Introduction and Overview
Hello, and welcome to CreativeLive. My name is Kenna Klosterman, and I am your host. And this is our kickoff for Lindsay Adler's Portrait Photography Bootcamp. Now today we're going tell you all about how this bootcamp is going to work as well as what you will expect. So bootcamps are a little bit different format than some of you may be used to here at CreativeLive. What I want you to do right now is if you have not already, go to the class page for this bootcamp. You can get there by click on the title of the class up above the video that you're watching. And that is gonna tell you all about how this bootcamp will work, as well as the schedule for the daily lessons. So today we are kicking it off, like I said, we're gonna talk all about how it will work. And that will then replay throughout the day. We'll have about two hours, an hour-and-half, two hours, here this morning. And then what will happen is every day a new lesson will be released. And those are abo...
ut 45 minutes to an hour. And you can watch throughout the day, at any point, at any time, at your leisure. And then on the weekends, those for the week will rebroadcast through the weekend. So we give you lots and lots of opportunities to come and watch this bootcamp for free. Now you can also choose to go ahead and purchase the bootcamp. And you can see how to do that. There's a blue Buy button beneath the video that you're watching now. It is normally $159, however, $129 now through the bootcamp, which will be lasting for four weeks from now. So everyone, it's an incredible amount of content, as LIndsay Adler always brings. There'll be over 20 hours of education, as well as some bonus materials that we will talk about throughout the day. So, please, help me welcome back to the CreativeLive stage, someone who is a fashion photographer based out of New York City, and an educator to the extreme. This woman does not hold back when it comes to education. Please help me welcome Lindsay Adler. Come on! (audience applauding)
Thank you, Kenna.
Lindsay! So excited to have you back, as always, here on CreativeLive. How many CreativeLives have we done now here? A lot. (laughs)
Is it really bad if I say I lost count? Is it awful? (chuckles)
Not awful at all.
More than dozen.
More than a dozen. And every time you keep bringing more and more. And this class is so comprehensive. Let's talk a little bit about, before we get started, who is gonna get the most out of this class and who is it for?
Sure. So this class would be best for people that maybe have taken some portraits, but they're starting to get asked more, you know, the friends saying like, "Oh, can you take my family portrait?" Or you're getting that question more and you've felt a little apprehensive. And you really wanna feel more confident. Know what lenses to choose, know what lighting options you have. And then also for people that have shot portraits more, but as you look at your work you know that there's something missing. You don't quite know where those holes are. Maybe it's in the composition, or the posing, the lighting, there's something that's not quite coming together. So this is going to be for people that want to take their portrait photography and feel confident and secure in all elements of portraits.
The word culminance, really, is I think what's key, because we all know that feeling when we're about to go to a shoot and we're like, "Wait a minute! "I don't know how I'm gonna pose or how I'm gonna direct, "or what lens is gonna be the right one." So you are gonna learn all about that. So, Lindsay, take it away, and let us know what this bootcamp is gonna be all about. Thank you.
All right, excellent. So I am going to go through the schedule of all of the things that we're going to cover. But I wanted to give you a little bit of my background story. So as a congratulations to myself, I have officially had a portrait business for 15 years. So I've been in business for 15 years. And my birthday is in the middle of September, so it's half of my life. Okay, I just (chuckles) wanna leave it there. So half of my life I have had a portrait business. And I remember how utterly overwhelming taking portraits was. Because, it's one thing, I actually started with nature photography, so you know like there's a tree, it doesn't move. It doesn't talk to you, you can move around. Like the light is what it is. So it was simple. Then all of a sudden with portraits, there's a person there that you gotta worry about their feelings and being happy. And then are you choosing the right lens and then the right height? And then what type of light? And do I do speedlights or do I do natural light, and then what's the strobe thing? Wait, there's strobes on location. Holy crap. And so I actually basically had like one set up as a business for like five years. Like the lights did not move. And I had like a pose-and-a-half I would do. And so you guys are lucky, 'cause I'm gonna show you some of my earlier work so you can have a little peek at it. But even better that, I'm not talking about my very first portraits. I'm talking when I solidly had a business that made me money. So I will show you kind of how to improve. So really story behind this was that I took forever to actually figure out what the heck I was doing. And it would've been so much easier if I had one place to gather all of the information to help me get on my feet, get started to know how to photograph, whether it was families or whether it was a high school senior portrait or whether it was a guy, and also an overview of all the things I could know, because that was another thing. I had no idea that I could possibly light portraits with the speedlight. Maybe I wouldn't choose that, but I didn't even know it was a possibility. So that's what my idea is here is that it'll give you foundation for lighting and posing and directing your subject, and camera angle and lens choice and natural light and speedlight and studio strobe. So it's a nice overview so that you can get enough and then figure out where you need to fill in the blanks. And then, of course, this is CreativeLive, so there is a class for everything if you wanna dive even more in depth. So that is an overview of my approach to this. I'm excited to show you some of my earlier work. It's entertaining. (audience laughing) (laughs) We'll just go that far. Okay, so this is a schedule. And I wanted to break down what we're gonna be talking about so you have a bit of an idea. And then you could figure out when you wanna tune in or if you wanna tune in or of course you're gonna (chuckles) tune in. And so let's go through the weeks. So the first week is all about gear and getting started. So things like you want to buy a portrait camera, but you don't quite know where to invest your money. And I think that's overwhelming. There are so many options out there. So it is crop sensor? Or mirrorless or full frame or how many megapixels do I need? All of that stuff. So I'll break that down in the camera segment. And then also getting your camera set up for success, like there's certain settings that you should have set that you might not know about, or considerations like your aperture, obviously, and you ISO and you white balance, but other things like picture styles or your metering modes, things like that. So we'll get you set up for success right away. And then we're going to talk about lens and focus. Let me just pop onto this next slide, 'cause it actually breaks all of these down in detail. So these are all of the types of things that will be covered in each of those days. So lens and focus. I don't know about you, but focus wasn't a big issue for me, like actually getting my portrait sharp. And I thought it was just like if I didn't wiggle. (audience member laughs) And like kinda had the focus point in the right place. But there's more to it than that. And we'll talk a little bit about that. And then also depth of field. I thought depth of field was just your aperture. But depth of field is also your lens choice, and like the compression you use, the focal length you use, the distance of your subject to the back or the distance of you to your subject, so there's all these things that I only started to intuitively know after many years. So I'll give you nice breakdowns and show you how that all works together. And then I'll talk about one of my favorite things, back button focus. So if you don't know about back button focus, I use it all the time. And I didn't know about that until two, three years ago. And I'm 15 years in. So this is something I'm gonna help you skip to that point. And then we're going to talk about cropping and composition. When you're looking at a photo, sometimes just the crop makes a huge difference. And I actually have a really good illustration of this. I did senior portraits forever, really long time. And there's so many times where I'd have the exact same image. And I'd put it up on the screen for them but one was cropped and one wasn't, and they'd always choose the one that was a closer crop, because they were like it was closer to their child. And then sometimes I'd be close in, they'd be like, "Oh, why'd you crop off the head?" And I had to explain why you might crop off that. So we'll talk about that in depth. And then also accessories. And this is for the nerds in us. So it's like the bags and the hand straps and the battery grips, all the extra stuff that you don't need, but you want, and then you convince yourself you need. So (chuckles) we'll talk about what you actually need and so on and so forth. So that was Week One, let's talk about Week Two. Probably my favorite week. I don't know, I have a lot of favorites. But I love lighting. I love lighting because I'm a control freak and so I can control things. And what I remember about lighting is that I didn't see it. Not that I didn't understand it, 'cause I didn't. And not that I didn't know what tools there were, 'cause I didn't, but I actually didn't see lighting. I didn't know good versus bad. And so if I didn't know bad, I didn't know how to get to good. And so it took me a long time to train my eye. So I actually have a segment in lighting that's kind of wrapping things up. That's actually training your eye. So this is bad light, this is good and why. So it's the highlights and the shadows and things like that. And I don't know, that was probably the biggest hurdle. And it kinda just happened after lots of practice, after I started shooting and figuring out which images were more pleasing and saying, well, how did I get that? So we'll go through that. And I'll show you good versus bad lighting and show you how I got to the good. But I'm going to start off with a strong introduction of direction of light, where to put the light, and then you might've heard things like paramount light, loop, Rembrandt, like all those words. The only reason you need to know those words is so when people like me say something you know what I'm talking about. But it doesn't make you a better photographer, no, it makes you a better student to know what these are. So we'll break those down. We'll talk about direction of light, height, up and down, left to right. We'll talk about quality. So soft light versus hard light, how you get that, some of the core essentials there. And then also exposure. In the studio, how do you get your shot exposed correctly? 'Cause it's different than just putting it on P outside or aperture priority. There's different considerations. So we'll break down for that. And then I nerd out on modifiers, 'cause modifiers is like my favorite and I own one of everything, but I also let you know that you don't need to own one of everything. I'll talk about the core, so softboxes, octoboxes, umbrellas with diffusion, and beauty dishes and rim lights and barn doors and all of that stuff. So I'll give you an idea of all the modifiers that exist. And then I'm going to jump to natural light, because probably if you're a beginning portrait photographer this is going to be most applicable. Most of us don't have studios. And who wants to spend a lot of money on gear if you're just getting set up? So I'll talk about my favorite natural light setups and how to use reflectors and diffusers, how to see the light, where to place your subject in the environment, so all of that. And then I talk about speedlights, because for those portrait photographers out there... Not that it's easy money, but it's a good way to start making money, to shoot events and weddings and things like that. And so often you need speedlights to do so. So it might be a great transition. If you already have speedlights for events or want to do events to then light your portraits with the speedlights you already own, versus going ahead and buying studio strobes. So we'll talk about speedlights. We'll talk about on-camera flash, bouncing your speedlights indoors. I'll talk about taking the speedlight off camera and I'll talk about a couple different brands. And this is a good opportunity to say so I've got a full day class on speedlights and a full day class and more on natural light and I've got a three-day class on studio light. So whatever you decide you like, you can go deeper. These are just nice overviews so you can see what you think you'd be more comfortable with. And then, of course, as I said, at the end is training your eye. And so it's all of that stuff. And I dive in-depth. And I like, okay, I'm totally cheating as a teacher, but I really like these segments, because this is now intrinsic to me that I-- Don't tell the CreativeLive viewers. I don't even need to prep for this now. This is like in my head. But if you would've asked me, half of this stuff maybe eight years ago, it wasn't there at all. Like it took me a really long time to start ingraining it. So I'm hoping to help you guys skip that over. And I'm gonna show you pictures from eight years ago. It's not even like 15 years ago. You're gonna see eight. And so, yeah?
Just to jump in there, 'cause that really resonated with me, I don't know about you all as well, that the fact that you can now intrinsically do all those things is really awesome. Is the main thing practice?
Yeah, the main thing is practice and lots of mistakes. And, actually, I think part of it is that, I don't know about you, but I would shoot something, get the few good pictures and send it off to them and not think about the mistakes, like not think about the bad stuff. But when I started to actually look at the bad stuff and say, "Okay, well, why don't I like this?" It took me a lot, 'cause I kind of, we tend as people to wanna hide our mistakes and forget about them and push them under the rug. But the mistakes are really valuable. So I would say it was a lot of practice but then actually looking and saying, okay, so in this one, why does she look uncomfortable? Like how could I have improved the pose? In this one, that is not flattering light on her face, but it was natural light. Why would the natural light look bad? Where could I move her? How could I change it? So lots of practice and lots of mistakes.
