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Pose It, Light It, Love It

Lesson 1 of 33

Class Introduction

Clay Blackmore

Pose It, Light It, Love It

Clay Blackmore

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

The idea is simple you know there's a well and the well is portraiture people like pictures of faces but the whole industry is leaving the well they are going to snapshots so I'm going to take you back to portrait I see so many people with their arms up next to the well praying for rain but the rain is right there the waters here and I'm going to show you how to go to the well and pull the water up into me that's a financial statement because I've been in business twenty years and I want to keep the money coming in so if I'm just doing snapshots I look like everybody else if I'm doing thought out portrait it's going to be great but the key is to know what you're doing and really have the equipment to do it so in my heart I'm thinking so many different things, but if it's in my head it's never gonna happen, so if I teach you how to pose light and refine and it's all technical you're going to be with your subject's hand okay? The light goes here, the camera goes here, the isos here and y...

ou're thinking these things that you might be saying them to your subject and they don't care about those things, so we have to get all that so well learned way down in here that we don't think about it when I make a portrait I don't think I feel I feel and I can I can I can establish a report with the people instantly because I'm not thinking about where does the light go? Because I know where it goes I have one lighting pattern to poses and three camera positions so that's our road we're going to go right down that road and we're going to stay into the portrait study this morning let's go through other power point let me show you a few things here about my new camera I just got from cannon I love it it takes really big pictures I love this image we were in montreal this is a plastic camera that goes on top of a little mini cooper but it's really good. I'm just gonna have a seat here and show you about twenty slides but the first light is my man monty monty's my man. I know so many out there in the in the community have been touched by monty in many ways his portraiture is legendary. And why reinvent the wheel right it's been done before? Why don't we just learn these these studies that can make our lives much easier and you look in here he's probably the most decorated photographer ever if you look at the awards, the travel, the accolades the first picture for cannons knew ia's d thirty was monty I was right there in new york making this image that's the first digital camera at ever for cannon and here's the other close up by window light and this studio is so awesome we have a window bank over here will be doing all window light in the morning which is so neat because listen if you learn what I'm going to show you right here it works by the window it works outside it works on location like for location portraiture you never have to relearn it let's learn it one time I was so lucky to travel around the world with monty this is the way we rolled we went to europe, asia many countries monty took me to this wedding the actual original kardashian wedding this is an image I made for people magazine in nineteen ninety one and I look at that with such affection to see how the kardashians have exploded I hope I can get some more weddings out of the family I don't know let's keep keep going here but the's portrait's right here are made with one life that's a one light portrait this is a one light portrait it's a matter of fact you see the speed light behind me this portrait was made with one cannon six hundred speed light so we'll do a picture just like that today and show your tomorrow how we put a soft box on a speed light and I know everybody wants to take the easy way out they want to travel light I know what's going on out there let me just take a few flashes and goto work nobody wants to carry a tripod nobody would take opposing stool but I find taking all this equipment makes life easy going in there with minimal equipment makes my life tough it's the hardest thing to try to shoot a wedding with a camera in one flash I need posing stools I need some backgrounds at times when I don't have good backgrounds I need assistance I need all the equipment to make it happen this is one of my favorite pictures made in paris at sunrise we just did an ad on craigslist we found a model look who showed up she was wonder very tall woman as you can tell but not just kidding but here's the key to this picture the reason it's in here I could have never made that picture if I couldn't communicate to her where to turn her face and her shoulders so community of skills community of skills is everything meaning drop your shoulder, turn your nose tip the top of your head that's what we're going to get into howto communicate and where is your eye when you're making all these refinements right on the camera so we can really zero in these pictures but I've been lucky to goto weddings all around the country and might my look is this energy fun? This tag shot everybody said oh we love this is a fantastic I love it I love the wind, the breeze, the blowing but we can put these formal studied portrait's thes poses right inside of these images how about this is four different photographs and I cut them all out and put him together for one picture I got this idea from a book from the beatles they have all four faces on the beatles it was made by a man named marshall and I said, look at this great shot I'm going to read re create it with the family but you had to photograph each family individually and put them together and photoshopped otherwise the lighting would have never carried you see what I mean like that? How about this double lighting in the snow that's always been my mantra when it comes to candid photography is a single light source off camera. So I'm going to show you how we'll take this single six hundred light and use it to our advantage but my real love is, you know, things like this the moment the decisive moment I'm a big fan of bruce on henri cartier bresson and no job you think good buddy of mine there's so many friends out there that love to capture the moment dennis reggie the great photojournalists were really good buds and and I've taken classes from dennis learning that if we could be intuitive we confined the moment we don't have to fix the moment so my approach is kind of like classic yet current meaning I'm going to do the classics and I'm going to do the journalism I'll bring helpers to really help me with the photo journalism I would switch in a second I'll tell you you know job using had the idea he said I'm going to hire a formal person I'll do all the fun stuff which the art the beauty that he's known for when the mother comes up says joe, I need a picture of my aunt and this and that and he's points to the formal person they'll take care of it but in my world the formals are everything my clients are photographing coming to me saying clay monty did our wedding you did our bar mitzvah you did this we want some more of that we love and so I have to deliver the portrait look how about a few more and then we'll get busy here I love this shot made in the reign twin lens rowley this is the day before their wedding just love this picture of the guy walked by and I missed the shot and I said sir, do you mind up and do you mind walking back and walk by them again back back up so he backed up and walked by and I took the picture so it's a setup it's photo postal ism like photo journalism but do you know american girl in italy by ruth orc and she did the same thing she had this girl walking down the street she did it like five times he never told anybody and she made one of the most you know rare photographs of all time but when you look back to the negatives after she passed away she set up the picture and walked down five times how about this image again? The idea came from a book so here's my first tip to the audience why don't you look through some books and see a picture and say I love it or a magazine let's try to recreate this picture it'll never look like what you see in the book it will look better because you made it is your picture this one was inspired by horst p horst the famous fashion photographer I love this