Shoot: Dramatic & High Contrast Black & White
All right, so let's go on to our siblings. This time, we're going to use the same background, but we're going to work with a, the whatcha-ma-jigger here, the, what do you call it, clothes rack. Okay, so I will take this out. What I'm also going to do is, Casey's gonna kill me, but, since we're shooting on the wall, I want to lower my F-stop, okay? So let's think about this for a second. I wanna lower my F-stop so I can make that wall go a little bit out of focus, to give a little bit more emphasis on my subject, so how would I do that with a strobe situation? What do you think? Sorry, what did you say?
I just said, you could lower the strobe power. Exactly. She said lower the strobe power. See, right now I'm shooting at, what am I on, You're at F 14. F 14. Really stopped down. High power on this thing, okay? If I lower this down to it's minimum power, that will allow me to open up for some more light and, in essence, reduce my depth of field to be more shallow. So, you don't have as ...
much leeway with this as you do outside. Why? What limits you? Think, think, think, think, think. Exposure, ISO, shutter speed, aperture. Where am I limited when I'm shooting with strobe? [Several Audience Members] Shutter speed. Shutter speed, exactly. I can only shoot at the shutter speed that my camera syncs at, which is one two hundredths of a second, right? So I can't increase my shutter speed like I can outside to get my exposure if I'm shooting wide open. I have to either power down my light or lower my ISO to be less light sensitive, right? I'm at lowest ISO I can do right now, so the only parameter I have is to change the power of my light to be able to reduce the amount of light going on the lens, so therefore allowing me to open up, which will give me that shallow depth of field that I want, correct? Now, the other solution to this would be to put a neutral density filter on the front of my camera. That would allow me to stop down. However, it's incredibly hard, sometimes, to focus with a neutral density filter, because it literally makes everything dark inside and it's hard to see what you're doing. But, it is a solution and I have done it before and it does work, so keep that in mind, okay? So, Casey, I'm going to lower the power on this thing to as low as it will possibly go. So, down to like, ooh, fancy, fancy (laughs)! He's using the new air remote, and I don't have it yet, and you can power down. That's sweet. Rock and roll. Okay, so then what I'm going to do is bring in, we'll test without the kids first, and then we'll bring them in again, since they've already been here. I'm going to lock this down. Oh, did I do that right? No. Now, this is a little wobbly, so I wouldn't use this with super young kids, okay? It also does not take a lot of weight, so I probably will only do one child at a time up in here in the thing, so we're really gonna have to control that, but, it's fun. I will have kids hang on it, get that soulful expression with the sibling, maybe have one grab on to the other, faces close. You can also put them in a chair like the chair we just used, have them both cuddle up on the chair so each one has one butt cheek on the chair, so we'll probably do that afterwards and have them a little more close and cuddled and giving me that soft expression. Children are sometimes hard to get the soft expression, as funny as it is, try it. It is not easy, 'cause they're trained to smile, okay? So what I do is a lot of preparation in advance. I talk to the child before they're even in the camera room. I say to them, you don't have to smile if you don't want to. Can you give me your big eye face? You know? So I get that expression. Some children, like Brooklyn, is just natural quiet and shy and they do it for you, and they know me, so they're more comfortable. If a child knows you, they are gonna be more comfortable, but that can be either a good thing or a bad thing (laughs). It can be a good thing in that they're comfortable, it can be a bad thing in that they're too comfortable. I'm sure you know what that means, right? Okay. I do probably need a face in here. Let's actually, yeah, the kids can come on up. Let's let the kids come on up. Rex and Riley, they can come on up. Hi, kiddos. So we changed their outfits. You guys are such