Make Light Your Obsession
So in the beginning of glamour and boudoir photography, my challenge was to make sure that I showed everyone that I was shooting two the best I could show them show off all of their best assets hide the things that I probably shouldn't show and I want to really take that subject and play them up so I believe when we're shooting glamour or bored you are we're really selling the subject to themselves so your whole attitude and conversation it needs to be poised it wow, this is really awesome you look amazing all the conversation needs to go about that even if they tear you off over into a negativity thing you just fisher right back into where it needs to be don't even get to response to that kind of conversation keep it positive positive positive you'll thank me in the end because the whole thing will be an amazing experience I believe that whatever mood I'm in, everyone on my set becomes if I'm cranky everybody's cranky if I'm happy and positive everybody's happy and positive everything...
around me reflects that when I'm shooting, so the confidence that I sell myself as with my lighting needs to reflect that too, right? So if you're nervous and new to it set it up the day before the night before test it, then when you walk out on your set, all you have to do is bring fabulous okay, so you never want anybody to see the dirty work that goes on in the background, you know, if you're building a set and you know you've got something interesting going on prepare all that before there never enough time to do all that when the makeup is going up, I usually take the time when I'm doing the makeup to go in and out entertain the client a little bit, go back out on my set, tweak it once or twice the lights are on, the music is on, everything is on when my subject walks into the ram I want them to experience that fabulous that I tell them it's going to be and what we hope to see it's not just about the picture but how you make them feel weather in within your experience when they leave the emotional part of it goes with you with the photos and they remember that day are that experience so preparing advance? No, you're lighting no, you're stylization so the images that are like you're looking at here on the screen were all shot with natural light. I have several places that I go to for work I have a wonderful studio that I use when I'm in atlanta called photo plex and I mentioned that yesterday it's wonderful because of this big u shaped environment and I can have two big sets and a beauty shoot in the center and I can literally turn in the pivot point to each location and leave my my table where I'm working with my computer set right in the center, so it makes for a really great set up and less stressful on me. We're all set up here and make ups right to the side. The girl walks right out onto the set when I'm working in daylight studios, I have the same selections. If I'm not going to someone's home for the day to shoot, I will go to these great studios, so natural light is important, and I usually begin my shoots with natural light because it's easy and clean and simple and relaxed there's not all the flashes going off, it just takes it down to I'm going to say the girl next door level relaxed, and then you can build the intensity as you're going with your lining and the drama, what kind of set you're gonna build and the lighting itself, and it gives you a chance to let the person relax. So if you build your makeup and hair to the most dramatic at the end and the lighting is kind of like you're working on this pyramid together to get to that point, so in all of these shots, I'm doing a lot of moving natural light around with scrim. And phil I might slide my scram over in front of one window I'm working my reflector from a high angle to the other and I'm shooting probably about seventy to one hundred pictures an environment like this I start every photo shoot with beauty in the beginning while the makeup is fresh especially it's warm if it's warm and summer time and I live in the south and we have really long warm periods of summer it goes on until like october late october it was eighty, eighty degrees when I left a few days ago so we have to deal with the opposite of what you have here with the cloud and the rain we have so much heat that we're trying to shoot early in the morning light the evening so that's what we did this day we went up very early in the morning so we have that nice quality of light as the light is moving you can see how I went from the first set up here kind of de saturated the image is just a little bit calm down on the gold tone she was super tan and I wanted to move away from that I suggest that everybody could move away from the spray tans I just don't like dealing with the retouching with it it's a kind of a little bit of a nightmare for me I'd rather make someone tan than have you come with the you know brown between their fingers and on their toes and whatnot but I do like color almost everything I shot for playboy was in color and saturated with color used a lot of cto half cto jails on my lights sometimes we doubled tripled the layers of that on the lights that would strike the back of the body I believe everybody looks better with a little color I know I do in the summer time if you just hit me with a little son I feel much like my face lights up with color and it's warm it feels good so almost all of my photo shoots have a little bit of warmth to them or applied and post when I'm shooting most of my boudoir I would say I hinted boudoir but I kind of carry it down a fashion avenue I never shoot anyone totally nude unless it's completely for art to me glamour is about the suggestion of a strong woman boudoir is about the invitation so if I were to take