image I call it our andi when you look at their books like that you know what is rnd research development I call it rip off and duplicate you know rip off and do it better you know let's look through the books and say look at this shot. This is one hundred thousand our photograph it's, the cover of the magazine. I'm going to do something just like this that's how my work jumped real fast. I love that weddings. My favorite thing to do is get out to a wedding and capture it. You get one chance infrared. I love working with the black and white infrared. We're going to do that in this class. This is infrared as well. A couple more quick things. I was on the stage it can. And just this past p p I convention, I couldn't believe the amount of people that gather toe watch me do my presentation. But then I found out it was three fifty five and at four o'clock they were drawing the ticket for the free camera, so everybody came to watch get their camera. So anyway, I made a a film when I was in college. This is an eight millimeter cannon scoop it camera. I've always enjoyed film and filmmaking. If you go to video dot com I have over two hundred films out now, so we're going to speak to the power of dslr cinema. In this class, we're working with a two hundred fixed lenses we have the one thirty five thirty five, but trust me, you can't do everything. You need to do one thing good I've got a wedding to sit I'm going to do the video in the pictures I do both things lousy I want two spoke us on one thing and stay there my dad's chase two rabbits you catch none and that's what it is to try to be a filmmaker and a photographer you need the help to spread out so we've had a real nice run recently we did a book on weddings uh children's book on portrait ce techniques top ten I'm going to show you how to do this and my favorite book we made a few years back uh extraordinary women fantasise revealed and I'm telling you guys I'm walking into cem big clients this is dina merrill in her apartment on his nervous is khun b I'm over the whole skyline of new york I have very little time I have relied on tech need to pull off this picture by window light click she loved it I love it this is what I'm doing how about wendi rieger in the studio having fun that lighting pattern is what we're going to do next I had madeleine albright I was well secretary madam to me they told me on I'm taking her picture of my heart's beating a mile a minute and I said just pose like refined I put in the basic post put the light there click click and we got out of there I love that picture of madeleine albright. How about this? Helen thomas another famous shot they're all playing fantasy rolls now this is broad light and we're not going to do this monty said never broad light abroad excuse me nobody defend anybody but way short light the women but it worked out great for helen thomas face has so much we pulled it off so let's get busy we're going to talk about posing we're going to lighting and the lighting I'm going to show you is this modified loop right there? You see it right in there that little shadow I don't want to hear on day three katherine can you show me that loop shadow because people do that a lot I want you to look at that think about it and say that shadow needs to come down below the lip but below the nose but not touched the lips so that's our shadow pattern I'm going to do it for you right now on stage in fact my buddy calvin hayes was in the airport he said client look at this the mona lisa and she has the loop shadow I said if it's good enough for leonardo it's good enough for me and our studio we're doing children babies this is a nice portrait here we're going to be photographing like three or four families tomorrow here's my son daniel I got this idea from irving penn google that name he's one of the giants and photography and he photographed the hells angels on a background outside actually by window light and speaking to families how to marry the background in with foreground were going to be on the roof tomorrow guess what? You look out and you see the seattle needle and I said, you know what? I can make that picture mary right in with the subject you know I know how to key shift I know how to make that picture and the people all blend together so we'll do that tomorrow but we do seniors, high school seniors, teams, magazines I go out every portrait you're looking at here on these four are all done with the technique I'm about to share with you and it's quick and it's easy you know what? You have to be quick, I'll tell you, why should I look at this camera? Because I'll tell you what everyone's in a hurry these days everyone's late I go to a job and I get started and they say, how long is this going to take? And I said, well, let's get busy, I have a boldness of attack I go right in, I posed by light and people feel confident because I know what I'm doing if I'm in there just kind of wishy washy working by method where I'm sorry working by feel I'm just going to waste everyone's time and hope I'm going to get lucky today I'm not going to get lucky I'm going to get it every time in fact I'm gonna bat a thousand do you know in the professional baseball if you back three hundred that's hall of fame numbers, isn't it? Three fifty? All right, fifty three fifty hall of fame when you leave here today or let's say after the three days I'll teach you how to bat a thousand every time I pick up the camera every time I go to work, I bat a thousand I never miss and I'll tell you how okay, you want to know? I'll tell you on day three, the very end okay, you stay with me three days, we're going to do a lot of models. This is some good war and I'm going to share with your techniques that I've invented myself one light flash to create this some corporate films that are exploding where I live. I'm doing new websites with a fresh two point oh, look business two point oh casual and making corporate films hopefully we can touch on that. I know we can because a passionate area for me I'm going to use a new light on stage that's handheld, and I'm going to show you exactly where to put the scrims and reflectors because a lot of people just aren't sure and we get outside and I've even seen my buddies that are explorers of light cannon and were out there working, trying to find the lightness that look, the sun's over here point the reflector there first, get the sun and bring it in, so we're going to practice that technique, but this is the technique I want you to learn, and this card I'm going to refer to in this first hour over and over, and these are the poses. This is your sheet music, and this is photographed by monty zucker. I'm gonna balance over here and tell you you can download this for free and how to photograph everyone dot com, I'm going to jump back and show it to you because I'm going to go to work here in just any moment with amanda, and I've never photographed amanda. So what I'm going to do first has set up my camera, show you howto white balance, get the iso set, and then we're gonna analyze the face, and then we're gonna go to work. Uh, let's move to this last little bit portrait one, two, three what does that mean, one lighting pattern for everything, so if you could just think all I need to know is one lighting pattern got it made two poses what are they? Won his head and body to the light. Basic one is the body away from the light feminine. So there's two poses and there's. Three camera positions. You can see him right on the bottom of the screen. Here's my lighting setup penciled in. And how about let's? Goto work so let's bring a manned out and let's take some portrait. Yes, question went too fast. That's me through that I would love to shoot. This is gonna be placed clinic. I wantto know best. Go ahead. Are you going to take us through that diagram? At some point? We're going to actually set up these lights right on stage. What here's the deal. You know what happens? People see this and they're they're afraid I would never take that to a wedding. But this is really only one light on the face. And then we start to say, how would it look with hair like, really nice in fact, paul gettings, the great photographer he said every woman, whether not she's seven or seventy seven, deserves a light on her crown. So we like the hair and then we have a separation lines from stools or reflector, so we'll just set it up here on stage, just like you see it there