rock stars. I love it! Come on over. Isn't this gonna be kind of easy to have some fun and climb on this thing, but remember what I said: only one at a time. Can we kill some house lights for me? That would be awesome if we could do that. Perfect. Awesome! They have new outfits on, and you can see they look awesome. Okay, so we're going to try, since you're the older one and you're probably a little bit bigger, we're going to let your brother get on this thing first. Sound good? So, come on over, cutie, and step right over here on this side. Can you do that for me? There we go! And you, sweetheart, come on over here. We're going to do a quick light test. Oh, okay. I guess we'll do two people on it. Why not? How much do you guys weigh? I'll be about 70 pounds. 70 pounds and you're-- About 45. 45? No, 48.4, I think. 48.4. (audience laughs) No, yeah. 48.4. 48. Okay. Yeah, I think it was just-- Can you guys put your hands up here? Can you reach? (gasps) How cool! Careful, it's not that sturdy. You're a little short for this, okay? So you know what I want you to, yeah, no, let's not hang on it, okay? That scares me a little bit. Okay, Mr Rex, what I'm going to have you do, can you let go? Your sister gets to hang on, 'cause you're a little short. I just want you to grab her around the waist. Can you do that? What? I know, what? Just like that. She's not so bad, is she? Okay. You guys can give me soft faces, right? Can you give me soft faces? What is soft faces? Soft face means no smiling. Just like big eyes. Can you give me those big eyes? 'Cause you guys have beautiful eyes, right? (gasps) Shh. Quiet. We're going to do a quick light test, see how I like it, and go from there. (camera clicks) (mechanical whirring) Oops! What is happening? Oh, that's right! (laughs) Thank you, I'm at a 14! That don't work. I'm gonna have to get my exposure right, here. I just lowered to F 3.5 to see if I like it. It's a little bit better. Prefer to see it on there. Oh yeah, much better. Mm-hmm. Perfect. I'm gonna open up just a little bit more to see what happens. (beep) Beautiful, that's better. Okay! You're such a good listener, Rex! I really like what a good listener you are. You're doing a good job. Okay, so, we're going to tuck in there. We're gonna be real quiet. He's not so bad, is he? Bet you he smells sometimes though, huh? Okay! (laughs) I know. It's hard for Miss Julia not to make you laugh. Okay, we're going to do quiet. What do you think is up there in the light? You look, Rex? What do you think is up there? What do you think is up there? I don't know. You don't know? Orange paper? Orange paper. Okay. Miss Riley, are your arms hurting? Are you arms hurting, honey? I'm just... It's okay if it's too tough. You don't have to do it if you don't want to.
It's not. It's not tough? Okay. It's just like my fingers are turning purple. They're turning purple? Ooh, careful, bud. Okay. Awesome. Let's go ahead and, I want you both to sit down. Can you sit on there? Let's be careful. Perfect. Okay. You sit like that. Perfect. Can you use that as if, yeah, like that, and then you, buddy, get to use your sister like she's a chair. Sound good? So, you get to turn like this and lean on her. Sound good? Awesome! Not too much, just a little bit of lean. Just a little bit. Careful! Can you scooch your booty closer to your sister? Oh my gosh, it's breaking! Is it breaking? Yeah! We gotta be a little careful with it, huh? Okay. Maybe we should have you sit on the floor, buddy. I'm a little worried that it's gonna break. Okay, can you hop off for me, Rex? Perfect. Oh yeah, it is breaking. Okay, go ahead and sit on the floor, bud. Can you put your booty right there? Oh yeah. Put your booty right there, and then put your legs that way. It's not even close. Okay, and then you, my dear, need to scoot forward. Perfect. Do you know why I'm scooting you forward? Same plane. Yes, exactly. Okay, can you put your knees up and hug your knees? Perfect! Good job! Awesome! Okay. My light's gonna, see, now, I've moved them further away from the light. Do you see that? So, I would normally lower my light and close in. Let's go ahead and close-in it up a little bit to them, Casey, if you don't mind. Just drop it? Yeah, drop it just a touch. (murmurs) (camera clicks) I know that TV is in the way. There we go, perfect. Thank you.
