Skip to main content

Posing Masterclass

Lesson 15 of 36

Challenging Situations

Bambi Cantrell

Posing Masterclass

Bambi Cantrell

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

15. Challenging Situations

Lesson Info

Challenging Situations

today is a whole day built upon challenging situations and how we can cope with them this afternoon we've got a beautiful plus size broad that's going to be modeling for us we've got other kinds of challenges somebody who's really tall with someone who's short you know maybe someone who's much older person with someone that's younger you know a variety of different kinds of of individuals so that we can showcase not just you know the young you know a size negative zero client that you see in a fashion magazine but beautiful real people like you and I and when we when we get to that point I want to make it very clear that I am not trying to say that these people have flaws this is not about a flaw anything is a flaw if it is a flaw to you as a person for me my arms my little fat porky arms are a flaw but there may be some of the people that have bigger arms like oh wow I love that look at those guns you know they liked that about themselves so I don't want you to think you me and baby y...

ou're just you know you have you know you're trying to say something in a derogatory way because I'm not all of the flaws that we think we have personally those where I would address with a client not what I feel I would not want to do that so let's talk about direct sunlight you can use beautiful direct sunlight to create amazing pictures again you have to sing creatively accessible how can I use that tool in an effective away so when I shot this picture of this beautiful young woman I wanted I love the inside of her home it was a very bright sunny day and so I chose to put her over by the windows two to do this image now you'll notice the top of her head is a bit hot that's okay because in the context of a photograph it was it still worked for me I was willing to give up one thing for a much bigger picture here's the thing you have to think about in your mind is how much time do I have to do the job to do it absolutely you know completely perfectly and is that the right way to handle this particular situation you see that's really an important point because michael for you is to teach you how to photograph perfectly but under the set of circumstances that you're given because there are times when perfection what we consider perfection what would make the absolute holy grail of imagery would not be the right thing to do in that circumstance with that particular client maybe they're really nervous and they only want you to spend ten minutes doing your portrait so you gotta really cut down to the mustard here and say okay here's my plan b I can't do it absolutely perfect from the photographic worlds universes standpoint but what's the best I could do under this set of circumstances and so for me that was really this gave me the greatest bang for my buck and it gave me something more and that was impact you see at the end of the day impact is everything if your pictures have impact no one pays attention to if there is a flaw if there's a mistake in a picture if there's something that you forgot too you know that you didn't move there's a light socket showing or something of that nature but if the photograph is a boring picture to begin with people go right to the negative stuff they go when they see him immediately up look at that oh I don't like that I don't like the lighting they may not even know what it is that they don't like about the picture but they'll know they won't like it so if you have to make a mistake air on the side of expression because expression beats perfection it's the holy grail absolutely number one and then if you have to be if you have to taken in perfect photograph make sure that that pictures got impact you know who taught me that was george hurrell I have this book's called harold's hollywood and this was a book that was written like that forties or fifties I don't remember but anyway it's a really cool book and the funny thing is is that in this book he's got amazing pictures of marlena dietrich and you know all of the old hollywood movie stars and he's had to paint the catch lights into their eyes because the lights were in the wrong place all the time but you cannot argue with the fact that the images are very high impact they're they're in perfect but they're dramatic and they have a high degree of impact that was one of the most important pivotal moments for me in my life was understanding in the mind of a client what was the number one thing for them and you know what taught me that besides george carella I've been collecting brides magazine since like nineteen eighty nine I collect them all the time and I would collect a metropolitan bride magazine you know all of the big one's going you know just you name it ah grace for months and the whole line yards and I would study the photography in those magazines now you know when they do the bridal shoots and such and they weren't perfect pictures and if you look at them today they're not perfect images they're not perfect and in fact if we've judged any of those in photographic competition they would crash and burn really bad but what do they do have what they have they have a high degree of impact and their quirky they're different and they are lifestyle oriented in other words people look like they're actually having a good time I'll never forget there was this one advertisement for a ream akra and reem acra is a designer they have these beautiful wedding gowns and they had this bright red eye shadow on the model it was a close that picture of her she's wearing this vibrant like fire engine red eye shadow on her eyes like whoa what the heck is that that picture impacted me so greatly because it made me think okay well no most people