Shoot: Dance Pose with Water Splash
For our last one, this is my finale one. Like, this is gonna be the one with the most creative technique to it and the part that it is not possible without Photoshop. Like, this is one that will be Photoshop friendly here. Okay, so what we're gonna do is we are going to have our subject in a dance-like pose. Okay, I'm gonna have her dance and move. And then what we're going to do is we're going to use Photoshop brushes and Photoshop layers to make it look as though she's being splashed with water or wearing a dress made out of water. So there are a couple different ways to approach this. First of all, if you go online, there are water brushes. You can buy some; some are free; some are better than others. But what you'll notice is they all require similar-ish lighting. In order for you to actually see a splash of water or particles or flower or whatever, it needs to be back lit in some way. Because that's the way that water is going to be illuminated. If the water's front lit, you don't...
really see it. So if I know that when you see these water brushes online, when you look them up, they're back lit in the way they're illuminated. If I'm going to be using this to composite or to add into a photo, that photo needs to be lit in a similar way as well. So that is why I have these two back strip lights. This is where the strip lights, you actually need strip lights. The last setup, it didn't matter what the light was. So these are one-by-four foot strip soft boxes, and they're going to rim light the water, back light them. And the reason that I selected the one-by-four is I'm going to have my subject dancing and moving and if you use the one-by-four, what it does is the light hits this front diffusion, and the light actually becomes the size of that diffusion. Like right now, the head of the light, this is how big the light is. When it hits the diffusion, it spreads out, which is when you have someone dancing, it's going to give you move even highlight. So that's what will carve them out from the background. If I just had the bare head, you'd have a really bright hotspot in one place, and then, you know, it would fade off towards the bottom of the body. It wouldn't give me as much even illumination. So I've got two one-by-four strip soft boxes. And that's because I know I want to match two of these brushes that exist. I know that in, I think in the chat room or someplace, they're going to drop a link to a particular set that I really like and the ones I'll be using later, so I will be referencing that. It's my friend Ben Shirk. He has those, and they're awesome. But you can also make your own, so that is going to be something I'm going to teach you. I'm going to teach you how to make your own brushes either using Adobe Brush or specifically Adobe Capture, which is an app, or taking photos to then turn into brushes. I'll show you how to do that, but right now the most important part is capturing that moving shot, the shot of our subject. So.
What light do you want? Do you want that other one?
Can we grab that one?
Okay, cool, so let's start off with this. May I borrow you? Also, I am not going to be throwing water at her, although we originally planned on it, but thought that was a bit cruel, maybe. Not that cruel. By the way, I know she'll hate this. Keira Knightley, right? (laughter) What? What? Crazy. I was like, you know what celebrity you are, and she was like, "Yes." I'm like, "Okay." (laughs) Anyway. So I already knew that in the end, she's supposed to look like she was wet or had water thrown at her. So that's why we covered. Was it glycerin, I think?
