, you know, above the subject and that was really helpful, because for me, I typically try to keep my lights a bit higher because it always flatters more. I see so many photographers, the grab a big soft box or big lighting modifier and literally just but a face high, straight on and rarely to me does that flatter your subject, it just always looks very flat, um it just kind of it just looks boring to me personally and so I always pretty much keep my lights a good bit above just give the shapes and face um even if you're shooting a lot of times all she below somebody and looking up at them and they're like we're aren't you going to be shooting at my nose or sing at my nostrils? But as long as you're still lighting somebody at that angle from above their heads um it's still going to flatter that shot from below is still going toe flatter them because you still have your lighting at the right uh threat angle um okay and then let's grab a stool to pick here in the middle um said john we're gonna put we're gonna put the ring light right behind the uh the subject right here and it's just yeah and it's it's going to be blast known on the forms or it's going to blasting straight against the wall just to create a nice little glow behind our subjects come come a little for um yeah that'll work and then uh actually I'm sorry we need a hairline on your head so if we pull you a little more forward and push the curtains little back that'll give us a little angle a little distance tio to do that um we're great I'm time cruising all right um yeah yes we have five models total that we'll be using today and tomorrow three of our models I don't know if you'll notice is contest we don't twitter, but, um, I wanted to a lot of times I like to just just help people who haven't had the chance to do this kind of step before, so one of our contest was I just sent out ah, a video saying we're looking for just get stories people who really want this opportunity tomato who maybe don't have that chance to do that very much and so three of our models flew here to seattle just tow model, and most of them have, if not no experience at all just a little bit and I've already got to know them very well and they're awesome, and so I think it's cool that that they're fairly new to the game, so you'll be able to see, you know, a lot of times when you see photographers working with a professional model, you realize well, that's not very realistic for me, I don't know I live in branson, missouri, and I don't have access to, you know, la's top models. And so I think this is a good application for you guys to see because these air just friends that we pulled on twitter and I'm sure they're going to do a great job, but ah but it'll be good for all of us to work together and for you to see that happening live so um what's up um you all get together nice work we'll start with both of them all right so if we get one more stool um and then let's put thea this grid on the left side on the opposite side that's cool um this is craig right here and this is becca you're back where you from again salem and louisiana and so it turns out craig craig's brother and I are good friends and now difference so very small very small world that's right um there's a cool look together delicately great um so let's get another stool yeah that is actually perfect you know let's try that craig where I'm gonna have you on the stool and so basically you guys are going to pretend that I'm about to shoot an album cover this is our this is our artist uh the theirs are already start here and uh I'm just going to start posing them and we're going to start getting more into this crazy set up that we're about to do um see let's have your kind of side decide um yeah just getting really really close to joke and together we'll make sure you're all nice and centered with the curtain actually claire can we move the curtain a little more to the right and save you turn out more this way and then uh china fear how to get you a little higher year on they were very very tall I'll tell you six foot in boston right there you good? Uh yeah that's better so what if we did um pull your stool a little ford so where your shoulder is just in front of hiss and really even tighter like like literally covering the friend you can scoot back just a little bit craig even picture still back mr here that works and then john hope put that ring like literally right? Actually you know what? Uh I don't want to light the curtain so maybe we do just a little bit because I still want that hair light on the back of them and just skipped skin that that, uh that grid right through to try to catch a little bit of both of them will be a little tricky, but um and then I'm sure where my cameras, huh? I'm sure a lot of y'all are from there with this thing called t tv it's through the viewfinder it's an old old trick I'm going to add some things to that process the tv it basically ttv like I just had a shooting through the viewfinder and it's you know, a lot of people rent or buy these old viewfinder cameras from the thirties forties wherever uh never have seen on flicker a lot um but you just point your digital camera with the macro lens through the viewfinder and it creates an old effect but like I said we're going we're going add some extra experimentation to this process so that being said I'll need the hundred millimeter macro limbs I'm shooting cannon today for anyone who is curious um I know there's a lot of a lot of canon nikon ah debate out there um my parents gave me a cannon when I was in high school and I stuck with it ever since so uh a big fan a big fan of can um on the bigger tv shoots ideo and some of the bigger stuff I do shoot a lot with the hassle glad meeting format stuff which is a lot of fun it's a lot heavier frankly I don't like shooting with them is much like the I like the files a lot but I like this because it's smaller and easier to she with um so now let's get this crazy little table here um on don't forget how this thing works and then ah john can you roll that back over here that