Is that enough? A little bit more, if we can. If you have enough room over there. Beautiful. That's good. Awesome. (camera clicks and beeps) Miss Riley? (camera clicks and beeps) Rex? (camera clicks and beeps) (camera clicks and beeps) Rex, can you put your chin up? Can you put your chin up just a little bit for me, bud? Oh, there we go! You're fixing, huh? Yeah, you're fixing. Good job. (camera clicks and beeps) Beautiful! You guys my super models? Yeah? Huh? I want bored face. Can you give me bored face? (laughs) It's hard, isn't it? Can you be an actor and give me bored face? Perfect. Can you lean on your sister like she's a pillow? (sighs) Bored face. Beautiful. Hey, girlfriend, Miss Riley, can you put your hand over your brother? There you go! And now I wanna see bored face (laughs). But I can't see you, Mr Rex! There we go. Perfect! But you got to look at me. There we go. Beautiful! Miss Riley. (laughs) Perfect. Good job. I'm just kind of letting them be mellow. Can you bring your chin up for me just a little bit, Rex? Perfect! Good job. Beautiful. Okay, so what I'm trying to do, is just create a simple black and white soulful portrait that's without them being super expressive. This is really challenging, 'cause all they wanna do is look at themselves in the monitor, okay? So it's okay that they're doing that. I'm not pushing them too hard, but I want you guys to just get the gist of where I'm going with this. Okay, let's go ahead and bring in the other chair, the same stool that we had before, if that's okay, Jamie, and we'll raise that back up again and we'll put them on the stool a little bit. Okay, Miss Riley, you can hop up, sweetheart. You guys did good. We'll move this over here, and I'm going to make them share one stool, which gonna be a little challenging for them, but it is an adult stool, so they should be able to. Now, the only thing with it, is that it is wiggly, so we're gonna-- That's the only one of the stools we like. It's the only kind of stool you like? Well, I'm going to make it so that it doesn't wiggle anymore. Sorry. 'Cause otherwise you guys are gonna wiggle all around, and then it won't be easy to stay still, huh? So, like I said, this type of portrait doesn't need to be two kids together, so if I was doing this for a client, what I would do, is, oh, careful, I would shoot the session. Okay, let's see here. You guys can pick which side you wanna be on, but you have to share. You think you can share it? I know that's hard, for siblings to share stuff, isn't it? (sighs) So tight! You got it (laughs)? Perfect. Okay, so, if, (chuckles) I love this. You can do single portraits of the children. If I was doing this as a session, I would do individual portraits and several different two sibling looks, okay? So, don't be afraid to do it as a single. It doesn't have to be a together thing, if that makes sense. They are at the age where they're starting to, you know, bicker. I bickered with my sister until she went to college, but it's part of the process, so it's okay if they're doing that, just roll with it. Perfect. It's hard to share a stool, isn't it? She just turned it. It does turn. It's hard not to turn, isn't it? Yeah. Okay. So, I want you, can you sit in there okay, bud? You can sit like this if you need to. Is that better? There we go. Is that better? He gets the whole stool! He gets the whole stool! I think you guys can share it. Yeah, that looks pretty good, you guys. There you go. Is that better? Okay. It's the whole point-- Now she gets the whole stool! You gotta kinda stay still to balance, right? Now you get the whole stool! Okay, so your mom told me a story, and I want to hear all about it, okay? Your mom told me that there is something, really strange, Riley, are you ready? There's something really strange in your closet. (camera clicks and beeps) (camera clicks and beeps) (laughs) She wants to smile. (laughs) And it might be kind of scary, huh? What's in your closet? Huh? I can't help but photograph them when they smile. It's so hard not to. Rex, you wanna tell me? Um, no. No. (audience laughs) No? Hey Rex, what's in her closet?
I'm not telling you. You're not telling me? Why not? 'Cause I don't want to embarrass my sister. You don't wanna embarrass your sister? Aw, is he the most awesome guy in the whole world? He doesn't wanna scare you, does he? Is he a cool dude? Your brother is pretty cool, huh? She's not scared of it.
She's not? Mm-mm. Hey, Riley, Rex? I want you to look for Harold. Do you see him? You don't? Tell 'em where to find it, Rex.
It's at home. (murmurs) It looks like a red flash.
It looks like a red flash?
