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FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Lesson 18 of 19

Culling Dark Tight Spaces Shoot

Victoria Will

FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Victoria Will

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Lesson Info

18. Culling Dark Tight Spaces Shoot

Lesson Info

Culling Dark Tight Spaces Shoot

How was that for you? There's great and not allies. Hard are light was all over the place. And, um, I try not to Chim Posse's much as I can, because I like to, you know, part of can't even reiterate this enough how important it is to be prepared. I obviously had all of my gear, but I had no time to prep, so I had to throw it together. And, um, I feel like I definitely got some shots, but you're going to see, I mean, a lot of mistakes. And, um, that was really, truly the first time Danielle's had Teoh work with me when I'm in the zone and I'm just, like, really talking and so she wasn't entirely sure what? Hey, I think you did a great job because that's just throwing things at you. And if we were to do five more of issues, you would know right away, Um, what to anticipate? So I think that that's the beginning of every working relationship, and I appreciate you hanging with me there. If that had been a real shoot, I would have been really frustrated, actually, just with the idea that I d...

idn't have time to set up. But that was exactly the purpose of this challenge. And to come away with a few photos if this had men A You know, a client who had hired me. If Matt has hiring me for, um, for headshots, obviously, I would have had more time, but I think, uh, I'm gonna go ahead and ingest. Okay? So this right here, I could make this, um interesting. This was my first test. I'll just walk you through. My exposure was not set anywhere close. Not there. I sit him down. Um, this could be really nice. Black and white image and I would dark in the background a little bit. Um, So I think I could make I'm distracted by the books in the background. Right. But it doesn't percent really bothering me, but one way to make sure that your eye doesn't go there is to darken, um, slightly dark in the background and bring up your subject. That way, you're I will go directly to what you want. You know, your viewer. You're leading them where you want them to go. I think this is nice. I like the way he's biting his lip. I realize that yesterday. Um, I think I was good when I was editing. I was editing very real time and exactly how I do it, which is I just go through and I mark the ones I like. We'll just see, You know, generally speaking, what I would consider making this black and white. If I did that, could I really get it where I wanted to go? Possibly I really would, um, bring down the exposure in the back. I'll show you. It's sort of Ah, very subtle vignette, I think vignette, they're overused. This is a way too much, right? But I'm bringing down the back. No, I'm gonna bring up the foreground. This is also not I edited Photoshopped not in camera raw, but I'm just editing just subtly bring up the contrast here, bring up the contrast here. I mean, we're getting somewhere for me. Open that and see where we are. This is just an example of you know, I would do a lot more to it. A lot more crunch. Um, I call it It's a crunch. It's a it's a term. A friend of mine came up with that sort of my process. That's how I process it. That's it's sort of my take on it. But, um, this is generally let me hope gets, um What I was thinking when I said about a black and white I'm gonna even crunch the Samore and, you know, there's a 1,000,000 ways to to get where we're going, Right? So this is just very one very quick example. There's all of a sudden the books in the background are a lot less of an issue. And just as a reminder, we'll go back. This is the image that we were just working on. I think that's there's a very, um, I had that vision of the black and white in my mind, and that's where I was going. So we're gonna keep going forward. This is him with the beauty dish. I'm still thinking that this would be very grainy and very black and white. I like that we're getting somewhere. But the highlight on his hand is really bright here, but I like that my eye goes right to him. I'm not distracted by the books in the background, so I would potentially crop, you know, right around here. This is the picture right here has nothing to do with the the other stuff. So his hair is so spectacular and it feels like it's very It's sort of like a modern day regal it or some sort of steampunk situation where he's sitting in this chair. It's sort of like a throne. And then this. This is his crown. That's sort of what I'm seeing. There's a nice smile. Still, it's a great moment. Not what I'm going for. But I would potentially if it was for him. Maybe throw that in there. This was when I changed angles. I came up just to see was going on, was getting a lot, um, something in there I like. But I came back. That's a nice moment and just enough light. Danielle came over towards me. We feathered that light a little bit and you can see the light on his eye. That's really important. I didn't want it to go fall into shadow too much. He got eye contact. I like without the eye contact, I think. All right, so we put up the same list and, um, really, to throw together Oh, hell broke lists, but we pulled it together So here's essentially what I was going for and weren't quite there. I do think this works. Um, but I had to nail in the light. There we go. So we we moved it around a little. I'm you guys, we're seeing all this wonky stuff on the side. I'm gonna crop right in. It's gonna be very, um, a much tighter, intimate crop. I don't I didn't really have a choice. You guys were in the room with me. I don't have a longer seamless I don't even have a longer wall t to you. So my 4.5 foot seamless, is it? So when I'm shooting, I make ignoring all of those things on the side because I know that I'm gonna crop the image. But I didn't feel like I had the light dialed in. So I kept going and have brought in the other light that was bouncing through the window and change my exposure. It's a little bit under here. I changed my exposure because it felt a little bit too bright and a little bit too flat. And then we started R g Q pose and Matt really started toe get into it. And this is where I moved the bottom strip light out of the way because it not only was it in my way, but it was too bright, even though I had it on its lowest power, my eye as do sauce touch hands were so close together that I just needed less so you could grit. It could put some sort of diffusion on it, or you just get it out of the way, which is what I wanted to do. Just simplify. So this image is so wonky, and it's if this were a moment, I could easily fix the crop. So don't worry about being perfect. It's what, basically, what I'm showing you, because that I clearly I'm not. And this this is not even in focus. So I like Matt doing his thing. I think this is This is interesting. He has a smile on his face. I love the way his hand is touching so you can see the beauty dishes in my frame here. That doesn't bother me because that means the light is getting their, um, it's the quality of the quality of light that I'm going for and the closer the beauty dishes. The, um the nicer the light, in my opinion. There we go. That's nice. Smile. This is the lights Really dialed in here. Now, just by moving her over the vignettes a little bit strong for me, but I went through, um, the motions with that. If I wanted to soften the vignette, I was gonna have to come outside and deal with the faux tech. And have Danielle do that. I had made it make a call. Was that something I wanted to do? This is nice. Like that. A lot. Try that one. This is a nice smile. Just pick a crop here. Let's open that up. So this is our image. And we also had this image. Oh, there's the raw this j pic. So here are two images from the same shoot. Very different. Feel one as much happier. Has more energy. The other ones more serious. It has a little bit more attention to it. But, you know, as an editor, I would be pleased with having, um, both of those options. And of course I do have, as we carry on, keep going. That's great. Nice. So in my at it, I didn't mark very many. But I've got in our shooting time, which was quick and without any set up, I'd say we've got one from each scenario. One or two. And maybe this one from the table is it doesn't work out. Well, we tried it. I'm glad I moved on and didn't stay there. So we've got a black and white one up here in the chair. Maybe a color one. I'm starting to like this one a lot. Now that I'm looking them as J. Pegs again. And my first edit, I might change my mind about that 1st 1 I worked on and go maybe to something like this. Feels very godfather ish, which I like. I think it needs a grain. I was a ah Hirai s. Oh, so I can really punch that up. And then down here, we have some nice smiles. It's more straightforward. And I didn't take any head shots. Nothing. Um, super tight and close. Maybe that was a mistake. I don't know. I think there's, ah pretty good variety

