Step Four: Use the Available Light & Rooms
Using the home and light. Okay, know the client's home prior to arrival. Plan a session based on light. We talked about this in great detail. Get creative with composition. Use windows to to frame things out, and use backlighting. How many of you guys like to do backlit images? And they're hard to do, right? So I have a really good trick with backlighting. We're gonna start, tick tock, let's talk about some compositions, but then we're gonna get into some backlighting tricks that I have for you guys to think about. Use light to be creative, so use negative space. When you are shooting, remember that picture back there with the boats? On the right-hand side, the dad was there, and the boats were over here, and there was negative space here? So think back to basics, composition 101, keep the negative space, okay? And it kind of draws your eye over to what's happening, so use the negative space. A lot of times in homes, you're gonna have clutter. A good way to get rid of clutter is to get...
down and shoot up, 'cause what's up? The ceiling; no clutter. So there'll be times where we'll clean the bedroom, there will be flowers on the side of the bed, everything will look perfect this way. And then I go to the side to shoot, oh, and there's the open bathroom door, right? 'Cause that happens a lot 'cause the bathroom door will be by the bed, and I'll be shooting the family, or whatever, and I'm like, oh, I wish that bathroom door was closed. And I'll say, hey, dad, take him up! And I'll get down on the ground and I'll shoot up, get the shot, because the kid was being so cute, and they were snuggling the newborn below, and I didn't want to miss the moment, and then I'll scurry over and close the bathroom door. So if you're in a bind, shoot up, okay? Have them go up. That's a really good way to get rid of junk, of stuff. Okay, use windows to frame shots. When you are photographing moms, you wanna a window. Here's your window. Here's window panes. Do not put the mom in front of two window panes, or in between the two windows. Because a lot of your backlit images, you're gonna end up silhouetting, and turning to black and white, and you're gonna have poles sticking up. So use the frame. If you're using window frames, you also need to be mindful of turning your camera. These are things, even though we're organically letting things happen, these are all composition rules that you need to keep thinking about 'cause they'll drive you crazy later. Don't have the photo crooked, 'cause you cannot have lines crooked to have good composition. And people won't like the photos, and they'll be like, why don't I like this, something's bugging me about this. And they won't know what it is, and it's that organization of our brain. You really need to keep windows really linear. Use backlighting. Two types of backlighting. There's backlighting where you're standing here, you're shooting into the window, and there is a window over there as well, so you're having some light bouncing back on the face. This is what I teach in my small workshops, and I think that this is a really important tip. When you think about camera basics, when you are exposing for your subject, what is the most important thing that you are exposing for?
The face. (laughter) So when you were, we're gonna show some backlit images coming up right after this. I'll just head over here, backlighting. We are exposing for the face, okay? Now, what happens to the information in the background? It gets blown out, right? Do we care? No. Do not, your camera's gonna go crazy. When you're backlighting, you're gonna expose for the face. This is the time you're gonna have to chimp and look at your camera, okay? It's okay to do that. Or if you know it well enough, I just backlight so much that I know my camera is two stops above to get backlit images correct. And that's your midtone, right here. As long as you don't blow any skin tones, which is your, you know what channel it is in your camera? Your red channel in your camera, you can actually turn your blinkies on inside your camera, especially if you're on a beach, good trick, random, and you can't see your thing. If you see any red channel flashing on the face, you know that it's been overexposed, and you're clicking those highlights. And that's information that you cannot bring back when you head into Lightroom. So when you're backlighting, number one. Rule of thumb. Don't worry about the background, unless you're doing something creative, which we're gonna get into. Number two, if you have somebody facing you, and there's not a window over there, don't shoot them facing you. Because what's gonna happen to their eyes? Black eyes, they're gonna get circles, they're gonna look like they have holes in their eyes. So what do you need to do? If I had a backlit image, or if I have a backlighting situation, I will always turn my subjects to face this way. You can backlight to the moon and back you can keep shadows, you can keep all of this, as long as you don't have eyes looking at you. So have them connect with each other this way, and backlight this way. Shoot turned down, versus the baby actually woke up, right when I took the picture, of course. But see, I turned her head down, okay, I didn't have her look at me. There's different ways to do this. Same here. This is a tiny little nook, okay? More backlighting. Sidelit, okay, backlit, he's not looking at me, but I sill did shoot him in the window. Same here, sideways. Same here, sideways. And in a little bit, we're gonna go over, I'm gonna show you some ways during the moms section. I have some ways that what you can do is you can have her looking this way in some ways, have her turn this way in some ways, and we can get like six shots using one window and I'm gonna show you how to do that in a little bit. But for now, just remember the rule of thumb is expose for the face. If there's no light coming onto the face, turn them. And either you go this way, or you shoot over here with them faced this way.
