Senior Photography: Break the Mold


Senior Photography: Break the Mold


Lesson Info

Fill Flash and Q&A

What if you don't like that big open sky and you don't like all that scenery and you don't like shooting at a at an aperture of f eleven or or sixteen you don't like that your style is more subdued where I like shooting maura two point eight or five point six you know what what do you do there? This thing is no good for me no it's multi purposed we're going talk now feel flash when you're doing a session I don't want every single image to look like those with that big sky and the bright colors I don't want every single image a lot like that because then in an album everything looks the same I want that album to go I want to go all over the place because I want to sell variety that's what my brand is known for its variety and people know that so with a feel flash very simple you have to lower your power settings and this is how I do when I'm photographing with steel flash basically I turned the power as low as it will go all the way down one thirty second turn it all the way down as low...

as it will possibly go and what that allows is now I take a meter reading through my camera because let's face it you guys don't know by now I'm pretty wide open if I had a light meter that thing would be lost somewhere I'd get where I'm going I'm like all right, let's, go here. Uh uh where's that light meter oh, man, I left it on the back of that garbage truck back there somewhere. Can you run down there and get it? We'll just get it later that doesn't work for me. Nikon has put a perfectly good meter and sound my camera that I can use so why am I carrying one around? I'm not saying that it's wrong toe have won that they're awesome, but for me personally in my work flow I just work off of field so I turned it all the way down far as it'll go and then I meet her on the face and spot meter for my subject meter for their face sewn only right up underneath the eye a point I set my, uh my shutter speed norman to about two hundred fifty the second and then I doubt aperture to where it needs to go if I want to shoot it at five point six then I'll go down, down, down, down five six if that doesn't work it won't allow me to do that I just my s o accordingly only go way down so I can get there take a test shot look at it it's gonna look perfect she's in good natural light but what's going to be lacking is her eyes. Her eyes are going to be dark up underneath her eyes are going to be dark, you're gonna have to go back in and you're gonna have to fix that. And as the internet sensation said, ain't nobody got time for that. You have time for that. That could be valuable time you could be spending with your family. So by doing this, you turn this light on turn it all the way down here. All right, put it back toward yourself to remember four feet away, you're four feet away bam it's gonna put just enough just enough life in those eyes to really, really bring in the life and it's going to give you that speculum highlight going to separate you from the road photographer there's on ly using natural light that's all they're using now if you are in a specific, specifically natural life photographer, I'm not saying anything bad about you at all shot natural light forever and I still love natural light, but if you're going to shoot natural light, shoot it with a little bit of addison light sometimes to give you that spark in the eyes that you may or may not be missing, so think about that when you go out, don't fall short, don't get lazy, don't give up on it you know, you can take a great image of what we think is great and you can always improve on your images, right? I mean, there's several things I could do to this image that I can improve on that I could even point out to you, um, you know, and if you would like me to, I can, but you want me to improve it? This is what I do when I look at images that I was shot before I can immediately look at online oh, my gosh, don't show that people like why don't I do that? Why didn't I move? Why didn't I drop down just a little bit more to get rid of, to get rid of that that linus breaking through her arm and I've got her eyes turned a little bit too much in that image. I can always critique my own images and it doesn't hurt my feelings at all. That's why I love print judges, I'm like, can you look at this? I can take my best picture of everything, you know? I thought that I put in front of me like if you tear this guy a new one here and I don't get mad about it, I'm like thank you so much for opening my eyes to that because I've improved greatly on it and it's really easy to get sloppy former shooting for clients and that's it so I think it's important to enter those print competitions you know let your peers look at your work other photographers look at your work and given honest critique forums are good, you know don't don't be scared to put yourself out there because you're never going to get better if someone doesn't give you some critique you know that I know there's only one person is supposed to judge you but there you can make exceptions in certain ways now when I started using this off camera flash as a field flash which is what I'm talking about now when I went in these people's homes look at how you look at how alive her eyes are her eyes they're just they're awake and this is ten o'clock in the morning so this isn't the best lighting situation you see how the sun is completely burned out everything back there but I didn't want to try to overpower the sun because then everything in the background would go dark so it wasn't about the sky at this point it was about her and her lighting in her eyes when her mom sees his images our this image I can't say well yeah I had her in the shade in her eyes her mom, her mom's like what