One Light Demo and Q&A


Senior Photography: Break the Mold


Lesson Info

One Light Demo and Q&A

And we were I think I hit the jackpot for sure whenever asked for someone to photograph here, absolutely hit the jackpot. I don't know. They sent out something and said, okay, I want, like, the most beautiful girl in all seattle and the phone ringing and she's here, so it's absolutely perfect. I'm goingto show you some general functions of lighting here and matter of fact, if you give me just one second, I'm gonna cut some of these lights off. We'll just use this one light and we'll see what we can come up with and I'll show you how easy it is. So if you don't mind let's, have our lovely model come over. And what was your name again? Kendra. Kendra. Very nice to meet you. See, I don't know kendra well enough to go in for the whole get bacall fortified lower itself because she's like oh, excuse me. Whoa! I started to wear heels today as well, but I knew there would be allowed on this floor. Not those kind of heels, but like boots with heels. It's getting weird already. You with me a goo...

d deal. The good thing is and this is just how I communicate with my clients, too I'm not afraid to be goofy or whatever. I'll communicate with her the same way I would a regular client, and I will explain her everything we're going to do today really laid back, you know, it's, no big deal, I'll show you every thing to do all basically mimic what I want you to do and show you do this, this isn't you can't laugh at me. They wanted to look like a girl, no promises, though, right? No promises, so I'll show her how to pose. I'll show you what to do, make it really easy, and you just stand there and look pretty, and you've already you've already got the looking pretty part down now, you just gotta work on standing there, so why don't we jump in here? And I'll talk before we get started let's talk about my settings on my camera settings on my camera and studio, I shoot the nikon d for and with a d for in the studio, enormous shoot two hundred s, so I could shoot at, you know, one hundred or fifty, but I found that for me, no one wants to see themselves in high definition. Most people don't. So the two hundred eso is perfect for me, I'm normally shoot a shutter, speed and studio some around, like one hundred sixty, two hundred. And in studio, I generally try to stay around five point six does my after somewhere around in there because I want my subject to be brought forward off of the background, so you know, now that does change depending upon the sets and things like that, but as a rule of thumb, generally five point six, two hundred of a second, now the way that I set my lights up is very, very uncharacteristic of what a lot of people do. I don't necessarily use a light meter because early on I could not afford a light meter, so therefore I never bought a light meter, but I had the visual aspect of my camera back, and I've learned through calibrating that what I see on my camera is what I get in person, so I will take an image look at it, it's not the way I need it with those camera settings, I'm just very simply adjust, alighting either down or all I'm gonna bring you right up here, if you will, I'm going to stand you right back behind stand right here and be really pretty for a second, and I'm gonna turn some of these lights off everybody hold tight for me and it's, so weird for me working without music because everything I do always have music, this is one of those moments where music would be really, really handy because she and I we don't know each other so the music would kind of break up the awkward silence a little bit type of thing you know, even she says yeah little bit a little bit all right, so this one light here I'll show you how to pose let's just tio let's have her sit down. What do you think, it's ever sit here, put the camera down for a second and I want you to do is just sit on this awesome chair. This thing definitely has some nostalgic value here. I think that I sat on one of these when I was a kid and my grandparent's house, no doubt, but again, it's improvising this is what we had and we said, you know, we're going to make it work. I want you to sit here right on the edge and then just take your arms lean down a little bit like this and just kind of turn your face this way it's very, very simple always start my clients off for something super, super simple, something that's easy for them to do. I don't want to go for the gusto and do something really, really tough to start off with, so with that being said and I'll look at her and if she doesn't feel comfortable enough for look comfortable enough I'll go in and relax her even more so with that being said, put your knees together and now I want you just to put all your weight here and here just just let it all go and then turn your face towards this light right here and let's, just see if we can reproduce that type of lighting that we had before. The key to this is pointing her nose mohr towards the light, obviously little head tio, turn a little more right there, she's going to turn her eyes back towards me and then they go. And what? This one? I want a serious look, this is supposed to evoke a little a little bit of emotion here, so let's see what happens let's, just take a little shot here and we'll adjust from there. So we take a shot and we're gonna adjust from there. And