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Set-Up for Photoshoot

Lesson 3 from: Portrait Compositing from Start to Finish

Matt Kloskowski

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Lesson Info

3. Set-Up for Photoshoot

Lesson Info

Set-Up for Photoshoot

talk a little bit about the set up. My my lighting situation for this is, is always typically going to be fairly flat, all right from the front side. It's going to be fairly flat, maybe a little bit of directional waiting to one side or the other. But a Z you could see with the big Octa bank That's over there. It's It's a fairly flat front lighting set up. What really helps pull these off is the lighting that you start to do from the side, because that brings a little bit more your environment into the photo. OK, so if you think about where you know if you're gonna have the sun behind somebody or window behind someday or whatever it is, you're always gonna have that spillover of light. And as I look at the different composites out there, um, that's usually the ones that that that stand out the most is you do some type of sideline so you can see we have ah, little light up in the top left corner that's gonna bring some light down onto her hair from one side, and then we have another one...

over here. We'll experiment with it. Okay. Remember always said, I'll make mistakes. This light came in after we started the class. So we're going to experiment with it. I don't know how it's gonna look. I was that It was a last minute thing. Like, you know what if we had a little bit more light over here and poor John Thank you, John. Hastily, he's got the soft blocks over here, so, um, it's ah, we're going to experiment with it. But the best thing I can tell you it'll it'll come down to your bottom option. There is. Give yourself options, right? You don't just have to take one photo with the lighting set up the way that IHS Ah, white gray backdrop. So this is probably one of the biggest questions I get out there. What background do I shoot? People in front of? I usually do a white backdrop and then just pull him off of it a little bit and it'll fall to gray. A light gray is is a great color photo shop. Doesn't care the selection tools. We using photo shop don't care about the background color, right? There's no selection tool in Photoshopped that says a it's green background. Drop it out. All right, So that's important, because I think especially in the video world, we've kind of seen the green screen is the way to go because you have programs that will drop out the green screen automatically. The Photoshopped tools don't really work that way, so having a color back there doesn't help us. It also usually find ah, light grey backdrop works well, um, this goes back to the planning Face secret to success planning. If your model walks in or your subject walks in and there weren't a gray shirt, you got problems. Okay, so you have to plan this a little bit. It's just you can use a darker gray backdrop that's worked fine that I don't know if you saw the one girl, the one earlier one with the girl with the blonde hair. She had a darker gray background that was just by accident, cause that's what was available where I waas, but it works great. She had blond hair. She had a green jacket on, worked awesome. There's a lot of contrast, So the end of the day, what you want is contrast. So if you know the subject that you're gonna photograph and you know what they're gonna be wearing at the time? Um, you're just looking for contrast. But I can tell you that the white backdrop that just falls to ah, light grey usually works the best, um, lens choice. So give you the kind of catch all lens for me when I do this stuff is a 24 to 70. Let's me go wide. If I want to do a wider type of a composite Maurin your face big, wide seen, it lets me go wider. And then it lets me zoom in if I want to do something a little tighter. So my idea for what we're going to do today is actually gonna be a backgrounds, Probably very similar to the picture that you see over there. My idea is eyes marinas in the back will bring up in a minute. Um, she's gonna be a backpacker outside, so she's got a backpack, like in a big smile on her face. I love backpacking. We're gonna drop her in front of a mountain scene. Hopefully e I have a Plan B. So we're gonna put her in front of that scene there. But that's a kind of shot where I'm probably gonna do a little bit tighter. You know, we're not good where I'm thinking cover of a magazine or something like that. So I'm not really thinking that we have to bring too much of the environment in there. Ah, but that 24 to 70 lenses is usually the money maker for this type of work. Um, yeah. You guys follow Joel Grimes. So, joker, I consider, you know, Joel is one of the fathers of compositing. Joel Joel Grimes was doing compositing when nobody really even knew what it waas. Um, And he was doing it on an incredibly high detailed level in such a If you haven't following, gotta go follow him. Such a nice guy. So picture this like, five years ago. I'm writing a compositing book and this is tells you how cool of a guy is. I'm writing a compositing book. I called him up and I said, Hey, Joel, I said, you know, I love to Ah, I'd love to pick your brain sometime. I'm writing a book on this stuff, and I just would like to hear your thoughts on it and I'll give you all credit and everything is like, Hey, so I'm teaching a workshop next week. Why don't you just come out to that? I'm like, OK, actually, you know him on a flight to L. A. I'm going to Joel Grimes Workshop. Andi, just I mean, he brought me in and just he just gave away everything, you know, He's he doesn't he doesn't keep anything. So he shoots a lot of his stuff with a 16 to 35. And next time you look at Joel's work, his compositing work look at the big aspect that it has. You know, look at the even some of his portrait there. He shoots a very wide angle portrait. Hey, brings a lot of it in. So it's ah, it's It's interesting. Everybody's a little bit different, but I can tell you the 24 to 70 usually works good for that stuff. And then in the end there, give yourself options. So when we're shooting this, um, going to shoot with the light on one