Adding More Lights


Senior Photography: Break the Mold


Lesson Info

Adding More Lights

I started using like heart. I loved it, but I wanted more out of it. All of a sudden I found myself getting bored with this and I'm like ass is boring. I want more than that. So what if I throw in a little game changer here? And I used two buddies with this guy? I go get two of his friends and put them to work. Okay. Now, on those days, if it's not super, super bright outside or it's the end of the day where the sun's going down and like in this image here, you see, the sun is going with it's almost gone. But look at the separation light own her shoulders on her sleeve in her hair. It's really separating her all for that background and it's really, really bringing it forward because but why's it use a separation lighting. A lot of times there was no defining edge between her jacket and that fence or the jacket and that darkness, this back behind her. And to me, I was like, man, I could really step this up a good bit and make it look a lot better. Is it more work? Yeah, absolutely. It's...

more work what I do this for every session, the whole session through no am I going to try and do this for at least one or two shots something really out there off course because I want to show people are capable of more than just one look so for the question earlier you know the gentleman said I'm scared it might change my style a little bit you know it's you know for me a style change I don't want to see a change but incorporate something else another element that may as some value to it and you may glad you may gain new clientele so it's just food for thought love these images this is part of what was a big game changer for me this is what people started seeing and people started really noticing that when I was posting these images on facebook in my community you had me posting on facebook and then you had like seven hundred other photographers posting their images on facebook what do you think it's? Good to stand out you know are you capable of doing this? Absolutely. Did you feel good at the end of the day if you pulled out all the stops? Absolutely so get out there and do it stuff like this right here look at her arm looking her right arm that's just right here look at the separation on both sides of her arm if you look at newscasters do this when you go home when you're looking at a newscaster that is own obviously the news and they're out on location and it's late at night you know this? Hi, I'm martin becker with tv five were here this horrific car crash that doesn't always gonna have a separation line or they should a separation light behind them and a main line in front of them and what that does is it just as that certain amount of professionalism and it separates them off the dark background? So if you don't think that's true, you watch the news tonight and there'll be some more on out on the side of the road you know, doing something or the weatherman that it's raining on him and who knows but check that out to me, I know I'm not going to be happy with this image if I use just one light I would be but could I be even more happy with it if I use three look at her hair look att on this image look at the left hand side of her hair right there it's separated to me I feel super good, I wouldn't want to show that any anybody, but look this is just some of the work that I do I'm really proud of it thank you and I want to leave a mark I want my daughter when she grows up and people say who's, your dad I don't want it to be like me and all you know that as someone so son sorry um I wanted to say my dad's blair and by all I know your dad he's a great guy man he does some beautiful work he's a hard working guy that's what I want my daughter to say and that's what I want people my community say it's building my brand spending my brand so what I'm saying is is what usedto work it's not gonna work anymore. I remember when I first started I bought a campus backdrop hand painted from mayhew this thing was like a bazillion dollars, but I thought if I just get one master background, I'm good I don't have to buy anything anymore. Well, do you know where that thing is now? It's rolled up on a cylinder and it's up in the top of my studio. I don't even use it anymore, so it kind of things because each year, unfortunately with pinterest and instagram like I said yesterday, we're gonna have to reinvent ourselves a little bit seven cheer you see this one up? Look at the tires on both sides of the tires of that separation lighting that is just showing that hey, some people would say some moron came and shot this, but for the most part, not just any anybody is going to come out and do this, so this is going to elevate you so much and I can't tell you how much I encourage you to get your bottom out there and do something different is it going to take you more work? Yes, we're not ready to die yet people are we they wouldn't think so if so, let us know and we'll see if we can get you something really quick get you some help reflect there is such a simple piece of product that most people don't feel like they need it like I don't know it's just you don't really have tohave it, do you? I see so many amateurs that they're just starting we'll show him what a piece of white poster board can do are a reflector like oh my gosh, I mean you just hold it right there and show your mom that too or you're high school seniors parent but look, I want to show you the difference of what you're paying for here look at her look at her eyes she has really pretty eyes and now look at this oh oh and they're like, oh my gosh, I never knew that was possible look at that, frank, come here, look how pretty her eyes are like anything there that good in person will you wait till you see this image when I'm done they're gonna have to have it, they have to have it. So reflector lighting is but just crawl here in the middle pour thing she's never probably gonna be able to get a date, so I've got to be able to make her look good. That's a joke out of this, the really pretty girl so I can kill the image by not getting those crystal clear blue eyes or I could not be lazy and throw reflector in there. I can use a reflector even if I have to. I can hold a reflector with one hand and shoot. I mean, I've done that. If you get in a pension, you don't have a way to do it, make it work. Struggle. You know, I don't care if you have to put bungee straps around and tied to your chest, you know? I don't know. Just find a way to make it work and don't make excuses what I want here that don't here. Middle of the day I got her in the shade and I don't really use the overpowering the sun method. I want to shoot this at two point eight I want to see that green canady back there I wanted to turn into a background. I wanted it, I don't want it to be at f eleven where everything is very defined and you can say, oh, yeah that's a cedar