just to say it takes just a second for these two come up on our monitors here, so and we'll keep working on that in just one second. That's the thing, obviously, we're doing live, you know, it's kind of tough sometimes with making sure that all this equipment works just right, but these guys have an awesome staff here that's ah, keep things going one thing that's really, really important if you're looking at your subject you want to make sure that when you turn their head that their eyes there's a little bit of the white still left in their eyes over here you don't want to see nothing but color so always maintain a little bit of white around all of the eyes here if you can if you can try if you can try s so again we can kind of talk through some of these functions again as well so the biggest thing is if I'm photographing from there I want to turn her head towards the white because the more I turn it this way the more dark this side's gonna be obviously so I turned it toward the light and you can physically kind of see that over here is obviously going to go dark so you turn your face towards the light a little bit and then have her turned her eyes towards me and then we get the shot right here if it's not if it's not bright enough don't change your camera settings because you've got your camera where you want it what would you do if it's not bright enough? You just go over, adjust your lighting just a little bit, turn it up, give it a little bit more power see if we're getting a little bit closer here let's try it again here let's see what happens to your face a little bit chin down just to shave their darling there you go beautiful just like that right there one, two, three let's see what we've got here everybody hold tight nobody's going anywhere we're still working on it just a little bit and you'll get a nice burgundy swab that's going to come right down the middle here and that's something that you know that's her fault that's not mine that's the models of all that is not on me, man learned that's our deal, but again. Okay, there you go. Tilt your head a little bit this way. There you go, darling. Perfect and porter right in there and it should work this time the suspense is killing me, right, it's all good. Like I said, this is exactly sometimes what we can go through as a photographer even were in an event like right now I'm teaching a lot event and and this is happening and this isn't cool, but when you're dealing with so much technology that's why you need to have a backup plan. So if my camera wasn't working and I was on the location, I would simply go get my although one out of my bag and I wouldn't freak out about it so bear with us here is we work on this a few things you need to think about if she doesn't have her face turn your faces away if he has her face turned way over this way then obviously there is no light going to get to this side of the face so that's what I was saying was really important pretend like there's an arrow sticking out of her forehead and you never want that arrow looking straight into your camera you always want that little arrow point it away from your camera one way or another but in this case we want that arrow pointed more toward is light let's take us a little test shot here old time I should probably focus on your face let's try this again have a seat I think we got it up and working now your face is a bit more right in their eyes or hear perfect getting the hands and everything involved there and it should pop up and it's going crazy again I bet all the cannon shooters they're saying yeah well if you had a can and that wouldn't be happening but way see even you guys are like yeah you're right you're exactly right hey stuff happens though, and I like the fact I like the fact that this is real world and that's what's so good about creative live is you have to just roll with it you know and this is I'm an instructor we've got a production crew in here an audience all you guys you know, like man, you really have to deal with that type of stuff is well and absolutely way all have to deal with israel lives real life situations work on one more time here because this is absolutely imperative that this work but I would like for it to test shot here see what happens wait for it kind of weird with that camera being right in my face this is that moment where music like us that would be really, really good. Alright hey blair what we're waiting for that teo sync up and we get that troubleshooting how about a couple quick questions really sunk? Alright, cool uh people are wondering if you normally shoot tethered in your studio and how soon can your client see their phone for this reason here I never shoot heather I don't shoot tethered it's just something that for me in my studio with my volume that I do I just don't find it to be very relative I don't find it toe add any value so I should everything to the card. And then we added and our order appointments are generally about a week after we shoot the images because I feel like if if the clients see the images right away then I feel like it kind of leaves them not a lot to look forward to and it's almost like bubble gum they chew it and all they go and, you know, it's kind of like old news at that point. This one is from marianne and says, I am truly captivated by this workshop. Much of what you're sharing is where photographers with staff in studio