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FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Lesson 17 of 19

Shoot: Conquering Dark Tight Spaces

Victoria Will

FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Victoria Will

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Lesson Info

17. Shoot: Conquering Dark Tight Spaces

Lesson Info

Shoot: Conquering Dark Tight Spaces

What do we got here? Hi. Hello. Hi. I'm sure what you got room. This is our real Let us know what you think. Wow. I got space. All right, Um, So right off the bat. Well, first, I have to say hello to my subject high. How you doing? You just have to make sure my subject was here and comfortable remembers my dinner party. So I want to make sure she was set. And this is our room. These in my first thoughts? Um, um, this is an interesting, interesting texture. Could do something with this. We have to be very minimal. I think it would be sort of a head shot. Um, as a back potentially this chair. It depends. It's a really cozy. This could be a nice picture. Um, Arlene is wearing jeans so she could do it. You know, I'm not sure if they'll be appropriate. We'll figure that out. I also noticed that this wall is very busy. I'm probably going to avoid this wall altogether. Not because, um, because changing it around is going to be too difficult. Moving the couch is I don't really have a place to ...

move them and they're probably very heavy. Unless hang it from right here and bring it down. That's already a studio. So then I could be right here and in a small studio situation. Ah, like that. I would bring small lights, a beauty dish and probably a strip light similar to what I did yesterday. I call that an over under its very clean, uh, and once it's set up, I don't have to worry about it. Um, I don't have to move the lights to too much. Let's see what else I'm noticing. All right, I'm noticing that the ceilings are very low, which means I'm gonna have a lot of bounce, uh, from the light in the room, which is gonna be very flattering on skin. That's it's really gonna open it up. If I want to make something more dramatic, I'm gonna have to keep my light much more focused and, um, more speculator. I think I also notice that there are black, uh, at least look like sound panels of some sort. Black can be used for negative, Philip. So I could, um, try to incorporate that if I needed to. Might be a little bit tricky and then when I'm noticing also, which is awesome. As a window right here. I could easily bring a light through here. I would stick the light in the hallway directly in front of the light to bring light into the room. Or, alternatively, I would put a stand in the room and reflected to right into the glass by putting it into the glass. I'm just softening it that much more. It's gonna go. The light will shine into this room Over here act. This will act as a big soft box and then the light will come back in. I don't really know exactly what my exposures and stuff would be, but I we would work with that. Lastly, I notice these curtains. Hello. This could actually be very. It could be a backdrop. It could be a bit of negative fail. It's not quite dark enough, but it could create some toning. There's a white board here. If I wanted to do something just very white, although it's very reflective, I noticed that right off the bat, um, I try to avoid mirrors at all costs to shoot, uh, except to use them as to bring in light I hate shooting against them. It becomes very difficult. And obviously, when you're trying to use mirrors, if you've ever done that, you'll often see yourself in the picture. So that's difficult. All right, so this is there are two chairs over here. I'm noticed this table. This table could be really neat. I'd have to move it and clean it up. But, you know, you could do something in here, figure that out. But of course, I'd have to clean up the background. So instead of doing that, I probably would take this table and move it elsewhere over here, or shoot into this great curtain. And those are my initial thoughts. Just just off the bat. Great. So let me take this camera, please. So just a reminder for everyone. I'm not shooting tethered. It's just going to slow me down in this situation, but I will be going through my entire edit. So afterwards, that was really interesting to see what happened when the lights turned off. Can you see? You can see this is where our ambient light iss That's how much of the overhead lights was affecting this. So maybe we want to shoot without them. And with the lights off right off the bat, I noticed when I always noticed window light and ambient light immediately. So I turned off the lights. Well, actually, they turn themselves off, and I noticed this. So why don't I What? I sit you right here. I'm gonna bring you really close to the door and have a seat. So this is great. Now I'm gonna shoot ambient light right now and see what's going on. But I like the idea that your, uh, sort of a throne here. This is a bit of a little editorial moment. I definitely feel so spring your body closer to this edge and really sort of sinking down a little bit. Kind of Have you taken exposure here just to see where you are? Because we're gonna need more, um, light. I'm pretty sure. Yes. So I'm a I might just push it. I s 0 1600 I'm wide open at a to eight and I'm at 1/60. That's fantastic. Happens if you sink down even lower. You could go in. What's your power on right now? 656 Okay, let's see where that lands us. I'm gonna totally change my exposure. Um, I realized yesterday that with these be ones, I can change the power right here on my, um, a remote. But I kept going to, uh, the actual light and changing it. That's just out of habit. I'm sort of old school, uh, in that way. And technically, you should ask your assistant to do it anyway. So, really, I should be staying right here in my seat. I think I was more for educational purposes. Moving the light there. All right, so here's a Polaroid. I say that obviously, the first few don't count until I dial it in. All right, let me check one more time. Uh, that looks fantastic. So I changed my exposure. I went back. I was at 1600. I will. Now it 6 40 I went up from enough to eight. To enough 56 We'll see all of this in my metadata as it's on the screen when we're when we're going through, it's like, this is beautiful.

Class Description


Try a Fast Class – now available to all Creator Pass subscribers! Fast Classes are shortened “highlight” versions of our most popular classes that let you consume 10+ hours in about 60 minutes. We’ve edited straight to the most popular moments, actionable techniques, and profound insights into bite-sized chunks– so you can easily find and focus on what matters most to you. (And of course, you can always go back to the full class for a deep dive into your favorite parts.)

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.

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