Light & Shadow


Location, Posing, Execution


Lesson Info

Light & Shadow

I wanted to uh talk a little bit about some of the main points that I didn't get a chance to really dig deeper into in the first two days and I wanted to just gonna show you what those are remember that one remember when we talked about harsh light situations and you don't have a diffuser and we can follow the shadow and weaken look at the apex and all of that imagine in the middle of a pretty high end wedding and you're in the field and the bride tells you I don't want to be in this field because I'm hot five minutes is all I can take and it takes three minutes just to walk to the place on you have no time I wanted to show you not only through where the photos that you did which you obviously did a great job here's an example of how much little wrist arms a little things go on little finessing goes on but then look at the shadow of the sun look at the way the sun is coming from and then take a look at the final photograph and then I'll show you how I I used to handle this in my first ...

couple of years as well so this is the field would you consume the tv screen here you can see the bride it's pretty much really harsh light does that look like it's gonna be a great photo definitely not and trust me this is what tests your skills you're just like uh this is not good but I can solve it I can solve it now now that you see a little bit of what's going on you think you could try to make sense out of this and how that happened thought process twice can you try it anybody on top of the right couple there was no diffuser you're standing in the apex that uh partially partially can you think why I couldn't just stand in the main apex there will be too dark you see this is the thinking that I was talking about this is the stuff that I sit there and I'm like thinking looking at the screen going why why how why I see you guys are looking at it used part ofthis up uh determined to block some of the light off her face we'll use his entire face to block okay so here's how we kind of went down okay we have this situation correct this is the background but luckily this is gonna be kind of funny you only have one light source the son is the only light source here so yeah it's in a bad position and it's just terrible but it's only one you can control one light source just think about it you have the sun is coming from there this way right one light source one person I would have been able to stand on the apex and just take her photo all day long it would have looked perfect atyou crop the sun out of the frame right because if you show the light source then that becomes the privacy of your subjects right so but when you when I had to photograph the bride and groom photos there too and there was no diffuser you're you're in big trouble you know and they expected that was the one time they were so excited about me showed in their wedding I have to come through so if you have one light source you notice the groom was wearing a white shirt a white indian thing right well what does white anything mean to you it means reflector when you see these walls and at this studio what do you see you don't see a wall to you you see I reflect a reflector when I stalking shirt that was like okay now I have a reflect I have a son I have a reflector the other thing is I need to put her face against the sun but I don't want to put her face where do you only show the side of her face right because you want to show kind of in between so if you do that you burned the face unless you put the groom where the burn would be so you photograph the burn would have appeared here the sun is coming from here so he's sure got a little burnt from the sun right but her face is perfect because I'm using his face on now his face is getting completely burnt but who cares it's on the side that you don't even see sense so when I'm looking at his post I'm like thinking and I'm like I can have him stand next to each other kind of hug his face would burn from this side his face would turn block her face she can bring her chin up to get that light coming through from the sky and and then she could have her arms and all of this looks really beautiful the sun is behind you don't see it so the brightest part of the photo definitely is the sky but we don't care because the sky is overblown uh same same brightness level all the way through right on then they become the biggest the ones that are in focus on because this is no longer a problem they become the brightest and there's not a single part of their bodies that are burned with some light even though it was the worst lighting in the world nothing this photo I have to admit it took me a little while to come up like to come up with it like I was seriously like looking at it and thinking I need to just you know that's lazy susan thing it was just like lazy susan ing this all day long well for thirty seconds really but that's a lot of scenery I was just like we need to turn turn turn your face I saw the spill off sonny into her face I was like telling the groom you have dig your face deeper into way to hide that sounds but I didn't tell him why I just told him to do it and then you see how his face is pretty deep in there he was not that he was kind of separated a little bit so I was like deeper deeper and he was like I'm pretty deep I was just a little more deeper and then that clean every little section that could have touch their face so this photo sometimes people think oh you had all this equipment and the few sirs and life and I'm like no I had the camera on the worst life in situation and no diffuser on it still turns out this way with two people okay so this I kind of think okay I took this photo in uh forgot where oaxaca mexico oaxaca mexico hey I took this photo to show an example why students or photographers were there trying tto learn they go to the shady area all the time have you have you guys done that before like you look for the shadier you're like sean son oh shade everybody come over here into the shade everybody right and then what happens with shade what is the color temperature of shade it's cool it's cool it's ugly it's flat it doesn't do you any favors just like you being an architect and you're like let's use plastic for the structure of the building yeah because what is the structure of for photography like light so why would you use the worst possible