are not going to go out there and have were red I shout on their wedding day and I've never ever had a bride were red eye shadow but what it did was that pulled my eye into that advertisement and it made me stop on that picture and I went oh my goodness that's what I've got to do that's the missing element in my photography is that everything is boring everything is just so oh yeah just like everybody else's and if your pictures look like everybody else is hello why would they hire you unless hi I'm calling I'm interested in having you photograph my wedding how much do you charge you see I don't want that kind of klein I don't want those people hiring me because of what I charge I want them hiring me because they love my pictures and they no they can't get him anywhere else and it's over rides the logic and that's where the key to success is isn't us embracing that uniqueness and not being afraid to make a mistake and do something different and I'm sure that when re makram when they put this model in that red eye shadow and stuff they probably like whoa oh cow what you know they're low this is our beautiful wedding down you're going to put her in red eye shadow and she didn't look all that pretty but she looked really weird actually and you know but man I'm telling you what you looked at that magazine your eyes go teo and you stop on that advertisement and it was extremely successful and so it's really made me become much more interested and more in tune and creating quirky fun pictures that are a bit different that it's ok to make a mistake on not that I'm trying to really screwed up but I want to do some things I'm okay if I do something different and I'm I'm unhappy embracing that and for those of you who are here today you have to come back tomorrow because you are going to flip out when you say we do to marcus tomorrow is bambi unleashed yes then we get all kinds of crazy stuff for tomorrow okay so let's talk about using direct sun so I'm gonna take a light meter reading on this young lady's face right up in here for a digital image of you needing meter for the highlights but with that said I had to keep in mind the other elements so I fudged just a little bit and I went between the highlights and the shadows and just use that kind of is my average point I used the evaluative meeting in the camera which is the circle that little dot in the middle so that I could get this it was my main element I have this window over here and then the light is skimming from this window back and giving her back this highlight you see that's what gives her body it's dimensional you're those highlights and those shadow areas that little technique I showed you yesterday where you just push your hip one way or the other way that is really an important element because that's what gives her her her bottom it's it's hump it gives her backside it's it's we're shape its warmth in its shape so let's look at a few other photographs now and I'm going I want youto analyze what we're using for our light source the main light and I'm gonna show you this young lady and three different scenarios just so you can see the variety of experiences that you can get and technique to create a picture now where is the main light coming from or the sunlight you can tell is coming from across her back right I shot this picture a couple of weeks ago for metropolitan bride the sun is actually behind her but do you notice that the mask of her face is well illuminated so what did we use to illuminate the mask of the face well I used a very simple sixty inch reflector on the silver side infact r o r but yasmin was my assistant for this photo shoot she's standing somewhere over in this area to bounce that light back up into the model's face now she's not aiming the reflector like this into the model she's aiming the reflected the sun is over there and then she skimming that light across the model's face to give separation from the model's face from the background and to create and give her face a bit more okay now let's go from there to here so what is the difference now this one looks a bit flatter doesn't flatter lighting but still very pretty very soft again where is the sunlight coming from the sunlight was actually behind her over here on this side right here ah shot at eleven o'clock in the morning so on a bright sunny day this isn't las vegas nevada the the stop it's six point seven on this and my shutter speed was three fifty so three fifty is to bring that background down a little bit I don't want it to be super bright I don't want it to be brighter than her face notice we still have a beautiful beautiful soft soft light on her face and this one is done again with a reflector this is with are using the risk I mean whatever her name is over there jasmine jasmine when she's using the reflector but she's using it in a very subtle subtle way now let's compare that to this one and this is where we're using strobe we're using our d one lice outside with a soft box the small octa bank and look at how it cleans up that face a bit and just makes that skin glow we're using the small octa bank which is about this big around and I like it because we have a fairly closely and we got a nice a nice highlights on the lips right there it cleans up the highlights here and this one was its was the light would mean light was that six point seven this is again at six point seven at a one two three hundred fifteenth of a second yes for folks that might be a not be as familiar with the term td photo had asked what does maybe mean when she skims the light off the reflect great question okay so let's say that this right here this is a light how about this one right here this is right here in front of me okay let's say that that's the sun okay when you skin like we have our reflected come here daddio there's different ways that you can use a reflector you can take the reflector and you could bounce it straight