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Lesson 1 from: Lighting for Your Target Audience

Jeremy Cowart

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Lesson Info

1. Introduction

Next Lesson: Hard Light

Lesson Info


Hello, everybody, and welcome to creative live. I'm your host, drew consul in, and this is lighting for your target audience with jeremy coward. We're excited to have him back here on the creative live platform, jeremy, if you don't know who he is, shoots photos for people like taylor swift, the coded kardashians and, most recently, the pope, on his visit to the u s. In addition to that, he's, really passionate about using creative abilities for good and has started a new organization called help portrait ah, and was most recently voted the most influential photographer on the web, were really lucky to have him back here on the creative life platform. Would you help me? Welcome to the creative live seattle studio, jeremy coward. Thank you yeah it's good to be here thank you guys for coming thank you guys for watching online it's just it's incredible to be back here I was I think the third ever creative life class and it's such a bummer that they haven't had any success with this platfo...

rm I'm really just hoping that it's gonna work out for him no I'm just kidding they've they've had an amazing journey it's insane to see how far creative love has come so I'm honored to have been involved in the beginning honor to be back now we've got some in person attendees as well hanging out with us today but yeah today I don't know fueler in shouldn't learning about lighting but that's today's topic got often I don't love teaching about lighting because there's so many lighting classes out there and there's so many it just feels like an endless sea and so there are a lot of photography teachers out there that will might say this is how you light a portrait this is how you do it you know this is in for me that's on that at all their million ways to let a portrait and their million reasons why you should let a portrait or how so I'm going to dive into all that stuff today and we're going to jump right into um lighting no and my work and what I do and so so I keep I use ah light room, obviously tio edit and organize and keep on my all my work together. With keywords and with all that stuff I kind of keep this one key word called best of and it's good to kind of look back inside of me really portfolio I just like to be able to visually and quickly process what I've been shooting lee just to kind of know and see the overall arc of where I've been and what I've been doing a lot of these images you're going to see through are completely unknown not retouched they're just out of camera they maybe has like processing on him but I remember high school used tio I was a painter to begin with and so I would I would put all my paintings in one room I'll cover my parents living room and paintings and it was just so let's let's be honest first holds an ego hit like well I created all this work is a senior high school though that was so cool it is also just good to like really see the overall body and how where I've been going, how I can grow look at the pieces that the sock or look at the things that are good and kind of like I want to I want to go home or in that direction I looked at one painting and think that's when I'm really proud of and I feel like the modern day version of that for me is lite room looking at kind of the overall body of my work and see what I've been doing lately see how a d d I am I mean this is ah a wedding at lucia do not she weddings I'm not a wedding photographer but a friend of mine somehow talked me into shooting her wedding been doing a lot of medical work album covers dancers bands this is ah is she we just did on on c university but as you as you see all these some now scrolling buy what I want you to look at is the insane diversity and lighting no you know there's just a million different ways to approach lighting and in my work on what I do a lot one of the main questions I get asked is how do you how do you why're you so how you said diverse people want to know like how do I get such different types of jobs that's actually really good conversation because someone argue it's awesome to be a jack of all trades I mean there's something tarver's that make a living shooting architecture weddings family is you know a million different things and that can work but I would I would argue if you want to be kind of a lifelong kind of career specific genre specific with photographer you really need to hone in on your look your vision your voice if you think about some of my favorite photographers there is a guy named dan winters if you're watching and how you should google dan winters there's a frank akan fell these were people I admire there's ah tim walker any liebowitz peter yang he shoots a lot of editorial for rolling stone but all these people I mentioned I'm mentioning if you look at their work like when you look at dan winters you know that stand winters he just has this thing he's very gosh it's brilliant I get I get pissed off because I'm s so admired ever like love somebody's work so much you just frustrates you put in a good way it's like it both pushes you and kind of like man I wish I was like good well there I still have along with the photographers like that that I look up to there is a guy name and then doff kander