Yeah, like-- So do you guys ever fall asleep on each other? What if you did that now and put your heads together? Can you do it? Can you do it for me? A little quick for me, for Miss Julia? (laughs) Okay, that's okay. We're good. We're all right. Okay. So, how are we doing on, yeah, see you can really create some classic portraits. Now, in this one here, Rex isn't quite looking at the camera. There we go, that's a little bit better. Beautiful. (kids murmur) She's not sharing the stool, huh? Yeah, I like the contrast way better over here. Now, his nose is a little bit bright, so something I could fix later in post, which I don't like to do. I like to get it right in camera. (laughs) Sometimes, what you'll find, is these little moments just start to take hold, and you have to let them be what they are, and sometimes they're laughing, happy, smiley, and sometimes they're not. Now, I almost feel like I need to open up a little bit. Yeah, because we're using an overhead light source, it's getting hot on the cheeks. I can see it there. So, what I'm going to do, is I'm going to bring the light out a little bit more, and then angle it down, so it's not quite so overhead to create that raccoon eye thing going on, okay? So this is where light placement is critical. I'm going to have Casey bring this slightly forward. We're going to bring it down and angle it a little more towards them. Angle down? Hey you guys, it is no big deal right now and we're cool. Sound good? Perfect. Uh-oh, this big old thing is gonna come attack you. Are you ready? She's not letting me-- It's okay. You don't need to get on right now. It's okay, bud. Okay, yeah, that's good. Awesome. Perfect. So, what I'm doing is, in essence, feathering the light, which is really not an accurate term, because light really travels in a straight line, right? But, what I am doing, is just angling the light a little bit differently so it hits them slightly different, and you're going to see, as a matter of fact, that's perfect. I'm gonna take a picture of either-- I pulled the stool backwards. You could pull the stool backwards? He did? Wow! Maybe we should take a little break for a minute, huh? Who wants to go first?
Me! Me? Uh-oh. Eenie, meenie, miney, moe, catch a tiger by the toe, if he hollers let him go, eenie, meenie, miney, moe, my mother said to pick the second best one and you are not it. You're first. Okay. Go for it! I'll get you in a second, okay? You're good, buddy. You're not in trouble. You did a great job. Just take a break for a minute, and then I'll bring you in for the second time, okay? 'Cause you know, first worst, second the best, right? Oh, poor guy. He's a little disappointed. That's okay. So, I'm going to show you the difference on Riley as to how that changes the light, or how that changes the image, by just changing the angle of the light slightly, okay? Perfect, my dear. All you have to do is sit there, okay? You don't have to do much at all. It's a really, really easy job. Beautiful. So, now I take the shot, and you see how it opened up her face a lot, simply by changing the angle of the light? We have that catch-light in her eyes, yet we still have the nose shadow and the chin under-shadow, okay? Now, if I wanted to bring a reflector here and to fill it, it would almost be too much and fill in her face. If the reflector is a nice... It's a nice contrast softener. So, it softens your shadows, but you don't want to use it as a rescue tool. Does that make sense? I could have used it in the other images to help open up the shadows a little bit, but the better thing to do is have the light placed correctly, and here it's a little bit more accurate. So, my dear, I'm going to have you turn your body towards the audience. Sound good? Can you do it? Does the stool turn? There we go. Perfect, just like that. Beautiful. Can you lean on that chair for me? Can you put your arm on it and just kind of lean on it like that? Perfect! Just like that. Beautiful. Don't move. Gorgeous, darling. Beautiful! So, sometimes what happens is, is I wait for the child to give me a look, okay? So, she's, you know, kind of in her own little world and waiting for me to do my thing, right, 'cause I'm talking a lot, right? I'm talking a lot. Yeah, I know. It's kind of boring sometimes. But, what I'll do is kinda wait for them to give me the expression that I'm after, or what I'll do, is I will tell them to give me bright eyes. Okay? So I want you to close your eyes for me, girlfriend. Close your eyes. Keep leaning on that chair. Beautiful. And then on the count of three, I don't want you to move anything else. You're just going to look at Miss Julia. One, nope, you