Natural Lighting In Portraits
Hi, my name is Pei Ketron, and I'm teaching your Shooting for Mobile Photography class. In today's class, we're actually going up onto the roof with models, and we're gonna be shooting with our mobile phones. I'm gonna talk you through some of the basics of shooting on your phone so that you know what to think about to really maximize what you're getting from the phone, and so that you have an idea of some of the compositional elements that you should be thinking about when taking your photos. In this lesson, we're gonna be talking about natural lighting and portraiture, so we are out here on the CreativeLive rooftop this morning, and as you can see, the lighting is a little bit challenging. There's not a cloud in the sky, which is beautiful, but makes it difficult for photographs. The biggest challenge for me in a situation like this is to kind of come out to the place where I plan on shooting, and look around me to sort of assess what the lighting is like. There's a beautiful wall he...
re that I was hoping to shoot against, but actually, when I first saw it this morning, I realized that it was gonna be too bright. My subject was gonna be squinting, they'd be looking straight into the sun, and that was gonna be actually pretty bad for photos, so what we decided to do is switch to this wall right behind me, and what that enables me to do is to find some good side lighting for my subject so that they're not squinting the whole time and so that I can kind of play with the direction I have them turn their head, and change what I'm capturing based on what the light does when I move my subject in that way. What we're doing this morning is, we're actually taking portraits in this space, and to get ready, what we did was just kinda scout out the space this morning. We made sure that we cleaned the space as much as we could so that there's not very much that we have to clean or fix after the fact once we've shot. So we swept the floor, we kinda cleaned some cobwebs and stuff off the walls, there were some leaves in between the planks of wood, I made sure I pulled those out, so we have Ben here, ready to pose for us, and we're just gonna take a few portraits. So the challenging thing about this particular setup today is that the sun is pretty high in the sky, the light is pretty harsh, so it's really a matter of me trying to find a position to photograph Ben in where he's able to open his eyes, because it's so bright, we don't want our subject to be squinting the whole time. So what we did was select a spot where he's side lit. And you'll see from the photos that he's almost perfectly side lit, it's literally hitting half of his face, and the other half is in shadow, which is kinda nice. So let's see what we can do. I'm gonna shoot using the native iPhone camera, and what it enables me to do is adjust my exposure on a day where the light is so bright, like today. It's really useful for me to be able to adjust that exposure, especially if you see when I point the camera, if I just tap to focus on Ben right now, you'll see that his white shirt especially is a little hot, it's a little overexposed, and I don't really want that. So the easiest thing to do is to tap on the screen. When you tap on the screen, you get a little yellow box, and you'll see a yellow sun to the right of that box, and any time you see that sun, what you can do is drag up or down and this is taking the exposure down a little bit. So basically, if there are any hot spots in your image, you can fix that pretty easily using that exposure compensation in the native iPhone camera. Okay, so what I'm gonna do is get Ben set up to be photographed. I kinda like the pose you're in.
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Yeah, it's very natural. I actually kind of like the fact that we're getting these really interesting shadows from the plant there.
So I'm gonna make sure I include those in the image as well. So I'm just gonna start here, and then go ahead and keep looking at me. I like how the light is actually working really well right now because it's lighting just your right side, which is good, and you're not being lost in the back too much. For portraits, I tend to photograph in portrait orientation, so with my camera upright as opposed to horizontal. But of course, it kinda depends on the image. You know, whether or not I wanna keep it that way. I love this, I'm gonna just go ahead and photograph. I'm gonna lower that exposure compensation and have you look straight at the camera. Just great. I love this kind of casual... You look friendly, approachable, you're not cheesing out, you're not looking angry, so it's great. Getting a little closer and further away as necessary. I'm really interested in seeing what these look like at the end because the contrast is so great. Can you turn your face in that direction and look downward so that you're not-- Actually, that's great. Are you okay like that?
Yeah, it doesn't hurt.
It's not hurting your eyes too much? Okay, that's great. Can you give me more of a profile maybe?
That kind of stuff?
Yeah, yeah. What's happening now is that I'm actually losing your face into the shadow a little bit, and I don't want that as much, so maybe-- Yeah, actually, if you're leaning. He's leaning forward ever so slightly to keep his face in the sun. With portraiture, you don't want to have, you don't necessarily want to have a hard line of shadow across somebody's face, so we're gonna just keep you in the sun. Go ahead and look that way in profile. That's pretty good. Can you lean forward ever so slightly again? Yeah, that's great. And I'm just making sure that exposure compensation is pulled down each time. I'm gonna press and hold this yellow square to make the exposure and focus lock, so I'm gonna pull it down because I know I wanna lower exposure to prevent the whites from blowing out. And now I'm gonna have you go ahead and turn to your right again, and look downward, so it's not too bright. You can even lean forward and tilt your head.
Yeah, actually, that's great. I just reset the exposure a little bit 'cause I tapped by accident. When you tap it, it unlocks it, so I did that by accident. I'm gonna rotate my body a little bit so I can get him more in profile, so I don't see the far side of his face. I'm gonna rotate around because what was happening in that previous shot was that I was getting a really bright triangle of light on the dark cheek, which I don't necessarily want. I think a little bit of lighting on the opposite cheek can be nice, that's typically referred to as Rembrandt lighting. But given how harsh the light is right now, it's a little undesirable. With this pose, I can come in and photograph him this way, and you can see that the sun is just illuminating his profile without any light on the dark cheek, which is good. I'm gonna get a little bit closer. A lot closer. (laughs) And right now we're getting a little bit of some things that we don't really want in the background, so I'm gonna have you scoot over like five feet. Yeah, great, let's try it from here. Now you can see that the exposure, the background of this image is a lot cleaner. There were those posts and stuff in the background before, so now we're not... We don't have those in the background, which is pretty great. I'm gonna pop into portrait mode on the iPhone, which is gonna allow me to have a shallower depth of field. That's great, perfect. You can see, though, that his right arm is getting a little blown out. I asked him to lower his arm to prevent the sun from hitting it directly on top, so I'm gonna do the same exposure. Pulling down, let's see how that works. And then I'm just kind of adjusting. I'm doing the same shots. I find that, with portrait mode, you sometimes have to take multiple images or multiple shots so that you can ensure that one is sharper, 'cause sometimes there's a little variance in what you get. And I'm also adjusting my body a little, and the composition so that I can get the lines on the wall straight. So this is great, Ben. Thank you for holding that. I think these are really nice. And this is kind of getting really dark and moody, which is kinda interesting, 'cause I'm pulling down the exposure so much so that the highlights aren't blown out, so I kinda foresee that making a really good black and white image in the end. Okay, let's recap. So, when we came out this morning, I had Ben up against this wall, and I had him looking straight at me, so I had some really wonderful side lighting on his face. The right side of his face was well-lit. The left side was in the shadow, which was really nice. What I decided I wanted was to get a little more of a profile of him, so I moved to the side, and started photographing him from this angle, but what ended up happening was that the... there are some poles on that side that were showing up in the background of my image that I didn't like, so what I had him do was move about four or five feet to his left, and I moved my body as well so that I could maintain that profile perspective. We played around a little bit with how exactly his head was angled, because the first position he had left sort of an undesirable triangle, a much harsher triangle of light than you would ever want in Rembrandt lighting because of the way the shadows were hitting. So I had him take his face and move it ever so slightly to the left, and maintain sort of a rim light on his profile, which was really lovely. I already envisioned this being a black and white edit because of how strongly contrasted the light and the shadow were.