Posing and Lighting

Lesson 8 of 21

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Posing and Lighting

Lesson 8 of 21

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Lesson Info

More on Posing and Lighting

When it comes to the wedding photography, I really feel that the first my first step in getting to know who the client is, it starts when that client first meets me when I first get to know them and they first come into my studio and what I'd like to do now is I'm going to a very, very quick thirty second demonstration on how I would communicate to that bride when she came in. Now, none of you know about this yet because I didn't want you to I want to make this very riel, so the first thing I need is I need to have I'm going to sit down here on the coffee table right here and, linda, you're going to get to be my bride, okay? You're coming, tio meet me for the first time and I'm going to just communicate with you just a little bit on, and I'm going to talk to you as I would any client. I want to preface this by saying I have no canned sales pitches at all for clients. I don't believe in doing that, I look them right in the eye, I'm not in the least bit afraid of people I love people, I ...

absolutely love them. And I think there's nothing more entertaining than you and I and I respect each person that I that I work with and then I'm communicating with because I want to photograph them like they want to be photographed and they may not really know what they want in fact, most of them don't, but I think that there's a lot of unspoken ways that we can get to know person, so I'm going to sit on the edge of the coffee table just like this on this, by the way is what I might wear when I photograph are when I interview a client, I'm gonna wear all black, my black pants, maybe a black turtleneck, maybe a blazer I probably wouldn't wear my leather jacket. Um, even though it's a really cool leather jacket, okay, so linda, I'd like to thank you so much for taking the time to come and speak to me about your upcoming wedding. First of all, tell me first I'll tell you about your dress um it's, why it's really long? Ah beads and really sparkly oh, it sounds really, really know vintage vintage really is that right? And have you decided what the girls are going to wear yet I think I'm just going to have them simple too, and just white um there are could be all matching too they're going to write us well um yes like it off white okay great. That sounds really fun so tell me about the ceremony it's going to be small probably and we're still thinking of the venue but somewhere often a little island oh my goodness ok now let's stop right there for a moment that the question that I have for all of you is in just interviewing her who did all the talking she did why because you were asking open ended questions right? Why is that important? Because if somebody is presented with a yes or no question they're going to give you a yes or no answer and if you ask an open ended question they have to fill in the blanks basically and give you them for me you're you're asking for the story not telling the story and let it and give you a yes or no ok and again why is that important to me? Why do I need to have what I want to know her story why you know she's coming to see me I mean don't I want to show her all my awards in my trophies and my all my plaques on the wall and I've written three books and blah blah blah blah blah it gives you clues as to her personality what she likes what she doesn't like um the things that are important to her uh you can find out about you know how important family is and pictures of them you can find out about, um, her personality as faras she sparkly she like a lot of you know, she want to be a princess or a model basically on her wedding day. So what did she tell me? What kind of information did she tell me that I could use? That would be beneficial to me in communicating with her? Because you see, what I've done is I've thrown the ball to her and now she's throwing the ball back to me and because she did all the talking basically or did most of the talking um it helped me to identify who she is and what albums wedding albums to show her first so she's, you know, she's going to have a wedding that's going to be on island wedding she's going to you, she wants to have it on an island. Would I be showing her something poofy ballgown girl with the big hair on her head? You know, having this big cathedral wedding no, because I want to show her something that she can look at and that she's going to say, hey, that's me that looks like me and and so it's really important to me that I have number one a variety of different kinds of looks in my studio in my samples that I show and it also is extremely important to me that I know what gowns looked like. And in my mind, I could determine this. And by the way, gentlemen, that is extremely important to you. You need to become very fashion oriented. In my opinion, I think it's extremely important to you, because if I were a coach on a football team, if I were trying to coach the san francisco giants, which is baseball team excuse me, then I can promise you I need to not only know a lot about baseball, but I would also need to have studied all the plays from many other teams in order to be successful in big defeating them. And so in our universe, I played bride as a little girl. I mean, I wore that bathtub on my head, parading around my house, thinking about the day that I would walk down the aisle and get married. It's what many many women do? I don't know a single guy in the world. That plane groom was a little kid. Can you imagine a group going? Okay, when I grow up, I wanna be a group. I want to walk down the island. No, I've known a few guys that play bride as I've never met a single one that played group I mean, they want to be fireman, right? Ok, they're going to be all the cool to have a look at the garbage man, okay, but not going to be a groom. And so in my opinion, you guys need to become very savvy students of fashion and that you should study fashion magazines and brides magazines for style because style absolutely rules the world. And the cool thing about understanding, style and understanding fashion is that you can become a trend center and that's the key to success. You see, you could take this class today, and I can promise you, ten years from now, even though I'll probably have my walker and the, you know, carrying around a little walker it's going to be a little old lady. But regardless of that, I have my little card or something, but anyway, um, I can promise you I will not be photographing the same way today that I will be ten years from now and it's because style changes, and I could consider myself a trend setter and what I learned from fashion or some really valuable things given example, I've been collecting magazines, brides, magazines and fashion magazines since like, nineteen, eighty nine and from nineteen, eighty nine toe, like nineteen, ninety four. One of the things you see in all of the fashion magazines. All the bridal gowns were full of beads and crap and just head pieces that were huge. And remember that little head piece that had a little pointy thing, little pearl that hung right down here, and they never get it right. The pearls are is like, right here, you know, you just drive me crazy, and then they have, like, ruffles, literally the sea of ruffles everywhere. Well, then something remarkable happened in nineteen, ninety four in nineteen ninety four all of that was gone. All of the beads, all of the ruffles, the pointy head pieces. It became an era of minimalism and, interestingly enough, the era of photojournalists and came on the scene in nineteen, ninety four january february issue of metropolises me of elegant bride magazine, huge article photojournalism more than just a pretty picture and interesting also was the fact that half the magazine that year was in black and white and because I had been studying fashion and studying the magazines and with the way that they the way that they portrayed stories in such when I saw that issue I went, oh, my goodness, what is this half the magazine is in black and white and b it's a minimalist approach it's like you know photojournalism that behind the scenes kind of approach where there's not so much staging of imagery not so many formal pictures and we entered a long term generation about ten year period where minimalism rages king and if you look at the bride's magazines from nineteen ninety four to the early two thousand's I can promise you in those magazines the words simple understated are in lots of those men that was the absolute buzzword you'd hear from everybody was I want a simple, understated wedding gown I don't want all that stuff and I want to read I want reality based and and I don't want a lot of that cozy stuff now what's interesting is that since the early two thousand's or mid two thousand's we have seen a change and now we are in an era of more opulence where bridal gowns are once again becoming very beated very elaborate, much more opulent and I can promise you whatever happens with the wedding from prince william that is absolutely going to affect style for a very long time and it's interesting to see that there's there's like trends like yearly fads that happened where it's only for a year maybe the color avocado comes in and then purple's a big color next year and an orange is the big color the year after that those air just fads, however, there's an underlying thread that will run through a period or a generation that's about ten years. That kind of dictates the way we decorate our homes, whether we're real minimalist in the way we decorate, whether we in the clothing that we were, whether we wear lots of leather or whether we were shorter skirts or longer skirts. And so what that tells me is it tells me ways to adapt my style, not change, but adapt my style to continue to be a trend setter. And so, in nineteen, ninety four, that was absolutely the year that my career took off. Absolutely. I started photographing in nineteen eighty four, and for the first ten years all I did was try to be like every other photographer in the entire country. I literally tried to be just like them. I had no style at all, and I was so hung up on trying to make a perfect picture that my pictures had no personality whatsoever. They were boring and I hated photography. I was reading moves, you move on and get another job I hated, it was just such a bore. And then when I saw that issue and elegant bride magazine, I went, oh, my goodness, what can I do to change or to adapt rather what I'm doing currently? So that I can become more of a trend setter, and I started adapting a great deal of black and white in my work at the time, the first bridal fair I did was in february of that year. In february nineteen, ninety four, I booked ten weddings at the show, and it was not because I was the cheapest. I was actually the most expensive photographer at the show, but it was because bride saw that I did something different, and you see, folks, that is the key to your success. It is not that you do things just like everybody else and their brother, and that you can take the same picture of the bride standing on the altar with her little book a writer and or her bridesmaids running down the street, jumping in the air. I'm sorry, have we not been done with that? You know, we've seen that enough, and so I think, it's, time for us to you know, to to do things that others are not doing, and that's the way that you find out what their ways to make yourself unique is to incorporate slowly. I'm not saying do on lee the wacky, crazy stuff, of course I do pictures of brides standing in the church with their beautiful bouquets. I just don't show that kind of thing on my website. Why? Because I want people to see what I do that's different not what I can do this just like someone else, because if they see on your website what you're doing that's just like everybody else and guess what? What is the big question they're going to call you and ask you, how much do you charge? And because your carton of eggs looks just like everybody, else's, carton of eggs, the person that's charging five hundred dollars to do that job hey is going to get the job, and so I don't want that kind of feeling. So that's, why it's real important to me to lay a foundation with a client immediately to find out who they are so that I can speak as an individual to that particular person? And then I can start communicating with her in a way in a language that she understands and that makes her feel comfortable. And again, it's, not about being a phony, I am absolutely no phony, I care, I really care, and I have respect for other people's thoughts and feelings, and because I'm an artist, I know how to adapt my personal style and keep my integrity, but still do it the way that that client wants. It's because I respect for who they are and what they like, and I have respect for a variety of different kinds of things like four family pictures and formals and such s o those air if you want to become a transit or study fashion and I promise you you are going to be