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Pose It, Light It, Love It

Lesson 20 of 33

Shoot: Family Group Two Part 1

Clay Blackmore

Pose It, Light It, Love It

Clay Blackmore

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Lesson Info

20. Shoot: Family Group Two Part 1

Lesson Info

Shoot: Family Group Two Part 1

We've got some adult children today coming in at this second section, so it's going to be really easy for me? They're very well behaved. I met them there's not a lot of bribing going on. Ah, nick, I've already given her chocolate and so she's happy so really for me now, it's going to be more of an environmental scene, let's say you're going to go into someone's home and we're just going to kind of build the portrait here. I think before I get started, I got about twelve or fifteen slides. Why don't we go over to the keynote and let's take a look? You guys tell me when we're hot on keynote and I'd like to show you what kind of going through my mind. So this first title slide kind of is interesting because I'm showing how I screamed the light here and that I didn't have my umbrella, you know, the umbrella blew over in the wind and broken half, so this is the way we used to do it to light stands and build like a little light tent and boy, the light is really beautiful in there again here,...

maximizing the flash to marry it in with the background like that to pull it all together on a fall day, this is fun, too. Just walking and swinging the young boy in the middle like that having a good time noticed the tension to the clothing here we really did a nice job on the on the thing on the clothing consultation and they look great they love their new dog they just got this guy they had lost their older dog and this is dog's name is kramer, I guess from seinfeld and you know, I had plans to airbrush out the house over in the back that's their home but I'm shooting into the last bit of the sunlight of the day and that's just a flash near the camera so when I'm usually doing is shooting towards the sunlight on the setting sun as soon as the sun gets down below the horizon I flip around and shoot with a light at my back. Now notice the rocks that they're sitting on those air plastic rocks and we keep him in the studio barton I went out to a shoot I guess on friday we take these rocks with us they stack, they carry their wonderful these rocks are wonderful and they dressed very well here too and again this turned out to be a real nice sale. We started inside with it so lows of all the children the father got a forty inch panel which was a solo of each of the children and then we did a group of the kids inside I stayed inside st air condition used all my my I guess my I don't want a charisma all my tricks I had all these kind of things to keep them engaged, you know what I mean? And then we took a mount and played around and walked around for this the gray paper always works and it's very current. I mean, if you go to a magazine today, what do you see? Gray paper? I see that in the w magazine on the newsstand this is what our clients we're looking at. So with the clients seeing this this is what we need to be thinking about this picture right here. Our portrait could be the poster for how to photograph everyone look at that we've even the dog is smiling, you see that isn't that great? And that's no photo shop right there out of the camera so that's in our studio again a studio portrait, this family I've photographed every child is a baby and just recently I wish I had all the slides. I went to his home and hung forty pictures in one hallway. They were all face mounted and we just built him right down the one beautiful family group at the end of the wall and he built a beautiful home and and we've been photographing probably fifteen sessions so their whole life story is on two walls with a big portrait of the end and he says clay have to tell you every day I walk down that hallway it just makes me feel good it's just a feel good hallway for us because it's all of his kids growing up this is well, you know, the sofa we have in the room today is tough to work on because you see what happens to the two girls eyes their level they're parallel I would rather have one space a little higher than the other I'm trying to build those circles remember from yesterday that's ideal like the family today I mean we could do three poses two stools and do a really formal group and that to me works well but we're going to work with chairs and sofas so we'll probably add the opposing stools in with those elements they had some very formal portrait but this was the one the mother chose and I love it it's a hug it's a feelgood picture and this is what our clients are starting to crave more of a relaxed field to the pictures here's another beautiful setup this is right out of the book that we did for them the sisters on the left one's in a feminine ones in the back two thirds and then the group before in fact look at it right here just exactly like we've been talking about you see that and how did I do that he's sitting on some of those posing blocks you know, the hanson posing blocks I hope we're giving those away whoever wins first prize gets a set opposing blocks I've got him right here he ship them in I'll have ken a ship him out right to you because they they are the best