Baby oil, okay. So baby oil or and then we got her hair a little bit wet as well just cause if she looks completely dry, the illusion doesn't carry, so knowing what you're going to do in Photoshop, right? Bring that whole thing together. So let me just test these two back room lights and figure out if I like their placement roughly. And I will be switching my lights. No, not the right place now. Hold up. Not the right anything yet. All right, so first of all, I know I'm going to want my 24 to because I'm going to shoot fuller, wider shots. Also, this is a thing that you'll see later. I already have some brushes and some shapes of movement that I like, and so I'm actually gonna pose her because I've kinda seen some shapes that I like, so if you were to try this, maybe looking at brushes and saying, "Oooh, I like the little tail of water "in this brush. "Maybe I'll make it look like she's kicking her foot "and the water comes off that." I mean, so checking out the tools that you have available to you also gives you some good ideas. All right, so let me check the powers of these again, and I'm gonna bring you forward two feet. Okay, all right. And usually when I'm doing this in the studio, I have on the modeling lights and I have off all the overhead lights because the point of the modeling lights is so you can see what your room lights are doing. I usually set my room lights before I ever turn on my main light so I can actually see how they're carving out my subject. Because we're in this space and there's lights on me, it's harder to see, but I can kinda see it. So that would be my recommendation to you. Actually use your modeling lights. I'll take a look here. Okay, still. Oh. (chuckles) I'll change my eyes out, right? Let's just do that for a second. Okay. Anyway, let's test this again. Okay, much better. All right, so looking at this next shot, I'll give you the breakdown of what I'm thinking. First of all, I had a scratch on my lens so that's what that lens flare is just in case anyone wants to judge me right now. (laughter) Please do. Okay, so a couple things. If you are in a small space and you do have lens flares, there's a couple things you can do to help yourself out. I know that I want background lights. One of the things you can do is you can use a lens hood. If you put a lens hood on, it is going to block out some of that light that's hitting your lens, bouncing around and giving you lens flare. And he's doing the next one. The other thing you could do is you can actually put flags or go-betweens basically, things to block the light from the lens so it would make sure. Like, I'm looking at her. I can still see the room light hitting her arm, but my camera's lens would not actually be getting that light. So that's one thing you could do. Also, the more you have those lights in and pointed back towards the camera, you're gonna have worse problems with flare, so if you can bring them further out to the sides and then angle them inwards, that will help you a little bit 'cause then it's kind of crossing instead of straight back towards your lens, but when you have a small space sometimes it's hard to do that. So there's a bunch of different things you can do to try to get rid of lens flare including not scratching your lens. That does help as well. So let's see how that worked, John. That was good; it's just that one. That fixed it; reduced it. So I've got these two strip lights carving her out from the background. That'll be good, but I also know that for the way that I'm shooting her, I want a lower angle because the way that I'm standing right now, I'm right about eye level, and as I shoot down, it's going to make her look shorter. So I know that for my end vision, I want her dancing and moving and jumping. Something with a lot of energy to it, and at this angle, she doesn't look as tall and doesn't have as much elegance to it. So if I do this same shot, but I get down low and back up and zoom in, she's going to look significantly taller. So I'm gonna show you that before and after real quick if it loads in. Okay, so here's the before and here's the after. Can you see how much taller she looks? Like, it elongates everything. So my recommendation for you is I was always taught that you don't want to photograph somebody from a lower angle. And there's a couple reasons. You don't want to shoot them from a lower angle because you're shooting up their nose, for example. If I shoot here at a low angle, it's not gonna be super flattering. The other reason is whatever's closest to the camera looks largest, so if I'm shooting from here, that would be her thighs, and she probably won't appreciate that either, okay? So this is one of the reasons that you're taught not to shoot low. You don't want to shoot up someone's nose. You don't want their thighs or their stomach to look bigger. However, if you back up, get down, and zoom in, it's all about perspective. 'Cause here's the thing. When I'm close, her thighs relative to me, are a lot closer than her head. But when I back up, I'm at a lower angle, but her thighs aren't really that much closer because I backed up. It's all about those relative distances, and I remember the reason I figured this is how they make those models. Well, first of all, a lot of models are super tall. However, I see some shots where the models look insanely tall. And there was this picture that I saw once. You'll know it. There's a Richard Avedon shot where the girl, she's doing this, and her braid's out to the side, and she's like dancing, and she just looks so tall, and her legs look so long. And then there's a behind-the-scenes shot of that shoot, and he's on the ground, and his camera is on the ground. And I remember when I saw that, and I was like, but I was always told you don't shoot from a low angle for people, and like my mind was blown. But he shot from a low angle from far away, and so that perspective made her look tall, not disproportionate. So it's fun to think of back up, get down, zoom in when you're trying to make someone look taller. Elongate their legs, have longer lines. So that's good so far for how I want room lights. I do want to have a main light. So. Okay, cool. So I am going to have her going into the light, so I'm going to have you face this way, and the pose that I want is, yeah, the left leg up. Something like this. Also for posing for me, whenever someone is in, well, I mean, in general, but also in a bathing suit, if they're going to raise a leg, I have them raise the leg closest to the camera. It's more modest and less like, ahh, okay? So that's why leg closest to the camera is going up. And then for balance, I'm gonna have the back arm up, and when I have people do poses like this, especially if they're not like trained dancers, I don't have them hold it, 'cause what ends up happening is you see everything get tense and everything get uncomfortable. I have them step through the pose. So I would just have her like step through it, and I'm catching them between, 'cause it will look more natural than like, oh, here, I'm gonna hold it and hope you catch it. It's a little awkward.
