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Pose It, Light It, Love It

Lesson 3 of 33

Shoot: Refining and Lighting the Pose

Clay Blackmore

Pose It, Light It, Love It

Clay Blackmore

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Lesson Info

3. Shoot: Refining and Lighting the Pose
Clay takes an unconventional approach to shooting profile headshots - watch him work.

Lesson Info

Shoot: Refining and Lighting the Pose

And I'd like to review with you a little bit what we've been doing so the profile again we're just going to be turning around a little bit more so let's go live live view on the camera hey, I'm gonna lower the camera for the profile anybody want to know uh anybody no one want to guess lowering the camera for the profile I'll tell you what for my audience if anyone can tell me why we just lowered the tripod you're gonna win a prize okay think about it tell me that she just can't below that level well there's a real specific reason not that now I could just use one light for the profile and there's one already back here I'm just going to use this light right here okay, so there is my lighting turn your shoulders to forty five uh and your elbow out just hear a little bit and then turned your face just like this so I oppose it one time one thing that's kind of interesting. Did you see how I got in there imposed amanda with you know pretty pretty firm you know with her because watch this am...

anda tip the top of your head to me a little bit the top of your head to the right and then turn your nose right there she doesn't want me to touch her again so she's doing exactly what I'm telling you from back here I established this kind of like a report like this guy really knows what he's doing posed like lift refined I'm sitting her up but now this main light here has to come out here to give me a loop shot on that turn your nose to the right so what am I looking at right here? What am I looking at? I'm looking at picture one does that make sense? And I'm looking at full phase two thirds is right there and I'm doing the profile and guess what tomorrow by window light I'm going to do the same portrait and instead of moving the light, I'm going to move the camera why is that? Because the window is cemented into the wall I can't move it so I know I moved the camera that's why it's called camera position turn your nose to the right a dash there's a little hair behind your right chin you're right neck hide all that that's it right there and here's the profile turn your nose to the right a little more tipped atop your head to the right. I'm going to give a shout out right now to fda westcott lyta pollux za to thirteen if you go on the website, they're having a profile contest and the winners are gonna win big prizes up to fifteen thousand dollars to do this portrait lyta pollutes the two thousand thirteen your eyes I'm going to show her where to look right here all this lighting is just so easy to use that's it right there hint of a smile the lights see the light on the inside bridge of the nose see that shadow watch this I'm going to get better you see that monty would always say never settle get it right don't say good enough that's just good enough right there and a hint of a smile that's pretty how about I want to see that smile all the way and the answer is your right elbow up a little bit really big smiles teeth, teeth, teeth, eyes a little lower and wherever you're looking look to the left just a dash just your eyes right there good, good good this is very statue ask very pretty posed like lift refined now I'm going to go down the other way of tipping the camera to my right and I'm gonna ask you to bring your chin down a dash yeah and tipped atop your head to the right just a little bit now turn your nose to the right just a little bit little more right there that's good tip the top your head to me a little bit beautiful that's the shot little soft focus would be great on this breathe lands there we go and no smile lips together and beautiful. I love that portrait and profile now something like this, you could easily add the man in the background like that. So I'm going to review some of this. Why don't we do just do a quick basic portrait of her? We've done full face two thirds and profile all and feminine. Let me do the basic posed actually turn around this way to me a little bit. Yes, I am. I'm going to show you another quick pose barn if you just throw that kicker light in place actually its employees just go in there and pull it back a little bit anymore. Questions on the feminine? How about this? Just fold your arms just like you're sitting here. Yeah, behind I turn your body to the right pose lean forward a little bit what I'm doing now turn your nose to the left tip your head to the right. I'm just showing her what to do so it's kind of like she's going to mirror me a little bit, but I'm really good with the communication I know what I wanted to do. I'm telling you it's in my mind, it's a template, but by showing her it makes everyone's life easier. Some people get a little nervous when they're being photographed, so sometimes I need to kind of tell him and show him I studied with jerry jonas and japan we went there together for deputy p I japan and I loved worth watching jerry I took his class and he would just say to the model you do what I do and then he would go like this she would do that you go like this chandan shen you know he could basically control her by you know like this like this like this and that's a good way to work and I do some of that so I'm kind of mixing a little bit of that in with this style right here but I want you all to say one thing with me the four of you pose light lift refined let's say it together pose light lift refined so what that means is I cannot like this picture until it's pose right because I got oppose it to put the light on so I get it all posed then I liked it after I light it then when I do I lift sit up how many times do I see portrait where the people are slouching and that's bad because that then nobody likes it and then the refinement is what