into your subject's face by going right bouncing from the light source from the sun right into the reflector like this but what I prefer to do is to turn the reflector this way so that the edge of the light illuminates the subject here comes your dad so we can take john and we could illuminate him like that which is not very flattering to me or we can take it and we can use the side of the reflectors see how look look see that little nice highlight right there can you see how nice it looks on him yet without your glasses see how it just fills in his face just a little bit notice how high I have it I don't have it down like this I'm using like this and we just we want just the edge of that light teo to skim across his face and that's the kind of light I prefer to use thank you john so great question any other questions on that before you move on no okay good right so I like a variety of different lighting techniques and when we're outside I will use a variety of them sometimes I will use our strobes to fill in the face I really love this and because we're using the soft box specifically and it's fairly close we get this really soft shadow it's pretty soft on her body so it's not a real stark stark look if I want a real subtle look I'll go for this and use just a reflector or exposed for the face I'll expose for the face and let the background go a bit brighter in this case I wanted to have id still needed to separate her from the background and I didn't want that background to go super light because it would pull away yeah from the subject because you were eye naturally travels to the lightest thing in the picture now I haven't done any retouching at any of these images they're just right out of the camera and if I once I will do a little bit of retouching I might go in and clean up this little area right here and just tone this little highlight on her shoulder down just a little bit but I'm not going to get crazy try to get it right in the camera to begin with because if you lay your foundation correctly then you don't need to go over and do the hard core retouching so here is using just a simple reflector and we do have a hot spot on her shoulder and that's okay for me I don't mind it because I love love love the expression the expression is really powerful on dh then going from there to there two there you do have a couple of questions more questions on that set okay what time of day was it this was that eleven o'clock in the morning yes it was in the morning on dh usually this is this is the thing I like where I'm becoming more comfortable using studio lighting outside you see in the past I've used on ly natural light in the olden days I used only natural light with maybe a reflector outside but I've really one of the things I'm embracing these days is if I like using studio lights outside because I have control and I can I don't have to be stuck doing it at one time during the day I can I can use those lights all day long you know in different kinds of scenarios and the lights that you can use these these lights are really like specifically because they're so powerful they can overpower the sun which means that you can photograph at twelve o'clock if you want to so you have a lot of power at your disposal so it's especially helpful if you're doing like photoshoots where you're using no we're doing like you're photographing wedding gowns which are white you need to have some definition on those dresses so you need to be able to shoot at different times of the day and we literally photograph from like nine o'clock to twelve o'clock be on a very very tight schedule when I'm doing this kind of a session so it's real important to be able to move very quickly yes ah quick question on this photo a couple people are wondering about that three hundred fiftieth of a shutter speed yes I'm wondering if you had any sink speed problems no not at all some cameras only go up to one hundred I'm sorry excuse me two hundred thirty hundred fifty right I know that there are some cameras that do the mark four does not have that does not have that issue there's a setting in there where you can go in and get so you can have high speed and I love that I like high speed synchronization I think that's really beneficial um john do you have any any authority on that that you want to mention okay okay but but for people online can can google high speed sync that's right there's plenty of information out there exactly and you know and I think that also goes into you know I'm not one who like has to have the latest and greatest cameras but there are a few of the features on some of the newer cameras that are real important to me personally as a professional number one I love high speed sync I also love the I love the real high isos I love love love love love shooting at ten thousand so I like shooting at eight thousand eso because what it allows you to do is to be get become more intimate you know like the pictures that I photograph to that little baby yesterday that I showed you that was sitting in the sink in the bathroom where I use just the tungsten light in the bathroom it was a very very dark bathroom I mean there was not a lot of light in there and when you're photographing small children like that you have to have a higher speed to capture their movement because you're not going to sit still and you can't tell them to be still so you have to think about that in conjunction with what you're doing so I like working with with certain camera systems that give me a bit more high speed excuse me higher so for my wedding receptions I'm doing a lot more these days in my wedding receptions where I'm not using flash where I'm using just the ambient light or following that video idiot our videographer I'm sorry just joking I'm following the videographer around they're my best friends I love videographers and I will follow them around like a shark because I think you're they got