prize in fact hansen you should you should I want another set. They are everything right here she's on opposing stool right here she's on opposing stool I've got two stools in the weeds you know this is that fall grass and she's standing but that's what it takes I started real formal got the form of that I said everybody hug so that's how that came together this is just really right out of the camera no photo shopped at all there's no head swaps the dog was in you can see the leash really well behaved again the sun is setting and I'm shooting right into the setting sun I'm in the shade of a big tree and I've got just one q flash near the camera and to me this is everything a family portrait should be and I'm looking at each person individually do you know if this were her picture she would buy it just right here how about that she would love it dad looks great. How about mom? Little square to the camera I think if I look at this I really never noticed her shoulders or little level right shoulder could come down. I really never analyze this portrait that closely and then how about the young girl in the front? Do you think it's an accident that she's sitting in a feminine pose? You think that left shoulder being down is just by chance? No way I'm telling her and I know we're name, you know, like I'd say, sara, sara, drop your shoulder tip your head here and I'm talking to everybody real fast refining the picture of the young boy basic poses the basic post and I got the dog in a feminine pose, so there we go like that. Look at this, the setting sun we just finished their temple shoot, which means we're at the shul and we're doing religious pictures and it was such a beautiful day outside and I said, you know, we need to go outside I opened the door and what was it over the anesthetic and there's? Nothing but parking lot and then over here, there's a cow field and then over here I said, you know what? Let's get in the cars you fall with me, I'm just gonna drive whenever I see the spot we'll pull over and I'm just driving and I see the spot I run up to the neighbours it was in it was in the driveway and I knocked on the people's doris, do you mind if we take and I've never had to know and trust me I've knocked on a lot of doors can we shoot cause a lot of people landscape their homes beautifully and you just go up and take advantage of it at the end of the day and no one has ever said no sure can I get you guys something to drink? You know it was good about time we had some people visit us you know and it's fun and we get out and look at the picture look at the composition do you see it right here group of five one two three one two seat the women stand them in okay, so I think we're about their plastic rocks that's two families that was a beautiful sail beautiful ordered. I love this. You know he has the david lazarus foundation and saturday we flew here to seattle. We could have been on the roof of the willard hotel having free drinks and dinner on, you know, his ticket. He begged me to come, but that little portrait of nicholas we showed it a little while ago in the paper is in a red sweater and I printed that out I gave it to jeff medford, a good friend of ours, and jeff showed up in our in our stead and brought the portrait and to me, that's, what happens with our family work? We'd be get way, make friends and that's why I love photography. I love new relationships. I love learning about new people and david's, just a wonderful guy wants me to do a modeling portfolio for nicholas. This picture was made the day of the bark mitzvah, and I've photographed each person up on the paper and it turned out to be probably six different photoshopped moves. You who knows? You know what I mean? She might have been in one picture. This is from another. This is a third, but this is in their home. I just put the great paper up. We're jumping in the car, running down to the party. So it's fine to work in people's homes. I'm in a total rainstorm here I'm at the temple, I'm under the breezeway right behind you you're looking at is rain and like buckets and I said, you know let's, just go out. It felt good out there and I just put him out in the rain but there in the dry and in the breezeway not getting rained on, I expose for them and look at the background itjust wench that's hanging on their wall at their home I love it now here is the last one super formal but this is what the mother asked me to do she said. Clay, I need I did you know I did her wedding and I did work for this family they they had a net stork on anne's house of nuts they probably sell them out here and I photographed a lot of work for this family and she said we all want to be formal jacket and tie so this is in our studio then I took him outside and just had fun so you can see how the formal session can also lend itself to some really great moments and these are pictures that came out of a book that we created for them and at the last moment I told the mother guess what the book is awesome it's designed why don't I make three instead of one? She said three one for each of your children what's the price I gave her the deal it was she couldn't afford it but she couldn't afford not to do it does that make sense? It should be this I'll do it for this well let's just do it and so she got the wall prince she got three books