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Pose It, Light It, Love It

Lesson 2 of 33

Shoot: Basic Posing

Clay Blackmore

Pose It, Light It, Love It

Clay Blackmore

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Lesson Info

2. Shoot: Basic Posing

Lesson Info

Shoot: Basic Posing

So many people want to take the easy way out I see people doing wedding I'm just going to carry one bag on my shoulder I'm going to be creative I'm going to get what I can get I'm gonna let it come from here but that really is an excuse for not doing it correctly do you know most people don't even take out tripods anymore? I could never work without a tripod because I'm going to be doing refinements when I get back to my camera I wanted to be just the way I left it. Does that make sense? And this camera pops off the bogan try me right off the man fraud. Oh, I'm sorry. This this right here is the way to go. I mean, people are always looking for an easy way out, but let's say if I want a running gun, I'm that quickly I'm handheld, okay? But this is an item that I see more and more photographers leaving in the bag leaving in their and their studio. And how could we not work with the carbon? You know, fiber, mon fraud, a trap? I'd like that. So you want to take some pictures? I want to tak...

e some pictures have any questions about the four of you? Tell me anything I couldn't you know answer to you guys ready to go all right so here's what's going through my thought process I'm goingto analyze the face but how about we set up the camera first everybody says you shoot auto focus manual focus I like a f auto focus because just crossing fifty years old I've got these little guys which a lot of you know about but auto focus pops right into focus doesn't accept if you have the skin real close it doesn't know where to focus so you have to be able to do some manual focus suggested I use a seventy two hundred lens for just about everything I do in portraiture I own a lot of these cannon lenses this is the new mark three camera it is awesome this camera has a built in hdr it has s o capability twelve thousand eso no problem but you know what? This camera doesn't have it doesn't have posing and lighting so that's what I'm going to give you no matter what the equipment is we still have to create the picture right? We have to still make the photograph I see people shooting weddings with cell phones I mean the iphones and stuff like that but you know it so it doesn't really matter what you're capturing image with it matters how we're capturing it all right so I can do this a number of ways I think what would be fun is to take one light and make three portrait and then we'll add a second and a third and a fourth light so why don't we do that? I'm going to bring out a couple of posing stools I've got a great assistant here bart let's just start with one stool over here you guys just coach me because I'm just going to go to work like I'm at a wedding and this is really important that if I were doing a portrait session my lights would all be zeroed in I would have already made a couple of portrait so that I know it's perfect before I bring my subject into the session because the worst thing you could do is waste time for the for the subject and for yourself trying to figure this out while they're sitting here so we're going to kind of zero it in first okay so one stool to see the subject how about opposing table you know who would carry a table around? You know these stools are even getting to be like obsolete nobody even knows where to get opposing store like this you know how can I work without an adjustable stool? I I do families and couples and I need to put the heads exactly where I want them and look at this these tools I could even put one on top of the other and I could cover this like this and that could be a table and this is another great thing just a little handsome phone posing block they're coming in a little bag there so lightweight and you can adjust things exactly where you want so here you go you've got a man standing right here real easy so what we'll do is let's bring out one light now bart and we'll just start with a light over on the left side I think it's going to be a good starting point I want to set the camera okay, so what I was going to do is do a little white balance trick and we're going to plug in our lights and look at these lights they're just easy to work with now I noticed that the models she's got no top on right is that we're going to photograph I would see if we can do law no, I'm sorry you want to see this? Where do you see what I'm looking at? No no long sleeves so do we have ability to cover her shoulders and that's very important matter of fact, maybe we should start like this and then cover her shoulders right here on set because I want you to see the difference a lot of photographers got into photography, you know, to get girls to take their clothes off I'm the opposite I keep putting the clothes on because I want to draw all the attention to the face does that make sense? Yeah, let's cover the shoulders so let me show you the light. This is a really easy to work with these air f j west got spider lights and all they are is daylight fluorescent bulbs. They run about fifty, five hundred, calvin, maybe fifty eight and it's really so easy to travel with all this equipment came out from my studio from from d c to seattle in about four bags, lights and one bag stands in another. And then we have the stools on the third bag so there's our one light and let's get a reflector on stage. So bart let's bring that that reflector. Why don't you try and bring a manned up way doing all right? I'm on. I'm on track here. Sit right here on the edge here doing great. And I think clay, just teo to appease the the audience out there online that way we know that everybody wants to know what you're using and where you get stuff. So if you could continue to shout those things out that's that's awesome. Okay, you know what? Do you have a gear list as faras? What? What? We know that you're using everybody so they're dropping that into the chat room, so if you want to know, you got to go in the chat room you know what? Yeah. And also I'll tell you what I did. I forgot all about this. Thank you on photograph, everyone dot com you can click on my gear and you can see exactly what I'm using