Lighting and Posing for a Cinematic Portrait

Lesson 9/9 - Shoot: Multiple Exposure to Capture Movement


Lighting and Posing for a Cinematic Portrait


Lesson Info

Shoot: Multiple Exposure to Capture Movement

I wanna do multiple exposures, so, you know, you need a shutter speed of at least one second for these. You need to pay attention to your ambient light, obviously. We just turned off every light in this place, and we can turn those back on now, too. We're done with that part. I wanna do multiple exposures, so whether you shoot Canon, Nikon, probably Sony, I don't know, you can do multiple exposures within your camera. So, what you do is you just go to your menu. They both have similar setups. You can actually put frames one on top of the other, so we're done with the tripod. And you can use a tripod for this if you want, but we're gonna go back to our normal settings of ISO at 200th of a second at f8. And under the menu, which you guys can't see cause I'm looking at it, you can actually go to your camera settings and put on multiple exposures. And what you can do is you can set the number of exposures it'll capture, and it'll just essentially stack those on top of each other. And I gu...

ess, it won't let me do it cause it's tethered, so that's interesting, but I'm gonna go ahead and do it anyways. If you guys see it on this screen, we can just leave it there. That's essentially what we're going for. I'll try and show you guys as best I can. I didn't realize you couldn't do multiple exposures tethered, but what we want to do is we want a meter for f8, so I'm gonna go ahead and have you step in. We need to turn the lights down. I know that cause we were just shooting for f16. So I'm gonna bring these down in power. Five, six? Yep, should be good now. Seven. Perfect, alright. And then we're gonna use this. We're actually gonna get rid of this black V-Flat. We're gonna shoot this on white. And what you're gonna see is a mess of images. The whole point of shooting this is to be able to stack them in Photoshop, so you want a whole range of images. We're just gonna do one light this time. We'll introduce a little bit of fill because I don't want it to be quite as dark and moody as the last one. So this is exactly what it was set up as last time. We'll go up a little bit. Alright. And what you can do, when you set up multiple exposures on your camera, you know, whether you're using Nikon or Canon, it's all the same. You just pick the number of shots you want it to stack on top of each other. And Auto Gain is a feature that means if you turn that off, it keeps re-exposing each time, so you're gonna have an image that's really bright. So, you wanna have multiple exposure mode on, this is on, it's very similar in Canon, and you want a series, so it keeps doing it, a number of shots, I'm gonna do three. So basically, what we're gonna do is I'm gonna have you start looking this way. So, turn your whole body, I kinda want a good base. And I'm gonna have you standing like that, and you're gonna start looking here, and then right at me, and then off this way. And I want a little bit of horizontal movement to it. Yeah, exactly. And we're gonna go on three. One, two, three. And one more looking right here. Because it's stacking them, so I'm gonna have you do that one more time. So, I don't know if you guys can see this. See how it's, yeah you really can't see it. You can see how it has this ghosted effect. Now watch if we actually take her, and Tierni we're gonna have you move across the frame. So, now I'm gonna have you stand where you are, take a tiny step this way, almost step forward. And you're gonna look toward the T in "photo", alright? And I'm gonna stay at the same place, so she's gonna be on the way right side of the frame. Now, turn toward me, and scoot this way a little bit, in frame, right there. So, now she's in the center of the frame. And now, glance off this way, but take a tiny step forward. So, you're gonna move out of the frame this way. Perfect, right there. And it doesn't matter if the camera moves because that's the importance of using a solid color backdrop. There's no frame of reference. So now, check this out. We have this ghosted effect where she's moving across the frame, and what we'll do... Normally what I do to make something like what you see on the screen, is I'll make three or four of these, where they're all ghosted together. I'll even mix ones where... So you could see, here's the difference. Where here, these were all on top of each other. And then I'll do one where, we're gonna do three more frames. (indistinct mumbling) I will do that, good call. I'm gonna take one where we're further away, so looking right here. Okay now, looking off this direction. I'm actually gonna move in closer. And now one more just looking down over your shoulder. And what we have is three shots that are gonna look totally different because we're changing the perspective by moving in close. (audience member mumbling) Yep, I'm pretty good at that. So, we have three totally different shots that we can stack, so we can use this exposure, this previous exposure, and the one before that and layer them. Because we have a solid backdrop, they're all gonna fit together. There's no distracting elements we need to line up. And then the last thing I do, is we take one more photo. We actually take multiple exposure mode, turn it off, and we're gonna find our main frames. So, I'm gonna have you looking hard over that shoulder. Yep, just like that. A little bit more toward me. Right there, eyes straight ahead. One, two, three. And here we have one final frame that's our nice clean frame. This is the one we're gonna lay over the top. So as you see, this frame, there's one solid one. You know, whether you wanna incorporate movement in that or motion, that's up to you. Is it still on there? But yeah, we just have one solid frame. I'm gonna shoot one more solid frame, tethered, so that way you guys can all see it, rather than look on this little tiny screen. Alright, so same thing looking off that way. Hands just down, yep, nose a little bit more toward me. Right there, a little bit more where you were. Eyes forward, one, two, three. Alright, so this'll be our solid frame that we can put