Practice & Application


Location, Posing, Execution


Lesson Info

Practice & Application

let's tie all these things together andi let's make sure that not only you guys feel like encourage or whatever right now but let's make sure that it lasts let's make sure you actually learn how does upkeep this kind of thinking for years to come okay because like I tell everybody that comes to workshops it's a fantastic that you come it's fantastic that you're listening when you're paying attention but if you don't go home and continue what you're learning you might as well not have come at all now you're just going to forget on I assume if you're sitting there watching on your computer you're probably pretty serious about photography and you want to improve you want to make a bill to build a business out of this so let me explain to you something that a lot of people have asked us how do you practice these things and how do you do your own upkeep now you will have little notebooks and pick pieces off I mean something to write with right I'm gonna go and show you what I do and then I'...

m gonna ask you two I'm gonna ask you on maybe you guys online watching go ahead and try to do the same thing that I'm gonna ask them toe do and I'll explain that in a minute right now but I'll have you guys uh go through the same process that I go through every single wedding sounds good so this this kind of stuff means a lot to me it's they're just silly slides but they are powerful slides for me and they're sort of emotional just because these little slice even though they're super silly have been responsible for my progress on if he wasn't for my progress I wouldn't have been able to stay as a photographer I would have had to go do something else right so this light I take them very seriously and very personal um and they're actually probably the silliest of us let's here's a typical practice session I actually did this is in the building near near the building where I live if andi I saw this little hallway on because every time I'm walking toehold into a bright room it's always this hotel right on the hotel has this whole ways with the door's on the left and under right so part of my mentality is I want to be able to study the segments that are in every section of the wedding that I work on let me make me make sense out of that if I show up at a hotel room where the bride is getting ready what are the elements that are pretty constant in every hotel room bed walls paintings with with a glass ok glass uh cover right usually meters usually lamps and blind blinds um sometimes colorful walls sometimes depending on the hotel like I traveled a lot too different countries have seen blue and orange and stuff like that on when you walk to the hotel room usually you see the hallways and stuff right so I wrote a list off these kinds of items like hallway uh what happens with the wedding dress usually what does that what does the wedding dress usually stand when you see when you walk into a room she's kind of on the hanger right sitting by the window right so I wrote a little list on my notebook and I put bride getting ready for groom getting ready and I wrote a list off all the items that I pretty much see in every hotel room constantly and then I developed a little practice session throughout for each one of them okay this practice sessions do not take a long time they took me about five minutes I will say ten minutes on average let's take a look at one hears my fifteen minute hallway session how does that look to you like a hallway how exciting can you do this can we transform this like we transformed the corner of this roof you sure can so let's take a look at one thing that I did I didn't have model so I busted out my broom on my best man my broom in my dustbin became my models for the day they do not complain they're not remains you don't have to feed them on they are free perfect combo right and just um I told myself I have to come up with a creative way to photograph this broom on I have to come up with some techniques so when I see another holloway I have three to five little tools in my head that I can implement in this little hallway some accents so here's what I did I put the broom and the dustpan on do you see how there's a little bit of a reflection on the paint on the floor well that's cool so I made a note okay another thing is there's a light source coming from the other side of the hallway coming in so I made another note that's a contrasting lighting situation which is a very common one right on then I thought how can I use that light in the back to create something special in the hallway now this may sound really crazy and anal but again I'm going to repeat myself here that's what it takes to do well for every time you do this there is thirty million other photographers not doing it at all just complaining that they're not making money okay now I put the broom and the dustpan on the other side and I thought this was not look good this is not showing my room and my husband as well so make mental notes okay then I switch it on this is rimmer the photo on the first day I remember when I showed the photo of the bride walking down that their case on I zoomed out and all of that craziness that came from this exercise so I saw the hallway I put the broom and the dustpan and I couldn't come up with anything too cool so I put the camera on slow shutter I tried using my camera's techniques like you have shutter speed aperture I s o is that the things you have on lenses right so I put it on slow shutter speed and exhumed out when I took the photo and it created this like explosive look and I said mental no hallway looks pretty cool when it's exploding explosive look on the hallway looks pretty cool especially windows the light source like a bright light source it looks like it's like uh that's