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Men's Portrait Photography

Lesson 17 of 26

Shoot: Portrait Lighting - Clam Shell

Jeff Rojas

Men's Portrait Photography

Jeff Rojas

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Lesson Info

17. Shoot: Portrait Lighting - Clam Shell

Lesson Info

Shoot: Portrait Lighting - Clam Shell

And a lot of questions yesterday about different lighting setups and why we were just using this specific modifier, you know what we were doing with it? I love the west got zeppelin specifically because has the very, very gorgeous light, but it's, very soft, like a soft bucks, but as a contrast on the edges, mystical beauty dish, so I have that fall off. I don't have to worry about let's, say, like, down here, there's not as much follow if it's a definitive cut. You guys looking at images that I'm photographing the former time towards c seventy or, you know, stick to fifty, perfect wait, look at the falloff of why I'm using that specific. So if I look at my falloff of light it's basically right around his crotch area, there's not much anymore light that's going down, I'm using that for fashion setups if I need to showcase is part of the clothing, and I'm just trying to centralize your visual interest in that specific area they're faced, their hat, whatever they're wearing into this are...

a, if the pants don't really matter, if I have a subject that has tacky pants, whatever, whatever, I'm trying to hide a great way to hide that light, but what happens if you I don't want to hide the clothing I pull the light back again because that has that fall off it's a it's a larger light so largest source of light perfect she was that seven over that fifty side again perfect just pump up that light looked at this in reverse is fun because it's upside down it says currently says e l or seven three depends on how you liking it so let's look at the fall ofthe light where we're getting the falloff of light now I'm starting to get into the areas his pants I'm starting to get into the areas where it's now touching speech just by pulling like light black back ever so slightly he's again he is what a foot and a half or two feet away from the background if I don't want any light in the background, what I could do with the light is can you move forward from me about three feet one that's like one and a half right there perfect so here's what I can do perfect move the sound and lose in this one you know what there's several ways I could do this I'll just do it the easy way way perfect from trying to minimize the light in the background first let me see how perfect we can start lifting the light itself up and start directing away from the background the good thing is that I still have the modern lights it's a little easier to tell where the background it's a little difficult to see in the studio but we'll see more or less where that light falls perfect I'm obviously gonna have to change my focal length so we're at thirty five right now perfect lights of the bright that wonderful little noise telling it's working perfect awesome so I'm starting to get light on my subject to fall off in the background is not so grand for some sort of diminished the light quality in the background a little easy to see I think on camera than on the screen but I don't have much like they did in the back ground forces just moving the subject forward pulling the light back ever since like the contrast to fall off helps me diminish the light in the background so I don't need to just like that person and like the background because of the contract because of the way this light falls like if I take my hand and I start moving in this way where my starting to see the negative phil so I can kind of work this light tea that capacity soft boxes a little more spread getting a little bit more like in other areas so you're getting the glow of let's say soft box without the without the fall off you get a nice contrast edge kind of like the the beauty dish so I can't see any light that's here so I know that there's no light entering that specific area how long I'm seeing light around here like I need to kind of judge why I'm using the specific my modifier so that's kind of why I jumped to those that modifier specifically I get to kind of focus on areas of my subject with out having to use every single one now what happens if you're looking at this image and you're thinking well the right hand side is a little dark just run us down a white card or phil car john could have a white folk art thank you very, very much you don't need a b flat I generally used the flats on set I don't have any assistance present but the the whitefield card is perfect what we're trying to perfect went to three awesome beautiful look at that image again we're not getting for the first time perfect back and forth what the white card enough light is bouncing there to be able to fill in that whole other side so I don't really need much modifiers on set I can use this is one light of babel illuminate my subject so I don't need to invest in a bunch of different lights to make a subject look decent um I'm going next frame for portrait leading two seconds we're gonna go back to my keynote okay, so those of you that are interested in in this set up the only difference between this image on but we're currently using is that it's on the left side instead of the right side but well used to be flat as well say if I wanted the image to be a little darker in contrast to you I want to just show certain areas that juice used the black v card uh sorry the black dennis stevie quirke the black phil card perfect way went there perfect one, two, three awesome. Perfect. So if I want a little bit more contrast my my images seem to be a little moodier this how we achieve that it's just using a black phil card in my shop because I'm starting to take out negative uh I'm starting to absorb light in the area of darkness that's there so I'm getting kind of split lighting if you want to call it that I'm just pulling information it's out of there okay? You're like huh? Perfect other things that you could do. We talked about putting a phil card in there we talked about putting a second light and they're what I was doing a background like he's the same set up with a background like I needed jonathan thank you very, very much but I think we did yesterday I think I know we did yesterday just using the zeppelin just using a zeppelin or a b flat or anything for the background we weren't illuminating the background and any given point cause we're focused on the face to those of you that are watching online that's the only reason we're just focusing on the face we just sorry the only reason we don't eliminate the backgrounds were focusing on the face that was a question I wanted getting a couple times why