way ahead of the game now, do we see perfect pictures in the magazines? Absolutely not in fact, quite often, the fashion and the pictures that we see in fashion magazines are absolutely very, very poor quality from a photography standpoint, but can you imagine what could happen if you and I could adapt the concepts that we see in a magazine and use our skill as a photographer that we know an f stop from a bus stop? And that we could adapt that to create beautifully well lit imagery that adapted that more fun, playful style? We'd be? I mean, how could they not want to retain our services in spite of what we charge? Not because of it might have taken your advice, and other people mentioned that too, and so we've been doing that we've been you know, I've never bought a magazine in my life until I realized, you know, that's where a lot of your inspiration comes from it's, not the whole picture sometimes it's just a crop of that picture exactly mejust the shadow and how that was done with the trim of that background or texture, whatever it is. And so we put up, you know, our favorites up on the wall and seeing it every day when we're working on computers, you know, post processing, just seeing it stressed a you know, kind of burning in your in your memory. It certainly does, you know, there's, a book that george hurrell wrote it's called carell's hollywood. He was a photographer in the thirties and forties and fifties that photographed a lot of the hollywood movie stars, and when and that book was a profound influence on me, especially in the early nineties, when I was really adapting more black and white work in my photography style and one of the things that you notice when you looking through the pages of that book, you see all of these really dramatic pictures like marlena, dietrich and it's from way up to here and it's, very strong butterfly light under the underneath the nose and it's really cute, because a lot of them are poorly lit because he had to draw the catch lights in the eyes. I mean, it's really obvious that they drew the catch lights in the eyes because there is no light in the eyes, but you cannot deny that the pictures are extremely dramatic. They have a lot of drama, and that book really made me realize the importance of drama on a wedding and that the images that I want perfection as much as I can get it, but I won't sacrifice expression and that at the end of the day, it is expression over perfection on dh then the other thing is if I'm going tio, unless I'm competing in competition that I have to think about drama first, because I want to my goal is to to teach you how to photograph perfectly, but here's the big. But under the circumstances that you're given now, you see the difference in that, you know, I could teach you how to photograph perfectly, you know, perfect lighting, perfect scenario, but you see, we don't live in a perfect world, and because of that, we have things happen where maybe we had a two hour photo shoot in the bride's an hour and forty five minutes late, so we have fifteen minutes now to do that to our shoot. Well, perfection isn't gonna work then, so we have perfect under that set of circumstances and that's, my philosophy is to photograph perfectly, but under this given set of circumstances, and then you're home free, you can always do the best you can do under that set of circumstances. So with this couple that's up on the screen now, I do an engagement session for every bride and groom that I photograph it's my way of getting to know them before their event. So I pay very close attention to what the client is wearing it. If you look at the shun lady, she wore just a pair of flip flops into the studio, and so that told me right away her toenails were not. She didn't have, like, a double manicure pedicure on dh. She was very casually dressed. Her handbag did not match her shoes. So what does that tell me? It's tells me she's a little bit casual she's ok, she might take her shoes off she's within thirty seconds of walking in the room, she's passionately holding her husband's hand or her fiancee's hand at the time and she's getting nice and cozy. That body language tells me she's very passionate, publicly passionate she's not afraid of hugging or kissing in public. You see, I pay real close attention to to your own personal cues that you give me because the own your own personal private cues. Sometimes we don't say what they are, but we can. We can learn a lot about people by by just watching their body language in the way that they communicate with one another. There are some people that are very private and maybe they would come into the studio they don't they're not even holding hands when they sit down on the couch or not like even seeing too close together that tells me that maybe they're much more private about their affections and I'm not going to try to get them all huggy kissy and all you know poof you know all super romantic is it won't fit that couple so I would want tio pay very close attention to who I'm working with. So with this young lady when I worked with them on we chose to go outside for our session and in this environment this is over at my studio this is a shot with just all natural light the first thing I do when I'm in an outdoor environment is I look up in the sky and I see where is the sun ok in this case where this client was the son was behind them up above behind them and then the next step for me is to look opposite from where the sun is and see is it bouncing off of anything on this wall? Why would that be beneficial to me light source for exactly it's a big light source that's right? So you see I have a white there's a white a row of of white buildings that are right behind a right in front of them so guess what? I had this perfect bounce light that then creates the main light on my subjects face, so I asked the brightest and look, I want him to pick you up, but when he picks you up, I want you to hug him, not don't just hug him, but hug him like it's the last time you're ever going to hug trust me, when you use those words, it really works, and I learned that tip from gerry g onus, and I have to tell you what a huge difference that made in the way that people hug because when you tell somebody to hug, just hug and then you say hug like it's the last time you're ever gonna hug you see how you can initiate a much more powerful response, you see it's like yes, and we talked about the importance of not telling people to smile, but giving them a reason. She smiled well, that's the same thing, giving them a reason to hug like it's the last time you're ever going to hug. Yes, like we just did a session with a couple friends of cannon susan as well, and they're they're not that touch you feeling at all, and we got that right away, so we knew that was going to be a challenge and our favorite picture or syriza pictures where were you know warming up? You know we got what we expected and when we asked them you know just just give her the biggest hug like you know it's the last one something to that nature and we got like our favorite picture out of it and they love that picture and her mom was crazy about that picture too so that's it really does make a difference and that's a great way to invoke emotional responses whenever I do an engagement session I always start by doing images like this in other words images that are interactive with the couple I don't start with the high moms which in a hi mom picture is a picture of the bridegroom looking in the camera that's what I call a hi mom picture so I'm always going to start with images that are like that now that this is my my studio space this is the same couple and when they originally came into my studio she was holding his white shirt because he was going to change into a white long sleeved button down shirt and when I saw that shirt I want she's wearing sandals she was wearing this cute little tank top that was kind of cut in at the shoulders so I just looked at her and I said, hey, I said would you mind if I put you in his shirt? She went, yeah that'd be fine here's I'll tell you right now if you do not ask, you are not going to receive on the ass I just figure if you asked and somebody says no that's ok, if you're not going to go to health and that's not a big deal just, you know, get over it's no big deal, so I'm going to ask I always believe in asking and then if they say no, we'll go to plan b so I asked said I said, jessica, would you be willing to put on ryan's white shirt for me? And that shirt came down to her knees so it was very modest it wasn't something vulgar or north, you know, too inappropriate or anything. And then I did a series of images to start with in my studio space. This is just my white wall in the studio, I have white shears that just hang up that I've actually stapled to the wall just out of camera range right up above where they're at and and then we opened the windows in my studio and I chose to leave in and not put the opaque plastic in the windows this time I wanted those strong horror are diagonal lines from the light to come in, I felt that that would be an interesting element of composition I felt that it would that it would frame my subject and then I chose to do a few pictures that the two of them together in a very intimate setting and this is how I did this in fact the first thing I want michael let me demonstrate this with you. Linda can you compare scooter um I mean bring this chair right out oh actually know what linda um let's say ryan having I mean michael have a secret here qd excellent now linda I want you to come in and you're going to come stand right in front of his legs right there. No face him ok good. I want this like right here bring it forward to him right there beautiful and now with your hip your tummy right here press it towards michael beautiful wrap your arms right around his shoulders with your tummy and you can wrap your hands around her little bell you reckon beautiful right on this knee right here can you bend this knee like it and do this good excellent just like your benjamin beautiful wrap this arm around him too love dahling came down with your shoulders someone should lean back on his on your shoulders this way lean towards straight towards me this way lean back towards me right here good job love it so see, I could do a series of photographs I want to bring this arm down now right about here more like in their x and I want you you can give him a hug with that shoulder right there love it hugging with your cheek right there beautiful scene since you guys are a real couple we could actually do this I want you now I want to get linda I want you michael I want you to hug her like it's the last time you're ever gonna baby there you go beautiful thank you kids very very much so the whole idea being that we could create a variety of images you notice she's leaning towards him with her tummy just a little bit because when you pressure tummy toward someone like this it's going to bring the shoulders back and it'll arch the shoulders a little bit so this is a great way to break the ice in a specialty of a client that you're working with that's a little bit shy that maybe is not real comfortable in front of camera start by doing these kinds of images yes loves is it how you behave with your real clients to or is it more playful now oh no that's exactly I am I am I am playful with every client I don't know what have the way I am here this is exactly who I am I don't know howto to make it ok to take it so when you say you don't touch them you you actually a little bit touch them what? Uh, you know no, no, no, no that's not what I said. I didn't say I don't touch them I said I don't want you to touch them do you know why? Because I want you to learn the art of communication for me. I can't touch my clients all day long if I want to but if you learn I don't have to touch them to get the job done. So I want all of you not to touch them because I want you to learn to do it without touching a great great point. I'm glad you made me clarify that with you I'm so sorry didn't make it clear yesterday you see, if you learn as a person how to communicate to me effectively, you don't have to touch me and for men especially that could be more of a challenge with women especially are doing good war if they may not want you touching them so if you learn the art of communication for its as I said to michael this shoulder right here michael, lean towards me with that shoulder excellent! Michael can't have me with your chin lean towards me right here. Excellent right there that's good okay, with this cheek right here with your head right there just tilted towards me right there so he doesn't write every time in fact let me demonstrate something to all of you in the room to show you how important it is that you learn to communicate effectively and that you don't have to touch him. Stand up, everyone. Ok? I want all of you in this room to turn your feet towards me right here. Turn your feet right here. Beautiful. Ok, I want all of you now to turn your feet towards me right here. Beautiful. Now all of you separate your feet just about shoulders length. Good. And I want you to push your