her eyes aren't black she has beautiful blue eyes like what what what happened here and I can make some lame excuse and say yeah you know shooting back in here you know it's really the only place I could go so I just you know, I did the best I could do you think that whenever out roll out on a session with this guy here with my lighting and everything loaded on it my clients were like man goodness did you are you got it going on you've got all this all this equipment and I'm like why you pay for the best that's what you're going to get so again building my brand I'm building my price justifying my prices and I'm building that sale as I'm going so they understand what they're getting themselves into another one here I put this girl in his dark piece of pipe here her eyes they're going to have no life at all nothing but here see that little tiny speculum highlight it is perfect that's that's an idea of under lighting of bringing the light from underneath they teach you that the speculum highlight is supposed to be on the upper part of the eye however in here I'm not shooting for a print judge I'm not going to put a girl in a pipe and she her print judge I'm shooting I'm shooting for britney this young girl's name is britney I'm shooting for her I'm shooting to build her an album with several different looks several different loves now for what I was talking about if you go out in the afternoon or in the evening and you've got that cityscape it's beautiful but looks like absolute poo on your camera because you can't expose both of them properly without lighting there's no way to do it this is what I do now I have to use my teeth for this dentist I hope he's not watching but only way to get this out of your teeth. All right, so take that loose and I drop it down this right here. It's funny story I was headed to a wedding one day and I'm broke my modeling lamp that goes in here I broke it and I said, well, obviously I can't get one by the time I get to my wedding so I stopped in lowe's home improvement and about one hundred white sylvania tungsten light bulb so this has gotta work is probably the same thing three bucks so screwed this guy in and then when I got the wedding late that night I said I want to use this as a continuous light so I dropped the diffuser diffusion panel down just like that right there and I turned on the modern lamp turned it all the way up and it's like having a beautiful tungsten light right there on it was perfect so when you want to use it is that these images here or shall I get a fare you know and if you're chinese of flash it's going to be impossible to get all those lights in the background as well so I shoot sixteen hundred s o and an enormous shoot at one sixteenth of a second for my shutter speed generally it's a two point eight and again I shoot that kelvin white balance and I dial the mic the white balance till whatever color temperature that I wanted to be whatever I wanted to be and by just that little bit of light right there it matches the equipped most of these balls are probably fifty seventy five hundred wants it's going to match the intensity and I can dial it down or dial it up to match whatever so it's almost like having a sum was like having a flashlight a diffuse flashlight on your subject because that like matches the light this behind him so the two were going to marry so you're basically shooting as natural light that makes sense and then when you need to switch to something else instead of taking the town to put all this back I've learned I could just flip this thing over this way and the diffusion panel falls right back down so in a hurry and blair phillips hurry mode flip it and you're good to go with wedding parties people say so you shoot all of your weddings with one light yeah, I couldn't imagine shooting one of my weddings without any lighting well how do you like such a large wedding party? I've seen your website you have all these large wedding parties how do you do that? Well I just turn it from here so here and it just widens out my spread and I like twenty people with this thing twenty people with one life so one like mama one light man brought this guy back over here so again kill them white balance and I'm able to pull in the lightness in the background I can go into hotel lobbies and I'm able to match the intensity of the light that's coming from behind and put it on her as it's essentially like having it's like having a lightbulb from a lamp think about at home if you want if it's dark in your living room you want take a picture of your child instead of turning the flash own and it looking like you know, looking terrible take the lamp shade off of your lamp and put it next to her just outside the camera frame and you're gonna have a nice soft light coming right in her right into his or her face so this is essentially exactly what I'm doing there and at those weddings that I'm shooting I can take them outside put him in front of cars and these bank buildings that I never would shoot in because I was like there's no way I'm gonna be ableto no way I'm going to make that work it's not going to happen I think now would be a great time to open up because I'm sure our online audience has a chance and here creative lives we always want to make sure that we take good care of our online viewers and give them the opportunity to ask a few questions and then we'll roll on we still have a little bit more to go on this program to him and I open it up for some more what we have there are a ton of weight we're talking about gear and you know give us more years tips we love it, we love it all right? So let's just start with the l r o two and how do you use it with a group of people? And that question is from sunny cam yes, I need a count of way kind of touched on that just a second ago but with a