and that's what we're doing we're going for you know I think the big the big session? I don't know in the film days we didn't work that way, but with digital now it just feels like we're doing a video with pictures, doesn't it? We just can't slow down, so we have this great looking family and I think I want to take some pictures. Let me just tell you what I'm thinking about. I'm thinking speed like I'm thinking speed like I know this guy is watching me from home he sent me some stuff that I have never used although I said, what a great idea here's a grid spot this is from the spin light. We had it earlier on the stage when I was doing the corporate shoot and the speed lights are all set up to work with tt l so I'm not a huge fan yet, although I'm a big fan of the new six hundred flash because it's radio slave in the old days, the red thing had to see the camera now that's not the case now the cases I can hide the light behind the background and I could get a little light on the on the wall. I'm going to use this light here, kind of the layer in on top, this is a rapid box, and I'm telling you I'm telling you, can you just stay with me? I'm just going to do this because I know it'll come off the wall and I know I can do it I just got out there this picture right here can you see this that was made with one rapid box one battery operated flash we did have another one underneath at the knees that technique I used yesterday but I don't even think the one on the knees did anything maybe I over vignette in the picture and so if we can make a picture like this with one little battery operated flash that's that's, colossal and this is where the industry is changing so fast and it seems it's getting lighter, faster and quicker so let's have the young monica is it is the name monica? Why don't you come on over here with me and I'll take your picture? No, she doesn't have to how about anthony? You come on over, I'll do your picture so it's a chess game and the move was made and the move was aborted. They understand the chess game how it's working so I'm playing a game and I'm just going to see what comes out of it and you know it's going to come down to chocolate or ice cream or, you know, money, I've got ten dollars in my pocket ten dollars and I'm going to expense it out to creative live and I'll give it to you that's the funny story but you know what? I was doing a family portrait once and the little girl with the little boy was being such a hard subject and I said to him, I'll give you twenty bucks if you'll just be good and he says okay and he was perfect I have the slides to show you he's going like he's making faces and his parents can't control him and it's a sunday morning and I'm doing the shoot before a wedding and I didn't want to do it, but I squeeze it in because people needed to get done and I'm like if this kid does not behave, what amount and he's just being terrible and I said, look, I got twenty bucks if you just if you're nice, I'll give it to you right now he was perfect walk in gave him the twenty when I I delivered the final product to the family, I hid forty dollars on the bill as an aggregate aggravation fi, you know what I mean? And I said that was and I told the father and he didn't carry in fact he was embarrassed when I gave the twenty to the sun and he wanted to pay me back, but anyway those things always work all right, how you doing, buddy you look great how about sitting on opposing stool right here and we're going to zero in our lights what we're using here is window light with the little speed light so let's just shoot shoot shoot I could hear jennifer in the back quit telling stories and take pictures she's right she's right every picture has a story you know what I mean it's just that's what it is put your knees this way for me, buddy. I just kind of lean in there to that to this wallet yeah that's good. Why don't we get him a couple opposing blocks? Bart I think I might even lower him down a little bit more but let me let me test this light out let's just keep him right here so I'm back to the mark good right there good perfect. Paul so we just worked in the studio knowing that the light in here is fantastic off this window. What we've done here is we've put a speed light in here and I'm using them pretty much unmanned you'il manual means it's e t t l this little sending unit now I could have a flash up here that would set it off which is what I normally do but I just called cannon and I said, you know I'm going to be a creative lives and when I work in the canon booth this is what we use and it really makes sense it's just a nice little sending unit so this right here is going to go on camera hope I didn't mess you up there, bart and when this light when this camera is plugged in with the little sending unit it's going to set the light off the light's pretty gorgeous just like it is but the light is a stop under were actually stopping a third I just turned it way down going to go to manual focus and he looks handsome right here. Just look at me, buddy right there. I got in looking good. Good. Tip the top of your head to the right a little bit good. Turn your nose to the right a little turn your nose right there now that was that was huge. What I just did. Now the back of his shirt don't move don't move! I could liquefy this later on. But why