black bag right there um sheila my bag of goodies here um thanks it's always fun when you fly with a bunch of random toys and people the airport look atyou crazy um I mean if this doesn't look like a rigged bomb I don't know what does um he said that over there so I have like I said, all these old camera system still in even has the price tag on it from when I bought it at a yard so um uh yeah lots of old cameras so my office is full of these I think their fund a tool around with so we'll start with uh I might work thinking well um the other thing about this album cover that a shot as they were ten artists and they needed all ten artists to be on the album cover and uh they each had separate schedules so I had to shoot them individually I didn't do a composite but this is why this whole system work because I had to fit ten people on one cover in this little viewfinder here square and so worked out we kind of made a tile grid pattern of their images on the cover and when you see the images you think it's photoshopped and it was all in camera that's why I'm excited to show you this set up because we're about to do something really crazy in camera um so we'll we'll say craig or whoever can you show me till this table towards perfectly parallel bruce straight anybody this fabric I'm gonna play with later yeah that works um we also don't have music today which is it's really awkward to hear my own voice all day with new music um but wait about um system can caloocan these curtains go higher yes let's go about about two feet higher and then um I feel like my guy right now can I get a paperclip piece of gun um actually I'm not kidding I do need the glitter um uh I need um that black paper and silver sharpie wait go any laser fins and uh ok um what else do we need? Um this's really exciting um I say I'm a lot guys I'm sorry I apologize for that I wanted an iphone to prop up this is a cliff bar let's try cliff for fancy gas this is fancy stuff right here if that's not gonna work yeah, I guess just uh crumpled up gaffe paperwork I seemed to tilt it up just to hear because they're both so tall actually gonna swap y'all distance wass craig I'm gonna have you closer that's much better get to these perfect so this is one of those ideas that just hit me on this is the part that nobody can teaches how ideas work I mean, I know you guys have justus many ideas but it's one of those things where is literally a night before the shoot I still don't know what I was going to do and I just laying there in bed you as usual because I usually can't sleep and using that called evernote on my phone that is beautiful because it stores all my ideas on my pretty much of the stores my life and it instantly backs up to my computer the website by phone I bet all that good stuff um and so holly encouraged that that app tio organize your creative life but so anyway I rolled over in bed and I was like it just all of it hit me the glitter, the laser pens all the stuff that you're about to see just hate me in in a minute and and that's the kind of crazy thing that you guys understand because you're creative people you have ideas to ana but this just, you know, it's like when songwriters say they had a song hit them in a moment this this idea hit me and so we're about to dive into um so I might need a camera that might be good um so there were ten artists like I said and the first thing I needed them to do the first thing we need to do is identify him um on the album cover kind of they wanted some out of display their names so what I did is I had them write their names with their own handwriting kind of their signature with that blank paper go thanks. I had their them write their names on a white piece of paper um uh with a black marker and then I went to my computer standard in inverted it where we're going to skip that step and we're gonna I'm just gonna write right uh they're their names on black paper with a silver sharpie so we didn't invent a band name free all I got it the black stripes mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm uh my handwriting is terrible this is gonna be really funny so really, really small here uh actually markers you it's hard to write this more um that's a shout out to national by the way mr mr jack white lives in my hometown now um so literally just you know have them write their name down we were ripped it off on a little white piece of paper and uh I said it on the camera itself um actually scissors y'all anybody scissors thank you very small viewfinder I've here to work with so we're just gonna cut it um getting very technical here I'm sorry in and day out with a really brilliant technical info millimetre sharp is a brilliant question these things are hard to come by and I'm just getting I have no I different millimeter that is that's funny um all right so here is our our our name tag the black stripes um so now I have a uh the laser pin that shines uh white flashlight are red and white so I'll show you what I'm gonna do with that in a minute um where's the other flashlight we had right there and then let me have the glitter there's your car core there give me the glitter uh and somebody needs to tell me how to open this little box because I don't know anyone anyone? Um I've heard she's amazing opening glitter boxes that's why she's been hired to do this today. Thank you. Uh, so why as glitter coming into play right now? Ah, I wanted to I need to dust off this this screen of quick fancy actually like the dust around the corners um you guys are the black stripes. Um I'm just gonna sprinkle, you know, little little glitter on the screen this that did this because the christmas record and I thought this might be a nice, reflective surface here except they used all silver these air multicolored we're getting crazy today with multicolored glitter um actually gonna kind of picture on the back that's really hard to do I don't know if you're gonna be able learn how to do that in this sprinkled glitter in your cameras. Um ok, so we're going tio basically fire the strobes I've got a ring like