the light on their camera why don't we need to put one on my tits one more thing that's heavy for me to carry around when I could be about forty five degrees from his light source and guess what I have a really good source of light and it slims down the face so think again in abstract terms don't think just this is a videographers light for a video camera think of it as a light source that's all you want think about is that light coming from here that's just a light source no matter what it is it produces light light from the ceiling fixtures just produces like questions one more quick question about this on the pro photo d one that you took outside for this is that of one thousand or five hundred devious you know I can't remember I have both okay it was one of five so you know what I'll have to find out I'll look and see I can't remember if they'll email me at bambi it control portrait dot com I will send the answer that perfect I'll get home and I'll know the answer thank you okay let's move on there are other times when you can create a really interesting story in a very creative way by using right sunny day in my studio I have blind just old fashioned blinds in my studio and we get bright sun through this window and I love that I think it's really pretty and about two months ago I was I just would come out my studio in the afternoon and I was going in my camera room and I noticed the way that light was just coming through the window and I had a good war session coming in and I was like wow I just really find that interesting it's just really interesting well what does it do in my opinion it just really makes you focus in on this beautiful part of her shape and I love dissecting the moments whether it be in a boudoir session or in a portrait session and showing little baby hands or you know whatever and in this case a beautiful backside of a young woman on dh so I find this is an interesting way to tell a story to tell something that just has a bit more meaning and notice again we're posing comes in one leg is brought forward and the other leg is behind it and I love doing this when I'm doing boudoir especially I like to cross the leg and an almost in an x pattern what happens when you bring in the leg almost in next pattern is it draws the eye like that it draws the eye down like that and it's very very flattering here's another example of that same this is exact window this is this is my window oh by the way my drapes I have to tell you about my drapes they're so silly I'm really like to keep life simple I don't spend a bazillion dollars on props or anything like that I have this piece of this right here is just a have I bought one hundred yards of burlap I bought it online it was not that it wasn't the kind that smells you know that you used on your garden because it's has a funny smell to it so I just bought beautiful commercial grade burlap I think it was like a dollar fifty eight yard and I bought like one hundred yards of it I bought a huge bolt of it and then I just strung it up across my windows and got those little you hooks and just draped it and then puddled it on the floor and cut it off there's no hemming know nothing but it takes your window and it gives it just this real subtle framing to the window which is quite beautiful I like it very very much um and then it just covers up those ugly blinds but again this is another example of using those the lines of the blinds with that bright sun coming through it to just draw your eye right to the subject and tell on editorial story you tell an editorial story now ideally if I could I want to take at some point take off the little hot spot on her head that's probably the only thing I would do extra on this image so basically what I did with the model is I walked over and I had this pair of black shoes from from one of the girls they say having your shoes for a second and I dropped it on the floor just dropped it on the floor because I needed it to look random kind of looked not so perfect cause you can't make them all look perfect looks just stupid doesn't look real and then I asked the model s hey look I want you to walk over and all I want you to do is to put your shoes on and start with your right foot you know so that way I could get a beautiful picture that's a very editorial image this piece of fabric right here this is sheer fabric it's just sharing material again I bought about a hundred yards at the fabric store online and then I stapled it to the wall appear just out of camera sight so that I can use that I can use it to cover up my subjects if I want to put sharing in front of them so again really simple little props that you can use that that take take it to the next level in addition to those things to give it a bit more r to take it pull it away from being reality based I added to texture screen after the fact to just give it a bit of softness and that was that's really about all I did to it there's not a lot of retouching done so keep it really super clean and simple yes a question from steve hamel dot com for folks who don't know can you describe what an editor foreal image excellent boy these guys are really smart I'm telling you that's an excellent question on editorial photograph is a photograph that that that tells a bit of a story what you see in any fashion magazine when people are walking down the street oh I love your door like oh laughing that's editorial photography they're not really in love you know they're two actors or two models that they hired and they're engaging with one another in an editorial way and that's what editorial means to me is telling a story but it's it's not reality based it's not photojournalism that's for sure so that's a difference to me editorial imagery vs p j r photojournalism and also with editorial photography the good thing about editorial photography is that it tends to be a bit you're forgiven a bit easier for subtle things that