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Pose It, Light It, Love It

Lesson 19 of 33

Shoot: Baby and Parents

Clay Blackmore

Pose It, Light It, Love It

Clay Blackmore

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Lesson Info

19. Shoot: Baby and Parents

Lesson Info

Shoot: Baby and Parents

Just just like this that spin around now there's the light right there that's what? This whole days about window light look at that. You see that light? So what we want to get I want to get tyson tyson here and I want his wife here so here's how we're gonna do it? Wait, you gotta come down for a second. All right? Tyson, you go right here on your knees. Okay? Tyson's on his knees good. And you're gonna hold a baby out there? The black white background can you pop that opened on and put that in behind here? It's right there on the floor hustle there we go. Right there. Now I think it's going to be better if you'll come forward can have opposing block right there. There, right there. I'm gonna see you on the block. You know, guys, come back. I'm going to do just the baby. Maybe if you're all good, I can get you all in, flip it around to black and put it right in there may be a bigger one. Two oh, look, how beautiful can I get one person dying to help bart hold the background on one side?

Just come on one time, wait here we go now pick it up over the chase part and put it right behind daddy now lay it down a little so the light gets in because right now the light's not in right there. Okay there's the shot right there I got a few minutes left. Okay, can you sit here with your knees going that way your back to me as two high let me just now sit again and just put your face right in front of me in front of chase chase jars right there. Beautiful now your left shoulder tyson around behind the baby a little pulled the hair off your face in the front here to remind me anyone with him so when you get your face right in there you got the two of you in somebody wiggle the reflector a little for me I need to reflectors just now the light's gone you've got a height lay that way down lay that way down in fact keep scooting it to that right there. Beautiful now what I would do seriously we're not going to do it on tv I'll show you a slide I would go bare shoulders I would have mom and abroad dad no shirt and baby naked and this I'll show it to you it's so easy but look how we harness the light that's what I'm showing you here so we're almost there what we need to do is get chase we need to get uh tyson to get your face right down low behind the baby hide half your face behind him now look his hand kind of dropped his hand and there we go right there good right there and mama you're going to put your chin right in there son you're right there chase come up a little I mean come up a little tyson now do you guys just talked to talk to him pull him into you a little bit right there right there that's good right there what babu yeah and then just kind of someone get the feather and good right between right between him or some bells right in between the parents there we go go real close to the baby there you go there you go right there there you go pull the hand down we got it sewn your lean in the baby lost that beautiful light where is that light where's that light lay that background there we go that's great tyson getting their little closer yes alright guys we're almost there can you pick the baby up a little into that light right there that score just one t three I love it big smile put your cheek right in there tyson and tyson co closer to sonia right there chin upon the baby just kicked his neck back I mean there you are right there get it in focus shooting too for all right could we turn his nose to profile there we go right there too much bring it back to me a little bit all right, relax and you guys were all so good it's time for a few more eminem's thank you so much. You guys were often great thank you. Family around a heads up our department here at creative live and we were just so excited that he could bring his entire family in for all of you to learn out there that was incredible. Thank you so much. Tyson. Thank you and sonja of course all right, so so even I would like some vanilla yogurt do we have some of that here or ice cream? All right, so you guys go in the hall and hope we've got it I'm in big trouble way got something? You know they got a big refrigerator. All right let's take a look at uh I mean that was it that's how we do it and usually there's two of two of us on staff myself a monkey and an assistant so that's how we do and that was just awesome and I just would love teo in addition to getting through your slides just kind of take a few minutes tio after that we let the family go alright. Awesome. Thank you, jason um take a minute, just tow recap exactly everything that just went on from the lighting to the family to the craziness like you said normally wouldn't have seven other adults necessarily in the room but just kind of take her through what just happened it's a riel chess match yes I make a move and I'm waiting for their move if they make a move I didn't expect that I have to make a new moon but my whole move is to humiliate myself the joke is on me on the big goof and they're laughing at me