Skip to main content

Inside the Home Studio

Lesson 23 of 31

Garage Shoot: Senior Portrait in Short Blue Dress

Tony Corbell

Inside the Home Studio

Tony Corbell

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

23. Garage Shoot: Senior Portrait in Short Blue Dress


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:04:07
2 Find Your Voice Duration:05:24
8 Photography Education Duration:11:18

Lesson Info

Garage Shoot: Senior Portrait in Short Blue Dress

let's move on teo I think she's going to be in a different outfit yet and different sorry tell us what we're going to see him we just changed the background a little bit we moved it more flat to where she is now more split lighted split lit always felt funny saying now she split lit but she's let half what anyway let's roll the video and take a look you know one of the things that I talk about my workshops and one of the things that I've noticed over the years by angling this background by england where I stand relative to the model uh we've got highlights side we've got a shadow side uh in in all the papers that were found that divinci wrote about paintings he talked about uh creating a three dimensional contrast and he talked about uh having three separate brightness is on a face the true brightness of the subject and then a brightness that's darker than the true brightness and brightness it's brighter than the true brightness and he says if you have all three of those brightness lev...

els you're gonna have depth shape texture and dimension in a photograph or a painting but for us is photographers that it teaches us that it's kind of required that we have uh fall off our direction of light and if I can't do that if I got my light source in line with my camera position in other words if I'm using on camera flash I just create create a flat picture if I could take that light off camera you know you hear people talking about o c f all the time off camera flash the reason forget it off is to create depth and form and texture and all that so that's why this backgrounds at an angle that's why this backgrounds not flat to the to the open garage door uh it's why in the studio my main light is off at a forty five forty five seems to be the magic number for the angle of the light source to the subject and it's funny divinci also talked about that he said that the shadow on the ground from your subject should be as long as your subject is tall that's his way of saying forty five degrees in fifteen oh three so it's a pretty clever way for us to think in terms of like qualities and forty five away from the camera and forty five up it's a great place to start oh this is really really really pretty let me just grab this before we lose it great just your eyes right at me for one second right there just another little sparkle in your eyes just a little tiny little tiny yeah that's good okay now let go your dress and and maybe you just put your hands behind your back like that and bring your head back around again coming in just a bit like that good good good just again just a little bit of a sparkle of a smile just a bit good hey john see if you can hit her with a little silver again let's see if we could light up that but on top of her head a little bit this looks pretty dad come over here you better stand behind me so you know what I'm doing pretty like that kid holy moly yeah only a couple inches there you go now you're good really turn your head just a tiny bit further that's it right there great chin down just a little oh that's nice in fact let's you're just kind of bend over that way a little bit and let your head come down lower and close your eyes for a second john can you move out of this an inch that's it pretty don't move don't move don't move good good good good good relax your fingers on your right hand I could see him through there there you go that's good you did it you did it good and then go yeah don't move a little bit closer and try to come over like this just kind of come over the top with that and then come in a little closer tour closer closer closer done and and okay here we go great great great relax for just a second get out I'm telling you relax have mercy now let's do the same thing let's go ahead and let's so what I want to try to dio I'm getting a lot of even light from the top to the bottom because of the nature of the garage door garage door lighting if you will but I want to block off about half of that because I want the light to come from an upper the upper side and I don't want is much from the bottom so instead of vignette ing this picture later and trying to take off all the darkness I'm off the brightness later let's just stretch this black do teen across the half of the picture so so I can bring this over cross and I can sort of go bow down this picture a little bit let's go a little bit lord john let's go down a few few inches a little bit lower and I think I'll bring it down about here anyway something like that you spend this just a bit any time you're going one direction and you think you're the weight that you're using is going to pull on a stand just put a leg the direction is trying to fall and then it won't fall so small thing it's kind of like a tripod when I set up my tripod I always do it exactly the same way I've got one leg under my lens for two reasons one it holds the weight if I've got a big heavy lands to I can walk right up to my camera I'm not hit in the leg so kind of seems like a no brainer but until you know you don't know you don't know what you don't know until you find out what you don't know what okay well anyway so I'm just coming in a little bit closer now with my camera and the lower half of this is where my lights now coming from I mean the top half so the lower half of her she's getting less light all the way down full length wise it just works pretty well let me get one another one of these let's just turn your head this way just a bit in fact bring your hands together in the front just kind of real loosely like more like that just a little bit yeah yeah yeah and I need your elbows up been just a little bit more right there uh you've you've caught a piece of fabric on that side there you go perfect so for those of the others that are watching this the reason for doing that I need to see air between her arm and her waist if her arms are like this and if I don't see any air through here it's adding weight to her and I don't want to add weight to anybody so by bringing her arms up just a little bit I just knocked off about seven or eight ten pounds turn your shoulders that way just a bit that's perfect now bring your head back on this side a little bit more and ten down just a tiny bit in your eyes right over here actually read and hear this right about there chin up just a tiny bit right there perfect perfect perfect nice nice nice nice good let me just zoom in a little bit tighter great great great let me do one more of those this time bring your head to me just a tiny bit right there perfect smile on this on this okay good good good and just relax your fingers a little bit more in this time just yeah that's it perfect uh I'm okay without actually yeah and just barely turned your head yeah now you can smile again there we go good good good good good good let's do one more of those yeah okay relax for just a second okay let's rearrange this let's move the background let's go and flatten it out so now we're going to kind of a split light so I just want to turn it completely flat to the garage door so it's gonna be at a ninety degree okay yeah I'll drop this off real quick there's a there's a strange