Paper Outfits at Night


Portraits at Night


Lesson Info

Paper Outfits at Night

Alright, we've finally come to the big finale. This is my personal project, it's called Night Paper. It's a surreal synthesis of cut paper fashion and long exposure portraiture. It's something I dreamed about for about four years before I had the cajones to finally start doing it. And that's one of the things you gotta do is get over your fears and make that art as quickly as you can. The things that we've learned, all of those different ways of doing night photography and portraiture and all that, now we put it all together and this is my special mashup of the two things that I do. We're on a rooftop in Seattle. I've got a very special landmark in view. I've got a wonderful model waiting here, Caitlin. She's wearing a custom-made paper fashion for this shoot. And I'm gonna start by going to one second at F11. I've got the ProPhoto V1 set up and I'm gonna make a test exposure, and I'm gonna take a look at it. It looks to me like the flash is great 'cause I used a flash meter, fantastic...

. But I wanna have more of the background. So I'm gonna increase that exposure up to 15 seconds so we can do some other time-bending elements in there. Alright, so now we're gonna take one longer exposure at 15 seconds. Caitlin, big pose. Give me some arms. Face towards the light, beautiful, hold that. Relax. And now we'll get a little bit of ghosting because I had her move halfway through the exposure. Now I've chosen to put her head in a very important place where there's no light behind it, and I'm gonna check that right now. It's a really important part of this. 'Cause if there's light behind here, it's gonna blow through her head and it's gonna make, well it's gonna ruin the portrait, that's what's gonna happen. So I've got good exposure, I've got good drag, and I've got highlights in the background. Alright, we're going to, Chris Nicholson is guest-starring in this. He's also in Seattle. Chris, let's have you drag the light through twice on this one, okay? From feet to head, after the flash, in three, two, one. Now Caitlin, move forward slowly and Chris, hit her with the flashlight. You can move without your arms, like walk gently. Okay, great, back to position one. Let me take a look at this. Now Chris, help me by side lighting. And that's good, we got a little light and definition along the edge. That's fantastic. Okay, another half-step to your left, Caitlin. Good. And now this time, after the flash goes off, I'd like you to slowly walk towards the flash. You have 15 seconds to get there, so just baby baby steps, but nice and flow. Move your arms and legs slowly as if you're walking underwater, okay? Chris, you ready? Five, four, three, two. Okay, hit her with the flashlight Chris. More. More. More. More. More. And that's enough, hold. Back to position one. Now I'm checking to make sure that we got the blurs in there that I wanted. Not quite, there's a lot of bright stuff there. Chris, come to the other side of that air conditioner. Come forward. I need more light out of you. Keep coming, keep coming. Yeah, just stand over on that other side. And do it from there, I need more power. We need to get more light on her, okay? So you don't need to do the side lighting, but when she starts moving, start pulsing the light on her, okay? We're going in three, two, arms up Caitlin, three, two, one. Okay, now slow twirls as you move forward. Chris, there you go. Twirl slowly. Spin spin. There you go. And hold. Alright, back to position one. Now this might be a little hard because there's some bright lights there. But we're getting some motion. I can see it. Alright Chris, I'm gonna use the flash multiple times, okay? Caitlin, face away this time. Face a little bit towards me, good. One leg forward over the other, hold that. Three, two, one. Now turn your body back towards the flash. Step a half step forward, arms forward. Alright, back to position one. Now we're adding some time-bending elements here by doing double flash. Double exposures are beautiful, great. I wanna do one thing. I love the mask, but I'm gonna make a field adjustment. I feel like I don't see enough of your chin. So, pardon me. Oh sorry. Oh you are just fine. I feel like we're not seeing enough of her neck. Alright, one more strong pose, put left foot in front of the right, balance gently, good, arms up, cross over the head a little bit, fingers tall. And Chris, a little bit of side lighting. Swipe? Yeah. One more time. Good. Okay, relax. I think we've got some really strong images here, but I wanna level it up one more time. We're gonna set up to pop some smoke and have some fun here. So I'm going to now do something a little bit radical and different, I'm gonna put the smoke it front of Caitlin, and we're gonna fire a flash from behind her, rim light her, then when the smoke clears a little bit, hopefully in 15 seconds, it's a little windy up here, I'm gonna use the flashlight to paint just her face after the smoke blows through. Okay, here we go, we're setting up. Oh, that's great. One more, hold. Yup. Oh, good. Okay, relax. Let's see what we got. We've still got smoke. Okay, give me a tall strong pose. Back to your left a little bit. Good, right there. Fantastic, hold that. And relax. Let's see what happened. It's gorgeous. I wanna do one more can of smoke, and then we're done. Alright. Getting more dangerous this time, and then you get to warm up. Ready? Taller, stand up. To your right, or to your left. Move back to your left, good. Okay, hold there. Okay, relax. And that's part of the chaos and the mayhem that is Night Paper.

Class Description

Learn to capture amazing environmental portraits at night and incorporate a starry landscape or beautiful urban environment with your subjects. Get started in night portraiture by knowing what gear to choose, what to look for in locations and how to use your friends as subjects. Incorporate lights into your night photos and bring life to a long exposure. In this class you’ll learn: How to take self portraits at night without losing any of your background or subject How to choose a light source and add life to long exposures What to get right in camera and how to develop your images further in lightroom How to safely use pyrotechnics to take your portraits to another level  



I learned some techniques in Matt's class, which were helpful, but believe this was for the advanced photographer and i was a little confused at times. i would've liked to know the "how to" with the lights, showing how to program them with more detail. I am just learning how to set my camera for different lighting situations. But a very interesting course and glad i went through it.


Great class! Liked it so much that I booked a trip to Colorado to work with Matt and Lance on one of their National Parks at Night classes. Highly recommend.

Peter Mackenzie

I don't understand the negative reviews. This class feels less hands-on than the other classes in the series, but the information is useful and makes sense. You also need to understand that all classes out of the night photography series will cover the basics in one way or another, so there is some repetition. Whichever class out of the night photography series you view last will feel like it has more repetition, especially if you have some skills before taking those classes. Just skip the intro and move on to the tricks Matt has to share.