and I I love that role because you know it's just fun to do kids and families I'll go to some families in the dc area and you know it gets real busy spring and fall and I just opened the garage up and say can we pull the cars out and I'm going to start right in the garage and they're kind of like in the garage and you know why because your house is so beautiful I don't want to get all this background and stands and their and their their floors were probably you know, ten thousand dollars and I don't want to scratch it I don't want to bang something and I have just learned and I'm quicker that way and really the reason I'd like to pull the cars out of the garage I like to see what they're driving so I know how to sell the pictures that was bad, isn't it it's the truth I've seen some nice cars come out of those garages and you know if the dad's driving an eighty thousand dollar car don't you think it's been a couple of thousand dollars on portrait yes and that's the way I have to feel all the time that my pictures are more valuable than a hunk of metal with rubber wheels these portrait are aren't their beauty and I'm going to sell him that way and you know what my goal in life is? My goal is to make the largest portrait sale ever that's my goal the largest portrait however now that's going to be hard because I have some friends in london these guys what's his davy made a sale to some arabs amazing say I'm a good friend jeff lubin I know about his sale but if you have a sale a goal like that and you miss it you're still going to do so much better than if you didn't have a goal so what do I say? I'd rather aim high and miss it by a little that not aim at all so that's why I am with the families that you know this is fun but it's it's art and its business so when we pull the white paper down I asked him all the dress and light colors pastels, whites and it's kind of a raffle er and field and guess what usually these big family groups there's usually maybe three or four families involved there's the grand parents then there's like four kids and their kids so I liketo warm up with each family because I am a name guy and when I'm doing the big group, the names are very important but again we know about meltdown, you know? We could start to see it with anna there on the back row and you kind of get to a point where you know what we'll photo shop it together good enough and you know, the flash we never really meted out but I'd love to right now can you just, uh, hit the test button? We were shooting here at eight hundred eso at a sixty at four in the beginning so I'm just going to go with the meter click it me go get my shutter speed up to fifty go not a word of a lie what do we have two and a half two and a half this flash was a stop under and the flash of stop under is going to do volumes because that little reflectors sometimes a little face gets lost back in there and and that reflectors missing it and then we got to go into post production to fix it, which we can but that flash is just going to be this big phil like and that's the way I do it, I'll show you some slides teo kind of to speak to how this all works but the idea is the learn everybody's names get familiar be the monkey get goofy and then when I have the whole group I've kind of won everybody over it's kind of the same thing in a wedding at the wedding my plan is to do l the close up portrait all the family groups, the small groups and they want to get out of the hookah or under the canopy or under the the altar and I'm doing groups of people I know the names I've kind of worked hard to memorize the names it's a game with me and how I do it was association like jerry I met you the first day I got your name right off, didn't I? I was thinking jerry lewis, I'm sorry you're a little goofy but now that I was funny I was thinking of your monica wright I have ah friend I just did some work with monica and she's ah ceo of a company we do a lot of emails so this morning I came in and I thought monica remember how picked your name up that's ideal with association but let me tell you if you want to be a great photographer it starts there, it starts with people you went about a thousand, it has nothing to do with the camera, trust me and has what you it has to do with your personality and the way you're going toe connect with people the way you're gonna pays your portrait, the way you're going to get in and get out and really, you know, keep it light and lively. Just remember that you prefer to do their family portrait in their own home rather than your studio. I have just built a studio that I am in love with, and I hope to show you some pictures of it. I go to their house for an extra two hundred fifty dollars, so I don't mind going over there, sometimes again, their homes were much nicer. They have beautiful homes in three ways, so it's up to them, I give them the option, but if they come to me, I have window light studio all set up and an outdoor area, and I can round robin and again, my next goal to tell you is to have a studio outside in the window, in the side, we have three stations and a family can come over and choose what they want. We're going to give them levels. Would you like to hit two stations? That's going to be enough for you? You know that could be seven, eight