like the ground zero of like some sort of explosion or something it's like the bright side and then you cannot go start into darkness something sense really cool I made a mental note that this was my favorite off all the other three photos I took the next one I put my teddy bear and I thought I'll try to put a flash behind it you know how much I've been using my flashes here you also noticed how well I've been able to use my flashes on how creative I've been able to use them well this is where it comes from it comes from me shooting that teddy bear and I'm trying to blow out the hallway so I was trying to even out the light from the darkness to the brightness okay turns out I didn't like it but at least you make a mental note then I have the maintenance man for the building came around and I borrowed him for a second and I said to please come over here for a split second can I borrow you he goes what's going on now he runs for me he runs away from me and everyone sees me how can you stand there please so I made him stand on the left and I just tried to experiment again what happens if you put someone on the edge of the hallway instead off in the middle of the hallway on I made mental notes I put him behind and I thought that looked pretty cool because now I added two flashes one flash is pointing towards the main zeman I know the flash is pointing towards the camera makes sense and I thought it's starting to look kind of interesting right see how were transforming the hallway then I put him in front and that was just like I don't like the other one better then I put a red jael and I tried to make the whole way red and I said I wanted to know what that will look like but do you see how the light on the flash spills a little bit of white because the jail wasn't covering the whole flash well they gave me the idea to maybe have one flash with no jail on one flash with a gel some intense so now I put the the one that doesn't have a jail is stores the maintenance man and the one that has the jail is pointing towards the camera but the one that's pointing towards him is too weak so then I increase the power and I increased the power you see that and now this is doing to things it's becoming its teaching you how you can change the look of the hallway but most importantly it's making you familiar with the buttons in your flash to change the power right a lot of times I asked someone could you change the flash toe manual three quarters on zoomed ahead seventy five millimeters or like what I'm like how long have you been shooting twenty two years and you don't do you know where the on switch is no just kidding you know what I mean all right by you doing this things makes you like think fast when I was doing a photo shoot of the coroner didn't change my flash through the wall and I said I made a mistake after turning towards the wall because I need to back like the legs and all these different things that are just tools so I kept going it's a nice maintenance he's very cool and by the way he got very comfortable later look at this he started really getting comfortable with after like you know a few minutes he was just like okay I can do this looks like you're on fire right now but look I'm changing their I'm making nothing go from a white hallway to a red hallway right that was the set up that's what it looked like that's my teddy where there's my broom or whatever but this is the kind of look you can get I just made a joke okay crowns but you can see that hallway looks very different from the one the previous shot on your training your brain to the two things transform what you're seeing like what I did here and also become very familiar with your tools okay that's what you started with that's kind of what you end with now the wedding is showing her why me let me back out of this let me see if I can what is that photo got away later okay then I went to the wedding and I saw the staircase now you can see the resemblance between the staircase in that hallway my brain was like being go I know exactly what I want to do here I'm going to turn this photo black and white like dealing with a lot of these photos today I'm going to put the shutter on slow shutter I'm going to zoom out as the bride walks down the aisle I mean down the staircase and I'm gonna make this explosive feel and it's gonna look sick I'm gonna do it in five seconds right on its got symmetry patterns geometry balance light contrast light coming into darkness right and there's the photo from the result of that practice session so yeah it is a broom and a dustpan but he sure paid off right because this photo when people saw this they're like that's really cool and the best part when I show my clients my photos I don't you show them the final I showed them what I did with the stereo just because you went to create a contrast in their mind when a client sees that you transform that into that there like this guy can do anything no matter where I go no matter where we go no matter if it's raining sunny beautiful place ofthe awful place this guy's like my guy but he's gonna make it happen okay this is creating contrasts in the brain on I don't know if I'll have time to talk much about the brain and all how that works for that anymore but contrasts are one of the things your brain needs to make a decision not to think about making a decision if you give people you went the brain to say I'm going to make the decision you don't want your brain to be thinking about making it when you see something like this your brain says I need to hire this person but if you only show them the beautiful photos even though you may be good you're not giving them the contrast the brain needs make sense okay let's move on to my other one with the bananas on the teddy bear I'm sure people online are like oh my god here it comes me the bananas way actually