So, Emily, a lot of the questions that are coming in are really about people saying, so you never use any type of flash, or in this low-light scenario, not even bounced or diffused?
I bring a reflector with me. I've used it maybe five times, and when I do use it, I only use the white side, because I found that those harsher reflectors, like the silver or the gold, and especially the gold 'cause it makes you orange, the gold side, it just kina blinds the babies, or blinds the kiddos, you know? Some people use them and use them well. I have not needed to because of the way that I turn my subjects in relation to light. And we, from now until the end of this class, I will be talking about light. And every single image I'm gonna show you exactly how I did it. We have a lot of images coming up. Just know that it's coming. Light is huge. Put it this way. I think I must be lazy. I don't like to carry stuff with me, like when I'm on location, I have my camera and my one lens. I shoot primarily lifestyle sessions just with my 35 millimeter lens. We're gonna go into gear a little bit as well. I just, I don't wanna have to worry about stuff. I wanna worry about them, I wanna worry about connection. I don't wanna be like, hold that thought, I gotta set up my light! And then the moment's gone. That's just me. I'm not a light person. I wish I could be one, but, okay? Anybody else got any, we're gonna keep getting into it, but I just wanted you guys to know a really good trick with backlighting is just turn away from the light, and backlight from the side. Or if they're facing this direction, and the light's over here, where else could you go? Over here, right, and have them turn this way. Because what happens? You have light coming down right here. So pretend this is my window. You have light coming down right here. You're over here shooting, and you'll have a shadow here which is gorgeous, it's a really good way to get shadows. You need to be careful about having it too shadowy< because you won't be able to see it. It's a great time to use really dramatic black and whites. I always tell people, we're actually gonna touch on black and white. I'm gonna show you how I do black and white. But you have to be careful with black and white. You don't wanna underexpose to get a moody image. You still will always have highlights, midtones, and shadows. We're gonna do a whole thing of black and white. We'll get into that in a little bit. Just know, don't underexpose to get black and white.
I was just wondering, this is from Rica, how long does a typical lifestyle family or newborn session take?
I'm there probably two and a half hours, because we tend to have a feeding break. I tend to chat for a while with families, hang out for a while. And then a lot of times what ends up happening is as you can see, I'll stop and do some sibling stuff too, at the end especially. And I find that when I'm leaving, stuff starts happening that I really wish would have happened earlier. So I don't have my camera, I don't have my camera there, and I'll be like, okay, so now this is happening that we tried to convince to happen two hours ago, so we're gonna do it now. So I'm very flexible. I don't make my families feel rushed. Some newborn sessions we're there for an hour and a half. It just depends. But I do not book more than one newborn a day, because I don't want them to feel rushed. The more images you take, the more opportunity you have for better ones, and the better sales you'll have, too, right? Okay, okay. Yeah.
And one more, this is from Jennifer Bassford, who says, do you take an assistant with you to people's homes?
Mm-mm, just me. I think Kenny came one time, but he had to film me for something. That was it. No, I'm very simple, minimalistic. Okay, easy peasy. I don't even have a lot of lenses, I've sold half my lenses. I just shoot with primes. So, but we'll go over that, though.