I'm a home based studio and I am solo. I do the shoots, the editing and the marketing, in your opinion what you know, should I focus on just one area currently, I should shoot football dance seniors, children knew where that, like the whole thing were so low solo artist just getting started. How you know, do you narrow that focus down? Yeah, it's like she's, the preacher on the choir. We're talking to one another. I'm not in your boat. I get it. Like I said earlier, just keep shooting. You know, when I first started and even now I didn't choose one particular area to go into because think about it this way. This is a great analogy. What if what if photography wass just say senior tired? What if senior photography was like the construction industry back in two thousand seven and I put all my eggs in the construction basket? And then construction completely went away because our economy tanked no one was building anymore, so a lot of these large corporations that were builders, they all dried up and they had to go work elsewhere, so I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea to diversify yourself on photograph a little bit of everything I mean force yourself to do things that you're not really comfortable with and getting yourself in there. You'll say this was not for me or anything I could work that out so diversified put your eggs in different baskets and that way you don't end up with a bunch of no good eggs, I guess we're gonna toss it up on the law, their deal with the audience question on the reflector I've noticed her silver gold or whatever yes, warm tone, whatever what do you do? What boom yeah, what I prefer in the studio, he asked for my reflector I really, really rely on a nice hot silver if I'm photographing like in here, I can get I can get enough light all myself with just this one silver reflector to create a pretty decent image there's enough light in here to do that, but if it's really bright and we're outside, you take this thing and put it up to somebody's eyes and it will burn the retinas out of their eyes so I like this one. I like the silver because when it's really dim outside this gives me a nice kick of light and on those days when it's really really bright outside I used the white and that gives me just a nice little bit of illumination in the eye so I do have a gold one but to be quite honest with you randy I never ever use it I just I never use it so you know there's gonna have but I never use it. So your question yeah. Um I know that he used the lighting to create a mood, but I think the hardest thing for me to get the emotions, especially when you're a heck up like this how you're going to get them to model the kind of yeah that's a great question teo I mentioned earlier you have to get people into a psychology you know you have to give them if I just tell her I want you to stand here and look to the side and just be serious. I may look to the side and you like this right here. But if I tell her I want you to look over there and I want you to pretend like you see a girl that just stole your boyfriend and you see her for the first time that's what I want you to do and she'll immediately go from you have to give your clients of psychology to get into and given them ah persona is definitely way to go so you know if I tell a girl toe I want you look at me and give me serious and she goes and I say no no no I want you look over there and say I will cut you and she'll go so she can get into that that train of thought there and we'll see what happens so wear ready for you start seeing another shot and see what happens thank you for being patient with us, sweetie. All right. Good deal and rule of thumb my main light is normally four feet away four feet or so away from my subject because the farther I back it up, the weaker it gets and the more harsh it gets which sounds crazy but I'm picking this up really, really gently here now to hear face bag tours like she's like okay, I got it by now goodness tilt your head a little bit, turn it right there, eh? So here lips together one, two, three let's see what happens here lush you see? Look, it looks like it's gonna work all right now she's got she's a little dark up underneath her nose look let's, fix this turn your face a little bit till teo chin up a little right there. I'm going to go from here. Same thing here. One, two, three just like that, I would do a close up. One, two, three. Let's, look at this one. Now I want you to turn your face all the way and just looked like, right down to here nice and serious here, chin down face towards me just a little bit. They go look back down there towards the ground and this is what I was talking about. One light. Now we're trying to create that emotion take just a second for the pop up here and I'll do a little dance in the mean time and it's gonna happen right now. Just a minute or two. I'm definitely not a good singer, so you guys are gonna be in trouble if I have to sing, but you gotta roll with the punches, so not right now. Definitely. People are wondering if you could go through your gear set up there wondering what lens, your camera, all your settings from the get go. I can't and I've got another. It'll be redundant because I've got another section where we'll go through all that stuff is well, but I use a seventeen to twenty four formal what angle? And that is a nikon two point eight I use a