have a regular in the lounge named banana so they were saying really there this very minute so I put the bananas on the lights then because I wanted to create contrast of lighting between a silhouette on dh perfectly lit banana that makes sense and then I tried it the other way and I just kept making experiments this took me about maybe twenty minutes or thirty or something like that and I started playing around with a different lighting situations I put a flashing the banana here is the result of that this is the banana out of focus instead of the banana in focus which do you like more banana in focus now you know that because you saw the photo so if you're gonna have a situation where you have the bride by the window and the groom away from the window you're gonna have the same situation who would you focus on the bride biggest if you focus on the groom the banana goes out of focus and basically the brand goes completely out and you don't know what he's looking at his affair now it turned out that teddy bear towards that side and I said this looks like he's not interested in the banana he doesn't like the banana it's a perfectly good banana he doesn't want it so why should I photograph the bride and the groom in those positions is like they're not interested in each other right that was my favorite photo the banana in focus by the window the groom in silhouette looking kind of in her direction pretty cool I go to a wedding in mexico we're shooting I see this doorway I'm like doorway has light I can put the light by the bride it's inside the room the room is dark silhouette so I put the groom in the back and then um way took this photo pretty but hannah pretty bad but when I walked into this room it was like this door oh groom stand over here bryson over there bright look over here groom look at that way changed the settings to focus for the bride and exposed for the project the picture let's move on to the next photograph and they were just like I showed him the photo they were like what is wrong with you right and I was like you don't know what I do it monday through friday you just you just seeing the results off my hard work and the best part you're seeing me perform not hope when I took this photo I wasn't like oh my gosh look at this because I already knew what was going to look like remember the first day I said that football player that made the touchdown instead of celebrating for half an hour thank you got kicked out of the game and the coaches like you're out of here and the guy's like why I just made a touchdown on his head because you made us look like fools look made us you made us look like that's the first time we've ever had a touchdown your photo should be touchdowns all the time so when you have a shot like this you should expect it no be like jumping up and down that you have finally you think a good photo look there there's a miracle people I took a good photo it looks cool ok so lucky today what's that I'm so lucky today today's today go buy a lottery ticket fast there's the practice session that's what you're going to get there is the implementation of the practice session she wouldn't mean wearing dress typical wedding dress photo you have the wedding dress that when in dresses you're sitting there by the by the hanging somewhere but remember that banana and the teddy bear shot let's use it again but this time with only one person this is why it's like multi level okay okay take a look at this movie and enjoy their results on compared to the banana and the terrible for the dresses the banana the bride is a teddy bear you shit she had the traces left by the window one left for you same thing cool right the bride is the group the brightest the teddy bear dress just became in the place of the banana not only that remember I said to frame with people so I'm using her to frame a swell multi level photography okay now you understand how these things keep getting implemented in all these stuff this was the whole way I was just like I didn't have that light in the back so I just made it with my flashes yes if I only had one and I had a pretty full power on the back in the back because remember that hallway photo he was in the back that the light source the sun was coming from the back look at this one that was in the mirror that was in the hallway that meter I didn't just have the bride look at the mirror and she's like looking at herself like oh there yeah I told her that's a cool mirror I'm not gonna waste it but I got to make it look like it's photo journalistic right so I again ized actually my wife was the one system at this wedding my wife was putting the flash behind her to illuminate her and I had the bribe count how many little whatever was on the wall so her brain was occupied counting something so she wasn't looking and posing for me so that's why it looks kind of like she's counting something what I'm saying is get her brain away from the photo away from the lens on make them focus on something else and you're gonna get unbelievable export unbelievable face expression ok rimmer when the main man west standing on the side when he started getting comfortable remember that use recognized that yeah you should get that starting to come you can barely see my wife in the back too you see our little bit of her dress riding the back to see that that's her in the back there so the mains man guy really help me out create all these photographs for now when I saw this location looked like it looks like nothing but a big mash of green and trees and nothing special on when we were driving I saw that little branch from far away and I told that chauffeur the guy I was like stop and he was like white because that stupid little trunk was creating a perfectly good frame on that little trunk was allowing me to put some order in a chaotic full of bush and tree