Are you going down to her feet? Do you want to roll the paper out for her shot?
No, I think it will be fine.
It's all black, so. And then I'm gonna move this. Can we move the light a little higher? And I have no idea about the power, though.
It's at seven right now.
Well, let me give this a little test here. Would you come stand back roughly at your spot? Like right there, yeah. And then face that way for me. For this test. Okay, can we put it probably more at like 5.5?
And do that. And then I'm gonna raise it up. I want this to be more dramatic, and right now it's not super dramatic to me. So we're gonna raise it up, and I'm gonna put it that way.
The more the light is in the front, the flatter lit it's going to be. The further you bring the light off to either side, the more shadows you create. The more shadows you create, the more drama you create. And I'm going for drama, so that's what we're gonna do here. Okay. Okay, cool, so let me test this. And right there is perfect. Okay, that's good. I think that should be good. Is that as high as that particular light goes?
I can put it on this stand a little bit higher.
Okay. Can you put it on that stand for me?
Thank you. I'm trying not to be too high maintenance on here. Okay, so. So let's practice. Do you want to practice that step for me and let me see how it looks? Good. Put your left arm as a little looser, and I want like, lots of height with that leg, like really up high. Yeah, that will be perfect, cool. We don't randomly have a fan, do we?
We have another piece of foam core we can waft. It's right behind that door.
Okay, okay, 'cause I'm just thinking it would be more dramatic. In my class on high impact, one of the ways to add impact is to have movement of some sort. So movement in hair, but this might cause issues, so maybe we'll do it lightly. At home in my studio, I use a floor dryer. So I have a variable power floor dryer. It's like 40 or 60 bucks at Home Depot. And so I put it on a chair and aim it at the subject 'cause you can aim it and aim at the floor. Turn it up, and it works awesome. So we'll see how much of a pain I am. So let's test a couple of these shots. All right.
Do you want face looking at you or away?
I would say either towards that wall or slightly this way but not at me, yeah. Yeah, okay, all right. Okay, whenever you want. (camera clicks) Oh, that was a good pose. Not that I'm surprised at your posing abilities. They are very good, but that was good. I'm gonna turn your head a little bit more towards the right, and the thing that I'm looking at as well is her arm is merging with her face, and I want to have a nice, clean line. So you can do it, just not quite as high. Just give it a little bend, like a tiny bit of bend, so it's not here. It'll be there. Okay. Everything else looks good. And try to keep your hands nice and soft. They're good in that one, so.
All right, whenever you're ready. (camera clicks) Oh man, I missed the beautiful hair blow. Sorry, it was perfect, though. And so that arm, just a little bit too stiff. Just bend it just a little bit. Perfect. (camera clicks) Oooh, that was good. Okay, that was really nice. Okay. So see how it's like, just a little softer? Nicer curves and the arms? So let's take two more of those shots. (camera clicks) Good. Perfect. Let's see. And softer on the bottom hand. The right angle doesn't continue the line of the arm. So you guys see that? It's just like a little bit too abrupt. I want it just a little softer.
Yeah, so you want it to go straight. You want this.
Yeah, that one.
Yeah, keep this hand straight.
