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Experimental Portraiture

Lesson 6 of 14

Image Critique

Jeremy Cowart

Experimental Portraiture

Jeremy Cowart

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Lesson Info

6. Image Critique


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Experimenting with Weird Light Duration:1:21:31
2 Experimenting with Seamless Duration:1:05:53
6 Image Critique Duration:55:15
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Experimenting with Props Duration:31:36
5 Experimenting with Motion Duration:1:07:55
6 90-Minute Challenge, Part 1 Duration:1:02:11
7 90-Minute Challenge, Part 2 Duration:32:55
8 Q&A Duration:28:05

Lesson Info

Image Critique

So we're doing the image critique now. I've done this a few times. I'm by no means a, uh, expert image critique. Er ah, but I'm just gonna be dead honest, and I'm afraid, actually might get myself in trouble doing this. But I'm also not that harsh. I know when I was in college, I would have ah, professor critique my work, and it would just crush my my confidence. And it would, you know, to take all this with a grain of salt. Like I said earlier, this is just one person's opinion. Um, you know, these images might be amazing, and I might be the one that's an idiot. So don't take this too seriously. I don't even know if I'm at the beginning. So I'm just gonna hit the next button and flip through the entire, uh, much as I can during our A lot of time, I'm going to just talk about the first things that strike me. My goal for doing this is to is to give you all ideas and give you things to look for next time. Whether that's postproduction cropping lighting, I think we're going to cover all u...

m and I'm just going to start flying through stuff. Um, we're gonna go to pretty fast pace here. So you all just hang in there with me? Um, So why not start here with the vinyl one by the 11? I guess that's I said, I'm not going to sail the names because we will know. We know that I will kill the pronunciation of yours. Names. Um, I don't make sure my screen is nice. And again, I said, I'm gonna fly through these so you'll bear with me. I really like this first image. I think it's gorgeous. Um, you know, first things I might do is I might erase, joke and see my cursor right on my screen. I see this line back here. Those are the kinds of little visual tangents that I tend to look for and get rid of. Um, I don't love that her hands are cropped off on the edges. It seems like you could have brought that. Ah, that right hand back in the frame. Just see not chopping off her fingers. Um, the things to look for the way her leg is. Not so even though her legs blurred out. It's not as flattered right here. It kind of looks a little weird. So you might crop in. I don't know. There's different ways you could get around that, maybe lift her leg up a little bit. So it all the weight isn't on the legs. So it's not, um doesn't look thicker. But overall, I think this images is gorgeous. Those things I just said every nitpicky, but it's very striking image. Um, this is Ah, nice image. I'm a big I don't like tangents. When I was in college and studying web design, one of my professors, I went on this big tangent about tangents and, uh, see this little piece of the bathing suit up there at the very top top of this girl's stomach. That, to me, is attains it where my I guess to that little piece right away. And I want to just cropped that out. Same thing with the guy's hand over here, you see, just a little bit of his arm and hand and I would rather see the arm all the way in the shot of the arm all the way out of the shot. Um, fact, in this case, I'd like to see it just all the way out. Or if you're going for complete symmetry, you could keep the arm all the way in and have a perfectly symmetrical image right there. Um, I'm not also tweak it a little bit to straighten out this this line over here again, That's that's nitpicky the postproduction. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of I know. That's kind of look is very, very trendy. But as a photographer, I feel like I knew right away that it kind of it kind of looks like high pass sharpening. It may not be, um, and so you know, it depends on who your target audience they're going for. Um, but at least you are experimenting with the postproduction. One thing, which I think is a good idea. Um, dig this image. I'm gonna keep moving there. I'm not going to comment on every single image. We we pass live photography. Um, you know, I don't I'm not a huge fan of life photography, even though I had to do it for three months on the Britney tour. Um, but I know it's a huge. There's a huge market out there in life photography, but as far as this goes, You know, this to me, is a little imbalanced. It seems like there's too much stage, too much room over there. I do like negative space, but I don't know this image seems like you could be cropped in a bit tighter, maybe just around his knees across here. And, you know, maybe this is what I'm or interested in is right there across the knees, maybe some negative space over here and then just across the top here, I'll keep moving again. Like I said, I'm just We can't comment on everything. There's just no way. Um, this is ah, kind of, um, a band shot that just tends to happen a lot when I think people start shooting bands like, you know, they have people sit down and all stare at the camera, and it just feels a little bit, um, a little bit just too plain for me and maybe push this guy up against the rail, maybe have somebody stand, you know, stand or lean against over here, just mix it up a bit more, maybe try to catch them talking and interacting with each other so it feels more like a genuine shot. Um, this is feels feels a bit too to stale for me that the c p A. Um, the CPI color seems to work for their what they're wearing in the general vibe of the band. I think that's fine, but but overall, it just seems like, you know, it didn't seem like you tried hard enough in in the posing of the ban. Um, kind of I kind of dig this this vintage feel on a modern man like it says I might ah, crop in a little more on his leg down here cause his leg looks maybe a little thick again, These air, I'm doing an image. Critiques, um, being forced to be a little bit nit picky. Um, this is odd. I just photographed Stanley, the guy that created the hole and