hip away from me. This way. Excellent! And then point this tow your front foot towards me right here. Beautiful. Excellent. Why did every one of you do it right? You see it's exactly what you see exactly that's, right? There was no room for error. Now let me demonstrate something of more effectively. This time when you sit down on your seat, I want you to barely park your dukes on the edge of that seat. I mean, I want your butt hanging off the seat. And for those of you that are following us online, this is exactly what I want you to want you to sit on the very edge of the seat. I mean, I want your butt hanging off, okay? And now I want you to slide back there's a difference in sliding back and just sitting back. What are you sitting on now? You're sitting on your thighs do you notice again? Did I have to touch a single one of you to get you to do that, right? No, you see, you're now have shifted the weight so that the bigger part of your body is too behind you and you're sitting on your thighs. And do you notice how it keeps your back straight? It straightens out your back, so you it is the art of communication and that's why I really am very fussy with the students when I teach them, I don't want you touching anybody because I want you to learn to follow and use the art of visual communication. The real beauty of that visual communication is that when you are at a wedding and you guys can just sit back and relax now when you're at a wedding and you have a client that is super super nervous and they are just like, you know, how many times have you seen the bride hand the groom the wrong hand? They don't know their left hand from the right and they were all nervous and very excited and everything else so that's why the art of the visual communication is so powerful it's such a powerful tool do we have some questions that you want to while we're on these topics that with you want to a pop in and just tell me about them? You're welcome to I have a question for myself actually, what about different cultures are there? Are there certain cultures where they don't want you to touch them or are there people that don't want you to touch them and do you worry about that? Are you like this is me, this is what I'm going to do, you know, I'm very respectful I have discovered that there are certain cultures that don't that are not the big huggy kissy type, and I let their body language dictate to me whether I'm going to get that family group all warm and huggy, because one of the things that I try to do with with a lot of my couples or my family's, especially when I do family group photos, is I have this thing that I do call the big group hug where everybody just leans towards the camera a little bit and we just give each other we feel the love and we give each other love and I'll demonstrate that this afternoon, but I have found that there are some cultures, especially older people in certain cultures that are just not the huggy kissy type and they wouldn't feel good about doing that, so I think that there is risk I have respect for that and I don't try to make people do what I want them to dio very, very in tune with their body language I mean, I wrote a really good listener and I'm really I pride myself on being able to be a good judge of people's emotional stances and the way they feel you can tell if somebody is standing back like this, you know, if they're uncomfortable with something so learn to become a good student of human anatomy and this is something that, by the way, and I'm not trying to be sexist, but women are better at this many times and men are because guys are logical thinkers, they are always fixing things they want to fix a problem when in reality there's not a problem, it's not a problem that needs a solution, you know, because how many times have you told a cz your wife? You know, you think everything's all hunky door, you know, you she's like, you know she's mad at you for like, a week now over something you did because you didn't mow the lawn when you were supposed to and she says, and should you ask her, honey, is everything okay? She was yes, I'm just fine and you just take that cause, she said she was fine, right everything's fine when in reality we know kong girls we know that the tone in our voice says a lot and that you should know by now that when we say we're just fine we ate fine way we're adapting we're sorry yeah you're you're totally adapting I know that some of you are in touch with your feminine side way that more than than many are so on see some convergence though yeah forget any there's no gonna be no conversion this is that's why we're from mars and you're from venus or whatever the case is I remember one of us is from a foreign planet that's for sure I have another another question from j v k bambi says start with the feet for opposing but how do you first visualize where the face should be for the best light and then decide which way the body needs that's a really good question well the thing that I always pay attention to is I want that light about forty five degrees from the lights from the camera so let's say that this light over here was my light source I'm not necessarily going to point the toes towards that light I'm probably quite often depending on the camera's position and that's the key is the camera's position you see camera position if we're right here I'm not going to turn the body this way the same directions the light because I'm going to flat light that individual so my camera position if my feet are going to point this direction would need to be over here in this really in relation to this light source because I want that light to be about forty five degrees from camera position camera position in relation to the light is critical because I want that light skimming across the body from the way the camera sees it so occasionally I will turn my subjects towards the light source but me I'm not going to be there I'm going to be like right here so that I have a shadow side to work with so I had that light from camera positions skimming across the shape so that's the that's going to be the big thing is where is the camera in relation to that light source? So if I wanted if the camera position was right here and I wanted it to skim across the body then I might turn the feet away from the light source it really depends on the individual there are a number of factors that go into the way that I will pose any specific subject how large is the subject if it's if it's a larger bride if she's a bigger girl then I might turn her body away from the lights or so I get more of her shape in the shadow area and I can minimize and make her look half assed larger she is that may be one way I do it if she's a tiny little girl than I may feel very good about photographing her straight into the camera, but again light source at forty five degrees will have that light skim across her bus line and give her bus line shape. So those are a few of the factors that are going to go into what is going to determine you know which angle that I have the feet pointing to, what I don't want is feet pointed here, like straight ahead and torso. I turned to see how that looks wrong. You see why the feet have to follow the rest of the body they have to follow. It looks stupid to have the feet planted flat like this and then have the upper part of the body turned the other direction does that? I think that probably answers the question. Yeah, that's awesome. Okay, let's, talk a little bit about the way that you can. You can tell a wonderful story about the clients that you're working with and you can you can incorporate their own personal style and what you do also and how photographing in relation to the light source could be a very great benefit in this photograph of this couple, the groom was a musician, so I really wanted to incorporate his guitar into their into their story. Notice the way the light and the only light in this room is coming from that open window where the where the brightest sitting notice how it skims across his body and highlights this chair you see there's highlights and shadows and then another highlight on him and then more shadow areas and then a highlight on the lamp and then we get to the bride I took a light meter reading on the groom's bright side of his face so that I could balance the light between him and exposed properly for the bride I would not use the bride as my exposure reading because there's less light on the groom and I want to make sure I exposed properly for him and I know if I expose properly for him she's going to have more light on her and she's not going to be a silhouetted personal because I didn't want her to look to be completely silhouetted notice to how know in his case he's slouching back in the chair men can do that that's not very flattering for women but that's something that is a thing for that guy's can easily do and then as far as the bride goes notice how that there's a little bit of a light trapped behind her her her waistline and in front of her hand right there or in front of her elbow said that it gives context to the waste line of that of that couple so I'm going to create a variety of images when I'm doing engaged a session, some will be close up pictures looking in the camera, I'm going to do some editorial images that are going to be more storytelling like this. I will do a variety of images where they are very romantically embraced if they're comfortable, but it's always every image that I capture is going to be based upon where the light is out and how to tell a story based upon that light. When I photographed this young couple from florida, I never met them before I did their engagement session, I flew to sarasota, florida, to do their engagement session, and I never met them. They hired me over the internet to photograph their event. So this is when it's really critical that you pay real close attention to what people are saying to you and the unspoken about them so that you can start determining who they are, you know and how to best photograph them so without having to ask them twenty questions, because if you ask people questions like, well, what kind of pictures do you want? You know, you know, what kind of style do you want, do you think they have got a clue? They so don't have a clue they I mean many classes so I want all photojournalism they don't even know what photojournalism is many of them and so I always say what what what is your definition of photojournalism? What is that? What is your definition? Sometimes the client was that I don't want any formal pictures I know any posed pictures and if that's the case then I say well well what is your definition of a posed picture and why do you feel that way you see, I want feeling questions always because that helps me to determine why they feel the way they do about a specific topic because then by having finding out how she feels about that well what what made you feel that way? Well, you know I was at my cousin's wedding and it took two and a half hours for the photographer to do the family the formal pictures well, heck, I would like that either so then instead of saying no formal pictures I say well let me eliminate your fears how bout ten minutes would that be okay with you ten minutes I only need ten minutes to do your family pictures but I think they have a place in our wedding you know that they're really important to have would that be ok is that alright? Oh ten minutes while that's easy oh, my god to see I've eliminated her fear and I helped her to understand our helped to show I helped him find out why she felt the way she did. So I always believe in asking people why you feel the way you do about a certain topic. So when I went to this couple's home and the bride came to the door wearing the bathrobe, I went ok, first of all, and when it comes to the door wearing a bathroom that kind of tells me that maybe they're a little bit comfortable with themselves and this was in their home. The next thing I did is I wandered around their home and I noticed a variety of experiences in their home and locations. I walked into their bedroom and they had this beautiful louis vuitton trunk sitting in front of the bed, and then they had to riel for sochi chairs in each corner. Now for anyone to studies fashion what kind of designer is vour sochi? Michael? Uh, well, true not, but but not just high end first thought you would you say that first thought she makes clothes for people that are very shy, very trendy and edgy, edgy, trendy, flashy, bright silver buckles, you know, sparkly stuff galore and real bright silver I mean let's see royal blue and gold are the colors and some of their their color palette really bright very vivid colors so what did that tell me about my subject would that tell me about them tells me for sochi if they like that taste if that's their taste then they're probably the kind who would like things that are a bit more passionate more they're not they're not super shy she was not shy at all she would do we had a blast her and I were just we had a great time together but notice the way that I have her position in relation to the light source I walked in the bathroom which is where