side, Maybe bringing another one on the other side may be turned the other one off. Give yourself options. I don't know if you saw we backtrack a second here, too. That that doctors composite. I didn't have a background when I photographed this. So when I photographed every one of those people um, remember that was an easy one at the tape set up there, had my camera on a tripod here. They were coming in a different time. So you want to keep it consistent? You want them all in the same place. Because when I have to drop them into a different background, I want the height of everybody Teoh to be similar. I don't want to be like God. Was this guy taller than this guy? Forget? You know, um so picture camera on the tripod here, subjects walk in and they stand there. And I literally had somebody in the background and, you know, pop one light on over here, pop the other one on getting both turned that one off. Pop that one on. Get that side done. I mean, these people were literally in and out in two minutes because it just got so systematic. But the cool part about it is it's like a three different photos. I got light on the left light on the right and light from both sides. So I happened to place them into a background that had light coming in from one side more than the other. So I ended up going with that one. But I'm and then, you know, I guess a lot of people say, Well, can't you just flip it in photo shop? Yes, you can flip it in photo seven. Think we're going to do that today because of the way our lighting is set up here. But yeah, you know, like him on the right side. And if you want, flip him and photo shop and you can you swap it over to, ah, to the other side there. All right. So give yourself options. A couple other things. If you do decide to go if you do decide to go the route of I'm gonna go full body. Um, a couple of things I can tell you are starting. You carry your phone with you carrying a little Nope. Had with you something. Start to write down what you're doing, So write down your focal lengths. You know, if you see a great background and you take that background, you only have to write that down because it's gonna be in the metadata pop, you know, shot at, you know, 40 millimeters when you see that background you like. I've got a person I want to put into that background and you want their feet on the ground. You know, try to write down your How far away was I from the background when I photographed it? Put a person in front of their and keep your distances, and that's it will help your success rate quite a bit. Um, the other thing that I do when I'm photographing people, especially if their feet are gonna be on the ground, is multiple levels. So I'll shoot one. You know, at eye level, I kind of like crowds down. I'll get another one, and I'll get down low and get another one, but multiple levels. And that way again, you give yourself more possibilities as you're gonna drop him in. That perspective definitely definitely wreaks havoc inside of photo shop. So I think we're ready. I'll talk about the lighting set up that we have here a little bit. Um, we basically got really two lights is I think what? We're going to go with. Okay, um Thank you, John. So John kindly said all this stuff up we have. Ah, we have two lights that we're going to go with here. We've got our big light that's gonna be in the front again. Pretty flat lighting. Unless unless you have a very moody atmosphere where you know you want mawr directionality to your lighting or what Not most of the time, I can tell you pretty flat lighting from the front works. Um, And then it's really going to be about that side like it's gonna be about that side like that's gonna help pull people off in the background of those two things, it helps them fit, pull off of their background later on. It also helps. Our selection helps our selection in Photoshopped a couple things you wanna be careful of. You don't want to overpower those sidelights. So what we want is we want a nice little edge or rim late around the person. We want their hair to get a little edge or room light around that, but you don't want it to go white. You don't want to blow it out totally. And it goes all white and I say all that, there's no rules that works for your photo go for you might have a really bright photo, and it totally works for that. But tell you most of the time, just a couple of things to be careful of is don't let those sidelights get too bright toe where everything around the edges is going to be white. Bad part about that, too, is it will be tough to select it. So All right, so we got our lighting set up, we got a backdrop. You can see she's gonna be probably an feet in front of that. So our backdrop is gonna fall to light gray color. It's gonna be a weird It's a different type of a photo shoot, because when you're looking at the photo, you're not really paying attention to the photo itself. And it's weird because, you know, you're like, all got the background. Looks horrible. It's you're not looking at the background, remember, they're going to come off of the background here in this case here, so we're not really gonna look at the background. So it's more about, you know, how How is that like going to hit. Check your side, Lee, to make sure you know he's not going all white. So those are the kinds of things that will be looking at as they go through the chute here.

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Ratings and Reviews


Matt is just so easy to listen to and follow, this course was particularly good to give you a well prepared framework to create a composite. Really fine step by step details on unifying the composite, creating lighting & atmosphere. His tips are clever and give great results.


The class was good for me as a beginner in this field, it covered the studio shot well and the use of photoshop, lightroom is clearly very powerful. I would have liked a segment on shooting the background particularly getting the angles correct so that the subject fits the background, just the pitfalls and must do's would have been nice. But overall I learnt a lot. Justin

a Creativelive Student

Not a big fan of this class...didn't offer much

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