the shot down to say how do you build a concept on that thats where it began movie star glam our meats the invitation so that gives you a much wider vision of what boudoir is when I think of the word boudoir I think of a girl on the bed and that's it I can't imagine much more out of that one word she's opening a patricia she's pulling her lingerie on the door but to me but you are so much more than that is a concept there really won today they've become one idea simplicity is good, but most of the girls that come to me for this type of shit want to know what they can dio and from the camera so the playground of opportunities fast you don't have to limit it just to the boudoir let's I look at life is if there's a creative opportunity I'm gonna have it you know why wait you know so clothing is important on dh communication is important in your concept I have to say I'm a frustrated stylist and then photographers body I have a collection of clothes and flowers and trees and I had to shoot in the commercial world on so many studios on a white psych and that's all we did that I would sooner die than have to do that again. Although I think there's beauty and simplicity and there's beauty and complexity, sometimes we're going to see a lot of cool things today. I'm going to shoot on all white background with you today with a simple list lingerie with the girl next door and then we're going to keep kind of waving down a road to find artistic beauty in other ways than just allowing something to be that simple so knowing when to make the right decision is also going to be effective when that person walks in the door, if they could pull that off, some people on ly look right really done with her hand makeup styles, some people look silly like that, so you're gonna have to be create some judgment within yourself to say, what can I do if you go down the creative route and make somebody look really cool, you've got to pull it all completely off every bill, every whistle, so by the end of today, I'm hoping that you're going to be inspired to embark on that. This young lady is a model that I've shot a number of times that has the most unbelievable look she's also the young lady that appears right here, and she the first time I photographed her actually she's out there three times this was the first time I had really photographed her, and I had a concept that I put together where we were shooting outside this ended up being, I'm going to talk about concept tomorrow, you know, I'll tell you where everything came from sometimes it's one word sometimes it's a story, sometimes it's a book sometimes it's a person or a personality that I'm at that inspires me, so we all know when we've had that moment like, oh, I should do this well, then I sit down and expound on it, usually, and that's where it really grows into something fun. Almost every one of the's shoots. There wasn't a lot of things that were bought new everything was used, our came from somebody's closet or borrowed, including this whole thing. The jewelry on her arm is from the same gentleman. Here is john sanders and his companies called york sasa, and he makes all these amazing cuffs. And every time I've worked with him, I'm totally inspired to create something out of something so simple is a piece of jewelry so it's, all about what you feel is for every single shoot I'm looking for a key element, our concept and everything, every direction that I possibly can for this piece, I knew that I wanted to kind of do a whimsical alison wonderland story in the beginning of this. This is a fashion story for me or an editorial portrait like story, but sometimes these ideas, even in the boudoir or for fashion, they come from something so simple. Um, the gentleman in the background is actually an actor that was a performer for walt disney, and he had all of the costumes and the whole thing ready to go for may I called him and asked him if he would participate. Is the mad hatter and the whole thing kind of started coming together so most people look at me and they're like how do you come up with all this on? I don't have the money to do all of that stuff well, I prefer to make that part of the game to not spend a lot of money in fact, if I have ah will there's a way to create it? So we're going to show you a lot of that kind of stuff this week too, which is very cool the outfit on the young lady here on the screen that you're looking at. I had asked the designer that was helping me dress the models come in and staying I said, I'm looking for like a nineteen forties long line girdle one piece thing I want to do something kind of bettie page or marilyn monroe light and he comes in with this parable underwear and she brought the sweater and it happened just so quickly just because I said those three or four words s o if you ask you have fifty percent maur oven opportunity of getting something and you keep asking, you're going to find something that has exactly what you're looking for, so I always keep that I like to hear the answer yes and stow the answer no, so I just keep going until I get what I'm looking for so light is really kind of an obsession of mine I can't stop looking at like just like I can't stop looking at people if I met them all I'm looking at everybody every face when I'm having lunch I'm looking at the chef in the kitchen here and creative live the interesting people I think beautiful people are everywhere and I think everybody wants to know that they can be attractive sometimes light is not everywhere and you want to shoot on a certain location or in a pacific specific space and there's no light there well, you have to be able to manipulate that is a photographer you don't have to have tons and tons of light in the beginning, but you have to at least have