Shoot: Portrait Couture, Black (Kate)
I'm gonna come straight into Kate's look here, which is sort of super sexy, vampy. I'm going to go onto the black and do almost exactly the same thing but with less movement and more model poses. So Kate's 10 years older, so 10 years older has a different movement through the body. Okay? Alex, you're 19? Alex's movements at 19 are still very cutesty. Her 19 year-old-ness comes through in her portrait couture. Kate is 29, so there's a little bit of difference in that 10 year gap between the working of the shoulders. So it will be really neat to illustrate this and show you from a couture point of view how it works. I'm just gonna go straight to the floor first and see if I can pick up that quite fashion contrast light. That was your final shot too, by the way, Alex. It was absolutely beautiful, yeah. So the turn and the hair blow is a mixture of really connecting that shoulder to the front, getting a bit of movement in the skirt at the back, shooting it nice and low below the eye-line, ...
getting the fan blowing into the hair, and getting that mixture of, yes I've missed that background, just off the edge, but I've compromised that background for a great shot, and it's easy to extend that background in Photoshop. So I'll just (slicing noise) fix that. You'll never know it was there, and she's got a beautiful series. And the more series I can get of Alex dancing and having fun, the more she's gonna buy, because then I'm selling a series of images, and it always looks incredible. Okay, come into here. I'm gonna go straight into an almost similar pose. I'm gonna get you to sit down, and what I want you to do, Kate, is I want you to turn your legs this way. Yep, that way, good girl, stay there. In fact, you can start by bringing your knee around to me a little, wee bit more. That's it. And I want you to bring the shoulder towards me. So your fingertips touch the ground. Now, if your hands are flat, you're leaning forward here. So if your fingertips touch, and then your back arm is tucked in, this one here. Good girl, perfect. Now, what I want you to do, you've just got the most milky, white skin, it's fantastic. I want you to work your shoulder forward towards me like this, and I want you to put this toe back, good girl. I want you to bring your chin all the way around to me now. That the one. Just that curl on that side. Yeah, out.
So 1960's movie star, gorgeous.
So, this is just a plain, black slip, just very simple, black slip, I just bought from a shop. It wasn't expensive, it was about 14$. The corset I found at a vintage store in LA, where I go shopping with Tiffany. Anybody wants to go vintage shopping in LA, you can pay Tiffany for a vintage shop tour. I bought 23 pieces in an hour that I've never found anywhere before. That woman can find, she can thrift shop, this woman can thrift shop. Okay, I want you to work the shoulder towards me, Kate. Lift up tall and bring your chin down this way. Okay, I want you to come up for some light. Rachel, just back to her there, that's it. And really work the shoulder. No, don't lean forward, just this, that's it. And Kate, close it up, that's it. Don't move. First thing I want you to do is look down, alright? I'm straight into here, I'm gonna come up into here, and I want you to go eyes to me, and I want you to bring your shoulder around to me even more, okay? So, keep going, close it up, close it up. Bring your chin back to your shoulder. That's a girl, you've got it. If we're too contrast-y, I'm gonna get you to stand up. We're too contrast-y, so let's stand up. I want you to go straight up against that wall. Alright, from here I want you to come up onto your toe, and I want you to do a real 50's body line. Good girl. I want you to kick out that way, I want you to just bring this hand a little bit higher, and I just feel like that hair is just flat, big flat, oof. Ask me some questions, give me some feedback, whatever you what to go, just while we're zhoozh-ing.
Let's see, Sally says 'it baffles my mind that these ordinary girls are looking the most amazingly beautiful models, wow, Simona's work is unbelievable. Her skin is luminous.
Red lips is a really strong lip, and it's something you can't do on everybody, so I want you to really kick out that hip, so wherever you think it can go it can go further. I want this hand to go around and sit right on that hip, and I need you to bring your chin to me, Kate. No, this way, that's it. Don't move. Straighten your chin up to me this way. That's the one. You may not need to bring in any light, Kate's just getting a little bit, she's really getting the light now. Chin forward and down, Kate. Rachel come in, I just need a bit of light up under her chin, there it is. Okay, from here, what's going to happen is my camera, I'll show you something, my camera's gonna get quite confused by the amount of white that's in Kate's skin and the amount of black that's in the background. So it's metering to her eye, I'm shooting at 2.8. It's metering to her eye, so it's going to blow out. So I'm going to shoot this a little bit under, because I know I'm gonna watch the lens, I'm gonna watch the back of the LCD and not the camera. Just watch, you don't, yeah. Alright, to me, what I don't like is I'm gonna have to change this up, because it's just, there is is. No, leave it. From here, I want you to take your hands behind your body. And then I want you to drop this one down. I think this one here, we're always trying to get our hands away from our body. But the problem is, everybody's always putting their hands on their hips, and I'm seeing lots of bridal shots, especially curvy brides, walking around weddings with their hands like this. We need to get ways to get our hands away from our hips, our arms away from our body, without putting our hands on our hips. Now it's okay to touch down on any of these points. It's okay to touch your hip and slide it up and back, as long as you can get movement around the body. Okay Kate your posture is really caved in here, and I want you to lift right up through there, that's exactly right, and then bring your chin in towards me, that's it, and give me a slight tip. There, that's it. Chin down now, down, down, stop. Chin down now, don't move.