Spider Man and all that stuff. And I had to do a shop very similar to this one for, um, for his new TV show, Superhumans. And, um, I think there's too much noise down here at the bottom. I like seeing a little bit of that, but I would crop up a bit higher, and so it's not so heavily weighted towards the bottom. And I also might move him over to the right or the left. It feels a little bit. I just dead centered like that. Um, I like this image. I don't love the execution in the post production. It seems to be honest it a little bit of ah glowy effect. I'm not really sure what else to say there. I mean, I love these little spots on the wall. I don't know what that is, but that definitely had some some nice mystery there mean overall, I think it's a nice composition. I'm just being a little critical on the There's something in the post production that that I'm not loving. Keep moving. I think this is really strong image. I would crop out this brick on the left again, Kevin. Other tangent. My I went right to this like and I ask myself why this in the image I love this composition of this kind of sweeping in a sweeping thing takes your eye right up to her eyes. But the problem is, the image seems really soft. This is probably at a very low f stop, and but it seems like the focus was off, and I think I really want to see her as nice and sharp there, Um and the, you know, the whites that this is tricky when you get up to this, like banding effect in the sky. If it were me, I would just go in a photo shop with my white brush, and I would just take that sky completely white and just get rid of that awkward banding up top, because I think it's a really strong image. Um, I think this is really strong. The composition is beautiful. In this case, I'm a big fan of all the negative space. I think this works really well. I just like the simplicity, the pose. And they did kind of what I was talking about earlier, where they leave everything nice and elongated with the girl in her arms. Um, strong image. I might go in photo shop and, you know, tuck in her stomach a good bit because it looks, you know, any time somebody bends over like that, it's gonna create awkward fold in the clothing. So I think I might work on the stomach a little bit, but other than that, I think it's strong um, I think this is really beautiful. I'm not sure why That white line is of that. I might just be a flicker crop or something. I'm pretty sure the photographer did not intend for that white stripe to be over there. Um, I really like this image. I don't really know what's going on. Post production wise, but it looks like something very subtle might be happening. Maybe with a texture overlay. But, um, it's really pretty. Um, dig, dig, delight. I mean, everything that's working. This looks like a pinhole type of, um, I'm gonna keep moving. This is a composite, obviously, unless this person managed to find the world's largest period. Um, that period is massive. Uh, I don't know what to think about. Um, I would take the period out, I think the period for me persons bizarre because you have this really innocent sweet moment with the little girl in her cat, um, in the woods, and that, to me feels riel. And then you throw in this monster pier in the background. E and I don't know did think of that s o. It looks like it's a composite. Are person would take up the period. Um, nice image here. All the shadows and light of very nice. I might crop a little. Wish he would have cropped a little lower to include a little breathing room under the feet. And same thing with the pole. Kind of a visual tangents happening over here. Maybe just crop up the pole altogether. Keep that horizon line nice and straight, but it's a nice moment. Nice heart. This is Ah, good case of using hard light. Well, um, one of things that I'm very hasn't hesitant toe talk on, but I'm gonna go. I'm gonna go there. Um, And already, when I was flipping through these images earlier, I saw a lot of people mimicking other photographers out there. And I think that's a great thing to do if you're learning. Um, And if you're wanting to experiment, I mean about by all means, people should go out and try to, you know, maybe what do what I'm doing or what other photographers were doing. But But when you're calling yourself a professional, I think it when you get to that point, we're ready to call yourself a professional. Think it's wise to to not put work out there that looks just like other people's work. Um, I think it's just it's smart because as a photographer, I look at this and see Jill Greenberg's work. You might be familiar with Jill Greenberg, but she does this very similar style with kids crying, and it's very kind of overly lit from the top of the head to behind the shoulders on the face. And even though this is a pretty image and the light is beautiful, my mind instantly goes to Joe Greenberg. So, um, definitely, definitely mimic styles of other for Jarvis toe learn. But once you're out there hanging your logo on images, um, I suggest you try to stay unique to your vision and your brand. I mean, it's singles with music. I mean, when any of us here Ah, band like u two, we love you, too, because they're unique. They created their sound. And then when you hear all these other bands out there who are trying to sound like you to, we could care less, because we've already you know, we've already heard that we already know you to is and the same goes with images. Um, again, the exact same thing here. Dave Hill is a very good friend of mine, and this looks just like a day Phil photograph. It's almost verbatim so and again, I'm not calling this person out because they're probably doing this just to learn and teach themselves, which I think is great. I mean, this is this images on flicker. So, you know, um, I think it's fair game when you're just trying to learn stuff. But, um, as soon as this person is rated, really go out there and put their portfolio in front of clients don't Chances are good that those clients have seen, you know, Dave's work and they might recognize that. So that not only makes you not look good, it makes Dave not. It just doesn't help anybody to put work out there. That looks like some looks just like somebody else's works to be careful with that, Um, when you're when you're really ah. Calling yourself in a professional and full time with this, um, we already back in the