moved! One (laughs), I know it's hard. Breathe in through your nose. Can you breathe in through your nose? Good girl. Out through your mouth. (breathes loudly) Perfect. One, two, three. Look at me. Beautiful. Gorgeous! See, you get that softer, sweeter expression. Go back to the last one, Case, if you can. I get that softer, more opened eyed expression by simply making them close their eyes and then open. Okay? It forces them to go into their head and kind of think about the fact that they can't see and they're not being visually stimulated by everything around here, and then allows them to open their eyes. Children actually do perform much better when you're alone with them, so if you can do this without mom and dad nearby, it's a much better process. Okay, you did awesome sauce, my Cover Girl friend! You're a good sport. Should we let your brother do it now? Yeah, I think so. Would you go get him for me? Thank you, sweetheart. You're a rockstar! You're going to do better than your sister, right? Yeah, I think you are. Give me five. Rock on. You are a good sport. Okay. (gasps) Do you think you're brave enough to be on your knees on that stool? Okay, I'm going to help you get there, because I don't want you to-- I can do it by myself. I'm going to spot you, 'cause I don't want you to fall. You think you can do it by yourself? Yeah. I'm gonna let you, but, oh boy. I'm okay. There you go. Okay, I'll just hold this right here. Makes me nervous. On your knees. It might hurt your knees, though, so if it hurts too much, you tell me. Look at you, big boy! Okay, come forward a little bit on the stool, 'cause I don't want you to fall over. There you go, just like that! Can you kind of sit on your legs? Perfect. Good job, buddy. Can you hang out right there for a second? It does hurt? Right here. Oh, I got it. Okay, so let's see here. Let's go like that! Is that good? Yeah. That better? Mm-hmm. Perfect! Does that feel a little bit better? Not so bad? If it hurts, you tell me. No, it doesn't. It doesn't hurt? Okay. Awesome sauce. Look at you! I could spin you around like a top. Wouldn't that be funny? Mm-hmm. Thank you. I don't mind it sitting on the floor. You're sweet. Okay. So, what's your job, bud? What do you mean?
Do you have a job?
Like, at my house?
Yeah, what kind of chores do you do? Taking out the garbage, feeding the dog-- Yeah? Cleaning my room, setting my bed--
Doing my laundry. Do you get money? Yeah, we get an allowance.
You get an allowance? Really? How much do you get in your allowance? Huh?
One dollar a week? Or one dollar per chore? One dollar a week? Yeah.
What do you spend the money on? I don't really. I just save it.
You just save it? What are you saving up for? Um, I don't really know, yet.
You don't know yet? I have like 70 dollars in my-- (gasps) 70 dollars? (Rex murmurs off mic) Really? Have you ever played peek-a-boo with your hands?
No. Will you cover your eyes and go like that? Can you do it both hands? (gasps) (laughs) Awesome. I'm just kind of letting him play around a little bit. Are your knees okay, bud?
Yeah. Yeah? Are you going to tell me what's in your sister's closet? I love that smile (laughs). I can't help but get that smile. Are you going to tell me what's in your sister's closet?
No. No? You're a good brother, man (laughs). I love it. I'm not gonna spill it either, 'cause I know what's in your sister's closet, I was just hoping you might say it. But if you don't wanna say it, that's okay. You don't wanna say it? Is there something in your closet? Um, when I was like three, I used to think there was, but it wasn't actually very scary. You weren't very scared of it? No? I wasn't scared of it. You weren't? I used to laugh. You used to laugh at it? Yeah. I always laughed at the monsters too, but I thought there was something under my bed. Yeah, that's what scared me. I didn't like it under my bed. Are you okay with your bed? Yeah, I'm-- Yeah, it's okay, isn't it? Uh-huh. So, do you like any scary movies? Um... You think Harry Potter is?
I wanna see It.
No, not It, ew. I wanna see Alien.
You wanna see Aliens? Dude! That's scary. My friend, he watched Alien in kindergarten. Oh yeah? Wow. That's intense. Okay--
And It! Okay, we're going to do some pretend games. Okay? I want you to pretend-- I kind of like the Walking Dead. You do? Zombies? Mm-hmm. Oof, no. I can't watch zombies. No way, Jose. I want you to give me a bored look. Can you do that? (camera clicks and beeps) (camera clicks and beeps) (camera clicks and beeps) (camera clicks and beeps) What's two plus six?
Good job. What's, ten minus four?
Six. What's, two times two? Four. (gasps) Very good! This is a tough one. Are you ready?