the ability to see create and be willing to go to the trouble to make something awesome without being stressed out about it. So I'm going to talk to you about this addiction treatment issue of lighting I can't stop thinking about life, I go to the hardware store and I'm looking at the headlamps I go to the flashlight, eilat, costco and I'm looking at the lamps and there I can't stop creating things, so don't be afraid if you don't have a lot start with what you do have tryingto manipulate it last night tobin shared with me some beautiful images that he had created with a very splendors slip of life, what can call it that I don't need to expose what itwas but it was just that's the first sign of working with what you have, and then you start to see and the more you look at this still photograph, the more you want concept light within that it was fun to watch that whole presentation happen, and I can think about myself in the beginning, some of the things that I did in the very, very beginning, a very simple lighting, very minimal amount of it, and I kept it until it was completely falling apart on bought new lighting. Take care of your gear, keep your chords coiled your light clean, pack it up every day don't leave it set up for days with the same modifier and change it, work it, move it, make new creations so light to me is the most essential part of my photography. If I didn't have any clothes for the model to wear and I had a piece of fabric, light would be the only thing I didn't have not if I didn't have makeup and the girl was just standing there and hair blowing across your face. I know I could make some an interesting image with just that light, so that's probably what you want to square off, too, um all of this could be a little intimidating when you sit here and look at all the things that I've created with the light, but one of the best things you can do for yourself is to pick someone that you know and trust and shoot that person with no hair and makeup and study how the effects of light I can change someone's body, how you can create texture, muscle tone, shape form how you can correct for improper perfections on someone's face how you khun slim someone down with making shadow so I'm going to start talking to you about how to create that impact, sometimes less light or minimize lives has more impact, an overhead light, so I'm going to give you a funny analogy, so sexy romantic light is not walking into the bedroom and flipping on the overhead light right game over too much light, not so sexy. So there is a way around that, though, if you're gonna work in all white light, you have to make interesting, I would say romantic, sexy, kind of flirtatious expressions on someone's face to get around all the white light romantic alighting, sexy, light, darker slivers of light automatically means drama more serious expressions, so you've got two directions you can work, hierarchy and lower key, shadowy light and ha lots of highlight I usually pick that light to on the higher end if the body can handle it. The shadowy light is something I bring with the curvy girl, the more shadow, the more things recede, and I put the attention on the things I want you to see, so lighting in the impact of lining makes all your drama to start with you hands down. So light is my obsession and that's the first thing I focus on, I know I can pull off light in any which way now after being able to set up all of the lighting set scenarios and I'm going to share with you today, I think to myself now what kind of line and I'm gonna work with now that I know that I have speed, light or studio set ups on, I have all these modifiers and which I don't want to go with this person, so we're going to start working through this whole thing to make shadow happen. So as we talk about where the lights are positioned and what they do, I'm going to give you lighting, diagrams and setups and the illustrations of how I followed through with that now to create shadow, so if I could create shadow light on the curvy girl, then I can show her. Beautiful images of just the very best parts of her body and light around that styling is key there as well, having right color the right kind of things to give a richness and beauty to her the past two months ago, I think italian vogue and entire story on curvy girls and plus size models oversize sixteen it would be worth it for you to google that and look at these beautiful women and look what they did with ease the light that make up the hair, the styling it's absolutely spectacular and those women to me you're just dis beautiful it's the super thin girl so all across the board you want to be able to service everyone with the light and not be intimidated. In fact, I urge you to taken assignment to shoot two or three kirby girls and make those pictures the most beautiful pictures you've ever made in your life do the same thing you would do to them that you would a supermodel with the styling and the hair and makeup and sit watch what happens so we're going to start with natural light and there's things to consider with natural light natural light to me means what's available what's around us you hear it called ambient light it's like would exist right around me even the ambient light on me right now is very clean and very open there's nothing filling the bottom of my face but it's falling nicely on top of me when I'm looking at natural light I'm trying to find a cz much forgiveness in what I would be looking for if I were to use a reflector we can find that so my eyes dancing around I'll walk out the door with a subject to shoot and we're goingto work in an alley I'm going to pick a spot in that alley where I can have what I would normally try to create for myself so finding light is the beginning