are wrong for instance the hot spot on her head I would be forgiven for that because it's because of the whole picture has because it's about that bit of mystique the fact that there are bright hot spots on the wall you know what they're brighter than the subject which is generally what we don't want but in this context it works for that picture any other questions on that awesome yeah kind of on the same vein af you could explain the difference between editorial in photojournalism because they're very guesses well photojournalism is unprompted imagery it's imagery that you capture in real time of people doing what they do and you're not manipulating the scene they're unaware of your presence there not you're not engaging with them editorial pictures is that me telling levi come here levi and him going I can't leave but you're going to pull away from me and I want you to bust out laughing for no apparent reason ah love don't oh you are so funny that is editorial so and see but now what you're doing you're laughing for no apparent reason but you're laughing just on your own we didn't tell you to do that yeah exactly so that's the difference yes darling I think that people get confused with lifestyle and editorial I think that that special with young photographers thinking okay lifestyle it's hot it's manipulated but it's not really lifestyle you mean we'll see but I think I think lifestyle would be in my opinion I would translate that as another word I would say that that could cross over into editorial the difference is is that and this is where official bambi bam bonnie's ok just my own personal interpretation the difference between lifestyle and editorial is that francis with children when I'm photographing them in their lifestyle I'm just having them go over their plan and if they're playing with their toys they're doing what they do naturally I'm not telling them what to do but I am setting the state the sage I am there with the camera on I am photographing it and I might have set those toys over by that doorway and that would be more lifestyle so I think they can cross over you know at the end of the day you know what you're not going to get cancer for and you're not going to hill if you you know if you take a pj image or you don't you do something that's more editorial as long no as your subject is not a manipulated into thinking that you know and they're not they're not lied to about what it is that you're doing because sometimes there people will be people who say oh I do all photojournalism and every single picture that they take is completely contrived that's that's not right it's wrong because it's it's lying to your client and it's not it's manipulating them for somebody who is sophisticated and who knows what really photojournalism is which is very unprompted moments that are captured with and the subject is not aware of your presence they know they would be highly offended by that so I think it's important for us to you know for whatever it's worth just take it for what it's worth and just you know okay so you want to shoot editorial do it but just used balance I think the key is to be balanced okay all right um okay let's move on now let's talk about different skin tones because there seems to be a lot this seems to be an area where a lot of people go oh my goodness what am I going to do I'm I'm a little afraid you know I got a photograph someone who's darker skin tone or someone who is very very fair skin or what if you have a combination of that together sometimes folks don't know what to do with that and I can tell you I was one of those people but I want you to look at this picture and look at her gown is her down exposed properly yes it is what gives her gown it's detail what shows that it's got detail in there it's the shadow areas so you can see look that shadow right there is what there's a fold and you can see the little there's all this little texture in her beautiful dress now I want you to focus in on the face what is it that gives her face it's dimensionality no not her eyes highlights the highlights the highlights do you see that's what pulls her face away from the background so when you are working with darker skin tones you just have to think it's not the quantity of light not the quantity is not how much light you use it's the way that you use the light that matters when you're working with people that when you're working with people of color highlights you want to you're looking to create a speculum highlight on that cheek on that face to separate them for someone of color that's what separates them for somebody who's lighter skin tone like myself what gives my face dimensionality are the shadow areas okay so let's go forward and I'm to show you a couple more pictures of this young lady okay again this is a good example see how her face just pops off the page it's because of those highlights on her face and I used a the small octa bank outside in the to shoot this picture and I didn't uh it was just about to rain on the day that I shot this out in the desert but notice you can hurt really pulls her face away and yet you still see that there's detail in her dress and that's really important for african american people because so many times when someone doesn't know what they're doing all you see is that dress you don't even see their faces like hello where it would happen to the face you know and just remember if you're exposing for the face if you're exposing for you for your subject for darker skin tones remember that they're whatever your camera says it's lying to you it's absolutely lying to you because your skin is not eighteen percent gray it's about a stop under that so you have to compensate for that the great thing is is you don't have to get all anal annie about it because you know you have four stops of exposure compensation if you're shooting in raw which is why in my opinion the way to go and that way