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Experimental Portraiture

Lesson 5 of 14

Lighting Diagram for Previous Exercise

Jeremy Cowart

Experimental Portraiture

Jeremy Cowart

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Lesson Info

5. Lighting Diagram for Previous Exercise

Lesson Info

Lighting Diagram for Previous Exercise

so they just wanted me. We had lots of questions, right in the hundreds of of kind of people wanted to see the all that gear were using again. And ah, Roseanne over here. Ah, drew out. She had already sketched out my map of what I was doing. John. We actually didn't use the big soft box, did we? We didn't have this thing firing, did we? Awas. Okay, get to know. Um, so we basically had this six by four foot soft box firing very low. It was just kind of a general fill for this whole set. We had all the blinds closed, so it's pretty much only using my strobes as my flight. Um, we had to to gritted lights over here that we're hard that were Ah, this really, really tall. One was actually shooting more her, and it had a grid on it, so it was only wanting to light her face right there. We had this grid lighting Lucy on a over here by the thing, and then we had a beauty dish with grid with Jill Kind of lime ish yellowy jails right here that was half covered. And that was letting our subject th...

ere. Um And then we had another grid. A snoot created with foil. Um, yeah. So this thing I don't have the cameras can show that right there. Um, we had the foil on Craig over here, and then outside, we had, um another light with it. Warns jail shining through that corner window just behind the snack. If you can cut to the computer, I can show you, um, what that looked like outside. So literally just a, uh, a head outside the window on a really tall light. Stan. Um, Okay, so we had a literally standing on a trash can with my little 600 watt, uh, pack. Um, and it worked out. Doesn't look too sturdy out there, but it did work. And, uh, and that was our sandbags. That's right. Cannot have enough sandbags. So that's it? I mean, does that help answer a lot of question? Do we get shots of all these lights yet? Ish. I know we've already covered some of that stuff. Um, are we good? Yeah. Quick question from Tom on the roof when to use a grid. And when a snoot Great versus Newt, that's one of the things that I'm really laid back about. I'm skip it. Ah, Microphone. John Cornyn, Cello folks. Grid tends to have a harder edge to it. This noodle for Well, I mean, the snoot has the harder edge. The grid will fall off towards the edges. As you write. It made a difference between them. Yeah, and the reason that I have an answer right away is because I actually haven't use Newt's a lot. I mean, I do. I do like them. I know there's another modify that pro photo makes its even mawr, like, almost creates a laser beam of a strobe. I forget the name of that thing. Never used it. I would like to, because they do have ideas for that type of thing. But I think that kind of sums up our Experian minting with color segment. We played with the IPhone. I hope you'll get to see that. That was kind of fun. Um, so image critique is that next? That is up next. All right, Sweet. Do you want to do some more? Cunego? Yeah, Okay. I'm someone had asked Are you ill? Just do it in post kind of guy Or do you like to get all your creativity in camera? Yeah. Good question. Um, get it all on camera. That's that's the easy The quick answer to that. I mean, you can always do things in post, but my thing, my least favorite thing to hear clients say owes will just fix in photo shots because most of the time they have no idea what they're saying. Whether that's fixing somebody shirt or fixing somebody's hair, you know that there is a lot you can do in photo shop, but you want to make your life easier later. You don't want to spend your life working and Photoshopped fixing simple things you could have done in camera. I know a lot of times when I'm on set, you know, if I take two seconds to, you know, touch him, somebody shared in tighter. That will save me five minutes of going in and posed, and whether that's liquefying that or whatever fixing that shirt in photo shop. So always try to get as much as you can in camera, whether that's close or color or all that stuff so cool. We've had a lot of people ask this question. Um, Jeremy do you crop to whatever you feel like Or do you stick with four by 58 by 10 etcetera Ratios When you're delivering to your clients, Yeah, I just play that by ear. I just, uh you know, just cropped. Whatever I feel looks cool. Whatever works for the shot. I mean, sometimes if I'm shooting for the TV campaign, they have specific magazine, Lofton's magazines. They'll need that full to page bread. And so I knew that. But if it's just for a band or fits just personal work, our crop tohave her. I feel like I can even give a label of very panoramic shot are very skinny, tall, vertical, and they'll make that work within their city packaging. But usually