Just a little straighter this way. Maybe even like slightly upward. I don't know why, but I tell people put your hand like you're patting a dog or like if it needs to be higher, petting a pony. (laughter) I don't know, anything. So want me to impress you guys, right? Let's see if I can do it. Now see, that's exactly what you need to do. All right. (camera clicks) Oooh, and the hair blow. Oh, doing good. Okay, yeah, that was good. All right, so last one. Bring your foot, instead of back, bring it to your knee and keep your head a little bit more towards John. (camera clicks) I'm also notorious for saying last one when I never mean it. (laughter) But that was good. That was excellent. Okay, that was perfect. Thank you. Those will be great. All right, so the last thing that we're gonna do for this segment is we are going to actually shoot some water, shoot some splashes. We did not practice this 'cause it makes a mess, so it's just luck. So we're going to shoot some splashes. We'll see how it goes. I do need it to be back lit in order to have that separation. I ideally want. I don't want it necessarily completely fill the frame, but fill the frame more because I want them to be big splashes. I can't stretch the files, so this is one of the reasons too I shoot stuff like this, or when I'm doing compositing. I'll shoot with a 5DS, 'cause when I shoot with a Canon 5DS, I have 50 megapixels, so then if I had to shoot wider to capture the splash, I can then kind of crop in on pieces. Also if you're going to do this, I definitely recommend using studio strobes so you can freeze the action a little bit better. If you're getting really fancy, we're not gonna get into this here, but there's actually packs and ways to use faster flash durations to freeze the water and particles more. That is like an advanced studio thing. Just know it exists if you happen to get into shooting things, particles and water. And I think I'm gonna turn this one off. And I'll show you guys how you can use this to composite it in or create brushes.
Are you gonna put a manual focus? (photographer chuckles)
Or like a point.
Yeah, I'll put the light stand here for you to focus on. That will pull it out.
Yeah, and I was trying to move this out of the line of fire.
Yeah, that's why I'm throwing this way, so I don't hit the audience.
Oh good, okay, excellent. All right.
And one of the things I like about these particular strobes is they have pretty fast recycle times. So I probably can get off a couple frames during one of these throws. All right.
Focus on this, and then I'll pull it away.
And I'll try to get the water to go there.
All right. And I'm not. Let me see for exposure. Right now I'm at S10, so even if I'm off a little, that should be fine. I'm shooting at like S10, S11, so even if the water's a little bit further away or closer to me, it should still be pretty sharp. All right, I got it. And I'm shooting at 70 instead of more. Wish me luck from god. (camera clicks)
Yep. (camera clicks) Oh god. Oh cool, it worked. (laughter) All right, let's see. Meaning I got some. We'll work on it.
Let's see if we can get something more.
I still have, technically, I have six minutes to get this perfect. Floof water thing. Okay. All right.
Yep. (camera clicks) I think I'm gonna go on multi-shot in this next one. So right now, I'm on one shot, single shot, so I have to depress the shutter each time. I'm gonna hold it on this next one so it gets a couple pops off here, so let me just switch my multi-shot. Okay, just hold on. (camera clicks) That's still too. I'm gonna switch my drive. Okay. Okay. All right. I'm ready. (camera clicks rapidly) Oooh, oooh. Although it's a little. So you'll see in this next one. Hang on, not this one. Okay, so I got a little bit of a splash there. So you'll see at the bottom there, the one that I liked best. This technically is not sharp. You still see motion, and so this is why you have to get into things like faster flash durations, and there's distance of light and all that. There's more stuff to it, but we're just going for this right now. Okay.
Ready, yep. (camera clicks rapidly) And I want to try, Can we? Oh, this might be an evil question. Can I like put a pole out there? Can it hit the pole so I can get some like ricochet?
Yeah. Unless someone wants to stand here. (laughter)
Quit looking around. (laughter) (water pouring) All right. All right, whenever.