twenty four to seventy as a primary then that's two point eight is well he's just seventy two, two hundred and I have an eighty five one point four that I use for details and headshots things like that I do use a nikon d for I'm a nikon god just because the first camera that I had waas a fuji and it's a nikon mount so therefore all my lenses fit and that's what I stuck with um I do have to say that I was probably a bigger fan of the nikon d three than the defore don't know why, but that was just straight out of the box I love the color that I gotta have to tweak this one just a little bit to get where I wanted but now it's a phenomenal camera tamarack I used tamarack bags to get everything to and from never never ever ever let me down and westcott I'm a huge proponent of westcott lighting westcott is a locally owned company and they they're staying here in the states and at every workshop that I've ever been to every they're always there they have a presence and their support, our industry and I can't really say that about a lot of a lot of other people um again, as far as outdoor lighting we're going to get in tomorrow that's probably going to be that would probably be one of the biggest segments here is outdoor lighting just how easy it is and the visual backups on behalf of everybody you're goingto love the outdoor lighting we'll get into gear for that in a little while but I'm a nikon guy, so if your cannon person we don't hate on you guys like you hate on us nikon people uh but we like everybody, so if you shoot cannon, you do great work if you shoot nikon is great as well also we'll want to also let you know player that our producer ryan said that you could put together a gear list for our audience. So wait, we're going to include a gear lists of all of blair's gear and a pdf format for those of you who purchased this course, so if you didn't write down all that information fast enough, it will be a resource with the purchase. In reality you and I know where everything just letting you know we're giving you extra homework tonight. That's no problem, no problem, no problem. Okay, very, very cool to people and a couple more coming in right now there wondering about positioning, the reflectors that you worked with. How do you know how to actually position the reflectors? A great question, and I'll tell you what, we can use this as a visual here perfect or actually, you know what let's let's use the cameras a visual let's just say we'll do something different here hold that don't you push any buttons? All right? Seriously, we don't need any more things going on in here. I'm just getting all right how do you know when you when this is position in the right place whenever you position this if I'm working with a client like right here you can see it in camera you see where it gets bright? Are you seeing that you see where he gets bribing the linens? All right, well, if I'm working with a client my client is standing right here. I will position it so the light is on then and let me tighten it up a little bit. This is the easiest way I found a no one. You're reflectors in the right spot, you positioned where do you think that's right? Your subjects is standing here. You tell your subject to stand to the side a little bit they moved to here you stand right here. If you can see the reflection of your life source in there, then you know, obviously it is going to hit their face. So stand where your subject is moving around a little bit back and forth look into the reflector if you can't see a reflection moving around a little bit until you do and when you do, you'll know that it's in the right spot so hopefully that helps out a little bit that's perfectly explain thank you for the show and tell in demonstration but we're such visual people on it's so nice to see it actually like visually explained to it yeah hey that's one of the times in life I can say hey cut me a little slack here give me a little slack here let's stroll thank you she's holding this for me turn your face towards the light a little bit more let's see what happens here? These guys are geniuses around here and how they keep up with everything that they do is just beyond me so I think we're working so let's go back to this one really quick and then we'll move on we'll move on we'll finally make this work okay looking all look down towards the camera or down towards the that would be called the floor actually down towards the floor she's looking kind of at the base of the light here and nice and seriously your lips touch together this is something to it people don't know what to do with their mouth and you want them to have natural looking lips I'll tell her take a deep breath let it all out and then later lips touch together bam you've got it just like that right there and hold it see where we are here that's going to give us our mohr emotional time look light is coming in from the far side, coming into her let's. Do one more with your chin down even more. She's. Not even more, just like that to a little close up action here and see. Hold it just like that, and we'll see where that isthe so that's. What? All right, that is, actually that looks like a pan. Oh, in a in a book like a design that we've done, so things happen, but you get the gist of that. You can do something, you can do amazing things with that one light.

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.