if you just if you if you are a little bit nervous about it you know if you expose you know like a you know at what it says at eighteen percent reagan still pull it back a little bit so you can expose for the skin properly now let's go one more and now look at this picture and let's compare it to the last I looked at her face this is not there's no external light on her face I did not use any flash or any strobe on her face in this image now do you notice how her face just kind of blends in why and then we've got highlights on her face say there's a highlight right here and there's a little highlight here but what is the difference between this one and this one it's the type of light it's the quality of light you see we want those little shiny speculum highlights those little shiny speculum highlights is what we make gas mains hair stand out it would make her hair show up because when you have a really someone who's got really dark hair you've got to find a way to separate that hair from the background and so you want to add that little bit of speculator ity real good one of the one person the universe who taught me everything I know about lighting is tony core bell if you get a chance look him up google him tony korbel seo are b l l absolutely the most brilliant educator on lighting that I've ever met and he gave me a demonstration one time and this is you know when a little lightbulb went on in my brain he held up a black coffee mug and he said okay baby so don't you look at this black coffee mug because I was over lighting everything and I was I mean I was trying to follow the light meter and such and he says ok what gives this its shape and he held it up to the light that will uh well look there's a baby that there's this little white light down the side of it oh my gosh and it was like hello there heard angels sing that day and it made me realize what it is that separates people skin tones and how you can really separate someone from the background so the cool thing is is that in a little while we have a beautiful african american model that we're gonna photograph and we're going to show you some demonstrations on that as well so this is what it would be before and this is after even though this is really cute too I love the expression on her face and then here is one more this would be more editorial and what I did this is a by the way using the sunlight I'm using just the sun so if I'm outside and I'm not going to use my strobes and I don't always use them but I like to be able to have the choice of being able to use whatever I want to sew with this young lady I just said I want you to pick up your skirt and you're going to just take a walk I wanted her to walk with one foot in front of the other just like you see and then you look back over her shoulder that would draw her hair back and just kind of blow it back and give it just a bit more of an editorial image and make it look a bit more editorial so it's a great way to add a bit of energy um I love having people move around I try to break it up and break up that moment if you have somebody sitting on a stool for too long I stay for more than a minute or two it's like oh my god it's boring and if they're not having fun they're not gonna like your pictures this is using direct sun the bride is outside it is absolutely you know three o'clock in the afternoon bright bright sunny day use the sun as a tool in this case this worked really well for me because the home was very brightly colored they had these beautiful terra cotta bright pink walls and very very sharp green lines and such on the buildings so I thought hey wait a minute I can use the sun as a tool it's the best I can do it's amore interesting photograph then perfect would be and so I chose to pose her in such a way to use her to turn her face up towards the sun I don't have her eyes open guess why because she'd be squinting it would look good so by having her just bring that fan up and stretch with her body a little bit you notice how she's got her chest pulled forward which arches the back by the way why don't I have her facing this direction into the sun yeah why don't I have her face in that direction way still get flattering a portrait like well true but but there's another reason it's a really important reason bush bush is well no that's true too it's because it was windy windy and at the end of the day win rules okay wind rules so I had to find a way to also work with the sunlight and the wind and you want to talk about someone who had the windiest day in the universe for their light are those wedding was on the beach I'll try I don't know if I have any of your files with me but if I do I would love to show one because I'm not kidding you were talking gale force winds on the beach when she got married I mean we're talking like so windy that the sand on the beaches like blowing up the hill so I mean it was crazy when it was just crazy so when that kind of a scenario you know the best you can do is the best you could do you have to use the wind and use it as a tool but you gotta work with it you're not going to fight it let's face it you are not going to win that battle so you have to find a way to make it work for you and that's kind of my philosophy when it comes to to any working with anyone who who may feel that they have figure flaws is that you do the best you can do it may not be perfect by perfection standards but it could be the best so what is the best I can do right now what's the best I could do with the lighting that I have or that I have with me or that have a my availability what's the best I could do when it comes to pose because we can't always dictate what clients where you know sometimes we have clients who wear clothes that don't necessarily flatter their shapes like like all those ladies in las vegas that were spandex and leopard print shirts with sparkly eyes quick question about that you're shooting in