those two doors are in the corner and I turned on the bathroom light so that I could bring a little bit of extra dimensionality to the room by having that little back light I get light on my subject and get a little highlight in the background of the background doesn't go dark so you always want to look for an area when you're photographing in any kind of indoor environment look for ways to have natural highlights in your background so that you get a bit more dimensionality then the second thing I did was I opened the curtains so that and the light was coming from outdoors into the room yes michael if the background light is too big I mean is there is there a concern for that? So if it's too big that it's gonna be distracting if it's too bright, it'll be distracted. Yes, absolutely. So you want to be cautious that you wouldn't want to have that super super bright. So if the background lights will break down, what do you need to make sure you need to make sure that the main light that's going to be on your subject or the light that's going to be on them is brighter than what's in the background? So the other thing too, is maybe don't put them so close to the background, and then you'll be fine that's really part of the key is you find that the farther you move a subject from that background, the less that that light it becomes overpowering. So with this young lady, I've separated her feet and in relation to the light source, notice the shadows on her leg. Those shadows air towards the camera, that's what gives her leg its shape and makes her like the car vicious, the separation of the knees so that you could see that little highlight between the back me and the front meat is really important, because if it's not there, then guess what it makes her legs appear like she's got one big leg and we don't want that kind of a look. And then I started by doing some pictures of them interacting with one another the groom was more shy than the bride, so by doing this I could make him much more relaxed. It's really cute. I had the privilege of photographing gary payton, the basketball player from here in seattle. I shot his wedding and it was it was very, very interesting experience to me when I did their engagement photographs, the first thing he did was I shot them in his home. He came in the east, he plopped into a chair and he's ok let's, get this over with because he thought I was going to start by making him do all this posey stuff that people do right? So I didn't I said, you know what, dearest? I'd really like to see how you and monique, you're beautiful bride here how you interact with one another we were down in their in their play room and they had this huge pool table and this big sign neon sign on the wall that said peyton place so what did I do for the first twenty minutes? They played pool and already was photographed them playing pool. Then we went outside to suggest there I'd love to see you play basketball for a minute would you money play basketball a little bit so by getting them in their comfort zone within twenty minutes, I had that guy eating out of the palm of my hand, he said, hey bam, he said, would you like to get some pictures? Is less in the pool? I'll go change clothes if you want, and it was really cute. It was adorable, but it was, and what happened was I took somebody who was just walked in with an attitude thinking, oh gosh, this is going to be another painful photo shoot, and I disarmed him and made him appreciate the fact that I was going to find out who he was, because I wanted to do things his way and make it comfortable for him. And so the moral of the story is this if you find out who you're working with and then do things that are comfortable, pay attention to your surroundings. If you pay real close attention to the what the unspoken things that are around a person's home, you can find out a lot about those people if they have pets, have them bring their pets with them. One time I shot this engagement session for this couple that had a dog, a cat and two box turtles, and so we went out to do this photo shoot outside and let me tell you, whoever said turtles or slow. They seriously had never seen the box turtles run two boxers one's going this way and one's going this way and that cat aided the dog and says she's calling up the guy was so it's not a pretty sight anyway we can ask a question absolutely hawaiian guy asked um says that I know you take cues from couples fashion sense but do you ever director suggest fashion to a client like going into gary payton's house if you didn't like what they were wearing? Would you ever say would you mind putting on lecture or would you ever do that I would I do that you know that's a really good question I think I probably would if I was in their home environment I might have them change but but I have to tell you this is the trade off and so that's why I'm a little wishy washy about I don't know how I would respond because I have to see who the person is that I'm working with because sometimes if you tell somebody when you're when you're working with him if you look at them and go you know or could you change clothes immediately what are we doing? We're starting off this session on a bad note so this is probably the way I would handle it I would start my session if I were in an environment where they had the ability to change and I'd keep what they had on because I don't want to draw undue attention and make them feel uncomfortable about what they're wearing because sometimes if you do that you kill your session and you kill the mojo and I want him to feel good right on I want to feel have them feel good emotionally the first couple of friends who cares if it's if it's not a sellable picture I don't care if it looks good I'm not worried about that because I'm more concerned about the overall experience and then maybe ten minutes later I might say hey, by the way did you bring something else? You know I'd love to see you where this code you have anything like that and then that way I have a nice segue way into getting them to change without making it sound like ooh uh you know, I don't really like what you have on c that's negative I'm never never negative with a client I find a positive spin on it and again one of the most important lessons I ever learned was about the importance of learning to tell you teo make what they are doing, what you want them to do, what they want to do, so if you make it in their best interest then they're going to want to go do what you want them to do and that's why with gary payton when I was working with them, I made what he what he was going to do what I wanted him to dio I wanted to be what he wanted and that I'll tell you with kids if you do that you will be home free and photographing children any other questions so much psychology it is it absolutely a psychology I tell you what if I wasn't a photographer I want to be a fashion designer and if I wasn't a fashion designer I'd love to be a psychologist I would love I just think that's such a fascinating field I think the human psyche and that's what I love about wedding photography and about people photography is that it's always different you know and there is never boring because people are different and we all have our little quirky things and and I just think that I find it really fascinating trying to figure out who they are what's really going on inside of their soul so that I can get them you know and sometimes will take me a little while to figure out who they are andi who they're really you know who they really are within their heart and and that's when it's that's one of the most rewarding things to me about photography it was a psychologist you'd say I'd love to help you yeah I say tell me how you really feel about that you know, a sigh wrote it down ok one more question then we're going to run ah it's a little interesting question bella vista from ese says any tips on what to do if your subjects quince when they smile and you lose their eye yes, a lot of people tend to do that that when they smile they squint really they tend to lose their eyes well there are a couple of things that you could do we're going to demonstrate later on about having somebody dropped the chin when you have someone dropped the chin and then look up at you with their eyes their eyes get bigger so the other thing that you can do to is if they if there I'm going to do some images and left there let them just squint because I want them to have a natural smile in those cases if they're doing that then I want interactive pictures you see because as long as that person's not looking in the camera then it's not a bad thing necessarily if they're squinting they just look at their their their loved one I also find that that after the first twenty minutes or so people forget about the camera especially for not using big studio lights and all that that bright light and then the to begin with they may school because they're a little bit uncomfortable nervous and then the more that I work with them and we do some relax imagery the more that they won't squint because it won't be nervous anymore now I know someone viewer from yesterday had a question about lens choices do you want me to read that question for you? It was from skip seventeen eighty six something of the sort of passion wass the question is if bambi could only afford two lenses, what would she feel would give her the best coverage at a wedding? That's a very common question I thought that was a really good question, so I really wanted to address that. Ok, first of all, if I could only have two lenses first of all, I'm gonna buy good glass. I want good l syria's lenses I shoot with candid, of course, if I shot with night kind of course I'd use their good glass. My first lens that you'd have to have bread and butter is the twenty four to seventy I would want that zoom capabilities not my favorite lens. I don't like using it, but let me tell you, if you've got a big group of people that you're working with it's an important tool tohave and I use it a lot during the wedding reception on dh, then my second lens would be the seventy two, two hundred two eight I s image stabilization, I think is a really powerful tool because it means it does stabilizing a bit so that you can hand hold I never used a tripod so stabilization is an important tool for me, so those would be my too if I had to just have to if I could have three and the third one would be probably the fifty millimeter one too and again I would only buy good glass. I just think that for me I just I'm not going to compromise I always my philosophy is that, you know, don't buy the cheap stuff just bite the bullet and buy one good lens and one good body because it's going to last you a long time, the chief stuff doesn't last and it's it's just you know, you know, wasting money, so I just say if you're going by just by the good stuff to begin with and then you don't have to read no regrets and if you have to then borrow or rent lenses if you need tio there's bar lenses, I think is one of your sponsors and so it's a great that's a great thing to do and it gives you a chance to try out a lot of cotton, too and it's relatively inexpensive um any last questions we move on, go ahead ok, because we could go question, okay, so writing we talked a lot about yesterday about lighting and what lighting does and what shadows do as important the highlights or the light is what what highlights an area and shadows define a shape notice with this young woman were using bright sun I'm using a bright sun to illuminate the subject, but she's not looking in the camera, so it works it's ok, so there are occasions when you can use bright sun to your advantage if you're working outdoors and you have bright garments to work with and you have really pretty, you have a beautiful sunny day and you want to do that. That is a really good time, and you have, like lots of blue sky use the sun to your advantage just remember don't have a look in the camera because they're going to maybe maybe, you know, it may not be the best it's not going to be the best highlight to shadow gracious that's going to look a little awkward that way, but if you use that sun to create a dramatic image where they're not looking in the camera or they're looking down or they're looking at one another, you can take advantage of bright colored buildings that have paint on them. You can take advantage of blue walls like this is just the side of ah, a blue wall in a outdoor environment use the bright sun to sculpt in this case when I shot this, I just shot the cover for metropolitan bride magazine. And this is one of the images that I shot for them and notice how the light is basically coming from just a little bit over in this direction here, and it is crossing her face again. It is dramatic lighting. This is not the kind of lighting you necessarily want for competition print I'm promise you they're going to dock you points for it, but notice the way that I'm positioning her body and the way that where I'm standing in relation to that light source, you see that light is wrapping around her waist line and her face a bit to create a bit of drama, make the pose