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Inside the Home Studio

Lesson 18 of 31

Photographing Families Q&A

Tony Corbell

Inside the Home Studio

Tony Corbell

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Lesson Info

18. Photographing Families Q&A


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

Lesson Info

Photographing Families Q&A

tony you kept moving them around what were you saying there was something that you were seeing that you wanted yeah so so so for the first portion if you notice mom was closest to the light with her shoulders turned away from the light uh that goes right back to the basic the basic feminine pose of the world which is you know shoulders turned slightly away from the light source had brought back to the light source uh even when I'm doing a family or a group of people I'm trying to keep that in mind and when I move the light to the other side of the set when I move mom over I still had her shoulders away from the light now there was one set up where her shoulders were toward the light but I had her hidden by that and the idea is simply this and I'll show this later on another segment I don't want the light to hit flat into her chest her heart garment whatever she's weren't becomes a light trap and it competes for the attention to the face and if I can keep her shoulders a little bit away...

from that light then it doesn't compete with her face I want the face to be the attention a good way to test this and for all of you watching at home look at some of your photographs that you have on your walls and some of your samples or in your sample books or on your on your on your ipads where you've got your portfolios just squint your eyes and see where your eye goes if you squint one of my mentors always said turn your prints upside down and then just squint and see where your eye goes and is it going where you want it to go and if it's not then you need to relight it doesn't make sense I just want I just want to direct the viewer's attention you had a question yeah you were talking about got to keep the energy up and you were doing I'm going to call it a lot of directing and but do you find there's times that the family has a lot of energy and they just want to express themselves and if you get them a chance to do that you'll get a very unique quality photo yes and sometimes I have people that our mohr energetic and more exuberant than they need to be and I'll find myself calming down a little bit on purpose because they follow my lead and if I'm really energetic and I'm like come on I'm just trying to get the energy from them that's great but if they're over energy eyes and they're just to another then I've got to calm down a little bit and I'll come down to and I'll say okay just a second little bit of a quieter smile on this one and they totally understand what I'm talking about they totally get that okay this is first time all of you are raising your hands with quest somebody grab the microphone thank you do you have any tips or tricks on how to create a connection between the family members so that they're a little bit more engaged between each other I can tell you that one of the best ways is a subtle touch they have to connect they can't be in there can't be gaps between them they have to touch I think somehow that matters umm you know I'm not the greatest family portrait poser on the planet uh but there are subtleties that I've learned over the years that I noticed seemed to be successful every time and that is subtle touches and then right before you shoot especially if it's a group of like four five six just you get him off pose and everything's looking great just before you pull the trigger you tell him okay everybody oh this is greater by looks right now just subtle everybody just lean into the center and that brings them all in and bam bam bam and and you got it and you can feel the difference and shoot before shoot one with him without all the assholes try this on your next family session shoot one and then say not everybody just lean in together and get the next one and then later when you're editing and evaluating take a look and see what you did and you'll see everybody's connection much much better in the second one yeah you touched on this a little bit in one of the earlier classes I think yesterday or the day before but you were talking in the video about using your seventy two two hundred and various focal links can you talk a little bit more about perspective and how it's it's the camera distance to the subject that's affecting your perspective and compression and all of that um yeah and remind me also not to forget that I want to talk about there's there's a couple of things I'm gonna make sure that I hit on uh and one is not just the focal length but also uh um the aperture that I've chosen to use and why I picked that aperture there wasn't by mistake so the focal length issue is a pretty interesting conversation about optical science that some people couldn't care less about and this is where everybody leaves the room go get a cup of coffee but the idea is this that most of muslim lenses after unless it's a really odd extreme lens lenses have the same perspective and the thing that matters is where your feet are and where your camera's position so that if I come in on pam and do a fifty millimeter lens headshot of her I see everything in the back so if I back up and shoot that headshot with my two hundred and and now I've got this head shot now I'm seeing much much less on the sides what that gives me when you have the distance that you can increase what it gives you is the ability to get things behind her closer in because they're not going to be seen with the fifty I gotta move everything little further way back there that accent lighting the edge of the background I can see the wall and I can see the window and I can see stuff I don't want to see if I don't have my two hundred I've just got my fifty aiken back up to where I would be standing as if I shot with my two hundred and I can take the same picture now I see everything in the room but if I crop in just to the head shot I get the exact same picture the exact same look as if I'd had my two hundred and that's the part that I have found saves me from time to time if I don't have a long lens if I can back up to where I would be standing as if