Class Description


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Full-length class: Portraits Under Pressure with Victoria Will

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  • Leverage new techniques for choosing the light and locations for a successful portrait
  • Know how to build a rapport and utilize clear communication with your subjects
  • Set up a developed concept as well as how to light on the fly
  • Use successful strategies for marketing yourself as a photographer and how to get your work in front of editors


Portraits require more than just great lighting and equipment. Sometimes a shoot doesn’t go as planned. The location is drab, the client isn’t in the best mood, or you forget to charge your camera batteries. Great portrait photography artists are able to think on their feet, connect with their subjects -- and capture great images under pressure. The best portraits often come from portrait sessions that didn't go exactly as planned, when challenges turn into assets.

Celebrity portrait photographer Victoria Will shows you how to use your environment to capture a unique, sharp image that reflects the person in the portrait. She’ll also highlight how to quickly evaluate a less than perfect situation and make it work for you and your subject. Take your portraits from amateur to near Mona Lisa gallery worthy by learning how to shoot portraits under pressure.

You’ll watch Victoria photograph real people in limited settings, discovering multiple opportunities in a limited space. Learn her three portrait musts for preparation, point-of-view, and connection. Gain insight into how to make every frame count and how to get the shots the editor requested, as well as those that speak to your vision. Learn how to make your subject feel comfortable in only a few moments while capturing exquisite photo collections in Portraits Under Pressure.


The photographer looking to improve their portraiture through thoughtful lighting, creative techniques and leveraging the environment around you to get a consistent appearance.