of lighting to me on being able to manipulate that if you want to work in full sun you can full sun is like working with a hard light a light straight out of the tube with no modifier no baffle, nothing to soften the texture and no bounce have heavy shadow heavy contour I would usually pair that with some pretty nice makeup when I'm saying heavily painted sculpted face chiseled cheeks chiselled underneath the face I use a lot of mirrors when I'm working in hard son never directed at someone's face but on the back of their head for a hair light and sometimes you might not even be able to tell that I was outside if it's process correctly and finished out in a certain way I never have anybody look directly in the sun I always try to be kind to them even with my silver reflectors and things like that outside you never wanna hold the reflector there and just, you know, bear down in someone's face remember, you're going to have to have them later and to kind of be happy to work with you so shoot with your reflector pull it away when you're out the bright sun and then bring it back so natural light for mai was the beginning I started just like everyone else with no lighting. I have one went to college and study photography I was a master printer, I was using lights but I was flipping lights on with a switch that are, you know, shop lights I guess was the best way to start. I worked with mannequins. I worked with my friends. I went to the vintage clothing store where they would brief purpose all of clothes going the piles, mountains of piles of clothes and I started shooting and one thing led to another. And the next thing I knew I was shooting models, and my desire and school really was not to shoot fashion and it's kind of funny how the whole thing sort of happened to me and the next thing I know I was like zooming down the highway of shooting all these people, but you know what? It was the kid, what was the clicker for may the personalities I love people and I was very shy I couldn't talk to anyone I couldn't direct them I was quiet on the set, I went to my first studio shoot and I realized if I didn't open up my mouth I was going to end up with somebody else's picture you can relate to that right? The picture becomes yours when you start communicating and talking and directing and asking for what you want just like any situation in life, the more you participate in it, the better you're going to be, so I have several tools that I use on a regular basis just to make sure my color is correct. I'm not as crazy about this when I'm shooting my everyday portrait says I am one and things go too print um if I'm shooting a siri's of prom dresses or evening dresses, her clothes for a department store it's absolutely imperative that the color is perfect and that my camera and the images I present match up to what my art directors want to see when things go to publication by consistent basis so I still use a meter I still use my color checker do it once in the beginning once the lightest set if every shot is on that same set, I don't continue to shoot the color checker, but in the beginning we do that to make sure everything is consistent to color I want them to be able to pull any one of the dresses from that line and run it in an ad and know that it's in the same look and feel when I placed the color checker in the image, I want to make sure it's in the most evenly lit, perfectly tweaked position when I take that final picture, but right about the time I'm about to shoot the shot so all the tweaking and stuff if I shoot it in the beginning and then I changed the light at all I need to reshoot the color checker, especially when you're using color jails and things like that so the light master pro is a cinema and still meter if you've not worked with it, I have one on set today that you could look out it's the first touch screen meters very easy to operate, move your finger up and down adjust the settings just your eyes so you have the ability to save some of the settings that you're going to be using has a pocket wizard built in for those of you who like to work with pocket wizard so it's a nice, completely nice set up it makes a great for working on your own I also used elkan cards I have a wide variety of cards that I work with and sizes and I make decisions about what size I'm going to take depending on the job, I do double redundant two cards go in the car in the back of my camera and I'm usually with a thirty two gig card in each lot and shoot raw too raw so when I get back to my office have already backed it up twice and there's makes things a little easier and less stressful for you so you want much use you can do while you're taking the picture just going to make your job easier end of every photo shoot are as I'm going along I download things and back things up a cz well att the end of every week we take everything from the backup I have a portable backup plus these two cards they go on to two separate hard drives of a bigger capacity and then a final copy is put off location somewhere else over the years of my doing this I've only had one hard drive go down and it was in the very beginning of this for me but I'm extremely careful because the worst thing you could have happen is what if your ultimate portfolio was on one of those places so many people that I mean when I'm teaching classes are still having everything right there on their laptop what would they do with somebody picked up their laptop when they're not looking or what if you'd done a job and somebody wanted to see you for that loss so when we do commercial jobs, my assistant leaves with one hard drive in his briefcase and I leave with a computer and the backups and mind and then we reconvene so that right from the beginning we're safe on