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Location Shoot: The Walk Plus Variations

Lesson 30 from: Editorial Portrait Photography for High School Seniors

Dan Brouillette

Location Shoot: The Walk Plus Variations

Lesson 30 from: Editorial Portrait Photography for High School Seniors

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

30. Location Shoot: The Walk Plus Variations


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


How to Make Senior Photos Stand Out


What is Lighting in Layers?


Build a Lighting Foundation


Layer One: Main Light


Layer Two: Fill Light


Layer Three: Accent Light


Layer Four: Additional Light


Lesson Info

Location Shoot: The Walk Plus Variations

On to the next video. This is more of the walking. I know we did it earlier in studio with our model Maggie, had her walk across the set. When you're outdoors it's the same idea. For Maggie earlier in the studio, we did put a piece of tape on the ground and that was her point. You'll see how we handled that outdoors when I don't have tape or it's not the same general idea but you'll see how we handled that and we also lit this outside so it's kind of a combination of that direction with walking and making a flattering photo, mixed with outdoor lighting. So, and some of the elements, it got a little windy so we can watch how that works out. We've moved, it's gotten quite a bit windier and colder but we've moved out near the water and we found this really cool path. A lot of times I like to shoot using perspective and things like that so one of the things I'm gonna do is we're gonna, we set up our light over here. It's a little windy but we have the Profoto umbrella set up, the silver on...