Mm-hmm. What's ten times two?
Twenty. Whoa, good job, buddy! Okay. So, we're shooting at F 2.5. You've done a good job, buddy. Thank you. You wanna hang out for a second? I might work with you again. I've now, awesome, do we have any good expressions of him of him not--
18 or 20? 18 or 20?
This one? Beautiful. Yeah. Okay, so, you can see it. Making him think is really actually giving me the expressions that I want out of this. Now, the monitor here for you guys here in the studio audience is bright. These are much lower key. The background is almost black, right? Almost dark over there, Case. So, that's kind of what I was after. I think at home they're seeing what's on the Capture One screen, right? So, you guys will be able to look at the better contrast images, but this is the expression I'm going for. I'm going for just a soft, sweet expression that's about the eyes. I have to be really careful with those glasses, that they don't cut across his eye. We're gonna shoot again in a second. As a matter of fact, we're gonna probably get the poof out, 'cause you guys didn't really get to do the poof last time, and I want to hear the story about your glasses, 'cause we'll shoot that again. Sound good? Okay. So, getting them to think, getting them to talk, telling them a story. I knew that these guys loved pugs and I have a pug, and so, we have a book at home called Pig the Pug and I haven't read it yet, and I really wish I had because-- I have it! You have that book? Oh, you might have to tell me the story! Is it a red book? It's a red book, yeah, with a pug on the front? Yeah. Yeah! Is that a good book? Is it one of your favorites? Yeah. So, the book starts out kind of greedy. It does? But then it's like-- Well, let's-- Your dogs friend-- Can you wait for the story so we can hear it when we're photographing you? I want to hear it when we're photographing you. Do we have any questions about what I'm working with before we move on? Yes. I feel like, as a beginner shooting kids and families, I took a long time, 'cause I didn't know exactly what I was going for and exactly what I was doing, and then I transitioned to trying to shoot super fast, before there's melt downs--
Yes. And I feel like you're much further along where you know exactly what you're looking for. How long do you take on an individual child, or on a family, and is it totally dependent on getting what you are envisioning, or is there generally an average time that you take? Great question. I hear you. Been there, done that. Some kids, like him, are giving me tons of time. I mean, he's six years old, and he's willing to hang out with me and take pictures all afternoon, right? Yeah. He's cool. Some kids shut down in 20 minutes. He's clearly able. He's a photographers child, and he's clearly understands what happens, and he's not intimidated by the environment or the strobe, or the settings, or me demanding his attention, but what you'll notice, is, in these sessions, I wait a lot. I wait for him to give me what I want. Whereas with real kids, you'll see it's totally different. It is high energy, get that kid the laugh smile, be crazy, we could dance party. I've got music loud, we'll be doing Moana, Disney, whatever, you name it, in the studio. It's blaring when we do a real kid session. It is fun, naughty, crazy. The crazier they are, the better, okay? This is the complete opposite. I'm waiting for expression. I'm waiting for that time. It's a little calmer. They don't run out of steam as fast. To answer your question fully, I shoot until I know I've got it, but I don't dilly dally. Let's put it that way. If you dilly dally, you run into a brick wall. They run into a brick wall. Okay? So, I shoot for what I need and when I've got it, I move on. Sometimes my baby planned sessions, I had a six-monther in the other day, and we were super tight on schedule 'cause I was doing a commercial shoot an hour and a half later that was gonna take the whole day and we had five models coming in and I was stressed about that session, because I was like, oh my gosh, I only have an hour and a half to do this baby. We were done in 35 minutes. The child literally gave me, and we did five or six different looks. I got it, move on! There's no sense beating a dead horse. If you've got it and the images are great, move on, because you're going to get more variety if you do that. So, if I was in this type of session with him, I might actually start with a soulful. Even with a soulful kid session, it's generally a low key black and white, I will move on and do the sweep and go mid-key, a little bit, just to give a different look. Okay? I want Miss Riley to come out here too, 'cause we need to give a big thank you to these two rocking kids, who have been putting up with me all day long! Gorgeous children. You guys are such good helpers. Can you guys give them a round of applause? They did awesome. (applause)