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FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Lesson 9 of 19

Shooting a Commercial Image Part 1

Victoria Will

FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Victoria Will

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Lesson Info

9. Shooting a Commercial Image Part 1

Lesson Info

Shooting a Commercial Image Part 1

So one of the things, um, I would do so in a commercial shoot sometimes or or in any shoot is and I'm I'm not doing it here. But if I have a lot of photos that I'm working towards and if it's not the lighting, necessarily. But, um, I have ideas of where I want to get people. I'll bring photos and stick them on the wall outside or stick them on the V flat. So because the subjects come in and they're like, What are we doing? Where we're going? And I'll say, Oh, this is what we're trying to achieve I'm working towards this and when their on set and maybe they're stuck for you know, they're like, Oh, I've done the same pose 10 times as a model or they can sort of look and be like out of the corner of their eye. They'll go, Oh, OK, that's something you know. It's just sort of. We all need inspiration. Sometimes it's really hard to be creative and think, invent things that feel new and fresh all the time. So that's why I put up inspiration, because I think it really can help, particularly wh...

en you're drained after a long shoot or after the 20th look. And when I was working with Levi's, they are an incredible company. They have so many pairs of jeans and shirts and everything that they have Teoh photograph and get out into the world, and they are a very smooth ship. They just like you, just keep it going, and we would just you look after look after look. So by the end, it was hard to come up with another way to shoot a pair of a person in a pair of jeans. But that's why I have on, and I would look at it myself and say, Oh, I totally forgot. I haven't done this yet. This feels like something we could try in here. So as far as my lighting set up, I have three umbrellas that have socks on them. There's a 1,000,000 different brands that you can use. Pro Photo West got, um, faux tech soft lighters, and then I have them different sizes. I have, um, the largest, and then this one is smallest. This is a medium. It could also switch these, generally speaking, and what's interesting about this is that none of the lights are facing my subject again because I'm still using this. Mention this earlier. I'm using the light that's being feathered, and it's being, um it's technically angled towards camera already ready. So I'm just going to take your photograph. I know that in in a way, you're modeling, but I don't want you modeling. I just want you to be You tell me about like, I feel like with this couch is like, tell me about your problems, right? Yeah. So that's great. I love that. Don't move. Don't move. It's amazing. All right. So our lights not quite right, it looks Oh, that's me. That's a frame before homeplace. Uh, okay. So I obviously him having a shadow that's coming in here, which is actually very realistic to some windows. So this is I'm gonna leave it for right now because I think it's it's adding something, so I'm let me check this out. So this is a pretty strong window right now. If I wanted to make it a little bit softer and I wanted to fill her face some more, I would put V flats right here. Ah, and I don't think I'm gonna do that right now so that we can all keep looking at the screen. Um, of course, there's other ways to do it. Bringing in I could bring in another very, very soft, soft light or a white card. We could probably try a show card from the front just to fill. But this is great. I love what I'm seeing here. Beautiful. Really nice. It was good. Yeah. I love it to go and look off this way. Let me see how that then maybe spread your legs a tiny bit in this. Keep them here, But I'm bring your your There we go. Something more like, Yeah, I just I can sort of You know, what? If I was selling shoes, I want to make sure I see the shoes, but make it very great. Good. I see camera for one. I love that right over there is great. Beautiful. Just check on our light. So I think I want the film to be coming from over here, and I'm going to sneak a peek. Beautiful. Okay, good. So when you're trying to connect where I'm obviously, um, engaging with her and I'm moving her around, but I'm approaching this shoot as I would a portrait shoot like we did earlier. Or, um, you know, a shooting my friend next door. It doesn't matter. I'm approaching this. She's a model here today, but she's actually also surprise. She's also a human being, and that's how I approach it. It doesn't matter if the person has 18 years of experience as in front of the camera or zero or is a professional model. I still want to know you know what's going on with them? Because that's how I'm gonna connect. So I mean, do a couple more things here. I like how you look. Like you're very sleepy. You look very cozy. I'm cause I woke up to this morning. Really? Why? I don't know. It was something in there, Really? My neighbors, My upstairs neighbor is very loud feet, and I think they're an insomniac when they work. Your I'm sounds maybe. Look this way. Keep going. Keep turning. Keep turning. Keep turning. Keep going. Keep going. That's good. 2 a.m. M. Eggs. I am a little Are you going to complain? Yeah. Is that? No, Not at all. I'm getting still looking like a window like you guys? I think so. He's really nice. Okay, So go ahead. I really think this is beautiful. And I feel like I could push through it and explore it a lot. But I want to do a couple. Two things I wanna have you, um go ahead and sit up for me and bring your feet this way. I like shooting through things that might not be the necessary, the best representation of it. But putting things blurry in the foreground is always a nice That's beautiful. Go ahead and turn your head back towards the great gun and lean forward a little bit. What have you just kind of, like, really thinking there and look towards that light? Good. Good. And look away for me. You see the good? Okay, so here we go. This is great. I love the way your body shape is making arena. It's great. Perfect. So, are you dating anybody? Mill. I think all of our viewers online are trying to get her Twitter handle right now. That's what I think. You know. We'll keep it private. Don't worry. Things is great. Now let me bring you lean this way. Good. And come forward even just like really