Portrait Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Drama Queen Lighting

In the beginning of the workshop we talked about, well, I demonstrated those five shots. And now, finally I get to explain them, and what I did, and all that kind of stuff. And we've got our beautiful model again in the same wardrobe. And so, we're gonna go through everything. So, here's the five shots. We did the Drama Queen. We did the Laundry Basket, Make it Rain, Smart Phone Painting, and the Mini LED. So, let's start off with the Drama Queen. And this is kind of like my final vision for it. But that's what we did with some post processing and so forth. And so, the whole idea about this shot was I wanted to create some backlight to accentuate a silhouette. In post, I bought some of that silhouette back. But the main thing for me was I wanted some nice rim light and then we can go from there. Okay? So, what did I have to do? Well, if I'm in a typical shooting situation and there's ambient lights, and I can't really control it, I wanna eliminate the ambient light. Is that correct? Be...

cause I wanna create a silhouette and I can't have a whole lot of light in there. So, I have to turn my camera setting. So, if I take picture without the flash it looks dark. So, I call that creating a black box. I talk about it for three days on Crazy, Stupid Life by the way. But anyways, (laughs) so let's create a black box. And so, if I set my camera to F11, ISO 100, shutter speed about 1/60th of a second, usually that's gonna take any indoor situation and make it completely dark. So, let me do that. And let me grab my camera. Are we set up to show a picture if I shoot something or not sure? Okay. Let's do that and see. I mean, these lights are pretty bright but we'll see what we can do. If I'm at ISO 100, and I'm at F11. Okay. And 1/60th of a second, let's take a picture without any flash at all in this lighting and see what it gives me. So, it gives me ... We can show that on screen. Gives me what I want! Absolutely nothing. (laughter) I'm making her laugh. Okay. All right. That's what I want. Why? Because now I am in full control. You're only gonna see what I let you see. Right? I know that at F if I put my flash on half power ... This is no easy way ... I'm just gonna give you the solutions. I'm not gonna give you why. If you're at ISO 100, and you're at F16, which is bright light, which is outdoor light. That gives you a nice blue sky and whatever. Your flash is on what? We went over it already. Full, right? And so, if you go F11 that's one stop left. And so, what's one half of full? One half. Generally, it works at six feet away. So, what do I do? I want some nice rim light. I've got those set at half. And those set at half. And it should give me what I want without even thinking. Because I already know at F11, half power at six feet away. So, all I gotta do now is kind of figure out if those flashes are in the right direction and pointing at her. So, I'm taking a guess here. Is that pointing at you there, Aleyna? Yeah. So, a lot of times I'll just ask the subject if it's pointing at ... Is that pointing at you? See that? Look how good she is. She's not only beautiful, she's smart too. Right there? Just a little ... Little right there? All right, see that? Okay, so now I'm gonna turn ... And then I'm gonna make sure that those are both at half power. And so, I can control it from this. Sometimes it's just easier to go and do it that way. So, I'm not sure which system I like better because it's, you know, each have their strengths. Okay! So, now the key is if I'm gonna do a silhouette you gotta create an interesting shape. Right? And so, I'm ... Okay, so I need a side profile of you. And can you act like a drama queen with your hands. Okay, see that? Okay, so great. Do that. So, what I have to make sure is that I can see the outline. Her hand was covering her shoulder. So, if I move it out a little bit then I can get a ... Ooh, I like the looking down. That was better. We should have did that last ... That's much better. So, I should have just asked her instead of posed her. Okay, so now I'm gonna ... Wait, I always test it before I shoot it. So, everything's going on. One, two, ready. (camera clicks) Bam. Okay. And let's take a look at it. All right. Pretty much good, right? And so, you can fine tune it and get what you want or whatever. But in general, that's what ... You don't even have to think. So, can you do this shot in China? Indoors? Anywhere? Can you do it in India? Can you do it in Africa? Can you do it in Canada? Can you do it in Texas? It doesn't matter! You already know the formula. So, the amazing thing is you have already ... You wanna create a silhouette, you don't even have to think. One half, one half, F11. Boom, do it. Right? How easy is that?

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.


Class Introduction
5 Shots That WOW
Four Fundamentals of Photography
Create a Visual Impact with Composition
Importance of Foreground and Background
Create Depth in Landscape Images
Photos Don't Always Follow the Rules
Composition Practice Exercise
Composition Critique of Student Images
Keys to Posing
Shoot: Classic Elegance Female Pose
Shoot: Modern Female Pose
Shoot: Rollover Female Pose
Female Hands & Arms Poses Overview
Shoot: Hands and Arms Poses for Female
Seven Posing Guidelines
Headshots Poses with Male Model
Shoot: Headshot for Male Model
Shoot: Sitting Poses for Male Model
Shoot: Leaning Poses for Male Model
Shoot: Standing Poses for Male Model
Keys to Couples Posing
Shoot: Couples Posing
Couples Transitional Posing Overview
Shoot: Transitional Posing
Keys to Group Posing
Accordion Technique with Groups
Shoot: Accordion Technique
Shoot: Best Buds Pose
Shoot: Talk with Your Hands Pose
Shoot: Lock Arms and Hold Hands Pose
Run at the Camera and Dance in Your Seat Poses
Shoot: Pod Method Pose
Posing Critique of Student Images
Introduction to Lighting
Soft vs Hard Light
Difficult Lighting Situations
Bright Light Techniques
Overcast Light Techniques
Low Light Techniques
Lighting Techniques Q&A
Drama Queen Lighting
Laundry Basket Lighting
Make it Rain Lighting
Smart Phone Painting with Light
Mini LED Bokeh Lighting
Choose the Right Lighting System
Hybrid Flash System
Innovative Accessories
Gear Overview
Theatrical Post-Processing
Ten Keys to Post-Processing
Essential Skills to Post-Processing
Headshot Post-Processing
Bright Light Post-Processing
Flat Light Post-Processing
Low Light Post-Processing
Introduction to Fine Art Post-Processing
Light & Airy Fine Art Post-Processing
Dark & Moody Fine Art Post-Processing
Post-Processing Critique of Student Images


  • This course is amazing! Scott is extremely straightforward. He goes directly to practical problems, tips and etc. He explains every thing very clearly, and he is also very funny and charismatic, making you laugh as you learn. He shows that you don't need a lot of expensive gear to make very nice pictures. So I have saved some money as well, cause I was about to buy some gear that I wouldn't need right now. It is for sure one of the best photography courses I have ever attended to! I highly recommend! Thanks a lot Scott! You are the best!
  • I have purchased a number of classes, this being one of them. The quality of the information was good and the level at which Scott spoke was appropriate for me. Having a course sylibus would add greatly to the value, which usually is not part of the programs I've purchased including this one, unless I've missed it. I believe the speaker should be required to provide one. After watching the videos, much of material can be recaptured by seeing it in writing. I would like to hear back from Creativelive their thoughts. In sum, good topic, good speaker, good technical audio and video quality by Creativelive
  • Another fantastic class with Scott Robert Lim! The combination of his knowledge, willingness to share, passion & entertaining personality makes him a top choice for photography education. Learning not only the "what", but the "why" & "how" can transform one's entire approach towards MAKING pictures. A constant inspiration to get better & better through practice.