Here it comes. (camera clicks rapidly) (photographer chuckles) All right, good, good, I did get some of the trail off. Right? (audience exclaims) So something like that, you would be able to turn into a brush for, say, like this part of it, and then that would be, like, hitting someone's arm, right? And then you could overlay it. So let's just do, I think, for time's sake, we'll do two more throws, and I think we're good. (water pouring)
Gonna try, are you ready?
Yep. (camera clicks rapidly) (water pouring) I got a good trail off on the bottom. Yeah, those will be good. All right.
One, two and-- (camera clicks rapidly)
Let's see. Okay, I think that will be good. I'll definitely be able to grab enough to show you the concept of building a brush and then compositing some of this in, but I also have a whole bunch of resources including this one from my friend Ben that are fantastic splashes with a great deal of effort put into getting just the right splash, so I'll be sure to link you guys to that particular resource. Good job, John. So you're good.
It was excellent. All right, Lindsey.
Will we have time just for a couple questions maybe? That was so much fun to watch. Do we have any questions in the studio audience? And grab a mic please, and go ahead there in the front row.
And just for anyone else watching, we are going to do retouching for all of these, so you'll be able to see them. I will take a quick break, and we'll come back, and we'll do all that.
Yeah, so I saw that you were using your auto focus, and I was wondering if you were doing like an average of the whole area of if you were doing like spot on the eye or when you would switch for different situations.
Okay, so for auto focus for how I like to shoot is first, I'm using back lit and focus, so I'm using the button on the back of the camera so that I can focus and then depress the trigger with a different finger so it makes me faster with my focus. It makes me more precise so I can focus and recompose better. I taught a bunch of stuff on that, so if you don't know back button focus, go learn it, everybody. It's the best. What I usually do for focusing is I focus on the eye closest to the camera, and I use a single point or a small group. So that's what I do for focusing. For my metering in the studio here, everything that I was doing was completely on manual, and so I usually shoot around 1/200 of a second. Right here I'm at 1/160 of a second. Anybody that has cameras that sync about around 1/200, sometimes you still see a little bit of the shutter at the bottom at 200. So I like to shoot at 1/160, and then I'm just kind of tweaking for what looks good. Typically in my studio, I do meter. I have a meter. I know how to meter. But it depends on the purpose. If it's purely for my creativity, and I just want something to be gorgeous, and I want it to feel right, like those highlights on the back lit shot were for sure blown out, but that's what I wanted it to look like, so that's fine. However, if I am going to have to recreate something later, or it's for a client, or I need to know that for sure those highlights are within the realm of my exposure, then I will meter just to make sure that I've got all the information that I need. I just felt like doing both focus and metering in there 'cause I could.
Great, maybe one more quick one unless I'll take one from the Internet, and then we'll see if we have time for yours. Okay, so can you tell us again, when you talked about using the same approximate focal length for shooting the different elements that you're going to composite together, what about the distance to the object from the lens as well?
Yeah, that's a good question. So if I'm shooting, and I change my focal length and my distance, all of that changes what the elements will look like, so I do try to keep it roughly the same distance, roughly the same focal length. Thankfully, in post, if whether your using the warp tool or it depends on what tool you use, you can make things match better, but I'm just not a visual person like that, so I'd rather just have it as close as possible in camera so I can just drag and drop and like paste it, 'cause that's not how my mind is wired.
Great, all right, one last question.
I almost never use flash. I know this is gonna be a really silly question.
On a lot of shots, why do you need to use the strobe? Why can't you just pump up, you know, the light to what you need it to be?
So if you were shooting on a really bright, sunny day with water thrown in front of a black background, you could shoot that. But in here, you would have to use a longer shutter speed or such a narrow depth of field that you wouldn't get it all sharp. So you have to let too much light in, in a situation like this, but on a really, really bright, sunny day against a black background, you could do something that would let you get these flashes.
It would also be hard to get that black background, because you want the back light. So you need two suns, one on each side of that black background. So the lights become our sun, and we can do exactly what we want.