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Pose It, Light It, Love It

Lesson 14 of 33

Shoot: Window Lighting

Clay Blackmore

Pose It, Light It, Love It

Clay Blackmore

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Lesson Info

14. Shoot: Window Lighting

Lesson Info

Shoot: Window Lighting

Where these cameras were all kind of over here and just having fun I'm going to play with an eighty five one two because it's just amazing lens to drop the background out of focus I normally would have a white lens let's keep that on dec bartha seventy two two hundred is really the lens you would find on my camera about one hundred ninety eight percent of the time these flashes here this is the cue flash that'll be something we can add into a photograph very simple very lightweight battery operated and everybody wants to know about the speed lights and I've got some beautiful little what we call light modifiers to go on top of these this is something I just found from a company called spin life and I really think this is a pretty clever product and we'll shoot with that but I love the little soft boxes the battery operated flashes I'm just kind of pulling this out of the fete and we're gonna seat hannah right here just have a seat all right so I'm gonna take one of my students here I'm...

gonna think don come over for me please and I'd like you to put hannah in a feminine pose turned straight to me face me right there all right she's looking great just like that the lights of wonderful go ahead and just go in there and poser okay like feminine pose okay think about shoulder first so the shoulders or what I'm thinking about so turned forty five degrees you want her? You right there. Okay, so let's make it I know it's nervous when you're on national tv trying to do a pose uh try dropping the french old er look that way. Okay? We're getting that online so here's what I want you to do now I had always liked to have a little table that we talked about now this table's a little low so I'm just gonna lower you a little that's experience now here's what I'm gonna do this is so good of you all at home watching this don you scope closer to the window over here come right over here and come back and and you know we might use to reflectors to bart I'm going to start with one but we might throw a light underneath but here that watch this here we go mean this way and tip your head there and your elbow right there turn your nose to me good your chin down a dash look how quickly she brought her chin down tipped the top of your head here she's doing all these things so effortlessly and so quickly and she's really cooperating because she doesn't want me back over there did you see how I started the picture? I said, I want you to sit up lean forward and tip your head and it doesn't hurt but it's like whoa this guy really has me plugged in ok so now speaking of plugged in let's get our camera on our picture one is going to be very simple chin down how about now, monica I would like you to place the reflector where it should go go ahead but let's go to the white lends a seventy two hundred I'm going to go white land I'll tell you what I had just eighty eighty five on the camera I had this on there because I wanted teo melt the background out of focus and you know what this white background it doesn't really matter and this longer lens is I think a little bit better portrait lens the mark three is a full frame camera record it was telling me something else uh you said and you tell me when you're ready go ahead I'm not gonna help you, okay? So it's just like in the studio you so I'm gonna give you go ahead ten seconds just said and say I'm done go ahead you're done okay, okay you're very you're very close but what I want to do is put it right here you see it wiggle it can I get a camera shot right in here? I want a wiggle that look at that is that good you got that so also you know you can overfill donna that mean monica that was so important you can take a reflector and you can almost create a secondary source of light stronger than the window that's really a very astute observation that I want to soften it you know we call it feather the light now come over here. Can I get a shot right here? I know what I'm looking at. Come on, you can walk in here. Don't get too comfortable, jerry, you're next. Come over here. Look at that light see how beautiful it is but notice that the reflector ends before the face begins this this is so important. If I just throw the reflector up there and say good I got it let me go to work. That's that's eighty five percent of the country. In fact, I would ghost is bold to say that's ninety eight percent of the country I don't know people who understand that what that reflector just did is it added a secondary light on her ear back there. I hope you can see that at home it if let's see if I can get you a camera shot but my camera should do it let me see if I can get in here and see what's going on this is really critical I'm live let's go I gotta push a button and that reflector is not helping at all in fact it's adding a light you see it back there on her cheek let me zoom in right back there let me see it come on now watch how I'm going to refine it it looks like I've got another light on the right side of the camera and that's cross lighting and we want the light to all bi directional now look at that just like that and I just I mean we're talking a couple of inches there and we've got it right there so let's take picture one it's gonna be a full face portrait um jerry what what camera hide for a full face portrait just above the eye we got a winner there. Good, good, good. Now let me zoom back a little I love it right there. I feel like we're just going to go where I s o twelve fifty we really should do a quick white balance but in respect of time and I want to keep