Yeah, I think that the looking at and analyzing your mistakes, that's really huge. So thank you.
Yeah, we tend to not wanna look at our mistakes. (Kenna laughs) And I know that I do that and I try to still look. So here's a picture that we took during the natural light day. And this is with no reflectors, no diffusers, no nothing. It is just looking in the environment and finding good light. So I walk you through this, because that's what I prefer to do. If I'm shooting a fashion editorial, and, by the way, like real quick with my background. I'm started as portrait photographer, now I shoot fashion photography. I have a studio in New York City. When I go out on location, if I shoot natural light, a lot of times I try to do nothing, like no reflectors, no diffusers. I just move around and try to find good light. And it can be absolutely beautiful. I mean, I think this is even better than what I could bring on location. That's what was already there. And my other extreme is that I'll like overly light it with like a ton of strobes, and all that stuff. I usually tend to do extremes, use what's there or overpower what's there and make it my own. And so we'll talk about all these different things like speedlights with the modifier on location, covered shade with natural bounce light, bounced window light, bounced speedlight that's on camera. So they're all give you a little bit different look, but they're all good portraits. A client would be happy with any of those. So it depends on what you're comfortable with. Do you want to take your speedlight off camera and buy a modifier? Would you rather just bounce it off a wall? Do you just wanna see what's there? Do you wanna use the window in your client's living room? You know, all of those you could use. All right, so week three, posing and directing. And I actually really owe CreativeLive a thank you, because I kinda could pose. Like I could pose and get good shots, but I didn't really know what I was doing until I taught my Posing 101 clsss, where I had to teach three days on posing. And so I had to say, "Okay, wait, "let's back up and figure out what am I actually doing "besides just directing?" And so I realized that posing is not just where you place the hands. It's where you place the hips. It's where you place the chin. It's where you placed your camera. Like it all kind of works together. So that is what this Week Three is all about, the posing and directing of your subjects. And I cover all of the different subject matters and your different considerations like posing specifically for a headshot. Like some of the things you're looking at to lengthen the neck and to define the jaw line. And how the heck do you pose hands? Like how are they supposed to look? How do you get natural hands? Because one of the quickest ways to ruin a photo is crazy looking hands. (laughs) And I saw, I'm just gonna call out, I saw this fashion ad. And it's all over New York. And she's holding a perfume bottle an she's like clutching it. And it's not on purpose and I keep thinking, "Pay attention to your hands!" (laughs) Like I wanna yell at the fashion ad. But, anyway, so we're gonna talk about posing, headshots, also individual full length. So that's talking about things like you shouldn't have your subject standing flat foo and where their hips should be placed, and all of those things to help you as well as some of my core poses that I use. And then posing couples. This gets exponentially more difficult, 'cause now there's not one person to make look good, there's two. And when I show you my older work you'll see that that was an area that I struggled. And I had some less, and I just quickly grabbed a few. I actually called up my mom and said, "Mom, do you have those CDs that we burned "to archive things from eight years ago?" And so she went and grabbed some photos for me. And then we're talking about training your eye. So this is something that I absolutely love that I can do, and I actually got it from teaching CreativeLive, is when I pose a subject, being able to not just take the photo and later on go, "Oops, I messed up." But being able to actually look at them and say, okay, what's wrong? 'Kay there's foreshortening there, so I can turn the person. All right, I need to elongate their neck. I can have them sit up. All right, now negative, like being able to actually see the pose and change it, instead of later on just going, "Oh, I wish I change it." That's a big difference in the quality of your photography. So we're going to train your eye to see posing. So here's all the different things. Headshots, full length, couples, groups, as well as training your eye. And so like, you know, here's one of the things for posing groups in a more dynamic way instead of just lining their heads up. You know, what are the rules for making them look like they interact? And how do you make it more interesting? And then posing like this. How I chose... And those, I mean, that's no Photoshop, there's not tricks. It just has to be where is her leg placed? Where is her weight placed? Where is her posture? Where is her hand? All of that. It makes a huge different. And not just for women, because women get all the love and all of the attention, but also for guys. You know, what can I do to make them look more comfortable and confident and cool and relaxed and all of those things? All right and so what Week Four is is Week Four is bringing it all together, 'cause we'll talk posing and we'll talk lighting, but it's all kinda spread out. So week four is like quick go-to guides, a day on posing women, a day on posing headshots, a day on posing men, a day on posing couples, a day on posing groups. And it will talk lighting within those, and it'll talk go-to poses within those, but then also other considerations like focus or lens choice or camera angle, because, for example, with groups, your lens choice and your focus, if any of you've (chuckles) tried shooting groups, that becomes a issue, that becomes a consideration. What's the right f-stop? But the f-stop you choose is also affected by your distance to your subject, which is also affected by your lens choice. And so it's not just like, oh, yeah, shoot a group, stick it on f/8. Like it's more than that. So I'll talk about the considerations that you have there. So we go through each of those. And it's three go-to poses and lighting set up. And for this particular class, I've kept the lighting set ups simple, basic modifiers, softboxes, octoboxes, diffusion, strip banks, and like one or two times I used the beauty dish. But, I mean, there's a million tools out there and you can get more advanced. And that's why I would recommend, if you wanna go more in-depth, build off of these, and you take a Studio Lighting 101. Or I have more advanced kind of fashion lighting class that I've done. So this will get you set up so that if you're like, "Okay, "gotta photograph a guy this afternoon, "let me really quick look what kinda light "and poses and what are some other things? "All right, I am photographing a couple.. "I've got 20 minutes with them "and I need to achieve 20 different poses." Okay, that is going to tell you how to do the endless variety. So these are kind of quick refreshes before, once you've already watched this class, to bring it all back together. And so I did a lot of things. So this is not easy. Like to get to this, even though this is, I'm not saying this is best photo in the world, okay, don't get me wrong, but I like it. I'm happy with it. But if you look at it, okay, so there was lens choice that was thought about here. 'Cause I went with the certain compression to make them look close together, and then also a narrow depth of field. And then I had to actually get her eyes in focus. But then there's also, I'm at a unique angle. I'm at a higher, and so the camera angle came in there. And then watching my background to be clean. And then there's the light on their face. And then there's expression. So people think photography's easy. Like look at all those things I just said to think about for just this pretty portrait. There's all of those things. So that's why you kinda bring it all together and you try to build up and, of course, practice. And so one of the segments I have for couples is how... Guys are lovely, but sometimes they're not the most into posing, or doing the most varieties of posing. So I show how I just move the woman around the guy. He just stands still. And that's how I get (audience laughing) all these different-- I'm not kidding. Like he'll just stand still and I move her around. And that's what all, well, look. He's basically just standing still. (chuckles) All right? But it looks like a a variety of different photos, because I changed where she's looking, where he's looking, the hand placement, the camera angle. So I'll show you how I shot this. And you'll actually, this is from the class, you'll see that broken down. That's what I found was easiest is once I started... Well, I'm just posting one person, it's so much easier. And then just vary where they look. And then, of course, posing guys, lighting guys, full figure subject, what you're looking for, analyzing how to create flattering poses. So that is in the bringing it all together. Yes?
So, Lindsay, I've asked people in the chat rooms, and please head on in there if you're not already. What some of their biggest challenges are with regard to portrait photography. And I think that's really important as we kick off this bootcamp to think about where in the things that Lindsay has just talked about that we'll be covering, like what are your biggest challenges so that you know what you might wanna focus on. So we'd love, actually, to hear from you guys in our studio audience, and thank you for being here, what some of your biggest challenges are with regard to portrait photography and what you hope to get as you take this bootcamp? Casey.
I'm always that I did backgrounds, 'cause it's like one of my biggest things and distracting backgrounds and trying to make sure that they're clean. So I'm really excited to see what you have to offer (laughs) for that.
So this is actually goes way back to like when I shot nature photography is they kept saying you're setting the scene, you need to scan your background, scan your edges. So basically it's like frame it up and then take a look around. But then when you have people thrown in you just almost totally forget background and stuff. So that's why I like my go-to. It's like let's shoot wide open with everything. But then you have to worry about getting it in focus. See, I'm just letting you know. I'm gonna try to make it easy, but photography's not easy. Non-photographers don't know this. And there would not be CreativeLive with all these classes if it (chuckles) was that easy. Yeah, no, excellent point. Yes?
Mine's gonna be a little of the depth of field, on when you turn the face, being able to keep both eyes in focus and then also lighting the subject that's flattering and not harsh. (laughs)
Definitely do that. And I know I'm jumping ahead, but the two I think, if they're faced away it's just, it's depth of field and lens choice. It's funny, 'cause there's all these things I used to be like, "Wow, how do they..." It's probably what you'd think and you hope that there's other solutions. Like if you shoot with a narrow depth of field and the subject's turned to the side, you can't get both eyes in focus, like it just doesn't happen. But I'll tell you a slide later, you don't need to have both eyes. But it's also interesting, too, this is a totally different tangent, but do you have portrait clients?
Okay, so the things that I was taught, like, for example, you're supposed to have... Ideally have some sculpting light, have a little bit of shadow, a little bit of drama. And remember when I would have portrait clients, where I create a dramatic shot, they'd go, "Yeah, but there are shadows." And I'd be like, "But there's supposed to have sha--" So there's also like disconnect between good photography, what clients want, what they're looking for. It's very interesting. So that is a completely different journey. So through lots of practice I not only figured out what's flattering, but what my clients want. And that's a whole other discussion. But in the end, what they want matters, because they're the ones paying you. But you'd like it to be good photography. So you make a good photography and then have it meet with what their goals are. That's life. Like (chuckles) that's still dealing with that. Yeah?
I'm gonna chime in with a couple from online. And then we'll go back to the studio audience. But this is a good one from 1BigGirl. Great to see you back, it's been awhile. (laughs) With facial expression issues, if they are someone used to getting their picture taken, very often they pose in ways that don't realize that that is seemingly artificial. And then it doesn't really look very comfortable. It looks uncomfortable, so getting an image and a person to look natural.
Totally. And one tip that I have, 'cause I actually deal with that a ton, because I photograph, a lot of my portraits in New York are celebrities, TV personalities, we'll just keep that term very loose. And so they've been taught like very specific like red carpet poses, you know, or things like that that they're supposed to hold. And then it looks rigid and there's no personality. And it's meant to connect with camera. So one of the things that I try to do a lot is I try to have them move into a pose. If they really look unnatural like I'll say, "Okay, great, "but can you do me a favor? "Can you look down and slowly raise your hand up your thigh "and look at me as your hand gets to your hip." Like if I need to try to get out of 'em if they can't pose well and it's all rigid. I'll just give them a movement of some sort. And that's why if you see me directing people when I'm on a shoot, I'm constantly like... Like I'm giving it to them, I'm like performing. But then it makes them feel better, 'cause they're not the only ones that are like the dancing monkeys, like I am, too. And I'll just make them feel more comfortable. So I think that's a big part. And that's why I try not to hide behind my camera or hide behind the technical parts of it. Because, otherwise, you're just... You're closed in. And then you want them to be extrovert, you want them to give it all. So I give it all to invite them so that even if they make their personality a little bit bigger, mine's even (chuckles) bigger so it works out. I'm relatively chill on set, relatively.
