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Pose It, Light It, Love It

Lesson 6 of 33

Shoot: Back Two Thirds

Clay Blackmore

Pose It, Light It, Love It

Clay Blackmore

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Lesson Info

6. Shoot: Back Two Thirds

Lesson Info

Shoot: Back Two Thirds

I want to illustrate another pose I haven't done which I love this pose and it's great for the heavy bride the heavy subject and this is one if you look for the queen mother if you if you google the queen mother karsh made a portrait of her using this pose and it's called the back two thirds so this morning we did full faith two thirds profile guess what we can keep going we can go back to third and back profile and I'm just going to go for the back profile because I want to get that laid down before we get too far away from it so with the parting the hair turned completely around this way huh? Now look this way I'm definitely going to do it with the light on the left that make the portrait turn your shoulders to me a little bit good say with that with that part in her hair that's what's determine in the light on the left if we want turn around this way all the way keep turning good right there I don't know this might be just a cz good isn't it nice with that fuller hair? I think I mig...

ht go with the light on my right correct let's do it so bart we're going to pull the lights to the other side to stand it for one second and I'm gonna pass this over to you I think you have enough cord to do it and you just sit right here for me. Perfect. You go home if you're sitting at home google queen, mother portrait's and you'll see this pose and let me tell you I use this all the time because it's so easy to do what you want to think about is turning the body sideways. So turn your body sideways like this and then lean forward over the belt buckle and then look right over to the stairs there. So now I pose it. Now what do I do? Come on, guys. Pot's light lift, refine the kicker light here I haven't discussed enough on the height of it, but if you're tipping your head this way, this kicker light over here should be perpendicular to the slope of the face. If we're using a kicker light up here, then it's going to be perpendicular meaning that comes from high if you tip your head this way, then the kicker lights would be coming like this kind of like perpendicular if she were to be facing the other direction let's, just do it spin around this way. And if you lean forward and tip your head this way now, my kicker lights would be like this, and why is that? Because if this kicker light were too high, it would just like the top of her head if this kicker light were too low it's going to put a shadow on her chin from her shoulder so remember when we were kids we were arrows on her head? I don't know I've never seen those lately for I've got a seven year old they were like fake arrows, you know? And they had like this little thing you put on your head well, I had one so if you tipped your head here, the arrows went like that if you tip your hat here the arrows so that's, what you're thinking with a kicker light thiss kicker like can be called a beauty light accent light, but to me it's it's, the chrome on the cadillac and it's going to separate you from a lot of things out there it's going to make a big difference so now let's turn back around nothing I'm talking about the body sideways. This is a great time to talk about something we mentioned basic versus feminine how about this when I'm doing the basic pose, what I find a lot of times people end up too square to the camera, so why don't we say hamlet into a basic pose? I'm going to start sideways, okay? And then I'm gonna bring your elbow out on the table now she's a forty five isn't good but if you start forty five and then bring the elbow out now you've drifted around in your square to the camera so I'm going to do a basic clothes I'm going to start sideways I'm gonna usually take the handsome block and put the front foot up on the block you could just relax here for one second this is really where it all begins and you know so many people struggle with just a simple portrait of an individual so let's say I'm going to do just the basic clothes I'm going to go sideways I put this block it could just be one or two now what does that do when I put my foot up there that drops my back shoulder immediately it helps me a lot in fact outside if you have a couple of stools you khun put your foot up there and what you've just done and you dropped the back shoulder just that quickly and this all comes from that ten thousand hours of practice just shortcut after shortcut after shortcut I'm sideways I bring my elbow out and now I'm ready to go I've got the pot's done I could do this three quarter or I could go ahead and shoulder so that's good now we're going to do your back two thirds so just look right over there in the corner of the room there pose is good I was in japan once I'd like the reference this picture I can pull it up for you and I was at a trade show and they had this model in this beautiful gown part the backlight needs to go to my left a little bit the back light that's behind her and I said, you know I would love to photograph this is like a geisha you know, the gown with a big bow in the back, the makeup and I just really component is that what they were wearing and I said I'd love to do her portrait she was a bride you know, just stunning and they were like, well we really you know and they were in the canon booth and I said, you know, I work for cannon I've been an explorer of life from eight years if I could just sneak in there I'd love to do a couple pictures ever they said be here at ten fifteen tomorrow the show opens at ten thirty all that you do it so I'm there a ten fifteen just waiting and they coming all here he is he'd showed up, they were hoping I'd never come back and I'm just sitting there I just want to take her picture so they said, okay, go ahead, take her picture and I'm like, well, the lights were all suspended from the ceiling in the trade show booth and the day before the japanese photographers they were so cool they were wearing suits in these beautiful shoes and they had people moving their lights for them and they were taking the pictures on a man we had to do that at home have you know well when I'm there you know, they just left the lights turned off and they said, you know, you have about five minutes and I said if I could just turn the lights on they go oh, you want to use the lights and I'm like that's the whole point, so they said, all right, five minutes I flipped on two lights, pulled him back I went for the back two thirds why she had a bow in the back of the dress so I showed the bow turn the faith, put the loop shadow bam and are left they couldn't believe how fast we did it and I will show you that picture before the shows up, but here we go turn your