don't you like your backgrounds perfect and it works get very very simple setups you don't really need a lot of lighting teo incorporate what am I looking at when I see these images let's take another shot two three and john can you actually raise that light probably afoot just to get behind shoulders sorry right there thank you one two three awesome perfect so if I want a little bit of death in my image john can I have you move it towards us just eliminate the background a tiny bit more and yes we can use a different grade but I'm just trying to do the simple route of not having to move anywhere I just did a perfect two through awesome so if you want to give a little dimension to your images obviously that background light's gonna help again two lights if I needed to fill carded me to throw that in there and john if I could have you hold up the phil card once again thank you very very much awesome to three perfect shot we talked about the half smiles yesterday is michael really smiling or is michael having a fake smile on his face right now? It's a fake smile that is the fake a smile I think I've ever seen michael so ultimately I don't need I don't need many lights on set like I really truly don't what I'm thinking about is what we discussed yesterday does the light look flattering to michael specifically if I wanted to thin michael space out we discussed before I keep that black shadow on the right hand side so I have to see as much of that was what we were discussing yesterday I don't always put I don't put people in black be flats all the time I just do it so I can visually understand where light is forming and what it's doing to the face so if we look at the image from before how much thinner does this face look in that first image comparatively to the second like those considerations and a half so those of you that can't visually see light that's a great weight for you guys too be able to see light in post processing putting the thea reflector and they're pulling the reflected away my next go to set up john if we're gonna throw in two strip lights perfect I'm gonna have if somebody can grab me a posing stool please thank you thank you man it's a bongo we discussed this yesterday. Yeah quick question for as far as like not many of us are able tto have stroke and stuff like that you go the same concept as far as you know speed likes to write I do the same thing speed light wise when I wind up doing is differentiation of background what am I doing? I know rogue makes a couple spot grits spot bridge for the background a lot of times so that way there is flash in a certain points if I'm trying to do a spot spot in the background just give a bit of dimension I'll use that I want a rim light from behind and I want it on the subject and I want it illuminated my camera uses spot grid as well which is a little it's a robe just road grid you guys looked at us thiss one up there keep one last one and then put this model here any other questions while I'm doing this we do. We have a lot of questions generally about about the gear. Specifically, a lot of people are wondering why you sigma I know that your friend lindsay is sponsored by them are you as well or what brought you to signal okay uh is going to sound funny accessibility? When I first met lindsay she had many lenses that I I didn't have a chance to have or don't have the budgets have so it was the first thing second thing is when it comes to budget you know I don't they're not by any means a budget brand but they're definitely a lot less expensive than other manufacturers canada night gone I try to do things to be budget friendly but the quality's still the same the one fifty kind of became my favorite lens theeighty five extremely tack sharp twenty four one oh five second version of that actually was amazing and just extremely versatile so accessibility budget and equality those would be my three tidbits and then could you clarify with that said I'm honest I don't know I love it that's why that's what people wanted to hear exactly can you clarify for malik williams on three other people are all these lenses being used on a full frame camera? Which camera are you using? I'm currently using the ken and five mark three I used a cannon five team are two three if I'm shooting it's just having things onset inaccessibility of having several bodies on set but yes, I'm using a full sensor camera that thank you so any other questions from aarhus definitely kind of briefly talk through the senate that your don't have absolutely drink to strip lights and um if you guys wanna bring up the diagram for me mike, I would seriously appreciate it you guys don't get a bunch of new words today perfect. Thank you okay so amusing to strip lights in the front uh which is called sideways clamshell ah lot of beauty photos that we wanted doing his clamshell lighting for women I'm missed it back a bit just a little more conscious use it if you want a toe stand your legs lights on chairs you've been twosome on photo shoots um regards what we're doing so clam shell clam shell lighting's great beauty photography for women I do the same thing with men I want you the guys the differences of using clamshell vertically like standard clam shoulders a sideways clam shell I generally you sideways clamshell for men because it is a little more definition in certain areas that the it's the actual clamshell doesn't because right we're goingto minimize the light in certain areas of the face aiken take out or lower the power in my life but I generally used that too be a little more flattering towards the I and the other thing is catch lights cash lights in the eyes with climbs the lighting is beautiful to be able to see just two strips of light it's amazing and jeff just for those folks who might not know can you briefly explain what a clamshell leading senate absolutely so picture clamshell clip picture an actual clamshell picture of pearl and our model is gonna be the pearl well, with that two lights on either sides if you look at it as half the shell half shell pearl in the middle are pearls are model he's a beautiful little pearly we'll go with that perfect okay, first and foremost I'm gonna have you let's move this over let's move this over thank you. I'm gonna have you sit somewhere around there thank you very much. Uh actually a little closer, right? Thank you. Thank you were both in the same power. Okay, suit first and foremost as I'm doing this, I'm going to start building light meaning I'm using one light at a time. I'm not jumping into doing both lights. I want to see what each light is doing. A lot of beginning photographers wind up china throws much light into the photo as possible, which is like mistake number one because if you can't see like you can't you don't understand what lights doing just yet throwing