model numbers, everything that I'm using on stage that takes the pressure off you photograph everyone dot com now, this is a great little guy here, little white balance. So what we're going to do, they tell me tow white balance the camera that I said, jump over here and put the camera here and take a picture. So that means I'm kind of doing a reflective reading but is a short cut. I'm just going to turn the light out here and I'm just going to cover. Yeah, well, yeah let's bring the overheads down so we don't contaminate and that's important they talking about all the extraneous light here lets him in a church and there's a window over here. A daylight fluorescent here, which is I'm using a mercury vapor over there may be a tungsten light over here. You got all these light colors coming in here. So I'm going to go toe a v, which is aperture priority meaning my camera's going to tell me something's lease here, there we go, so I'm gonna point this camera right into the light and the little expo disc will cover my limbs and you know I think we should go and go live now mike's going to feed us in right in and what's very cool here is you're going to see the picture of all we're gonna work through projection so you're going to see the picture where it's okay better better better best okay so you're going to see it all come together so do we need to go on let me take this picture and see what we get camera on backup manual focus because it can't find a focus that that close let me go to camera so I just made an image let me go to playback view and see if you have it I don't know what I'm seeing you because I'm all plugged and there we go so it says minus one and two thirds up there do you see that so we don't want to be under minus one and two thirds we want to zero the camera I'm going to go toe for hundred s o this camera can shoot on ten thousand but we don't need to because I'm using a tripod I'm going to be using a sixty four so again I'm gonna take another picture here and there's our white balance it should be kind of a little gray color right there come on back up all right good that's the first picture from there I'm going to go ahead and zero that in using the menu on custom white balance I just got this camera about a month ago I love it so much I've got four or five other cameras at home that have just been so good so that's what I want I want to set okay to the white balance and now our skin tones should just be perfect. What I want to remember to do is take it back off of auto focus go backto auto and now go to manual because I was on a v to get the proper exposure. All right, here we go let's take some pictures let's put the lynch a back on to bart I think it's right there. How you doing? You doingood? Scoot up here just a little to the table and turn your knees this way to the back a little bit the table is going to be here. I'm gonna lower you a little bit and just put your right elbow right there on the table and then tip your head here to the right good that must cover your ear a little bit, turn your nose to the right a little bit more good let's go live feed here and stand up just for one second it again stools I can put the people just exactly what I want now tip the top of your head to the right good chin down just a dash good right there that exposure looks good to me now let me just talk about it. The first thing I want to tell you is where would I look to talk to make a statement I never photograph somebody with the shoulders level when I'm doing portrait so okay, so the first thing I see here are level shoulders so I also want the body to be forty five degrees. So turn your body this way to the left a little bit. Yes, now I've got the shoulders in good position. I like that I need to lower my table or simply raise this stool little more to stand up again. That's it again. There's a couple ways to do it. My regular table is not with me on set. That's probably a little yep. Turn your nose to the right good hay barn. Just throw a few more of those blocks out here on the floor so I can use them, you know, as I need them. Because now I need to I need to raise up the table just a dash. Just give me the finished one. You have just stayed right there this day just roam all around the floor there now we're getting now this is going to be the first pose we're going to do is going to be the basic pose now, so many people struggle with this, but I'm telling you, realestate portrait business portrait, everything we're doing starts with a basic headshot, a business portrait in our studio. I do a dozen of these a week and I don't even advertise the people in town know about me. They call me the miracle worker all the women come to me this I know what the picture you did for, so until I want to look as good as she looks so we got to start with the one on the right's great, we got to start with getting the shoulder slim down. People buy pictures based on two things how does my body look and what's my expression? So I'm gonna hide the body, okay? That's, why I'm using these chairs and now we're going to draw the attention to the face so you can see on the screen already how we've drawn the attention right into the face if you head to the right a little bit good, you know, what's interesting. A lot of people must think that I'm really nervous because I've got all this viewership and I'm doing portrait I'm not nervous at all because I know exactly what to do. And it's number one I'm going to see the finished picture in my mind so then I'm just going to create it like a template. Now I have to decide I'm going I'm not going to put the light on the right or the left and I have to decide are we going to do a basic pose or a feminine pose? So let's talk about it one lining pattern to poses can I just show you that loop pattern one time if I take my reflector away and I get this light right in here and let me see if I can zoom in a little bit the west got spider lights are so forgiving right there freeze that chin up just a dash right there they're so forgiving that you really I'm on auto focus go to manual it's kind of a gray shadow right now because, um the light is so soft let me see what's going on here how sharp I am sixty eight five six how about if I go to eighty eight four it's the same thing I like the big apertures for this soft depth of field. No, look right here I'm just really