it's kind of up to me how I wanna crop unless their specific, um, specific limitations with the client I'm working with. So okay, this question may have kind of been answered already. This is from Betsy in the chat room is a normal thing for you to try so much, or to try not to exhaust her clients by having a set idea before the shoot. I needed that Repeat. Okay, I kind of rewarded it. Um, she said, Is this a normal thing for you to try so much, or do you need to try not to exhaust your clients by having a set idea before the shoot? The normal thing to try from? Yeah, that was the question, which is pretty much Do you experiment the all the time? I mean, do you? Yeah. Experiment. You take your time, get what you want. Yeah. I mean, like I said earlier, I mean, it just depends on the job and how much time is available. Um, you know, I've prepped for two days for, ah, 20 minute photo shoot. I have prepped for 20 minutes for a two day photo shoot. You know, so really depends on ah, the gig and how much time I'm a lot of I mean, typical thing. The most average job I do is, ah, music job. And they will want 8 to 12 setups in my assistance. And I will usually have outside of standard of 20 to 30 minutes to set up each specific shot. And during that time, usually the artists doing here make up their doing their thing, and then my systems and I'm like OK, guys, go. What? You'll just sauce that go through this beauty dish over there, make it come down this way through this jail on that light and usually have about 2030 minutes to get the shot next shot ready. And then by the end of the day, we've got 8 to different setups for the client. So Okay, um, Chandler would like to know what are some major mistakes you made in the beginning with using strope CIS major mistakes. Um, just not knowing what I was doing. That's that's Ah, good one. But at same time, I kind of liked learning on the job and, uh, mentioned thank you earlier today, or I'm getting a losing track of time that in the beginning I didn't have assistance. It was literally me and three lights and all my packs and sandbags setting everything up. And so that was That was fun for me to learn trial by fire and, you know, diving in head first and just figure out what didn't work. It's far specific stories, you know? I know it's soon. If something isn't gonna work, I just know what I want. I've known that from the beginning. I know when I set up something that this looks terrible. It's not that hard. And so usually when I think of mistakes that think of more things like accidentally erasing a whole memory card of a shoot, you know something that those things have happened in the past. But as far as lighting mistakes, you know, usually I'm able to kind of figure that out, Um, by experimenting or, you know. So, um, so we went from two lights to, like, six lights very quickly. Is this something more normal for, like, a studio kind of shoot? Or do you take this outside us while, like, wherever location you go to outdoors? Yeah, This applies to both. I mean, I would use this many life indoor or outdoors. I mean, there's there some. I mean, it's kind of the same thing, because what we just did is that we overpowered all the light in this room, and what we can do outside as if you have high enough wattage pacts, is that we can overpower the sun. So essentially, if we took all the same gear outside, we get pretty much get the same type of vibe because we're overpowering the sunlight and we can use flags and all kinds of different stuff to achieve the same look, because I answer a question essentially and kind of a building on that a little bit you showed us earlier. But Carl F. Is asking in the chat room. Do you always start with just one light and then build out from that? Essentially, Yeah. I mean, not necessarily purposely. But I do like to kind of get my beauty dish with my grid or my first light and kind of look at that and start putting this another. And that's kind of you have to do, Um I mean, in general, I know what the whole set is gonna look like when I see it set. I pretty much know how I want to light it on, But still, you have to kind of start one letter time. And I mean, you guys just saw it. We just kind of massaged our way through it. And then we landed a final look that we really like and then were able Teoh, you know, bring the talent and do my thing. So or are the times when you would you just use the grid stroke, Not the fill with along with Phil had Ask the question. What are you saying? Other times where I don't go with this? Yeah. I mean, usually I'm not using. I don't know. I guess it depends. There are a lot of times that I'm only using grids and maybe beauty dish or a soft box. This feel it just depends on the situation. Sometimes that's really because, like, say it Say if I only put grids on each of your faces Well, we're gonna have a really dark We're going really dark ground, really dark background. Everything else is just gonna be really dark grids on all your faces. So what this