fit the dramatic scene. So in other words, if you're going to use bright sun specifically, you've got to have the post that it shouldn't be just like standing nice and perfect and just all pretty you need to have it be a little bit more dramatic ce in this image before you switch, where did you meet her off? I made it off the highlights on her face and one of the reasons, and this is, to me, one of the best reasons for working and raw. Not because I can't get the exposure right, because but because I want to be able to later on, I want to balance my background a bit more. I wanted to use just one single light source. I didn't want to have to drag lots of lights out to where we shot this experience because it's a lot more work, and I knew that I could do it without having to mess with all of that stuff. So in my case, I thought, ok, well, I have choices here I could bring in lots of lighting outside in this environment and light it perfectly, or I could use the natural sunlight that's going to filter down, highlight my subject and then process that file two times, process it once and in light room for the shadow areas and then process it again for the highlights put those two files together, and then I can do a layer mask and then blend them together so that I could bring up the background a bit and still use a single light source. So for me, it worked. It meant that I had a little bit easier job, and I could move much more swiftly and that's kind of where my thought processes whenever I'm photographing. Any kind of an event, I'm thinking, how much time do I have to do this job? So how much do I want to do? I see a really cool location. Well, how much time do I want to invest in that environment to get it perfect? Or is this going to be a five minute job that I could do really quickly and get a really good job? But under the circumstances ok, so but you can also use that same concept when you're photographing families and children. This is a photograph I did I do a day in the life siri's of my family's when I photographed children, they're not just hi, mom. Pictures of little kids standing in front of a blue background I don't have any backgrounds, my studio, we don't use them. So what I do is I like to go out on location and photograph in the natural environment. Where is the main light coming from? It's coming from behind this little girl. So what is providing the illumination on her face? That's? Right. So with this little girl as she walked on the pavement um, we took that little monkey. This is this is our little monkey, and we took it and we laid it on the path. So as she's walking down the path guess what she's going to see that little monkey and guess what she has to do she's got to go over to pick it up which means my light the life that I'm wanting on her face is going to be there so I metered on her face and the way that you can do this by the way here's a sneaky way to be able to get your life your light down because I do work in manual meter mode with mike and with children sometimes it could be a challenge so what I generally will do is I have tried to set up a scenario that I'm thinking in my mind ahead of time and so I can kind of stack the deck in my behalf so I'll have my assistant maybe walk over to that area since let me get a light reading reading on your face you know can I just have uses no sound silly kind of just like down low so I could get a meter reading of what's going to happen when that light bounces off that concrete and touches the face so that I could kind of be already in the ballpark from an exposure standpoint when she goes over there so we create natural scenarios for our people to walk into some of those photographing a child or a little girl or some sort then I want to create a natural scenario that would mean that they would automatically want to do that so by placing that little monkey on the path right there she is walking down the path. Yes, what it's really simple she'll turn right back around. She sees the monkey she's got to go over and pick it up saying there's my shot this also is by the way, what you're montes infrared looks like it's just beautiful. Absolutely my favorite favorite infrared toe. Look at me during on her face. I get this beautiful, beautiful look of her with this young woman out in the natural environment. You have a question for you on that last image to ever just use an external light meter like a sick comic or something? No, let me tell you why I wouldn't. Because it's going, teo, I can't say I would never I just find that that slows me down and the meter is so accurate in my system in my cannon system, I just don't really find that I need it, but you certainly could do that. You could walk over to the path and kind of get a meter reading certainly would that behind the appropriate but may I just say one more thing one more piece of equipment to put in my camera case and where that light meter would go, I'd rather put another lens there the jesus seventy two hundred seven and use a spot metering and then back I used the scent the not signed with the evaluative meter, the circle with the dot in the middle of the room that I used to get that because I want that center area of the picture to be my center of exposure you could absolutely you spot me during as well it's just what I've gotten comfortable with again I'm working raw so I have a little bit of fudge factor if I'm if I'm you know, half a stop over half a stop on your I'm probably ok your time what just the circle I just know the circle with the dot in the middle ok? Because that gives you the just the center, right? So a little bit more you're more than just that spot on the cheek? Yes, yes, but I'm not afraid of using spot meeting as well. So this just just what I've gotten comfortable with and a lot of the things that I'm telling you there's lots of photographers out there who do things completely different than I do and it's not that I'm doing it the right way and they're doing it wrong way it's just when I become comfortable within it works in my works for what I try to do that's why I like a lot of people use the little wheel on the back for getting focus or for removing the focus around on a picture I don't I use just my finger use the center square only I find the center square is the most accurate and then I recomposed but again it's just what I've become comfortable with a quick question from the question was do you then lock in the media ring from el pros? Yes then I will lock it correct right out the locus I get it on the face and then lock it that's exactly right okay so like it when I did this photograph of this broad this was again one of the dresses from metropolitan bride magazine notice where the main light is coming from you notice how it's almost over her shoulder but by doing this I could create a dramatic image photographed at a higher a shutter speed which is going to darken the sky I want a darker blue sky so ah higher shutter speed is going to be of one one of the things that I want that the higher the shutter speed the darker the sky will go and this is also one of the advantages of using the sun as my light source versus a flash because your flash will synchronize what is it two to fifty or something like that and I want to be ableto have I want to able to synchronize it whatever speed that I want to so I've just become comfortable with using the sunlight again, this is only the way I personally do it, and I'm sure that there's a brazilian ways to do it. Yes, do, seeing these images that trans set, when do I see it as a trendsetter? Well, no, I never think about anything I do in the way of trendsetting I just think of it is is did it didn't do the job that I needed it to do? I mean, I'm so focused on just that particular moment I never am thinking about this is a trend setting moment. I don't think about myself that way at all. I mean, I I think it's actually, when I think about people actually coming to hear me, I'm almost laughing in my heart because you gotta be kidding actually want to hear me, there's not I mean and there's, not a picture that I take. I know I get predictable results, I know the results I'm going to get, but I'm just so focused on that moment on on just getting the what I need to have done and does it? Does it illuminate the dress properly? Doesn't showcase the lace and the way it needs to be done and notice she's got her eyes cast downward, why, because if she had her eyes up when we want to look into those eyes and it would take this photograph from being editorial and being one that's more about the dress to being, we want to see her eyes, and so it would be a distraction, and so I wouldn't want to do that. So it's, you take it with the editorial concept basically? Absolutely yes, right image. What we see in the last three pictures? Um, no, I just I can't say I would do a bride any different. I would absolutely photo brought photograph abroad exactly like this. C I don't distinguish and I think that's a you have got so many good questions, I love your questions. See, I do not distinguish in my mind what the subject is. I don't do things differently because it's a child, I don't do things differently because it's a girl wearing a white dress on her wedding day I wouldn't photograph a fashion shoot different then I would a bride, I find them all the same thing. They're all they all the heart in there that's it that's what I'm thinking about dogs and cats if I'm photographing pets, the exact same concepts are going to apply no matter what the subject if it's got a heart in its chest. I'm good that's, exactly that's exactly the way I'm going to photograph them all the same way because I don't think about the I'm not thinking about this being a job for blah, blah, blah with one exception, the only exception to what I just said to you is if I'm shooting for a magazine like this, I'm probably gonna have a little bit more room on the left hand side for text. That's the only thing, okay, um, great question one of the things that I've discovered is that your camera angle can really dictate ah ah variety of different things that can help you to minimize background distractions. So learn to photograph. I noticed a couple of you all doing this yesterday where you would get a low camera angle or high camera angle to minimize background distractions. That's one thing, the second thing is that you are never going to get noticed. You're never going to get good at your craft if you do not expend some sweat, you've got to be willing to put forth the effort every person I've ever known that made a name for themselves, and they did something really that really was one of those people that became movers and shakers they got off their couch, got off their butts, and they did it. They did not make excuses and say, oh, well, the you know, the sun wasn't showing that day or, you know, or I couldn't do it because I don't have any money or I can't do this because my husband won't let me or whatever, they just are focused on where they've got to go and everything else is white noise and that's the way I do, I mean, I proceed with life, I don't think about the negatives, I never pay attention to what other people are doing, I just I'm so focused on where I have to go and I just well, I can't do it this way if I wanted to walk between you two boys right here and get to the back wall and I couldn't go through the middle, then all I got to think about is I'm not going to say I can't do that, I've got to find another way to get to where I want to go, so the moral of the story is is, first of all, do not associate with yourself of people that are negative. I just hate people that are negative. I just cannot stand that and be when somebody puts up a road block and says, you can't do it this way or this isn't gonna work, then instead of saying ok, I'm not going to do it go around to find another way around it. There's there's. Always another way to do things. I I really believe that with every fiber of my being and the reason I bring up that entire long winded scenario, I'm so sorry to be so long winded about this is that when I captured this picture, I went to england a couple of years ago, and the gal who picked me up at the airport was a photographer. And she was she was a great girl. I was in really one of those funks moods where I was just a little bit kind of just tired and depressed and just, you know, just want to get it over with. And I generally when I go and do educational seminars out of the country, I don't usually do play photography for me first, because it takes a lot out of me emotionally, and I want to give my best to my class. Well, on the way to the hotel, she just got me all excited about photography. And so the day before the class that I was teaching there, we decided to go take some pictures. So she arranged for us to get this cute little girl, and she knew the guy who owned american idol in england and what it's called us. I can't meet with any of it is so any rate so he allowed us to use his home and she said baby, they've got this whole field full of llamas we could use to take pictures in his garage he had this couch so she looked at me and I looked at her and he said hey