Cindy Couture says 'please let Sue know I bought lashes today and gel liner and plan to wear them.'
Lani Newbie Photography says 'my darling two and a half year-old tomboy has been watching all morning, and just came back from her room with a decorative tutu. Glamour, it's contagious.'
Elbow across, but lower, lower. Glamour is contagious. That's the one. Now, I don't want you like this, so I want you to just, when the tilt is not quite right, I just go in and find the tilt right there. So when I'm starting to touch down on the body line, I need you to start giving me this look here. So Kate, I want you to project your chin this way. Don't move. When I see her shape come in, when I see them start to create this body line. Bring your chin back around for me, Kate, that's it. Just keep there, let this hand go, that's the one! Turn it around, that's it, stay there. I want you to start moving now, because I want you to look like you're moving. I want you to turn there, stop, don't move. Such a subtle movement, okay? I don't like this hand across the tummy because we don't hold our tummy, so what I'm gonna do is bring you up to here, onto your decolletage. Stop, soft ballet fingers, good girl. And I want this hand to float back. That's the one! Start bringing your chin around to me now, around to me now. Keep coming round, keep coming round, don't move.
That's like a 40's detective novel.
I want you to put your hand here, stop, no, it was good there, I like that. I want you to be open here, so just turn this hand. That's it! Halfway, halfway, don't move, don't move! Bring your chin around to me now, stop. Lift your chin up, relax your mouth to me. Okay, give me a tilt this way, stop. Chin up, relax your mouth, there it is. Go down. Okay from there, just show them Now what I want you to do, it's looking like a Dior ad, is I want you to bring your hand up to here, up. Push into your breast line. Good girl, more. Cave in, that's it, cave in more. Okay, now bring this hand around, stop. Now bring your hand out like a cup, stop. Stop, stop, stop. (laughs) Relax your mouth, give me that fierce, chin up, eyes, look. Good girl, there you are. Okay from there what I want you to do now, don't move anything 'cause I'm really loving the cup, I call that the chin cup, is bring that cup in. That's it. I want you just to bring this in. That's it. So, you're short, like me, so you don't have long limbs. So I can't cross you here, but I want to use your shoulder, that's it, shoulder. Now very very gently, because I wanna make her look like a model, and models do pose like this but short girls don't, so what I'm trying to do, chin up, is I'm trying to get her into, chin around to me, I'm trying to get her into all these, relax your bottom lip, all these quintessential model poses that models do and real girls can't. So I'm trying to elongate her and I'm trying to make her cave in her shoulders and I'm trying to make her arms look longer. Because I want her to try and look like she's a model. From her, Kate, keep coming around. That's it. Now as soon as I can get her into this rolled-back position she starts looking like a model.
JLakeLady says 'A porcelain cherub.'
Chin around, Kate, chin around.
Makes her eyes really pop, and her hair color, it's brilliant.
You know what, the second we saw her, Simone and I looked at each other and went 'red lips'.
And KatyXCore said the same thing. 'Wow, red lips on a ginger is hard to pull off, but it's done perfectly.'
Okay from there I want you to, let's see if we can bring hands up. You've got beautiful movement, which I really love. I want you to bring this hand into your hair. So I look at it like a comb, that's it, it sits in there like a comb, and our elbow always projects toward the center of the body. Because we want that starlet look. Okay, this one here is to the outside of there. We don't want armpit, and we don't want the claw. So we have soft ballet hands, but they go into the hair. Don't turn your face away from me, because you just turned your face away, so bring it back. Okay, so we want a symmetry in the hands but we want movements in the hair. We want the hair to hide the fingers a little bit. So we shake it in there and then we pull it away like that. I just caught myself doing something and I know it's on camera, when I get up to my clients I often, I'm relaxing my eyes, and I often do this, 'cause I seen it on video, and I'll be describing something to 'em and I'm doing this like soft. I'm a weirdo.
Annalise says 'well, so Dior Sue could sell me the perfume with that last shot.'
Chin up, look. I love it, all I need to do is believe it, I gotta look at her face and believe that she's a Dior model. So she needs to be hungry, she needs to be. (laughs) You need to sell me that you're six foot tall, you're hungry, and you didn't get out of bed for less than 10,000$, alright? I want you to push that elbow across, I want you to kick your hip out until it hurts, I want you to bring your chin, stop. I want you to lift it up, you're there. You are a Dior model right now. Okay, your hands go out, in, lower, and in, that's it! Fierce eyes, low, fierce eyes. Open that mouth, let it fall open. I got a blink, hang on. Lift up chin, chin long, long chin.