Class Description

Join Clay Blackmore for a three-day immersion into the art of photography. Drawing on decades of experience, Clay will cover the essential posing, lighting, and composition skills that are key to creating jaw-dropping images with any camera.

You’ll explore working with both natural and in-studio light. Learn about the essentials of portrait posing, including strategies for working with individuals, couples, and groups. Clay will also share his fail-proof tips for making on-the-fly adjustments so you're able to work seamlessly with any subject, in any environment and source of light. You'll also master the art of capturing the picture-perfect wedding story quickly, reliably, and completely with stunning results.

Whether you’ve been taking photographs for years or are just starting out, this course will give you the knowledge and inspiration to take your work to the next level.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Clay Blackmore Top 10.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


a Creativelive Student

Clay Blackmore is the real deal in portrait photography. The guy is a bundle of creative energy and technical mastery. I took portraiture with Monte Zucker, and am glad to have Clay now as his successor. This concepts in this course are the rudiments. They'll never change, regardless of trends and fads. Clay is also very likable and fun to watch work. Keep your ears peeled for every word. When Clay points out those many little details, they all count. Love the course, and have a ton of respect for Clay. He's a portrait master, and a great guy. What else could any portrait student hope for?


This a wonderful class. Clay has worked w/Montey and brings a supreme knowledge to photographers who want to learn more. His skills are creative and insightful with a modest personality. This is an amazing class that comes with a great price.

Tom Lokos

Of all the courses I have purchased without exception this is the best. Clay is an excellent teacher. When he speaks he is saying something and not just talking. He explains his lighting techniques in great detail while demonstrating them . He is clear, concise and fun to listen to. You will learn how to pose individuals all the way to large groups, while learning the correct way to light them. All this while being entertained by one of America's great portrait photographers.