hundred dollars. You want to go to all three and doing a clothing change, we're talking twelve fifty give people the option. And have a photographer bart can be out by the window you know catherine could be in the in the in the uh the environmental and I'll be in the studio and so that to me is my goal is for families to come over for about two hours and create a book and usually most of my family sessions turned into books and one more quick question envision that this was a garage is this what you're going to have that me the door have the backdrop parallel to the opening of a door in fact let me show you I think I've got some flies the illustrated ready so the tummy shot I think is where I'm about to begin and this is one light overhead that's just a hair light infrared camera and she's just laying on a great piece of paper one light so then the baby comes and this is kind of what I was setting up here at the very end uh this is done with my spider lights but I'm able to control the light's very gently I was making some video on this day as well I love the props from design revolution they haven't offered anything for the prize but I know she just couldn't shoot probably too busy to return my phone call so whoever wins today a portrait I'm going to speak on the half a design revolution that she'll throw something in that bundle because these little things are what the parents love hats, buckets, pearls, little fabrics they're all over and one little area my studio we got a baby let's get the stuff out over here and we kind of profit, you know, make it look more current. I think we're just little babies, you know? But maybe they have big heads, you know what I mean? And if you cover it with a hat it's much better draws your eye to the face you take that hat off and you've got this big head bald head now here's the setup when the parents were leaning into the baby you see the hair light and the main light they're both coming from behind. And that umbrella is my phil white and that feel like just kind of came into phil for that picture. Here's the light here is the picture pretty amazing? This is a great trick. This is out in the ice house. We have a window light just like this and I anchored the baby. The mother's hand is right here. Mother's hand is right here holding the baby so I got a little piece of scotch tape, doubled it up and stuck it on the baby's poem and the baby's plane with the scotch tape trying to get the scotch tape off of her poem and that's how I got the hands posed like that scotch tape just take the hands together but be careful because we had this happen once where the baby put the scotch tape in her mouth and the mother was like ah, you know, I was like, oh, I'll never do that again but I do it every time now but I always just be real careful I put you know, stick it down real hard to get the picture craig and get it off I'm watching it I love this picture just look at that head of hair is that gorgeous? I was in one city and somebody said is is he wearing a wig? No, this is actually one eighty I laid the baby on a mirror but what do you do with a mirror? You get a hair dryer and warm up the glass because if you put a naked baby on a cold mirror you're going to get tears and t t in a hurry so what I've got here is a warm up and then the baby's laid right under the glass I love the mirrors, we have acrylic mirrors too and they'd be nice in here as a feel like so let's go real fast here I'm getting kind of low there's a design revolution, the props they do and if you need ideas you go on their website they photograph all these little infants an entenmann's, they're tough. You know, just a sleeping baby is is the way I usually do it. This is all designed revolution props here, the fabric. This is what I just did with sonia. I laid the baby on the mother's coming. You see that? And then the baby the mother holds the baby up into the light now that's the baby's reaching for what? Eminem's, you know, and then right in front of the soft box. So it's really just shoot heavy. You know, I went to the beach with my son and away came in and knocked him down when I took this picture and we were there for four days, he never went back on the sand again that he was so young. I was so mad at myself with wave just knocked him over. But I got a picture of him in the grass that you'll see in a minute. This is the cover of our new book all window light it's, baby and child. Portrait's and it's speaks to everything I'm doing here. It's on amazon here's window light shooting through the window we've seen this picture and how it was taken when you walk in my studio is a canvas forty inch campus everybody loves this picture and it is it is truly a a piece of art it is good now this is what I do is what we just did here gray paper stand him up his foot's on a quarter shoot away let's take you in a real session let's get the audio up and look at a little video we made this thursday to show here today way have audio great we're gonna open up a garage door turn it up turn around get busy just a simple piece of great paper a reflector and we're ready to work we're gonna shoot high I so he's defenseless I gotta tickle feather I've got double I got balls and had film we're gonna shoot a little film with my old camera