I did have a long lens and crop in I get the exact same perspective is the long lens that saves me a lot so you just follow up perfectly um sorry pierre this's where everybody watching is going to realize that they should definitely apply to be a student in the classroom because I'm going to point out I was lucky enough last night after the class was over that I got a chance to listen to you and john discussing that exact thing and he phrased it in one short perfect sentence but I believe was the quote from someone else but I would love to hear that again because it was fantastic I don't know if you remember how his face is a quote from my mentor and teacher in college and scully that you set the cameras subject to subject distance too determine the relationship between items and the scene and then pick the focal length that fills the frame with that distance a lot of people put on a wide angle and say it's going to give me all this expanded thing that's because you moved in the lens doesn't cause it the lens allows you to do things it's a great that's a great line it's great it's a great perspective on that so absolutely sure when you mentioned cropping in if you're using a fifty elevator fixed linds are you talking about cropping postproduction crop in in postproduction and some people are going oh yeah but you're going to start getting digital noise everything's a trade off you're the one that forgot your two hundred so you gotta suffer well on that note I just wanted to let everyone at home now as you mentioned what we're seeing there were straight out of camera raw images and at the end of the class we are going to be seeing the reveal of the processed images as well right yeah uh these air we finished that shoot somebody grabbed my cf card and took all the images and I never got to even look at the images so what you're seeing uh these air straight from camera I haven't touched these uh I didn't see these before the edits that it's were made on the video so I have no idea what I had until I got back home so michael thanks for bringing that up a sure thing and you want us to remind you to talk about your choices you know the thing about the thing about the aperture in the choice of exposure a lot has to do with how many people in how much depth how much space I have uh and how much um what kind of designs or shape so I have in the background do I want him sharper don't want him soft all of that plays into that exposure decision in other words don't just don't just use an exposure based on what your first meter reading is because that just happens to be the power setting where your light was the last time you use your light you take a determination before you ever do that look at this scene in there here's my family and there is my background I want to shoot it about if I shoot it about five six if I can keep everybody sharp it five six that backgrounds gonna look great fallen on out of focus well then great such a light of five six so you make that decision and is a it is a conscious decision on your part not something that you are tied to just because the light gave you eleven to start okay take a couple more questions all right crazy so this was back in the video this is from I n li photography when you were talking about being at one thirtieth or one sixtieth is this because you're shooting with a tripod what about handheld what would be sort of the lowest or how would you change your exposures if he were hand held great question in most cases when you're indoors unless the ambient level is really really really bright the flash is gonna fire at a pretty fast flash duration and it's gonna freeze my subjects the on ly thing that might blur a little bit would be some of the anything that's seen by the ambience uh but for the most part my flashes frozen my subjects so I have no problem at all I used to shoot when I was shooting weddings I would I would slow down my shutter speed when I'm shooting dark table scenes at the country club reception I'd be a quarter second half second I'm handholding all day long in everybody's life wise they're not movement your people well because that speed lights going off a two thousandth of a second it's frozen everybody except the couple walking in the background that you can just see a little blur well I don't care about them anyway I care about the people in the front they're getting hit with the light so it is it is relative to the brightness in the room that you can get yourself in trouble uh if there's a lot of brightness in that room uh and then flash duration that's a whole another discussion and there's probably a home of their class on freezing action and jumping dancers and things like that because of flash duration has a big big playing this too but for a portrait like this I could have handled this all day long I've been fine there wasn't enough ambience to really kill me so great thank you for another question in that set up that you had could you talk us through the actual gear the size of the soft boxes and things that you were using in that set up yeah and then to add to that j gustin had asked I assume that you're not feathering the main light because it was a group shot yeah so uh feathering the main light is uh is never an automatic uh and feathering just to explain feathering for those that don't understand what that means it would be if if my life were a flat surface lighting this direction if I turn it a little bit that way it flattens out a little bit more toward the subjects and toward the background and if I feather it this way it's called feathering I'm feathering it away from the background slightly and feathering it maura cross to the right so that's what that's what the term is uh in this situation I was far enough for my background that I didn't really need to worry about the feathering too much uh and that that large octo bank is pretty good when it hits people head on it really is I'll feather soft boxes from time to time but I don't as often feather my octa banks my octus that was a great light source and uh it was a row deluxe one forty I think was the science centimeter uh it's about a five foot box uh and then the smaller one was a smaller road looks in the back as a as an accent like the life that I was using those of the b r x five hundreds that's the only crime the rx five hundred uh and they were