shooting I think you guys would appease me if I just push this button here and it's funny anytime we click in to this when we load in the camera it doesn't let me have the ability sorry to go black and white the way I normally do I think the black and white might speak volumes just to the educational value of the lighting and take our eye off everything else white balance would be important right here and it's just a daylight balance isn't it or I could just come back here I'm just going to go black and white that's what I kind of wanna date you guys tell me where it's at custom white balance you need us to bring somebody out are no no it's right here somewhere do you guys see image the color of the whole country's watching me do this exposure like world play the world world custom why balance color space all right I'm black and white and I think the black and whites going to look good in here it's pastel you guys agree with me hope so after all that now I'm gonna have got her in a beautiful feminine pose but what do you see first the shoulders I want you to lower your left shoulder but guess what she can't the table's too high can I raise you a niche? No now you see the shoulder dropped right down I'm gonna tip your head like this and your chin down right there your chin down a dash good right there now look at the back shoulder there is no back shoulder there's no back elbow can you bring that elbow out that's it a little more alright there's picture one right there now I'm kind of kind of zero in on that lighting patter I'm looking right I'm going to go a little higher with my camera little higher just for that beautiful look here now I'm going to take picture one and then I'm going to improve it because that's kind of fun for you guys to see this I'm looking at my lighting there's loop shadow can you all see the loop shadow it's soft but it's there it's very easy so this is just a hint of a smile your eyes right here look when she brought her eyes up actually picture one look right in the camera okay, she's looking in the camera I've gotta tighten this up just a little that happens a lot when you throw this on real fast and you got to bring that in sometimes you just you got to really get it right now I'm back live picture one let's improve it I would like to have christine come over for me now my camera's floating I want to tip my camera which way do you think you should tip it towards the high shoulder, which is which way this way look at this very good. Now you're going to tip your head this way a little more beautiful right there if this course is all about making photographs, we're doing it right here that is gorgeous, your nose to the right a little bit now bart how about real quickly give me that other reflector don come over here on your knees please and just give me this just a little kick from below okay? You got it and you just wiggle it until I tell you you know know stand on the other side because you're not catching the light that's that's a really good lesson can somebody get me here? Don jumped in here right how could he get how can he do anything unless he's here there's the light so if you're outside or if you're by a window or your anywhere and you want to add light with a reflector what do you do? First first point the reflector to the window to the sun to the cloudy day get the light now I got it and you can see it now see it on the wall but done see it looking the wall see it now it's on the floor now it's on the feeling now oh, I got it who? Here she comes right there. Okay that's really important and I teach at a lot taking me go and there you go go a little bit lower little bit lower that's getting it good don't know we're gonna compare these two pictures tip your head a little more turn your nose to the right a little bit that's it right there now the last thing I'm gonna do let's have your eyes right up here. You guys appease me. I'm going to focus the camera right here and just push that in critical focus and we're ready right here. You looking beautiful? Relax your smile. All right, let me look at picture one and picture too. Okay, don great job. Relax. Well, she blamed you can't do that let's do one more time looking right here. I remember one time. Keep your head to the right a little more a little more. Tip it more to the right. Yes, right there. Little more chin down. Turn your nose to the left right there. Can somebody show what hannah actually looks like over there, where she looks like she's kind of falling over? Is that what you're getting here? She looks very awkward, teo, over there. But through the lens she looks fantastic. Let's look, this picture that's right in the middle here, why don't I just delete that a race? Now we're going to go from here to there go and you can lay the reflector down it's the shoulder that's really changing the shoulder is coming down, so now I have picture one. So what I want to do now relax a little bit, I would like jerry coincidence or intentional, but it seems like you're doing a single on the opposing stool that they're almost falling off of it is that intentionally like where they're just on the edge like a twenty two to have degree it's great great question and she's sitting on the edge of the chair this whole thing what I'm thinking about his posture and I don't want her to get too comfortable and that actually is pretty comfortable, isn't it? You're just resting on the edge, but every portrait I do jerry I say sit up on the chair and they always say I can't get up there and I say no, just rest against it you know here's another trick cross your left knee over you're right on the right over left right over left that helps to drop the back shoulder okay, now what? We're gonna do it now jerry look right here it may turn to me and kind of me right there I'm going to take this camera and I'm going to go live and I'm