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Lighting and Posing for a Cinematic Portrait

Lesson 8 of 9

Shoot: Long Exposure to Capture Movement


Lighting and Posing for a Cinematic Portrait

Lesson 8 of 9

Shoot: Long Exposure to Capture Movement


Lesson Info

Shoot: Long Exposure to Capture Movement

Alright, so now let's get into something totally different yet similar. We're gonna talk about long exposures. So these are moments in-studio, we might have to kill some of the lights in here, we'll try it with them all on, I'll try and up the aperture enough to drown 'em out. You guys can kind of see here this is a little bit of a ghosted image. It's a little bit bright but if you notice she's actually facing down here and then turns up this direction. So what we're gonna do is, I do one to one and a half second exposures where we start away from the light, we pick the shot that we want. So she's looking into the light, it's nice and flattering, all that good stuff. This is just a lighter colored background turned black, we're gonna do the same thing in here. And we're gonna use two lights, same thing as this shot. We have a main light and then a little bit of an accent light. And we're gonna give just a general, real quick, brief movement for Tierney to do. So she's gonna go from one...

side and then look into the light but the whole trick is mixing that exposure and that shutter, dragging the shutter like that with manually firing your flash. So if you wanna come over here the keys to doing this are you need a tripod, and generally speaking you need one light and a reflector, or two lights. We're gonna use two lights just to make it as interesting and as hard as possible. I'll get out of your guys' way so you can see the screen. And we'll use the 50 here just because. I think we're locked in, we'll find out soon enough. [Bearded Assistant] That'll lock in. That'll, it's good. And I'm actually gonna shoot from a low, does this one have, there we go. Oh I hate shooting in that direction, oh well. We can put the screen-- It doesn't matter, I'm not that big of a whiner today. Okay, so we're almost there as far, I'm gonna have you scoot a little bit this way. Okay, so here's our frame, wherever you're standing now that's where you'll return to momentarily. Okay. What I want to do is we're gonna light it similar to this so we're gonna have one light over in this direction casting light to her so we can stick with this. It's gonna be a lot of shadow. You know what, we're gonna use the beauty dish. And then we're gonna use this as our accent light. So if you wanna bring the beauty dish in, we'll bring this guy down, turn him way down. This is our accent light, it's gonna go back in the corner. (accent light clanging) Oh-ho! (audience laughter) If my fingers were in there I wouldn't have said that. (audience laughter) That's why I have, ah, no, we're moving on. Oh that could have been really really bad. I'm awake. Alright, so if you could go ahead and raise that up. (chuckles) I don't wanna drop a beauty dish. Do you have the meter over there or do I? [Bearded Assistant] It's in my pocket. Perfect, so we're gonna go ahead and shoot for, this is where we gotta do a little planning because we're gonna actually shoot at ISO 100. We're gonna go down to a full one second exposure and that's why a tripod's important. The other thing that's important when shooting with this is a solid color backdrop in the studio because if you have something that's a lot going on, if you're not shooting on a tripod and you're trying to do this outside, your background's gonna be a mess. So a tripod is very key. And now what we're gonna do is we're gonna turn our aperture all the way up to 16 'cause I want to make it as dark in here as possible since we're dealing with these lights. I'm gonna take a one second exposure without any strobes to see what the background looks like and if it's usable, or unless we have to turn down some more lights. So it's still pretty bright. Is there a way we can turn down some of these lights? [Bearded Assistant] Yeah. Yeah let's do that. Especially the ones that are on in the background. And it's not the end of the world if it's not totally... How about that one, that one's probably the main, (chuckles) oh there we go, perfect, alright. One more test shot. Alright, this should hopefully be darker. It doesn't have to be black by any means. Okay, this'll work. So I just need to recompose to get rid of the top of the seamless. So it's not gonna be quite as dark but what we can do is, I'm actually gonna take my ISO down to low. Do one more test shot. That should be quite a bit darker yet. Perfect, there we go, that'll work. [Bearded Assistant] It's low at level two. What's what? [Bearded Assistant] Level (mumbles) 250 or are you? I dunno. It doesn't really matter because this is gonna be, the technicalities here are not nearly as important, because of all the motion and everything, but what we are at, we're, so we're at low, we're at a one second exposure which, it's gonna pop for only a second but we're at F16. So what I really want to do is make sure the exposure is somewhat correct. [Bearded Assistant] 2.8. At, that low, okay, so we need to go way up. Oh F-six, does that dish feel like it's pointed at you? Uh-huh. Alright, I'm gonna see what power it's one in the back. Alright, I'm actually just gonna move it closer. The one behind it was firing too. It was? Yeah. Oh that's alright. Okay, so, we're gonna fire that again. [Bearded Assistant] Nine. That'll work, we can make this work. Just got to adjust slightly, and then we have our accent light here. So what we're gonna do, this is a lot of trial and error, obviously. What we're gonna do is you're gonna start by facing away from the light. So turn your whole body and what I want you to do is twist at the waist, almost like you're looking down, and you're gonna make a movement where you end up, yep, just like that. And we're gonna start simple on one spot where she's not moving her feet. So you're gonna start right there, look down this way, and on three. As soon as you hear this click basically, click, you're gonna look up straight towards the light. Awesome. We're gonna do a test shot, I don't know if the first one's gonna work but we're gonna find out momentarily. So let's do one test, everything' on, lest test, test flash. Now here's the trick, we're gonna take the trigger off of our light, and as soon as she turns towards the light, 'cause if I fire, if I fire like this, just so we can fully be educated here. When I fire this one second exposure, oh look she didn't even have time to look up and this is gonna be a shot of the back of her head. But what happens is I need to take this trigger off and fire it manually when she starts to look at the light. So we have a 1.3 seconds, or one second, for you to look up so I want you to start leaning forwards just a little bit so we have a little bit more movement. So on three, as soon as you hear this click you're gonna, you're gonna make your move. Ready, go. Alright, so I was a little early but you can see we're slowly getting there. I want you to move in even further so I actually want you to lean forward and then move back so that way we can get more of a horizontal blur here. So ready, when you hear the click go. And if we had a totally blacked out room you could really see it. What I'm gonna do is I'm actually gonna... [Bearded Assistant] Do you want a black (speaks indistinctly) or is it okay? Let's try this. We just killed more lights. Yeah, let's try this, alright. Ready, go. Alright, we're gettin' there. See, she's ghosting in there a little bit. What we need to do, let's see. Alright. In fact this time I'm gonna fire it twice. I'm gonna fire it when she's in that down position, oh yeah there we go. John's the man. Is that blocking the? Just a little bit. I shouldn't be trusted with this thing. Alright, let's try that. So we're gonna fire this twice and when we get to that upright position, so I'm gonna let it fire on it's own. And then, as soon, so when you hear that click, it's gonna flash, and then I want you to move up to where you are looking at the light. So, ready, go. Oh we got some sort of funkiness happening there. So what I need you to do is, so she's moving within her own shadow this time, so you need to move even more. So you need to start down here and then you need to make that move at more horizontal. So, like that, there we go. Alright, ready, I'm gonna turn this light down just a little bit. Alright. Ready, go. So the key is beating that shutter speed. So we're getting closer and basically what I'll do for multiple exposures is I'll layer these on top of each other, and then you can have a whole bunch of different actions. So let's do it one more time, I'm not gonna do the initial flash. We're gonna pull that guy out. So you're just gonna go on the click. Ready, go. What I need to do, we need just a little bit, I'm gonna turn the modeling light on so we can, 'cause when you're trying to capture the, the initial motion, now that we have a black background we can really do this. Alright, ready, go. See we're starting to ghost her in? 'Cause you need a little bit of light to capture her. I'm gonna zoom, I'm gonna come a little bit closer. I'm gonna have you looking the same place. Ah, I got a ghost. Go towards the backdrop a tiny bit. Right there, perfect, alright. Now what we're gonna do, whenever you're ready look down. Yep, there you're just out of frame, come into frame just a little bit, right there. You're gonna turn ready, go. So we're just creating a little bit of motion and you can do some pretty cool stuff with this. I think I showed you, let's go back to the keynote for a second. This was probably after about 50 tries. So it's just a matter of tweaking it to get that motion but it was done the exact same way. We had these same two lights, just one of 'em had a gel on it, and it's all about repeating that motion, and getting the hair in the exact right spot. And actually it looks a little bit different on my screen here too than it does on the TV, it picks up a little bit more of the ghosting.

