Portrait Couture


Inside The Glamour Studio


Lesson Info

Portrait Couture

Day two today is we're going to go to the next level in our Portrait Couture. So, as I started to develop the portrait side of what I do, I decided that I wanted to keep going a little bit more into the fashion side of it. Well, fashion being the old style of fashion, what I was talking about yesterday, not so much the avant-garde style of fashion. So, what I do when you look at my website and you see the images of the beautiful big dresses that I make. And today, this morning, we're going to show you four different scenarios of how we take it a little bit further than that classic portraiture, and a little bit more into Portrait Couture. So, because it worked yesterday, creating your opposing manual, opposing flow yesterday, I just showed you the flow of all of the box, the floor, up on to the box. Sorry, the wall, the floor, the box, the floor, the ottoman, on the ottoman, in front of the ottoman, back, free-styling. Free-styling is what I call when they don't have a box to sit on, o...

r a wall to lean on. It's when they're out there on their own, which is actually the hardest thing to do for a non-poser, is to try and pose free standing. If they've got a box to lean on, it's quite easy for them to find the body position, very hard for non-posing people to find a good pose when they're out there on their own. So, today what we've done, is we've created four Portrait Couture looks with two girls. The first one is a vintage corset that I found for twenty dollars, and I made a tulle skirt that cost me around fourteen dollars. I hand-sewed it, so really, I'm not a dress maker, I just grabbed the tulle, and it came, sort of the right length that I was going for her body, well, for anybody, and then I just got a set of pins, and then I just gathered it up, nice big gathers, and then I just hand-stitched along the top. Then I hand-stitched a ribbon along the top, and it's like a wrap-around skirt. I decided I wanted to make it so it fitted any body type. And I have these props in my studio. Now, you don't have to go out and make a whole lot of tulle skirts. This afternoon, I'll teach you how to educate your client so that they go and shop or create a special outfit. I always say, the more you educate your client, and the more you create the desire to have these beautiful shots, the more committed they are to the shoot. Because they spend the money on the clothes, and they spend the money on the outfit going into the shoot. Some of the best shoots I've done in Sydney, are people who've hired outfits. And one of my clients about two years ago, she took me to a hire place, she said, "Would you come with me?" and I said, "Sure." And she actually hired beautiful corsets and vintage corsets, and a big ostrich gown that I probably couldn't have made 'cause ostrich feathers are very expensive, and they're still my favorite shots there through my folio. So, yesterday, I created that flow pose, over one hour, in a hundred poses, but this morning I have two hours to do four full fashion couture shoots and I'm gonna shoot them as fast as I can again, so I can do two things. One is show you the flow of how to do something more fashion couture. And two, is so I can create a fashion style manual for you, like I did the flow manual for you yesterday. So, a manual that you can download on PDF. So, for me, I call this Glam the Dress, and I started out calling it Portrait Couture. I thought Portrait Couture was a really good way to describe that it was portrait photography, but it was a little bit more designer portrait photography and I realized that it was in the way that you deliver that to your clients is how they understand that this is actually more of a theme shoot than a portrait shoot. And you have to make it very, very clear that if somebody's coming to you for a portrait shoot and you start introducing that you're doing Portrait Couture that they know what the difference is. So you maybe either have to price it different, or educate it differently. So, this afternoon, I've got a really good power business marketing few ideas for you. I've got about ten ideas that you can create more business from Portrait Couture and Glam the Dress. So, I'll hit you with that this afternoon. So today, I just want you to learn how to shoot it as beautifully as you can so that you can market it as beautifully as you can, okay? So, right now, what I did was, this is Kasey. Kasey came to me, this is her wedding dress, that was not her wedding veil, and that was not the flower she wore on her hair. But she loved her wedding dress and she got married on a beach in a beautiful tropical island and she said, "I wanna do some glamour stuff "with my wedding dress." So we took Kasey, and we've got her in the studio and we grabbed this tulle, and we just bunched it all up and stuck it on her head. And she loved it, we loved it, and we started to photograph her like it. So this is a shoot specifically for a Glam the Dress. So, instead of Trash the Dress, or Rock the Frock, I thought, "This is more like Glam the Dress." How many of you have databases of brides that spent thousands of dollars on their wedding dress and they got beautiful wedding photographs, I'm quite sure, but they can now do a full fashion style glamour shoot with their wedding dress. Also, that is on my marketing afternoon. I've put Glam the Dress, I've put bachelorette party, I've put all of that in there for you to show you how to market it and how to tease it to your clients, how to educate them and how to get them to come back and do that. There are not many women that don't wanna get back into their wedding dress. Trust me on that. And it's a really great way for them to have beautiful shots, wearing the dress that they spent a lot of time picking. They love it, they've spent a lot of money on it, and they only wore it for a day. I loved every part of this shoot, so I wanna show you how I did it. Basically, we've got two reflector boards sitting up at the back painted blue. This is in Kasey's upstairs studio in her house, in her upstairs lounge. And the two polistain backgrounds are painted gray, and I put them together as a long backdrop 'cause I needed a little bit of room. I knew I couldn't do it on a single backdrop, but it's just two poliboards, and of course, a chimp hand, 'cause a chimp hand seems to come into every photograph. I've got Jamie assisting me on the left, and Simona assisting me on the right. They've both got her skirt, and they are just throwing it in the air. Now, if you have a bride that had a very fitted dress, you aren't gonna be able to do a lot of skirt throwing, lot of fabric throwing, but you can keep white