showing a shadow into your face turn your nose to the right and come back to me just a little bit that's good chin down a dash she brings her chin down the shadow's going sideways which means the light needs to come up right there that's what I'm looking for do you know I was so excited I usedto light all of monty's portrait can you believe that a kid like me I was lining portrait for the master because all I had to do is look for that shadow and then you know what monty did he move the light from the camera watch what he did amanda turn your nose to the right a little bit too much come back tip the head to the right all he was doing was moving the face around to put the shadow right where he wants it you understand that so I roughed in the light with that with that loop shadow and then we move the face around now let's look at the portrait here if we can spread your elbows out a little bit your left hand out a little bit good set up a little taller and your chin down just a dash good chin up a little so that's one light no reflector so now we're gonna add our silver reflector and it's going to come in in front of the face meaning that it always ends before the face begins if I throw the reflector over here it might light up the ear do you understand that? So I'm going to get it out here in front so this is a basic portrait and it's just really simple I want you to turn your body a little more to the right drop your right shoulder now when I say that's too much bring it up a little bit one thing I can do turn your nose to the left of dash is I can actually drop her shoulder by tipping the camera which way would I tip the camera? I'm gonna tip it towards the high shoulder if I tip it towards the high shoulder the shoulder's change but you know I've got to tell you you're never going to do this against a brick wall or against a tree or a window because it'll fall over you have to be working on a nondescript background chin up just a dash right there now this is just a basic portrait now let's go ahead and add a layer of clothing on and let's see what that does to step right over here and I'll talk to you about the basic and feminine how how when she's going basic the main light has got a feather I'm not blasting her with the light what does that mean? Most of the light is actually passing out in front of the face hitting my silver reflector sometimes when you're struggling with a portrait at home and you're not sure why you're not getting that soft even lighting check your main light it might be missing the reflector I see that all the time I've set and lectures with some really talented photographers and I've watched them work and I've seen that relationship between the main light and the reflector and they're really just not as well as monty would do, you know, very few people are doing this as well as we should now look at this this really close it together beautifully I would pull it together a little at the top I'm hiding as much flesh as I can there we go and we're going to draw the attention to the face also what is camera height for the portrait the camera height should be just above eye level okay, so if I'm just above eye level what if what if amanda we're standing? Why don't you just stand up for me right there? Amanda okay, now I want to do amanda's port, okay, there she is just can't miss with amanda's just beautiful. This is that broad lighting that we were talking about. We want to slowly turn your nose to the right, pulled the hair off your eye right here good and then tip your head to the right good right there now that's standing and I'm seeing looking right here that I'm seeing a lot of body there so now have a seat there we go and then there we go perfect right there and we'll compare. I'm even going to bring my cameron inch higher, you know, what's interesting to the viewers at home, the camera's up pretty high here, but, uh, watch this. If amanda brings her chin up a dash right there too much, bring it down a little bit and turn your nose to the left suppose then what do I do? Light pot's light lift, refined pot's light lift refined the refinement is made with my eye on the camera she's a little square to the camera if you pull your right shoulder back a dash right there now you're too much come back a little right there and you're their chin up a dash right there. Let me move this little guy out of your way and we're about to take the first picture eyes here. I think the eyes are very important that we have a camera view their toe show. I've got her looking just above the lens, your chin up a dash to give her that alert look and that this is where the portrait happens, where you go for the expression and you know what expression is everything I've roughed it all in I love what I'm doing and hint of a smile easy, he's, a chin of a dash, good chin down a little bit now I'm gonna have fun because we're going to do five different portrait to pick your best angle of the face I can't imagine you even have a bad angle but what I'm thinking here is facial analysis is everything so what am I talking about picking which side the light goes on okay what's going to determine that which side her face looks the best on so this is our simple basic portrait looking at her hairstyle is the first thing I look at for the for the facial analysis and I like this view of the face her nose is very even if she would have a bump on a nose like a little bump here I would want to flatten it out you know when I hide all the problems what do you do? You like the problem if you like the bump it goes away if you put the bump over in the shadow you see how much the bump is you see how defined it is let's say someone has acne if I like that at the it diminishes but if I put the acne over in the shadowed side of the camera you see all the acne all the detail a scar on the face is a great example light the scar and it goes away it diminishes now you would say well was photoshopped these days it doesn't matter we can retouch anything who has the time I'm in photo shop way too much I'd rather get it in the camera and get it out to the client so we can do a lot of this in the in the camera so now she's just sitting there relaxed and put herself into a feminine pose do you understand where that's basic now tip your head back this way that's feminine that's great and what this is what the viewers are