could we borrow that couch and take it outside and maybe in the field with llamas work and the guy goes okay, you could do that there's me and my model and the gal who is my assistant you have any idea how heavy a louis the fourteenth couches let me say we walked across a little bridge across a little pond this big with that couch over our heads we walked literally a quarter of a mile with that couch by the time we got there you know how like if you've expended your muscles when you lucky working out your arms get like this way literally under staying there for like five minutes we used to have the let her arms down it was hilarious the model had to help us carry this stupid couch await a birkin fun he was just crazy but you know what? You don't get great pictures if you're not willing to expend yourself we got out there and we had a ball the funny part was we took it to that particular field because the llamas were in that field you think those llamas would get even within one hundred yards of us? They deliberately took one look at us with that couch and they haul tells it like, five hundred yards way down the hill so we couldn't use them, um and we couldn't have them in the background, but the other thing was, is there were a row of houses, there was a subdivision right on the other side of this field, so by getting a low camera angle, I was able to eliminate those row of houses said they weren't a distraction, so you want to think about sometimes that okay, you can't do things the way you wanted to do them, maybe your original plan a isn't going to work the way you want it, teo and the location, I mean, we didn't want to have to pick that dog on catch up another time and have to carry it somewhere else as we knew we would have to carry it back to the to the garage of this guy's house, so I just ok, we'll leave it where it's at, but what do we do with what we've got? So by shooting at a low camera angle, I was able to minimize those background distractions in this case, the sun is actually coming from up overhead. So I'm going to pose her in relation to that light source and I used a single reflector to bounce the light back into her face on the white side of the reflector so that we could create some beautiful images this that's the school in the sky that was there it wasn't you know I didn't drop in clouds or anything like that on but was it was very very beautiful but again I had a role her shoulders a little bit towards the camera to capture it um that little girl that you saw a little bit earlier when I photographed this little gals wedding when it comes to lighting again admission earlier how important it was to not only exposed for the front of your subject and in this case I exposed on her face on the bright part of her face but I also knew that I needed to get a highlight across her back so I positioned her this way it within the window so that as she dropped her shirt of her robe in the back that that highlight from this opposite window would skim across her shoulder blades and her her back to really showcase her back and create that pretty high light you see that highlight is what makes her back looks so sexy but even with that even with her turned around back you can see that the wait is on this cheek that's closest to the camera and when you push that hip one way or the other, it'll put the weight where it needs to go on that hip. So, it's a very, very flattering thing to do. Um, I really love my favorite if I have to. If I have any kind of scenario, as soon as I walk into any home when a bride is getting ready I want a white will give me a blank wall. I don't need a fancy ritz carlton hotel. I need a door or a window that's all I need. And so, that way I could do beautiful portrait, like with this bride. Noticed the light on her face. It's coming in from the left hand side we have a beautiful high oh, look how large that light source is in her eye. It skims across the iris and I used just a bit of reflector on the right hand side to just balance the light just a tad. I could do any close up pictures of her and her family. Her and her mother and her daddy. If I have this much space, three feet of wind are a wall space with a pretty light source on home free. It means I can create beautiful images literally anywhere, because that white well, because nothing more than just neutral background because the photograph is not about background it's about the people in front of it I want clean and simple you'll find that my style is very clean and simple I don't like distractions I want just I want to concentrate on beautiful expression and look at how large the light source is you can tell by the real soft highlight the large highlight that's on her lips it comes from the white all the way across into the iris, right? Correct it's coming from the window right up above bambi deed used each year ever know I'm very well the only time I use hdr is when I'm doing landscape photography and I do my personal private passion is doing landscape photography and photographing horses and I have a website I'm working on currently that'll showcase some of my fine artwork and this is my personal passion because it's the one thing that I've ever done that I never thought I could do I mean, when I look at the work of ansel adams, I go yeah that's nice, but where the people that it doesn't take any skill to make a good you know I mean sorry the mountains not going anywhere you know so but it really does take a great deal of skill to create a beautiful landscape image and it's in that same area that I would use hdr and but not when it comes to people stuff I find that some that stuff looks a little mickey mouse and looks a little bit gimmicky, you know, in working with people, and I think it also kind of mucks up their skin tones a bit, so it she always great for landscape, but that's all so now we talked a bit about lighting and using just the window light and such, but when I took this picture of this young lady, where is the main light coming from or where is the light coming from to begin with it's actually coming from underneath here, but the light from outside is coming from behind her. So when I position this young lady outside in this natural environment, I wanted to first of all, I'm using a shallow depth of field two point eight because I don't want those capped eye to be I don't want that competing with her face and with her with her body, the garment dictated the location she's, wearing this kind of it looks very kind of like ethnic kind of wedding gown that's a little bit more indian, kind of looking but to balance the light, I used a white reflector underneath here in the same direction as the face, in other words, in the same plane as the face so I can balance the light between the foreground and the background so there's basically two light sources now the sun in the sky behind using a large ah higher shutter speed is going to make that background go a little darker because I don't want to be too bright and then bouncing that light oh my reflector from the sun back into the subject's face I'm able to really showcase her eyes and minute and put some beautiful modeling on the face ok? Um let's go forward one of my favorite things to do with broads I'm not became the first thing I do when I walk outside and give me an outdoor environment with the sun behind the subject on dh trees I'm home free I prefer to photograph outside if at all possible, so I generally take my subjects outside if I have a pretty day I really like it because I find that that natural environment of having people outdoors it makes them forget about the camera and they get much more comfortable I'm going to pull them away from the background a little bit. So in this case this young bride is actually standing in front of a group of trees notice where the light is coming from overhead behind her and then again on bouncing a bit of reflector back into her face but again we're not using our doctor like this in the subject's face I'm using it like this so I can just skimming across her face a little bit to create a beautiful policing look yes michael bambi so when you're shooting couples whatever people outside do you usually shoot them in kind of a private little area that there isn't that much foot traffic or do you sometimes actually do like the whole you know out on the sidewalk in public and I don't have a problem photographing on the sidewalk and public depending on who the couple is my style that I just I'm I'm a little bit over the brides and grooms sit in the cafe kind of thing I just onboard with that of like ok I just don't find that she I find it cheesy now it's like the brides and grooms running down the street jumping in the air I'm done it's over can we move on please I mean it's just like so been done a million times so when you do that you're looking just morph for like a simple back I'm looking for a neutral background just a neutral background one that is not going to become a distraction I'm not afraid of those other environments for in a natural outdoor environment I mean with people walking around that's okay but if I have a choice I'd rather find a location that has a simple tonality because then I can concentrate on the expression and then there won't be distracting elements that would pull your eye away from of the subject matter at hand, I really want that subject matter to stand out good question so with those last two pictures outside, you know, one of the great things about shooting with the sun is you get this fantastic hair light and you get these lovely if you turn somebody away properly and maybe use a reflector you can get great feel like but you're often dealing with those highlights that can be blown if you're exposing properly for the face and I think there was one on her arm two ago and then this one she's got like over her shoulder and in her hair do you just kind of go with that and say like this isn't a competition print this is for I'm you know I'm getting this for excellent excellent question it depends on the scenario if I were in competition I can promise you I would absolutely I would find a way to scream that arm but because the other elements it is a bit more editorial remember with lana told you about at a trophy there's a little bit of a fudge factor if the picture has well factor to it everything else those fall down and degrees of importance I'm not saying don't eliminate them if you can and for instance with this picture right here yes, I could have put a scream up above her head but then I have to think what's the trade off going to be would the trade off me that I'd lose a great expression on her face? So then I'm not worrying about competition. I've never had a client in my whole look, you know, baby, I that little highlight over my head is just not quite right, but if you've got great expression and the faces illuminated, right, I'm not telling you to be sloppy photographers, so don't misunderstand I'm not saying to fudge it and fake it, and and just, you know, get a great expression and there's no light on the subject's face, and you do not have the subject illuminated properly their face, then you have a crappy picture I do. By the way, if you look at my original files on this, there is detail in that here, I just chose to not worry about it, and in this case, in the wood, this young photograph right here, there is detail on the left hand side of her face I just chose to when I processed the file to do it like this because I felt that it added a bit more drama, and this is a perfect example of the kind of environment that I'm looking for in in any home or whenever the brides getting ready give me a simple door I want a simple door and a simple window that's what I'm looking for because it's going to give me the best bang for my buck with with no work with very little work and it means I can work more efficiently because that's why I say to you guys you got a photograph perfectly under the circumstances that you're given if I had if I had all day long if I could set up lights and all that stuff I have to think about what is the trade off going to be? Would the tradeoff possibly be that the subject is really nervous because there's all these big bright ball lights going on and everything and all of the the the stress of having that would I lose this then I think ok, well if I can worry not worry about those things and I have a simple wall to worry about and I'm just having a camera in my hand does that mean that I can move more quickly and give them a lot more variety? Is the trade off work it worth worth it so that those were some of the things that I think about when it comes to the way that I photograph and the environments that I select and the lighting that I choose I think about what's the trade off going to be how much time do I have to do that job and what potentially would I be missing and especially, is that important on a wedding day when I really find that there's some beautiful pj moments that happened? Naturally, I think okay, this whole day is not about this one moment, so what's the best possible thing I could do with what I've got, that was still going to be great great pictures, but it means that