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Men's Portrait Photography

Lesson 18 of 26

Shoot: Portrait Lighting - Clam Shell & Beauty Dish

Jeff Rojas

Men's Portrait Photography

Jeff Rojas

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Lesson Info

18. Shoot: Portrait Lighting - Clam Shell & Beauty Dish

Lesson Info

Shoot: Portrait Lighting - Clam Shell & Beauty Dish

We do regular clamshell going to see the differences there so we can move this one we're just switching over one on top one on bottom excuse us over and try not to kill anybody on set we discussed this be very, very careful I'll come up with this um it's probably easier go up right there it doesn't actually go up this time giving him space to be able to turn your eyes are so wide right now catch lights on the outside of his people's or what not to make is to give you like that creepy monster look yes it's ah I did that's what that's what that crashed light does on this specific set up it's supposed to set up where it has two highlights is almost like a cat I also use it it's used for a lot of women just because it has a more refined look for femininity but with men I use the catch light almost visual interest you know it's a lot of people since your photographer you see what light is there you understand that's a trip like your average consumer your average client thinks that oh, I can...

see life in the eyes it's so bright they're not visually looking at what the modifier is a lot of time a lot of times with this saying is just gonna bring down slightly he looks scared no not today do we have a sand bag just in case this perfect safety onset told us meanwhile okay to the catch lice in the eyes again visual interest for your average client consumer you don't want something that's gonna look dad and deadpan we talked we didn't talk about this there's a lot of times of your shooting photographs and you're getting almost like shark if you ever seen shark eyes they're very very dark and there's no life to them I always try to get catch lights in people's eyes sometimes I don't really care sometimes it's just dramatic photo and what we're trying to showcase but if I'm doing a portrait most clients prefer to see there people's and see dynamic imagery out their eyes fashion stuff really doesn't matter there's no there's really no rules you can break everything with fashion and still be a halfway decent photo okay I'm gonna set off the first one so what that first light is doing again we're building like awesome thank you so that first light is doing can it turn off the back light thank you it's a little dark try that one more time to perfect see what that first light so I'm starting car about his jawline starting to carve our scent features and is in his face I can see his cheekbones is they're beautiful but I don't want to see a cz dark shadows in the night so what I need to do bringing that second light underneath and if you look at the cash lights in the eyes obviously the catch lights all the way to the top I'm gonna zoom in quite a bit there I love when I focus and there's actually focused in their such a beautiful thing so the catch lights in there he talked about do I want do I want them even depends if you visually you want the specifically even I could spend another five minutes try to make us exactly even but I'm not going to because it's not necessary so let's say I don't have a reflector where I forgot the reflector home what can I do? I'm gonna sit this completely full power underneath they just turned it off don't get once again perfect one two three awesome it's extremely low power at the present moment so I'm using that second life to a give me catch light suman I'm certainly get a catch like underneath his eye it's not as bright I'm also starting to pinch out remove the dark shadows that are underneath the shin so if I'm not happy with the dark shadows they're there I'm starting to take those shadows away okay and I'm still getting I'm still being able to showcase the browns so able to showcase the draw line two beautiful like that way however I want a brighter catch like so have a couple options safe I want brighter cash light and I'm looking at the eyes and I'm not happy with how dim it is if I take the same photograph, I increased power in this because that's, the first thing that we wind up doing what's gonna wind up happening, we'll try that out perfect one, two, three okay, thanks photo perfect! So I'm starting to increase the power, but in doing so, I'm also going to illuminate under the chin. So one of the options we can't we have is if I still want the cash right in there and I want them to mimic one another, I can pull that light back and just increase power so at least there's some of that brightness in there without blowing out his chin again, you're you're like the power's going to be relative distance to your specific subjects if I don't want to, as darker as like I don't only have to increase power, I could go ahead and either increase aperture or I could move my life back for depending on what I'm trying to focus in this case, I want to be able to showcase that same light, but I'm just going to pull it back ever so slightly and doing so consider that the capital it's also sorry, the modifiers further away from our subject so the catch light's gonna be smaller so it's another considerations out, so we put back perfect, same thing they were perfect again for something like this it's blocking me. I would use a different lens for the purposes of going on this discussion. Okay, so my catch light smaller but it's just as powerful if I look back it's darker underneath I still have the power of the back of the rim light sorry the catch late the whiteness of it without having the shadows that are underneath the gym let's, go back and forth or sorry that lightness that's underneath the chin from keeping it so close and in clamshell letting so I have enough definition face we also discussed with different face types. Michael has more of a square face. So am I doing my job and darkening his face structure to give to mention ultimately we were what we were discussing