beginning. Um, you know, this person looks like they're doing what we've been doing all day, which is just experimenting. It's obviously very low, very low F stop shooting mud up and I would have explored this morning. I'm not a fan of this composition, but how do you like some of the elements happening here with the dots and then the light in the green lights, you know, So I think that could have been. Could have been explored a lot more in terms of composition. Um, I kind of dig these images. Israel wide open F stops, even kind of dig the post processing. Really, It's almost like I know it's a very edgy approach to shooting pets, and it's kind of sad, too, because we're all in candles. And maybe that was the intent of the photographer Teoh. You know you can t use Post brought post processing to tell the story. Any questions? So far, Kanneh, we have questions that were holding for the end of class Q and A, but not necessarily specifically on these images. And how long do I have with this critique? Well, it's about almost 4 40 now, so we have 20 minutes or so. This is helping. So as long as you want to go and then we can certainly movinto question, um, this is I like this image. I like this composition. I dig this kind of red, this red angle over here. That's a nice touch, My crop a little bit lower overall. So you don't have so much breathing room above and you get to see her hand below. So maybe, maybe would have just paying down a little bit to really think about darling, that composition in. But overall, I think it's nice, you know, with the graffiti behind them. And I'm a big fan of the splash of color on the far left. Um, I love this image. Beautiful. It looks different depending on what screen you're looking at. Uh, but it's it's really strong. I don't know what the reason is for the black border on the I guess it's going all the way around. So I guess that works. But I would like to see it without any black border. It's a really, really strong image. I don't really have anything negative or any critiquing to do here. Um, kind of interesting. I would have liked the scene less crop down around the bottom in the left side. But this is really interesting with this wave. This, uh, this kind of curl of water going around in their heads. Kind of following that. That pattern. I would like to see more detail in these blacks, but that's just being a bit a bit anal. You know, that's the beautiful thing about having a light. If somebody would have let this from the back, you could have filled in the shadows a little bit. And then you have these. Nice, um I mean, exposure on the sky and the clouds is really beautiful. Um, and some getting pretty nitpicky. But overall, I would've just like the scene less information down here and in focus. More on all this. All this over here. Um, I like this shot. Um, this is this head of been lit somehow. It's really cool. I'm a big fan of the reflection on big fan of this texture. Um, maybe again, I'm really weird with crops, but I'm might have seen less of this detail down here, but it's a nice shot. Um, so we call the deer in headlights. Um, beautiful, beautiful child. Um, you know, they shut their hard to critique Is that means like, it's beautiful kids. It's a great exposure. It's beautiful light You know, um, it's just a beautiful shot because of the subject matter and its kids having a good time together, um, have to look at everything on all my screen system Cannot taken overall. Have you like this shot? Uh, sometimes going pretty overexposed can really work well. And I think this is a good case of that. Really, really over over blown light. And, uh, I think it works well, I'm even a fan of the composition. Um, dick, the symmetry, their summers. And I'm always a fan of of symmetry, things being equally balanced. Um, this is kind of the bob we played with earlier getting the bouquet in the front. I would like this is a square image. Lose all this black space and just completely, uh, completely crop that in the square. Things that be nice. This is a good instance of cool shot, but let's retouch that armpit. It looks like it was attempted to be retouched, but it still looks weird. It seems like there's a lot of work that could be done right there. Um, but, you know, it's a fun personality shot. Dick tattoos. Um, this is a really beautiful girl beautiful shot again. I mean, I could get nit picky on the retouching on the neck. Um, it seems like the eyes could be sharper, you know, maybe some sharpening and post, Um, maybe even a little more. I'm usually not a big fan of tilted images, but it seems like this a bit even a little more tilt going diagonally across the frame. It might be nice, but it's a strong image. Recently I had a a record label. Tell me specifically, they called me again. It's been a while since they called me, but the coming this that really sick of this backlit, overexposed, sunny field look and and, you know, they realized that a lot of these newer photographers haven't attempted to use light together ever. And Tim there either Intimidated by delights, they can't afford lights. But it seems like even though this is a gorgeous shot, it seems like this is really being overplayed right now in the industry. I know I've done it a lot. I mean, I'm guilty, too, but, you know, that's kind of what I was talking about earlier is we really need to start pushing, pushing the limits, more looking outside of our industry because even though the shot is gorgeous, it's a nice moment. I just feel like I've seen this shot so many times. And so, um yeah, that's just a little personal. Two cents. Um, live photographs are really hard to get anything unique, and I think this is a good example of a unique shot. The Rays coming through that smoker gorgeous is just a nice composition and spending three months on the road documenting the biggest tour in the world. I know for sure that live photos air are always interesting with composition and good light. And I think this is a ah, pretty creative shot, um, for life for a life shot. So, um, keep going through. I can tell the difference in the color balance there just a little bit. And I like this one better. It's a little more D set rated, at least on my screen. And I want to open this up to the class. You guys sitting in the room with me. If there's anything that you all see that you wanna I know. When I taught my workshops last year, there