looking at home right here that's great so I've got to come in here and take these the hair and just kind of said it right up on top of the shoulders you know what I ask myself right before I push the button every time I ask myself if this were me and the picture would I buy it? You know and you will save yourself a lot of time for the expressions now the problem with this picture in my classes kind of new to all this and I'm just going to light a little bit better but I'm just going to ask you one question after I take this picture just like this your right elbow out just a little bit yep there we go eyes right here we're gonna have you smiling in just a second this this right here is our feminine pose but there's something very wrong with it can anybody tell me it's a feminine pose but the light is on the wrong side so let me talk about that tip in your head this way is basic head and body to the light for the feminine pose we're going to turn your body this way amanda and cross your right knee over your left. Uh huh. Perfect to stand up and let me just center you up a little bit. Now sit again right here. Put your back elbow right there. So let's, zoom back since the audience is kind of looking at this right here and kind of show you what we're looking at here, you know, this is this is the tools you need you need you need the stool. You need that deposing elements the table I mean, I can't do it without these things plus it's comfortable for there isn't amanda and you're loving your pictures, right? They look right I love I love what I'm getting don't you love him now? I'm a sales person. Where do I talk? Because this is a little motivation I'm always telling people you look great this is wonderful isn't this great? Because you know what people think when they see their picture oh my god, is that me? Have I lost that much hair? Am I that heavy now? Am I getting that old? When was the last time you had your driver's license made and you said, oh this's horrible and then five years later you come back to get a new driver's license right and you have to trade in the old one and you say you know I'm gonna hate to give up this picture is pretty good right? Can I get a witness out there? I know you're out there that means people need to be told this is a great picture because in their mind they feel different when they look in the mirror it's very flat lighting so when I'm doing portraiture I'm always saying this is great this is great I love it now whatever have a bride and her mother and I'm telling the mother carol you look so good here in carroll says clay clay I know you like that picture I just don't love it no and the bride says mom, you look great and carl says, I know you guys like the picture I don't love it so say carol, wait five years you're gonna love it and then I just keep going eso another thing that that's very important point here I sell my pictures I project them and I talked them through I have learned more about photography by listeningto what my clients don't like so if I hear her complain all the time my arm looks too big I feel too heavy I don't like my chin I've heard that so much so now I get it right I get it so good they have nowhere to turn to except to their checkbook. Do you know what I mean? I'm there to make a living. We've been in business twenty years. We've just built the biggest studio over in the mid atlantic for us and it's it's, an amazing property and and now the wedding's that people are more fickle with their money. And so, as as the weddings are harder to get, our studios gotten bigger, so I have to really pedal hard. A lot of people say, clay, you're the most passionate photographer we've ever met, but it's really not passion, I'm just working hard at it, but I am very passion. I love every phone call when the people walk in everything it's got to be perfect and all of this ties into this portrait now she's in front of my camera now, it's the best sales job of all I know this is the best picture I'm going to get amanda but I have to I have to sell it to her. I have to tell her it's good. I have to let her be happy and then when she sees it retouched it's even better so now let's, go live here and amanda, turn your nose to the right just a little bit a little more a little more good also do you hear how I'm using amanda's name amanda amanda amanda do you know what dale carnegie said? Look at that smile. Dale carnegie said the sweetest sound of a person's own here is their name so if you want to be a great portrait photographer you need to learn names you need to be able to jump out there at a wedding and learn the father's name bill and carol and john the brother and when I'm working with them bill bill come in here, john right there. Carol carol grey. But carol lower because if I'm saying hey, dad, dad, you do this, mom, you did it's horrible it's no communication it's no connection. And you know what? When they come in to order the pictures, that connection is still there. They walk in the door. Hey, bill, carol, come in. How did you remember? Artie? That was amazing when you were doing this pictures and you knew we were they know they pick up on that. So these air important little tips behind the scenes so let's make this beautiful feminine portrait. So we've done the basic and now turn your nose to the right a dash look at that, bring it back to the left what am I looking for? For full face? I'm looking for both ears I want to see the full face and here is the portrait now as I look at it I'm seeing a vertical line her right shoulder elbow so bring up your right elbow a dash yeah a little more did you see that that's a big refinement so now tip the top of your head to the right a dash good right there now there's the portrait this is when I go to the wedding I'm going to start with an image very similar to this to everybody what if I wanted to lower that back shoulder a little more which way would I tip the camera? I'm going to tip the camera to the high shoulder now that might be a little extreme how about if I just take the picture like this looking right here hint of a smile chin up a dash she's looking just above the lens now I'm going to take the same picture know what's funny when I take the picture her eyes drop down dramatically and it's something with a live you I'm going to get in here tighter because where do the eyes belong