and sort of interesting way that always check for highlights and shadows and trying to check for shadow edges uh the law of physics says that the larger given light sources the softer the edge of the shadow and so when I'm trying to determine yeah you can see we're putting this background flat ninety opposite the light here I've gotta figure out where to place that background relative to its distance to this light source so here's what I'll do often I'll put my hand out flat and I'll hold my finger out kind of you know a few inches away from the palm of my hand and I just start walking I'm going this way so you can follow me I'll go start walking in like this and the further I get away from the light source right there you don't even hardly see shadow but the further I go away from that life source now you start seeing a shadow from my finger and now you start seeing it more pronounced and now you start seeing it sharper edge and now you're seeing the sharper and sharper and sharper now here I've got a very sharp shadow because it's I I always call it size relative to distance the size that light source relative to our stand creates a small hard edged light source so well that's not going to be great for her features I don't want to have hard shadows so that's why we're positioned up here as I start getting closer and closer light right there the shadow starts getting really nice and soft the shadows edge so as I come right in here right in here is kind of a sweet spot I think for the size of source makes sense you know this john you've been doing this for years so that's why that's why this is away from the garage door opening but yet not too far back into the garage I want a nice directional light source but it's got to be soft so if that's why we're here let's move you a little bit to the side that way just a bit and come toward me just a little bit right in there good you know one of the things that uh that we've got to make sure we cover is why why we moved the background back flat ninety degrees perfectly split uh from the light source data here is two again create depth and dimension and uh I can do a better job of that by having that like truly fall off this makes it a really easy thing to do she looks fantastic here and again and weaken turn if you notice her look at her neck and her shoulders if you'll just turn toward the light your neck your shoulders your feet everything little bit more living right there come back a little bit right there if you look at that her chest is getting all the light her chest is brighter than her face I can't I can't leave it that way I've got to move her shoulders and her chest away from the light and bring her face back into the light if I want to do that but I can't let her her open chest hit the let the light hit it flat that's kind of that's kind of an issue with me it's kind of a no no for me so let's just turn you a little bit the other way write about that way now then get all comfortable again and maybe your weight on one foot in fact push your right foot out away from you yeah there you go now bring your head to me just a little bit this way right in there is perfect let's just try let's try one right there john let's take a quick reading of that I think I think our readings going to be pretty close to the same but we should be at about one twenty five four I think that's gonna do it I want the dome facing the camera yeah one twenty five to eight even two eight o yeah really well how did you do that I press the button okay well I can't get two to eight but I can't get tau sixtieth at four let's just fire that and take a look gorgeous you were right and the meter was right I was going to second guess it that can't I missed it so you gotta trust those meters that's really really pretty um boy let's do something with your hands a little bit higher yeah yeah yeah that's good and maybe off to one side just a little bit yeah and let's turn your shoulder is a tiny bit more your hips feet everything just a little not yeah come back halfway there you go now bring your head to me just a little bit right there in your eyes right at me great great great nobody moves great I'm gonna come in a little bit tighter here being on one step in your big sisters are going to be so mad that they weren't here today they're gonna be so jealous when they see these pictures god those look great evan you did great training had just a little bit she's not a big talker is he won't have to work on this talking thing she laughed great that's pretty I gotta fire off a few of those real quick uh now let's bring in that white on this side of the face we want to fill in the shadow a little bit and here's the thing once once you've established exposure and the reason uh the reason some people get themselves a little bit of trouble exposure wise when they bring in a reflector is if you're not careful your exposure is going to change based on whether you're meeting toward the life source or toward the camera if you take another reading if you've been aiming toward the camera then you're gonna get in trouble because you're adding more light to the exposure but she's not really getting anymore like other than just the shadow so let's flatten it just a little bit like just turn it just a little bit yep and now let's bring it in a little bit closer to her right about like that now let me take another look at it shoulders just a little bit away yeah bring your head back around in fact bring your left hand up over your shoulder here somewhere just hey and bring your head around just a little bit down down down down ho that's pretty dad you're gonna like this one can you bring your right arm up a little higher just so I can see under no pushing back like but that's it right there yeah yeah like right there let your eyes go straight ahead uh like right about that way yeah good chin down a little bit and just let your eyes close for a second right there same thing exactly but I won't twist toward me a little bit more little bit more little bit more now bring your head right here you're eyes down a nice clothes for justice I could write like that great don't move that white bag just a tiny bit toward her just a tiny bit more more more more more more more and a little bit closer that's it great shut up a tiny bit right there that was putting out your eyes read it me for this one great lets your hand just go down now if I just bring your hands together again yep just get comfortable right there a little bit of a smile little good one more of those hang on we almost got it good relax for just a second so in the world of exposure were dead on we got great expression good light direction but yet we've also been ableto compensate for the darker shadow side by bringing in this it's a personal taste thing it's it's it's ah the highlight to shadow ratio which is fully controllable is kind of ah it's kind of ah it's kind of a situation like how much salt do you like in your food you know I like a lot of salt some people don't like salt at all so it's a real personalized thing I'll often give the client the option I'll shoot some that's pretty dark shadow and some that's a pretty filled in shadow uh but this just gives us a really nice nice situation uh we can work as fast as we want here when flash is not an issue um and so this is ahh I think a really nice nice little shoot here and with the sequins the shiny the bling nous on her dress picks up really nice highlights uh moved back away from the source if I move a right close to the source if it's really really big I think we kind of lose those highlights a little bit in the in