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Pose It, Light It, Love It

Lesson 4 of 33

Posing Two People

Clay Blackmore

Pose It, Light It, Love It

Clay Blackmore

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Lesson Info

4. Posing Two People

Lesson Info

Posing Two People

Let's look at this picture you know you can see how I'm just shooting through the grass here and I'm down low and what I'm thinking about here is a trick that hansen fong shared with me says the camera sees with one eye but we see with two eyes learn to see with one eye what do you think that means one I see with one eye what it means is our eye sees three dimensionally you know I can see the back wall then I see you and the focus and it all looks very cool but in a camera sees on two dimensions and we don't get the layers so what we do is like in this picture by seating them in the grass here I've got an element out of focus then I have the couple gonna have an element out of focus behind them so that's a good rule to start looking for elements to create this three dimensional illusion does that make sense to you so guess what this is mary catherine bigness she's getting married this weekend and these are the real simple poses that I do with couples but you wouldn't think that they're...

sitting on two posing stools would you well guess what I've got imposed right out in front of the studio and there was only that one little red tree you see it right there that little bitty thing and that's what I'm using is a background so when I do it aside what's the first thing I do what do you think? Tell me yes look for your background look for my background I exactly I want to go out and say there's the background and then I make the picture happen in front of that background there's also times where you have this great lighting on a port portrait you say oh look at the lighting on the portrait for this person and that works as well but I'm always conscious of the background always always so notice how she's leaning up against robbie she's got her back to him but here she's got she's facing him so there's two ways to bring two people together they can either face one another or they could be back to front like this you see that really easy, isn't it? The key is when they go towards each other their chairs are far apart so that their bodies can hit stay out of the way of their heads when we do it right now so if their chairs are far apart their heads touch before their bodies get in the way but when I do this pose the chairs were almost right on top of each other one another so here's a portrait I mean this is a fall day last year and this true story I did a baby in the morning a family of six about eleven then I did another portrait it to something else at three and we're finishing about four o'clock and sure enough and the other family was five was a saturday I just booked them all in and I thought she never confirmed I I was so tired from the day I said maybe maybe they won't come you ever felt that way? Maybe they just won't show up I kind of feel like I just don't really need to do anything else today and of course she drives up the car and she's got nine outfits and I'm thinking, ok, I want to finish saturday strong, but the key to that story is I'm doing things without thinking about him I'm just trying to hold on, I've just photograph ten kids, three families and I'm just saying, okay, I'm just gonna do what works and I wasn't even thinking and the pictures came out beautiful, but what am I looking at here? I'm looking at the sky and I'm saying I love the sky let me expose for it what's that exposure probably about, you know, one twenty five eleven so I put the camera one twenty five eleven and how much flash did I put on? You can see katherine holding the flash there, the flash is eleven, so now we're married those two elements together that's called key shifting I could make the sky white or I could make it darker blue and that was going for the darker blue look how low I am right here why am I down so low like that? I'm trying to isolate them up against the sky there were construction and houses everywhere and there's and I wanted to shoot through the weeds like that then the piggyback I mean everyone loves the piggyback and looks good in it and I'll do a piggy back today and I'll show you what a lot of people miss on that I see a lot of people piggyback in and they're too far away when you piggyback get in writing on the faces that's the key I hate to see the legs you know what I mean like the girl's legs all hanging out like that so this is a profile with his face behind her and this is something like we could do in the studio and the way we did this is we took cover I'm in the shadows you see me under the carport so I'm in the carport shooting from the dark out to the light look where the reflectors place this is a den ical that's what we just did, isn't it? I mean seriously look where the light sources it's to the left of paul where those green trees are and they're coming in he's open in the light up so the cool thing is once you start practicing is learning this put it in your camera bag it's in your wheelhouse you can do it in any time there's the piggy back having some fun like that here's the same pose same position but now we've got him laying on the floor down in the grass there in the in the leaves and I love this picture what pose is she in feminine? What pose is he in basic now we're going to start putting those two poses together we're going to put the basic and the feminine together this is where it gets fun look it look out nice she's posed here she's actually looking at me and katherine my second photographer clipped this picture off from the side and she loved it. She said something about this picture you know they're both looking in different directions is he looking? No, they're both looking at me but it just feels less posed when they're not looking into the camera so what's a great rule sometimes barton, I'll go out to an event we get it all set up I had a second camera to bargain I get busy with my formal studies my faces, the ones I know they're going to sell but off to the side we're clicking away all the time bart loves the