Portrait Photography Fundamentals


Portrait Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Difficult Lighting Situations

Let's talk about shooting in difficult lighting situations, okay? So how do you shoot in the most difficult lighting situations? If I was given an hour, like you said: "Hey Scott I got one hour, let's have some coffee. Can you tell me how to shoot in like, all the lighting situations in the world?" (audience member laughs) I would go hmm, lemme just show you how to conquer the most difficult ones. Because the easy ones you probably could figure out, kay? So that's what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna show you the most difficult ones, and so let's going with that. One is, here's a typical situation I've talked about before. Bright light, right? And so I showed that picture before, is like, if I expose the background then the subject's gonna be dark, so I've got a choice there. Whether to expose the background correctly and get a blue sky or get a dark subject. Or get a light subject and get no sky behind me, right? So what your situation is, let's talk about the problems first. One is: High sun...

, you get some raccoon eyes. What are raccoon eyes? Is the sun's so high and our eyes are inset, that a shadow is created and we get these shadows right where the eyes are, and that's called raccoon eyes, right? That's not good. Sharp shadows, which can be good or bad. But if the sharp shadows are on your subject in a way that you don't like, or covers up, it's too dark in the areas that you want, that could be a problem. Subject will squint when facing the sun. So if you put your subject in the sun, right? Let's say the sun is coming this way and you're there shooting right at me and it's super bright, I'm gonna be like hi, that's not gonna be good. Overexposed backgrounds, right? We talked about that before, right? And so here's a high, here is a bright light situation. If I had no flash, I had no lighting, right? You would get something like this. High sun, look at the shadows right under her. So you know the sun is high, it's about like, 110 degrees too, it's super high. So what am I gonna do there? Well, here's what I do before, and so I can get that, okay? And so what am I doing before and after? I'm gonna make it real, that's straight outta camera there. And then that's post processed. So that's straight out of camera. So it's not like it magically looks like that there. Because you gotta do a little post processing to, that's straight outta camera and that's post processed. So anyways here's again hard light, right. The sun is, look at, I'm at a 16, hard light. I get that but I add a little light, boom. That's what you get afterwards. So I'm just showing you what this technique's gonna do for you, you can produce stuff like this. Okay so that's before, that's after. That's straight outta camera, right, that's post processed. We'll get into that later, kay, but I wanna show, okay here's a typical flat light situation, right. There's hardly any definition, there's hardly any you know, shadows, it's even lighting. But ugh, you just kinda got nothing there, right? So what are the problems of overcast lighting? Flat light, it's boring, there's really no drama to this picture, no dynamic range, right? And so here's the same situation. I'm shooting in a flat light situation, okay? So what do I do? Ah looks okay. I get a little bit of light coming in, why don't I just do this with a flash? Add some flash, and if I add flash and create highlight and shadow on him, then I could create, I could drop in a background that has highlight and shadow that is much more interesting. And so now that looks believable, okay? But I had to add the flash in order for that to work, okay? And so, there's straight outta camera. See how I add that flash in? And then post processing I add that, it's a big difference. But! Because of my lighting I can do that and make it look believable, okay. So, here's a typical photo when there's no light. That's kind of a joke, you can't see anything, right? I'm gonna explain all these situations and then I'm gonna show you how to solve them, okay? So, what's the low light problems, there's no light! (laughs) You have to create your own, and so that's why people don't like, especially if you're a natural light shooter and then you have been forced to shoot at night time, you're like "Ahhh, now I seriously have to create my own light because there is no light, I'm scared." Right? And so that's, that's a problem for some people. They get scared. Extreme camera settings, "Oh no I gotta turn my ISO up to 3200, I don't know, I've never done that before." Too much grain, right, "Oh man my camera just can't handle that, blah blah blah." So what's your solutions? Okay well. Here we go let's say we're in Paris now. And that's kind of a typical low light situation. You got no light, you're just trying to get some light off of a lamp post or whatever, (laughs) that's what you're gonna get, nothing, right? But you add a video light and boom. You can get something like that, of course with a little post processing there. But that's straight outta camera with your light, you have to add light.

Class Description

Want to be able to go into any situation with your camera and have the confidence to know you’ll get the shot? Award-Winning photographer Scott Robert Lim goes in-depth on the four foundational elements you must conquer if you want to develop your creativity and style.

Scott will give you the guidelines you need to master:

  • Lighting
  • Posing
  • Composition
  • Post-Processing

Once you master these fundamentals of portraits, you free up your mind to get creative and ultimately get the shot.


1Class Introduction
25 Shots That WOW
3Four Fundamentals of Photography
4Create a Visual Impact with Composition
5Importance of Foreground and Background
6Create Depth in Landscape Images
7Photos Don't Always Follow the Rules
8Composition Practice Exercise
9Composition Critique of Student Images
10Keys to Posing
11Shoot: Classic Elegance Female Pose
12Shoot: Modern Female Pose
13Shoot: Rollover Female Pose
14Female Hands & Arms Poses Overview
15Shoot: Hands and Arms Poses for Female
16Seven Posing Guidelines
17Headshots Poses with Male Model
18Shoot: Headshot for Male Model
19Shoot: Sitting Poses for Male Model
20Shoot: Leaning Poses for Male Model
21Shoot: Standing Poses for Male Model
22Keys to Couples Posing
23Shoot: Couples Posing
24Couples Transitional Posing Overview
25Shoot: Transitional Posing
26Keys to Group Posing
27Accordion Technique with Groups
28Shoot: Accordion Technique
29Shoot: Best Buds Pose
30Shoot: Talk with Your Hands Pose
31Shoot: Lock Arms and Hold Hands Pose
32Run at the Camera and Dance in Your Seat Poses
33Shoot: Pod Method Pose
34Posing Critique of Student Images
35Introduction to Lighting
36Soft vs Hard Light
37Difficult Lighting Situations
38Bright Light Techniques
39Overcast Light Techniques
40Low Light Techniques
41Lighting Techniques Q&A
42Drama Queen Lighting
43Laundry Basket Lighting
44Make it Rain Lighting
45Smart Phone Painting with Light
46Mini LED Bokeh Lighting
47Choose the Right Lighting System
48Hybrid Flash System
49Innovative Accessories
50Gear Overview
51Theatrical Post-Processing
52Ten Keys to Post-Processing
53Essential Skills to Post-Processing
54Headshot Post-Processing
55Bright Light Post-Processing
56Flat Light Post-Processing
57Low Light Post-Processing
58Introduction to Fine Art Post-Processing
59Light & Airy Fine Art Post-Processing
60Dark & Moody Fine Art Post-Processing
61Post-Processing Critique of Student Images