a cz much light and if it is possible isn't doing you any justice you want to see what certain lights were doing before you do anything. So when I wanted doing his lighting one one side turning it off lighting the other side and see what that's like that light is doing and then building off from there so I was just starting off first thing I need to know yes I will trip in wires all day regardless if they're untreatable or not that's a new word by the way untreatable perfect would be we'll get there and I want a good they're perfect five seven and five seven they're both even perfect so let's see what this first light is doing gang amusing me fifty on the twenty four one of five fifty focal perfect you know actually I go one of five will focus on your face there one two, three perfect can you face forward from just extremely felt perfect one, two, three awesome look at that image sorry guys and it's a little difficult to see over there it's like a hidden present second photo not that anybody has anything to do with it my computer okay, so that first vote what am I doing? I'm starting to illuminate I'm getting one highlight he kind of looks like a creepy horror film critical of that were just livers in his eyes ok we're starting to define his jawline I would raise those lights up ever so slightly if I if I was worried and conscious about light underneath the chin then go ahead and perfect if you could raise it for me and just bring it down just slightly perfect and just yes please so when it's halted in on ly start carving out his jawline there thank you sir thank you john I'm trying to save people's names as much as a cz possible so it's it's sad I'll remember somebody's name while I'm on set and then offset I'm terrible at names so just try to use somebody's name as much as possible only because it makes them feel better about whatever they're doing so if you're trying to give them something labor intensive to do like john this is a nice way to say john thank you very, very much perfect one more time let's look before and after one two one to see if you notice I'm starting to get more curvature out to the chin I'm getting ah lot more contrast underneath just by raising it up slightly and bring it down towards a subject so clamshell leading when you're doing the set up and you guys are seeing the diagram online just know that it's not directed the subject that's like rule one o one making sure that it's pointing down so you can start carving out the features alternatively if you have somebody that you're tryingto hi anything underneath that's probably the best way to do that with dark dark complexion complexion underneath with women if you're photographing women you could probably do it just forward facing its tiny bit lower just to be able to soften the skin if you don't want as much depth let's bring in that second light I'm gonna turn the first one off again we're building light so you're like, uh, perfect. One, two, three awesome. Catch that second light let's see what it's doing so it's we're getting a tiny bit of monster lighting like it's sliding from underneath so I know that visually think about being a kid. Think about flashlight underneath your face trying to scare your mother sisters or if you like me, your cousins and we discussed being a weird only child again, I think I just did it for myself. Perfect. John admitted to being an only child recently as well. We're both izzat is one another perfect one, two, three. Perfect. Awesome. So let's see the difference that second that moves over. Okay, so we're starting let's go back and forth that's who we are jumping is still moving a tiny bit higher. Thank you, sir. I'm still getting lighting from underneath what's happening is we're not psychologically into into thinking like comes from the bottom. So weaken tells photographers and its people it feels operate no light that's natural is coming from underneath, you know, we're looking at definition of the face and answer and angles let's go one time he's like, yep, perfect want to awesome. Perfect. Would you still like it a creepy monster from the film that little cash light and yeah, stoking okay, so now it's starting to come up from above I don't have to see the harsh shadows uh sorry I don't have to see the lighting from underneath and if we go back a couple images so I know that the lighting above it's still it's the one on the right still coming from above I know that both lights about even so here's the clamshell part he's gonna go from looking like an evil creature like michael perfect two three awesome and awesome so it's a clamshell doing it's giving him cash lights in his eyes it's defining his features I don't necessarily have much detail in the skin, but if anybody has issues with imperfections in their skin and you don't want is much contrast and skin sounds see if they have wrinkles or blemishes or scarring this great way to light the face without having all that in there and I'm sure that's a question they have online as well why would I use the sliding what I'm using it for? So being able to just take out the silence and out next it's a great photo I liked the catch lights I could do both ways I can go ahead and switch the the lights to clam shell before we do that what happens if we want separation from the background? It's a little flat on the back just throwing a second line third light and that we're using to light set up everything that we're going to do today is gonna be way only have one set up that's going to be four lights everything else is three lights and under it's the things that are reputable at home so even if you have off camera flash and using speed light's perfect one two, three perfect when trying to make you look less like a serial killer for once perfect awesome he's like yeah I look like a serial killer let's see what I can imagine you being sierra killing that one more okay? Are you giving me a smiles or smart what's happening entire banks over here awesome way talked about smiles yesterday but what's really a smile uncomfortable smile actual smile differences in small see I try to make him laugh as much as possible we're not all funny like that doesn't always work for anybody my go to is don't be a serial killer whale on taking your photo that's my go to joke, which doesn't always work but if I said don't be a sailor's killer on your photo and he's like oh this guy's a little go with that perfect one more time awesome one two, three what am I getting what's happening? They're getting separation from my background I'm being I'm able to minimize any wrinkles that he has in his eyes which is great for people that don't like makeup. We discuss esther and every man wants makeup on their face. And they want to remove any wrinkles they have in this skin. This is great lighting for them.