kind of Get in there. That's great. Good. I'm like a let that beautiful. All right? I feel like I'm my Here we go. I loved it. Had this way. Great, great, great, great. My camera's really not wanting to cooperate, but that's OK. We'll wait for it. Okay, so I love where you are. So stay here for a second while I'm my camera catches up. So it's catching. Okay, Sitting beautiful. So every time I look at the back of the camera is called chipping and I talked about it earlier, and it's a phrase that comes from the photojournalism world because people would Let's say you're at a concert and you're all shooting and you're standing next figure, the other photojournalists you're shooting and then you look, you look what I got. Look what I got. Ooh, that's fine. It's called chipping. So right. Isn't that funny that those I always thought that was an interesting analogy can like we kind of act like apes sometimes. But I'm that is a beautiful image. Very nice. So way just turned this burst off that might keep our camera from computer from slowing up This is really great. Let me have you again. Look off towards the light. Really pretty and maybe run your hands through your hair a little bit. Great. Excellent. I got No, it's good. Beautiful. All right. So, Danielle, I'm gonna have you come over here for a second. You just put that down. Great. That's great. You see? See how these air coming in? And I love that. It's beautiful. Great up. I'm shooting too quickly for this. Sorry. Very good. Mm. Do you shoot at all or have any care, my dear? I find Well, there you go. It's a camera was really nice. Ah, here we go. Very good. So slowing down is an interesting challenge for me. Like I said, it's a little bit I'm gonna have to look at it a little bit more like, um, tintype. Almost. You know, it's obviously I'm getting more than one opportunity to shoot, but it's gonna be a little bit more deliberate. Do what you just did. That was amazing. That's it, right? Good. And look this way. Beautiful. That was gorgeous. So let me have you just go to this back light over here, Daniel Good and then perfect. Good. And try moving that up a little bit. So really nice. Okay. And just sort of relax for a second. No, I love that. That's beautiful. Okay. All right. So, Danielle, let me have you come over here, actually, and we bring that board. Great. So, yeah. Do you guys notice what happens when I put my camera down? Do you see that? See what happens with Caitlin? Those are the moments, That's what That's what we need to be shooting. And so I'm actually doing them on purpose of the you guys can see. I know now you're gonna be die of embarrassment. But every time she I put the camera down, she does something or should go somewhere or she goes. And that's how I shoot. I'm still here. There's a lot of camp pictures of me doing BTS actually behind the scenes. And I have a friend in Hong Kong who would always comment on instrument instagram and other social media. Why are you always talking to subject? The BTS was never me like this. It's because I'm actually still doing this. Those things air happening. It's that's you know, something you really need to be cognitive of that cognizant of when you're having this, it's gorgeous. So good. So there's another thing that's happening here, and I'm not sure if you're seeing it, But every time I'm also doing this illustrated point every time Caitlyn so scared. Every time I talk to Danielle and I look at Danielle, where does her gaze go to? Danielle. So what's happened? It's changed this. This isn't this isn't the, you know, it's It's affecting our connection right here. That's something you have to be aware of. So I try. And I was obviously looking at Danielle to make this point. When I'm talking to my assistance, I'm speaking to them. But I'm still here and I'll say, Danielle the enlightened, you know, down 1/3 do this like lightning to go here, But I'm still here. This is still the important part. I remember learning that and, um because, uh, someone was watching me shoot and said you looked at yours in one of these short shoots. You looked at your assistant 10 times and I was like, you were counting what? I wasn't counting, but it was a really valid point. And so it needs to be here, and you need to work with your assistance very closely so they understand your assistance. Air. Such an integral part of your success so important. And Danielle is not offended by the fact that I'm not looking at her and not engaging with her because she knows we're both here toe work. So you don't need to be, you know, making that eye contact. It's supposed to be here. Good. Do it one more time. Go ahead, back up Really good. And I know I I don't want to shoot too fast because I don't want to slow down the computer. But I'm getting really nice moments in there, and it's when when I'm directing her to do these things and I it's fun, but it's also with purpose. She's not thinking about how her hair looks or if she's the holding in her. You know, her stomach like trying to be them. I looking my skinniest in my lung is no. She's here and she's present and she's listening to me. So that's really why I do that. And again, it's a process. It's like I'm shooting through it. There's obviously a lot of frames in here I'm not gonna use, but it's about getting to the the ones that we are. Okay, I'm just looking through on my list of this is also a really good thing to do. I write down just like the inspiration board. I talked to all write down things that I want to do, and then in the moment I always forget. So I do write them down and refer to them. But what? Um which is what I'm doing here. And we obviously have more time. So if it was a really quick shoot, I might write them on my hand. So then I don't have to refer to my notes. Um, but this is where I I have some of my other ideas are we're here. So you know what? I'm gonna have you dio. I think I think we really have this set up. So let's I mean, have you change into a different outfit? Um well, you know what is also when we're talking about options? If I have her take off her jacket, just that alone is an entirely new outfit. Right? So I could have you put on a sweatshirt. Yeah. Let's put on that sweatshirt quickly. And I'll just a minute take, um, one of my lights gonna turn it towards the wall, and I'm do something a little bit more high key. I mean, I really like that picture, but I'll have to look through the edit.

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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