Powerful Portraits using Body Language and Lighting

Lesson 28/39 - Shoot: Identify Your Own Preconceptions


Powerful Portraits using Body Language and Lighting


Lesson Info

Shoot: Identify Your Own Preconceptions

Should I photograph him how I perceive him? Yeah, let's do it, okay. Are you ready? Don't be scared. I'm not scared. Okay, good. You should be scared. (laughing) So let's have a little fun. I'm gonna, in the next segment, talk about accents. So what I wanna do is stick to the one light situation here just 'cause we're talking about the standards and the classics. When we talk about standards and classics, all of these can be applied in a multitude of angles from which we are photographing our subjects. It doesn't always have to be straight on or 3/4. We're gonna have a little bit of fun. Are you ready? Always, good, okay. Did you know that people have two sides to their face? You ever did that in the mirror before? Everybody's like, what? All right, we're gonna do a test. Aha, white paper. Ta-da. It's sophisticated. Just look straight forward for me. This way a little bit. That way a little bit. This way. So with this, on your left-hand side of your face, your lip drops a little bi...

t. But you've got some cute little crow's feet, they're really, really nice. Let's try this side. And your lip curls up on your right-hand side and your eye is lifted on your right-hand side. So happy side, business side. This is like the mullet of facial expressions, right? Like, party on the right, (laughing) business on the left, right? So when I'm assessing somebody's body language, I'm also looking for that dynamic in their face as well. And if I'm going to do what I'm about to do next, I'm going to assess that face and see what's going to be the best possible profile for you. I'm gonna bring this stool back in. Go ahead and stand up for me. Gettin' your squats in today. Switch. Careful, it's heavy. Have a seat right there for me. And rotate to your right. Rotate, rotate, keep comin'. Ow, why did you do that? That's good. Come back this way. All right. I'm touching him right now. Put your shoulders out. Okay, relax them down. And out. You know, you're like, it's, woman, I am done with this game. (laughing) If we can bring the lights down. What did I just do there? That lighting is-- Short side. Short-side, exactly. And the shadow of the nose, is it connected, or no? Not yet, so I need to rotate it over and bring it up. (beeps) Just like that. Excellent. So right now I'm just looking at his body language, still a little tense, still got a laugh on the horizon, as well. There's no hiding from me. (shutter clicks) Oh, I need to be in capture mode. (laughs) Wait for it. I'm just kidding. Would you mind helping me? You have that in? Thanks. Oh, he had it. We got it. You're doin' good. Thank you. Excellent job. (sings) It's gonna pull up the last thing I shot, hopefully. Momentarily, should be good. (sings) Let's see, I'm gonna turn it off and turn it back on again, see what comes... Perhaps not. So between the UK and France and the United States, to which do you prefer? I'd have to be given a context and some reasons for that because I could live in all three quite happily. I mean, I have a son who lives in Seattle and I have a daughter who lives in the UK and I live in France. Do you eat frog legs? Not since I've been in France in the last five years but 25 years ago I did. You're doin' really good, by the way. And you're gorgeous. Everything about you. (laughing) I wish I could believe you. (shutter clicks) When somebody's body, and we're talking about body language, when somebody's body is angled away, what does that say? Like, avoidance. Maybe they're trying to not confront the situation head-on a little bit? Okay, good. And when one's chin is at neutral or elevated? Wow, I got deer in headlights. Okay, when we talk about exposing our neck, if we have our chin up, we're exposing it a little bit more. There's an air of confidence when somebody raises their chin, right? So this is that dual personality that you all saw, but I'm capturing it in a way that I think best represents him. So by positioning his body angle this direction, and actually, if I wanted to open, stay, right there for me, if I wanted to open up just a little bit more, I'm gonna change my dynamic to him. I can get a little bit lower by empowering him, changing my angle of you. Because I don't see you as being diminutive. I see you as being a more confident individual. And the light, as low-key, is a lot more thoughtful, it's introspective. It doesn't always have to connotate something negative. It could also be very dramatic. What do you think? That's me. (laughing) Is that you? That's me, yeah. Cool, let's do one more. All right, go ahead and rotate back for me. I'm touching him right now. (laughing) Now, bring your chin towards me. And back. And down. And away, this way. Good, what I want you to do is tilt your right ear towards your right shoulder. And then up again. Come back. What am I doing right now? (audience members murmuring) Yes, exactly. Now just relax, good, perfect. What I want you to do is look toward that camera there. Perfect, to your right just a bit more, away, there, that's it. And the first thing you're going to do when you get back to France? Probably sleeping, actually. (shutter clicks) Visit a bar. So if we can have the lights up. I want to demonstrate to you what it looks like on this monitor because this is how it's captured. But you can see the contrast a lot better on this particular monitor than say, this one. And I think it's a lot more dramatic and revealing. What do you think? [Audience Members] Yes. And again, this is how I perceive him. Each and every one of you will have your own thoughts and dare I say, biases, depending on our own life's experience that skews how we view other people, as well, something we didn't necessarily talk about yesterday, but will be an emphasis on today. And how I can use light to exemplify, amplify, I was trying to combine two words. I'm gonna make something up here in a minute. To basically accentuate the attributes and personalities that I perceive in you. What do you think about that picture? I love it. You love it? Yay! Then I did my job right. We're gonna hug it out now. You were amazing and very, very patient. I so really appreciate your time and letting me do that. I appreciate it too. Yeah, thanks. Everybody give him a hand. (applauding) I wanna wrap up this segment by talking about the tenor and tone of light. The tenor of which we set is skewed based off of hard and soft, how we perceive somebody to be. That can personify, used to personify somebody's personality and attributes. That tone, that high-key or low-key, sets a mood, right? When the lights go down at the restaurant, that changes how we feel just as the seasons do.

Class Description

Over fifty-five percent of communication is done through non-verbal gestures. It’s essential for photographers to understand the fundamentals of body language in order to better communicate with their clients. In this class, award-winning photographer Stacy Pearsall teaches how to make solid first impressions with your subject through the use of body language.

With her honest and straightforward teaching style, you will learn how to:

  • Observe and decipher non-verbal cues
  • Use light and shadow to convey emotion and create a mood
  • Utilize appropriate lighting for specific personalities
  • Use body language techniques to capture authentic expressions from your subject

During live photo shoots, Stacy will explain and demonstrate from start to finish how to connect with subjects through positive body language, maintain connection by touch and energy, and capture their true likeness with gesture and light. By the end of this class, you will have the tools and confidence to photograph your clients to show their authentic personalities.


Julie V

I had the chance to sit in the audience and absolutely loved this class! First of all, Stacy is very funny and is really good at explaining and showing examples of the body language. I loved learning about how to read people faces and body to know more about them. And recommended the class to my husband who is a therapist for this reason. The other part of the class was so awakening, I never really thought about how having the wrong lighting for someone's personality would bring something off on the picture. Once again, Stacy was amazing at explaining why this lighting would work with one person and not another by showing us examples. If you want to bring your subject personality into life on photos, I highly recommend this class!

a Creativelive Student

This class is amazing! Stacy is an awesome person and listening to her teach and review the class concepts was so easy and fun and entertaining! It is jam packed with information on how to connect with talent and clients. Plus you get to see Stacy in action with subjects in the Demo and Shoot videos. I highly recommend this class! I learned so much and feel so much more comfortable and confident working with a variety of people now.

Jovi Jhash

wow, what an amazing class to learn from. you covered all from body language to storytelling and to reveal almost the true souls of the subjects through portraits. Amazing work and thank you so much, Stacy and creative live team. Stay blessed