group of people if I'm photographing them this way I'm photographing basically we just turn it sideways like this and I still keep it off to the off to the side but it's not as drastically all to the side but I don't want to shoot right beside it because I don't want even lighting so I will push this off maybe four to five feet and just pointed back towards the center of my people and that way and I'm still going to get a nice little fall off but if you put it too far over, then that person on the far and is going to start to get a little bit dark so you want off camera but not too far off so you have a lot of fall off coming this way okay great question and anoop in dubai who is a regular viewer here it creative live is asking if the alien be supports high speed think they are think that they do with that new cyber commander some of them do it's weird some of them do some of them don't and that's a true story I've talked to alien be about that you can get one out of the box and it will support it you could get another out of the box and it won't support it. So to my knowledge that is a question I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I know they were working on it and I think with the with the new sixteen hundreds I think they will support the high speed thing but that would be more of a question related towards them, but I think they do okay and then let's talk about the battery pack of the vagabond tio what do you mean you said is the older version right but there is a new one coming out there's a new one that's already out on dh you could use that one in place of this one but again I need the weight I rely on the weight of that battery to keep the car you know counterbalanced so you can get the new one on dh you would have no problems with it you might just want to go teo sporting goods place and get like maybe a ten or fifteen pound weight and just slide right down inside the battery box and you'd be good to go like a macgyver you gotta be out of my car and make it work very cool all right so you have this battery pack in let's see jay's photos wanting with multiple sessions per day how do you keep it? The battery pack charge and then a follow up from team in and florida do you always use the lightbulb from lows as your continuous light source and does that drain your battery? Yeah don't use it a cz far as the lightbulb there's no reason to use that light bulb during the day the on ly time I use the modeling lamp is late at night almost when it's dark outside if I was going to do something then that's the only time that I would use it so throughout the day the only thing that is running is basically just a little cooling fan it's built into the light and it's pulling very, very little power I will shoot I can shoot a whole wedding and I can shoot probably two sessions after that on one charge of the battery that's what's so great about these in this system that I use is I can shoot all day and I'm not worried about changing out batteries it's basically a sous hield lead acid battery in there and it's virtually the size of a lawnmower battery so that thing is going to crank out some serious power all day long but in blair phillips photography fashion, I do have a backup should one breakdown I got another one with me, so we're going to keep on rolling good question there okay fantastic let's do another question on lighting and karen is wondering if you ever use polarizing filters or high density filters yeah don't use those you most certainly can you know that would darken your sky even maur if you wanted to but for me I've always kind of worked without the without the polarising filters just because sometimes that could affect my skin tone as well. So I normally don't I just have a regular uv filter and that's what I roll with and that seems to work really well for me I'm not tried any other ways just because what I'm what I am doing is I'm really compelled to it and really like it okay, cool and then you were talking about you shoot very, very tight and you get it straight in the camera you shoot it correctly and karen and cat squib are both wondering how do you get your white balance on your camera and that's a that's a great question master that well, this is a telephone I'm shooting I'm shooting with a flash and in my camera there are several different white balance modes some shooting with a flash so I set my camera flash that's it that's really quite that simple if you are setting yours too flash and you don't really like the color that you're getting, you can go into your custom menu go to your white balance menu select okay and I'll give you a grid system with all these little dots of color and you can go in and manually adjust the color to suit what you like so strata box years could be shooting a little cold or a little warm you can manually go into your camera and adjust your white balance from own flash you can adjust it to either warmer whateveryou want warmer cooler so you may have to tweak it just a little bit but I used a preset flash white balance that's what I use thank you another question coming up is from k richmond photography asking what is your lighting on rainy and cloudy days yeah, my lighting on rainy and cloudy days would be it depends on, you know, if it's really, really rainy, then obviously, you know, if it's a senior session, I'm goingto have to probably stick inside, but with the third segment we have today, you're gonna be in store. I'll show you what I used during my third segment. That will be a follow up to that question I want to give away quite yet, but I recently did a wedding thing. It was three saturdays ago. It was drizzling outside there's. A little drizzle going on. My bride knew that. Hey, if you're photographing with me, we're gonna go out and some drizzle because we're not going to