I don't know hey say it pronounces last thing but he's another one who's worked alec and I just really really love it and the dobbs the same way like you see his work without even googling or singing photo credit you just know that's his work and I'm going into all that because you know even though I shoot a diverse body of style and type of work that's not always a good thing I'm even still trying to hone in a little more and found my focus but at the same time when it comes to making a living and paying bills and just this longer journey of photography it is good for me to do a large divers, but of work. And I think the reason that that that's happening is because I approach every job, every shoot, completely different. You know, I have so many I've heard so many photographers, you know, usedto attend all this confidence, too, just like you guys are goto people admire and I would try toe try to learn a love learning even when I speak it converts. This has still go in and sit in on the other speakers, and I literally learned something from every person I watch me that's. Why creative things like creative alive or so interesting, because even if you just watch ten minutes of somebody's talk, you're most likely gonna pick up something new. But, yeah, I love learning, and I'm always forget where I was going with that. But I just want to show you, um, now this is ah, shoot. I did just last week with the model and I'm going to get we're going to get into all the specifics of the different types of light that I explore and that I like to do. This was the sea issue where I was talking about, like, shooting crap in conditions like weirdest out all. I had to work with this guy, and so for her, um, it was she's. A model is more fashion, you know? And then I was shooting my a friend, paul mcdonald. He was on. He was on a reality show, and, you know, you can see that the lighting is vastly different from aa lot of the other types of things that I shoot. On a fund, I have a key word, that's handy for things like this, its called right, it's, all the damages that owned the rights to because a lot of that was going to commercial work, you don't own the rights, you know, you get it's a work for her, and so you can't show that someone throw the work that I that I do in the rights to that I can show you that again. Scrolling through here, you'll see the lighting always changing through the different things that do so what type of photographers do we have here? What kind of stuff to yell, shoot important, a portrait like what kind of board was a commercial? Editorial. Commercial editorial. Who else? Action! Sports action! Sports! Water, sports specifically what are you doing in wakeboarding? Alright, alright. That's their front like that. Anybody else even deal with lighting? You don't it's all natural air it right? Yeah. From time to time we try to there's been recently, you know, there's. Not a lot of photographers in the industry that air shooting. So, you know, to stand out. People are, you know, shooting large strokes from other boats and that sort of thing or getting in the water on dh that's. Always interesting. So, yeah, we just to try and try and get different stuff. So, yes, that's awesome. Who? Us? Weddings, weddings. Okay. Are you lighting portrait's and stuff, but wedding lot of lighting, a lot off camera flash. Very cool, ellen crooms. You mean everything? Just able to get the photos that we need. Call anybody else a little bit of everything? Yeah, here. Like, may know slaver laura lying on a speed light right now. So, that's, why I'm here, that's all the more. So very cool. Moved from concerts, teo assisting a lot and doing weddings. Yeah, from very non controlled lighting. Teo trying to control it. Living more sure. You, too, okay? Uh huh. Come on a little everything on by using him flash on using like studio light lloyd great fashion don't have experience of studio lights it's all been speed lights and natural lights for me and it's been a combination of family kids and then I'm moving more towards headshots and kind of like business storytelling photography great okay so even right here with a people we have a pretty crazy diverse variety of ah of what they're trying to do weddings commercial in editorial action sports portrait's families like theirs everything and I'm and I'm I'm assuming the same goes with all of you watching so the first thing I want to say about lighting is this I used to be I've been sharing my story a lot recently commerce is but I was so scared and terrified of not only photography but especially lighting lights you know I don't know why I just I made not great grades in school I took one photography class in college and I made a d literally nearly failed my only photography class I got fired from my first job a designer and not only fire but told like jeremy maybe do something that isn't in the creative field maybe go like work it a church or something so you know and then I was thank you like my whole career growing up and going to colleges cool I just never thought I wouldn't amount to much never thought I would do much and so when it came to photography I was just so scared of it so the reason I'm single this is the end of your watching and you're not cut out for this or it's too intimidating if literally if I can do this then then you guys can too well the beautiful thing about lighting is it keeps getting easier and easier and easier