over the top. So, you can see how clean it is, how clean the light is. And then putting that image over the top of those other ones will create an effect. We can go back to the Keynote, we'll create an effect that's essentially what we see here, and that's how I do those. I just take multiple shots. The other thing I do that's a little bit tricky is we're obviously lighting her from the same side on all of them, but in this, you can see the light's coming from here but also there. Some of the multiple exposures, I'll flip them cause it doesn't matter, there's no context to the background. There's no text within the image. You can flip them so it almost looks like it's lit from both ways, and you can do all sorts, there are no rules. I just made this up playing around. So, you can do all sorts of stuff, and then as you have all those layers stacked, I usually just flatten it, and then that's when I start toning and adjusting the image like I would a normal image. So, you can make it a gritty black and white, you can do all sorts of stuff. Questions? But you have to keep the flash... If you move the light over to this side, you gotta keep it the same distance from her and the background... Yeah. To keep the same tonality of the background, right? That's why I don't move the light, yeah. So, I'm not flipping the whole set. I'm literally just opening that image in Photoshop and flipping the image. Oh, okay. Yep, yeah... Reversing it. Exactly, I'm taking all the hard physical labor out of that and hitting a button, yep. I was wondering if there were a way, maybe, that she can hold multiple items and you could do that. Like, if she had... Holding flowers on one side... You could totally, you could do, yeah... And still apply that same... And you know, you could do that for sure, you just have to keep in mind that every time, if you're doing three exposures, each one is only making up a third of that image, so it's pretty ghosted, so you might not totally be able to tell what's going on, but you can definitely try it. And you could even do less exposures, you could do two, which means you'll have more of a solid exposure each frame, and keep adding items each time you do it. But yeah, I mean I don't know what your idea is here, but you're onto something. So, the wheels are turning. So, you know, you can do whatever you want. You can do it on a black background. I mean, this was simple two-light setup, as you saw on the screen, and then balancing those multiple exposures, but I'll be sure to actually finish this little composite and give it to these guys so it'll be posted up on CreativeLive or wherever. Wherever we put these pictures after we're done. So, that's pretty much that as far as multiple exposures. Let me click through, so again, I was at low ISO. And then pop the flash, oh pop the flash, that was for the last one, I got mixed up here. But basically, you're just taking the photo the exact same way you would in studio. The only thing you're doing different is setting your camera to that multiple exposure mode. And again, the really important thing is to make sure you have a solid background because if you use a background that has any texture, if you do this outside, if you're not on a tripod, you can't do it because you can't hold that still. So, the solid background is key to the back end workup Photoshop because then you don't have to worry about that. All you have is a person on this imaginary space that matches every single frame because it's just white or gray or black or whatever you want it to be. So that's basically how I do those. Any other questions about that? Yes? Just a quick question about the previous setup, and maybe I'm confused about how it works, but could you not use the rear curtain on the flash? For the flash to go off at the end? You could do that, but I wanted the flash to fire twice. I was firing it off the original pop... Okay, I missed that, okay. To get her and that still frame down, and then when she got to the other end. Okay. Because otherwise, she'd be totally dark to start and you'd only get that final frame. The other thing you could do is, knowing that we were using a black background, if you introduce more ambient, the more ambient you introduce, the more of her will be present on that frame, but we were shooting on white to begin with. So, once we move to black, if we were to extend that exposure on black and add more ambient light, you'll get more of that ghosting effect. You'll still want to pop the flash to get the solid frame, and whether you do that at the beginning or the end, yeah, you could definitely, if you just wanted to do one. If you had a decent amount of ambient on a black background, you could just do rear curtain flash, and that would work too, yep. Well, that's all I have for today about cinematic portraits. Hopefully you guys got something out of it from covering, you know, creating little moments and stills and things like that, to bringing in studio and using motion and direction to create flattering light. And again, thanks to our model, Tierni here, for doing a great job and helping us out. And yeah, we have some pretty cool photos, so you know, again, I hope you guys understand the importance of directing the model beforehand and getting all that technical stuff out of the way, so that way when you start shooting, you don't have to worry so much about you know, I never once check my exposure after you start. I didn't worry about lighting position because figuring all that stuff out to start lets you just work on one on one with the model to create the shot you want, and create that moment and get that emotion. And you know, this is a little different setting for doing something like that on a time setting, but a lot of times when I'm doing these, we'll take an hour just to get one perfect shot. So, understand that it does take time. It's always imperfect, the lighting's always constantly changing. You know, if you have a studio with blackout curtains and all that, that's awesome. I don't have that, so you gotta play around and figure out what works for you.

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!


I like Dan's easy going nature when presenting this information. Loved watching him demo this live!