the dress but this looks really good I think she's gonna like these let me do one more siri's of this real quick uh with just a little bit more space so I can back up just a little bit um go ahead and just groundless his cross one foot over again that other yeah yeah that right there it's odd to say this but that right there takes weight off of anybody when you do that so it's kind of a no brainer for me I'd like do it with everybody so I'm just gonna back up here a little bit more into one more of these and let's just take a look here just let your arms go down to your side for a second yeah and let's turn your shoulders that way a little bit more tiny bit more yeah yeah and I just bring this right arm move back a little bit right there you turn your head to my way holy moly hoo yeah like fists make make this out of your hands and just kind of separate your feet a bit more yeah and I just kind of throw one hip out just a little bit that's it and bring your head around to the left john can you move that reflector back from there and fill in the back side of her face is that you want waiter silver uh let's try I'll try to silver I'm not a big fantasy over usually but in this case that might be a better choice because the light is pretty soft as it is yeah let's just try that yeah let your shoulders just kind of relax a little bit there you go now turn your head back over that directing them and your chin down just a little bit it's going to be to speculate on the glasses I'm afraid yeah sorry you gotta go back to the white it's adding a nice it's give me a nice field but it's a little too to speculate too shiny there we go okay here we go kiddo you look pretty great right in there let your show let your left shoulder relax down just a little bit yeah yeah that's good and your chin down just a bit right there don't move don't move great john just for fun pull that reflector completely out just for a second there we go nice and I seem to be one more of those that's real pretty that's really nice right there let's do one more of those chin off of tiny bit all right now stay right where you are but I want to bring your head back the other way toward the light more turn turn turn turn turn and your chin down again quite a bit right in there right there great bring your shoulders to me just a little bit kiddo uh just turned this way I mean I'm not sorry this way yeah now bring your head back around and just keep your head kind of straightened up this way a little bit yeah now just chin down a little bit right there that's it nice good and let your eyes close for just a second just for just for fun let me do one with you just taking your glasses off and just holding your glasses right here like you're just about to put him on and your eyes right at me right here this look right to me right there it's one more same thing but let me just come over here right they're beautiful can you just keep that same thing right there don't move don't move don't move sorry little tiny hint of a smile right there great more good relax got it okay I like that one you know there's so many options and they're so much subjective nous to this kind of a thing uh some people want to shadow to be darker some people want mohr ratio from highlight to show some people want to see the background darker somebody want there are so many options we could be here all day just on this one shoot because it really wants to get in there there is a lot you could do uh there is us you know I do a lot of attractive lighting it's one of the four additives attractive transmission you know diffusion and subtract and reflective I use of tractors of light more than most people I know I know so many people that have those six and one pop up reflector diffusers and silver and gold and translucent and they never use the black I always use the black and in this case it might have been nice to bring that black inn and contour that face a little bit and just take some light away from the face I'm just giving you a cz many options as I can in the very short time that we have together uh so we can't show you every option out there but I'm just trying to give you some ideas subtleties on the background if that's the on ly background you have and you really wanted to be darker and you've moved it back as far as you can and it still isn't dark enough then the way to make it darker is you have to introduce flash I mean that's your only option you can't really go bo the light from a garage door that's going to reach that background but you can introduce flash if that's if that's something that you want to do and then you're totally at the mercy of the shutter speed will determine the density of your background you just run your shutter speed up and down based on how bright or dark you wanted in the relative values between the subject and the ambience in the background does this then ambient light that's just taking care of the background so anybody have any questions on that segment before we start wrapping this part up yes ma'am earlier in the earlier classes when you were working more with flash you were talking about how you always want the dome of the meter pointed toward the light at one point in that segment john was asking you do you want the dome pointed toward the camera and you said yes was there a reason for that only if I am very close to the light source it doesn't really matter as long as my light source great question thanks for bringing it up if my light sources within forty five degrees of my camera it doesn't matter if I am the dome at the camera or the light source it's only going to be off about one tenth maybe two tenths of a stop it's when the light is further than forty five degrees to the camera that's when it starts really making a big big difference about getting that dome to hit to get all the light source and especially if as I mentioned toward the end there if you have a dome aimed at the camera and I've got a great shadow right here and then I bring in a reflector and in the end take another reading with golden at the camera I'm getting a false reading it's going to give me a wrong is going to give me a wrong exposure so I have to keep the dome aimed at the light if that's at that farm an angle so this kind of comments questions from you well the biggest comment that I have been seeing in there was the demo that you showed us the trick about holding the thumb over the hand and moving back and forth in that space was worth the price of admission for everyone not only it was a rust uh who is our you know works here it is another host here was he jumping for joy about that one but again it's so cool to see some of those nuggets that even those of us who have been studying photography over and over for so long and yet like nuggets keep cameron while we're on that topic there's one more little nugget that that's related to that one and that is that on location I'll make a fist I'll make a vertical fist with my thumb pointing upwards and I'll just move my hand around a set like this and I can see where my highlight and where my main lights are and where my accents air coming in and it's kind of like in this room right here who right there I've got some great lad I've got a great accent there and there's my main line right there and my fist replicates the three dimensions of the face and so it gives me so it depends on which fist that you like right there this side is all shadow but as I come around the corner right there now I get a little highlights from that guy and it's great so use your hands use figure this stuff out there's a lot of nuggets out there so