The lighting and makeup is done in such a way I don't know what you could do to retouch it, y'know?
I wouldn't, she doesn't need retouching.
She's perfect skin.
Take your hands out, put them behind your body like this, pointing upwards like that, that's it. Awkward positions, modeling positions, turn side-on to me. Stop, that's it. And I want you to lean back like that, that's it. Soon as I can get into this nice, low position here I want you to bring your chin around to me, I want you to bring your chin up to me. And I'm just going to open you up here. Oh I like that, that's good, that's beautiful. Chin around this way. Chin down now, that way, stop, that's a girl. Beautiful. Let's take this hand to there, slide down, that's the one. Let's open, bring the shoulder, okay. First we'll bring the shoulder forward, that's the one, more shoulder, more shoulder. Elbow back, more shoulder, so cave in. Good girl. Don't come towards me Kate, go towards Rachel. So you cave in to the side, not towards me. That's the one, stay there. And then chin around, bottom lip, okay. And then from here I want you to open it back up to there. And then chin up there, stop. Halfway, don't move. Chin down a little bit more. So when you get this posing manual and you start working with it, you could maybe study the posing manual as you're listening to the replay, like listen to the voice of the replay, so you can play the sequence out and then hear what I'm saying, and then get the manual as I'm going, 'cause we're only taking out if they blink, so you're getting every image that you're seeing the flow of so you'll be able to study the PDF with the sound of my voice. So maybe you could put the audio in and then look at the PDF images and slowly move your own body as you're studying the PDF that we've created so that you can start to get all these movements. And as I repeat them all, you'll start to recognize my sequences that belong to other shots. You'll be like, 'oh I feel that, I've seen that before, she did that with Rose.' 'Oh, I notice she did that with Alex in the black dress, but she did it a bit differently, so this time she looks like she's on a lower angle. This time she looks like she didn't put that arm all the way across, this time it looks more fierce. This time she's given it more space on the left', but it's the same pose, then you're learning how to flow, and use the body, and sculpt the body like that, so it makes all the difference. I'm gonna maybe just, okay, turn this way, and just bring this chin down. I'm going to take one shot and move on, because I'm just repeating now and I wanna keep teaching. So elbow back, on the back side. Good girl. Bring your chin all the way around to me now. And do that cave-in again, I really like it. You rolled your shoulders forward, I really like that. It's right there, stay there. Love that! Amy Adams. Chin around. You've heard that before?
Wow, that's nice! Okay, right, we're gonna just take some flow questions. So we're at 86, 87. I want to get to 100 in the next 20 minutes. I want you in the gold outfit, your lips need to change. So you guys need to talk to me for two minutes. What I'm going to do is I'm gonna take out, go, go, go, run. I'm going to take off the red lips, Simone is going to take off the red lips, we're going to put her into a gold outfit, we're going to swap out these two. So if somebody can grab these, Rachel. Just lift and carry.
So FelicityFord in Perth is up after 2AM, and she wants to know how does Sue deal with clients who struggle in mirroring her directions and the hand movements? If they seem to have their own take on what you are trying to explain or demonstrate.
I keep making them do it until they get it right.
Unless what they do is better than what I'm showing them. So often I will sit and talk to people and they will go to do something, that generally happens when I stop posing them, I stop shooting for one minute, and I sit on the floor. So let's say I'm posing Bonnie and we're both sitting in this position here, and I always shoot at whatever level my client is posing at. So if Bonnie is sitting, I'm sitting. If Bonnie is lying on her tummy, I'm lying on my tummy. If Bonnie is in this sitting position, I'm in this sitting position. It makes it so much easier to shoot in whatever position my client is posing in. So I'm not in a squat or bent over, because how can I show Bonnie to do this if I'm not sitting in exactly the same position with her? I'm always trying to shoot my client on the same eye-level, I tell that to everybody. And I taught about angles at my last workshop, because I really wanted people to nail what angles they were getting right, because when an angle is off to the wall it doesn't look right. I shoot square to the wall, or 45 degrees to the wall, but I never shoot anywhere in between that. Because it doesn't look right. When you shoot down the wall, and you shoot at 45, it looks perfect, and that's right about where you need to be for that sort of squareness that you get from fashion style portraiture. So the idea with fashion style portraiture is that it's shot square, always square-on, or 45 degrees. But it's never that halfway. And the face is always to the camera, to the camera, bring your chin around to me. How many times have you heard me say 'bring your chin around to me, bring your chin around to me' so yeah, always looking for those angles. But every now and then I stop talking and Bonnie and I start having a personal conversation and my clients just change position, they get comfortable, and then they'll just do something. And they'll laugh, or they'll do something, and they'll go, 'ah, I know, right.' And I just go 'stop, stop'. And the hair.