in this picture they belong in the upper third where they are right now so there's a nice portrait but now what let's make the shoulders a little more dramatic let's tip the shoulders like this now tip the top of your head to the right a little more just tip and turn your nose to the left pull a little hair off your right neck it just a little goodnight tip your head to the right a little good right there chin up a dash right there uh hint of a smile you've got a beautiful smile let me see it teeth all the way chin up a little and look right here when you smile your nose to the left a dash for full face right there good smile that's fake yes right there alright lets her eyebrows might have gone up at the last second let's compare these two pictures and look at what we're getting from I'm going to go live you here's playback I'm just waiting for the playback come on darling right back reset the camera I might need there we go there's picture one see how I'm too far away here and this is a big mistake a lot of people do they have the people too far from the camera we're in there where the eyes belong in the upper third now you're looking at horizontal composition here why because we're working in video I would probably make this a vertical picture do you see how we would just cut that in like that right so now let's drop the shoulder like this what's wrong way watch that shoulder is that a big refinement that's huge okay I like that now let me just take a look at for this facial analysis I said you don't really have a bad side to do facial analysis you really want to just have a really flat light turn your face this way a little now turn your face this way and then turn your face more to the left right there when we get around to the profile I'm afraid the hair is going to be a little full no, I like it now turn your face back here a little bit, okay, when we turn the face too much this way the high forehead really isn't as flattering as when you turn your face back to the light keep coming let me go live you on my feed you can see now come back to the left just a little bit a little more and then just look straight ahead good now how do we center those eyes? I'll talk about that in just a second. I like this to third view more than turn your nose to the left, keep turning, keep turning then come back a little bit, commit right there, then that to third view because I feel like sometimes the hair can frame the face beautifully, but right here I don't feel that's the case, so turn your face back to me so I'm going to stay with the lights on my left but that's very important to me to kind of analyse the face on a portrait session come in the studio the other day you know what I did? I did all five portrait. I did the light one to three on this side and one, two, three on this side she had a ball, she was out of work. She didn't want to go backto work she's like this is fun. I'm in a photo studio the music was playing, we had coffee, I had a great time with her and she couldn't believe. And I even started changing the backgrounds real quick with her like that and she just had a good time. So watch this guys, do you think my audience right here, mike, my class who I'm going to get to know a really good at lunch. Do you think all of you could get to this point right here the feminine pose I thinkyou can she's turned her body she's leaning forward over the belt buckle that's very important your head straight up and down and that's it you can all do it. I know you can now watch if you can get that one pose done, I can give you five different angles of the face let's, go to the number two and number three, you ready? It's so go ahead before we do that can we ask you some questions sure, questions are flying in from the internet so as we sent this this one up can you talk just a little bit about the distance and the angles of the of the south box too I love to can I answer that question right now that would be perfect my lighting is so easy because what you see is what you get you know what I mean? Whatever you like now that the key though toe lighting the closer you get a light the softer it is the further you bring it back the more contrast it is so the answer is really simple I put the light in as close as I can get it without seeing the soft box so my life using three to four feet in and guess what where I'm going now is full face two thirds profile the light always stays in that relationship about four feet away and I don't know on this subject if we really did hammer home if I could get a camera view right here to show how much of that light is passing in front of the sub you take your time because I'm telling you guys I've seen working professionals like the subject like this what is that reflector doing? Not nothing nothing nothing we got to get the light to hit the reflector and then it works so I hope you can see how much of the light is going out in front there, turn your nose this way a little bit good. I go to people's houses and just set up the studio right in their living room and just goto work. Just like this. Sometimes I could use their home is a background. I don't always have to put a painted background or a piece of paper up, but this lighting is so soft and beautiful, isn't it? Really is yes. Next question. All right, next question, if we can go back to the beginning after you set up that light, uh, you actually did a white balance inside your camera and a lot of people were wondering if you could re explain how you did that in your camera settings. Sure. Okay. It's kind of tricky. I went so fast. Here's the expo disk. So the key is is to get around here and put that exploded right here and take a picture click. But, you know, what's faster is just turn the light into your limbs and you just take a picture this way. So now I need to register the camera so I'm gonna have to go to manual focus, why is that the camera can take a picture? When the camera cannot take a picture, if they can't focus, you ever know that when you're on auto focus and it can't find focus, it won't shoot, so now I'm on manual focus, okay? So no matter what I do, it'll take a picture, but this first picture, I bet you will come in a little dark let's look at this it's going to look a little dark because I'm covering all the light with this, so I'm going to knock the camera overto auto a v. So now, no