tree or that's a birch tree? I just want you to know that that's a tree back there, I'm able to do that they want to do it and again, I showed you guys this yesterday I wanted to reiterate just because it is such an important piece of equipment for me is my reflector stand this thing I do images up in my front lobby all the time because I've got a bank of windows and the lighting is so pretty up there, so pretty up there when I have a senior mom up there as she is, really? If she's got herself all fixed up for the day as well, I'll throw her in there, I'll say man comes there right on this couch is saying, oh, no, no, no, no, no, I don't want to have my picture made, but deep down she does. I'll thought that reflect her in there and get rid of all those wrinkles around your eyes and I'll throw her picture in there who knows what is going to do if you're in that point where you like, you know what? I may not be ready for all of this, but I am ready for what you're talking about where you can light up the eyes I am ready for that it's gonna take you from mine early to major league just just like that so that's what's going to allow me to shoot every image that I want to at those apertures of two eight two five six because again this method gonna be shooting apertures in the middle of the day at some time you know f eight eleven f sixteen so I don't want to shoot every image that way I don't want to do it on the news that forty two inch reflector for some of you might like that five and one it gives you five different reflectors and one for me this kind of aggravating so my method is just either a silver or a white and you can use a gold one for early in the morning or late in the evening if you want to but I just I just don't um here's another example here just lighting up the face and when mom sees that mom is concerned about her eyes that's hit mom mom could care less about the background now the client she does she what she's all about the background she doesn't care what her eyes looked like she could care less what she should be caring about her eyes but she doesn't same thing they're just that little kiss of life even with my guys a little kiss of light there now let's talk about this how many times have you ever been in a situation where let's let's use wedding shooters here or let's say if I'm shooting a pram high school prom going back to seniors what if I want to go shoot a high school prom and really get my name out there and show my brand in the school and I showed to shoot the prom and there is thirty five foot tall brown ceilings and I thought, well, I'm just going to balance my flash off the ceiling that's gonna look great and you re roll open you open up the doors you're like oh, this is going to suck really bad all right oh, this wedding is going to suck you can't go to your wedding client say I'm sorry you know your wedding images really sucked because I was hoping that you had white ceilings that I could bounce my flash off and even when I bounced my flash off it gives you a raccoon eyes but you know it is what it is I know it is what it isn't make it into something else so look what I do for receptions or event lighting I light up everything light up everybody everybody look at this place right here can I accomplish that with one flash on my camera? Probably not if I was photographing a reception or a prom I'm in here well, it would help me if I want but I'm kidding I would put four lights in here all right, we're going to use this rug is an example I would put a light right here I'd put a light here here and here in opposite corners of the room I put him on a light stand they would go up thirteen feet in the air and they would all point back towards the center of the room all four of them towards the center and I would put a forty two inch white shoot through umbrella over all of them and I wouldn't even turn the modeling lamps on and then from there when I would do is I would create a ratio I would set this guy at just say three quarter power would set this guy at a quarter power and then I would do the opposite I go quarter three quarter so no matter where they are in the room if they turn this way they've got a main light and a feel like feel like main light so anywhere they turn in that room they're gonna have a separation lighting on him no matter where they are and I just have to train myself while I'm shooting that event okay? If they're here, they're here they might be at, you know, let's say f eleven if they're here by the faa if they and it just it goes back and forth and you and your assistant or you and whoever's with you put a pocket was there in your camera and you can all share the lights and you don't have to make excuses off yeah well man it just doesn't look good because that place you got you had the prom was terrible but man I could go set up lights and just roll out to a prom and do it as a freelance thing and give the images to the school for the yearbook but then I can also give those images to all the kids and I'm doing a report with them and they're not just little snapshots they're well lit portrait quality like so that's that's what I'm loving and without door lining there there shouldn't be any more excuses really and do like I did you know if you can't buy all this stuff at one time hey christmas is coming birthday is coming you know stash something aside what I wanted to do is I'm gonna give one of you guys I've got something that I think will greatly help you and it is a senior shoot one o one dvd what this is is nearly two hours nearly two hours of every type of lighting that I use especially outdoor lighting this is me working with an actual client working with her during her senior session meat talking through the philosophies of everything this is every this is like a bible right here for outdoor lighting and indoor lighting studio lighting. All the lighting I do is covered here, and I'm gonna hook one of you guys up with it, and I don't know who we should get to. What do you think? I think what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna give it to you only reason being is because yesterday and it's, no offense to anyone else and I made now I'm probably gonna have to give each one of you want, but you had a great comet yesterday that you really inspired me and you said, you know, I'll not only learn about photography, but from you, I learned a lot about life yesterday, things that were important, so I appreciate that comment from you, but I'll see what I can do. We've got a lot of goodies for you guys coming up to the end of the into this thing, so don't you worry let's, go back to the internet in just a minute and see what kind of questions they're coming about and see if we can get a couple last minute questions answered, there have been questions nonstop during this segment, lighting is one of those things that is so, you know, there's so many options and there's so many