what you're looking at right now give me refining a picture where's my eye it's on the ground glass the eyes right on the ground glass so you're wasting her time and your time if you're over here refining the picture I have classes all the time and I have contests all the time about who can create these portrait the contest was if you could do any one of those pictures in two minutes I would give you a thousand dollars worth of my product dvds whatever it started with one hundred but after twenty cities and nobody could get it and it was usually the refinement sitting up it was usually those little little tiny things at the end turn your nose to the right a little bit chin up just a dash all right we're there I love it how about a smile? This is your business portrait you new profile picture her elbows look a little let me just talk about it she feels like this kind of crowded let's bring your hands out are just yeah just keep unfolded and just try to a concert and bringing your elbows out a little now tip your head to the right a little bit good now she's in a basic pose look at me turned a full face that's full phase but see we talked about how a man is going to like her face a little bit more when it's slimmed down exactly so she's turning her face a little to two thirds with her eyes cut back to me this is not easy to do with men or older people but for young slim women this is great chin oppa dash smiling teeth, teeth. This is great right there. I love it. Well, your eyebrows went up a little bit. Tip your head to the right, see those little things like the eyebrows. I see that, but a lot of people wouldn't see it at home. Your chin up just a little bit, chin up a little more, getting a good, good smile like that. We're going to be putting together couples pretty sin where I put two girls together, our guy and a girl. And it works really well. I think we're getting close. Can I go back to power point and review a few of these things? I mean, I could just keep shooting until it's lunchtime, but portrait ce one, two, three hears the things that are going on in my mind, I'm thinking about my going to basic or feminine, you know, those are the two things we did in both here I'm thinking about tohave that finished cure my mind before I start. So I'm going to rough all the lights in before I sit her down and then I'm gonna decide which side the light's going to go on and what's going to determine that it's going to be the hairstyle, a bump on the nose or the eyes. Lighting from the proper side is very, very important. I'm going to work with the lens just above eye level that's going to minimize the body and it's going to draw your attention to the face. I've sold enough business portrait's to know this is the way to do it and you know what? I didn't make all this up, I'm sharing it with you it was given to me joe's eltman the master gave it to monty. Monty gave it to me I'm the trifecta I'm giving it to you. I'm I'm carrying the mantle and you know what? I'm the only guy out there that really is really doing this anymore. I mean, there I'm sure there's some of me out there I can't wait to hear some of the comments this is really going to help you on your location shoots when you're by the window when you're outside no, these little principles work over and over and over and over how about this? Keep the eyes centered member high was having her look at the tree and I could center her eyes that's very important for a finished picture never photographed the subject with shoulders level go look right now in your portfolios go look at your website tell me how many times you have portrait with the bride square to the camera looking like a football player, she's got these big old shoulder pads on and she's looking right at the camera. Let's get those shoulders to forty five and let's drop one shoulder and let's do it by tipping the camera, and I usually tip the camera to the high shoulder to drop the back shoulder, concentrate on specific angles of the face. I just gave it to you full face, two thirds profile there it is right there. I mean, the equipment you've got it, bring it, you know? And again, I've said this I usually in my program with this trying to take the easy way out is the hardest way to go into a shoot with one camera and say, I'm going to get this thing, forget it, you know, you need helpers, you need a tripod, you need lights, stools, tables. You need all this if you're going to really be serious about your way. In fact, I know a lot of people who say that to me, clay, I just want to I want to go all the way I want to do it, I want to be, but they're not taking the effort, you know, they say they want to do it, but they're just not doing it ask yourself if that were me in the portrait would I buy it and this was the best thing I used to shoot film and monty said clay that's a dollar a shot a dollar a shot I want you to slow down because I was told that you and he said look from now on before you push the button you say if that were me what would I make the purchase and when I started thinking that way boy man my rolls of film came way down and my sales went way up expression is everything so we gotta pot's light lift refined and the final thing is go into the expression like that lower the camera for the profile why that iran said separation between the chin and the shoulder I want that audrey hepburn neck and if I've got the camera up above eye level it all squishes together and as soon as I drop the camera I've got this great neck like that now are there times keep your eye on the ground glass this is so important I had a class where you know I said you had three minutes three minutes if you do any of those portrait I'll give you a grand I'll give you thousand dollars worth of product and you know what? They spent two and a half minutes over here do you know what I mean? And then they ran back here for the last thirty seconds thinking they were going to make it happen here is the whole crux of this morning watch this amanda you stay there turn this way cross your right knee over your left lean this way tip your head