matter what light hits the sensor, it's going to be accurate exposure there it is well known is that twenty, five hundred had that happened because I just went to automatic so that picture right there is my reference and guess what I could do, I could go into a wedding early, and I could white balance the church white balance outside, and I could save those two white balance is so when I'm running, I can quickly go back to either white balance. But let me tell you, with these cameras on raw, the four lane highway, you can certainly do it in post production, but the best answer I have two that I love to get my pictures online immediately to the clients they're dying to see him, what an experience, you know, the the guests are showing him the pictures the next day why don't I show my pictures the next day there's so much better they better be so one of my white balance on the fly as I go so I don't have to do post production at three in the morning which is usually what I'm doing I'm usually up till two three in the morning after the wedding picking ten pictures and getting them out to everybody facebook you know get him out to everybody so does that answer that yes that's perfect expo disc can I give one away right now who wants one wei have several to give away saying I don't know how you're gonna get a studio audience I don't know we'll figure that out a break they always their hand oh I'll get you whatever moment you need that seventy two for the cannon so one more question just about that getting started to review when we got started this question came from gail and do we need to use a light meter when we're setting up our lighting if we don't have one how will we figure it out? Thank you and you know what? I have a meter right here and I use this iconic digital l three ninety eight and I've used the meter so many times and guess what? It always tells me the same thing sixty eight four eight, four hundred eyes out every time I don't work on automatic under these lights, because if I put it bright in here, she's in a white dress and the exposure tries to make it grey. And if I put a guy in here he's in dark, it tries to make the dark gray mists have both these meters. So tomorrow we're going on the roof. When I get on the roof, I'll be shooting with these two meters, I really just go with this one because I cannot work outdoors without a meter because I'm really trying to ki shift the lights and I need to be accurate. But that's a great question. I've used these meters inside so much it's, always sixty four, four hundred. And is that just because they are studio lights? And so you always have them at the same power? Or why is it that they're always the same? Well, you know, there's three switches back here and I can adjust them. I could go a little more a lot. I always just flood him out a lot. You know what I mean? And westcott has come up. I'm using the old tt five because they travel well, they go into a case and they just come right out, ready to go. I also have a t v six that has six bulbs with mohr energy. And so when I use the td six, I might be turning them down a little, but I usually just give him for, you know, for, you know, full flood. Can I make a statement about this processes? Well, we used to work with this camera. What was it called? Hustle blood. And we did all these beautiful portrait ce and the background melted out of focus. Never noticed the background, but when we jumped into the digital camera, what happened? We were shooting f eleven f sixteen in the studio. You have any studio lights, guys, and you gotta have sixteen. What happens now? The background is so sharp, it's, like glued to their ear, and it looked so digital. But when I went back to these what's my f stop now for at f for what happens to the background, it melts out of focus. So I, you know, when these lights came out, it was like I felt like christopher columbus. I found a whole new world, and I stayed there, and I'm on the spider like I can't go anywhere without him. I have a set of pro photos with me for a little more spark, people say clay use pro photo used continuous I use continues for portraiture for what we're doing right now headshots beauty weddings anything but when I want some high kisum fashion some spark when we're going to this tomorrow I'll set up a set of pro photos will be shooting half eleven f sixteen wiener every time so anything else all right people are wondering about when you are focusing on your camera in the very beginning phil birdie too is wondering where does you where do you focus when your camera is on the tripod? Great question I want to focus on the front I that's a great question let's bring in the back like bart while I'm answering this question I just don't have time to do post production in my three days I begged I said you know I'm I'm so good in photos show because I've been doing it for so long but I love some techniques that I haven't photo shot one of them is sometimes my shallow depth of field is so shallow the front eyes perfectly and focus maybe the second a little bit but let's say that there's a child right behind here and the child slightly soft ah would have been such a good picture but half the pictures a little soft all I do is make a layer sharpen the heck out of the picture till the baby looks great and then I put a layer mask on there and just sharpen up the baby you know what I'm saying and flatten it down now I do that layer mask technique for dodging and burning for retouching and people say hey clady you really retouch all your own pictures I have a staff to help me because there's just too much to do but I take so much pride in it and who better to put the icing on the cake than the baker? You know what I'm saying? I love to take that passion to get it right and usually with mike students I mean most kids my staff is retouching I'm always over their shoulders dana can you get her neck a little more? Can you get this little because I'm selling it and I've heard the mother say I got my neck I look like I look so old so I'm telling my client my staff get the neck get the shoulder slim the arms and so we have tio go back and re touch these portrait all right I got a great question for you for all of you I've got one light and it's looking pretty good let's turn it off for a second less he already gave it away the answer is there if you could