e. It's pretty far away because I wanna have a wider span. One of the things I like to do is combine movement with lighting but the tricky part is the lighting is in a specific area and the movement can happen anywhere. So what we've done is Anne and I, we've picked a spot on the trail that we know compositionally will look good in the frame, we then set up our light way out in the distance so that way we can have a wide shot and not have to edit out the light later. The trick is figuring out where the sweet spot of the light's hitting and her knowing where to pose or where to hit her marks. So what we've done is we've put a rock down and that way when she's walking along the path we can still get that natural movement that looks authentic and real, but I'll know to take the photo when she gets to that rock. And along the lines of taking a photo that's flattering, a lot of the times when someone's walking if you ever Google New York Fashion Week photos or anything like that, almost every photo is of a model at the same point. It's when their front foot is flat on the ground and their back heel is up, it's just kind of the most flattering spot in any walk so that's what I'm gonna have you do. So as you're walking I'm gonna have you pretend, another thing that's flattering is I'm gonna have you pretend that you're walking almost on a balance beam so that your steps are one in front of the other. It's just more flattering that way and when you're walking when you get to this point, I'm gonna have you make sure that your left foot lands on that rock because for you that means you have a goal and for me that lets me know that when her left foot hits that rock it's a flattering part of her walk. It's also where the light is going to be hitting her in the sweet spot so we have that whole combination going on where we can just do that over and over. Because the light is out by the water, I'm gonna have you look towards the water so as you're walking you can be looking at me and then when you hit this spot just kind of glance over off in the distance. And we'll do that a few times with the 50 millimeter and then we're gonna switch lenses and do it from further away. We're also having her look that way because, as you can tell it's pretty windy. The wind is gonna be going in her face that way and her hair will be blowing backwards, not into her face. So I'll grab your jacket real quick. We'll do this for like a minute then we'll give you your jacket back. Just move this hair back, yup. So you can start, if you even wanna time it backwards and start right here and just walk backwards a few steps that way you know that when you're walking your left foot'll land back on that rock. Alright? Okay. I'll give your coat over here. We'll shoot a couple from close up so I'll be right here. I'm gonna try and get a little higher, yup, so we can frame it up. Alright so you can start walkin' and I'm gonna shoot when she hits that rock. Right there, yup, so just keep doin' it again. We'll just do this one a couple times. Alright, ready, go again. I'm just gonna hit when your foot's on that rock. Yup, one more time. And I'm actually gonna have you switch it so your other foot's landing on the rock this time. Just because I'm over on this side so we wanna get the front leg extended. Alright, there you go. Yup, same thing only lookin' out that way the whole time. So just kinda time it backwards one. So start with your, yup. Now one, two, three, that's good. Perfect, now whenever you're ready. Perfect, alright, so we have that. You can put your coat on for a second. I'm gonna move and switch lenses and we're gonna go way back. I'm gonna go from a 50 to a 7200, stand up on one of these benches to totally change the perspective of the shot. So when we scouted out this area we looked for something to stand on, that's where this bench comes in. I'm gonna take one test shot, if you wanna go back to that rock. Just stand there and look out that way, perfect. And we'll do one test shot so I can frame it up. Alright, great. We're gonna get her jacket and then I'm gonna start shooting. So we'll do a couple walking and then a couple stand, actually we'll do a couple standing so turn your body this way a little bit, wait on your right foot and then lookin' out towards the water a little bit. Right there, that's perfect. One, chin up a little bit. One, two, three. One, two. Eyes right here. Couple more just like that. One, two. One, two, three. One more lookin' out that way. One. One, two. Alright, now we'll do the walk. We'll just do like four of 'em then we'll be good. Yup, there you go. So she's walkin' on the path, just look out towards the water. Perfect, we'll do two more of those. And it doesn't matter what foot 'cause you're comin' straight on to me so I'll probably take two. Alright, one more time. And I just switched to shooting vertical so we can get something a little bit different. Awesome! Alright, that's great. Alright, so you got a little better idea there of combining a mix of using the light outdoors in a little more challenging environment, along with giving a little more direction. And here's one of the resulting edited images from that shoot. So she's lookin' out towards the water into the light, her foot's landing on the rock in the flattering spot that we wanted. The wind's not blowing her hair in her face, it kind of all came together and again, I probably took 30 shots from this and I think two of them are what I actually wanted. So you have to do things over and over just to get the results and another thing that you probably saw, the umbrella in this set up, it was blowing like crazy. We had someone on set holding it along with sandbags and the umbrella did go for a ride once so you have to be aware. If I were to do it again I'd probably use the beauty dish out there just to use something that has a little more structure to it, a little more weight, but I wanted that even spread of light so that's why we did choose the umbrella. This is just one of the shots. You know I did some that were closer up but from a compositional standpoint when I frame the shot up, I wanted to get just the edge of all, the very top of the frame you know, the far coastline over there, the trees, I wanted the trail to kind of come in from that top third and take your eye all the way down out the bottom of the frame but not be cut off too early. Or if you're starting at the bottom, I wanted the trail to lead right up to her. And I always tell people, I want the brightest part of an image or at least the center of interest to be the person's face which is one reason why I meter on their forehead to get the exposure properly. But for here it also, if you ever squint and look at a photo your eye generally tends to go to the brightest point and I want your eye to go to that person so I wanted her face and everything to kind of be the center of interest both compositionally and as far as brightness goes. So this was, I was happy with this shot, we toned all the colors and everything down since it was an overcast day, in color toning, and we'll get into that later. I was just wondering about the lighting ratios that we talked about yesterday and it seems like most of these situations in the park were one-to-one lighting ratios. Would you use any of the other ones outside? Yeah, so how lighting ratios work outside is you always have fill light outside, it's your ambient light. So the lighting ratios, a one-to-one lighting ratio would almost be where the light you're adding from you strobe is at the exact same aperture as the light that's ambient. So it results in more flat light as a one-to-one lighting ratio is. If you want, this is probably more like a four-to-one lighting ratio and what you do there is you would measure the ambient light that's happening, let's say it was at F four alright. If you didn't have a strobe, if you were just measuring ambient light, it was at F four. If you wanted your strobe to have a four-to-one lighting ratio your strobe would need to be two stops above the ambient because the ambient is causing the fill on this side of her face over here where your strobe's the main light, so that's the first part of your lighting ratio, so if you wanted four times the light hitting her on this side you would need two stops brighter in your lighting ratio. Or if you wanted, again, one-to-one, let's say that the ambient light was at F four, you would meter for your light to hit F four so that way it'd all be the same and she'd be nice, evenly lit, does that make sense? A little bit (laughs)? Okay, yeah, it's all about just comparing the light that's hitting the side where your light is hitting, versus the side where the shadow is. And you know, one-to-one means they're both at the same where you always have fill light outside because there's always some sort of ambient light unless you're shooting at night in which case you'll need more light or you're just gonna accept that shadow or move your light more frontal but for something like this, just looking at it, you can see that there's definitely more shadow on the left side so this is somewhere between a two-to-one and four-to-one ratio. Just by lookin' at it because I know it's not evenly lit. And we can talk more about that later too. So for the soccer shot that you showed yesterday, is it similar set up as this? Yeah the soccer shot was, the main difference with the soccer shot because it was shot outside from, she was very small in the frame, the light was far way, the only difference is that was at night so any strobe that I was using was definitely gonna be visible in the shot. This, there was so much ambient light hitting the grass in front of her, my strobe's not really doing much. But that, since it was at night and the sun was already down, I didn't want the strobe to light up the ground in front so I put a grid on it and controlled the light more. But other than that, very similar set up.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Lighting Gear List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lighting Terms Guide

Ratings and Reviews

pete hopkins

awesome teacher and awesome technique. after soooo many webinars, it's really great to see someone break it down to the bare bones of lighting with exceptional quality results. i can listen to Dan all day. no pretense, no over the top emotional pleas, no drama! did i say awesome!!!! Plus, I'm a huge fan of the B! and B2 systems. Freedom is key. Now I can shoot anywhere, anytime. Thanks Dan.


This is by far the best class on senior photography I have found on creativelive. Dan explains the technical aspects in an easy to understand format. He does a great job going through studio shots, outdoor shots, editing and marketing. He's given me some great ideas and inspired me to be more creative. I am going to rewatch the lighting set up for the "hero shot". It's super cool!

Tristanne Endrina

Dan was great. His class was very comprehensive but easy to follow. The slides he used weren't flashy. Instead, they were simple and he went at a good pace. I left feeling like I could really pull off the lighting techniques he taught. I'm excited to put what I learned into my photography. :) Thanks, Dan.

Student Work