thing does is if you put that overpower everything, it just kind of fills in all those shadows and you see a little bit of the floor, but your face is air still a little bit hotter. And so and that's all in your lighting radios. But still, this thing can can fill in all the all the gaps because I never want the floor to go just solid black, you know, always want Oh, leave some nice detail and the rest of our the rest of our, you know, ground or chairs or whatever it may be. So I have a question from Addy in the chat room. What do you do to help keep your mental energy up, especially towards the end of a shoot when everyone can be lagging? Yeah, that's tough. I mean, Red Bull. Uh, Red Bull. Good music. Especially one of things that try not to do it over eat during a photo shoot. Like, if we break for lunch and I eat too much, that tends toe just dragged me down. I'd like to kind of get a little bit lighter during a shoot and, you know, play some good music. Gives him coffee going. Um, not gonna lie. Five. If I say that, you know, every once in a while, I mean my my client will give the subjects a couple of drinks to loosen them up a little bit. In badgering from Monaco, I personally don't drink much, but sometimes it really does loosen up your subject. Just one. Just one drink, just to kind of get them. If especially if they're feeling very nervous, that can help. Um, I don't really encourage that, though, Uh, I'm a good boy. Uh, but, um, yeah, I mean, coffee. Loud music. Uh, sometimes one of the things that I found is to literally you know, you It's amazing to see what a band especially will do in terms of loosening up if, instead of just having them pose right after lunch, get them doing something active, get them jumping on a trampoline, get them running, get a shot of motion because that gets their juices flowing. And they're having fun at that point, they're not worrying about the camera they're not worrying about, You know, the way their hair looks, they're just having fun. And so that's another good way is after lines. At the end of the day, get the ban, get your your subject. Whatever, doing something active in getting some motion involved. So what kind of things do you look for? For like, uninterested Location one. How do you try to construct? Yeah, interesting location. Uh, I mean, that's that's, uh, a great question. That's something. I'm not trying them purposely plug my DVD. But I do talk a lot about that on the DVD because it's a huge part of what I do, um is mentally taking notes on locations and frankly, a lot of the image of summer website are terrible locations that we have to. I have to figure out how to make magic happen. And tomorrow I'm gonna talk a lot about that. Um, we're gonna talk a lot about little nooks and crannies and how you gonna make how you can make amazing images out of the tightest little texture. You know, my belief is that everybody is watching right now. Should should be able to make an amazing images, make an amazing image right where they're sitting. I mean, you should be able to find a little tiny space in your bedroom or your office or wherever you are and make a great image. I mean, I think that's our job as photographers is to be that, um, is to have that ability to improvise. You know, I found my find myself all the time and hard scenarios. I talked about pre lighting for two days for 3rd 20 or 30 minutes. Shoot. I went up to Canada toe to shoot the cast of a Christopher guest movie, and we had two days of planning and the job comes around there like, Oh, you're only gonna have one hotel room with 30 minutes seat, 30 minutes, minutes to work, with seven foot ceilings and no furniture. So I'm like, OK, I've prepped for two days and you're telling me that I have one room with seven foot ceilings, and so those kind of things happen all the time. So we as photographers, have to really, really get good improvising with lights. And so they wanted me to shoot eight people in addition to head shots of each person and three group groupings of those eight people, all in 30 minutes. And so you talk about having Teoh hustle and to be creative and, you know, user lights and interesting ways. Those things will talk about a lot tomorrow. Some. We have more questions. You ready for some? Ready. Bring it. Um okay. Jason would like to know if you limit the amount of work you do to spend more time with your family. Yeah, Great question. Um, man, that's always Ah. Ah. Tough line to balance. Thes days of my life is not only field with post production and photo shoots, but you know I'm I just did a DVD. I went on tour. I, uh um there's some IPhone app, so I wanna develops. There's lots of things going on in my life as a business person as an entrepreneur. Um, and frankly, I do have a pretty cut off line. I'd say, on average, where I go home at five or six o'clock, I spend um, from six o'clock to the end of the night with my family, with my wife and two kids. I go into work the next morning at 9 a.m. And that's that's pretty