add another light where would you put it? Some people say the hair some people say a kicker or how about a fill light a light behind the camera? What do you think anybody hair light okay caroline's a good answer anybody else let's go live on but I don't know about you are we good there with cameras there we go and we're live so this is just one light no reflector, isn't it so bart, go ahead and give me like number two see if you can see what's gonna happen here it's just a little tv three light and this is a situation where we might just click on one switch bark instead of two because it does look a little bright to me what's the key to the background and move it to my right a little bit and push it in a little closer to the paper see what you see is what you get. Did you see how I did that? And I also want the whole portrait to move light to dark meaning I wouldn't want it to be real bright on the background back here because then it would go light dark light so I'm kind of bringing the whole portrait from one side to the other. Now we've established two lights turn your nose to me a little bit more I'm thinking about a couple more light sport so you better get him on the edge of the stage here and my next light let me ask you what would be the next light I think katherine said it the hairline so let's bring in a hair light let's just softly bring that in and the key to a nice hair light is that it's going to come from behind if the hair light just bounces down on top of the head here it's going to be like a billiards table where the ball goes ditto that the light's not going to do it as much as if the light comes from back here and it feathers in like this are you in there nice and tight you plug it in, I'll fix this. All right, we have to just put this on. We brought so many bags and one bag we didn't bring it even plug that in. There we go, you turn it on and we're ready to go way left to boom arm so luckily here, creative live they have a lot of boom arms, but look at this turning the light in like this so now the light is going to be coming from behind here and it's just that easy but tighten it all down. I think we're good to go. Clay, can you, uh, tell us again what light you just set up? Okay. That's an overhead hair light in a strip bank boy doesn't make a difference bart, take a knee down there, would you please and unplug it because he can't really reach the switch unless you can reach the switch. Turn it off for a second. Now look right here in me. Amanda, turn your face to the right. Tip your head to the right. Okay, that's two lights now, let's. Give it that hair light. Yeah. Is that what immoral says bam! That light is important. I think three lights, I'm good to go right? Wrong. I'm going to bring in the chrome on the cadillac. I'm going to bring in the master's light. They say that amateurs worry about equipment pros worry about money masters worry about the light and I'm gonna worry about it because I'm going to bring it right in for you. What I'm going to do is take this light across here and it's going to be a beauty light and bart's going to bring this around as a main light. So we'll just drop that in there and this is actually a lower stand and I'm going to switch them because the lower stand is important because of the placement of a kicker life and then barn if you'll just turn it on. All right, good job. Now speaking about this kicker light it's not hard, I'm going to turn off the main light so you can hopefully see what it's doing I love it I love it that light on the bridge of the nose you see it right there tipped the top of your head to the right a little bit that is the beauty light now the closer the light comes over to the background the mohr mirror like it looks you see how mirror it looks there but if I bring it over here inside light you don't really notice it as much do you know what I mean but do you notice how it comes from behind it looks a little more mirrored I hope you can see that at home what that is is the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection and the evening when you drive down the highway and you see cattle out in the field and the sun is setting you ever see the rim light on them the sheep that's what we're trying to create that highlight that backlight and it's there I feel like the exposure might be a little bright here to to really enjoy it to see if I could bring my exposure down there it is right there so now we've really got every light in place let's take some pictures play when you were saying that your exposure looked a little bit bright what aspect of her were you looking at? What part of her face or her hair good question I was looking at her face her skin tone now she's in dark the backgrounds dark and my exposure is that it didn't go on a v or win manual yes they were on a v from who did that re white balance so the camera was saying hey I want this to be gray so being gray it is great let's go with the camorra wants here's what the camera wants to see the camera wants that sweater to be gray what's the background to be gray so everything is getting a little washed out so I can shift it down real quick I work on a v all the time but usually I'll lock down on manual and there we go eightieth it for four hundred eyes so I don't have to touch it it's great question so there's the exposure all right, here we go we'll face two thirds profile this is it pulled the hair off your eye and I see we've got a hand over here and we photographed her yesterday she's great too with the facial angles we might do hannah I'm idea you're going in the other direction so here's what we're going to do we've got the full face bring the elbow up just a little bit and we're gonna go from full face to two thirds now let me tell you real quick everybody I just want to try to relate to the audience at home and say you know is this really something that you know we need to know I have a bride getting married this weekend she just ordered ten pictures from me she needs him for the wedding and they're all portrait's done with this technique they can be done indoors or out or window she loves him it's just well thought out portraiture and the more you do it, your hands start to form unbreakable patterns so you just do it over and over and over and then guess what happens you quit thinking about it and then you know what you started