every capacity, so light from the beginning is my process the first thing I do when I go to every location if I met somebody's house and they've got a beautiful bedroom and we've already made that decision, I'm going to shoot in your bedroom today or in their bathroom I love tto do bow to our pictures and bathrooms because it's the one step off from the bedroom it still makes sense to that relativity the bride wants to show all that cool stuff that she got is a gift if you're going to try to tie that into a bridle or an engagement portrait shoot, which I think is a great idea for you I don't know how many of you are trying to do that type of thing but it's a great way to begin so if I go to someone's house or in this case we were at this awesome tiki hut I found this gentleman build these amazing tiki huts and their ensues that concept I was about to shoot for this I'm looking to see where's the natural light coming from where's the sons, the bright sun is it open shade? I'm looking tio calculate that ended my image making I look at every image I make it's like a work of art where that light must go on in every place, what can I do to make that image more exciting damage you're looking at right now is just completely and totally natural light no phil, no scram I'm starting there and I'm looking at all the shot is falling on her leg and locate the shadows falling on her tummy um a lot of times when I photograph girls that work out a lot, what theywant to see they want to see cole texture on their body because they work on that so you might as well enjoy it right as a photographer, there's plenty of times you're going to try to have to make that happen for people that don't quite have what they're hoping to be and you want intensify that so your shadowy lighting is really going to pick that up, so in the beginning were looking for the natural light that exists thes two images here of this gentleman it kind of happened, andi I brought these men because they're just really how I think you know, the first thing I'm doing, I'm looking at that guy's body and I'm like, wow, you know, he must never eat, never whatever, but he told me that he truly honest to goodness has always been really fit his whole life and he's truly works out every day and it's very clean and very healthy, but I couldn't stop looking at him and the texture of the background and the board on the wall, and I first thing I did was place him there with natural light. Uh, can I set up a speed light? And I said to speed like, I was like, I really don't want it, he doesn't really need any help, you know, the first thing I'm thinking, I'll just shoot him, turn his body around tweak is weitz line a little bit? I haven't looked right into the camera or done, and then I took two steps over just took one picture, two steps over, I started looking at the sky and I'm like, well, what if I consume that sky into the exposure here? And maybe I should consider tony braising my shutter speed so it darkens it down a little bit took the modifier off the line and let the hard light touches tommy. So then we had even more muscle tone. So that's, how my mind works when I'm shooting, how can I make this better? How can I make it's better once I shot jamie foxx and he asked me that question. Every time we would shoot something awesome we would have the best time shooting making killer pictures and they go what can we do to make this more fun? What what do we do next that's such an awesome attitude tohave and if you keep that going like what can I do with this to make it more exciting you're visually going to go there you want to get up and out of your comfort zone as much as possible for men I'm looking for angles I don't normally see that you see and everybody shot there's you know he had muscle tone everywhere so I mean he could turn sideways backwards all way around and was you knew you were going to get a great shot for women I'm looking at the lines on their body I talk about in my posing class and my posing guide how there's different types of bodies there's an apple, a pear, a ruler and the girl that you're looking at here to the side of him is a ruler straight up and down the ruler wants all the curves so I'm always looking for ways and when I'm posing my subjects to bring that curve of the hip in the curve of the nie lifting up the finishing the pose with the toes, finishing the right kind of hands on the hip or on the face because those are the things that show finesse and polish like a bow on a perfectly wrapped holiday package air the complete presentation, choosing the right outfit to bring out someone's best features like for her, she could wear this long swimsuit and really accentuate her legs even more. Well, what was her best features? The long, graceful lines of her legs and her hands. So then I'm looking at the back around and trying to find a way to resonate that style of her body with what's going on. So then the poses start matching with what's going on in the background natural light on all three of these shots with absolutely no phil. So what do you do when you're outside with no modifiers? Well, you have to face him straight into the sun, it's sunset you can choose and on the shot coming up on the right to put him in the back to the light, as we did yesterday when we were shooting the res picture, don't be afraid to put the back to the shade, to the to the even shadow light and work with filling that in a cz you raise your eyes so you can still make it feel like it was sending out there, even if it really wasn't so don't be afraid, the next images, if there's nowhere to go. And you have no lighting with you. Pull them into beautiful, open shade or deep open shade. Where there's room for the sun to fall off. And some feel like to come in.