yesterday, just very simple. It was giving depth definition to people's faces finding a way to lead the eyes visually as viewers to look at the image and say, ok, there's enough definition there where it doesn't look like a flat image in this specific instance it's fine, but there's no death to the background, so I would try to create some separation from there, so even if you're doing it on location what's visual interest from behind do I want him he's wearing a black shirt on a black background if I want to show dimension like I'm ultimately trying to show dimensions in all my photography so if we can throw a background like they're perfect two three he looks so happy little bit more dimension that's in there the other cool thing is since the lights above I'm getting a little bit catch light in there which is awesome because it's not black it's not dead pen so if you're using one light one generic light and you're not getting any cash lights in here so if we use this with you we would see sorry we would see here that your hair the hair your hair that's eliminated that way perfect awesome okay next yes I hate the can't keep there are questions that there but what about people who are life follicly challenged and you don't want that highlight do you mind switching with him? I don't want michael can you get switch positions thank you, sir perfect. I'm gonna move this in just for the fun of it slower this power first and foremost what happens if I shoot him in the same light we're just going to judge based off I haven't switched anything. I'm moving this light back to four where we started off with to get a little phyllis possible okay haven't switched anything they're perfect one two awesome what's the first thing I notice to go back and forth between those two images lighting on you is gonna be different than lighting on michael because you have a darker skin tone. A lot of people have questions about skin tone, which is the only reason I'm going over this is I need to start if I'm not if I'm worried about the way it looks on camera, the way it looks on screen here is different than I know what it looks like on a calibrated moderate from what I'm looking at here, your darker your darker not only your skin tone but the image itself is actually darker, so I need to increase increase my power. It doesn't have to be my much it has to be a tidbit, so what I need to do is as amusing if I'm photographing people different skin tones we talked about using color tracker first thing they just bring you back to yesterday perfect, I like I'm cutting off your head in that photo let's see what it's doing for shine perfect perfect one, two, three awesome perfect do me a favour, john, can you turn off that background like you said, you were a little follicly challenged, so if I had a background like it's giving you separation from the background it's also giving visual interest towards all of your face, I'm going to drop the background light I'm only increasing this a tad bit just to give you a tiny bit more reflection underneath and let's see what that that's want to perfect time where's my visual interest if I zoom out on your face it's no longer on all of your head my vie here leads to the top of your head by removing the separation from the backgrounds I'm just my eyes lead to just your face that highlight is no longer there so even if it's a little higher than angle even though it's a little highlighted there I probably just wouldn't use a background like just for you specifically exactly the other thing I would be worried about is if you're using it using it to high then you're gonna start seeing highlights on the top of the head, so try to keep it the minimized sorry try to give your light minimized a little lower so we're just focusing on the face and I know you use modified or you whose speed lights rogue flash vendors you have an option to use script lights on those that's a great great way for you to illuminate without needing giant studio lighting and it's pretty inexpensive compared to everything that you could get here so just a quick bit awesome michael, can I have you such back? So I'm gonna strike these I'm going to get our next set up quickly yes sir he's, like follicly challenged that's what we need to start using it's all that matters questions while we're tearing down the set folks in here, anything for you guys. Questions about this great w d jeff asked the question one other person was wondering, is there a particular type of catch light, round versus square rectangular small versus large? You aim for universally? Or does it depend on the model's facial structure, the emotion you intend to convey, et cetera? I think it really depends on emotion that you're trying to convey also it doesn't look, I mean, we talked about face shapes yesterday, I think it's a cool way to replicate people's face shapes and kind incorporate that you have been toe eyeglass places like they have the face shapes on the wall, and they say this looks best on you tried incorporate those mean, ultimately you might see something that you like. We talked about square shapes on him, it's questions and maybe a little bit more forgiving, since his face is a little square compared to somebody around the face. You know those other things that you can look at, but I think that's just a taste that's something I would do taste, taste wise with that love. Uh, question from mike scott photo and one other person want to know now that you're talking, adding lights, where are you on kicker lights and are their facial shapes where you do or don't use one as a rule? So ultimately, what I'm looking at is depending on us actually really quick, could you back up and explain what a kicker light is for folks who may not know phil lights? So we're talking about phil lights underneath and trying to give a little bit of phil underneath, for example, if I had a second light underneath and trying to just give it a little bit more into that specific area cause I don't have a reflector or I want to put a second light in there that would be her life just depends on the subject for him specifically because there's a strong jaw line