such a three o'clock in the afternoon we have such a big difference between you know the shadows and where it's light what I would struggle with on an image like that is where how to get a good exposure where the shadows are going to go to completely dark like thunder needs an excellent question that's an actual question you have to meet her for the highlights but what you can do and there's there's like a thing a lot of people that are shooting hdr are shooting images they'll take more than one they'll expose the highlights and one exposed for the showers and the other another thing you could do you know this is a straight image right on the camera I did not I haven't done anything to this picture um but I I meet on the highlight on her face but I made sure that there was detail address on the back of your camera unit has that little high light meter so you could see whether you're completely where there's no detail so you could tell where you were the edge where you go off the edge so you want to go just before you go off the edge because you don't want you want detail in the shadows but you don't wantto but you don't want to blow out the highlights either and at the end of the day if you have to make a choice on one of the other bride rules yeah she rules and the and remember that this is editorial this is more of an editorial pitch it's not perfect it's not perfect from the universe of professional photography but it's the best that we can do under the set of circumstances and if that's the case and then the more interesting that because it's in this really funky color building I mean ideally you were probably wouldn't shoot in this spot because it's a bright sunny day and you think oh no the light's too harsh but the cool thing about that is all that red really pops on a bright sunny day when the sun is shining on it also this awning right here this line this big shadow right your points right down to the subject as well as these cacti right here they point right to the subject so the benefits outweigh the negatives to me and so I felt that it was a trade off does that make sense okay let me give you one more example of that you are do you have a question okay okay in this particular photograph this was the on ly shaped there was very little shade and of course many of our clients on a wedding they want us to photograph that what twelve o'clock noon right and we're going no that's probably not the most advantageous time but they don't understand you know the highlights and shadows and they don't understand that so what I try to do when I'm working is I look for little nooks and crannies that give me pretty light I don't need a huge environment I don't need to bring lots of fancy reflectors or anything like that I try to keep it super super simple so I wonder about the area and I start holding my hand and say ok where is the main light coming from is that going to give me a pretty light on my subject or can I manipulate it using a reflector or a stroke if need be so with this these young ladies I found one area that was a little patch of shade about this wide where I could do this bride and her bridesmaids now there's some guy I said you know what the trade office I'm gonna get a little bit of hot spot on her shoulder but you know it's okay it's all good I'm not going to die but it's the best I can do the son is from coming behind them and I like the sun behind my subject because it builds depth in the background it gives you dimensionality kind of gives you your eye goes into the picture pulls you into it and so then I said okay now I've got to pull them out of that scene so my assistant was standing somewhere about right here where brooke is standing using the silver side of a reflector nice and high to pop the light back into the girl's spaces and look at how affected it is look at the iridescence in the gowns it gives those dresses they're iridescence and when you have dark chocolate brown dresses you need to find a way to make them from looking black you see without that bit of reflector those dresses are going to go really dark and I'm going to look black kind of like this dress back here with this girl right here that you can see but you see how that on every single face we have highlight we have a nice bit of separation between them in the background so it's it's not a bad picture and extra ends up working and so then I just tried to pose them in a way that would just be a little bit more fun here's one more location with the same group of girls there in front of the garage door this is as much shade as we had do you see this right here and I left that in the picture on purpose that is the bright sun this was at noon and it was so not pretty so I thought well you know what they're wearing these brown dresses I think that's kind of the opposite of that teal so I chose to put them in front of these drugs these doors and just do a picture that was just a little bit more interesting not perfect but it was the best I could do under that set of circumstances does that make sense so you can use a reflector at times you can really create some fun fun things and then if you need to then again put that make the sun behind your subject and move on the other side and do some beautiful images that are more silhouette like in this case my light meter reading is somewhere up in this area right here because I want there to be detailed in her veil but not so much detail that the faces go away the placement of her face is important I need to have her face this darker face in a lighter environment it can't be in a darker area I couldn't move it like over here because it was it would go you would be able to find her face so by doing that I can use all of this framing of the trees around to frame the subjects and give me a beautiful beautiful picture so question from rob mirage do you scout locations for light prior to weddings or do you just hit the ground