shoot every single image right here in this house where you're getting married. It's not gonna happen. So with that being said, I would use it as a fill flash because it's really dark outside is gloomy, so I would use this light as just a feel flash. Just shoot natural light, but with just enough light toe punch in there to really brighten their skin tones make him look warmer. So it's not as cool looking on dh. What I have done in the past is take a big ziploc bag like a big freezer bag. And cut a hole in the back on the bottom of it. Shove it over the light, tighten it up, and then put my cord through it like our water doesn't get down in here. Accumulation of water probably isn't good electronics on dh that's what I would do that's that's the best answer that I could get for that and tastic. Alright, another gear question going back to that specific light you could you please reiterate what light average light bulb you got from lows? Yeah, yeah. For the continuous light. Very simple, it's. Just a one hundred watt household lightbulb. But make sure it's a tungsten color it's not one of those, you know, the cool versions or the you know, they got all sorts of different light bulbs. Just get a regular old school one hundred watt light bulb and it works absolutely perfect that way. If you're ever out and you break yours, you don't have to order one and wait for it to come in. Uh, you can just you can pop another one out of your car. You go grab one out of your client's lamp. If you have to. There will really be impressed with that I'm like man, this guy can just make anything work, but then tell him, you know, don't be trying don't don't try this at home now don't you try and do it because it's not gonna work the same which in theory it really could but we don't want them to know that right? Yeah all right doubtful ashley is winning if you go back and describe the different light she didn't catch the difference in the bulbs in relation to the power exactly the different types of lighting basically we can overpower the song where we're using this thing at pretty much full powers all the time we're gonna have to really crank some high powers to overpower that son and then we're gonna be able to pull the power way down and we'll use it as just a glorified field flash but that flash isn't going to matter on your kit on your camera and just kill all your images it's gonna be off camera and then we're gonna be able to use it as a continuous light when we turn the flash completely all we turn the modeling lamp own and that's going to act as like just basic like a flash light that you can hold diffused in front of your subject so we're using it in those three ways and then also amusing in conjunction with the next segment that will get into here in just a minute after we take maybe a couple more questions and I'll show you how amusing in conjunction with other lights as well okay cool. I really like this next question from ml photo and says I typically shoot early morning or evening I would love to be able to shoot all day long do you feel like using the light outdoors is going to make that style or my style look completely different I would hate for that my client's tio be like oh this looks so different and how do you get around that change you know, getting your clients used to that different look yeah you know it is going to have a different look I mean you're you're style can still be the same your look can be similar but if I take images early in the morning versus middle today and obviously you know there's going to be quite a difference there but you have to say to yourself teo is my style you know is it worth me changing a little bit you know give it a little bit of a different look throughout the middle of the day but I think if you keep your photo shop work the same I really think you can tie it all in the same so for me I think tom of my family is really, really important so if it mac and only shoot during the morning or only shoot in the evening I think may be a slight change of style you are not a change of style but incorporating a new style you know you can still keep your posing and your photo shop the same so I don't think it would be a drastic difference really you know and there again one thing to do would be to jump out there one saturday and give it a shot and bring him back and process in the same way that you normally do and just see what happens to a lot of times I've said it so many times that fear of wanting to rock the apple cart keeps us from trying something new that we may actually like more than what we're doing already so get out there and try and see what happens and then one last question before moving on some good ad from this one is from megan lee who says hello does blair ever use his lighting to capture and freeze motion and if so how do you do that? Yeah well with what I shoot my my camera two hundred fifty two the second is the fastest sink speed that I can get unless I wanted to use you know some sort of a high high speed sync which personally on high speed think I'm not I just don't really use it I don't have a need to capture motion like that a t least at this point in my photography I don't there are systems out there that allow you to do that but for me I like being in complete control and a lot of those systems. And I would that I found they rely on teo, and I don't like my camera being in charge of whatever stop I use and what shutter speed I use. I like to be in control. So I think justin shooting seniors and weddings and children, you know, normally two hundred fifty. The second is it's, plenty sufficient, but it can be done. And if that's something that you're interested in, I would definitely encourage you to research it and get out there and try it.

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.