nose to the right a little I see the back white in there, but if you just slide it to the right just a little bit and that's good, I want to go vertical so bad, but I'm going to stay horizontal the kicker light too if you pulled a kicker light to the right a little bit good right there all right, turn your back to me a little more and your nose to mia dash tip your head this way you're gonna look right over there where I showed you there's the pot's right there. You see it now what am I going to do? Light it pot's light, refine just a quick question for people who might have just been joining us. You said that you would liketo flip teo vertical, but you're just doing horizontal because of the lie view. Is that correct? That's correct. Okay, thank you. We would all have to be looking at the computer like make sure that everybody knew that that's why you were doing thank you and I'm doing more and more horizontal because you can always just go in there and trim in light room now it's amazing looking right over here and that's beautiful that's a great view of her face. It shows everything fantastic! How about just a hint of a smile? Now this is a tricky one and this is super refined but she's in a basic pose, isn't she? I saw monty do this tip your head back this way to the right and look right over there in a big smile kind of laughing the bride had a beautiful bow on her dress and this is the way he did it so he he said you know on the back two thirds I can go basic or feminine but let's tip the head back in here a little and look in the corner turn you nose back to the right a little to the left I'm sorry to the left right there what am I looking for what I'm saying turn the face of the left turn the face of the right what am I looking at that little piece of flesh that's holding the I n so the queen mother's portrait is just like this and not just your eyes into the camera look at me chin down right there right there and so you know if it's good enough for karsh and it's good enough for the queen mother the most photographed woman ever or a famous person it's good enough for me and and you'll see I can show you slide where I'm working with kids outside you know they're young young adults there's seven eight nine ten baht mitzvah I put I put him in this pose all the time it is so much fun so I can actually easily add amanda to this picture so I'm anna come on in I'm gonna raise you up just a little bit just sit back here on the edge good let's try this with both hands on her shoulders coming in from this side good good okay good come around this way good I will have it yeah, I am in a lower now. Good. Leave your shoes on in your call your call that's it right here right there. Come forward a little bit more you just cut it right there tip your head to her one thing you'll see tip you head to the left a little we're gonna we're gonna roll out from paper here pretty soon and like we're doing window light tomorrow I'll be putting these compositions together with them laying on the ground I just show you that in the leaves remember so it's kind of need to learn how to do it as a formal study and then also learning how to do it right here is well I love it a little hair off your eye there good and just lean into your sister a little bit and then hannah tip your head here a little bit and put your cheek right there together come in a little closer good right there love it little happier chin down a little bit in the front row there just like that and your eyes right here that's easy now this is a fun way to do it now how about just for find wrap your arms around your sister yet and then lower your elbows around her shoulders a little look at this just a beautiful shot and turn your nose to the right just a little bit hannah right there, that's. Good. Now here's what monty always did and I had to reference them all the time because I honestly I'm just up here channeling, you know, I carried his bags for ten years. We were friends for twenty years and there's nobody who did it better. I'm telling you, I'm still working every day to try to get this just the way he got it, but he got this point he said, this is gonna work nice, but the picture that always win the album the pictures always sold was like this squeeze your sister maker smart, yes, and look at that smile want to shoot it, amanda, tip your head to her a little more and look at that that's what we're going for is the expression I'm kind of slowing down because the camera right there and yes, I couldn't go bam, bam, bam bam and my studio have a mark four ten frames a second if I need and I just didn't think that that that that I could have taken nineteen pictures of that couple there. How about this? Stay with it holder right there and I just kind of looked at each other yeah, and pressure face right on her right there right there, look at that, let me get in, I love it but you were a little out of focus in the front amanda let me see that kitchen focus right here I'm sorry the when we shoot live like this it slows everything way down that's good now look at your sister in a pressure chin right on her forehead press it right there now look down at her now squeeze really really right yes that's just gorgeous I just love it so just like that so bringing two people together we can do it in a number of ways but let's really back up and show the crux of it I know we're gonna have a bride and groom but right now what I'm thinking about is how far apart the chair should be so stand up for me for one second the lights are all on the right now I'm not afraid to move him come forward a little bit turned around to me a little bit like this so I've got to kind of make a judgment call here if I'm going to put them together they've each got a part on the opposite side why don't we switch and see what that does now come together? I kind of think that looks better doesn't it having the parts come together sometimes I'll be making a portrait and the mother's part in the hair we mean like you need to be on this side because if you're over here the full side of your hair this side would be hitting your husband and you've got all this hair between you and your husband, but if I put your husband here, it just seems to fit, so this is the way I'm going to put the two of them together. Now I'm going to start with two stools here's one here's two now you guys, have you ever been to a charity event where the people line up to get their picture taken like couples? You know what I mean? I am the originator and venter shooting print where you give the pictures at the party, my first camera was fifty two thousand dollars, it was a night condi's for sixty, fifty two thousand dollars, it didn't even have a screen on the back and no lens, it shot a scuzzy cable over to a computer and you take the pictures and they come out immediately. Well, it took about two minutes back then you wouldn't believe the stuff we used to