going to move this camera to two third view, so thus camera position so what am I going to be looking for when I do this? Christine knows a little bit of flesh to hold the eye there it is right there you see what's happening so that's cool thing is this background is so portable that I can just kind of roll it in here it's on wheels you can set that up, but it's just a flip out background and now look at that light's getting better looking right over here now the reflector is not in place yet. I shouldn't have even moved it and come on this side for me don't come right over here and sit right in that corner come around even more say kind of mine now right down here and let's just kind of give her that little kick from below right there. You got interested on her knee that's good, just let it rest underneath. Now critique that picture for me real quick. What am I looking at? The shoulders are square to the camera and you couldn't do that on lee when you're going to crop above the bust, which I'm doing, that is a rule. Can I say that again? I will on ly shoot square to the shoulders when I crop above the bust if she's outside in a two third view full and I'm going to cheat her shoulders back because I want to slim her, then I'm going to be looking at the cord in the neck if I cheat her too much it's going to be awkward right there, but if I can bring her just a little bit, she was so funny I hate to tell monte stories all day I've been criticised for that but this is the best one. I ran up the wedding and I told the bride I pushed her shoulder down and I got back to my cameron they were level and then I then I went up over there and I said, bring your foot over here and I was trying to get her shoulder down and I ran back to the camera and her shoulders were level again and one day I was at a wedding and I amanti was buying the camera. He said, sara, drop your left shoulder and she went like that and I go, oh god, is that easy? You just ask them to drop the shoulder, but that is, you know, if you look at the classics, you're going to see a lot of this, a lot of beauty and the shoulders and if you look at your portfolio is you look at the homework, you look at things that are going on a lot, you're going to see square stiff shoulders, right? Monica so now you know the shoulders, everything let's go faster. I think I'm telling too many stories, right? I can hear you back there, jen, your elbows out a little bit see that's what I was looking at the pyramids, you see it now tip the top your head to the right I mean, look at what I met twelve I never even looked at my exposure. It looked good. I'm a twelve fifty I sew it to eight why don't I go to four for depth of field and open this up a little? You see what I did there? I just gave me an f four I've got both eyes and focus well critical on that now I'm gonna tip the head here take the camera pull a little hair off your left eye right there on your left shoulder yep thatyou're they're not tipped the top your head to the right chin down a dash right there chin down a little more tipped atop your head to the right a little more little more don't make me come over there chin down a little bit more look at that she knows I'm kidding turn your head to your nose to the left just a little bit more you know how your chin down now everything fell the place I posed it the light was already there in this in this case now the refinement is the eyes they need to be centered wherever you're looking is great hanna but can you let your eyes go to the left a dash just a dash right there we center the eyes we've got a hint of a smile now tip the top your head to the right more more right there coming out and that turned your nose to the right a little bit more right there that's it that's it beautiful now if I went to the bride's home relax and I went in her dressing room with a flash on camera and took eight e pictures and then I brought her you know, down by the window on the stairs and took a team or or if I just put the window the background nearer and a reflector and made a portrait like this what's going to be better this because I only need four pictures over for the album I don't put eighty pictures in the book I'm going for a beautiful story but I just need a few portrait don't you think she's gonna want that more and you know what? You show that to the mother in the home and say look at the back of my camera and she's like she's would you sit with us for dinner? You know can you please join us she's like I'm her best friend? This is what you wanted all of her life to have a picture of her daughter and the wedding gown that she can put in a frame that she can love on and then the bride what she wants is what she sees in the magazines you know current fun the roof that's what we're gonna do that's come around here and you stay just like a statue, right? Right where you were. I shouldn't even have to move anything, but I, you know, I just have to come in here and tweaked the background a little bit more. Right over here. There we go. I'm gonna lower the camera. For what reason? Kristina? Christine, you know, you got to know I'm lower in the camera. We did it three times yesterday. You're doing the large further back shot? No, because I have a zoom lens. This is critical. Can you pull the hair all the hair out from under your right on your right ear? You can come out of there, don. I think one reflector is gonna be great here. Good. Somebody help her out, is it? When she's moving in closer. I know when you're moving in. I mean, cropping cropping in tighter is no nothing to do with the crop tip top hat to me a while. But if I show you, look at the screen and you guys see what the difference is separate the neck from the sea separate the chin from the shoulders so let's, just do it. You see the difference now I'm going to pose her without touching her can