I think a lot of people are saying that that communication with clients is a big challenge and so definitely hoping to learn more about that. I'm seeing a lot with regard to both natural lighting as well as using other types of lighting, and as well as getting shadows to play right with the lighting that I'm trying to accomplish. I think that that can be challenging in both types of lighting as well.
Yeah, this random note I wanted to mention, too. When you're outdoors on location, what I used to think is let's say the sun's hitting this side of the face and then I just stick a light on the other side or a reflector to get rid of the shadows, it does this weird cross thing, where you actually will get two shadows and then you completely flatten out the face. So a lot of times I'm moving my subjects to either like move their heads so that now both sides of their face are lit, or get rid of that sun. 'Cause I used to just say like, "Ooh, shadows, bad." And throw a reflector or a light in and it ends up just like crossing. And then the face looks really wide, because you've got a highlight here and a highlight here, which means highlights stick out, now the face looks twice as wide. So that's something, like it's even like training yourself saying, "No, shadows are okay. "I don't need to blast away every shadow all the time."
Very cool. Anyone else in the studio audience? Then we can move on.
Well, I'm completely new to doing portraits. And so I'm interested mostly in the posing and directing parts of this, 'cause I'm kind of understand the lighting, but are you gonna be working with real people or with models in the class?
I work with my assistant.
And then also a former PA from CreativeLive. So the dude is now a model. He's been working with CreativeLive for awhile, but he started as a portrait guy. But, yeah, definitely. Good question, though, 'cause, yeah, when they're a model, it's just like, oh. And then they look great, so yeah. And also I have a small segment on fuller figure subjects, just like a couple other things, because I'm a fashion photographer, most of the models that step in front of me are like size two, 5'11", and like perhaps easier to pose. But most of that stuff isn't even my pay work. A lot of my pay work is the average size woman who doesn't know how to pose. And so, yeah, you have to know how to do all of it. Okay? All right, so we're gonna take a look at just a-- We're gonna start with some of the portrait work. We're get back into analyzing the bad and what I would change and looking back now what I know now. So the picture on the left, okay, let me preface this. So it's 2015. I've been business for 15 years. These pictures were from... The picture on the left or any of the new work was about 2007 to 2008. So it's not work from when I first picked up my camera. It's not work from when I first started using studio lighting, like I've been at it awhile and making money. And I paid and supported myself a lot of the way through college with my portrait photography, as seen on the left. So it's not like I was incredible. But I think this is an important lesson, that I'll touch on later, is that you can't be afraid. Like, sure, you don't wanna give people bad portraits but you do have to practice. And not everything's going to look brilliant. And so, anyway, so the picture on the left, that's a couple's portrait that I did. They're actually my cousins. And then the picture on the right is a couple's portrait I did about three weeks ago. Or then girl on the left there was my best friend in high school. That was her family portrait. And then there's, you know, that same family again for their family portrait now. And it's not just one thing. So it's lighting and it's lens choice, and it's depth of field. And, of course, it is styling, posing, like there's a lot of difference between the two. So we'll analyze those. And then these are both senior portraits. The picture on the left is from 2007 or so. Picture on the right was one that I did a few weeks ago. All right, so I wanted to jump in to my first, kind of... I wanna dispel some myths and establish some expectations for yourselves. And I wanna start by talking about three things that won't make you a better photographer. And these are things that I used to think would make me a better photographer. And now I know better. So here's the very first one. More expensive gear doesn't make you a better photographer. And I know, like, and I like that you laugh, 'cause I was like, "Oh, I know everything thinks that." But I totally thought it did. And I thought if I'd get the better flash or the better studio strobe, or the better camera, and it doesn't at all. And, well, I took a class in college. I took a class on portrait photography. And we had this really amazing photographer as a teacher. And so, at the end, you know when he was critiquing all of our work, and we had done a live shoot. And he put up on the screen a picture he took. And it like crushed ours. Like ours looked terrible compared to his. And he took it with his iPhone, but this was like, you know, what was it? Eight, 10 years ago. The phones were crappy then. And his image crushed ours. And so I think I was lucky to have that. 'Cause when I saw it, yeah, it's true. It has absolutely nothing to do with all that gear. It's about what you see. Which is why the class is important, for the lighting, and the posing and all that stuff. But I recommend you get a simple kit and know it well. Because the easiest way to muck up a shoot is if you have gear you don't know and the results don't turn out because you didn't take the time to learn it, because you thought the fancier lens or the fancier gear that does this, this and this, would help you. So you get a simple kit and know it well. And there's expensive gear that is awesome. And this is why I recommend being part of photo communities, groups or CreativeLive communities. Or I'm gonna put this up later. I have a Facebook group specifically for this class so that you guys can all chat. But there's so much inexpensive gear out there and some of it is absolute crap and some of it's awesome. And so that's why I recommend you join photo community so you can talk to other photographers that have used gear and can give you real reviews. For example, the lens on the left. I have a wonderful story about this. The 85, this is the Canon 85 1.8. I used my kit lens forever, the lens that came with my camera. And the kit that I bought originally, way back when, it was a 28 to 300 5663. Like that was the lens it came with. And I didn't know any different I'm like, sweet, this goes from wide angle all the way to zoom. This is perfect. And I was assisting a photographer on a wedding and they had like eight people on either side of the bridal party. So it was just massive and it was way too much for her to handle. And she says to me, "Go shoot the guys." And so I look at. And she goes, "Well, what lens do you have?" And she goes, "Ugh, hold on." She goes through her bag and she gives me this 85. And so I took the 85 and I took a couple pictures and I looked in the back of my camera. And I was, "Oh, my God. "Good pictures." (chuckles) It was the lens! I didn't know it was the lens, because before, I was shooting too wide, with too much depth of field. And as soon I switched to 85 and was shooting at 2. or 2.8 or 1.8, the background disappeared. The compression on the face would be-- All of a sudden it was like a real portrait. So that 85 is under $400. It's like 360, 365. That would be an absolute, I mean, it's, no, in photography nothing's cheap. I mean, I don't think $365 is nothing, but it's a really good lens for that. And that was my very, very first portrait lens. The next one over is a speedlight. Some speedlights are six, $700, and there's things that are in between speedlights. But then there's these two brands that work great. One of em's called Phottix and one of 'em's called Yongnuo. And they range, depending on what you get, between $80 and $300 for a flash. So if you are in a photo community, you know somebody that has this Yongnuo flash, or some people, there's a brand called Cheetah. My friend has these Cheetah flashes that she like lives and dies by. If you can get your hands on it, give it a try, but it is a significant break. And they work great. The next thing, just a reflector. A reflector does wonders. And you can make your own, but you don't need to. I mean, for 20 bucks you can get a silver/white 30-inch reflector that's going to be great for most portraits. And then the last down the line, if you wanted to build up your studio strobes, I started with Alien Bees and White Lightnings. I now know why they don't work for where I'm at. Where I'm at I need more consistent color temperature, I need faster recycle times. I need more output. I like the modifiers that I have better. I shoot Profoto now. But when I was first starting, I got awesome, completely fine portraits with those. And it's significantly less expensive. So more expensive gear doesn't mean anything. And it's really funny, too, like as I teach and go to conferences. I'll see these really big name photographers and I'll see them with their Alien Bees with the Vagabond packs. They'll be happy with that. Or I'll see somebody with less expensive lens, because they know it and they use it well. So that's my first suggestion to you. The next thing that does not make you a better photographer is a real studio. I know this from experience, because I have a real studio and it's stressful, because there is a massive amount of overhead and responsibility and expectations. And then you tie yourself down. Like I had, my very first studio was in my parents' living room. And my parents were so awesome because their entire living room was occupied, 'cause I did senior portraits, from May 'til October, with my studio gear. And nobody cared. Home studios are completely fine, whether it's a living room or an extra room or a garage or a basement. There are pros and cons, you know bigger spaces or better, higher ceilings are better for flexibility. But having your own studio doesn't mean anything. And so my very first studio I had in my hometown that was actually a storefront, I realized all of a sudden with a storefront, people expect you to be there. (audience laughing) So like it's a pain when you wanna go shoot or you want a day off. Like people expect hours. But also, then, I'm adding an extra... My first studio space it was $900 a month. An extra $900 a month that I had to add that I had to make up in portraits when I actually kinda did need that piece of gear, or maybe be better for marketing. So it doesn't make you a better photographer to have a real studio. And so shooting, like both of these pictures are all natural light. The picture on the left is underneath a tree. The picture on the right is window light with two black reflectors that are called negative fill or V-flats. I had black reflectors on either side. And that's what gives her the dramatic light and the cheekbones and jaw line, 'cause black sucks up the light. And that's exactly what it did there. I don't think that these look any less real than anything you would see in a studio. And so you can be a photographer that goes to people houses, bounces lights off the wall, brings the studio strobe with you, uses their window light or just go outside. And honestly that's... Unless you're in a place with extreme temperatures, just shoot outside when you can. I just know that I live in New York and then there's this whole nine month thing called winter. (chuckles) It seems like it's nine months, it's killer. Okay, and then last thing for this segment that doesn't make you a better photographer is waiting until you're ready. Okay, so what I mean by this is many photographers as artists, some of us are perfectionists. And so we might be offered to shoot that portrait but we don't feel ready. We don't feel like we quite know the lighting yet or the posing yet or something. And so what happens is you say, "Oh, you know, I don't think I'm available." And then it's a few months down the line and then you get offered again. So basically you're just pushing it away and you don't have experience. You don't get experience. You don't get better, you don't learn from mistakes. And I have many instances in my life where I've done this where I wanna do a good job, so I don't think I'm ready, so I don't do it. And then I never do it. So my recommendation to you is just keep learning. You're watching CreativeLive so obviously you're doing a good job there. But then you have to actually go do it. You actually have to go practice. It could be a mannequin head, it can be your sister, it can be whoever. But if you just think you have wait 'til you have all the gear you need and that you know every lighting situation, it'll never happen. I mean, I'm not there yet. You know, I don't know everything. And I still stress about certain lighting situations and everything. But, don't tell anyone this, when someone comes to me with a job where they're like, I'm kinda serious, (mumbles) most clients aren't gonna see this. (audience laughing) It's like when someone comes to you with this grand concept that they want and I have no idea how to do it, I always say yes. I'll pre-test, I'll pre-light it, I'll do it beforehand to make sure I can figure it out. But if I don't say yes, then I'm missing that opportunity. So, yeah, I always say yes. (laughs) So the picture on the left was my first fashion shoot. Now this was not my first portrait. I mean, this is like well into shooting. And my light was okay. I like the pose, it's not awesome but it's not terrible. And so that's where I was. And that was probably 2008. So that was 2008. And then this was something I show last year. And they're dressed like-- But if I didn't start there and I made my own skirt and I tried posing with the girl in my psychology class. If I didn't start there then I would never work up to the images that I have in my portfolio today. So don't way, just do it. It's okay to make mistakes. But it's better if you prepare it, so at least if you made the mistakes, you know you did a good job trying to give yourself as much knowledge as possible. Yes?