to actually work the lights and understand the lights I remember being in a conference scott was like he was talking about lighting and he was like if you if you touch it here you could get electrocuted and it could kill you and so it's important to know that letting isn't gonna kill you first of all but he was just so like overly technical and ridiculous about it and and I remember he was like waving his hand over model and you can't have the light here it has to be a pier and he was just of specific and he was talking about all the lighting ratios and I was like this is way too too much for me but over time fact part of my stories when I gotthard uh uh hollywood agent the agent called me I had beat her for a job and she said your work is amazing I love to represent you and she's talking about for major hollywood in a representation and her first question was you know howto light big sets right and I was like yeah yeah yeah course totally I got that and I had never lit a big set before and so remember my very first job big job was for a show called prison break it was on fox and I remember showing up to this massive sound stage like ten times the size of this room huge and I walk up you know me and my little backpack and there's literally like fifty strobes there's like two hundred c stands there like from far because there was just gear and I was in charge we basically the way those big commercial sets work is that you spend the whole day or two pre lighting the set then by the last day the talent finally comes through you've got all your sets let you've got everything built to ready so they can just walk on and you just nail it the man when I walked into that sound stage little mi who didn't know much about lighting I was so overwhelmed in clueless and but it was fun because the benefit the beauty of those types of situations is that they're bringing on pro assistant's assistants who do this every single day for all the world's top photographers and so you know I kind of had to fake it I was like uh yeah I want this you want that set too kind of and I kind of did have a vision of what I wanted it to look like. It's not explain it right flee. And then the lighting assistance would go do it. And I was sitting right there on the table. And so my journey was so backwards I learned from the people assisting me in terms of satellites. It was ridiculous. But now it's gotten to a point where, you know, I could do the biggest of shoots. I don't need any help. I could said of all the lights, all the c stands I've put in my you know, they say you gotta put into those ten thousand hours of doing something. Well, I've definitely got my ten thousand hours and I mean, I used to she weddings, I'm overhauling pro photo lights up a hill and the not a degree weather and wearing all black and sweating like crazy, you know, I, uh, then small editorial shoots where you have to come up with twenty set ups in two hours and for some celebrity have been in the craziest situations with lighting, and I've been forced as a wedding photographer, you're always in the most random places on you got to figure out how to make it look amazing. I think susan stripling today is teaching that very topic. And I love that I love that about photography that are our job is essentially being problem solvers. You have tow, walk into a room, especially editorial. You have to walk into a room and figure out how to make a look, make it look amazing. And that's really where lighting comes in because we can transform spaces, we can completely and invent a closet or the smallest bathrooms. Or, you know, and so many times I've been in those situations a merry one time I had teo I got hired to shoot an editorial for christopher guest. And the whole cast of his movie is one of those goofy movie like nine celebrities at a seven foot tall hotel room. You know, ladies like a shoebox. And I had to come up with three different looking set ups and individual headshots all in twenty minutes, three set ups with nine celebrities and headshots and twenty minutes and so that's where lighting comes into play. Okay, howto work these lights on them. So let's start warned, ya know, one of them a bit eighty dea tell stories like go in and out of shooting. And so I hope you all are okay with that and along for the ride.

Ratings and Reviews

Abel Riojas

Watch for a lot of gems in this one. A few take aways was working with the band and how to take the shot (even if they've aged) and loved the "Mosey" technique...i think thats going to be cool to shoot with some friends. What i really took away was stop stressing about the settings and enjoy the shoot. it comes out in the work and and the end you'll be happy and the client will be elated. Give it a spin, he starts off mentioning that he's not sue bryce (in so many words) and work with people in their natural environment.

Randy Boback

I've taken a similar class in a photography school, more focused on editorial portraits however. They both rank at the top of my list for seeing the world differently. The lighting and composition in portrait work, lets the photographer have a broad say in what the results look like, we rarely notice how the lighting affects not only the feel of the photo but your impression of the subject as well. This is a chance to see how much control the photographer can actualy have.

a Creativelive Student

excellent! thank you for featuring Jeremy

Student Work