situation makes sense so I had the bride I had a wireless flash of this photo as well now why the splash was over here it was like right there and that's why I hide her turned her face towards the left so I said grabbed your dress so you devils are doing something and then turn to the left I had her walking no posting so there's that movement that creates the photo journalistic field not to mention this is framing her beautifully on these strong's air pointing your eye right to it it's like little leading lines into her okay look at all these uh this kind of believable that believable expression who wouldn't want this in your wedding right this comes from what I said on day one be silly for two seconds for a picture that will life last lifetimes and then I was like I have and I had to do more and then they start laughing at me because I sound dumb and then boom I get the picture but when you show them the photo they showed up you know there are like bucks mac you know I mean um do you recognize the symmetrical posing on the groom here director you see the little pieces of light kind of lighting up on the box on the top left corner of the photo that came from a little lamp what what you don't see is that that also comes from my video light my assistant's very like pointing at it so you have a war but I transformed the wall into something of interest okay um oh this is a good one this came from again using my teddy bear when I was sleeping at night I saw that the blinds where the blinds in my bedroom were in the higher floors on the lights from the street were shining into my blinds and creating the same shape of the blinds into the ceiling so then I thought that's pretty cool now all that have to do is put the bride in the ceiling and I can totally like make it work right so I went that night I put my teddy bear in my light stand on I put the flash like I put the flash teddy bear was here lie stand I put the flash there on I photographed from here and I had a feeling I wanted to create that silhouette that silhouette of the teddy bear in the ceiling and I did it for about thirty minutes until I got the settings right made a mental note and then when I went to this wedding I said you guys let me just take one quick picture that groom is like no we want to keep dancing I was like it will take two minutes they're like I'll give you one minute I was like perfect I only thirty seconds because I already know what I'm doing so then I went over there I put the settings on the mental notes I saw the ceiling and I just flipped the image into the ceiling so he creates this silhouette okay a big shot out real quick you guys one more time I want everyone in the audience to see this photograph again and remember the photos that we took from here after a bit of training with locations on how to break him down remember david does this does this look familiar yes would you say would you say it's fair to say that you will look at a location like that totally different then three days ago I would rate do you think that would you say that's fair would you have nicky whatever your friend would you look at this location and be like I can rock fifty photos right here completely you can see how this is chaotic but you can see how we can make sense out of it now right I mean look at this who would have thought those two paws were perfectly good frame right who would have thought who would have thought that awful looking thing that looks like it's falling apart created that beautiful work of our little window like remember that all that stuff that we were doing compare that will look good there compare that to compare that to that and compare the other photo to that and you started to transform yourself okay anyway enclosing it has been a wild ride for everybody for me really tiring for you I have been so happy to see a transformation in your skill level and most importantly a transformation in your mentality about what it takes to get to a high level I think that's probably the most important thing that we're going to get out of this no longer have to worry again about taking photos that looked like this which is what I did on my second wedding I thought this is so cool now I realize it looked like the they all need to go to the restaurant there was no restroom available they got one in the middle of the road writes maids get look at the trash in the trash can on the cars somebody please help me right but now we went from this which is something I did at the beginning of my career on be ableto put it all together all the ingredients I'm able to transform the ingredients into something powerful okay and it turns out to look something like this look at that awful light I brought the car over to the left and I had the car drive as fast as possible to pick up the dust and the dust was going to get reflected by the sun hitting through the trees and create this drama in the entire location so like I didn't even know why I was asking him but I just told him to do it I wept I walked back behind the trees because I was using the trees as a framing device because two trees make a frame right so I had him go I told the bride and groom to walk I had my my wife hold up my wireless flash I stood behind the trees all these practice kind of comes together into a big crazy finale and you get a photo that looks like that from a photo that just knows people would have just said I don't even know what to do here or I would have put him in the middle and have them kiss this is the power off a little bit of practice a little bit of effort on dh just putting the courage they're you know just do it you know and I think this is a powerful powerful lesson for everybody so um there's this I think I am officially finished with creative life on I've had the best time thank you

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!!