behind them kind of creating a uh uh I guess said earlier vignette on the wall just a nice little circle um we've got a hair light on the back of their hair to just give them that separation and I'm using the beauty dish to you just create a bit of a vignette around their faces um yeah, I think there's going to be cool in fact I might scoot out a little water here's my official zoom right here let's see, it took me a long time to learn that trick actually a table can we tighten this john again? You needed about right there? That's good. All right, so, um, a lot of what I'm going to be doing over the next two days is a lot of slow shutter speed stuff and working with, you know, low light, so we're gonna have to kill a lot of lights and you're going to be a little bit in the dark. I'm going to try to leave a little bit of light for the camera so you can see what's going on, but I'm going to attempt to do it like a like a tense taking ten second shutter speed so what we're going to do is, uh, we're going to fire all the strobes and everything is going to go dark and I'm gonna wait for ten seconds and they are going tio do their thing with a laser pin and into the camera you guys were basically going to just make a little swirly of sorts with with the white or the red um into right into the camera just do your thing for that ten seconds you can write your name you can do whatever you want um and then I'm also gonna have um you know what do you do? You need that trip on? You have that ready, john um yeah, definitely try but for this um so I'm gonna be creating uh, light on the camera as they're doing light and it's a lot of you know where I'm going. This isn't too hard to figure out it's not like this is genius, but but it's a cool effect and especially with with the later lasers hitting the glitter reflecting back up in the camera with them shouting their lights right in the viewfinder like all kinds of bizarreness happens and my favorite thing about this process is you can't literally cannot create the same image twice um because no matter what they do, no matter what I do it's going to be different every time and that's my favorite thing to be able to accomplish digitally is when you conduce something that can't be recreated ble because digital photography you know it's it's made to be consistent the lighting it's made to be isn't so anything any time I can shake something up an experiment and make it where I can't repeat that I get really excited because it just feels like I beat the system somehow um I hope that's making sense we're moving fast don't like it you're really tired a few myself talking to and so you know basically we will need the aim this thing right down the camera jeremy have a couple of questions from the internet robbie klein is asking isn't it bad for the censor to get hit with the laser? I knew somebody would ask that it probably is but in my opinion cameras or toys and toys are meant to be played with so uh now you know, I have used lasers a ton for different reasons and my camera seemed to work just fine so I can't say that I encourage that I'm sure they're all kinds of technical people out there saying that I'm destroying my cameras but uh yeah I think that's I think that's good yeah um this will be interesting with this very wide uh because I basically need to get right over that way yeah, I just turn this yeah exactly it'll be perfect very technical here glitter and masking tape jeremy then and I would appreciate it the more you can shout out your settings as you shoot yeah very well do the asking ok appreciate it up um my settings I'm going to try to go to ice a one hundred actually I think because we're going to go so dark I have to go toe like I so eight hundred um so usually um I know a lot of you are wondering why isn't he using a light meter were first or with the with the viewfinder camera like that you can't use a light meter because it kind of just serves everything off but typically still don't use a light meter because you know, I just actually a funny story to tell about that in a minute but you know, with digital cameras were not foresees light meters anymore I have a pretty good range guessing settings and I'll tell you why this is a really funny story that you can quote me on all day on what an idiot I tend to be but my first two or three years of shooting professionally uh I got really really good at knowing exposures because uh I didn't know there was an in camera light meter no one had ever told me that I just blindly bought my first digital camera that know much I had to learn on my own so I was shooting in the dominican republic uh with one of my assistants and I was telling him how I just shot uh something with some other for tire bills like man every time their exposures were just money they're just dead on I don't understand how they did it and and this is carol you know, there's ah in camera light meter right was like no, I didn't know that was like see all those little dots in your view funder so uh I hope that is the sum of girls minds to know that I'm not so not so not so smart. Um this is looking good uh soak in john can you raise the table just a little bit way deliver the tripod a little bit here or there maybe not so much with that that's going to skidded down scaled the table often skip this damn right. All right. In fact, a lot of times when I do this long ten second shutter speed stuff I use ah remote like this so I don't shake the camera myself. Um so let's put our remote in here. This is so weird that people are probably either really border now are fairly interested people are not bored jammy okay, good. They find this fascinating good any time I do this ah, obviously kind of have to manual focus he rearranged my glitter here very important stuff. No, I think our think our glitter uh amazing my ear pieces falling promise like my tripartisan bending measure monica the internet says take a much time as you need jeremy. All right, thank you, guys perfect. So now what we're going to do is kill is much light as possible without making