So, Lindsay, I know that that saying like don't wait, just get out there, just start doing it is something that we talk about in here all the time. But how do you get motivated? How do you set things up so that you'll actually get out there and do. Do you have projects that you write down that you're gonna do? Or themes? Or what's your advice on that?
That is an awesome question. So the first part came back to what I said originally is I commit to things and then I'm stuck. (laughs) Right? If I say yes and then I'd have to figure it out, I'd have to make it work and I'd have to learn and then I have to go read this book, take this class so that I could do a good job. But the other part is right now what I do is I have personal projects. So I'm always working on some sort of personal project. Dn the personal project I'm working on now is based on the color red. Which if you see my portfolio, it probably makes sense. And so what I'll do is I'll give myself a deadline of a certain number of images a month based on that theme. And I made a whole list of all the different things I wanted to learn and try out. I wanna try out mixing constant light and studio strobes with the theme of red. I wanna try out fine art nude with a theme of red. So I gave myself this really broad area of challenges. But I also, I wrote a book. My fourth book was called Creative 52, which was 52 creative challenges to push you portfolio, invigorate your creativity. And it talked about everything from shooting with lens flare on purpose to shooting an unusual angle to all this stuff. And if you go to my YouTube, if you search Lindsay Adler and you'll find me on YouTube. I just did a series of videos with Adobe that were 10 creative challenges, or 10 challenges, so I did have one. And you can see the behind-the-scenes of the shoots there. So, basically, I stress myself out by giving myself deadlines and commitments. And then I have to do it. And this is why I'm crazy. And it works out.
I think that's really good advice and--
Just be crazy lady. Yeah, cool. (audience laughing)
Not to be crazy, but just-- (Lindsay laughing) to be listing out things that you want to accomplish and then holding yourself accountable in whatever way that is.
And there's like one side note on that. This is like a semi-inspirational thing. When went to college, I actually did take photography. I was super nerd. So I did political science, business and photography. Those were my degrees. Which they have like nothing to do with each other, but it's cool. And I did okay in college. My images were adequate, like they were okay. Because I was just competing with the students around me. And was just getting inspiration from the person sitting next to me, making sure I was doing as well as them, or better, or at least making my deadlines. And then when I got out, I realized that the whole world is inspiration and the whole world is my competition. And now on social media, I'm looking everywhere for inspiration. And I'm realizing, too, with the type of work I do, everyone is competition from anywhere in the world. And so kind of related to the writing down and giving yourself challenges, I think that's why I like being part of creative communities and being part of online communities, 'cause I'm seeing all this great work that people are doing. And I'm like I need to go out there, you know, look at this person posting once a week, twice a week. So, I mean, I think that's why it's important that I have friends and community members that are photographers. They challenge me as much as I challenge them.
Great, thank you.
All right. So now let's talk about five things that will make you a better photographer. And some of these are talking about what we already kinda touched on before. But the first thing is understanding your gear. You don't need to own a lot of it, but the stuff you do own, like really understand it. And I used to think it was really annoying when teachers would be like, "Read your manual." and I was like, "I'm not reading my (laughs) manual. "Like that's really boring." But then there's all these buttons that are awesome. Like I would've known about back-button focus had I read my manual and didn't wait (audience laughing) 13 years into shooting, or something, you know? So it's knowing your gear. And this would be, I mean, CreativeLive has classes, specifically dedicated to certain camera for example. So things like that. Or, of course, there's YouTube for specific tutorials on specific things. But exposure, focus, camera settings, lens choice, and lighting. Like the more you know how all the tools for that work, the better you're going to be. Because then it's not this. And this what I know what photographers do. A lot of photographers say they have trouble connecting with their subject, is 'cause they fold in to their gear. It's like, "Okay, camera's good, let's check my focus, "and it's like it's the lighting." So there's a person over there that they don't even interact with, 'cause they go between the light and the camera and the light and the camera. And so, yeah, if you can get rid of that. And that's why now I love it. And this is not a bragging thing, like genuinely, yeah, I, sure I gotta worry about camera settings a little bit, but it's like... It's an extension of my fingers. Like it's there. I gotta work with it a little bit, but, I mean, I can focus on the posing and the lighting and the concept, and not about the buttons. And it's really funny, sometimes people as me like, "Oh, where's this button your camera?" I don't even know, because I just do it. Like I can't, so I have to go through and find it. And, oh, by the way, you'll learn some of this understanding your gear in week one. So that's some of the things that we cover. Those things, like exposure and focus and camera settings and what not. All right, what will make you a better photographer is focusing on expressions. I don't know if any of you have had this experience, but as a senior portrait photographer, all of the time, my clients would pick the pictures that were out of focus, with terrible compositions and overexposed. And I was like, "Why don't they understand photography?" And what I realized is they were picking the good expressions. 'Cause what would happen is I would get a shot where like the little kid was running around and they'd step into the sun. Exposure, pshew, gone, right? They're running, focus, gone, like totally out. Oh, and they're running. Composition, gone. But they were smiling and laughing and that's what the parent cares about. And that's what people are interested in, capturing the good exposures, the good expressions. So all that other stuff like exposure and focus, the average non-photographer, they don't even know. Like they don't. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't strive for quality in those things, but if you have a beautifully lit, fantastic portrait with no expression, it's not a fantastic portrait. Like it's a mediocre picture of someone's face. So it's the expression that becomes important. So that's why you don't let the gears get in the way of you interacting. And in week two we talk about directing your subjects, and interacting and trying to pull something a little bit more out of your subjects. Many of us photographers are nerds. (laughs) Maybe not all of us. Like in high school, I didn't take art classes or music or anything like that. I took tech, I took computer-aided design. And I took digital electronics and like coding, So I was like more of the nerd type. And so that whole interacting part took practice. And like I ended up being like, I was also like a little bit of a theater nerd, which is why I can be like this. But it was also the picking up on when someone's uncomfortable. (laughs) like sometimes it doesn't come naturally. And it's practice, it's absolutely practice so that now I can figure out a little bit more from body language and directing somebody how to get something good out of them. All right, so focus on expression, interaction. So in both of these pictures, these are two images that I took in my Fashion Flare for Portrait and Wedding Photography series. Both of these, technically they're fine, but without the expressions, like the expressions are extra, like that's what makes it go... She's got a genuine smile, her eyes light up. She's giggling, she's laughing. The rest of it's nice, but if they were deadpan uncomfortable, it would fall flat. Expression makes a huge difference. Okay, the next one that is huge is understanding that your eye doesn't see your camera. And you camera doesn't see your eye. They are not the same. They work very differently, especially when you add in focal length and depth of field. It is not the same. So when you understand how your camera sees, you will understand how to use your camera angle, the height, your lens choice, all of that to flatter your subjects. And it makes a massive difference. And we'll talk about this in week one and week two. But I have an example here. So this is the same girl. This is not from this class. This is actually part of a plus size tutorial that I did. So the picture on the left and the picture on the right, neither have been retouched at all. Zero retouching, nothing done in Photoshop, straight out of camera. There's a lot of difference, I think, in the way her body looks. I think on the right she looks curvy and full. She has a defined waist, but it looks narrowed. I think your eye is drawn to her face and her expression, whereas on the left she looks wider and static and uncomfortable and not curvy, just kind of there. And that is solely, note the light doesn't change. The only thing that changes is posing, camera angle, lens choice. It makes a massive difference. And so I love that I can do that. And also, I really, I've been shooting a lot of plus-size models, which, by the way, in case you're curious, technically, so most of what I shoot for the plus magazines and things like that are US size 12 to 20, like somewhere in there. And the average US size woman is 14, so it's really it's not plus, it's average, but you know what I mean. And so I don't want to shoot them and then liquefy, like that makes no sense. What would be the point? So the other day, I did this editorial. The girl was a size 12. Actually, if anyone looks at my Instagram, it's LindsayAdler_Photo. I posted yesterday a plus size editorial that I did. And the editor of the magazine goes, "You sure you picked a plus girl?" and I was like, "Oh, crap." because I used my camera angle and my lens choice and she looked very slender. I'm like, "No, she's a size 12." She's like, "Mm, she looks like an 8, 10." I'm like, she was a 12. Camera angle, lens choice, like, they're not a photographer so I'm trying to explain. So it was really interesting. And then here's another example. So this is Caitlin. This is from this bootcamp. Just things like how your camera sees foreshortening. Like when something comes at the camera, the legs look much shorter. When someone's sitting or when they're towards camera, where the stomach gathers. And how negative space works, that there's a big difference between the two poses. So that is posing, but it's also posing based on how my camera sees and understanding those things. So these are all things that your camera will make different in the scene. Subject height is going to look different based on where your camera is. Foreshortening, like how the limbs look, depends on pose and where your camera is, and the length of their neck, and the proportion of their body. What parts look bigger than others? That's all your camera angle and lens choice. And then your lens choice is also depth of field and what you see in the background and then people's faces. And so it's all of that put together. Next thing that will make you a better photographer is being prepared and confident. I have seen often where people are insecure, and it instantly transfers over to the subject like that. Like the second that you look at the back of the camera and wrinkle your nose, like the second, they're like, "Oh, okay, I look bad." Like, all this stuff. So someone might go from feeling kinda confident and okay, they see the wrinkle in their face and they crunch right in and feel insecure. So even if it's an act, being confident as photographer, just exuding that, it makes a huge difference. So whenever I'm photographing someone, what you'll hear, and if anyone's watching me shoot, you hear this nonstop, is I'll say, "Good, good, good, good, great, oh, perfect!" All those goods weren't that good. (chuckles) Like they actually weren't good. The perfect was when it was actually good. But I'm trying to keep it all confident. Like, "Good, yes, yes, okay, great! "Oh, no perfect, right there!" And that's what you hear from me. So I'm exuding confidence that they can pick up on. It makes me a better photographer because it's making them look better for me. And then, of course, you gotta be prepared. I mean, you shouldn't just be confident if you don't know what the heck you're doing. I mean, you might have to pretend, but you should try to be prepared, which is why you watch classes like this. So that works great. And, then, of course, the last part is to practice times a million. So I've got you know the whole saying about you need 10,000 hours to be an expert? I got so much more than 10,000 hours. (audience laughing) I think I got like half that this week, you guys. I didn't even... It was not even sleeping, it was intense. But practice on a mannequin. I have a mannequin in my studio that I've used to practice on. And she's really funny 'cause she's got, she fell, so she's got one eye and like half an eyebrow. (audience laughing) So it's like flattering her is interesting. And then I practice on friends. I practice in good light, but then also in bad light. Like if it's the middle of the day it's hard to shoot in the middle of the day, but if I make myself do it, then I gotta figure it out. I gotta find solutions. Especially if you have like a home base, like you work out of your home, or you work out of a studio or some place, 'cause then you can go and find any time of day when is light good at two o'clock? And where's a good place to shoot and like where would the reflector have to be? Or at sunset? Oh, okay, where is this? Where's the background gonna be nice and clean for the position that I need the sun. I mean, that's why shooting over and over again becomes like clockwork. You don't have to think about it as much. And then so you're always learning, you're always practicing. And if you want to discuss or you wanna show photos, you wanna join the conversation, I have a Facebook group that I'll be checking in through the length of this bootcamp. And so I'm gonna ask questions. And like, for example, I'm gonna pose a discussion of what inexpensive gear have you all used that you really swear by? I wanna start that conversation and see what people have used and do love. So those are the type of things we'll be talking about there. But you can also practice and pose photos and you can say if you want constructive critique. And I'll let you know if there's something I have. Or just share and be part of the community. So let's analyze some of my old work, the problems, the things that I would fix. We're gonna take a look at some of these things. Okay, so this is what I see now. And this is kind of a training your eye. I'm not saying if you have work like this it's terrible, I'm showing your what I would fix. So first thing I see is that my angle is too low. This is gonna create a couple problems. Whatever's closest to the camera looks largest so it's gonna make midsections and stomach look larger. We talk about this in-depth in the bootcamp. And then also I've got a little bit of up-the-nose action going on. And because I'm shooting up, I got under chin. My cousin back there, she's not particularly heavy. Do you see the little bit of double chin? 'Cause she's leaning back and I'm shooting at a low angle. So my angle's off. All right, what else? My lighting. This is what it looked like. I did not mess this up for you guys. This is the light. First of all, it's underexposed, like it's kinda flat. And I lit it so that there was one light on either side. So it flattens it out and there are no shadows. So there's no sculpting. And it's not really doing, there's no sparkle, there's no pop. It's just flat. No real highlights, no real shadows. My white balance is way off. Like that is not a skin town. It's like death tone. It's like ash gray. Like it was awful. So my white balance I'd have to manage. We'll talk about how to figure out managing white balance, what you should do. I mean, at minimum, I should've set my white balance. But I'm pretty sure I set it to Auto. And then this is something that Auto will do. And, by the way, kind of how it works is if it sees red skin tones on a neutral or black background, it reads, ooh, red and yellow, too warm, and it cools it down. And then you have blue skin tones. The camera's not as smart as you would like it to be. The next thing is the pose is very static and stacked. I got one head over the other. I mean, the composition is straight up and down. And then there's no separation from the background. They're both wearing black shirts and there's no rim lights. And they blend into each other and the background. So those are all things that I would need to fix and I wouldn't shoot that portrait the same way now as if I shot it then. Okay, this one is not terrible. But I see a couple things. First of all, one of the problems I have is foreshortening. Foreshortening is when things come out at the camera, like the floating arm. Like the hand really is like in the middle of nowhere, like it looks like Cousin It, like, what is it? What's the name, the hand? What's it called? It is the hand?