carry it would take the whole wall and I would shoot parties and deliver the pictures, so I had to get it right in the camera. So what am I trying to do? I'm trying to hide bodies, I'm trying to vignette the light trying if the guy's bald, we need two vignette it, you know, we gotta have the hair line on the mother take it off the father. So all these things I do with couples so important, so I'm starting like this, and now that we've got you on this side, I'm going to bring the lights back across, so I need a little help there. Bart, I should be talking about that. You just take that one over there and so they would line up for shooting print. Why don't you guys step over this way? A little bit? There was a one party idea. It was called black tie and boots. George bush at the it was at the hotel, the wardman park marriott. There were fourteen thousand guests. I had forty people in the hotel, twenty photographers, twenty helpers, and we were doing shooting print so I could critique everyone's work. Of course, my work was so I doubled the amount of output than anybody else, and the pictures were always solid. But I had to sell to everybody. And if the photographers just stood the people over there, half of them had been drinking so much they're so inebriated, they'd come over there to have to put the beer down and they would stand there with their stomach sticking out, click what we were trying to take the money on site. They wouldn't buy the picture they hated it look at me I don't like the picture of course we were selling mine because I was saying, you know, hide the body, get their heads together but that's the key is get it right in the camera you know I'm saying so we've done probably about one hundred of these parties, so we're going to go to work here and I'm just going to show you the chair is over here for the lady so we're working to ladies but you're going to sit right here hanna but when I'm doing a man and a woman the lady always sits closest to the light okay, remember that now you'll sit right here with your left leg behind good now open your neapolitan and take your left hand and put it on the wrist here now look how far apart there and I just come together bring your head in good right there when I do this at the parties they always pull their chair in as they know pull the chair back because they always want to get too close together. I'd like us to slide back about fourteen inches helping bar because I don't want to block this camera here we go. All right good now your left hand on your sister's wrist now your shoulder behind her a little bit your right shoulder and bring your heads together good I should go life I hate to take this picture off the screen isn't it just great you've seen one you've seen them all right there so there's the pose now what I do like pot's light lifter find nice soft lighting so you're gonna tip your head to your sister this time good and hannah yet hannah's chin down a little bit all right I'm going to zoom back here and show the audience at home will jump way over here and show them how far apart the chairs are I would say you know almost three feet and what that allows me to do is get their heads together without their bodies interfering bring a cheek right in there good now we've got a basic pose from amanda and a feminine pose from hannah and a tip your head to the right and lean into your sister a little more good chin down a little bit now bart can you just lower a man to just a dash there's a handle she's the little tall right there watch out no on the other side over here on the side you just take it on an inch right there perfect sometimes when I when I bring someone down like that and I think he did it a little too much all I do is say amanda sit up you see what happened I brought her right back up where I wanted her because people tend to slouch you know what I mean? I just lightly let your head's come together we got the picture that's gorgeous right there turn your nose to the right hand of just a little what I'm doing with hanna and I'm just getting the light in her eyes I could run over and pull the light to me and it's not being lazy it's just all I have to do is turn your face to the light a little bit and now I've got amanda drifting almost sideways to the camera open up to me a man to pull your left shoulder back so instead of saying open up really what should say pull your left shoulder back so it's like so consigns you can't get it wrong there we go drop your right shoulder amanda and we're there we're there two sisters the backlight showing a little bit back there bart if you just hide that sorry and push it right in the background and then that's great chin up just a little in lower the hair light you're right there on it look at that hair uh we need to just make it shiny. Be real careful with it just take the knob and bring it right down in there come on, come on, come on right there look at it getting better and better and better good heads almost touching right there yes smile yeah, we're there. We're there this is the way relax that you can always put two people together I think I made that look a lot harder than it really is. The key is one chairs a little higher than the other. The chairs are far enough apart and their heads meet before their bodies get in the way and I think really hannah let's do it again look at me can is going to like the expression with no smile just in her eyes right there lean in hannah and then amanda sit tall and tip your head to your sister pulled the hair off your shoulder and just like that, the beautiful thing of digital now weaken chipped on the back of the camera and we can get it right. One thing I see that's happening here hannah's shoulders kind of javan and her sister. So pull your left shoulder back. Hanna yeah, you see that much better now leaning a little bit there and we got it handed chin down a little bit. Yes, yes, yes. Now, uh, smile on amanda amanda's, chin up a little smile and smile. Hannah just a touch of a smile I could do that for a wedding album that could be, you know, the bride could be sitting there with hannah could be the bride and that could be her mother or her sister with a big smile, because the most important thing is what I said. If I cut them out individually, they need to look good. And don't you think if I could go back, and I think hannah will agree with me, she's sitting right there was this askar between this picture and this picture, which is your best, the second one, so it's, just ten thousand hours. You know, hearing people complain, we used to push the button. I'm about to push it, but what is she going to complain about? Get it right, fix it, fix it.

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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Clay Blackmore Top 10.pdf

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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.