Class Description

Learn the art of posing men in Men's Portrait Photography. Jeff Rojas will show you how to direct men so they look natural, masculine, and confident in front of the camera.

In this class you'll learn posing, lighting, shooting, and editing techniques that will compliment all shapes and sizes of men. Jeff will demonstrate your options for lighting men for portraits, fashion, and commercial images.

You’ll learn the 10 main reasons men don't feel comfortable having their picture take and how to make them feel at ease in front of the camera – which will lead to better, more natural images. Jeff will teach:

  • How to help men pick proper attire
  • Flattering male features
  • Workflow and retouching

Don’t let men’s portrait photography intimidate you. Learn the skills you need to get bold, flattering shots of your male subjects every time.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Photographer's Style Guide for Men

Men's Posing Guid

Photoshop Black and White Presets

Adorama Gear Guid

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


caroline ross

I watched this class for free and am saving up to buy it. First of all confirmed! Sigma lens are nothing to be ashamed of and since I love my one main lens, Sigma I immediately felt a rapport. Then listening to the fascinating insights about men and their feelings when confronted by a lens and...what to do with folks who have shaved heads or a little large. Some of the tips were great! Adding a decoration on suit front like a flower or handkerchief, and how to get the suits looking FIT! and well, I plunged into man world and it was a super education. By day two I was amazed by Jeff's generosity. Basically all his experience, all his favorite lighting techniques and painstaking attention to detail. I would have to watch Day two zillions of times to actually be able to absorb all the scenarios and effects. Im going to buy some suit clips Jeff and clip a bunch of suits in back and front to gorgeous my male subjects out. Thank you again for a wonderful, wonderful class.

Lee Crow

I've taken a lot of photography training in the last couple of years. Jeff is outstanding. I didn't realize that this content would have such an impact on me. The lighting sections were the best I've seen and the psychological impact of us men having good photos is a wonderful subject to bring to light. The class is great. Jeff is great. CL is great.


this course was worth every penny. Full of practical information and excellent demonstrations. Jeff needs to quit with the crotch comments though was like ...really AGAIN? why are you so obsessed with saying crotch crotch crotch good God. Apart from THAT (which I think was just silly nerves) I really do recommend this class. Jeff is actually very very good. I admire his work. Thanks Jeff I learned a lot!!