I have the ability to then move on to this this and this quickly, because it's been my experience that if you spend too much time monkeying around with people to get them to get the perfect picture, if you take twenty minutes or so to get a photograph done, it may be the most perfect picture you have ever taken. But if your client hates your guts after that moment and they won't play the game the rest of the day because you because you took so long to get that, then did you do the right thing? See that's, the way I have to view it, I have to think about what is the tradeoff going to be? Because if I spend too much time and I have the most perfect picture, but they hate me because it was born, they didn't like the experience than guess what folks it's over. Because later on you think that gal is gonna give me any more time later on she's going to say you know she's not gonna give me any more time but she's got to know your bad experience first I'm not going to happen whereas if I can find an environment like this where I can really do some very creative interesting photographs then but it only takes me ten minutes to do then guess what later on my sake bar you front of the tenants to do a couple more pictures going oh yeah come on that's wonderful. And then when she refers me to a freshness a baby was so fast and she did an amazing job look at this system this I got lots of a variety and so forth then it works the best you know, I get the best of the whole universe and that's my overall my overall goal is to make the entire experience one that they absolutely love because the experience is as important as the pictures are, you know the experience is more important it is absolutely more important than than the pictures no, I'm not saying the pictures are important they are very important but they better enjoyed that experience because if you have perfect pictures but they hated the experience they hate you and they will not refer you because they hated the experience so sorry to get on my soapbox about them. Thank you, that's a really good point, so this is the kind of environment that I'm looking for if I'm doing indoor location now, I shot this picture at the the sheraton palace or the palace hotel in san francisco and it's, an amazing hotel with absolutely gorgeous ball rooms and all kinds of stuff, but there's my trade off, ok, do I take her to an environment where there's lots of people milling around that could create a lot of distractions? Or do I find an environment within her room? That's more private where we don't have to worry about waiting for people to pass by or waiting for, you know, guest to move their luggage past, to see how much more I can get done without those destructive and be beautiful, and maybe later on that's my plan b later on, maybe I'll take her down where those great artists were are, and then if I have way, have that that's my plan b, but plan a to get my bread and butter things that I know I'm going to need to get for them the beautiful portrait of her, her with her bridesmaids and by george that's, my spot that's where I'm going to be going, and so with this image right here, I just literally opened the curtains did a series of photographs of her noticed the way her hip has pushed in this case towards the camera she could do that she's a very tiny little girl but also that posing technique I showed you yesterday pushing the hip one way or the other see how that works and it's the same pose whether she's facing this way or whether she's facing away from the camera she pushes her hip one way or the other and then it will create this beautiful, beautiful backside because usually if there was a bigger girl you would exactly right exactly right if she's a bigger girl that hip is going to be pushed away from the camera. The other thing too and this is where you really want to pay attention to a wedding gowns, guys because with her dress she had a very straight dress that was mermaid style that that ended up flaring at the bottom that's when that x uh posed that I showed you works great see how my legs aaron an x pattern because you can pull out that pulls out the shape of that dress at the bottom, but look what it does to the back see how I can go like this and see how it pushes the hip one way or the other still, but we're able to see get that beautiful, beautiful shape on her bottom, it also works beautiful by pushing that foot forward almost in front of the other foot because it'll pull that dress forward a little bit. And so those are the things that always thinking about, especially for those straight dresses. I want to make sure that I showcase that gown. She spent a lot of money on that dress. Yes to some of this is kind of random, but, um, if you have a shorter girl wearing a dress like this and you wantto essentially, you know her length, um, and you can hide something underneath her dress, have you ever put her like, on a stool or anything like that? Just kind of great question? No, I would not put her on a still what I would do is lower my camera angle so you can make anyone look taller by lowering your camera angle. So that's, what I would probably do. In fact, this young lady wasn't very tall girl. She was probably maybe five, three, five, four. Maybe that was a low camera angle. Yes. It was a fairly low camera, not low it it was like down on floor, but it was a lower camera angle. You want to think, no matter what you're photographing, maybe it's the bride getting ready. This is again one of the reasons that you want to pay attention to address this, because there's a certain anatomy in the way that a bride will get get into her gown. Sometimes she dives into that dress, which means the dress comes over her head and sometimes she'll step into it. Of course, you as gentlemen may not always have the ability to go in the room when she's getting ready. But whatever the case is, you want to think to yourself when she's getting into that dress, if she is going to dive in what's gonna happen. You want to think in your mind pre pre imagine in your mind, since you get better pj images. So this is the way that my scenario goes whenever I'm getting on photographing people, getting ready and such, I want to think to myself which lens on that camera is going to give me the best bang for my buck under this set of circumstances. So I walked into the room when this bride was getting dressed, or when she was about to get ready, and I opened all the curtains well, her maid of honor came right behind me in closed all of them. So what do I do? Well, guess what the only light in that room is where overhead. So what does that mean for me now? The bride in this case was going to dive into this counts, others she was going, she was going to, we're going put that dress over him. So what would I need to think of ahead of time? In order to get a much more powerful picture, I would have to have the right lens on the camera, because in my case, I chose to use the eighty five millimeter, one point two lens at about one point eight why would I choose that lends, first of all, why my thinking in my mind that that's the best lens for me? Well, because I know that attn one point eight I want very little in that room to be in focus. I don't want all that trash don't want all that that I don't want all the bride's maid, because that particular moment when she dives into that dress, it's going to be about one thing and that's that face popping out of that dress or coming from the coming through the top of that dress. That's gonna be really critical, so I knew in my mind. Okay, then you're going to be eighty five millimeter, one point two lens on that camera. I'm thinking also, okay, I want a fairly high I s so maybe four hundred s o so I could I could photograph that a fairly higher shutter speed maybe a sixteenth of a second. But then the next thing that I have to consider is where my what is where my angle is. Because if I'm standing on the floor trying to get this, what is going to be in my center? Focus immediately. This girl's arm right here it would be I would not see the bride's face. I would see just that girl's arm and so I don't want that so I know she's diving in her face is going to go up like this. So if I want to get that mask of her face that by george I better do what I better photograph from a higher angle. So I immediately see when she when they're starting to put that dress where she's she's going to get into it. First thing I do is look at her feet where they pointing to because if I don't, if I can't see where the feeder pointing out that I'm could be on the back side of her when she comes to that dress and I would see her back of her head instead of her face. So the first thing I do when they're getting ready to put that dress I look for her feet are and then I go, ok, I want a higher camera angle so I can shoot down on that subject and capture that picture and then by doing that, hang on a second by doing that when her face comes up. Guess what that light from that overhead fixture would eliminate her? Yes. Now, like, in this situation, do you take any control over this so that you can kind of guarantee another shot with the shot that you want I asking them to is, you know, do it a little bit slower, or I don't generally do that. I don't generally try to take control over this, but I'm not telling you not to. I don't think you're going to go to hell if you do that. It's not a bad thing I really personally like, though, getting it naturally because it makes me feel more like you know, like I just like I nailed it, jimmy is much more of a challenge to get it naturally, but I'm not telling you never to do it. I can't tell you that I've never in my whole life done that, um he's gonna go through real quick because we're running out of time on this segment. I want to make sure I cover a few points again notice simple tonality, simple backgrounds with this bride the light is coming in from the right hand side on did look at the kind of dress she's wearing the pose fits the style of her gown it's very just regal and understated. Is that one flash? No, no, I haven't I hardly ever use flash except for wedding receptions I use flash during wedding receptions and that's just about it. But that same concept of having the light skim across the gown, whether she's you can see her face are not notice what's going on with their feet and showing off her shoes. I mean a bride will spend six months looking for those parachutes and she's going to wear on her wedding day. So again, I want to make sure that that light is always about forty five degrees that's in front, so I really this is one of those times if I were going to stage something I might say, hey, could I just if the windows right here, mike to say, could you turn your feet towards me this way when you put your shoes on, you know, if I was going to stage it, I recognize that one from yesterday. Oh, yeah, um, but sometimes you can create such beautiful, beautiful images if you just watch the way the light's falling on your subject shallow, shallow depth of field, this is with the fifty millimeter, one point two lens about two point oh eyes or tax sharpened notice how the light of the the focus falls off because I don't want that necklace sharp see, that necklace will start competing with her face and we don't want that again. Fill the frame with your subject's face if you're going to close ups, do a few of these there's a really, really powerful, powerful images that can really create such a beautiful, beautiful look for you and can give your your your subjects that amazing look, but it always starts with the feet and in this case, she's sitting down she's not sitting straight that's important notice how that back shoulder is dipping down and then she's turning her face back towards the light source, so drop that shoulder so even even in this regard notice what's going on with my feet I can't keep my feet turned this way doesn't feel right so turning my feet and said that the energy flows always in the same direction do we have any questions, girls? E what was that? I'm sorry what's the post processing just a black and white action in fact it's marcus bells action number twenty two this is my favorite black and white action that I love it it's you know when I won the thing I love about market sells black and white action number twenty two is it's a clean, fresh, dimensional black and white it's beautiful it's absolute so pretty it looks really looks like real black and white and there's a bit of in getting on the edge of it on dh but it's just one of my very favorites like mine action I love it. Okay, we got a couple of questions for me vessel and chat would like to know when you decide to use black and white versus cover how do you make excellent question whenever I especially for like when people are getting ready I almost always have those images in black and white and the reason is that black and white is minimizes distractions it minimizes background noise, it minimizes background crap that's in a room like tissue paper on the floor and and, you know, string and hairpieces and you just all kinds of periphery. They kind of blend away in black and white. So generally