Thing, that's it! Thing, it's like Thing propped up on the shoulder there for a portrait. So that doesn't work. The kid on the left blends into the background. Also he's got his chin up a little bit so that's not really flattering. And the attention's to here instead of to his eyes. And then my cropping's like a little awkward. It feels like a little squished in. Like there's a lot of space on the top and bottom and their heads are a little bit smaller. It's not terrible, but it could be improved. So I would fix some of those things. All right, this was actually one of my high school teachers, so I shot this in high school. And so going through this couple's portrait. The white balance is way off. And in the actual image that I was looking at, their skin is very, very, very read, like it is very red in the actual photo. So that's gong to be a problem to have realistic skin tones. The next thing is my angle, again, is a little bit too low. Can you kinda judge that perhaps I'm more like shoulder level with the woman in the front? I'm about shoulder level with my camera. I'm shooting up, which makes him look tall and it's gonna... Whatever's closest to the camera looks largest, so he'll look a little wider. My light, my main light is actually too low. And how you can tell this is can you see the shadow from her nose actually goes up? The shadow from the nose should go down, or at least across, but it goes up a little bit. And you can also see the catch light in her eye is the middle of the eye. And it should be a little bit higher up. And the reason is, take a look at both of their necklines, their jawlines, neither of them really have one. And it's not because they don't have a jawline. They both have jawlines. But when you have a lower light source, it lights underneath that jawline, so there's now shadow and it gives you face-jaw-neck. (chuckles) I don't what you call that, a face-jaw-neck, all one, like there's no definition. If I had raised my light up a little bit more it would have cast a shadow underneath their jawlines and given them a little bit of cheekbones and been more flattering, but I didn't do that. So my angle of light is a little bit low, which is going to make both of their faces look rounder. You can't see the difference, because you don't know what they look like. She definitely didn't have that round of a face, but my lighting did that to her. And then the next thing is, this was an engagement photo and they're not actually touching. They're overlapping, but they're not touching. Like they're just kinda stacked one behind the other. Like they could be in line for like Starbucks and I just put a light there and took a portrait. Like there's gotta be something to show them interacting. So that would've been something that I would fix. And so these are all things we talk about, talk about white balance, talk about your angle of light. And we also talk about pose, interacting with one another for couples. These are my cousins. And I did their portrait as well. And so I'm looking at the light. And it is, again, flat. Like, there's not much shadow to it. I don't actually see really any shadows. And the modifier that I had for these shoots is I had two umbrellas, silver, one on either side, maybe like eight feet away. And if you have small umbrellas eight feet away, we'll talk about this. It's a relatively harsh form of light. It's not very soft, it's not very wrapping. And no shadow. So it's overall, it doesn't sculpt their face and it's not a good quality of light. You're better off with larger light sources closer. And we will talk about that in detail. But the other thing, this is part of training your light, the rim light that I have, I had a rim light, 'cause I wanted to light their hair a little bit, separate them out from the background. But where it lights is her nose and the side of her face. Her nose and her side of her face. And in a photo, in a portrait, where your eye goes is to the brightest part. And so the brightest part in those photos are the nose and the side of the face. So you're gonna look at a nose will look larger, and then also the side of the face makes their face look wider. So that rim light, which I really wanted on their hair, is really just distracting for my photo. It's taking away. And so that comes with practice and trying to figure out where your rim light goes and checking your angles. And what I usually do is I actually turn off my main light when I set my rim light so I can see what it's doing. 'Cause if you were like me, I couldn't see light. Like I hadn't trained myself yet to see it. So I'd have to turn off my main light, put my rim light to make sure, nope, it's not on the nose, it's not on the side of the face, and then switch my main light back on. So it could actually see what each and everything was. The other part is my crop is a little bit too tight on the bottom. It looks like I just barely could fit him, or I'm hiding something, like I don't know, you know. And that was the crop, like I said, this is actually what they received. I think I gave it to them as a Christmas present or something. SO it was really cropped right there. I mean, there's things that worked. They're interacting with one another. It's a little bit symmetrical. That hands, I don't really love the fingers coming at camera, but that's okay. But definitely the lighting and the crop need to be improved. And let's take a look at one that we touched on before. Okay, so this was I put them under the tree outside. But the problem is it's a really flat overcast day and the sun was coming in and out of the clouds, so I'm like, okay, 'cause I could see there's a little bit of light that came through there for a second on their hair. So it's like, okay, it's overcast, but then the sun, I can't handle it, we're just going in the shade was my logic. So I get this really flat underexposed light. And the problem was probably that it was reading the white shirt in my meter and thinking white should be gray and it underexposed it. Or the sun came out at that instant and saw the sun in the background and underexposed. And I wasn't looking at the back of my camera. I just let it do what it wanted to do. The pose is a bit static. You know, the parents are interacting. The white balance is way off. I think it read all the green. And it was kinda do something there. And then the background is distracting, 'cause I'm shooting at probably 8.0 or something, like more depth of field, and so the background is just like crazy. That one doesn't have much working for it. (chuckles) There's not really much going on there. This is a senior portrait I did. Again, it's kind of flat light. But the big one would be the poor posture. She's sinking into her arms. And so one of the things that we'll talk about for posing is I usually say something like, "Can you pull up to the top of your head." Even just from sinking like this, the pulling up is gonna make a huge difference, even if it's uncomfortable. It's pushing shoulders down, pull up to the top of your head. And that's a big one that I'll talk about over and over again. But that photo, I don't think you would notice, but it'll make her arms more slender. It'll make her neck look longer, it'll lengthen everything out. And then you're not really supposed to look at the back of the fists, it's a little bit distracting. So that could be slightly improved. And I saved my favorite one for last. (audience member laughs) (audience laughing) What do you think? (laughs) Okay, (chuckles) so this is Betsy and Kirk. My white balance, way off, because my camera, I had it on Auto. And what your camera does is it sees all that red and it goes, "Oh, we need to cool this down, "way too much red." So it makes their skintones blue, which cancels out with the red, which makes them look dead. So shouldn't have shot Auto white balance. Next one down, their chin placement is kinda weak. He's kinda pulling his chin in a little bit. He's kinda looking tall, so it gives him a really soft jawline. And the way she's rolling her head back, she's actually rolling her chin in, so it's giving her more of a double chin there. And then I kind of cut them out and put them on a background. (audience members giggling) (laughs) I don't quite know, I don't quite know. And her hands are not great either, but it's not terrible. So, yeah, this was, I got paid for all of that. (audience laughing) And having a business for seven years that I did well. And it supported me through college and life. So, yeah, so that's just a look at some of my work. Yes?
Well, I have some questions coming in.
And the first one is Cathy Land wants to know if they are still friends with you. (audience laughing)
They have to be. He's my accountant. (audience laughing) He does my taxes. And he just did my taxes, so, yeah. If I recall, they were happy. I don't really remember. Like I don't remember complaining.
Anyhow, no, but everyone is saying thank you so much, it's really awesome to see your early work. Two thumbs up for putting yourself out there with your not so perfect work. That's real. We all have them. It's so helpful to see what doesn't work well and why. So thank you very much. So I'm actually wondering, and it looks like you have something. Go ahead.
(laughs) I love you so much.
I'm glad you like it.
I forget who just posted it, but you're in like the top 10 fashion photographres (chuckles) of the world. And I love that you just share things. These are so fun. And I love that you showed worse, like, I mean, paid work. (laughs)
Great, I am so glad that you enjoyed it as much as I. I totally forgot this one. So my mom sent it to me, I'm like, "Oh, yes! (audience laughing) "This is perfect!" I am so glad you enjoyed that. So there's this radio host guy, Ira Glass, you guys know Ira Glass? I love Ira Glass. And he's go this little one minute thing. It's called Taste, like search it YouTube, Like Taste Level or something like that. And he talks about for awhile, as an artist, you know where you wanna be. And that's what driving you to learn and to push yourself to be better. You're not there yet but you have taste. And sometimes you gotta learn it and refine it. And so that taste level, that's a whole other discussion of figure out like what's cheesy or what's not flattering or what's not art or where you wanna be and figuring out how to get out of that. So for the longest time, I think, my taste level, too, was just less. And so when I started to be inspired and look at other people's work, and try to define the type of photographer I wanted to be, that's how I became a better photographer. 'Cause I was just shooting and doing it. And not... There wasn't an end of vision of like that's where I want my work to be, it's just this is what my work is. So listen to that Ira Glass thing. Like I don't know it just really spoke to me about how I've improved as a photographer. It's like, yeah, I had that taste level, I just didn't know how to get there. It's a good thing I like it. Yeah?
And I'm wondering if maybe if anybody in here wants to share about how you've actually, like what you've seen change within your own work that you were struggling with and just because Lindsay has now shared hers. (laughs)
Sure, yeah, one of the first weddings I shot was like five years ago. And I, not to the cutout level. (audience laughing) But definitely like The white balance on the skin that I thought like looking at it at the time, I was like, "This is awesome, oh, I love this." And it's just green and gross and blue, and I don't know, coming in the progression of spending all the time sitting down and doing the work day after day after day changes everything. And you build yourself that way. It's cool.