liquefied? Look at that. I hate computers. You know, I said to myself the other day I'm going to get off off the computer and I kept thinking about it. I said that's kind of like saying I want to be a golf pro but I don't want to have any golf club you know, today the computer is everything it's the portal, isn't it so that's good right there and let's take a portrait now see we're not getting the flash when we're plugged in there so I know what the deal is because I'm on video I'm on live you I mean why even add the five look at that light again coming from above but I think what I have to do is flip it off video and then take the picture here and they're going to go yep let's take a look at that picture wow let's compare them so the main light is coming in there about a stop and a third under that's no flash what does come on baby no flash flash I like flash it shaped the faith gave us better skin tones that everything I said it would do what do you think back there? Flash yeah mom says flash did you bring a visa master chart now this season I like to keep him laughing it's all about teasing you know having a good time let's add another light part I'm going to bring this light in this is a little back forty five separation light again a grid and I can spin it that's the spin light let's give one of these away also it's on the list and we'll put one around here behind so we've just turned on a separation life we make sure it's on we put this light on I want about a stop under here yep stop under and about a stop under here and then we got it, and then we've gotta fill light. Is it on? I think we're going to turn it on now. So here we go. One, two, three, four speed lights. Thank you, canon. And we're going to bring this back here. And what you see is what you get on let's hewed it out let's, have some fun. Scoot this way a little bit more. Yeah. I'm just hiding my back like leaning there. You got a great smile, anthony. Let me see it again. Yes. Tip your head to the right. I felt like that light on his back forty five might be a little punchy, but I like it. Do you like it? It's a nice little mirror light there. Why don't we go in there and I'll do it. I'm gonna pull it down a little bit now I can control each light individually from the camera. I prefer to just come over here and I'm on a t t l I'm gonna be minus minus one and a half and I'm going to kind of bring it in here more of the hair light. So now I brought it down a little and I got it off the chicken on the hair, beautiful all right I like it tip your head to the right a little bit and the light on the background is it going every time bart go in there and see it it's so subtle it's just a little separation that's a nice portrait I like it do you like the bricks? I like I like the bricks but you know this is one thing I've been playing with all week we have everything at my studio just like this just for fun just hold us in their barn buck can somebody jump on this side on the other corner? We're just going to use our lights but no backlight just going to show you how quick I can add variety that's our jury you're doing great, man all right let's go to work that's good you're gonna model for marriage she gave him a model one time to get your family photograph and give you a portfolio you ever thought about modeling you should you should keep your back tall good tip you head to the right that shirt keeps buckling a little bit here we go here we go kind of the front I kind of messed up the front of your shirt a little bit how about no smile this time no smile lips together lives together no smile tip you had a little chin down this quickly we went from our brick background to this background and you know I think that's an awesome portrait I messed up your shirt a little bit do me a favor stand up for a second come over here watch what I'm gonna do hanson blocks right there but just sit on this but you can do it I'm just going to turn the chair sideways and then lean right in here yet right there can you get your chin way over right there can I have one more of these blocks? They're right there on the floor over there stand up again let's get the big one let's get them all in the mix over here let's put that one right here christine I'm kind of like enjoying just kind of zeroing in my lights get right in there just like that hey, don this light over here jump back there and grab the one that bark put way back there in the corner take it off the stand the top one well, that is smooth isn't it that's a smooth looking shot uh you had to see it. Anthony look up there. No, no key I want to leave that one alone actually is on the low stand bring it right over here handed to me I was thinking about this one up here why don't we do double kickers dear? You bring yours out, I'll bring mine in now look, I've got a kicker right here I want the kicker to be low remember the arrow we talked about yesterday so the kicker is going to be right here so I've got this little clip here and the spin light should allow me just to spin it around and finn yet it right there now yours is going to come like the arrow double kicker let's see what happens right here we go alexis I'm gonna get you over here in just a second, okay show me some love show it to me love it you know that little bit on the foreheads a little shiny but I think the