the cameras go black doing going to see a little bit but we need that we need the camera, the lighting power let's start all the way down you can we yeah, we can still see a little bit um and then so I'm going to go we're right what's that okay before I'm gonna goto s o a hundred like I said I'm going to go two to eight um because that's the only thing my life my life like this lens will go to um I always love it when assistance they're dumping good luck with that guys maybe go to the bathroom for that um what does it mean to be dumping? What does it mean to be dumping that's a great question. Well, been there enough say uh just getting um I can't believe I just said that online it's a christmas vacation quote? Uh well guys, it says are, um dumping the light I might have an assistant explain this because it's you explain this job right? This light started out a full power when we turned down the power passengers are still charged. The first flash is gonna be a full power even though they're turned down so wait up adopting it way don't about all the power from the capacitors on let him come back just where we have him set a low power yes, whatever you turn the lights down and pop it once before she did the internet here that they hear everything everything well uh modern lights no sorry that they couldn't hear what you think I was gone said if you use this you talked a lot about flux capacitors and stuff we're talking about dumping the strobes as we started with the strobes at full power and we want to bring him down to the lowest power setting so when we dialing down the capacitors, they're still charged to their full power so we popped the flesh to dumped out the charge and then it only builds up to the low power charge we want reagan told you all one of the most technically fishing gone the world um six really good I think I think this is going to be perfect so uh one of things that I need to go in and do is put my lens on manual focus because I don't want you know my camera to be searching for the focus I'm just going to do it but I, uh ok, so ah, where is that? I need a need another laser pen and a flashlight and have I given you your laser printer? I've given you all that laser opinion boarded up it though, okay? So here is your fancy um red and white somebody even heavy use a little bit of both and you're just gonna be aiming right there and you can play around we'll just try some different results but you can either you know, make a straight line across you khun this kind of do this kind of thing whatever whatever you want to do those two buttons what's that yes, they are hopefully they actually that one cool and then that flashlight all right, so I'm going to go and fire off my first shot and just see um see where we're again. This is a complete guess. Um let's go and turn the mauling lights off now that I'm focus we're gonna get even darker sorry, guys, just give me a minute. Um was that second people? Thea fairly good down on my c it's been a while since I've done this some having remember all the settings I had doubt in get down on my, uh literally going to go to ten seconds. So what happens when we do this is the strobes freeze our talent, the the free this this subjects and then during that ten seconds of extra light he's able to do his swirly thing with the light and I'm able to do mine. Um so it's a really fun trick. If you strobes and dark you can fire that, you know, split of a second tio freeze your subject and then you have the rest of that time during your shutter speed to play use lights again we'll be doing a lot of that over the next few days a couple days I'm so I'm gonna try this again from the use my remote go ahead and try your your show anything into the light oh and I also have my white balance on a flash um any time I use strobes obviously put more white balance on the flash setting because of his color color correct and um right now we're way tio over exposed so we'll see how this looks ready the shooter still open I'll do the melodies we think next time again we're just testing to see where this is uh are we okay? We're getting there um so wants to close down a little bit can either that as everybody digging this this skin yes can you remind us what the lenses that you're using music howard the cannon one hundred millimeter macro to eight thank you. Yeah, ok, here we go. Yeah, that one's better yes, that was much better. Oh, you mean from me? Actually. All right, so here we go. I'm gonna introduce are they seeing the images she had pop up on the screen from from my computer? Ok, good, so obviously you can see right now that we're not there yet um I'm gonna use this bad boy and I'm I'm now painting my camera with the red laser pen I'm gonna play I'm painting their name we'll see what happens a little bit too much on my laser pen but um yellers are seeing the results um so I'm gonna do a lot less of my penn and you did your thing tio I shutter speed is ten seconds the police let me look again yet ten seconds and I went from two eight to six three to get them darker um I'm gonna go to eight and I'm going to do less later pin this time because that's a bit over kill all right, so here we go. Ready where's my button here do that a little bit I feel like I'm like cooking and a little dash of saw little dash if ever hear me when you're working with high profile celebrities artists to me you're setting this stuff up with assistance beforehand or you're having them go through all of fitting hair adjusting lights um on the hop higher profile stuff we definitely try too you have everything done and ready do can they hear that question that she's asking yes ok, yeah so I mean, when I'm shooting a celebrity a lot of times with celebrities you literally get two minutes or ten minutes or whatever, so we don't want to death anything with my subjects in front of camera like to let them go drink coffee, hang out and then when we're ready, they can't they come in and been been we're done, you know, that that's in and a lot of times when I do the turn this thing off actually