there that was eight seconds and I posed it I'm done eight seconds they spent two and a half minutes over there now get her posed. All I have to do is look for that loop shadow there it is now I've got the lighting done now I've got an entire two and a half minutes to come behind the camera and refine it with my eye right here and if I need a cheat sheet I'll take it I'll take a cheat sheet and take the opposing card and just match incidentally identically hiding nikolay does that make sense that's why I still didn't say it right? So is there any more tips here? I think the refinements are everything if the picture looks good take it and you know what? It's so funny I looked over at you when I came over to mess you all up impose you like that and she was just sitting there like this did you see that that that was a gorgeous picture and she was being herself? She was relaxed so we're always looking for that frame inbetween frames were always looking for the love and the photograph when I'm doing couples and this is a great thing with these new light well they're not even knew anymore they're five six seven years old but in the old days with stroh it was like shampoo shampoo now I could put my camera on ten frames a second and I can have these lights going I go t does that make sense and I couldn't get these really magic moments in between without distractions and I think that's it on the power point so all right clegg we would love to dio a little tiny rapid fire round of questions for you because the internet has so many questions coming in what we're doing it's fantastic okay this is from tough toodle a regular how do you analyze the face what do you look for this is when you were saying two thirds for you full for you ok and life around face is gonna look better in the two third view my wife when I first photographed or she's ukrainian and she's beautiful and I'll show you a picture later but when I did her portrait full face she was just learning english at the time she says she's not watching shows they use the worst photographer what I ever saw and I was like oh no I was so crushed monte said put her in two thirds I put her in the two third view and the picture was colossal so I'm looking at the shape of the face but facial analysis is really about hairstyle first you know, like if I look at kenner right now I would definitely want to put the light on the left turn your nose to the right a little bit I would photograph you definitely with my light on the left because your hairstyle is framing you beautifully so this this this was kind of a different situation I kind of let the full side stay forward. The second thing I look at is the nose if there's a bump on the nose light it it goes away a lot of people have a little crooked bends in there knows I know I do and there's the eye issue so we sometimes you know what if you're not sure just do both sides of the face that's my answer all right next question up is from marie bonne who says I keep studying light and cannot grasp seem to grasp when the light sources closer it's softer and less contrast e I seem to have the opposite experience what might be doing wrong you know, I bet she needs to feather the light it sounds like she's got that light aimed right at the subject and I'd like to see her pull the light out a little bit and feather the light but keep it in close I mean I can show if she's at home watching pajamas she must be do we have a feed on this right here because watch this if my hand is right by that light look how soft it is if I come out here the transfer edge goes faster and it gets contrast it so the closer it is it should be softer just feather it and practice and keep it going over to the reflector another question on that for the for the hair light in the strip light do you ever use grids and if so when would you use them that was from I think a grid is a good idea on that hairline and maybe the kicker light just to keep those lights out of your limbs the cool thing is with my camera I have this gigantic lin shade and if I pick up some flair which is funny I did a port portrait there at the very end had a little flair I could fix it on the fly so grids are awesome I don't personally use them all the time but if if I had them I would use them sometimes on my pro photo lights I'll be gritting those yes all right another question from pro photographer can you please talk about reflector colors when do you use silver when do you use white and window used gold I love that question because I'm a silver black guy all the way the silver reflectors going to reflect back to color that hits it the gold is going to give you a kind of a gold tent, maybe muddy up your skin tones. The black side of this reflector is a wonderful gobo. Oh, so there'll be times where I'll have two or three of these out on a set, using them as a go bows and reflectors, but the silver has always worked the best for me. Fantastic and, uh maybe one more quick question. What is a gobo for people who aren't familiar? Gobo is short for go between and sometimes when the light's coming from behind and I want to keep it out of my lens, I'll use this to shade my life. Hopefully tomorrow we'll be doing pro photo lights, and if I do high key all white, I'll be wanting to hide the flare they called blow by, where the light hits the paper and it kids right into your lens and your pictures are all flaring, so what I want to do is bring in those you know, sometimes I'm behind scenes on hollywood extra stuff a tv tonight you'll see them photographing celebrities in hollywood. They put up these big black flat and it's just like this, and they put the lens right here and they shoot through that little to go boz keeping all the light over on the other side and out of their lens.

Class Description

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

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

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

Class Materials

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Clay Blackmore Top 10.pdf

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.