infrared you know, like we did the other day two days ago where we do black and white infrared it's a different look it's an artistic look but going back to this look how she's got one knee in front of the other two slim the figure I'm going to show you how easy that is to do today but is there a forty five and if you just zoom into the top of that in your mind's eye you'll see the portrait of the two heads together that same portrait of the faces she's an effeminate he's in a basic now they're just walking towards me and we do this all the time I remember in italy on that trip we put the couple in the vineyard and I had him get about twenty steps down they didn't even know each other one of the students and one of these models from milan and he thanked me profusely after I did these pictures they they held hands and they walk to the camera and listen what monty told man I never forget this and it works he says tell himto walk like they're walking on a tight wire because it keeps their knees together do you know what I mean? See how their needs air kind of tucked so when you're doing full length and they're walking towards you, just tell him walk like you're in a tight where now they're walking to you and you start barking orders to them like look at each other head to head foreheads cut you know and they come just walking up the hill there and having a good time and I'm looking for the frame inbetween frames you know my clients are craving those unp owes looks okay so what am I telling you? Why do you need to learn all this? Well, you need to start formal and in fun always look for the frame inbetween frames that builds out the variety more variety means what more sales thank you I'm in it for the sales I have to tell you I'm a passionate photographer but I love making pretty photographs but I love making pretty sales I really did I mean that's you know we're in business to be commercial artist it makes you feel good so let's keep going I'm jumping up and jumping down I'm ready to shoot. We'll start with this picture today too and that's just two people brought together heads facing one another but what's the he hear their chairs are so far apart maybe four feet so their bodies are not interfering with the picture. So many people try to put two people together but they've got their bodies too close together now if they're heavy if you got heavy subjects the chairs get even further apart and that's what we do full faith two thirds profile I was really going to give catherine a call today. She was so complimentary friday she ordered a dozen photographs my weddings this weekend I want to put him around the house, the rehearsal dinner I want to give them out as gifts to my parents at the rehearsal dinner and she ordered this portrait, she said I just love it she ordered this picture and she said to me in the function pledges it's so beautiful it's classic and it looks old world to me and my parents are just gonna love it it's so beautiful but it also feels so natural so what is natural mean? I mean everybody says I want to look natural I want to look natural so this is the perfect time to tell you posing is not the picture posing is merely a place to rest the face most people hate posing because they've seen so many awkward poses they've seen poses that looks so bad poses that just make people look silly so that's not what we're all about we're creating a platform to rest these beautiful faces and what is the platform? It's nondescript it's minimal it's something that goes away it recedes it's all about the expression I just made this portrait love that over congressional country club their wedding was the following weekend and just a amazing couple and again I got up high on a golf cart and I'm upon the roof of the golf cart and I am like just so quick guy to do this like in three four minutes so what did that do that put that field of sunflowers right behind them I'm always looking for the background first piggy back having fun if you get a chance to goto video v I m eo video dot com and you just go to my site clay blackmore had two hundred films at least one hundred fifty many of these air engagement engagement films now I took this picture in the couple they were looking at me and I thought you know the lighting is just not good there is it it's like split lighting so I just simply turned their faces to the light right and I created a little bit of a rembrandt on her you see the little triangle of light I love the rembrandt light but you know usually what I'm teaching is that one lighting pattern but rembrandt you know the only problem with rembrandt is he never took a class from monty because monty would have set him straight madea to keep that one lighting pattern but we have to know that all these lighting patterns are viable because during this class we're going to do some crazy light we're going to do clamshell lighting, glamour lining split lighting we're going to mix it up and we're going to do a lot of things that are a little more editorial more fun that's what people want to see these days this picture is upside down I'm shooting in the water the reflection and I flipped it one eighty can you visualize that? I'm just standing by the lake there standing over here and I said look at the reflection click right into the reflection and here is their silhouette here's the infrared which is one of my favorite favorite things to do is I r and this is the scene that's very pretty much signature very signature scene for the caves valley golf club and her husband, her father and the husband they're all involved in the country club it's a very, very it's clues of place and to get the barn and the couple and the kind of walk down is really, really beautiful and the same time I'm making these pictures guess what I've got a young guy next to me named justin french and french is filming and he's filming and let's get the camera nearby me just the videocamera just want to show you how easy it would be to do actually the one man army is a mono pod with a fluid head on top but let's take a look at this right now something this simple right here has changed my entire life and that's dslr cinema and I just love it I'm so intoxicated by making films now