leaving all the reform or second, okay, um, and a lot of tumble in some of the tv cheats I've done, um, you know, you've got you've got twenty people to shoot over the course of day, and so you just learn how to be very efficient on on on those bigger tv shoots, we also pre light so the client will harm me for an extra day and that first day will spend all day. I'll have three assistance and and, you know, why the crap out of gear? And we would just spend all day lighting each and every set we'll have enough strobes for all our sets. And so the next day, we literally I can just stroll through my sets in my camera and there's no testing at all. I mean, everything and the assistance will even go and mark all the settings like every single pack they know where things of doubt and, well, right now, my camera settings so it's literally like boom, okay, we finished we finished the subject now let's move over here because that time the hair and makeup personal send india subject over and I'll just change my camera settings been ready to go so it's nice to have that full day of pre lighting and I suggest that people try that at home you know if they've got a big shoot maybe spend the day before using all your gear to set up pre plan so you're ready to go in the clients love that and only think you're even more professional for having your stuff together you know um and so already I love to edit on the spot, which I'm sure you'll want to see um but I'm just going toe go ahead and get a vague idea of what's going on here with my gonna change my crop ratio toe one by one um going here and crop a little bit they're seeing this right okay and so keep it pretty loose you know, a miss pushing for this kind of thing right now I think the white balance is to blue someone um make that a bit warmer I'm gonna take it but it's still a bit over exposed at least on my screen I have no idea what this is looking like on your screens at home um because I know there's a gazillion monitors out there who knows what this looks like so we're getting there? I mean, that flashlight I just used right here is a bit too much, andi, I mean, there's, a lot of stuff going on, this is not a final product by any means, but but it's kind of it's still kind of interesting. I'm not a fan of the color glitter. I like using much smaller glitter that silver. I think that would be cooler in this specific in this specific shot, but we're working with what we have, so but I think you all at this point are getting the idea of a really while portrait. Um, so let's, try a few more. I'm going to rearrange my glitter. I'm sure that will be quoted on twitter, it's, it's, a little big we should about smaller glitter john so I find glitter shopping with you, by the way, I don't know that I've ever had that much fun shopping for glitter what's the perfect look at that painting my glitter um, so again, I think, very think much smaller glitter that was also over would look cooler for the shot, but you guys get the idea. Um, so let's keep going already start running the lands or couple cincy and with us should keep those settings that cropped out and right way lost something there you lost craig's head go to your head I'm not sure why that happened actually what's that yeah I tried again on and pop up in space maybe that time so at this point obviously you couldn't give the supply because at this point I can't even really see craig's face or her face or beckett's face so you know this is where you get into trouble shooting um with our friends need to tilt the substance more yeah yes that should be better. Okay um all right let's try it again so we just raise the camera very, very simple stuff here, let me see my eyes so is remember you had to change its four hundred because when we first start shooting we were really over exposed corrected and went down to four hundred eyes so, um tricon jeremy weddings in spain and twitter with like snow with the lighting ratios are with the lighting ratios are yeah um you know right now what are they yeah what that's right? We're we're that's definitely looking better um in terms of them being lit did you do just a white light and kind of one spot that time you made around? Uh uh yeah, so that's the cool thing about playing with this stuff is that, you know in fact I'm gonna go ahead and move another camera in here um the cool thing about these little debate old you know, vintage cameras as they all give you a completely opposite are different effect and so um there's gonna be explosion of ttv shots on flicker tomorrow uh, explosion so turn on the mauling lights again modeling lights for those of you that don't know or just basically you know what? It sounds like it's a way for you to see what you're about to shoot especially here in the dark um and you can also do good things with modern lights on slow shutter speeds um this is this will be interesting perfect I'm going to go without I'm glad this time idema black stripes uh piece of paper love in a museum says the flashlights and only very expensive equipment here um all right, it's falling is there one more piece of tape that I can use some counter blithe now we're using double stick tape when trouble uh let's give this a shot uh, you already get amusing the remote so I don't really hit the camera. Other hitting the camera might be actually help my cause effect let's try it already that exactly the kind of thing that I like to think clients continue to harm because I'm always open to accidents I'm always open to doing things the wrong way or trying things differently um and so that's the whole idea of experimenting like just now I said I need to stick to marry moat and I'm like no let's try shaking the camera a little bit who knows what will happen so we'll give it a shot already I'm just kind of barely moving a little bit and I might do nothing units but why not try that's the lesson today why not try it and awkward silence and we had to move our crop here you like that a lot better that's very cool um so going crop yeah just outside that gold I gotta how like more