light as the framework for your photograph right shade is your friend if you use it with the right reflected from the ground or if you can combine a reflected from somewhere get a sun spot and then put the reflector in the sunspot and reflect light back in to them right remember I want to explain that little section when there's shade and then there's a little line where the sun comes through and then I said to stand close to the line of shade standards close as possible to the sun and if you stand further back from that line used to getting darker and darker that reflected flights not getting to your faces much anymore what do you think of the lighting here it's very cold does that look like you're a master no now nikki if you were to look at this door do you see what I circled yes on julianna what does that little circle mean to you now it means that the floor can reflect light means what the floor can reflects light stores the shame so yeah you have the perfect combo and this happens all the time it's happening right there below that crane you see that this happens all the time now you can put your subjects in the shade which is not acceptable unless you khun rebuild that light back right you put him in the shade to clean their face and neutralize the light in their face and you don't have sunspots and so forth right but then you've got to build a structure of your photograph right and that's light so this sunlight is going to reflect back into whoever you put here right so check out the difference between the first photo with all the people and take a look at this one look at the way my face it's just glowing you see has glowing there now this is not a professional camera this is probably like some point in shooting that I told my wife but I told her to take this picture of me here because I saw this little guy and I was just like let's go here and she's like why little here you know I stand there in the shade all that light comes into my face I glow now how does this apply to your work it applies every time because you are going to be in difficulty situations like when you have to take family fortress and so forth and if you can find a shady spot where everyone's like this clean but then you can find a spot that has shade on some sun coming through reflecting on them you're going to think differently now you're gonna be like less coherence that'll they're so take a look at this now that's the result of what that looks like now let me say something real quick this photo has not been photoshopped in any way shape or form this is straight out of the camera yet it looks like they're just everyone it has like a personal life's light on their face or something they're glowing does that make sense that's from the floor that's from the floor so you see how they're in shade here what you don't see is the sun is right there so when I was looking at where am I going to take the wedding party photos I didn't just go to the crappy shady spot I went to the shady spot that had the sun to reflect light back up this is what it looked like now you can see it right this is the sun this is the shape to me that's like music to my ears I mean I'm walking around and I'm like shade nothing shade nothing nothing shade shade nothing son that's not gonna work shade up son symmetrical doors balance could it be any better so I told everybody to just get in there and I took the photograph look at the sun crazy that strong sunlight this if we could get out of the studio and go outside and you see like downtown seattle you're going to see buildings creating some shape in the floor and then you're going to see the line where the sun begins on you're gonna be like iphone picture is gonna look like hassle blood all right there it is that's all I needed to see that little door right there okay can you go see can you see it happening right there to look when tomorrow comes in look at that reflector over there do you see it see the other side right next to my friend here uh what's your name my friend jacob rennes to jacob bonnie's right you see that reflector you notice I'm not calling it would thing I'm calling it reflected because that's really what he should be to you it's just a reflektor so we'll put the girl we'll put the model there that four lights gonna bounce into that reflectors gonna bounce back you're gonna look like a wonderful supermodel is gonna be in a really creepy place just a corner of the room that no one even thought about right let's go to this one okay why is this the most beautiful perfect setup for a wonderful photograph can I go ahead just get e o d like that can't anybody think this is tough so just just give it a shot why is this music to my ears again because of the tree that can reflect oh my gosh exactly what's going on with the tree it's a reflection it's a reflector but not only that if triangulating the light you have the sun is coming from here coming into the tree so that's line one there's a white citizens because we're talking about lighting through direction today the sun hits the tree and the tree reflects light into those little plants does that make sense now if you look if you look at the little plans you see the soft shadow there that's coming out of the plant self shadow means beautiful light hard shadow means it's gonna be exactly that to harsh it's not gonna work I'm too sort of a shadow that light's kind of dead so look at the plant right here I look at the subs shadow on the other side of that plant you see that thing this shadow here is the perfect softness if when the model comes out this is a good place I can tell just because of the shape of the shadows the structure of the shadow tells you if you take a picture of anyone here they're gonna look like a master photographer took the photograph with the greatest cameron the world okay so think about that night I was too put a light source and make it really harsh the shape of this plant will be really accented on the wall which means get away from that shadow that's not gonna work for you that's it soft shadow bingo har shadow get away from there let the shadow speak to you when you're shooting I mean we've gone over so many of them here it is this is what it looks like that's shadow without that triangulation of the sun so that's just straight out shadow do you see how poor sad and depressing that light that little plant looks and it's a pretty plant don't get me