everybody see this, watch this and use her name one because dale carnegie said the sweetest sound of hannah's here is her name so can you can you bring your chin down a little bit and turn your nose to the right keep turning right there good right? That that's that's what I'm talking about is just there's the post now our window light it's morning here in seattle and it's been cloudy were like works the window light now it looks like the sun's coming out outside it's getting a little bit flat for me let me take the reflector away look at that. Well, yeah that's what I want you to see let me move my little thing here, let me move this right here. I mean, this is this is what it's all about that little that's a little rembrandt, isn't it? It shouldn't be. You know, it's just she's been sitting patiently what I've been doing all this talking, but how would I turn that into a modified loop? I can't move the light it's cemented into the studio wall I can't move her neck I turn her nose to the right just a dash keep turning! Turn your nose to the right keep turning, keep turning right there there's the loop shadow for the viewer today that wanted to know the difference can you turn your nose back to the left? More there's your rembrandt triangle patch of light turn your nose to the right a little more that's the rembrandt now there's the loop we just took and tightened up the shadow that's all and we're there and this reflector now is just going to be real soft like that beautiful I love it let's pull this right off of here tomorrow I think we're gonna have a wedding a bride in a gown and it's your turn I'm going to set her up over here and I'm going to let you guys take a few pictures of the bride in fact tomorrow the show starts at nine a m I need to hear it eight because I want youto work before we get going so that when the cameras come on I'm gonna be critiquing your new style your new look it's gonna be wow I got it I got it tip the top of your head to be a little bit yes right there a little more chin down a dash now which way am I gonna tip the camera christine towards her hire help her hire that shoulder right there. How about that? And just a touch of a smile right there. What? I got to blink again when I'm unplugged I might have been out here a second and show you how it might really shoot this I might be going you know I might get a shot just making sure that eyes tack sharp when I get into my catalog and I'm reviewing him I hate to say oh it's soft it's soft oh, I missed it oh yes I got it you know you know the feeling when you shoot it just right here we go turn your nose to the right just a dash in we'll take the picture how about if I wanted to tip the camera the other way and that would be tipping the camera this direction and then when I do that your eyes down eyes lower look down right there beautiful eyes a little higher good right there eyes a little higher turn your nose to the right just a dash right there so there it is full phase two thirds profile can I review it let's do it relax over there is that helpful? Isn't it kind of helpful I think it is when I saw that demonstration ago now I understand camera position one, two three all right, so now I'm going to try something a little different way love to have it in bark or we're getting the questions can you swing the background on this side and make it black? Okay take a little break stand right here clay, do you remember at the very beginning you went up to hannah and you are touching her face and you said she doesn't want me back over there and a lot of people in the chat rooms are wondering what is protocol for touching models what's appropriate and not appropriate? When do you actually go in? And I learned from a master and that's the way he did it, and I think to give you that little shortcut is taking ten years quantum lea tto learn that people, you know, it didn't hurt, it was all about confidence. It was all about well that I understand you don't mean, so I'm a catcher, I know that some people in schools were teaching used batons, you know, that was brooks institute and I did a seminar there, and I was like, twenty years old and everything I did, I went in there with that picture role and v are one thousand film, they were shooting four by five sharp as a tack, I'm shooting grainy pictures with a soft focus on thousand film and touching the models, and the teacher in the back was ready to, you know, die because everything I was doing, but it was when I learned, you know, in the field, so going to school is great, but I think this creative life platform is going to be ten times better than going to college because you're seeing how we do it after I mean, really thirty five years of experience. And I've been very intensive toe what the other pros are doing so I'm always trying to pick up ideas to share with you that and that and we appreciate that ok, next question is from christopher monroe's and also marie how how much of his rules rules of the road with this model such as straight shoulders on ly cropping if only straight shoulders only if you're cropping above the bust our applicable with women is that guidance different with men in that in that one in particular ok, men would never be square to the camera so that's the answer I would never take a man and put in square to the game or I just don't do that it's always forty five now I look att magazine covers and I look at everything out there on the internet and you know if you've got a young petite guy and he's a musician I mean let's think of like a mick jagger you know that body type I could see mick jagger you know, like this square to the camera editorial cool lighting I mean, I could do that I'm teaching classic portraiture today I hope that you will know that tomorrow on day three I'm going to kind of unbridled what's going on around here and do some