eyes were just glowing there thank you all right. We've done portrait like this now we're gonna back up and use more of environmental look how about a big smile teeth teeth back up a little taller back chin down right there bart look on your little kicker light and see if it's going down here watch right there yes, I'm going to take it up to level right now. It's a stop under now this little kicker should give me a little more chrome on the cab this is your big moment, buddy. You're gonna be discovered with this picture right there but you might have blinked you go look at him, eh right there right there and have a smile now smile teeth right there how about come on alexis, let me give you a solo and then I'm gonna build the whole family and then on and you're gonna be next okay, so why don't we let your sister sit there and I'll just do a real simple portrait see, the family is making the effort to model for us I want to give him some nice portrait and this is just how I do it. How about your right hand right here? Yeah and just like that put your hand under your hair, chin down a little bit right there tip your head to the right a little bit also noticed that my main light is feathering over to the reflector and it's just like I do in the studio just beautiful eyes right here. Look at this chin up a little good right there. Nice smile, teeth. Oh, you're gorgeous like both hands down like this right there. Turn your shoulders into the window a little bit the other way turn turn more and more time looking at that back elbow back a little yet right there. How about we go over the shoulder? Just keep spinning around you rotate around, push the chair a little and then look over your shoulder at me, you know, look right here first this is the back to third pose keep turning your back to me a little more and your nose to me a little bit tip your head this way yet not turn your face to the left. Keep turning. Keep turning good. Now look right here to the corner of the window. Tip you head to the right a little more a little more good. A little more tip you head to the right now. Smile. Teeth, teeth, teeth right there. Now look back at me with your eyes. You head to the right. Good right there. There it is back two thirds the queen elizabeth pose coming in over the back eyes cut to me so let's, go ahead. I love the portrait's. Why don't you slide out the black background? You come away for a second and listen on if you want to do a picture, come on in. We'll just do a solo kind of fun. We're at the house. Come, you can come with mama if you if you want to come with her that's fine. Come on over. Yes, stay close together. In fact, why don't you all kind of get in close here? Why don't you just curl up in the chair for me? You can sit there. You know what would look nice? Is that kind of spin it around and maybe raise you just an inch and you just sit right up in here, okay? I hope they didn't eat all that ice cream in the back because I know we both need some ice cream don't way sure do. Okay, how about that back white through the back light on the back wall thank you feel lights going feel lights about a stop and a half under I'm gonna bring the camera down now camera height now has to come down good just sit on the stool and slide over out of the way keep working put it right in I broke it but now I fixed it I think you know I got it just that spinner works good. I spent it right up on the back wall just bring that off these these flashes actually have batteries that are added on to them that kind of help he's full both arms like this good right? They're beautiful don't move is your name really ah nika you know what I think your name I think your name is I know your real name is cinderella, is it? No. No it's pocahontas, do you like that name? No. Okay, I'm gonna fix your hair a little bit. You did great look on the tv. Can you see it? Let me show you one more picture I'll turn it around for you look at my camera for one second can you turn the monitor don a little bit it's on wheels we'll let on to see her picture. Here we go. Chin down just a little right there. Beautiful. Oh, I love it. I love it. I love it. Look it, now there we go. Now relax your mouth. Let's, do a couple more. Look right here. Make good right there. Now I got her. I'm gonna push him elements in here, which are just a little free here and another one over here. All right. Hey, bart. Or somebody come over here and just slide those plants to the left a little bit. Take a little lower. All right, here we go. Right there. Beautiful turning to me a little bit. It's kind of it's kind of interface. Just taken either bart and lower them like this taking me and I go like this right there. Right there. Beautiful. Monica, look at me. Can you go like this? Yeah. What happens when you smile? Don't you laugh at me? You're gonna lack of me. Oh, I love that expression there that's the portrait right there. Just take a break. Look at this guy's what we've done, we've kind of created that shoot through effect and I think it's gorgeous, I love it, pose it, light it love it, can I have your brother and sister? Because I've got them all individually photographed come on in, guys. So what we'll do now let's see if we can fix this back wine I need both stools for it I'll give you that here don you wanna work with him? It just came