powered down quite a bit we weren't nowhere near full power we were down quite a bit in power and that does bring up another point about the handholding thing minimize your s o helps if you are in a bright situation because then your ambient your flash will be powered up just a little bit more and that might help that with a motion situation kenna so so if you're in ia so four hundred there's a chance that maybe at a thirty thirty sixtieth you might get yourself in a little bit of a bind but if you're down to one hundred you're fine so make sense I hope it's all it's it's all you know as I've been saying for years every single decision you make the trade off look what I just did yeah but look what you just lost thing it yeah but I want to save this well then you're gonna lose this thing it yeah and that's what we do every single day and every decision we make in the studio or in the home or in the home studio are in the home studio way do have a couple more questions and then we can we can squeeze in here so people are still wrapping their heads around the focal distance and you know perspective on all these things so this is from kaye griffin with some boats on the topic of focal distance does that mean if I was in a really small studio would it be better to use a fifty millimeter lens just still kind of trying to figure out the space that you're in relative to what your lens choice might be but of course think about this think about your job as a portrait photographer is to produce a complimentary likeness of your subject that's our job we have to produce a complimentary likeness okay in most cases most people don't want to look worse than they look most people want to look better than they look uh fifty is a normal mill normal perspective aye unless you're in a situation where you have no choice and you're in a small studio when you have no choice I wouldn't try to ever go wider than a fifty you're gonna have to at some point and especially with a group there's going to be times when you're shooting on event even where I'm doing a row of six of you and I can't back up anymore I gotta flip over to twenty four great well I know what's gonna happen to you and I know what's gonna happen to you and that's all I can do and that's the trade off to get you all in here ok sorry I lost on that one that's gonna happen uh so but for the focal length discussion it's more pointed towards the ability that I have to back up and crop in in order to change my visual perspective and it doesn't really come into play much if I'm in a small room because I can't back up anyway uh in a small room my my you know my counsel would be to really pay close attention to your focal ing and try to stay as close to fifty or longer that you can uh knowing that optimally you want to be a little bit longer than one hundred whenever you can get away with it because you'll get just the best looking face you have a more narrow angle in the background and you can just get such a much much much more pleasing product I think for your client and back to our conversation throughout this class go out there and practice you said caught there in practice and see we know what that doesn't know what the difference is musicians practice their scales everyday we photographers we don't practice anything we practice on our clients when they show up uh we got to stop that go practice this weekend I never used my wide angle lenses great go practice with the wide angle lenses you got one lens in your bag that you hate pulled that one out and put it on your camera and don't take anything with you just go shoot pictures you know so we have to do one more question and this is from nj if you're working alone is it kosher to ask the subjects to assist you in moving the props like cushions and height steps not tripods necessarily or is that a legal mind field it's not a legal minefield until somebody gets hurt then it's a really legal mind I don't know I've never really thought about that that specifically but if I just if I just need somebody to kick over those books a couple inches to re stand on him that's easy that's easy enough but if I'm going to move a chair I'm going to say that let me just tip up for a second and let me just move that chair I'm not gonna ask dad to get a move the chair uh I'm the photographer here most of you know most of our most of our job as photographers little bit percentage of our life is taking pictures the other percentage is been a psychology for for a crazed bride's mom or moving furniture so you know we have to understand what we do and we are uh we're the hired help I don't know how to put this in perspective everybody's like I want to be at this high end photographer making all this money and charging all this work and I'm very high end man really you're the hired help sorry let's make sure we understand our role in this where the artist that's great and we're paid to be the artist but at the same time you're something that they desire not something that they have to have so since we're on the subject of safety do you have any tips or tricks on how to make sure that the space you're shooting in is very safe I know we talked a little bit about sandbags and such in the studio do you bring them with you on location do your tape the cord's around do you have a conversation with the family and say okay you have five crazy kids make sure that they don't trip of the court how do you handle that there's five crazy kids I'm gonna take two or three johns with me tio make sure that everything's covered I've got somebody standing by holding a light so it doesn't get pulled over but yeah I mean I could go into the fine details all day long but safety is a really really big deal when you step into somebody's home it's less of a big deal when you've got your own room set up in your home as a studio because you've got it all take down you'll have extra length of cord and extensions put on all the places that you need them and they're out of the way so people can walk in without getting and they should there should be a safe place for people to come in your home if you're going to have a place for them to come to so yeah it's a great it's a great question and the details answer is you bet do everything you can to just keep everybody safe including you you know 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!