Class Description

Creating a cinematic look to your portraits will add another dimension by incorporating depth, emotion, and movement. Award-winning editorial and advertising photographer Dan Brouillette breaks down the components of lighting for a strong portrait. He will show you how he uses different lenses and lighting setups to make your portraits stand out and take on new life. He'll also explain how to direct the subject so they are involved to help bring all of the elements together for an amazing and cinematic photograph.



I was interested in this course firstly because I am interested in this type of image and secondly because of the negative reviews. I seldom watch instructional videos these days because I want to be instructed on all the details but I do watch lots of them because of the inspiration they can be for new work. This video is a walk through of some great shots taken by the photographer but that is fine by me and certainly gives some ideas for new material. The little bit of studio work on a white seamless is also fine and gives some insight into capturing the image, which is easily transferred to a hosed-down, back lit, cobbled alley or anywhere else you can imagine. I use this type of image in pre-wedding shoots and my only criticism is that the video could have given better examples of a really cinematic look. e.g. there is a scene in the movie 'Unbreakable' where Bruce Willis falls onto a pool cover in the pouring rain. The shot is made low to the ground with a long lens and it makes a terrific inspiration for a photoshoot. Or, there is the airport scene in 'Casablanca' or pulling the boat up-river in 'The African Queen', which I recently saw a Hong Kong photographer reproduce for a pre-wedding shoot in Iceland. There are millions of examples like this so finding more challenging scenes to motivate a cinematic look is not really hard. Google 'movie posters' and you will see what I mean. Nevertheless, there are good examples and some great ideas available here, making the videos value for money.


This course provided a practical application of some the basic creative tools and techniques that I learned years ago in an entry-level photography course in college. The beauty of Dan Brouillette's creative strategy and teaching style lies in his ability to make dynamic and interesting portraiture simplistically attainable. Brouillette breaks down his own work, walking you through the creative and technical process that he used. He is an interesting speaker--well-informed, technically proficient & relatable. I was lucky enough to be in the audience for this course. I found the content incredibly useful and easy to learn. Thank you for an awesome course!

Gilles Nahon

It is kind of weird. There are some really good advices for advanced photographers and then the last two parts are so basic it hurts. By the way, if you don't have a strong understanding of lighting beforehand, I would advise to look somewhere else first and come back when you are more seasoned. I would still recommend it simply for the approach and some nice tips here and there.

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