was a lot of good feedback from my class, so feel free to chime in if any of you wanna. If any of you see something you like to comment on, it's actually pretty. I don't like the boast crossing processing processing here, but I do like the simplicity of the composition again. Very symmetrical. Um, nicely balanced, crazy eyes. I like that. It's nice. I love the shot. It's beautiful. Everything about it composition, the the tones, the you know, it's just gorgeous. I mean, if I really wanted to get nitpicky, I would have cropped a little wider on the lips here. But you know, it's crazy. Dig this perspective. It's really nice. Great X inside. What about your class? And he thought, So far I just have a question on the last, when he stopped and talked about which one where it was kind of looked like the pencil sketch, almost the white one with the eyes in the limbs. Um, I've seen that shot done a lot. Why do you like, really like that shot? As opposed to maybe the other one in the field with the backlit son that's been overdone A lot to like, I guess. What's your thought process on thank you once more. Well done than another, right? I mean, that's why this gets hard. You know, Like I said before, I don't want anybody to take me or this critique too. Too seriously. I mean, I'm just trying to help a little bit, but that's my personal opinion. I come from Nashville and in Nashville we have lots of fields, lots of country. So in national, that field shot really is just overdone over and over and over. Where is this shot? Um, you know, I'm sure it has been done before. I mean, I'm sure lots of times, but there's something about it that which is that initial reaction where it just feels a little more unique to me. Um, just it's so, so simple. And it's beautiful. Um, you know, it's well exposed. I don't know. It just it didn't initially strike me as cliche, and that's just my honest, you know, each one of us moving around on the room. Each one of us would think different shots are cliche, but, you know, for Chile, and unfortunately, you know, I'm the one calling the shots right now, so it's like, you know, it's just my opinion, But I'm in a note. You're saying like you might have seen this shot a 1,000,000 times where I may have not. So, Jeremy, have a question from the chat room. Sure, Um, along these lines from Kim Pace, how do you clear mind to keep ideas fresh now and not falling into cookie cutter poses or ideas? I mean, that's almost feel like if I have the answer to that, I'd be a millionaire. You know, it's like a hard thing to do. What do you do personally to keep t to stay fresh? Yeah. Keep your mind good ideas coming in. Yeah. I mean, I feel like I've been and I've been there this year, like this year, more than ever is where I feel like I've started to run out of interesting things to do with my clients. And so, to be honest, in this next 2011 my goal is to do a lot more personal work and have a lot of ideas that are documented and ever new and a lot of things to be doing on my own. The short answer to that is is actually not a short answer, but when I find myself doing only assignment work I found myself fulfilling with the client wants and a lot of times in my line of work. It's similar, and so I get in that rut, doing what they need and delivering their expectations. But I find when I go out and pursue my own passions perceived tell my own stories. That's when I get freed up to experiment and do some things we're doing. And so, um, and other things we talked about is changing the things I look at every day changing in my bookmarks. You know, I'm a big fan of all the various in a stumble upon. I'll click there and click, stumble upon all day and just see what pops up. I don't know that. That's a complicated answer. We could talk about that for an hour, I think. But so So a question from the chat room for men. Medinger, Um, you talked about sometimes feeling like you're just shooting for what the clients want. How do you feel when you submit your work to clients and they suggest changes that you don't agree with? Um, well, tell me they're writing the check. You know, I mean, I definitely try to you, um, way in and give my thoughts. But, you know, sometimes I don't have a choice. Symptoms of do. Um, so yeah, but you mean usually they're hiring me because they respect me and respect my decision making. And so they do listen most of the time, but I mean, like I said earlier, there have been many times where I've done a photo shoot and the client the digital tech leaves with the hard job of the images. And the next time I see that photo that I just took his wouldn't on a billboard or in a magazine, I mean that absolutely have no say. So it spreads a full range of me having all the all the say in the final image and having no say it. Also, she related that when you do have one of those clients were you don't get to do your post. You still put it If you like the old Do you still put that in your portfolio? I said I'm sorry. Repeat that one more time. Um, if you do one of those chutes where they just take the drive and leave and you aren't involved in the post production. When you could get the final, do you see the final product? Put that in your portfolio. You have to get question if it's the final product is good, yes, And if it's and if I mean that's a tough one. Because if if the show is a huge success, Um, and it's a really bad image, that's where it gets tricking. That's like, I think that's You ever found a note like a footnote? What's that you ever put in like a footnote as to Well, I mean, it's you either show it and let it represent you. Don't you know, for me? I mean, there are all kinds of It's funny because I remember before I was a photographer, I would look at these photos and the album packages, and I'm like, This photographer is terrible because this photo is terrible. And now I have a lot of sympathy for that idea because all the time you know, I'll do a photo shoot and you know, I'll send the client my gallery of 800 images, and I saw where it's like they purposely went in and said, Okay, what is the worst images, this photo that along And let's put that on the cover, you know, and so they will pick this terrible image, you know? And here's all these other great stuff that the super super simple image that is not, you know, that I don't love. And then that gets thrown on the future album