I will convert my those images to black and white and that's how my client will see them. As I mentioned yesterday, I do all my artwork before client ever sees a picture. I want them to see them the way that I envision them to be on by. I want that to be their first impression to be the absolute very best that could possibly be so generally images of her getting ready and such those might be images that I would convert to black and white. And do you? I'm sorry. Do you only present either a black and white or color of any single image? Or are there instances where you present, but good question. No, I generally show them what I want them to see. And it's funny because it's been my experience that if you give people these like that, they can have it this way or this way they generally will like it the way that you showed it to them. You know, the way that you felt was best. And then I find that if you quite often, the difficulty arises. People can't make a decision if you give them too many choices so when it comes to family pictures like francis the pictures of the mom and dad brothers and sisters and kind things I gave him two choices do I take two choices no I take maybe three but I give them the best too a choice a choice be because it's too difficult for them to make a choice that's of course in a wedding scenario not in family portrait of such um less than any other questions so many question from audrey bu had talked about for a shorter person um get doing a lower camera angle and the question is how do you lower your camera angle without shooting up on the person in an unflattering angle? Great great question well there's a couple of things that you can do the first thing you can do when you shoot it a lower camera angle if you have your subject slightly lean towards you guess what you have totally even a limited that right there but what I will tell you don't get hung up on shooting on lower a camera goes to make him look taller I got to tell you that's great for an artsy fartsy image but as a general rule if I'm doing unless I'm doing something rule funky and vogue as a creative image I'm not going to be photographing all of those images of them from a lower camera angle most of them are going to be about eye level for bride or waist level, you know, we're just going to be fine as well, so don't get hung up on having to shoot from a low camera angle, however, do a couple of those and from a low camera angle and then have them push that hip away from the camera and then leaning forward slightly, and it'll it'll draw them in it in a beautiful way, and you won't be like looking up their nose or anything like that. Also back away from the subject a little bit, don't be so don't be too close to them, I think that's a real important one, not to get too close. Um, any others? How much time do we have? We have time for one or two more questions? Yes, one of the more questions that I think you're great. Go ahead. Can I have one comment from mike? Okay, thank you, aware that she is making the rest of us feel like we don't have a oh, I'm sorry, I actually I really feel bad about that, because because my goal is so much to make you guys all out there and you guys in this room, I want you to feel like, you know what, I can do this because you can just remember to take I would say take the top five things that you learn and take him put him on your wall in your studio or in your bathroom or in your home and put them say step one get my posing my lighting right number ones lighting learned to light forty five degrees from the subject walk around your house with your hand like this it's okay where is the main light coming from bringing catcher little brother you little sister or your wife and then get them over by that experience that's number one the second thing I do first I would walk around my house and find my chosen locations number two I dragged my wife over there and I are my husband and I think I want to pose you in this environment and practice that concept practice the concept because remember it's not about the location because you could be photographing in your home today tomorrow it's another theo the ritz carlton tomorrow the next day could be the first church of ugly ville just remember think in concepts because if you think in a concept then that means you can apply that concept to photographing that little child next week and that grandma and grandpa next week of that family portrait that you're going to do two weeks later just remember a white wall is a white will it doesn't matter whether it's in seattle, washington or whether in in place until california or in atlanta, georgia it's a white wall with a window to the right or the left forty five degrees and you should be home for you take, you know, small steps for growth don't try to do it all at once just get one thing down and make it your own and then go to the next thing and make it your own. As I said, I give myself five minutes at every event that I'm doing so that I can practice a new concept and that's the way we all grow and I hope that you continue to have that uncomfortableness I still have it. I mean, after twenty five years, I'm still have butterflies in my stomach every single time I do any photo shoot, especially photographing kids, I do I always get nervous and scared do I know what's going to happen my press that shutter yes, I know what's going to happen in, but yet every single time I get a box of proofs back from the lab I look at those personal go oh, well, it happened again. I got good pictures and I'm almost surprised, you know, and I know what's gonna happen intellectually, but with my heart I'm still surprised every single time because that's just the way it goes and we do, we get you and I hope that stays that way because that's, what gives you your fire in your zeal? That's? Awesome! I just want to repeat the comment that I had made earlier because I forgot to push my mike on. Oh, so the comet was from my k. Is bambi aware that she is making the rest of us feel like we don't have a clue? So I hope I was able to answer that question. So one from cookie cat chick, one of the biggest challenges is working quickly. What can I do to train myself to take in an environment and set up a shot quickly? Great question. This is what I do. I'm always wherever I have to be about thirty minutes before I have to start being so I have to be on. So if it's a wedding, if I tell them I'm gonna be at the bride some three hours before the wedding. I'm there three and a half hours ahead of time and the first thing I do is I walk around that room and I find three locations. Plan a plan b and plan c for doing any pictures I first look for in an environment that's going to give me the easiest job for the least amount of work. He's this job okay? So that's plan a and then if something happens that people go set up stuff in that room or or something happens and I'm not able to use the big truck come poles outside and there's no light where there anymore I've got my plan b in my plan c and then I mean that's going to really help me to set the tone the next step is I always start with the things that are a bit more difficult to begin with and work down to the easier parts so when it comes to the photographs of the family I'm going to start if I can with what I have the family groups but what if they're not there okay would've dad supposed to be here for pictures and he is late and he's not there yet always always always find what you can do with what you've got right there so in other words if I'm supposed to be photographing at ten o five the picture of the bride with her family but they're not mom and dad aren't ready it well who do I have right now that I can photograph hey I've got my bride she's ready okay so I could do pictures of her by yourself so I do that while my assistant is maybe rounding up some other people second of all ok what if she's not ready well what do I have what can I do? Without her well that's gonna minimize what I could do, but I maybe I can get a picture of mom and dad together or maybe I can do mom and dad and their other children maybe with them with each of their children while we're waiting on her to be ready. The most important lesson that mother is going to tell you not to do you never ever stand around and wait don't wait don't stand around and act like you have nothing to do because I'm going to tell you that makes you look like an amateur faster than you can shake a stick at it really will make you look like you don't know what you're doing so you always think ok, what can I do with what I've got? So what if the flowers don't show up? When I started in photography I kid you not I would sit on the couch like this if they did not like that I'm just like this and I'm not kidding for flowers didn't show I'd sit there and it's ok, but we're not taking you and I'm thinking, do you realize what you've done? You realize that all that does is number one you're allowing someone else to be in charge of whether you get your job done or not him so not going to let other people be in charge of what I get done so I decided that instead of that, that I would just plan for them not to be there and then if they don't show up, what do I do with what I've got? So I've learned to pose without flowers. In fact, these days, I hardly ever use the farsi values, and when we do the group shots of the people, you know, the bride's because they spend a lot of money on those flowers, but as a general rule, I don't care about them anymore, and because I don't worry about whether they're on time or not, I've learned to go to the next step what's the next picture that I can do with what I've got, and that way, it makes things continue to flow and people don't get uncomfortable and they don't start getting nervous because nothing is happening, you know, that's, a real big one, I think we're ready to take a break or you ready to take a break? Can I just have, like, two more minutes? Of course, just two more minutes, okay? Because I just want to show the kind of images that I would take up a groom getting ready. I mean, look at this young man, look at the way the light is crossing his body, I shot this of this groom in his bedroom. Before right before the ceremony notice how the light is falling across his face I'm doing a bit of camera tilt on the image on the left hand side here and on the center image just to give a little bit more strength to the photograph then I just said, hey, can I have you sitting that for sochi chair and I was gonna picture of you there and then I photographed him just in a very casual way quite often with the groom almost always say don't tie the time I don't want that tie tied and by the way I learned how to tie a tie properly because that way if they because most guys don't know how to time anyway and if they're having a real tie and that way if you do loosen it up, you're not gonna be in trouble because it took him fifteen minutes to figure how to tie that thing and you and listen it, um but also you can also find very neutral locations. I shot this in my studio of this young man I photographed his wedding, but notice in his case these photographs were absolutely staged absolutely I said, hey, can I just get you, teo, just pull your jacket a bit and just pull on your shirt, your tie just a tad the middle one just want you to grab your cuff but again noticed where the light is falling and where the subject is turned in relation to the light source that's the same thing remember concepts are concepts whether it is a broad standing in front of a window being posed in a beautiful way whether it is a groom whether it's a little kid that light crossing the body is really really going to be a very beneficial thing and then you can concentrate on doing some beautiful portrait of them with this gentleman I just said to him I want you to come sit on the couch that little exercise I showed you where you park your butt on the very edge of the seat it's exactly what he's doing and then I just said I want you to lean forward I had across his leg I style and bring his hand up to his face in this case the window light from the right hand side is look where that catch light is in his eyes I'm not gonna get too close to screen but you could see the catch lights and his eyes but then notice this little kicker light on the left that's being produced by just having a reflector there to just create a bit more separation between his face on the background a little bit notice we still have a little bit of a high light going on this is a couch just a red couch in the background but using a shallow depth of field two point eight, I'm able to pull him away from that piece of furniture and not draw attention to the garment or the fabric on that furniture. And create a really dynamic picture of a groom sitting there looking straight into the camera.

Class Description

In Bambi Cantrell's first creativeLIVE workshop, she led an powerful three-day course focused on posing and lighting techniques with a focus on wedding, boudoir, and portrait photography. This workshop was one of the most popular subjects we've hosted.

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