of the black stripes but I'm digging this a lot more than our last camera um yeah let me how like the black stripes wording a little more yeah this is cool and they all see the sea the mouse or quick do you see this faint glow of their heads up there? I think that was created because we move the camera and that's exact kind of thing that I'm talking about and again the beautiful nothing about this is we can't ever ever recreate this federal again and that's why I get so excited about this process because we're truly doing something unique that can't be repeated um so let's do it again and awkward silence and too much red way too much so I'm gonna dio do one more with just a little bit of my my side and then we'll get the gloves again that time the weird a little bit moved um kale stood again jeremy mar loon in the chat room says ebay ebay sales on vintage cameras are going through the roof really that's the lyric yeah so you know that one I liked where the gold got how late it so much rather on the next one and again I think you're seeing the screen I, uh there's too much black so in this in this case I would just crop that out but I'm going to try to use my laser pinto literally highlight the edges of the goal because I thought that was a really cool effect on that very first image um yeah look good the nice work stood again here we go hope that worked with the camera. Whoa. Too much gold uh still kind of interesting though and I like to just jack with my white balance I mean literally like go all the way green go all the way blue just you know why not? Why not try things? Um especially when you're doing something this experimental um so this is really kind of a hit or miss a hit or miss uh, experience experiment, obviously, but this is the kind of thing where you always get one or two amazing images and I think we've already gotten a couple of that I could make work I think the less read the better but there's something really magic about that first try where was the shot that was the first one we used the gold on yeah I love what's going on up there you can see my cursor I'm a big fan of all this all these things in fact I'm gonna crop a little tighter because I think this is a hard to see where the edges of the crop is there yeah um is this helpful? Is anybody out there you are you all having some of this it's hard to know what the feedback is with all this awkward silence in here um yeah I'm digging that so let's try just a couple more and this time I'm gonna have your uh while the slow shutter speed is going um stand up and walk towards camera and just keep kind of shouting the light into the camera as you're coming closer ready? Okay we're both you can't really see it that you can see it there tried that you see you see the nice blurs up top of the screen oh I forgot to use my red laser pendants why? Um ok let's let's do that one more time this is fun. I get in this kind of stuff all day yeah trying to get a great idea john just suggested that he liked them with a flashlight as they walk forward and I think that's a good idea so we will we're about to find out how it looks ready and and I like seeing the blue tape in there yes, you can't really see them walking but still I think you'll by this point are are starting t get what I'm talking about here um so like I like even seen my blue masking tape it's it's all about these really um happy accidents that I'm going to talk more about later I mean again the fun thing about this here I think the class might like this um the audience photo shop oven so I'm gonna open cs four here I'm a go ahead and process a couple images we make our parachutes day one faves so I'm just gonna grab a couple images super quick I'm gonna pick it random um the beautiful thing because this is so abstract and let me go in and let use tiff and we will say uh just to speed things up I'm going to say one hundred fifty d p I and home percent I'm going to go ahead and process that one um why not? And then I'm going to go ahead and see why not bring another image on there from another camera this is that's the great thing about this is that for the experiment and continues in photo shop with this kind of wild um you know, wild experimentation so I just exported three images um see my batch see if there s you'll see this one is still exporting and this is my laptop that's about two years old, so you'll have to forgive me for the tickets really slow. Um, I'm gonna open up those images said is processed let's see, cowart shoots day one days and here are three tips um, I have no idea what's about to happen, but this should be fun tow you just see how these kind of lot up together um, so these air pretty vastly different in the way that they're composed the way that they're crossed, but I kind of like that this is I'm going to start here because it's my favorite crop um it's just nice and, you know, already kind of looks like it could be an album cover um frankly, I don't like all the colors, so I'm gonna de saturate it all the way were quick and then I'm gonna bring in, uh, going to bring in another image. Let's try this one, we copy er faced this image um, someone going to freak out about what I'm about to do because usually don't, you know, supposed to enlarge images, but in this case, we're already so kind of lo fi that it's ok to enlarge might if here I'm gonna go ahead and hit fifty percent just to see what this is going to look like about fifty percent larger basically trying to match the sizes of their heads roughly just get it done in somewhere we'll say that why not make the, um one hundred percent and then I'm going to create a mask and wood this is like literally I feel like I'm in kindergarten kindergarten right now just painting um I love doing this stuff this is the kind of thing I could do all day um um creating a very soft brush and I'm just going to start painting out some details um maybe too too heavy handed but you know, you just start I definitely want to get bring this back in I'm like I'm gonna go ahead and turn this into a uh as you gather seeing