apart. How about I usually put the man farthest from the light and the woman closest so alexis you're going to be here leaning in like this? Can you be real tall this time? Set up real tall? Yep. I've got her on the block and you're like this and then tony anthony, you're going to go back here, okay, right in there and you're gonna straddling you both. All three going to get in here then I'm gonna have mom and dad we got it, then we're gonna go outside and we're gonna take you on the roof and photograph you now lean and tone anthony a little bit more and these blocks another thing when I go into a family's home the blocks were awesome to put under the cushion so that when you sit on the sofa you don't disappear so the blocks go under the sofa. I remember doing a portrait once and I went into their home to do the other child three years later and I lifted the sofa to put my block into there and there was still a block into their from three years ago the mother could have died that I left the block it she never cleaned her sofa for three years it was in the formal part of their house and I don't blame her but my wife was laughing about that all right, anthony get your shoulder right up to your sister on over your right shoulder put your hand on her leg and lean in there leaning come on, baby. All right, anthony feel like you're kind of far back there can you scoot closer? Come on and right into me yes. And can you get your knee on the side of the chair? Your left knee that'll give you the ability to kind of lean into the picture that's it yeah pull that chair in tighter good right right there you're doing good I think what I'm gonna do you guys air fine I'm going to kind of watch this. I'm looking at the picture and what's what's not good. Alexa is closest to the camera and I feel like she's going to be kind of enlarged so I want to take the whole group and just rotated around so all I do is turn on icka this way and you're going to go back a little and you're going to come up a little keep coming yet right there there we go can you, um on our lower your chair a little bit, stand up now sit again now just get right behind on it right there just push your chair out kind of lean in that's good that's good I love it I love it I love it here we go a little taller actually made you too low maybe I'll take it your left hand right here yeah monica you gonna back up a little right there coming right here in this hand let me see your fingers right here. All right? This is a nice group of three inverted pyramid anthony you just need to slide in behind your sister a little bit marco reyes his stool a little bit just go raise him up I want you guys to see the picture he's got to be taller than his sister so stand up a little all right now and then to kind of go behind your getting tighter I know there you go you're there you're there now look at me look at me there we go. Come on in there, tony anthony come on, come on, baby. Tip your head this way even a little higher do you have to do it? You just there you go right there now lean and put your hand up when your sister's shoulder softly getting right in or if it gets almost on her hair come in this way a little more year there you just needed another inch come on right there were their scoot to the front of your chair so you can really get in tighter yeah this way and turn your shoulders to your sister all right here we go we got to do something funny to make little anneke laugh here we go one two, three ah nika oshi I see she's starting to smile a little tony can you get in a little tighter and put almost feel your sister's hair on you and then bring your chin down come way over the top now you gotta work it there we go right there one teo and on a good don't you laugh at me but what you laugh you're not are you you're not there he go I know you would how about how I love it I love it right there look at me tony can you feel her hair with your cheek? Yep can you turn your nose to your sister alexis can you slide out toe lower you slide slide more now lean in yes guys come on in tony two inches give it anybody could tip your head tony a little taller yes article I mean a guy likes a little lower and your nose to the right alexa now tone anthony's chin down and come right to your sister come right to your sister chin down no smile, no smile right there come right over the top there right there now, everyone smile, especially on again. Can you tickle her just a little guys just tickle her a little bit? Just a little look at me. Yes, I love it, I love it, tony, your chin down, anthony's, chin down, everyone, relax your shoulders. Yes, that was huge! That was huge, anthony. I want you to get right on top of the girls. Come on in, their chin down. And that right there, that's the shot. Yes, if monica smiles, I'm done. Monica smiles, don't you laugh on a good con teeth, teeth? Come on! One, two, three. Keith, yes, right there.

Class Description

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

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

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

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Clay Blackmore Top 10.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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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.