tulle, is only four dollars for a big long meter, or a bolt is about twelve dollars, you can keep tulle and add it to their dress. You can have them hold it, throw it, use it in their hair, really, you can do anything with it. Fairy tulle, bridal fairy tulle is very malleable, okay? So you can screw it up in a ball and it stays there. You can twist it, you can pin it, and just play with it. So, Tiff and I will show you, really quickly, how to play with tulle and make tulle like that. And what the girls were doing is I would sit the pose, so I'm gonna show you how to do this, but I'm going to just shoot as many of those poses as I can. What I would do is, I would sit the pose, like you said, there's not a lot of movement in my moving shots. It looks like she's doing the supermodel thing, but the truth is, I would say, "Hand to here, "work the shoulder, work the chin, "work the hand, bring your chin around to me, "stay still, relax your mouth." And I would get her in a moving-type pose and then the girls would throw her frock. And so it would just take off, like that, and I would shoot it as it went up into the air, and I would shoot it as it was coming down, and then the shots were coming out of my camera like this, okay? So, as soon as I would work the hand, work the pose, work the expression, work the knee, and I would get it all ready, and she would already be in a full state of pose before we threw the frock, okay? Then we would throw it, and we would throw it again. So, we did about, I think, 12 throws, and we got six incredible shots from 12 throws. It took under four minutes to capture this sequence. And I actually have it on video but I wanted to slow it down so I could show you the movement of it, okay? So, she is dead still, we've got a little bit of movement in the dress. I'll put it up on the PDF. When I do that, I'll put the minute data on her so you can see. But I think I was shooting it around 2.8 focus on the eye, 'cause she's not moving, so I can get that shallow depth of field and I can get that movement, and, of course, my shutter speed was based on how much light was bouncing into the room. I would then change the pose, and the girls would rethrow the dress. And we decided we had different throws. The front layer, we'd throw forward, and the back layer, we'd throw up, so the girls were throwing like that. Twelve throws, six incredible shots. So then what we did was, we would let it fall down, and I would take two images as it fell. So, when it first threw, I would go click, click, and I would just get two, but every single time, I nailed that sharpness on her face 'cause she never moved once. And yet it looks like she's under water, it looks like she's dancing, and there really was no other secret to it than the girls are throwing her fabric around her. I would get her knee up like this and prepare her knee and I would get her hands ready, I would work her shoulder, and then I would make her work her body even further, so it really looked like she was jumping and it really looked like she was taking off. In terms of it being Portrait Couture or Glam the Frock, or Glam the Dress, to me, I just felt like, when I posted this on Facebook, everybody went nuts over them. And it was so simply done. I can't even tell you how simple that is. Well, I'm gonna show you how simple that is. But to me, even for a bridal dress, if you are interviewing your bride well, and you're talking about your bridal day, for the wedding photographers, you can still knock out one of these on location if you have two assistants or if you have an assistant and a bridesmaid that can help you, you can throw four minutes. Four minutes and I got that whole sequence. And I just thought the girls went absolutely crazy over it. To me, I think it ties in two things. She looks beautiful, it's her wedding dress, the movement, everything. But to me, it looks like she's doing all of it, okay? I just feel like she's spinning, jumping, dancing, and it's so static, it's such a set up shot, and it looks so incredibly candid. So, the more candid I can make you try and create images, I think the better they are. Then, I got her up onto one foot, 'cause I want her to look like she's jumping. She was actually leaning against the wall so that she could stay on one foot while the girls threw her dress here. And the shots that were just coming out were just like this every single time. Okay, so really basic, really beautiful. Lots of flow, nice and sharp, focus to the eye. The focus has to be on three things: chin, shoulder, hands, hourglass, body language, did I say three things? Connection, asymmetry, and if I could nail that before I threw the frock, the rest was just capture. Okay, so I could see her coming into her pose there. You can see her there, she's already there. The knee's up, the shoulder's working, the chin's working forward, absolutely incredible. Right, from here, I took some static images. Just fashion type, rolling shoulders forward, cover girl side arm, working the image straight up and down. And to me, that was a series of eight images that could have all been really large, big images. We ended up with 16 images that were really of a level that were sort of enlargement sort of quality. I always have this idea that you create a beautiful folio for someone but there should always be an image in there that you would blow up that big on the wall. There should always be an image that has gone to the extent of your creative ability. There should be something that is not just hitting the mark and the quality of your portraiture, but there should be something that says I would put that on my wall. And there should be something that is just that next level. I felt like her next level of images was so high, and yet, it was so simple. And you know, she's beautiful, she's a bride. She had gotten married two weeks before, she had that glow still. She was in love with her wedding dress, how could she not be at the most beautiful time of her life? She's in love, and I just saw that as being, you know, just such an easy sell.

Class Description

Women want to feel as beautiful as Sue Bryce makes them look in her portraits. Join this award winning photographer as she teaches you the tools of the trade for modern glamour photography. Watch real shoots as Sue shows you step-by-step how to celebrate the timeless beauty of women.

this course will cover:

  • Posing for all body types
  • Marketing and sales
  • Photoshop® retouching

You might also be interested in Working with Hair and Makeup.

Sue will show you how she built a small photography business in her garage to $20k a week in sales. And more importantly, how you can use her techniques to grow your own photography business.