there's there's about a million possibilities already um so what can be done here? Um what this image and uh start bringing back and some of these why isn't that image coming back here we go. Jeremy chill bug on the internet says please tell jeremy this is truly riveting cool thank you. Um so this is pretty dang chaotic um but I think you all are understanding the experimental nature of what we get to do is photographers and photo shop artist why not bring in that last image? I think this one is the coolest of all um fifty percent I'm gonna line them up to very loosely this is almost like thinking abstractly and on almost like painting and photoshopped this is man screens drove me crazy we're too much smaller screen resolution than I would normally work at um the layer set to fifty percent capacity um so there it is and actually I think that's a really strong cover by itself I mean you can't read their names but I love what's happening all over around so I'm gonna add a ah another layer mask um and just kill some of my I'm bringing back in their type um from below um maybe bring it in some of those borders like above um how much of this ah creative process do you know we show your subjects uh I mean it depends that they if they want to come see it I'll let him but I mean typically this is this is after they're gone they've left the set you know I go home and get him office and I start doing what you're seeing now so you know or mobile ending yeah I'm normal blending motive the layer maska so this is actually like I'm pretty I'm getting to form pretty happy with this like I actually I'm a fan of I'm a fan of where this is headed um I'm gonna take my brush a pathway down about twenty percent and maybe just start creating some more faint stuff going on right here in just a I didn't like that um you know so the ops the possibilities air completely endless I'll show this one hundred percent way got some pretty uh pretty well detail in here um happening and photoshopped it's amazing what a laser fin on black paper with with silver marker looks like uh one hundred percent so uh we only have a couple of minutes for the session before we break any questions can I have a question from tim in twitter when you shoot for clients how much of the creative process do you usually control versus what they want when I shoot for clients how much of the creative process do I control versus what they want? The completely depends my favor is when it's a partnership I love it when a client comes to me and says here is kind of what we want um and then I get to add my two cents because then it really feels like a team effort I mean, like I said for this particular job they they just said do it everyone you know we only have you know, this small budget way don't have this is very last minute so we don't have a plan so this is what I came up with sometimes I am literally there to push a button um you know it's funny you might have an assistant coming a shooting there like all coward is push a button and sometimes that's all they want me to do is they want me to show up, execute exactly their vision exactly the lighting they want and I'm there tio get the job done, work for the subjects and all that and so really, really, uh, goes across a wide range of what that looks like, um, we can turn the lights back on, by the way, yeah, you turn on the lights back on what's that another question way our love everybody was a game. Um, any more questions before you break, you have a couple questions, you hear it in chat just wanted to clarify, so the strobe just flashes once and then they're in the dark yet then they're in the dark and we're playing with that playing with the lights, john no one in chats pointed out that their backwards from the way they're sitting right? Yes, because of the t t o it flips them reverse sideways and, uh and yeah, it's, another cool little happy addition to what we're doing. So I hope everybody is going out and buying glitter right now later selling out any other questions question from eternal in the chat room how much time do you spend shooting versus editing, um man get questioned, teo, I mean, this this stuff obviously very post heavy, um but a lot of times you know, it depends on the job you know, sometimes my clients want me to do other retouching or sometimes they want to handle themselves from the bigger jobs like on all the tv jobs that do you um basically walk on the set I do the job we shoot straight to, we tell her straight to computer like we're doing now they walk up for the hard drive and I don't see the image until it's on tv or in a magazine or whatever and so that's a bit awkward because I like to be a part of the whole process I like to manage my own images, but a lot of times you still have that choice when you're dealing with you know this kind of clients but you know, with musicians and record labels definitely prefer labels usually prefer my hand on the post production um so does that answer your question? Another question from john odd in the chat room how much of your process does your graphic design background influence your thought? Creations? Um a lot. I mean, you know, in great in college a study graphic design and you know, you study graphic language the color study color um balance composition, perspective all that stuff and you just learn by sitting in critiques with your professors all that stuff work what works and what doesn't and also you have to learn photo shop and so as I was telling chased our embassy of the day like you know once I graduated college and clients started handing me you know these images that I didn't think for that great or that interesting I would have to take what I learned and photo shop in college and go apply that and try to make that image look cool so a lot of what you all just saw or things that you know I kind of had to learn on the job and and take these what I thought were bad images and do interesting things to them that answer the question ok yeah thanks yeah yeah we'll start striking this yeah another question from photo nater in