Shoot: Group Photo


One Light Wonder


Lesson Info

Shoot: Group Photo

So, let me, anybody ever photographed, I don't know whoever has, but just a little bit of blocking stuff, right? I'll try to do this so you guys can see it. So, just in a general way, in the studio, I'm not gonna use crazy wide lenses, right? Crazy wide lenses are gonna see too wide, and I really want like a more narrow vision. This is my roll of seamless here, right? So, I want to stay on that roll of seamless, right? So, has anybody ever photographed a group of four people on a standard eight, nine foot roll of seamless? Right, what's impossible about it? It sucks. It becomes very small, very quick, right? When we have four people, right, on this roll of seamless, it gets very complicated for them to stay in that roll of seamless. So, I have a 12 foot roll of seamless, which I think is number one, like if you're gonna shoot big groups of people, get a wider backdrop. It's gonna help you get there quicker. Small backdrop, what I have to do is I have to start putting them all toget...

her. Come together and go back. You know, and then I gotta kinda keep them fit in this backdrop, right, 'cause of the optics here, right? Now, with this wider backdrop, I wouldn't have enough backdrop here with eight feet. It would still be short. So, I have this 12 foot background, it's really gonna help me. Chris, just bring that light out and around. Sure. Alright. Just walk it straight down actually. Kinda where that stool is. And I'm gonna start with some doo-doo bad pictures, right? Doo-doo, we're gonna make doo-doo and I'm gonna be like, photo crimes, that's what we're gonna do. You ready for some photo crimes? Yeah. (laughing) Alright, I feel like I'm slowly becoming myself, okay? (audience laughing) Yeah, slowly. It's just starting to happen as I get this group here in front of me and like, you know. I don't know, you have to like, I think in order to be a photographer you have to like a challenge, you know? They have photo challenges, all these photo challenges. That's part of this practice. Just give me a reading in the middle of the set. I need pop. Yeah. Thank you. Eleven. Eleven. Oh, and check this out, right? You got this, cameraman? Who's got my closeup? Is that you? You, who's got the closeup? Alright, you guys see this? Alright, so I got Lorenz, that's Denise, but it's just D she goes by, Tyler and Jason. Oooh. Tyler? Tyler, Jason, okay. So, it's all on the back of my camera, right? You guys see that? Right? 'Cause I'll forget, right? And at least now, I can just be like, "uh, Jason, Tyler, right?" You know what I mean? I know that's D, right? And Lorenz, right? So, that's key to like have that group, 'cause you gotta be able to direct them, right? So, every group that's not really a group, when you get 'em out there, they're gonna stand kinda like this, which is doody. What do we got for the light-meter reading? Eleven in the middle. Eleven in the middle and will you give me on D? Yeah. Okay, I gotta shoot it. 16 five. 16 five and what is it on Lorenz? Let's see. Eight. Eight, okay. So, eleven in the middle. Mm hmm. Alright. I'm just gonna shoot some photo crimes here. Alright, let's see a photo crime. Right? Terrible things happening here. Terrible things, right? One, shooting off the background, right? It's gonna be a problem when you shoot groups, you're gonna shoot off the background, right? We got D burning up a little bit, right? We've got like sort of the light falloff. We see the inverse square law haunting us. We're like, "Damn you, inverse square law." And our composition, right? The only thing that could be worse than this composition is that thing you do at weddings, right? And when I shoot groups, I mean you can't be afraid of this. I'm gonna be like, "I'm sorry." I'm gonna be like, "Alright, yeah" (audience laughing) Actually you got the back, 'cause you're the uh, yeah. And you tilt out a little bit. Uh huh, okay. So, like this could be possibly, and again, exposure's gonna be bad. Right, so this might be a little bit worse, right? (audience laughing) Yeah, we're having fun. That's great. Alright, there's laughter, gaiety, good times. Alright, and we've got height problems. Right, we've got eyes closed. So, photographing four people is not four times as hard. It's like four to the fourth power times as hard, right? Quantities gonna take care of quality. You gotta shoot a lot. So, we got problems. We got problems with the light falloff. We got problems with composition. People are just not gonna stand in a dynamic composition. You know, they're just not gonna do that. So, you have to become the author and the director. And we gotta deal with this problem solving of the inverse square law. So, let's just pretend, in the pain-in-butt world, that we only have this one hard-light, that's all we have, right? I have to problem solve with that. I don't know, a thing to make it hard. So, I don't know why I'm choosing to do that. Give me a little bit more room over here. And I know there's a lot of stuff over here, but we're really just sticking with one light. We're gonna get to all that stuff today. We're gonna mess with all that stuff today. So, what would be the quickest first thing that we could do to kind of even out that light, whatever we're dealing with there? What could we do? Feather it. Feather it? Feather it from the edge, right? Turn it away, yeah. We could do that. That's for sure. We could also, just kinda, one, I hate the composition, so I think I wanna deal with that first, right? And then work the light around the composition. So, jay, right? No, Tyler. Tyler, damn it. Jay, what is it? Jason. Jason. You can call my Clyde Mcbride, mess up my name if you want. (audience laughing) So, Jason's mad tall, right? So, that's sort of an issue. Yeah, we'll get that stool, that silver one I like. I think I like the silver one You like the silver one? Yeah, I do. So, why don't you take this? And sometimes I'll, yeah, just step out there for a second. You know, when you're trying to get people to pose or something. Just pretend you're me for a second. Pretend you're the photographer. Sometimes, I'll just tell them like how I want them to sit. I'll be like, "Could you kinda give me this kind of attitude where you're kind of like leaning forward, I don't know." You got that? Kinda here? Yeah. See my arms? See how I'm looking? Yeah. Shadow's kinda turned away. Great, okay. Alright, so this light's gonna come forward and down. Mm hmm. And let's come a little bit forward. Come way forward way forward way