photos by Jeremy Cowart. You know, and I'm sitting there going and all these people just think I'm terrible and little do they know that we really did push the limits on that shoot. But for whatever reason, the client needed that seamless shot for their publicity or for whatever. So you're thinking, OK, this is just gonna be a quick publicity shot for them, but it ends up being the album cover with your name on it, and so that's when it's a bit of a bummer, but I mean, that's what we're signing up to do is photographers. Um, I know and another very, very famous photographer won't mention his name, but he has a contract where he says literally, you cannot re crop these images. You can't put type on my images. You can't change the color. You cannot touch what I give you and I understand that mentality. I mean, I would love to say anybody who hires me, the photographer, I get all the final say, um, you know, cause he probably had the same thing happening. Probably started seeing his work blasted out there with other people, doing the image editing and throwing terrible typography on it. And it was representing him. And so, you know, if you do a Google image search of Jeremy Cowart, there is a sea of terrible image of set pop up that I would never put my name on. Um, but, you know, especially with the Internet these days and anything gets passed around like crazy, so, you know, and then situation. Do you ever request that you not be credited? Yeah. I have definitely requested that people not credit. Credit me. I mean, it happens rarely, and I'm very sensitive about it, cause a lot of times people are excited to be working with me and they want my name on it. But sometimes, you know, a lot of times I'm helping a friend or I'm doing something because I just want to help him. But it's not necessarily the most amazing thing due to either budget limitations or or ah, you know, we didn't have enough time. Whatever. It may be that I just don't want my name on something. But, you know, I tryto I try to put my all into every situation, but a lot of times you just not allowed toe make everything you know, with with my work, there's a certain bar that I'm always trying to raise, you know, and not There's just no way that every single photo I take, every photo shoot I do is gonna hit that continually rising bar. So those those things that just don't show, you know, But they still end up on the Internet with my name attached. So I have a two part question from gen in the chat room. Um, first part is, do you take a lot of photos of your wife and kids? And if you do, do they love it, or do they get tired of taking pictures? Yeah, I do take a lot of my wife and kids, mainly my kids, because my wife just hates having her picture taken. Uh um, but yeah, cereal. I want a document. My family's life In fact, I have this idea of Ah, you know, my kids are three and four years old and I've taken hundreds and maybe maybe thousands of images have them. And I would love to just make a whole, you know, like do a photo shop foul where you create a ah thumbnail just gala, and you turn that into huge pizza wallpaper and have it's like, really interesting, like textured wallpaper. And when you look closely, it's like just thousands of thumbnails of my kid's lives. And so, um, I have an assistant in L. A named Goal Harp at Harp, as I think it's AARP ese. He documents his son's life with Polaroids almost daily and has, I think, his entire his son's entire life document of polar. It is truly a fascinating blawg, so encourage out to Google. Google has his name and check out his Polaroids of his son. It's a really great project he's doing, so it sounds like a cool idea. It's gall heart harp as a g a l h a r p s e. Okay, The second half of that question from Jen was how do you balance capturing images of life events and just enjoying the moments. Capturing images of what? How do you balance capturing images of life events versus just enjoying the moment? Great question. Um, you know, I think it's just a instinct. Then that's especially a hard question to answer. Like when I was in Haiti. You know, it's very hard for me to go in and experience my surroundings and Haiti with a camera in my hand. And my friend Ah, girl named Esther Havens has a really good philosophy on window. Put the camera down. Um, and frankly, I have gone on a few trips where I've tried to just not even verified. Go to Africa for a month, you know, try to spend at least a day or two a week. I don't take my camera out and just experience life and take it all in. But, you know, if I'm in Africa, Chance arm with the nonprofit whose not hired me but asked me to go there to document their thing. So it is hard. Um, I was just went Teoh, you know, my kids Halloween party with all the other parents, and it was a mix of putting the camera way. If they did something really funny. Get my camera back out. So it's just, you know, taking a taking a day at a time? I guess so. It's very hard. I can imagine those couple days in Africa when you don't take your camera. Are you just Yeah, of course. You see things that you and of course, feeling yourself that you didn't have your camera Exactly. Of course, when you put the camera down, that's when the most amazing things. And it's like having all right? No. So, Jeremy, it's were closing in on five oclock. But we totally have the ability to go over that time today. So would you like to do more critiquing? Would you like us to continue on with Q and A todo? What's it to me? Yeah, well, I would be very curious if the audience could respond. Aren't now what? What they're wanting the most more. Critiquing more Q. And a. More we're gonna do a lot more playing tomorrow. Got all day for that. So I'm curious to hear what other people want People. People were asking for more critiques, more critiques, and that's helping. Yes, good, Good. That's the overall consensus more critiquing. We just keep going. Then. I just hope I'm not repeating myself too much. They're loving the critique. Good, Cool on that new way back on the screen. Sweet. Um, I love this image. It's pretty awesome. I mean this. You can tell this person is really putting a lot of thought into this. They're not just being lazy. They didn't say, Just give me a tile floor. They said I want a curvy, wavy tile floor. You know, those are the details and the links. I like to see people going to miss