with a control let's get busy let's have some fun yeah look at that smile right there out of the game beautiful there you go. Okay, we got the indoor portrait done we're just gonna go outside and shoot into the sun back lighting is so easy but it's a hot sun so we have a scrim e I know this work that I did it with my own wife and son I'm gonna put a shell in the direct hot sun setting sun but this umbrella is going to be a big scrim and it's the most gorgeous light on campus that's gorgeous just gorgeous right into the flare way trying to get that little very light all right let's pack it in guys go home it just showed the video and not done all that work here in the studio I can't wait to see this video come together tomorrow I'm going to do a burrito technique I don't know where this idea you know where the idea came up we were shooting outside with the paper and it blew over the paper blew down and you know what when the paper blew down I put the model in the paper and that's what I did here I did that with the baby you see how cool it is and the lights coming from behind what am I really doing here I'm taking the light away I'm subtracting I love this portrait so much the red against the grey here's a little daniel he's the most good looking boy in the world with love my could just come over here and say I've got an overhang right here he's underneath the shade and the light look at these big catch lights it's just the open sky I mean he was three years old he had that shirt on for three here he is at the studio every time I'm doing a portrait I'll give him like five dollars credit towards a lego if he'll help me and I've got a portfolio of him that's just amazing from doing this the sofa we have that at the studio were just tickle feather here's the same time we took him up in the beach two hundred one eight now this lens this lens is butter I mean pure butter it is so gorgeous and look what it does I use it for video and I use it for pictures they don't make it anymore have actually re designed it for two hundred to let me see it right here and the lynns er picked oh books is giving you a book away and my good friend steve from picked oh he's a brilliant friend of mine he gave me this lens you talk about a friend you get him on ebay and four thousand dollars look at that glass but that's what it does it takes the background and it throws a completely out of focus we take it to every wedding when you were doing the video from the back of the offer the ceremony it's great for video for filmmaking it's amazing that's a cute little shot sunflowers, the setting sun and the silver reflectors all amusing. Also we do the sunflower shoot every year and every year on the guy out there they plant these in maryland for the birds to eat and I come out there and guess what I bring a ladder guess what else I bring opposing blocks ah flash I bring the scrim the big umbrella I bring a couple of helpers there are a ton of other photographers out there shooting and these guys are so challenged because all they brought was their camera and their flash on camera and their pictures are looking amateur they're getting this guy what am I doing? I'm going up high the first thing I do is I anchored the see the little boy he's on opposing block why? Because now he's he's anchored for about a minute I got a minute and then I'm acting like a big goof does that make sense to you? I'm up high shooting down to isolate him on the background simon says we're just about through the show and then we're gonna kind of pick it back up with some more families that's probably one of my favorite pictures of four children and look at the little girl she's in mid air you know and this is not opposed this is you know this is where you have fun with the kids just get it his foot's on the quarter to hide it just like we did today. Okay, I'm ready for questions I'm readyto you know, ready for two more families not alright let's see, uh you look they sorry I did not say your name right uh but anyway there wondering it takes a lot of emotional energy to deal with five kids thumbs up and then a follow up to that is how do you keep your energy going? How do you continue and do like an entire day with a family, a large family going and going keeping creative the whole time as well? You know, I'm a very spiritual person and I think god gave me a gift of this incredible patients that just I'm kind of very patient with children and families I know I am and I also feel that when I get started I don't know where it comes from but energized energizer bunny just comes out of me and I kind of have this feeling like like I'm a little bit touched with fire that you know I'm not going to stop until I get the picture and I started doing all this stuff get this get that good, you know? And I just go go, go and we got it you know? So I don't know where the energy comes from I just the grace of god you know well, we certainly have been really appreciating it and it's I mean super inspiring to see thank you do we have any questions in our in studio audience? Okay, so on this one here you're going to have the photo shopped together, so from a business practice are you going to in invest that time in postproduction get it all put together in hopes of selling that absolutely you know