forward. Yeah, cool. Right on, you're gonna actually be our front-person, our singer, because your color really separates you from these other dudes wearing black, alright? (D laughing) So, D, you're gonna be like, it's gonna be a little bit like The Eurythmics. That's probably gonna come where the apple box is, more or less. Maybe even a little bit further back. Maybe we'll go back with both of these. Just move them out of the way. Yeah. Does that feel good for you? Maybe a little bit. It's gotta feel a little natural. You gotta feel like a group too. So, get to know each other. No funny stuff. Uh huh, alright. Alright, so that's like the thing when we look at some of their shots, like everybody the same level is a bummer, right? So, getting them to tier, getting them to switch up a little bit, you know? So, dude man, can you come like right in here? I don't know, if that feels right for you, you know? So, getting a little bit staging and getting some life to that group starts to feel better. Yeah, cool. I think I'm gonna need everybody to slide over just this way, like a foot. Look, they're all photographers, they get it. They know I'm struggling with the background, right? Alright, cool. Looking good. What about that guy? Yeah, we're gonna deal with that. (audience laughing) You're gonna come right up. Let me show, I'll pretend I'm you. You come right in here to the animal space, alright? I don't know. Okay. And cool. So, I'm gonna use this c-stand. (audience laughing) Can you give me that white bounce-board? Mm hmm. This guy? Yeah. And let's just get a shot of this right here. Can you hold this? Got a good shot of this, camera people? Okay, you holding it tight? Flatter. So, these lights kinda got a spot and a focus to them. This particular zoom spot ProPhoto, right? So, it kinda spots or it floods, right? So, you have some options there on how to manipulate this light. So, I'm just gonna flood it. That's like one of the things that ProPhoto kinda built their career on, was this zoom reflector that floods and spots and has some change to it. I'm not getting paid by ProPhoto or anything. I just, you kinda get what you pay for, and the stuff is like really made well and it's excellent and durable, you know, so I tend to like use it. Alright, so I'm just gonna float this kinda over my head there a little bit and pull it back. And why am I doing that? I'm trying to cast the shadows just down a little bit, I think. Uh huh. We should get a little bit more of an even light. So, this is the only light we have. We got a light meter? Mm hmm. Wanna hit me with that, left to right? Yep. Eight four. Lorenz turn square to me. Eight eight. Yeah, turn that box out. Just pull that box out a little bit. Okay. Eight nine. Eight six. Okay, so within like 1/3 of a stop. Yeah, pretty even. Alright, that's cool. And let's bring you over. I'm just trying some things out, looking at some things. Let me bring you over here. Yeah, sit square, Lorenz and let me just see you come in here. I don't know if this is, this is not 100% what I want, but I think it's better. I don't know about you guys, but I'm not really a fan of this guy. It kinda gets in my way. I am a fan of a full apple box, like right here where I sit. Thanks Chris. (audience laughing) Let's just tighten up. Would you slide over a little bit? Yeah, cool. Great, this is looking better in the way of composition. You said eight four? Mm hmm. Alright. Cool, alright, so. So, already a lot better, right? We've got one little divot in the seamless. We'll have to fix that. The light lacks some attitude, but it's working. Let's compare it to four in a row. These two? Where we started, yeah terribly. Yeah, let me just get a, alright, everyone at me, Jay. Tyler. Tyler, that's all day. I knew it was gonna be a problem, right? D, you look money. You look awesome. Let me see you slide a little bit forward. Yeah, right here, you're good. Yeah, come Lorenz. Come right in here. Come a little bit more forward, get with me. Yeah, uh huh. Yeah, you're great. Yeah, maybe if you would just turn a little bit. Yeah, and come into that groove there a little bit. And just pivot out just a little bit more. So, I'm really finicky about the composition of a group. This is one of the things that I tend to really care about. Yeah, that's looking good. Let's get a long piece of tape. Mm hmm. I'm kinda annoyed at this thing right here. We see this thing happening, right? I don't know. Just like, if I can fix it in camera, I'm gonna fix it in camera, right? So, just a little piece of tape right here. Everyone see that? Yeah. Pretty simple fix, right? And put one on the other side, Chris. Alright, and then Chris give me a side by side. Sure. From the beginning? Give me like a doody one and just see how much better we've gotten already, right? We're better already. Cleared up that inverse square law. We don't have any kooky or bad shadows happening in the background, right? Like, for example, I don't know. Let's try to create some really kooky and bad shadows. 'Cause I was watching a CreativeLive and they were like, "I would never light this way from underneath", right? People are like, "This is Frankenstein lighting", right? Like the sun never goes underneath. Like this is the light in Hades or something, right? So, why not try to light it badly. Can you give me a reading there, Chris? Mm hmm. Alright, coming. Eight Four, please. Eight nine. Eight nine, alright. We'll live with it. I'm gonna call that F10. I'm gonna work with those shadows. Oh. Okay, cool. That was improv right there. I've never done that before in my life, I swear. I swear to god. Can you guys see it? You wanna come, okay, you can see it? We need to turn it or anything? Right on, so I watch a lot of this education and it's like, "hard-light's bad, soft-light's good." I don't know if I agree with that. I like a hard-light, you know? I think for a lot of things, this has a very snappy, contemporary fashion punchy look. A hard-light's gonna give you that, right? What we want is we want a toolkit. We want an arsenal. There's some people who light people one way all the time period. Make this black and white, Chris. Which one? The doomy gloomy one. Make it black and white. Give me some clarity on that. A little bit of highlight recovery. Yeah, that starts to look cool, right? You know what I mean? I'm feeling that. For one light, little thing. And working with the shadows on the background all cool. So, that's a way, right? One thing we don't have in here, sometimes I like it when I stack and do a lot of depth to a group or a band.