it, just beautiful. Like even this texture. This wave of the time matches this wave of the floor like there's so many interesting things happening here. Uh, don't I'm not sure if that's a man or woman. I'm looking it, but it doesn't. Doesn't really matter. I do think one thing that would have been nice will be to highlight this arm a little bit like maybe just a subtle rim, but overall, it's still a very, very striking image. Um, this is the kind of thing where it's like, you know, it's cool that you caught a guy standing on his hand and a break dance move. But you know, overall, it's not necessarily an amazing image. It's it's amazing because of what he's doing. I don't know, um, babies, but is that what that is? Ah, that's one of things where it's so cropped in. You don't really know what you're looking at. Um, so I'm gonna keep moving. Um, I like to shot. This is a kind of similar Bob of what we're shooting earlier. Just a very backlit. It's got almost looks like Lenny's Clint Eastwood. Um, I just like the shot. I don't know what else to say. I would obviously go in a photo shop and remove these little bits of, ah, lens lends dirt, whatever that is in the frame. This is really strong. I'm a fan. Um, you know, when it comes to kids that kind of dig this more experimental abstract details of the ears. You know, this shot is even soft. It some and focused, but it's somehow still works. It's safe to say I do not like the post production here. It just seems like I mean, it does look like somebody's experimenting, but, um, first of all, I'm not sure that it's necessary to have a big fat logo on your on your images on Flicker. Maybe, but I would like to ask the Internet tomorrow another thing that we could critique during this time as websites Big, a former graphic designer and an art director, I would love to look at people's websites overall. Um, that's awesome. That a good idea? Yeah, and branding logo logos, websites branding. I would love to cover that. Some we will have. Ah, Craig figure out a way to send in those links and, yeah, forgot. That does get into some interesting issues with, you know, creativelive and broadcasting websites all over the place. So we'll figure that out. We'll figure that out. And no need to send your link right now. People in the jar. That's not sin links yet. Um, hairs where it's like you've taken a beautiful picture and you've heard it with your post processing again. I'm not meaning to offend anybody. Almost wish we could not show the names. And so I'm not publicly, you know, hurting anybody's feelings. It's almost good to just show the images, but like this has that kind of soft glow effect, and it all I can think of is like the eighties glam shots. You know, you would see in the mall, because this is a really pretty girl, you know, Dig, dig her little expression. That looks like a senior portrait or something. I might leave her hand in the frame. Looks like you got cropped out. But, you know, I don't think that soft, blurry look is necessary. Um, I like the shot. This is Ah, kind of what will be talking about tomorrow with experimental composition? Um, lots of negative space. I would like to see the guy a little bit more. Um, maybe crop in, like, just right here. Crop. I'm sorry, um, moved to the right toe where you see a little more of his shoulder, but it's still really nice. Really nice shot. Um, I love this fight. I'm a fan of that. I'm a little particular about bending horizons like this. Um, there's ways you can You can straighten that on photo shop and keep it straight. But overall, it's still, you know, dig it. Um, and I and I guess I'll be a little bit honest if I'm passing over your image in general. Um, yeah, I I'm wanting to rave about my favorite images, and I think I already have raved about a few. Um, this is nice lighting night action shot. There's definitely big market for sports portraiture like this. Um, I don't like her nestled in the center of the frame. I wish this was more zoomed in with keeping the soccer ball in the frame, you know, But something about that rule of thirds at which she was either more to the left or to the right. Um, it's a nice moment. I'm basically Look, I'm trying to find people and people that are really think are unique, and I would go into flicker and specifically pull up some bookmarks that some flicker users I like. But again, we would have to have all the proper permissions and all that stuff, so we can't do that right now. Um, at the goal shot, I dig that, Um, this is nice. Nice, strong portrait. Uh, great environment. Great lighting. She looks nice and elongated here. Her, You know, her face. Everything's working for me in this image. That's a great shot. I know. I know. A lot of times when I say this shot is good and it works for me. All that stuff people want to know. Why does it work for you? And sometimes it's a hard question to answer. It's like it's like somebody. It's like trying to explain why a song is good. You know, sometimes I don't think you really need an explanation, and either works or it doesn't, um and, you know, so forgive me if I don't go into extraordinary detail of why I think something works. This is kind of that same post processing. You know what I can see instantly here is that See that halo effect around this here? That's generally what happens with high pass sharpening. Um and I'm It just looks like a mistake. I'm not a fan of it. Um, um, in clients, especially in the advertising and editorial world, they'll they look at photography all day, so they notice the same things that I'm talking about. This is really more of an ad. Not so much a photo, so I won't get into the design and the typography and all that stuff. Um, this is you know, this is interesting. I don't think the final execution is dead on but I like the attempt, you know, You know, they could have easily just taking this portrait with the shadow and the light and all that. But they decided to go to these extra links to play with all these hanging birds. And that's the kind of stuff that I'm talking about, you know, even to settle things, playing with props, trying to push your image further than just the I'm going to take a nice lit portrait of my friends standing in the backyard. You know, they obviously trying to experiment more. I'm not sure if that's the actual light I'm seeing in the shot. Definitely crop out your light, your