of that photography but no in the back of my mind that that lighting in those shoulders are so to me, so I hope that answers that, you know, we're going to move into something that's really exciting to meet pretty soon and that's, corporate photography, corporate identity, and you know what the good news is for all of you? I don't do the feminine pose for corporations, any businesswoman I never photograph feminine ever now I might if I have, like, the ceo of the company, if I just do her basic pose, I might go basic two thirds basic to the camera basic half and half hand up. What else can I do over here? Basic? Two thirds basic half and half hand up with camera that's six portrait of a ceo of a big company. I don't think it's enough. So then for the ceo, I might give her some feminine poses. But if she's heavy, I would never do it. Why, if you're heavy, here's the light if I'm heavy with giant pretty in a jam and I'm a female, look what happens. I get really heavy right here. The women should always tipped their head to the light. So that's critical to say, the feminine pose. What we've been doing is reserved for young slim women, not even, you know, know grandmothers, no men for sure, you know, unless you know you're just playing around actually if I put a guy in profile he isn't a feminine pose that's the only time you see if I put a man in this picture if you look at your posing card at home he's in a feminine pose does that make sense he's got to be in a feminine pose jerry turn your nose for the right keep turning keep turning all right you just sit here can I do this real quick just sit sit right down here oh, now we're black background too and you gotta kind of a black shirt on there just sit right here so jerry the lights over here so turn your nose this way yep keep turning your knees keep turning bart square the background for me roll it back stand up way ok, just sit right here going to do a man's portrait in profile just put your elbow right here and turn your nose right there keep turning your nose to the right you why don't you take the glasses off that's good turn unit you know is to the right a little bit that's good right there so the man can easily fall into a profile portrait? Well, those lights getting good out there you got to see that watch this I'm probably going to need teo stop down a little bit we never even made it so let's get that meter handy bard uh to talk about where we get this you know people do say do I use a meter the time I need a meter I need a meter when I need to pull together ambien and strobe but when I'm working in here these cameras are amazing I'm on a four lane highway on the raw file turn your nose to the right a little bit cooler is that good actually watch this this is this is a lesson keep turning your nose to the right keep turning all right I'm gonna take this picture real quick uh stop it down a little bit can I get a critique on this picture what's wrong with it it's flat the lighting is flat he's looking right into the window if I'm doing a studio portrait in profile where is the light it's coming from behind so stand up for a second now sit here and put your elbow here turned to me a little more keep turning shoulders forty five now look over there does everybody see that now I've just harnessed the light I've harnessed it guys this this will save your life at a wedding if you understand how did pull this light in here I mean if you want to have a lot of pride in your portraiture because you know all I'm looking for is what right now what am I looking for? One one two three one what one lighting pattern to poses and now oh wow the sun's coming out more we might even scream this part you have my pop out scram turn your nose to the right a little more chin down chin down tipped the top of your head to me a little that's good right there I want to get in there close turn your nose to the right a little more I think you're gonna see a big difference here right there. Just relax carrie you're gonna love it man right there do you have a visa master charge? Because I think I got a sail there I've got a sale can you guys look at the difference between this picture? Let me see if I can get it up right here there has one too. One two jerry take a look that's flat when you're looking into the window and that's more of a loop shadow stay there and flip it up into the window and show show the audience at home what we can do oh yeah look at the sun coming out so what's the key to the soft box the closer and it is the softer it is right do you think it applies here? Yes so come on in real close to his face park yeah, yeah, yeah come on, come on, go vertical and just standing on the floor yeah, and just kind of wiggle it right in there now you're going to block the light hannah, you come around the back here, sneak around this way and go through there and help barton holed that now set it on the floor, I think now lean it right into his face. Come on, come on. Closer little higher. See his forehead? Come on down. Come on down right here. Right? They're beautiful. You got a guy now you're you're barely in the picture there somebody get a set up shot of this. This is this is great. Always say that's a great shot right there. And look how soft light is turn your nose to the right a little bit good right there. Relax just like that in your eyes, wherever you're looking, look a little higher, he feels like he's doesn't have a neck doesn't relax your shoulders oh, much better chin down a little bit, chin down, turn your nose to the right a dash in your eyes to the left good I want to compare, relax, everybody come out of there now. What I'm going to do now is I'm gonna kind of flip around see there's the light hard there's a light soft I kind of like the hard light, don't you for the black and white

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.