the chat room I didn't really hear you um posing them I might have missed that jeremy but do you I mean you spent a lot of time posing models or do you have favorite poses? Is that yeah, I mean again it varies depends on the job I mean with this kind of thing they're more just here to to sit in and teo into sit there mean that their job is very easy but yes sometimes it's all about the pose and I think we have a brief a brief thing tomorrow on posing if I'm being super honest that of all the things I'm going to be teaching I would say posing as my weakest ability I mean posing it's hard I recent was reading in an interview with any liebowitz and she said she prefers toe to sit back and just watch and kind of wait for the right moments and and that's what I love to do is I love to just see what you know, watch the subjects and let them do their thing it's really awkward when the subject doesn't know how to pose because they were both just staring at each other and I'm just getting it's not that bad I do step in when they when they are awkward, but I love it when I work with a professional model or a trained actor who they can do their job, I can do my job and then it's truly making an image together when the model is new are awkward or they don't want to do I feel like I'm doing two jobs at that time, so it gets really interesting trying to think for them and think for myself and so the more the more professional you guys get, the more you'll have access to maybe talented musicians have been in front of camera law or trained models or whatever and as you shoot more, I think it'll become easier because you'll be shooting people who've been in front of the camera more and they understand their best angles they understand howto how to stand in front of a camera but I will say that you'll still I mean, some of the most famous actors in the world of shot and then they get in front of camera. They just freeze up that still want to do is totally different than being an actor and carrying out line. So, um, you will find some models who are still awkward, you know? So have a question that people were asking earlier mac picks argue about your beauty beauty disher is it a silver or white beauty dish? And if so, why? Um, this one is white. This is where it gets really lives with me. I mean, there's, some gear stuff that I just don't care, you know, that's like gear for me is give me a light. I heard a quote recently said cameras like a toothbrush, it gets the job done and that's kind of how I think about most gear, you know, it's like there's, a lot of white silver. I mean, if if uh, some jobs that might might be more specific, but like here, they would both be interesting to me, silver is generally going to heart ah, harsher light um that's why it's a bit softer, but with his experimental is we're being you know, we just went in running a beaded if so it didn't matter to me what kind? What kind was I did prefer the grid because the grid focus this slight and that's what I wanted but this particular set up yeah so one more question from water and chat do you have final images in your head when you go into a shoot or do you basically get the shot you want on the fly? It's a very very good question this image all just saw was one of the very, very few times I had a final image in my head um it's rare I don't I mean I feel like I have a vision for ideas and concepts but a lot of times I don't see the exact final image especially with this specifically when this is a very specific trick I guess you could say a lot of times for me it's all about setting up making sure I have a cool occasion making sure the wardrobe is doing their thing makeups doing their things and just giving myself room to do my thing because I do think that clients come to me for my ability teo teo just play an experiment and you know record labels especially a lot of times they they want as many images of possible that the literally tell me man eight, ten, twelve, twenty setups as much as you can give us and so they love first attire were to show up to a limited room like this and be able to come up with ten different looks and so yeah so I just like to come on set and do what I'm doing now and and play an experiment with advertising it's a complete opposite mentality with advertising a lot of times type of stuff that chased as they want one image and you plan for that specific image and it's got to be amazing jaw dropping and nothing can really change there's no room for experimentation uh but thankfully with music moves which is most of what I do it's it's all about playing and seeing what you come up with thank you get for a break I think so to keep the job keep us on schedule it's time for a break and we're going to be doing the life finder giveaway right? Correct. So that's helping about that? Craig asked me look earlier please dio ok talk about life finder what I find her um I think they're about to play the trailer for this new dvd that I've spent all your making we were going to try to have it out in september but it just came out this week I mean the preorders air online now street date is december fifteenth but it's just ah um I realized that in everything I do whether it's traveling with britney spears on her tour or traveling to haiti right after the earthquake, or doing what you just saw in post production, everything I do, you know, isa creative bringing somethingto life, um, you know, even finding the life in the story. And so I just it was. It felt like more of a mission statement. For me, as a as a creative and is a lifelong vision is, is that I want to make bring life, bring beauty, tio, my client's concepts or two stories. And so this dvd really just explores all the different things that I do and it's all educational it's, all kind of narration. Walking through photo shoots from imogen heap in london. Tio, a bunch of bands that I photographed, tells a story in haiti. So I think they're going to play the trailer, and it'll explain that much better than I just did.

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.