lights out of your out of your images. But I like the effort being made here with the birds. This image is pretty cool. They're using a fog machine. Obviously some trees. Um, do you listen? Using a speed, like obviously I wish I didn't see the speed life. Maybe that was purposeful. Obviously, it probably is purposeful in this shot, but it kind of looks cool with this crazy light. If you didn't see the speed lights, if you just saw the lead on their faces, um is gonna friendship. I think the lights much nicer on her face. It looks very properly exposed where he looks more, um, you know, look, salvage it in any way and maybe post process his face so that it's more. Yeah. I mean, it looks like at least on my screen that his face still has all the detail in the highlights. And so long as you have the detail there, um, you can bring that down to a degree. And I think in this image, you could even it out a little bit more. Um, but I mean, the top was what sort of techniques I mean for me personally, what I would try to do is I would go into light room or aperture, capture one whatever and processes to images, different different exposures and get his down to match hers, and then go into photo shop and layer them on top of each other and start painting out his skin. So her skinny that depending on how you have him layered and, um, you know, try to match it up that way, you have to go and really, really tight and mask its face basically toe where it matches, but that would be my personal theory on getting their skin tones to match. So Jeremy were me. Me, Jerry. You ready for some questions? Yes. Then we can wrap this up. What's that? Then we can wrap this up. Yeah, I'm game for whatever. Okay. Okay, So we're gonna do a few more questions. Um, you were talking a lot earlier about, um, style and, um, trying notto follow other people's style. What have you, Uh, how long did it take you to find your style? Eyes? A question from Sylvia Pass, Quito. How long did it take for you to find your style? Um, if you think you have a style. Yeah, that's complicated to answer, because I to this day I don't even know what my style is. I mean, I look at my work and, um, you know, it's experimental in nature. That's what I'm teaching this class. It's, ah, composition focused. Um, but and I never In the beginning, I didn't know that I needed a stall. I mean, honestly, uh, not trying whatever toe be to brag or whatever, but it kind of came about naturally, and I think that's why my agent called me because she she tells me that she gets approached by about 200 photographers a week sending her pro Mose and sitting her campaigns. And, you know, like we talked about today a lot of people, very talented, but they don't have a style. And so I don't really know, um what made my style unique to hurt enough to call me out of her honors of people that she sees a week? Um, you know, maybe it's from my graphic design background. I don't know how to answer that question, cause I never purposefully said I'm gonna go for the style. Um, yeah, I'm gonna move on, cause that's just really tough toe know, Probably along those lines. What was in your portfolio at that time that she had noticed you wanted to pick you up? I'm gonna have to ask her that question. I'm not I'm not really sure. I mean, I know in the beginning, Like when, For instance, when she took me to sit with all the art directors that Fox we're talking about the TV network, the prison break. You know that all these amazing shows the art directors would sit and look at my work. And I remember there was a shot on the website of a guy named Duncan Cheek, where all I had was an on camera flash. That was my only lighting gear. And I was in a outdoor hallway. Um, it was like, this is in New York City, and there was, like, this park and there's, like, this tunnel out of nowhere in the middle of the grass mound that went into, like, this museum and we're standing the museum, and I turned around facing like, say, that's outside. And I'm in the hallway while put my subject between me and outdoors. And so he's standing here and win this tunnel. Right? So all I had was my on camera flash. I popped it up a bouncing off the ceiling, and it let him really nicely. And then, um and then ah, it Ah, all this outdoor light just poured in and flooded him. And there was there happened to be this little circle thing in the ceiling. And so all of that made him look like an angel. He had this angelic light coming around. He was properly exposed from my little flash. He that There was this nice perspective on the walls with the stripes, and so those look like angel wings. There's just this crazy, simple thing that I noticed, you know, just like that. And those are the kinds of things that I remember being in that media fox. They said This looks like something that we would have planned for weeks to create, and you did it with an on camera flash. And so, um, and it comes back to that experimental nature that just trying new things I remember there was another picture I took of this plastic sleeves on a loading dock, and I had my my subjects get right up against that whips right up against that plastic. And I let it from from three different sides of plastic and create this really bizarre texture. And I know with the entertainment clients they love, seeing that experimental nature and being able to pull off that stuff that maybe a lot of other photographers wouldn't try. And so maybe my style is just being an experimentalist. I'm not sure, but I knew in the beginning that's what people were drawn to in my portfolio. So another question from our Lou. Last question. Okay, last question. We're gonna give you a break. The Internet, saying six more hours, Six more hours. So tomorrow we'll do six more hours. Um, question from our Lou. Who would you like to shoot that you haven't yet. And what is your dream Shoot, man? Great questions. Um, I'm a big my favorite comedy of all times, Anchorman. So that shoot will fare would be a dream come true. Steve Carell. I'm a big sports fan. A sheet LeBron James. Tiger Woods. Michael Jordan. My agent does a lot of sheets of Michael Jordan. Them always begging her. Please let me shoot. Michael Jordan. Um um, there's, ah, famous, very famous pastor named Billy Graham. Move. I think he's He's in his last days and I think would be amazing just to spend a few minutes with him and grab a portrait