Portrait Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Shoot: Headshot for Male Model

So, again, as you can see, right? He's a lot taller than me. (laughing) Right? So what I'm gonna have him do, just sit down right on that chair right there, okay? So now I've got a great angle. And so let's start off with a traditional shot. And so I am looking at him, and I'm looking at the sides of his eyes. And so I'm going to pick the eye that I feel is the smallest. And so, he's very symmetrical, and I'm just going to let you know that good-looking people have very symmetrical faces, so it's hard for me to figure out which eye is smaller. I'm gonna actually choose...um, it looks like that eye on the left-hand is a bit smaller. So I'm going to turn his face this way, because the smaller eye is closer to the camera. Let me just see. Maybe I'm wrong. Turn this way. Turn the other way. Yep, nope, this is the smaller eye. So that's towards the camera first. Why am I doing that? Because that will make that eye a little bit bigger if it's closer to the camera. Is that not correct? So, I ...

kind of analyzed the face, right? And then I see that. Now that I know which way I'm going to face his nose, then I know the light is going to be on this side. That look correct? Okay, great. And so, can I just have you kind of leaning forward on your, yeah, there it is. You're going to turn your head this way, and I'm going to throw some lighting in here. And, that looks great. And so if you can look back at me with your eyes. That's good. Now, you don't want to, here I'll show you. I'll just shoot it. So you can see; it's better that way. Okay, so the key thing is, is that you don't want to make sure that those eyes feel like they're straining to look back at you. Right? And so, there, it doesn't look like it's straining. Wow, you're looking good, buddy. (audience laughter) Like that. Okay, so even though you see a lot of the white of the eye on that shot, I don't feel that he's straining to look at me. But in general, you want to see whites on both of the eyes. And so I can do that by moving my position, too. So, if I can have your head turn this way? And if you can just kind of bend your wrist a bit. And so, I don't want you to rest your hand quite on that, just slightly off. Maybe you can just point. Yeah, there you go. Okay, turn your head this way a little bit and look back at me. Alright. Okay, so I'm going to shoot another one, and I'm going to do it up and down. Great. Okay, and so those are the two shots right there. And I shot both portrait and landscape. Okay, now I'm going to do something very symmetrical. So, if you can kind of fold your arms, or like, actually why don't you hold your hands, yeah, like that. Now, I'm going to shoot straight. Now, this is key to the reason why you have to shoot down: because you don't know how deep those eye sockets are in a person's face, right? And so most of the time to get a catch light, you're going to have to raise their chin up to see it. So what I'm trying to do is get that butterfly lighting right on the subject's face, right there. And I kind of see it. And so, just raise your head just a bit. Yeah, right there. And I can get that light into his eyes. Let's pull that light back without still. Now, I'm going to demonstrate. I'm just going to get extreme shadow, but you're not going to see a catch light here. Okay. And so, you're going to see the light in the sockets, but you're going to see really nice light on his cheeks. But, you're not going to really see a catch light in there. Right? So, what you can do, if you really like that shadowing like that, but you need a catch light, you could use a second light underneath to get that catch light out, okay? I'm not going to do that, but I'm just telling you a technique that you can do, if you like that shadowing. I love that shadowing on the face, but what you do is get another light underneath. Either another video light, or sometimes people use a reflector. And you can get that catch light back into that eye. But you're going to have to do two light setup there. Okay, I'm going to keep it really simple, and I'm just going to do one light. And so now, look at that. He looks great this way. And - can you raise your chin just a bit? Yeah, okay, down just a tad? Right there, bam. Very symmetrical, very strong-feeling, right? And I'm just going to have you open up your arms just a little bit. Yep, good. And let's go with that, perfect. Right there. One, two, ready. (camera clicking) Nice. Okay, great. Now we're going to do some side light. And so, I'm going to have you turn this way. And, maybe, yeah, that's cool. Maybe I'll have you stand on this time. Why don't you stand? Right? And then you just look over there. And if you can keep your hands in your pockets. And don't put your, okay, so this is good. A lot of people will do that - put their thumbs out. But that's very distracting, so I'll just have him put the thumbs inside the pocket. And what you've got to do is have them, can you bring your hands out just a little bit? Yeah. What does that do? That forces that space to be right here. Because if they put their hands all the way inside it, it's going to close off that space, but at least when you put your hands in the pockets, usually you're going to get some space there automatically. And that's a lot better than having a person's arms drop, because you want that little bit of space in there, okay? So, now, just relax a bit. And I want you to think really lazy. And I want you to put all of your weight on this leg here. There you go. That's what I like right there. So, guys love to be lazy. Is that not correct? So put us in our natural habitat, right? Just, we're lazy; we're relaxed. We love that, okay? And so I'm going to shoot this this way here. One, two. (camera clicking) Good. And, if I can move that light a little bit more over to the side and back a bit; it's just a tad in my frame. And look how strong, I mean, you can't really go wrong taking this guy's picture, but I'm just saying, in general, look how strong he looks there. Right? That looks great. And that's very easy to do; it's just getting some light and doing a side light off of it.

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


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  • 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
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