Class Description

Working from home is a great way to minimize costs, but it can be challenging to deal with the inevitable space and light limitations and it can feel awkward to explain to clients.

In Inside the Home Studio, Tony Corbell will help you address the logistical and practical challenges of working from home. 

You’ll learn how to:

  • Work with low ceilings, dark spaces, and small skinny rooms
  • Market and sell in-home shoots
  • Store and organize your equipment.
  • Work with family and client schedules

Tony will help you come up with new ways to shoot in ordinary spaces by sharing real-life examples of home studio scenarios. He’ll shoot formal and candid portraits throughout the entire house, teaching you how to leverage each room for its specific uniqueness.

Inside the Home Studio will show you how to approach different photographic genres and help you make the space you have to work for your business.



Another great course by Tony Corbell. I loved this course. Tony is a great teacher, great photographer and great business man. He's enjoyable to listen to and a great teacher. He holds nothing back and shows how to shoot great pictures even in small shooting environments or on a low budget. I would buy again Tony's courses.

Penny Foster

Wow! Tony is fantastic! So many hints and tips, crammed into this great course. I shoot portraits out of a small converted garage, about 9 ft high, 9 feet wide, and about 19 feet long. Tony has shown me so many ways to make this small space work for me, for which I am eternally grateful. What this course highlights is that whatever small space you have, there are ways of making it work. You need to buy this course and watch it over and over because, every time I watch it, I gain more and more info that I missed the first time around. Brilliant!

Kat Ciemiega

Absolutely wonderful, I cannot praise the content enough. I value Tony's stories as much as the information he is giving away, because it puts the data in the perspective and practical context of the actions we take. Thank you for this class!