for his family. There is, uh, there's all kinds of people I would love to shoot. I'm a pop culture junkie. You know, there's all kind of celebrities that loved to shoot. Um, so, yeah. Then what was the second question? Second part of question is, what is your dream shoot? What is my dream shoot. There is an answer to that question. I'm trying to remember it. Um oh, I'll tell you, I'll get story. Um, my dream shoot came and I had to turn it down. I mean, literally, Uh, a couple years ago, my favorite TV show in the world was lost, and I think all of us, it seems like everybody. And it was a big fan of lost. And so I got a call. I think I'm allowed to share the story. I got a call from my agent. She said, Hey, ABC called. And usually the way it works the TV galleries is, though they'll put you on hold, which means they're looking at several photographers. The you are one of the ones being considered. And so they come into view and they said they already chose you. They get past the holding point. You I get asked to shoot lost mean freaking out, losing my mind, you know, flatter Hawaii. Hang out with the cast of Lost for three days, you know? But then she said the rant rant where she said, Well, I had to turn it down because you're already booked for another job. shooting. Ah, movie poster for a movie called Crazy Heart, which was in another amazing gig. So I was like, Ah, that's terrible. I can't shoot lost But I still have the school gig shooting Maggie Gyllenhaal and, um, Jeff Bridges and the whole crew. So I get out to Santa Fe, which is where we're shooting crazy heart. And we spend two days doing all the things you've seen me doing. Pre lighting, getting everything ready. Day comes around, Um, I get Maggie for, like, five minutes, and it went well, but she had to run, and we're going to get it back later. And it was her ended up being the last day filming, so we never got her back. For reasons I can't talk about on camera, Jeff Bridges couldn't do it. Ended up not having to Bell calling Pharaoh. I had some kind of weird legal contract. Basically, the whole shoot fell apart. I lost it. I mean, we got maybe five minutes of Maggie Gyllenhaal. Meanwhile, I could have been in Hawaii, Sheeting lost, so I lost two gigs at once. After that, the show, the movie was sold to another movie production companies, so They went with a whole another creative crew for the movie poster. So I lost to the coolest gigs in the world it simultaneously and is a photographer. I don't get angry. I don't really get mad. I'm pretty, you know, I can handle a lot. But that day I was angry. I was very upset at the circumstances, knowing that my favorite job in the world was happening right at that moment and I wasn't shooting it. So you lost. I lost. Lost. Always a lesson, right? That was awesome. Day germy. Really. Also, I think everybody learned a lot. Would you guys agree? Absolutely. It. One more question in the any question from Jeremy, Actually a couple, but one related that couple. You still get paid. If a shoot falls, that's knife. It's not your fault in it falls apart. Yeah, yeah, yeah, You still especially if it's not at all my fault. I mean, I still get still get paid. But at that point, money is no. I mean, money is not the story. It's like, man, I just like if somebody shoots lost, I mean, it's a big, big deal, you know, For that portfolio, the whole industry when it should, like whoever shooting glee right now, they're probably the very top of their game. You know, in that show at the time was the hottest show in television, and so people notice who's shooting that. And so for me, it's like, yes to get paid. But that's not the sad story to me of the sad story is what a huge career opportunity was, just, you know, right at my fingertips. And I lost it. You know, Uh, so or photographers and your surfing the Internet and you're seeing different styles and you're trying different things because of what you're learning. How do you switch it off and make it yours? I mean, there's no hard and fast rule, but yeah, learning and then not emulating. Exactly. There's gotta be a way to do that, you know, it's funny. I don't feel like I can honestly say I've never tried to emulate another photographer. Really? Just I don't I have no interest in that. I mean, I admire other for divers than I do. Look, a lot of a lot of other photographers work, but I don't know that I've every consciously said I'm gonna I'm gonna go do that. Um, and I'm not I'm not trying to say and say Yeah much is like, for example, the girl with the back of the sun blast, right? You know, that's done a lot. E. I've done that. How do you take cues from other people without it looking like everybody else's? Does that make sense? Yeah. I mean, it's a It's a fair question, and I don't think my work is all that original per se. In fact, I think a lot of the Web the work on the website is quite lazy, to be honest. And that's why I'm trying in the next year to push myself a lot harder. Um, in fact, there's only a few, maybe two or three images on my website that I think, actually completely, maybe original. And it's funny because there's a delay direct parallel between those images being my favorites. And those images also being the images that I worked the hardest at creating, whether that be amount of time spent, are pushing the limits in terms of some of the stuff we did today. Um and so that's my goal for next year is to really be more patient, I think is artists as photographers, especially with digital cameras. We tend to sit there and go when you got to take a few pictures to go. Looker and my brilliant and my brilliant you know. Whereas hundreds of years ago, you know, Michelangelo spent how long painting the Sistine Chapel? You know, like I don't feel like there's art these days that people put patients into, especially in photography. It's like we go out and we take a few pictures and wondering why we're not getting jobs. And for me, my favorite work is when I take time and I wait and develop that craft and I really built something beautiful. Whether that's compositing or building a set was always my favorite shoots. And so, um, but, you know, with some jobs, you just don't have that opportunity. Record label hires me. They want 15 setups in six hours

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.


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.