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Portrait Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 3 of 61

Four Fundamentals of Photography


Portrait Photography Fundamentals

Lesson 3 of 61

Four Fundamentals of Photography


Lesson Info

Four Fundamentals of Photography

So, lets get to our second chapter, The Four Fundamentals, Say No To Mediocrity. I've been teaching for about ten years and I think for me, even my journey, was that I didn't really like my photos or I couldn't feel good about them until about seven years into my career where I could look at a photo and say, I actually like it. And I think the reason was is because I really needed all four of these skills in order for me to put it together. And if you're lacking one of these areas, and these areas are what? Composition, posing, post processing, and lighting skills. They all have to come together, and until you really have a handle on each of them, I don't think until that point you're not gonna really develop into your own signature style. And I know that it is for a lot of students where let's say they do three out of the four right and one is missing. You just feel like you can't get to that world class level. So, it's very, very important to kind of have a great understanding of all...

four of these and then proceed forward. And once you feel like you are, have four of these under control, awe man, you're unstoppable at that point, and you really start breaking into your creative zone. If you don't master these things, this is kind of what happens. One you're gonna be very inconsistent. So, for example, if you're not great at lighting, then when you go and shoot at a situation where there's no light and you have to create it, you're gonna get mixed results. So, inconsistent. Limited growth, which I talked about. If you feel like your stagnant, it's probably because you don't have all four of those nailed down. Creative block. How many of us feel like, oh my gosh, I just feel like I'm doing the same shots over and over and over again? That was me, certainly, for a lot of my years. Boredom. Do you ever get bored of your images? And you can't just feel like you're inventing something new? That's because you gotta have all four of these fundamentals. Can't reinvent your style. Do you feel like you're stuck? You know? Just in a certain kind of rut and you feel like, man, I just can't evolve my work. And here's a big one. Lack of opportunities. When you master these four fundamentals and you're moving forward and creating a signature style, you're just not gonna get hired, you're not gonna get to those exciting opportunities and shoots that we all love that keep our life just fresh and invigorating. So, what happens when we do successfully master these four things? Creative explosion. You just feel like, man, anywhere you shoot is so exciting because you can put a new twist to it. Self inspiring. You can inspire yourself. And the reason why you can be self inspiring is that you're kind of mastering all these four things but you're growing each one of them as you go along in your photography career. We feel stuck, is let's say, we get stuck and we don't know much about posing. Then instead of doing the hard work and trying to learn how to pose, sometimes we just try to grab tidbits of information or maybe we take a workshop and oh, maybe I can learn about how to use my flash and we think that that's gonna get us to the next level. Maybe it's a new camera or a new lens, but that's actually covering up the deeper area issue, and that's knowing the fundamentals. So, I feel like once you get those four down, you can inspire yourself. Right? You don't need to go any workshops, except for mine, you should still go to, but you can just feel like you're just moving forward and doing new and exciting things every single year, and that's how you should be feeling. You're gonna have consistency, no matter where you're going, no matter what subject you have, no matter what situation, if it's bright light, flat light, or whatever, you can go out and produce great results. And that, when you have consistency, is that's when you can really start charging more and more for your work, because no matter what type of client you get or no matter what type of situation, you're gonna still produce that high quality work. Branded imagery, right? A signature style. You're gonna learn how to develop that because you're gonna get the fundamentals down like the back of your hand and now when you go into a shoot, you don't have to worry about, oh what lighting should I use, what power should I put my flash at, ah I'm so confused, and you get so bogged down with the technical that you can't release your creative power, but if you know all the basics, you know how to pose and light and everything, you don't have to spend any of your energy on that but now you can spend your energy on the creative and when you are executing your creative, that's when your signature style's gonna poke through. But we have to get to that level. Staying current. Now, I felt like with photography, and I guess it's just like education too, or anything for that matter, every couple years you have to change and edit your style and your philosophy because nobody likes to buy the same old stuff. Okay? So, let's say you shop at Banana Republic, if you go in there two years later would you like to see the same clothes? No, right? We expect change. But we expect yes they'd have pants, they'd have blazers or whatever, but those things changed, the color changed, and that's the same thing with our photography. Every few years it should be a evolution. Just like us in life, we need to grow, our photography needs to grow, and our clients love to see that also. World class imagery. If you wanna get to the point where you're recognized and get hired around the world and getting bigger and bigger opportunities, then you gotta master these four and once you do you can get to that level with your signature style and it ends up having opportunities that you won't believe. And I can attest to that. Hear me, this, I am, like I say, I am the only Asian college drop-out that you'll ever know in your entire life. Most Asians have seven or eight degrees, me, no, I don't. And I'm tellin' you that I get tons, I get asked to speak all over the place, and it's so exciting when you reach that point and I wish every photographer could get to that level where you feel like your life is just exploding. But that starts with knowing these fundamentals.

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.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. 5 Shots That WOW
  3. Four Fundamentals of Photography
  4. Create a Visual Impact with Composition
  5. Importance of Foreground and Background
  6. Create Depth in Landscape Images
  7. Photos Don't Always Follow the Rules
  8. Composition Practice Exercise
  9. Composition Critique of Student Images
  10. Keys to Posing
  11. Shoot: Classic Elegance Female Pose
  12. Shoot: Modern Female Pose
  13. Shoot: Rollover Female Pose
  14. Female Hands & Arms Poses Overview
  15. Shoot: Hands and Arms Poses for Female
  16. Seven Posing Guidelines
  17. Headshots Poses with Male Model
  18. Shoot: Headshot for Male Model
  19. Shoot: Sitting Poses for Male Model
  20. Shoot: Leaning Poses for Male Model
  21. Shoot: Standing Poses for Male Model
  22. Keys to Couples Posing
  23. Shoot: Couples Posing
  24. Couples Transitional Posing Overview
  25. Shoot: Transitional Posing
  26. Keys to Group Posing
  27. Accordion Technique with Groups
  28. Shoot: Accordion Technique
  29. Shoot: Best Buds Pose
  30. Shoot: Talk with Your Hands Pose
  31. Shoot: Lock Arms and Hold Hands Pose
  32. Run at the Camera and Dance in Your Seat Poses
  33. Shoot: Pod Method Pose
  34. Posing Critique of Student Images
  35. Introduction to Lighting
  36. Soft vs Hard Light
  37. Difficult Lighting Situations
  38. Bright Light Techniques
  39. Overcast Light Techniques
  40. Low Light Techniques
  41. Lighting Techniques Q&A
  42. Drama Queen Lighting
  43. Laundry Basket Lighting
  44. Make it Rain Lighting
  45. Smart Phone Painting with Light
  46. Mini LED Bokeh Lighting
  47. Choose the Right Lighting System
  48. Hybrid Flash System
  49. Innovative Accessories
  50. Gear Overview
  51. Theatrical Post-Processing
  52. Ten Keys to Post-Processing
  53. Essential Skills to Post-Processing
  54. Headshot Post-Processing
  55. Bright Light Post-Processing
  56. Flat Light Post-Processing
  57. Low Light Post-Processing
  58. Introduction to Fine Art Post-Processing
  59. Light & Airy Fine Art Post-Processing
  60. Dark & Moody Fine Art Post-Processing
  61. Post-Processing Critique of Student Images


Vitor Rademaker

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.