They're probably secretly trying to impress you with their pose. (laughs) See if you like it.
Mostly they're not because you can see how natural it is. And you can see them fall into their pose. And you can just see that it works, it's kind of crazy. As soon as they fall into a beautiful, soft pose I know that I've got it, I'm just like, awesome. That's it, it's there, absolutely perfect. And I know I've got it every time.
That's exactly what we missed, I feel, or I missed, the first time around when you came to CreativeLive, I was trying to communicate how to direct but not doing it myself. And I think that needs to be an objective is that you have to do it first, and practice it.
So as a guy, Gabe, you can do everything I'm doing, you can sit in this position, and you can move your shoulder and just go 'move the shoulder forward'. You don't have to do this. You can just go, 'move this shoulder forward, take this shoulder back.' I will always say to clients 'move your left hand Bonnie', and people will go and move their right hand. And I always think, I can even look at the hand and say, 'move your left hand', and people still move the other hand. So I find if I go like this, 'go like this Bonnie, mirror me', everybody understands it. 'Go like this, go like this, go like this'. 'Go like this, go like this, go like this'.
It is, like, how does everybody know it? Everybody seems to know that. Any more questions?
LocusGroove in Virginia is wondering do you let your clients know ahead of time that you maybe more forceful in your direction with them? And not just in the groove, and shooting?
Okay, I don't know what in the groove shooting is, because I've seen a million photographers do it, and I've never seen anybody do it well. So in the groove shooting to me is somebody who can't pose or direct very well. And to me, if I say to a client, 'you just go, get into it, do your thing', they're three years old. 'Cause a three year-old will go and run and laugh and do their thing, but a 33 year-old won't. A 33 year-old is just gonna stand in front of me and go 'I don't want to be photographed, this is really nerve-wracking, oh my god, are you going to tell me what to do because I'm kind of freaking out, should I smile? Do you want me not to smile? What am I gonna do, should I do something?' And I just go, stop, listen to me, I'm about to direct you right down to your last eyelash, that's what makes me different from everybody else, is I take full control. There is no get up in yourself. Although I do say on that dancing one, 'keep turning, look back, keep turning, look back, keep turning!' That's them free-flowing for me. It doesn't get more freestyle than that. I wanna have the control of a beauty shot to make my client look like a model that could move like that without being directed. If you can take that sort of control and really sculpt the body, you've nailed it every time.
There was a little more, I noticed, blush on her and that's just because of her complexion, right? You don't usually apply that much blush?
You know what, I love blush, but it must remain on the apples of the cheeks, it's not to be a hard contour through here, so it's a nice blush here. If there's too much popping up, it's because she's so pale on the black background, so her makeup is popping out because it's shooting quite high contrast. So the camera's metering in camera, it's getting confused by the amount of white and black, so it's reading the skin and saying, oh, it's too bright, so it's trying to shut it down. So you lift it up manually, I would just change my exposure, watching the LCD, because I know that it's not going to read it correctly, and just because she is so high-contrast, white on black, she's getting that look under her eye and around her makeup. Once I even it out on Photoshop, I will use that recovery tool to hit down that hot-spot of the whiteness of her skin, and her blush will just pop back in.
So Sue you actually had 75 poses in the first one, so we're now at 87.
Oh cool, great!
Ready to go.
So what we also did with that last one, so we did 75 and we did 87 which is 12, correct? You need to come out of there, Kate. So we had 75 and then we had 87, so we had 12. So we took 12 images just moving on the black dress without sitting, standing, so we just had her standing up. So on one short sequence we can get 12 beautiful shots just by moving around in a half-circle, okay? And the 12 shots in the black, are we able to just show those black shots that we just did for Kate? So in a very short amount of time, without actually moving we've managed to get 12 shots so, how many of those would she buy? So this is what we need to look at. I moved her to show you the flow, but we need to look at how many of those images that she would actually go, 'well I would buy that one, I would buy that one'. Can we get those 12? Yep? Okay, there you go. Have a look, Kate. (giggling) Look at that! Yeah!
That's the blow-up one.
Oh my god, look at that one! Oh, I like the rolling shoulder too. Okay, so for me, I know Kate's going to get that one. I know she's going to get that one, I know she's going to get that one, maybe that one, or that one, probably that one. I love that, but that's better. That looks like Nicole Kidman. And yeah, the flower's like meh. So how many did I pick out of there? Five? Okay, six. So that to me is what I would show Kate, that six images. And even though she moved nothing but that to there, I feel like there's enough change in that flow to nail every one of those shots.