doing you start working from the heart you start thinking from here and then your work just starts to blossom it takes time ten thousand hours of practice I'm not gonna lie to you hundred thousand hours if you want to be tiger woods or phil mickelson way to go phil what I'm saying these guys practice and they work work, work and guess what? The british open just finished they said the top three players all we're using the same coach isn't it amazing all these multi millionaire guys that have all this money they still have a coach. Why? Because they understand how important it is to continually practice and learn so the creative life platform is great for you to continue your studying so that's portrait one let me just take it again I got to get reset here I gotta quit talking start shooting here. Now watch this, guys, I want you to get here at home. I'm going to zoom in on the face and make sure we're super sharp when I do video. This is how we focus our video cameras. Critical focus right there. You see that? Now I know I can sell that picture now we're gonna go back there that's ten times and we'll go back here. So now we're a nice and focused let's take picture one he probably bored over there. Bring your chin up a little bit, chin up right there and your nose to the left a dash good right there. I gotta take off manual focus off auto to manual, tip your head to the right a little bit good and I want to see a smile on this next one. Hang on, don't waste it one, two and come on camera monty said, don't count, don't count it's just been a habit of mine, but I think my soft tone and demeanor doesn't sound like okay, here we go one, two, three ready, one, two, three then the people get, like, nervous like, oh no he's going to take my picture I'm just trying to kind of create this report soft talk, you know, chin up, just a dash great right there and your eyes right here when you're smiling good chin up a little bit good that's a fake smile come on teeth come on yes you see that's a fake smile and I got the real smile you know if you see me at a wedding her chins down a little bit too much on that because I'm dominating the top of the head so chin up a little bit right there eyes here now your chin down a little bit right there and a real smile come on there you right there that's the portrait now the thing is chin up chin down what am I doing here? The plane of the camera the film and the plan to the face need to match up so I'm already set here I don't want to change mine so what I'm asking amanda to do is chin up chin down to match the plane of the camera larry king used to always go like this we did one of his weddings someone of his several on dh he would monty was like chin up chin up and he was like no and he was just chin down on if you know larry king you know from cnn you always see imposing like this that's his brand and monty was trying to get his chin up but he wouldn't do it but monty monty one of those planes to be parallel all right, let's go to the two third view noticed the full face the face is beautiful but it's a little round it's kind of a noble face but you've kind of got a little distance between the eye and the temple you see those distances I'm going to make that go away so I'm going to be your best friend now what's gonna happen here like a statue I just want you to rotate to me a little bit perfect. She did it now look right over here to this plant I'm going to give her a place to look the worst thing I could do right here is to say look at my hand and then moved my hand we've all done it right here look right here in my hand then your hand disappears that's unfair so now tip your head to the right just a little bit good now I fixed her eyes exactly where I want the reflector is really not done much at all it's just still out here in front sometimes what we'll do is take another reflector from below for a little more glamour lighting will be doing that later this afternoon now I'm there tipped atop your head to the right more right there good now smiling teeth I'm seeing one thing I don't like I'm gonna come in and fix it it's just a little wisp of hair I could retouch it in photo shop, but who has the time? You know we're so busy these days. I want to get it right in the camera. Good, your elbow up just a little bit more tipped atop your head. More to the right, more to the right right there and I'd like somebody to get a camera on amanda over here to see how uncomfortable and awkward she looks there. But how good she's going toe look here when I pull the trigger your chin up just a little bit now you see the eyes there's too much white in her left eye. So watch this. Turn your nose to the right to the right right there. Perfect. I'm looking. Let me tell you guys, when I'm looking at but side her right eye, you see the flesh there, I want there to be a little flesh to hold the I keep turning your nose to the right. I'll show it incorrect a little more if I pull the camera right there that's a broken two thirds go home and look at how many pictures you have at home in your portfolio with a broken two thirds just by bringing the camera right over here, a little flesh holding the I we've got the picture right there on needs a smile chin up a little. I should have left to focus on right there good chin down a dash and tipped the top of your head to the right a little bit good right there that's a fake smile and you're down a man to chin up a little right there I love it don't you just love it is a great portrait great portrait now walk out here for a second with me would you please? And I know the answer, but first of all, this is a beautiful portrait I love it don't you love it? So I'm telling her it's good, we've already been to that she's probably looking at going oh my god, is that me now, let's, go to this picture full face two thirds I know which one is better and I know which one you like and I wanted to tell me this one better. You know why she likes it? Because her face is slimmer so I can analyze your face while I'm booking your portrait full face two thirds and you're both full face full face or two thirds full face or two thirds some people full face full face or two thirds, but I'll tell you what I know hannah has a beautiful two thirds and its dramatic because of the distance between the face

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.