the first five d mark to that ever came out came to me in a white box and they made me sign nothing that said, if I tell anybody what's in the white box you know I'm in trouble there were two cameras I can't believe I got one guess who got the other one? Ah young man named vincent law ferree vincent law ferree begged him for three hours to give him the second camera they kept saying, no, no, we've already spoken for, we can't no, no and he begged them I didn't really get it, you know, I thought big deal it's a video camera I've got I've got video cameras I've got a little, you know, it's a video camera also vincent went up in a helicopter and made a little movie called reverie and you know what? Vinnie's now in hollywood he's a big producer he's big, you know? And I took my dslr five d mark two to the beach and film my son running on the beach with no stability, no sound, no light. So I have all this shaky video of my son on the beach and vinny's in hollywood and there, you know, he's famous nobody knows who the heck I am so I laughed and then sit and I talk about that all the time I I really respect what he's doing and toe watch his really it's just like man he just takes these six hundred millimeter lenses and runs them across these nature scenes and he's making movies and video and now we are too we're doing corporate films and if I can show you a little bit of our work our little video work I'm talking to you as a bride and groom and I'm saying I would love to be your wedding I loved let me just you know maybe show you a little save the date film they see this and I think this is driving maur business to my photography so I'm kind of like the double package where I could do your photography and I could do your video uh there's so many tricks to it and again but here's the key real quick you need stability you need sound you need lighting and you need a story and my problem is I'm kind of this ready fire aim guy when it comes to video let's just get it oh look how beautiful oh I love this shot and all the video guys around me they can't stand it cause I'm always telling no no over here and they're all zeroed in on a shot I'm saying no it's done this much better but you know what? My my portrait techniques have paid off big time in the video world because it's the same thing I want in on destroyers nondescript backgrounds and get this I had a wedding where the couple or live in new york city, one of the biggest weddings of my year. Last year, we made this save the date fillmore is actually a film we were going to show at the friday night dinner, my guy went home and added it, I watched it. We're going to show it on friday, and we have this picture of the bride and groom getting into a a horse drawn carriage down the plaza by the park, and he clipped in the shot of her, where she looks so heavy and I'm like, oh man, how could he do that? And sure enough, when I showed it to her on line, she was you know what we'll skip that video tonight? We'll just show the little montage she didn't want to show it. I knew why? Because people have feelings we have to, we have to think like photographers with our video camera hide the body, show the faces, go for expressions. So some of the pictures like this, this is a save the date as well. We're at the cherry blossoms that turned into a sign in book, which I love, and these air signed at the party, and what I do is put the pages around, let the people sign them, and then I fold them into the book for many reasons I've had books get grease on them, wine on them fall and break so now I just get the signatures at the wedding and fold him into the book and this is a picture I really love infrared underneath an off camera cue flash, which we're gonna do tomorrow and let's go into the middle of short film, I think it's about right here what you're seeing here five portrait session being captured over my shoulder and these people have just loved him. I can see the attraction that we're getting. I'm in new york actually doing this one all by myself on my pictures were terrible because I was so into the video here's, kiki and chris having a good time in the shoes were just perfect here's an engagement ring, we just set it up on the street and, you know, we walked around seattle yesterday we saw some kids making a movie, three kids with a d s r cinnamon and microphone, and this is really where it's heading, I think in a big way, our industry, but wei need to have the complete package. I think we need to offer video. I found my people on craigslist and they came in and they formed up this little group and I had this little five business doing video they went off and made their own studio I started another eye germinated another film business now I'm on my third company and they're I'm sure they're going to fly the nest maybe I can't pay them enough they think that you know we get this one deal and we're going to go off and get it leave clay behind and you know what? This is a shot I did through the weeds I'm just running all over the set oh, look at this black and white you know what I did here? I put the camera in black and white the guy said no, no shooting color we can always go to black and white in post I said no this footage will never be seen in color and sure enough it's one of our favorite save the day it's all black and white because for some reason they never flip it back to color I mean from color to black and white here's the cherry blossoms here but do you see the feeling of this? You see that they just finished golfing and they're walking back to the club little champagne they just have a good time and a little move in. So how do you learn to do all this? You need to get people to help you you can't do it by yourself but it's a great offering tea put into your couples uh repertoire this is the couple in the in new york their film never got shown because ed, it wasn't tight enough. There's. The date.

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

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Clay Blackmore Top 10.pdf

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Student Work

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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.