variations that we have to shoot it and so like lighting, you can never learn enough, but let's start with a nikki ounce who asked let's see still in my pj's and I can't tear myself away from the screen do you need three l r o two's and vagabonds for the three lights set up? You don't have to have those when I do mine I use them my two lights that would be in the back I use them basically just little parabolic reflector so there's not a lot of wind that catches you don't have a soft spot the other two because it is intended for more of a harsh light now if you would like to but three of them you feel free to I don't see the need and doing that I know many issues a light stand and just the the parabolic reflector that comes with the light when you for when you first by it so not necessary but you know by all means you could but you can run three lights off off one of these batteries. Okay, cool. And then jennifer is asking about setting up light lights in a church for a wedding. Are you lighting up the ceremony? In addition to that? And uh charlie has a follow up question some churches will allow you to bring in lighting and how do you get around that's? A great question because in the south I've been doing it for nine years now and it's so funny because every church that I show up there is this little like little nazi lady that will come up to me and give me all the rules that I can't do with this church and she's like are you the photographer I've got all my gear with me I'm like no man I'm actually here to teo do the cake you know yeah, I'm a photographer so she says, well, I just wanna let you know first of all I'm like let me guess there's no light during the ceremony it was like yes, you can't use any sort of lighting and our area during the ceremony it's just forbidden and I get it I understand if you get into that situation though you definitely want to go to your bride beforehand if it's a really dark church and you want to tell her you know hey, listen you know they tell me they don't allow lighting during the during the ceremony so I wanna let you know that I'm gonna push my camera to its absolute and I have to raise my s o, which means those images could be kind of grainy but you know it is that particular situation I can't do any more than what they will allow me to do so cover your rear end because she will expect beautiful images during her ceremony but you can't produce him because you are restricted, so make sure you communicate with your subject when things are out of your control. But I do bring them in the church immediately after the ceremony and that's when I raise him up and I'll light up from my alter pictures, they're gonna have good lighting time. Great advice, okay, let's, see photo, dude and art by anna are both wondering about the four room lights set up, and how do you want art by anna's wondering how to keep your life and people safe with the four lights during event? If you can kind of like the next year life to make sure people aren't tripping over them and also photo dude is wondering how you set your lights to different channels so they don't go off at the same time they're actually all firing at the same time. They are all firing at the same time, and the way I keep him safe is number one. You know you have to use a lot of common sense and I normally if you push it all the way over in the corner of a room, no one is going to be congregating in that little two and a half circle around the corner and you know, if you're going to put, don't put your life on a high traffic area where people going to be walking by them because when you get a thirteen feet in the air, it is kind of susceptible to moving a little bit, but if you reach a point where you're not really comfortable for you, some sandbags over and I'll give you a cheap system to some sandbags here, all right now don't judge, but I'm a make it work type of guy, okay? I went to the thrift store, this was probably three weeks ago I had to go shoot a sporting event and it's really, really windy I didn't home sandbags I thought was crazy my only gonna pay for a bag full of sand that's crazy. So what I did, I went through the first door on about four old book bags like duffel bags, book bags that I could put it on my shoulder, and I went to my construction site. I've got a bunch of bricks left over, and I feel them all help with bricks, and then I got my job and I just basically put that over each one of the lights, huh? You know, it's cheating, but again, I couldn't go and get sandbags that day, so I had to come up with something and that way, whenever I wanna kill him, I just pick him up. Put him on my back and off you go. And it's a good workout. How I maintain my girlish figure. No excuses. Make it work. Make it work. I like it. Alright, cool. How about one more question before I head to the right? All right. And this is answering questions with three different people. So it's a three for one and this is foreign nilsson, pro photographer and s a t one. Do you ever use umbrellas instead of the soft buck? I don't use umbrellas and I like I like the interior of this box because it is silver and I feel like with that it gives me a lot more strength. It gives me more power because everything that's going from here is almost radiated out of here and it gives me a little more power. So and umbrella I'm just not a real big fan off. I always, always, always use this because of the silver interior that's. Just my personal preference on again. I like taking that outer layer of diffusion off to get that little bit more power that I might need on those very sunny days.

Class Description

Are you ready to add a new, lucrative dimension to your photography business? Join award-winning photographer Blair Phillips for an introduction to everything you need to know about taking portraits for high school seniors.

In this three-day course, you’ll learn about how to market yourself to the high school audience, no matter where you live or who you know. Blair will discuss his signature techniques for effortless, versatile posing. You’ll also learn everything you need to know about both off-camera and natural lighting, including how to create foolproof lighting setups, even if you’re working without an assistant. Blair will also cover strategies for creating a productive workflow and working confidently in a wide variety of settings.

By the end of this course, you’ll have be equipped with the core marketing techniques and one-of-a-kind photography skills needed to connect with high school seniors, give them results they’ll love, and grow your business.


a Creativelive Student

Blair is great. This class is packed full of great info and is a genuine good hearted person.. Really like his approach with high school seniors. I recommend it.


Loved watching Blair Phillips. He has so much energy and is very entertaining to watch. He was extremely well prepared and did a fantastic job.