wrong I like you like that plan but it's very sad right now let's compare that light to the life with a soft shadow in the back really look at this life yeah that's that light is this light right here okay um let's look at the light let's look at the uh here you guess when they tell you how I practice this is an example soft no very good not a good medium um batter make sense er you could just keep going like see not as good as that that's the best part okay so you start training your eyes and see these things which do you like more right right right right because it's the right one it's not a very good joke it was just kind of like third a lame this you know like right here is how it looks like now in my book picture perfect practice I showed a bunch of examples where my wife and I went out for a photo shoot I said don't bring reflectors don't be nothing it's just let's just make you look crazy awesome without nothing on all I did was looking for the sun hitting a wall the wall bouncing the life back into me and that's kind of what I was doing so another way you could do a little exercise it's go outside for ten minutes I look for sun hitting a wall I don't look opposing that wall what's in the other side on take your photo just keep looking for that triangulation of life okay you don't need any models you don't need any equipment you do your iphone your blackberry your iphone whatever you use on somebody and that's it so let him apply this on a real job when shadows speak to you this bride is the bread that I was photographing in the fields she was coming down the stairs with her father I'm at the bottom of the stairs staring at her like this after fifteen hours of shooting by the way this is like all day indian weddings you know I mean and I was looking at her and her father was coming down and then I noticed when she was at the top of the staircase that perfect little soft shadow appeared on the right wall and I was like yes I can take a perfectly good portrait is gonna look like I'm awesome right there right so I asked her to go back upstairs after her father died her deal I took this photo and I realized that shadow there was too harsh see how the photos and look quite exciting it's just kind of there now you're really wondering why and I can tell you right now why it is because the direction of light the way the light's hitting her is creating a strong shadow not that softness that I saw so what the heck is going on so I had to switch her move for to get a soft shadow to appear there is house testing the light figuring out where that shadow is now do you see the shadows a lot softer case that's also testing it there's the shadow that's what I like I stood from with the bottom of the stairs where I saw it and this is the final photograph look at the light now it looks really like a crazy portraying our super snake studio no it was halfway or staircase right but that's what that looks like okay remember yesterday we spoke a lot about using the tree branches of screams why not using people as frames too you can frame with people as well you know when there's people dancing like the bride and groom are dancing or whatever and you have all these people dancing sometimes I look for everyone being around the bright and I think a picture of just a frame of all the people and they're like lonely by themselves so I took that idea to a different level and I just really thinking in this photograph that you're going to see soon the father was getting ready that two sons were right there and I said your boys are cute but they're not voice to me now they're just framing devices and so I said framing device number one framing device number two leagues connell and go to the state they were like what my name is tony your name is frayed framing device number one you're framing devices were to come close right on uh perfect the way you do much more perfect way a flashing in the father's letting the brightest right there is that to sanders one one eight six one one the way you are okay here's a photograph so the father definitely liked it because it's emotionally it's emotional for him right he's getting married I mean he's not happy right there but that's okay he's not he's just kind of him his spine right and then his kids are just right there and it's an idea that came from the stuff around you framing with the tree framing without white thing that we saw outside what is that like a little bench framing with that or framing with people I mean if I have this he valerie can you stand up for a sec on duh sey and you see nikki send over a second friends come up for a second so mallory is the person I want a photograph I want to put emphasis on her but I don't want a flat picture I can create death using you guys you guys become my death objects that that's it so stand right over here stand right over here now you're the background see that blue wall right there that's really the background but you're gonna take a step this way so I can see the black now you have nothing but blue in the background something since you're going to come over here and commute a friend for a second stand right here and keep looking this way bring your chain toe that to those shutters on you are just like putting on your sweater you're doing whatever with your hands you're preoccupied okay you are preoccupied looking juliana doesn't really matter now what I just did I just framed you with your faces I'm pointing your no stores mallory in appointing yours in this direction so now you have nose number one going this way knows number two over there with nikki going that way I guess what those two know sis they hit she what I'm saying now let's make a small mistake math mallory's knows is going this way let's put nikki's knows this way to now you have two people with the same level of importance and the two noses were going the same direction it's distracting so let's turn your face this way now it's opposing on the attention goes right back to her doesn't make sense I come over here I have the blue wall in the background right so it's seamless in the back I'm mallory committee look look at me just look straight at me I can shoot right through right through you you become the foreground you become the middle ground you become the fact of the background on on top of that I created frames and I and I and I center the attention right to her because of your nose direction makes sense