Totally, I get super jealous of these photographers. There are some people that do just get it right away, but a lot of times they have a strong art background or something. So this evening, my friend, Brooke Shaden, which if you guys watch on CreativeLive, she's been here. She's actually coming into town and she's gonna take my picture. So I get a photo shoot tonight for my birthday. That's my birthday gift. But, anyway, like I look at some of her early work and I was like, "Dude, you already knew what you were doing." like we can't be friends. (audience laughing) You know? But then you guys know Roberto Valenzuela here, he sometimes shows his early work and it's just as bad as mine. And I'm like, "Awesome." It makes me feel good. Yeah, sure, it's learning and it's taking classes, but it's a lot of time staring at it. And then you suddenly realize, "Oh, that was real bad." (chuckles) You get better.
[Woman In Pink Top] I have question.
Yeah, I love the Photoshop part of the pictures and stuff so I have some cutouts that I would be not wanting to share to anybody. So I appreciate that, too. (Lindsay laughs) But, yeah, I just wonder of those things where I wanna get to where I just do it. I mean, 'cause there is so much to know. And it seems like I wanna know all of this and just do it where I'm looking forward to all the weeks to hopefully get there sometime.
Yeah, and it's good to take it step-by-step, piece-by-piece. I mean it sincerely. This is one of the best things about me teaching in CreativeLive is I've had to go from kinda knowing a subject to like knowing it inside and out. So I'm without a doubt 10 times a better photographer because of having to teach these classes. Even if you look at my work. I've been here three years. If you look at my work, let's go four years ago, it's night and day, it's completely different. So, yeah, there's so much. But it's bit by bit, you know?
[Woman In Pink Top] But you must've always had confidence, though, 'cause I mean.
I had a supportive family that encouraged me and perhaps sometimes being naive of how bad I was was a blessing. You know, because I didn't realize how terrible it was so I was a little less afraid. But the confidence thing, yes and no. There's some things that I've been immensely confident in and then some things not. Even nowadays, sometimes I still struggle. Sometimes the things that mean the most like I start to lose confidence, 'cause it means so much that it's scary. So I still absolutely deal with it. But I had good parents that were like, "Yeah, do it. "We'll support you and it'll be okay." Good parents. Love my mom and dad.
I think that this is a great time for all of us to go back and analyze our earlier work and that way, again, seeing, really looking at it, and seeing where we have opportunities to improve as we go through the bootcamp. So, thank you, again, for sharing yours.
Absolutely, I'm very happy to share this. I've never shared any of those photos before. It's exciting. Okay, so I'm gonna switch gears from a little bit of less inspirational, a little bit less reflective and like let's buy some stuff. Okay, but in reality, this is actually, I wanna tell you you don't need to buy so much stuff. Let's just look at what you really need. And as you take this bootcamp, as you're watching it, (audio cuts out) Ensure with studio lighting, the stuff I talk about, then you would need studio lighting, ensure with the speedlights, you might need a speedlight if you're trying to put those classes into action. But most of it, you would just need natural light and a few other tools. So let me tell you about the first five things you should buy is, of course, the first one's education. But I mean that sincerely, because I'll... I say this nicely, I teach private workshops and I teach small group workshops, 10, 12 people. I usually do it three to five times a year in my studio in New York. I do some abroad. And the difference between someone who has a beginner camera and the $60,000 medium format, it could be completely negligible, because it's more about what they know and that's why it's great that they're both at the class. They're both there to learn and take advantage. It's not the value of how much the gear was. Like when I see gear in someone's hand. I know I used to think, ooh, battery grip, you know, they've got one of the weather proofed cameras, they must be good. Now I know that means nothing. It doesn't mean anything at all. So education and really forget how you learn. I mean, obviously, we're here, you're watching CreativeLive. But I have to do it. I have to have hands on to learn. And sometimes with time getting away, sometimes going to a hands-on workshop where I have to do it under someone's supervision is the only way it's going to happen. So that might be something you have to force yourself to do. Put it on the calendar. Or maybe that's gonna be a meetup group in your area. Maybe that's what'll force you to actually do it. Or committing and telling someone you know, "I'm going to take you portrait." And then someone you know who'd want to. And then they keep hassling you to make you do it. So, I mean, learn, and then try to put it into practice. But really the first thing you need to buy after education is a camera that has manual controls. You need to be able to change the aperture, shutter speed, ISO and your lenses, in order to successfully kinda learn from this class. You need to be able to change all of those things. So in my next class on selecting your camera, I'll talk about what camera to select, what you'd be looking at. So that's kind of a basic. The next thing would be fast lenses. If your lens was like mine, I had the 5.6 to 6.3, which means when I zoomed in to portrait length, it was a 6.3 lens. You're not going to get the type of images that you would see in my presentations, because a lot of them are shooting with narrow depth of field. Which allow you to focus on the eyes, simplify the background. So it's like a 6.3, 5.6 lens won't work. There are some good, like the 24 to 105 4.0, that's a good lens. When zoomed at 4.0 because of how focal length works with depth of field, it still looks like a narrow depth of field. We'll talk about that in the lens and depth of field class. That one would be okay, but stay away from kit lenses with kinda smaller apertures there. So faster than 5.6 for sure. For sure aim for something 4.0 or wider with your lenses. And the lenses that I recommend, if you were just starting out, would be something about this, because of the price point. A 50 1.8 and an 85 1.8, because they are really inexpensive. A 50 1.8 is 125 bucks. And it's a great starting lens where you can actually see how does 1.8 work. But longer lenses emphasize narrower depth of field. So an 85 1.8, it's gonna give you that really blurry background. And, like I said, that's more around 360, 375. But those two lenses are going to start to give you like what you see here on the right. So that's with an 85 1.8. So the blurry bubbles in the background, that narrow depth of field, that's how you get that look. So if you want profession portraits, that doesn't mean there aren't great portrait photographers that shoot at f/16, but probably for what most of us are trying to achieve, the wider, faster lenses are gonna be better. 'Kay, the next thing is a reflector. Just get a reflector. I recommend specifically between 30 and 40 inches. And silver/white, at minimum. But possibly with diffusion in the middle, Because in my class, I show you how to use a diffuser to soften direct sunlight to give you what looks like window light on location. So you might want a three-in-one reflector, silver, white and translucent. You don't need gold. You don't need gold, you don't need gold. (audience laughing) Like I get asked that. You don't need gold. I mean, there's a silver/gold mix that sometimes people use to warm up a photo. But if your white balance is correct, you don't even need silver/gold really. So silver white diffusion, that's all you need. And they're inexpensive, so get one of those. And then, lastly, memory. And I kinda grouped this together. I know that many beginning portrait photographers do this. They shoot a lot 'cause you wanna learn. But then you're sittin' there and you're erasing the back of the camera 'cause you run out of space 'cause you didn't buy enough memory cards. I mean, there's so much you can learn by going back. We were just talking about this. Going back and looking at your work, if you're deleting in camera, it's not there anymore. And then what happens if you delete the perfect one because you're trying to make space. Make sure you have enough pace in your memory cards. But related to that as well is buy external hard drive. If you're backing up your card onto your computer, that is not backed up whatsoever. If you're just dumping your cards onto your computer, all you're doing is slowing your computer down to a halt, which makes it more likely to crash, which means you're more likely to lose all your photos. Which, I mean, it's absolutely working against you. So you wanna have at least... I always recommend getting two external hard drives. So one's you main and one's your backup. An nowadays they're really inexpensive. Like, I eman, I can get a terabyte for under 90 bucks, a terabyte of USB3. You can go even less expensive than that but I think that's incredible. So buy memory. It's gonna help you be able to review your images, not slow you up, and you actually have some backups. So those are the five things that you need to buy. If you notice about that list, it's not a lot. It's not a lot. If I had to do a portrait assignment that was of a celebrity tomorrow and that's all I could have, it'd be fine. It really would be fine. I can use my natural light, I can use my reflector/diffuser and I can use a fast lens. So keep it simple. All right, so my last segment here that we're going to cover is going to be 10 Pitfalls of Beginning Portrait Photographers. These are things that we'll talk about fixing, but problems that I commonly see. And by commonly see, I mean, I did them all, every single one of them. And some of them are going to be technical issues. Some of them are gonna be the way you approach portraits. But let's just jump into that. Number one, learning gear on site. So you buy something and then you're figuring it out while you're shooting. 'Cause I would buy like, I mean, I remember I did the little flash adaptor, like the modifiers that you stick on top, because I would buy them and then I wouldn't use them 'cause I didn't shoot speedlight so much, you know, back when I was doing portraits or back when I had my portrait studio. And so then I would be at a wedding trying to figure out how the thing goes on. And then I'd miss like cake cutting, like really that bad. So the number one thing is just practice and set time aside for yourself, give yourself a day. And that's, by the way, for my personal projects, I try to give myself a day a week to do a personal project. And that's how I built my portfolio is one day a week. So maybe if you're not quite at portfolio building yet but you're learning your gear, give yourself a day a week. Could just be like four hours on a Sunday afternoon, whatever it is. So test your new gear before you shoot. Next one, using negative terms. Anything negative about yourself, like, "Oh, you know, so and so's camera is better." Or if you don't know your gear or you don't know how to pose. You're telling them, "I haven't done this before." They don't care. If you say, "Oh, I've never photographed 10 people before." They don't care. They just want you to take a good picture. So all you're doing is making them more insecure about your abilities. So just always upbeat and always excited. And so that's what you seen on my set is I'm always complimenting people. And I try to be sincere about it. And I'm really looking for, I mean, is it your personality? Do I love your eyes? Is it a good group environment? Do I like your story? Do I like what you do for a live-- It doesn't matter, but I talk to people and I try to figure out what I can genuinely relate to. And that's what we have a conversation about. So if something negative happens, I can switch it over to whatever we have in common, back to the fact that we both love dogs, or something. So always keeping things upbeat, stay away from anything negative. If there's a pose you don't like. If I'm looking and I'm like, "Hm, the hands." I would say, "Oh, 'kay, I like your pose. "I'm thinking that we gotta change the hands, though." versus like, "Your hands look terrible. "I don't know what to--" It's totally different, but I see people do it all the time. So you gotta... Upbeat all the time. Three, common pitfalls, thinking complicated is better. Complicated is most definitely not better. And you see a lot in like Vogue and Vanity Fair shoots, the clothes might be complicated, but a lot of times it's simple lighting with a simple background. Like it's a one light on a background. And that's a Vanity Fair shoot. And so simple can definitely be better, simple lighting, simple posing, simple background, it's simply timeless. It's the complicated stuff with the funky poses and the funky backgrounds, that if you don't have the strong foundations, will make your picture fall apart instantly. Build up your foundations and then move on to something a little bit more complicated or with theme and concept and storytelling, like the fashion flair stuff. Build your basics first before you go onto that. Okay, so let's move on to common mistake that I see is many, many photographers shoot too wide and too close up. Like a 24 millimeter to shoot a mid-length shot. A 24 millimeter to shoot a mid-length shot is way too wide. And gives you a lot of problems. One of the big problems it gives, and I talk about this in detail in the lens choice section, is a wider angle lens shows more of the background. So if you're close up to subject with a wide-angle lens, you're gonna see all of this junk that's super distracting, people and buildings and all of that. And also it's harder, even at 2.8, this is shot at 2.8, with wider angle lenses, depth of field, there's more depth of field, you see more detail, so backgrounds just become a huge problem. And I'm kinda looking at her, but I'm kinda looking everywhere else. And the other part is it definitely distorts a subjects features, it bends them out. It makes her face look wider and also broader and pointier, it's a mess. So my general suggestion is if you were looking at an image and it's not quite flattering to you, back up and zoom in. And although I recommended those fixed lenses, I'll also, in the lens section, talk a little bit more about what I'd recommend for zoom lenses. But if you've got like a 24 close, switch to your 85 and back up. It can almost guarantee you'll get a better picture, a better portrait, all the time. So here's an example. That's from 16 to 200. You'll see this in the lens section, I did not change my depth of field. I did not move her feet one inch. She stayed exactly in the same place. All I did is back up and switch lens. And it is a completely different photo. So, in general, avoid teaching too wide, back up and zoom in, it'll make your pictures better. All right, next one is gonna be missing the eyes, missing the focus on the eyes. And you were talking about this as well. So if you're shooting with a narrow depth of field, if your subject is turned sideways, you're not going to be able to get both eyes in focus if you're shooting at 1.8 or 2.2, or even 2.8 sometimes. 