standard for me. I get on the my single friends cause I hear them on Twitter complaining about not having enough time. I'm like, you have enough time, Trust me. Wait till you have ah, kids. Because, you know, as a father, I want to give everything I can to my Children. I want to be there at their at their dance recitals that whatever they're doing and so that, to me, is my focus. And so I have even more limited time than a lot of people out there who are single to get my work done. And so you just have toe. Make that your priority on day are the priority for me. And obviously I do travel and I have a wife that trust me and understand that that's gonna happen. So I'm in Seattle right now for four days and you know she's at home with the kids and you know, so it's an ebb and flow. It's taking it one day at a time. But I'm but as far as when I'm home for a week, I try to limit my work. Day is 9 to 5926 I go home the rest of night and play with my kids. So the what you're saying is you haven't awesome one. I do have an awesome wife. That was the question that was just asked. Yes, she is awesome. I think she's watching. I hope so. We have a lot of questions about how you got to where you are today from your design background. And not everybody was probably ableto watch the interview that you did with Chase the other day. Um, so one question that from Tyler Oxendine is did did you get the clients that you have now by word of mouth? Or did you have to go to them like some other people were asking about ABC. Did you just reach out to them or how did you get that as a she? Yeah. I mean, it's it's a mix of things. Um, this camera looks like it's changing a battery. So you're talking to Yeah. Hi, guys. The question is about my background and how I get different clients such as ABC or Fox. Um, I'll tell you all the very, very shortened version of my background went to college. Study. Graphic design Modern. An illustration. Graduated work for an ad agency doing this line. I realized I didn't like the ad agency world the politics of it. So I quit and started my own graphic design company called Pixel Grazer, which is still running to this day and by my friend Jerry Pinex. How Jeremy, um and uh, did that for five years we did Web design. We did graphic design working with musicians, so I built relationships with musicians in town. Those musicians would get signed to record labels, and so then I was working hand in hand with record labels on CD packaging and websites, and then in 2005 I decided I wanted to shoot full time. So literally cold turkey. I've stopped doing design. I had been shooting a little bit during that time, but March 31st I stopped doing graphic design left my company. April 2000 April 1st 2005 started as a full time graphic designer. I went to Africa in May of 2005 from month and shot off my first book, which was called Hope in the Dark and learned all kinds of stuff there about travel photography, which would be fun to talk about at some point. And then a few months later, I was up for this job for and local label in Nashville. And then there's an agent in Hollywood who submitted some photographers for the same job, and they let the label let the artist choose the photographer. So she chose me and the label called This Agent Hollywood said this guy Jeremy Cara got the job. You should check out his work, and thankfully, she likes my work a lot, So I'm driving down the road that day. I get a call, she said, Hey, man, he was caring. I represent photographers and I really like your work. And so I got very, very lucky cause an agent reached out to me. That's not usually how it works, but I'm so we signed a contract thereafter, and she has really helped me in terms of the Hollywood world. She immediately started sending me to meetings with Fox, ABC, NBC, E Style Network. A lot of the movie companies, and so she's helped me and get the clients in terms of the TV networks. I Ah, I worked a lot on my own getting the music clients, and she gets me some of the music clients, so it's kind of, ah, mutual partnership. A lot of it has happened by where the mouth, you know, she she still gets me a lot of jobs. I still get myself a lot of jobs. It's It's very much a a partnership of how we find our clients. And, um, yeah, and then a lot of my clients these days, a repeat client. So thankfully have done a good job and they still like me and they still call me. So it's a mix of all those things good along the same vein, Um, you know something you had talked to Chase about? I have a question from the chat room, that is, Did you did your career start by being in the right place at the right time? Or would you credit your success to something else? And with Chase, you talked about making that book and the fact that your personal work, something that you love to do help to you get clients or be successful. You talk a little bit more about that as far Yeah, I mean all your heart. It might lead you to success more than just going for success. Yeah, I mean, I think ultimately