what I might do is rough a couple together before I erase it out and I'll say, you know, this is going to be awesome this won't take that much time, you know, it's a little bit of a level of enhancement it's not expensive, but we're gonna have to do it to finish the job but you know, to make a good sale I don't want to get hung up on the little things I'm going to gloss over that I'm just going to keep going until the end and it's again part of batting a thousand is give give, kid, you know and and that's what I'm trying to be a giving person, so I'm not going to say I have to charge you for that I have to charge you for that, you know, we changed wedding album's a lot had a bride the other day she called up and she made six changes to her wedding album on every page you know what I mean? Can it at home you know what I'm talking about way do the spreads we put him online? Well, guess what? I don't know if you have judith's name in here, but judith is my album designer it's called artistic story to design now she'll design the book she lets the changes come and show just make him for me and I could be on the beach or on the golf course which I never do but judith fixes it for me she's the designer and she fixes it and guess what she said she would give us a free album design when we do our portrait drawing you guys this number one portrait is going to be flooded with free gifts all right, so ju that's my my she's my safe here because sometimes the bride likes something the mother likes something different I'm in the middle I do it one way then they can we change it was changing and they all say, you know, we kind of like it better the way ahead in the beginning and I'm like you had no kidding because we're designers and you're not so if it gets to be a little bit arduous you know okay, so I hope I spoke well to that. So yes so out of the group like you did with the whole big group when they were all on top of each other and said how many of those do you think you'll actually show the client? I mean probably showing off by five that it's all coming together and then one good one and we'll probably all have a good laugh there's a sofa in the back will probably use for some of the other families sofas are difficult you know why it puts all the heads level right, so I might put three and a sofa too in the back leaning forward now I've got my little group of five that we did yesterday and then maybe something over in the corner maybe something here may be something there so you know, for the next few families, maybe we'll come off the white maybe we'll use these rust walls, you know, I'm just open for a lot of suggestion now I think you see the way I work and now I'm going to get you guys involved we're goingto style it together we've got an amazing team here and I love when people give me ideas I love when people you know everyone's been so helpful you know, how about these clothes? I think the grey shirt made a huge difference on levi when we when we look at those pictures sob aside and we go back and make a black and white, those stripes are just pulling I away so I didn't tell the mother lay all the clothes on the bed on the sofa what do you want to do put colors that are in nature? I see green and blue and brown I want all of those three colors on the palette darker shades of those but you know, to take a green or a teal and turn it dark is easy like your today and a little bit of a light green today I could select that and photoshopped and pull it down a little bit I mean it be easy to make dark green from teal or you know whatever you so those shades come down easy but stripes they don't come off you know polka dots the worst thing you could put on his red or yellow because if you do a portrait and red or yellow it's usually right were I goes now solo can do a red or yellow maybe a red but a family group and a red in there your eye goes with red and yellow I like black you know black is in nature if you squint your eyes down in nature that's all you see is all the black coming in so I would say everyone's got a nice pair of dress jeans so why don't we lay all the jeans out? Everybody put on some nice fitting jeans now let's go on tops what he wanted and we could do white tops we could do shades of blue and green tops that's what I would suggest and on my email I sin une e mail to my clients I wrote about three pages hey how are you going to dress for your family portrait? Well, let me tell you it's everything I wrote in big letters block this is where we begin we've got to get this right before we go anywhere if I'm going to make the biggest sale in the world, I can't do it with stripes and polka dots. So I'm going to go there. And then I say, you know, we need to do next. Why don't you just dress everybody like you're going to a nice dinner? You know, if you're going out, you're probably aware, not a long sleeve shirt. You know, button downs are great. Maybe the men should bring jackets. We could take him on and put him off, you know, we could do and, you know, dark dress shoes and, you know, that's, pretty much the rule, dressed like you're going to dinner.

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.

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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.