'Cause what ends up happening is you have a narrow depth of field, and how it works is. Wanna know if the camera, if I can move over here, or (mumbles) okay, I'll use you. So if you are a plane, okay? And this is my camera plane. In order for both of your eyes to be in focus, they have to be the same. But as soon as you turn, oh, I gotta pick what part of plane is gonna be in focus. So unless I line up your yes, it's not gonna happen. If I turn then I could get, I'd have to use a wider, smaller aperture. So I'd have to go like, okay, if one eye's here and one eye's here, I gotta go from 1.8, 4.0, 5.6, like I gotta expand the focus. So, in other words, yeah, if you're shooting at 2. and they turn away, there's gonna be one eye, you're not gonna be able to get both, unless you shoot 5.6, 8.0, and then 5.6, 8.0, I don't like in closeups, like for on location. I do in the studio, it's fine. But if you look at this picture, you're supposed to focus on the eye closest to the camera. And I show that in the other demonstrations. But it's just weird with one eye in focus. But you don't mind as much if at least the eye closest to the camera. IF you want 'em both and you wanna shoot narrow, she's gotta turn back. She's gotta keep both eyes on the same plane to the camera. So missing the eyes, if anything's in focus, it's gotta be the eyes. Like if you're shooting really narrow depth of field, and you miss the eyes, you miss the shot. However, I can tell you how many times I didn't look through my photos and the clients picked the shots with the eyes out of focus, because it was the one where they're laughing and they laughed out of my focus. I hated it. So now like, now I don't let them see instantly, which I used to do for time sake. And they always pick the bad ones. Next common problem is forgetting the background. You focus so much on the expression and the lighting and interacting with your subject that you didn't check the background in the end. And so here she's got like this big pole thing going out of the back of her head. So try to check your backgrounds. And what I do is I often, the first thing I try to do is find good light. Like that's my first checklist is let's find good light and I'll analyze the scene. Is it overcast with a reflector? Is it open shade? Is it covered shade? Find the good light. Once I have the subject there, then I move arund to find a good background. I find my good light with the good background and then I get my good pose and then my good expression last. So that's kinda how I build it. So light, background, pose, expression. And then, of course, would be I want good focus and all that stuff. So that's the order in which I do things. So number six, people forget the background. Let's go onto number seven, bad posture. We want our subjects to look comfortable. We do, we don't want 'em to look stressed out. We don't want 'em to look uptight, but when people get comfortable, they get slouchy. And I wanna tease guys and say mostly guys, but it's everybody. (chuckles) Because I would say, well, when I tell guys to get comfortable in front of the camera, they do it. They like lay out and like sit. With girls, they're still kinda proper. Guys just like melt into the seat. But, anyway, with bad posture, what happens is the neck gets shorter, the shoulders get hunched. They look more stressed, they look heavier. All of those things from just bad posture. So if you just keep good posture, that's all that changed in this photo is that she improved her posture. She sat up straight, pulled up to the the top of her head, like we'll talk about in the directing the subject section. I think that that is night and day. So keep in mind, posture. When you get your pose, before you click the camera, say, "Okay, great, pull up to the top of your head." Or, "Good posture! "Lower your shoulders." Or whatever you find works for you. I'll give you advice on what works for me. Next, common pitfalls, the not backing up thing. We talked on this. Back up your work. Back up your work, but go buy two hard drives at all times. I never, ever buy one hard drive at a time. I always buy two. And then my favorite photos, or anything anyone ever buys, I back up in the cloud always. If they bought it, I put it somewhere on Dropbox, whatever, because it has value to me because of that. And my favorite ones. Just put away couple back up things you might like. So there's Dropbox, obviously, that's one that most people know. There's also Photoshelter if you wanna have a pretty robust content management system that also does website. And then also there's a new one called Cloud Spot. And Cloud Spot allows you to deliver files. And they give you five gigabytes of free cloud storage and then you can upgrade based on what you need. But it's beautiful. It's like you can deliver a gallery that's full page images with your logo on it. And then they can select their photos and you can decide whether they can download or print them. So, yeah, Cloud Spot and Photoshelter. They're both really nice for doing that. Okay, next one. This class doesn't touch on this. But I wanted to address it. One of the most common pitfalls is over-retouching, over-retouching a photo. The most important thing when you're taking a portrait is when you're doing the retouching, is that you wanna maintain skin detail. All you're trying to do is reduce weaknesses or flaws, particularly the ones that are temporary. So what I mean by that is pimples, you know. You definitely wanna reduce pimples, bloodshot eyes, perhaps, kinda toned down things like wrinkles or redness in the skin, which could be temporary, all those things you just want to be a little bit more subtle. But this is a portrait I did. What do you think about my retouching? (audience laughing) I used, and the girl on the right was my best friend in elementary school, and so we did her family portrait. I just blurred the skin using a plugin. And I just kinda, I blurred it until all the blemishes went away. And they in no way look real anymore, or I don't even know what to say about this portrait. So my recommendation to you is if you're going to use a plugin, use it carefully. There's plugins like Imagenomic Portraiture. There's plugin like Portrait Professional. There's plugins like Nik's Dynamic Skin Softener. Like they all have, on one has perfect retouch, there's all these different things. Use them carefully. Be aware of blurring the skin. And I have classes on retouching. There's other people that have classes on retouching if you wanna get to that point. But, often, less is actually better than more for most people. Yes?
I just wanted to jump in and let you know that, as always, your mom is watching.
Hi, mom! (audience laughing) My mom always watches me.
And your mom says, "Please tell Lindsay "that we need to do a family portrait for Kirk and Betsy "for free when you get home. (audience laughing) "No cutouts allowed." That was our couple earlier with the beautiful red--
And cut out. But perhaps we need to do a free photograph or a free retouch for this family as well.
Yeah, yeah, I should.
Thanks, Kathleen, Lindsay's mom, for joining us.
Tell mom, that's a good point, mom. I agree with you. Okay, so my very last common pitfall is that portrait photographers forget the people part of the portrait photography. Like it's not the lighting that makes the good portrait. And it's not the pose that necessarily makes the good portrait, it's all of it working together. But it's the people. You're photographing people, you have to interact with people, you have to have a conversation with people. You have to be friendly to people. You have to have good customer serv-- Like, people. (laughs) Like that's the hard part. And I think what ends up happening is a lot of times there's poor communication. For example, you need to, for successful portrait, communicate before the portrait, where are you shooting? What they should wear, what they should expect, so they have some idea of the shoot. How about during? Really communicating what I want from you. "Can you lead forward, stick your chin out and down, "great, just tilt your head." Like it's your job to do that communicating part. It's not their job. It's your job to know that. And then after the fact, follow up. Are they happy with the pictures? Would they like to book another one? Could they possibly recommend you? Like that whole communication thing gets lost and people kinda just hide behind their cameras and think show up at this time, click, I'm done. Here's your photos. And then appreciation. Appreciation in multiple ways, like appreciations that the person gave you their time and wanted you to take their portrait. Getting your portrait taken is not easy. It can be really vulnerable and it can be stressful, and so appreciating their time, but also actually appreciating someone's beauty, like what is it about them that's beautiful? And when you can learn to appreciate that about a person then you figure out how to show it in a photo. And so your job as a portrait photographer is to accent or draw attention to someone's strengths. And just reduce weaker areas. So if their strength is their smile and their eyes, they better have like a joyous smile. And you wanna maybe pick a camera angle and lens choice that really shows off their eyes. Or maybe for portrait they've got beautiful curves. And you wanna show that. So your job is, yeah, you gotta appreciate their time, but also what is it that you appreciate about them? So it comes with practice to identify these things quickly and then photograph them. But, yeah, you can't forget that portraits are, it's about people, and it's about interaction. So if you were a person that doesn't like people, don't be a portrait photographer. Shoot landscape, shoot product shots, like do something else if you don't like people. Unless you were trying to broaden your horizons and come to like people. So here's kinda my wrap up of this. Learn, practice, shoot and be awesome, with time. And I hopefully was able to show you that looking at my work. So I am solidly 15 years in. Even halfway into that I would not say I was anywhere close to awesome. It's been a whole lotta learning, a whole lotta practice, a whole lotta shooting, a lot of time, a lot of mistakes, a whole lot of shortcomings to eventually be awesome with a lot of time. So that's kinda what I would wish for you guys as well.
Fantastic, Lindsay. Well, we still have a little bit of time left. And so that was an amazing, not only overview of what were are going to be doing in this bootcamp, but, man, I learned a lot just (laughs) in this first session.
So wanted to ask you some questions that are coming in about is this gonna be covered in the bootcamp? So kinda maybe a little bit of rapid fire. And if you all have any questions to that regard as well, or questions on what we've talked about, feel free to raise your hand. I want to also encourage everybody, once again, to go to the class page right now. That is where you are going to see the full schedule as to all the different topics that we are going to cover and when. So it'll say the date and what that class is going to be. So, first, let's do some questions. Let's see. This is a challenge for a user in here. It says, "I have difficulty finding a model or friend "for anyone to practice with. "What would be your suggestion? "How do I practice without a model or find one?"
Okay, so I definitely practice with a mannequin, I mean, without a doubt. I had a mannequin, one of 'em I bought for like 20 bucks on eBay. And the other one, there was a store going out of business. And so I had a full length mannequin. This is a whole other story, (chuckles) so she didn't have close on, and I would pose her in the window with a wig on, and it was really funny, it was awesome. (audience laughing) But, I also practiced portrait photography on her. Her name is Lucy. So, I mean, the mannequin thing, you can go that direction. But I've also... I put a lot of calls out on Craigslist when I was practicing, for free headshots in exchange, and I required a certain amount of time. So it'd be an hour of your time, I'll give you a headshot, I'd say one file. And then I could practice whatever I wanted for the next hour or two hours. I never ask people more than two hours, 'cause that's when people start to get antsy. People can usually manage an hour okay, an hour-and-a-half, and then by two, I found that if it's not all about them, they're kinda done. So that's my recommendation, Craigslist.