that's what I try to emphasize, but every subject does have a strong jaw line. It really depends on who you're trying to photograph. If you tried use something to diminish any type of textures in this gain or acne or anything like that, you kind of want to fill those specific areas, so think about acne scarring just for example, somebody has acne scarring, you have one life it's very, very dramatic light on them. We're seeing every single shadow that's in the skin using a kicker light I can fill those so it's less time retouching if I'm if that's my style and I want to re touch those specific and just go perfect awesome I'm very picky today with my my sentence do you think so? Beauty dishes why we use beauty dishes while we're here I think we're using a white twenty inch of white beauty dish I can't see because you let me say I'm gonna peak were right yeah, right okay, so let's, close this out. How many of you guys currently used meaty dishes? Just outta curiosity, unify all five of you want to, um, beauty dishes a great they're very, very beautiful sources of light the very contrast with the address, so we'll talk about the difference between using that zeppelin and using the beauty dish first and foremost how much and what not to do? Because that's always the best way to learn somebody else's mistakes awesome, perfect very, very okay, so I'm not going to say old school, I'm going to say this very used way of lighting men, which is just that one light to the side, which is fine, but I'm losing I'm saying to lose dimension out of my subject because the first thing we do is okay, well, chairman position you know that's where it's supposed to be a I'm supposed to say if I start moving it over get rembrandt and I'm gonna get that little trying underneath which is great but I'm I'm losing definition out of his face specifically I'm no longer seeing that cheap belt you know that's very very important to regret so what I see for him you know we talked about yesterday what? What draws you that specific subject I love his jaw line I love his brow what do I need to do to make sure I emphasize this well the lights okay, but it's not great you know, I want to showcase his assets as best as possible were also using what's your crit we're using twenty five, twenty five degree bread in this specific beauty ish I need to raise that life that's the first thing just make sure it moved over perfect mental equipment I love rental equipment perfect. This is very, very light, so if it hits you it's okay, okay, I've hit somebody in the head with a beauty dish before we talked about that during the week. Okay? Just raising that light slightly one, two, three perfect what's starting to happen starting seymour of his cheek bones I'm starting to see other features his face I'm going to see his eyebrows that higher I raise that light relatives you're looking at your forehead was like, what is that? It happens, there's. No judgment here, it's about posing man and making men look their best. Let's go with that. Continue raising that light. Just you got to see how what effect that has and where that light is going to start falling out of a catch late looking at like a shark. I you wanna call that sharks? I perfect awesome zoo minutes out of it because you men walk in one, two, three. Perfect as I'm moving that light up perfect. Now I'm going to see cheekbones even more. The problem is it's starting to get darker on the opposite side because my life is if you think about the way that light travels it's moving down very contrast because we're using that girl in there. So it's basically just moving in a very symmetrical form cylindrical form just very, very pointed that way. If I look at my hand here, if you want to watch the way that light works, how far into it starts hitting the top of my hand if you guys start looking, it hits right about here. So this is my fall off I have to think about where the lights actually moving. I'm starting to get shadows underneath I can throw a reflector and their john if you don't mind holding a white full card from a underneath so I'm going to use it a tiny bit of ways enough to illuminate but not to lose definition thank you very very, very much john's really good he's obviously great photographer so he's like yeah I know exactly what I need to put it but just in case I want to do awesome perfect one more time for me it's just I don't think it's catching c I basically a tiny bit more awesome one two, three perfect awesome so we're going back into rembrandt position remember ish but I'm starting to get definition his features so it's not always just like forty five there you go I'm trying to showcase eyebrows um trying to showcase draw line there's other ways that you can win over that light what if I want separation from background john can I have a background? Thank you, sir. Awesome so easy without the white fella card and then with the way one two three baby entire banks again awesome way get the whitefield card in there thank you one, two three that's easy for you to take it one more time um okay what's this smile he's like no, I'm not smiling perfect! You look like I don't know you look I want to say perfect awesome take that one more time. I got actual smile on him. That's all that matters matters to me perfect took that again. Catch lights in there, yes, from toe to who is wondering, are these shots meant more for a head shot or for fashion or like hair? I mean what what what's, the purpose of the sort of set up. You start doing this one for portrait photography on ly because if you're trying to showcase very minimalistic light, I would focus on small little elements first. So something like this is old, like I keep saying old school, I can't say that because then people are going to defend it. It's very used forms of light, which is very simplistic, forty five degrees accentuate the catch lights in the eyes, make sure that we have the little triangle invites, surrender, position filled, like we don't want to see anything in there. It's definitely not fashion. I do these things for fashion in different ways.

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!!