everybody's path to photography, being successful photographer is completely different. I mean, mine was a mix of things. It was hopefully, a mix of talent to begin with. It was a mix of having good relationships, nationals, a small town. So everybody knew knew me because I was working with all the local musicians. So labels knew about me. So there's talent. There's networking connections where the mouth there's having a graphic design background and being able to no my own brand, you know, being upto are direct my own website and controlling that from a graphic design background. I mean, so, you know, a bit a bit of branding, a bit of networking, bit of connections, a bit of talent, Um, and having massive guns, obviously, I'm kidding. Joking. Um, you know, I think all of those things mix in. I don't I can't really say which one of those was the biggest determining factor of what made me what launched my career. I think it's just a mix of those things, you know, and I think that works for everybody else. I know we talked about the other day a little bit. I mean, if you want to shoot live concerts and you're sitting at home every night and then you're probably not gonna be shooting a lot of concerts every night I mean, you need to be going to shows networking, meeting, people reaching out on Twitter and Facebook and going after it. One of things I forgot to mention. That equation is drive. I know a lot of people that have the talent and they have the connections, but they don't have the drive. They don't have the the go get em attitude. And for me, there's never been any shortage of Dr I don't know where that comes from, but I am very ambitious, You know, I wanna I want to just get it. And so, um, I've worked very, very hard. I did a recent block post on Scott Kelby site talking about a lot of the things I've done to get out there. You know, when did that Africa book that Africa, but got me jobs for different different clients in Hollywood. So it's a bit of it's a mix of all these things that I think ultimately every every creative persons path is unique, and you can't repeat my path. You can't repeat chases path. And ultimately, I can repeat your path. So But I think if you mix in it some of those things you you might be getting go. So Okay, I think you just answered a lot of questions, so thank you. Cool. I could set a question which I've always been interested. First book. How do you incorporate your work with these nonprofits or non governmental organizations with your celebrity work? So I guess it's two folders. How do you balance both of those worlds? Because they're so struck the opposite. And then How do you a lot time teach? Yeah. I mean, can they hear that question? Okay. Okay. Great. Um, uh, that's a good question that there's never any rhyme or reason Toe when I do a travel job versus when I do, you know, I mean, especially entertainment jobs. I never know when there's air coming, so I just take him as they come in with travel jobs again. That's a balance with family. Um, you know, after the earthquake in Haiti, I had an idea of how I personally wanted to respond. Um, and so I went down there. I did that. That was just a That was a gut reaction. I need to g o help. And this is how I can help. If you all want to see what I did in Haiti, you can get a voices of Haiti dot com and see that whole series of photos. And so for me, there's never any like I have. I have some friends of Hope International. They do micro financing, and for them they'll call and say, Hey, we're going to Dominican Republic. You wanna go with its and for me, that's strictly a There's no there's no agenda for me. There's no hidden agenda. I'm not hoping to get anything out of it. I'm just like, yeah, ago. Volunteer for you guys and shoot whatever you need. Um, and so it's all a bit different. You know, my trips to Africa have been some of have been volunteers. Some have been, you know, we're shooting a book. I went on the passion to or to shoot a book for them. And that book was called Awakening. And so, you know, I don't In other words, I don't start out the New Year by saying Okay, this year, I'm going to go on three trips to Third World Countries and I'm gonna do this many entertainment jobs. My my life is very much flying by the seat of my pants. You know, I never know it's next and but they're the only conscious effort there is is for me to say I want to continue to get back, continue to do things bigger than just another assignment, you know, and and mixing in person to meet doing the nonprofit stuff is kind of personal work, too. So kind of blends together a little bit

Class Description

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

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

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Lisa Carney

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

a Creativelive Student

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

Mike Taylor

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