And I think even other photographers as well. You talked about--
Oh, my gosh, yes.
You talked about getting in groups and meeting up with people. And there's so many groups in whatever town or city that you live in, and practicing on each other.
So, to that end, I have, okay, so for my 30th birthday, I've asked all of, like many of my portrait photographer friends to take my picture, not because I'm a massive narcissist. (Kenna laughing) But because we photographers are like, "Buy portraits. "Portrait photography's important." And then we don't have any portraits of ourselves. So I got one already. Yeah, it was good. (blonde man laughs) He took a nice portrait of me. But, yeah, so I think it's great just for that reason alone, even if you're practicing with friends. But prove that you practice what you preach and so when people go to your Facebook it's not a selfie. Like they see, like, "Oh, they value portrait photography." I think that is important as well.
Absolutely. All right, this is a question from Ryan Portsmouth. "Do you consider expression and connection, "camera or environment to be as important "or is one more important than the other?"
I would definitely say that expression ends up being the most important thing. It's just a matter of if your environment or lighting or anything takes away from expression, that's when it's a problem. I mean, expression is paramount. But as soon as everything else is sucking your eye to the sides, or the weird highlights or distractions in the background, then your expression doesn't even matter anymore, 'cause you're not even looking at it, you're looking everything else. So it's like I try to simplify or have everything complement so the expression shows in the end.
Absolutely, and that's a lot of what you're gonna be learning is to become confident so that you can get those natural expressions and having that connection, that truly then kinda sinks in and you see that person as they are, which is, of course, what we love so much about portraiture. Do you guys have any questions in here? All right. Excited about bootcamp? Yes, okay. (audience laughing) Nodding heads now, yes. Okay, can you talk a little bit this, this is from Reinas Swaren. "Can you throw some light on how you dress up your subjects. "Are we gonna be talking about what clothes, "colors, patterns, that you recommend "for portrait shoots?"
Okay, so I love this question. We didn't talk about it. And so I'm glad that you brought it up 'cause I was thinking about it. This is an absolutely huge one is talking and communicating with your subjects ahead of time about what they should wear. And the thing is is that a lot of people do not dress well for portraits, 'cause there's difference. For example, a lot of fuller figured women, because of their comfort level with their bodies, will wear loose clothing. Loose clothing in a photo equals circle. Like, I mean, there is no definition and it is really hard to pose. So you're much better off having form-fitted clothing. And a lot of times if they don't wear it, I'll clip their clothes. And I'm saying, "Oh, it's just for the photo. "You kinda gotta work with me on this." In general, it is actually true that for fuller figure subjects, darker and solids work better, because in lighter tones that's when you would see a bulge with a shadow underneath it. When you're wearing darker tones, you can't see that shadow, it's all shadow. So that helps you out. But I recommend kind of a couple things. Going online and finding some sites, there's many, where you recommend your subjects actually look up and analyze their body type and clothing, because if somebody is straight up and down, you can do things to help pose curve, but there's certain clothes that look better on them. Or somebody who's a little bit bigger on the bottom. You don't, for example, want them to be wearing jeans with a shirt that ends at the jeans, because all you look is right here, because you're looking at the contrast. So think of it this way, where you want to draw attention have more skin and more detail. So if you wanted to draw attention to the bust, you would have a lowcut bust, maybe with a little fringe around it, or a necklace to draw your eye there. And its' a trick I use sometimes for photographing shorter or fuller women is longer lines like more of a plunging neckline, or a skirt that has a little bit of a slit, because it encourages your eye to go up and down, because it's long lines. Whereas lines side-to-side, you're just looking side-to-side and it shortens them. So there's so many things that this would be an entire class that you could talk about, so I recommend you look it up. But even kind of related to that, I recommend for your subjects if they're serious about looking great that they buy clothes specifically for it, or bring lots of options, or whatever. But there's a couple websites that are great to get beautiful clothing for shoots. One of them that I think is really interesting is specifically for women size 12 to 32. So it's a plus size women's clothing rental company. It's called Gwynnie Bee. And Gwynnie Bee, it's got great ready-to-wear clothes. It's not like it's all gowns and stuff, it's ready-to-wear clothes for portraits and it's beautiful. So I'd recommend people check that out. Then there's also Rent the Runway. And Rent the Runway has couture and designer clothes, but it's all shapes and sizes and most of it's a little bit fancier but there's everything. So checking that out if they wanna just rent a nicer piece for them. And then I have a clothing business called Dream Shoot Rentals, which has parachute dresses, and crazy gowns, and so it's more geared towards the avant garde in photography, versus where Gwynnie Bee and Rent the Runway are more for going out and looking nice. So to bring that kinda background, patterns and detail and skin draw the eye. So use that to your advantage or disadvantage. And where things are cut off, also draw the eye. So a line across here, notice, my line, I put with this dress at the waist. And then it flares out, versus I had it here, it would make me look wider. And so there's a lot of things. Or, you know, heels give longer lines. Nude heels make legs look longer. So that's like a ramble. My point is there's a lot to pick clothes. And I nowadays do not matchy-matchy. Like I don't make everyone where the exact same thing. If you saw the portrait in the beginning of the family all in tans, they're all in the same color family, because, to me, that signifying they're a family, similar tones, but I don't say, "Everyone white shirt and dark jeans." I mean, it's okay. It can look dated, bu also sometimes gives you problems with people blending in, because it's white on white so they blend in. Or black on black and they blend in. So I like similar tones in the same family, more solid.
Awesome, well thank you for that mini-lesson. (laughs)
Okay, just a few are we going to be covering this, with regard to the questions that people are asking. "Any suggestions for doing backlight photography "with portraits? "Are we gonna be covering that?'
Mildly. I back button focus and lens hood.
Okay, there you go. (chuckles) But we will be outdoors. We'll be shooting in natural light, you'll be showing all of those.
Awesome. Okay, how about are we going to be talking about, doo-doo-doo, your favorite two-light setup?
I have several, but yes.
Okay, and I guess there's questions that are starting to come in around gear and so I want to remind everybody that that is what this week is all about, right?
So week one is all about gear and getting started. And tomorrow we go into the camera, right?
That is the first thing.
So question for you. There is a bonus video when people do go ahead and purchase this bootcamp. Of course, we ask you to join us for free. You're allowed to watch at any point throughout the next four weeks, however you can also buy the class. Tell us about that extra video that you created in there.
Okay, so one of the thing that I do nowadays is I actually do a lot of studio strobes on location. And I like to overpower the ambient light so it's dark and dramatic. Like make that sky dark blue. I don't feel that that is a Portrait 101 essentials concept. It's really not something that I would start with. But I do it a lot and so I thought It was important to share. So I'm gonna take some Profot B1s out and photograph my assistant Fallon so that it was a dark blue sky and balancing with a little bit of sunlight on her face. One of the things that we do not touch upon is I don't touch upon high speed sync for speedlights. I only had, you know, what is it? 40 minutes to an hour to touch on speedlights, so it's a general introduction. But that will also allow you to darken down your background. And so if you wanna know more about that, I did a Location Lighting 101 course that goes more into that. So the bonus, however, just is a short segment of me using Profoto B1 studio strobes on location, using their high-speed sync capabilities to underexpose ambient light.
Great, thank you. Okay, so let's talk a little bit more before we close out today about how you are going to get the most out of this bootcamp. So tell us again about the Facebook group and if you guys need that link, jump in the chatroom and Vanessa will put it in there for you. Or maybe at some point we can, I don't know if we have a slide at the end with that. But maybe we can bring that Facebook slide back up. Talk about how you're gonna be interacting with people in there.
Okay, cool. So I'm gonna check in in the Facebook group. The biggest thing that I want is I do want conversation, people to chat about gear that they like, or techniques that they like, or even, I mean, honestly, sharing other educational links, or whatever. I want people to share and talk. And so like the first conversation I will start is going to be tell me inexpensive gear that you think works great and that you recommend to each other. But also I'll periodically be calling out for, hey, I did the natural reflectors technique. Did anybody go out and find a natural reflector? Post it. And so it's just a conversation amongst photographers and it's all for the goal of learning and sharing as much as possible. And in this group as well, I will also share other stuff that I have. So if you're like, "Hey, Lindsay, "I like the speedlight things, I wanna learn more. "What was the class you had?" I can share that link with you. It's just a good place to ask me questions for things like that as well.
'Kay, perfect. And once again you can go to the Facebook group, ask to join and then you will be accepted at some point. There's probably a little bit of a backlog as Lindsay's team is out there accepting people into the group. But anyone and everyone is welcome to join. So thanks for putting that up. Let's, and I think there's already over 2, photographers in there, well over that. So such an amazing community and place to learn and interact with each other. Right, Lindsay?
So let's talk again about the schedule. We are breaking this bootcamp up into four different weeks. And each of those weeks has a theme. And so this week we're going to be covering camera, lens and focus, cropping and composition and accessories. Favorite thing about these lessons that you're looking forward to people learning?
I'm focused on the back button focus. I think it's one of my favorite things. (audience laughing) I really wish--
People always ask about back button focus, always.
Then the other thing I would say would be that depth of field just isn't just aperture. Like that was a really profound thing when I figured out, oh, wait, there's more ways to control depth of field than just changing my aperture. So that would be for week one, my two faves.
Any final words for everyone?
I think my final words would be that the benefit of the class is there's really two main benefits. Benefit number one is the confidence part so that when you are asked to shoot a guy, a family, a group, a fuller figured woman, no matter who it is, that you feel confident, because that confidence makes a huge difference, not only to you and your abilities, but also to your subject. And I think the other part of is that, as you can clearly see, there are so many things that go into a successful portrait. It's your lens choice, its' your lighting, it's your camera angle, it's your posing. It's all of that. And so the more that you know and the more you have to access, the more tools that it gives you to create a beautiful portrait. So this is meant to be a really nice overview of all the different approaches you could take to portrait photography. And then if you find one you love, you practice it, and you dive in deeper. Maybe you love speedlights, you wanna learn that more, you take another class. Or maybe it's studio strobes, or whatever it may be. So to give you the confidence that you need to approach any subject, but then also the overview of the type of knowledge that can be utilized to create a beautiful portrait.
Lindsay, thank you so much. This class, I have people in the chat room who are talking about what an amazing teacher you are, and how straightforward you are. And it's true. You lay it all out there in an amazing way for us to be able to comprehend, and then take those steps in order to learn. So, really, really appreciate it. I've seen much of this bootcamp being filmed and you rock it, as always. (laughs)
Thank you, Kenna.
So, everybody, thank you all. We have people that have been literally joining us from all over the world, so many different countries, because, Lindsay, people love to learn from you. (laughs)
Sounds good to me.
So thank you guys for joining us here in our studio audience. Go to the class page, RSVP, you'll get your weekly reminders. This is our live event, however, the rest of the time we'll be interacting with you in that Facebook group. And so thank you, everybody, for joining us. Thank you, Lindsay Adler.
For today, that's a wrap. We'll see you tomorrow for the next class in Lindsay Adler's Portrait Photography Bootcamp. Thanks, everyone, we'll see you next time. Thank you, Lindsay.
Thanks! (audience applauding)