Class Description

How do you handle shooting a wedding in a less than perfect location? What's the best way to get the perfect pose for a special image? Join international award-winning photographer and Canon Explorer of Light Roberto Valenzuela as he shows you how to take the guesswork out of maximizing your location and determining the best way to pose your subjects.

In this class, Roberto will show you​:

  • How to identify the elements at a location you can use to enhance and the ones that you should minimize and avoid
  • The best way to look at posing by arranging each body part until you have the pose you want
  • The way to practice and use his methods to create your own style

By the end of this class, you'll be able to approach your next wedding with ​confidence.


a Creativelive Student

Im a freelancer and have studied photo school several years ago and also been working as an assistant for a few years. I think you always have things to learn and keep you from getting stagnant in photography, and i find creative live is a great source for that. Been taking some of Lindseys classes and watched several others from Sue Bryce as well as other classes for equipment and about shooting people in general. I always read what others have said before to avoid any classes that are not informative etc or have a teacher that leave out too much, i was drawn to what people said about Roberto walking the students through the shoots and that he had this great system you could use and take with you when you go forward. I actually never heard of Roberto before but were mainly interested cause of what he was teaching here. I have now watched almost the whole course and first of all let me say i do recommend it a lot. Its a great system to use in my opinion, and i have learned some great stuff to think about that will enhance my own photography, and its a great reference to go back to when you need it. Roberto as a teacher is relaxed, intelligent and has great humor that i can relate to. So you you are not "bored" which is also very important, he keeps it interesting. Some things that i did not like about his way of teaching was that he was a little too impatient at times when the students tried shooting themselves , he reminded me of other photographers i have worked with in past. They were also very impatient sometimes when people around them were moving to slow for the shot to get done etc. I understand during the course the students had limited time to get every shoot done. But many times i was frustrated with that Roberto almost always stepped in too early to "help" them out but instead kind of took over telling them what angle would work best or what light that should be used. It was almost as he wanted his system to show up as flawless and felt as he was scared letting the students try it out on their own because that would somehow show a flaw in his system. I would rather have had him let them try first and later he could come in and suggest the different angles and light. But now many times he would take over and also take his own picture and pointed to the strengths of that picture and why it worked. Still, you learn because he explains at the same time, and walk you through everything. I just find that you would learn even more letting the students fail first or do it right on their own. Also sometimes he would choose a location and say: You can use this wall and these props etc, then when the student would start he would suddenly limit them and instead tell them what to use and how they should crop so that the location itself would not make much difference. Otherwise though, great course. I think i would buy another course from Roberto as well if it was something i needed from it.


Love Love Love this class!! The way Roberto integrates class participation into his teaching is such an amazing teaching technique! CreativeLIVE has some amazing teachers, I have learned so much from many of them, but Roberto's "hands-on" approach put's the on-line audience in the moment. Very captivating teacher! By far I would say this is one of the, if not the best photography class I have watched!! Thank you!!