Class Description

We only have one sun, so why should we need more than one light? In this course, celebrity portrait photographer Clay Patrick McBride will dive into lighting with intention. Through a variety of live shoots, he’ll demonstrate how to incorporate lighting diagrams into your workflow so you can create setups that you can use again and again.

He’ll cover:

  • How to control your light
  • Creating hard or soft light
  • The importance of documenting your setups
  • Sculpting with Light
  • Removing and creating shadows with intention

By the end of this class, you will be able to create incredible images with confidence and the use of only one light.


KIS Photography

WOW! I was getting ready to go to bed, when I saw this class last night as I was perusing the classes available. Got the notification that it was playing, so I thought I'd check it out for a minute or two. Well, once I turned it on, I couldn't turn it off! As someone who has shot musicians on stage since I was 16, I've recently been interested in shooting portraits of them, so Clay instantly intrigued me! The more I watched, the more I couldn't shut it off, and I stayed up til 5:30 in the morning to finish the course (financial issues, so I can't afford the class right now) This class is amazing! I love Clay's teaching style, his willingness to step outside the box and play by his own rules, and his lighting is awesome! As soon as it is possible, I WILL be purchasing this class! Loved it! Thanks again CreativeLive for introducing me to yet another outstanding photographer to learn from!

Jason Darr

I absolutely loved this. Great instruction, great content and very inspiring demonstrations. I'd highly recommend this course

Gene Tolan

Awesome intro to lighting. I love Clay's teaching style and his personality infused presentation was a pleasure. I highly recommend this course.