running great question I these days I don't have to do too much uh scouting like I don't go the day before anything like that but only because at the end of the day after you shot a couple of weddings you have to just remember in your mind that locations are the same maybe it's a different building but the recipe is the same in other words this building is the first baptist church in atlanta georgia okay the in your in your kitchen area that is the the sweden morgan church in san francisco it's really dark so there's certain recipes that I know what to do in that environment however I generally am always at my event wherever I'm starting at least thirty minutes early I arrive at the bride's home when she's getting ready I'm always there at least thirty minutes for I have to start shooting and this is why when she's piddling around and those bridesmaids are sitting there just having to gino laughing kidding around I'm immediately assessing whether things were moving on time or not and if they're not I can promise your mother over here is going to get things moving but I'm going to do it in a way that is not rude and offensive even though I know that comes as a real surprised as you know how rude and offensive I am right so I feel a lot of people would be surprised so what I will do is I would walk up to the bridesmaids and I'd say hey you know what it would be awesome if you guys were in your wedding in your bridesmaids dresses when the bride got into her again so maybe it would be a good time to get dressed would that be okay I would be so awesome cause I love to have you guys all beautified and everything when she's done when they'd be great and I shake my head like this anything I want people to dio I shake my head and go yeah and then I walk up to the bride and I just and I go oh my gosh I'm so excited you hear me ok yeah yeah that's right we know you're in touch with your feminine side anyway so I do and then I walk up to the bride and I assess where she's at and if I see that things are running a little bit behind I don't push her because it's my goal not to push her but what I've done ahead of time see I've done my homework with her before the wedding the week before the wedding I call her up and say hey by the way margie and no your wedding is this sunday and your and your services at three o'clock and you know we're going to start getting pictures you're going to start your I want to be there I'm gonna tell you right now I'm gonna be at your home at noon now I know that that sounds early see how I tell her I know that sounds early because I'm addressing that issue but it's an issue because I know a soon as she gets off the pill in her mother's gonna go oh no you can't be ready that early that's ridiculous know what we'll be ready half hour before the wedding and you're going yeah no I don't think so so you address it ahead of time in a very positive way say you know what here's why you want to be ready early you want to be ready three hours ahead so let me tell you what here's a secret those bridesmaids will probably show up to your house and go oh was I supposed to bring my curling iron and they won't be ready and you'll have to share bathroom space and you know it's not fair to you to have to be stressed out on your wedding day and also what if you don't like your hair do you know you can't change it an hour ahead of time you're stuck with that so this gives you complete freedom if you don't want to if you don't like your hair you that timeto wash it and start over again and isn't that a great to know that you are always in charge of your wedding oh yeah she likes that again give your subjects a reason to want to do it your way that's in their best interest and they always want to do it your way I have very very little trouble getting my clients to do what I want them to dio because I give them a reason to do it my way that's in their best interest not that I want to do it I would never say well it's because I can get great picture ah that is not about me it's not about me I needed to be about them that something that they want to do yes levi how do you make the wedding not see to that however do what I wanted to do oh it's very easy action with wedding nazis because this is what I do I approach them ahead of time or actually let me approach that issue different ways because with wedding nazis I do a couple things if I go to the rehearsal I immediately walk up there and say hi I'm bambi cantrell and I just want you to know that I will have these people out of this church and fifteen minutes how would you like that okay but here's all I need from you you know it be great because I know you have got a family you got a whole life of your own that you want to get too right oh yeah I know I told you get that so I make her my friend and then I will say okay here's what I need you to do just don't be walking in the background the whole time we're gonna get them in and out here I promise you I am very quick this ain't my first rodeo okay so that's how I will hand that's plan a that's one way to do it but generally for wedding nazis this is my prefer approach when the bride hand when she you know she says you know you have fifteen minutes whatever I don't want to know the rules in church okay I don't want to know them I don't want there to hand me that little list that says I have to stay in the back and then I'm not allowed to take pictures during the ceremony I don't want to know that rule because if I if I wanted to find that rule I want to be able to be honest and say oh I didn't know that I keep a low profile so while I want to make her my friend I'm going to make sure that I keep a really low profile so that I don't so that they don't know I'm the official wedding photographer I make my assistant carry all this stuff in they got the cameras hanging around their necks so that I walk in very stealthy I dress appropriately and dress as though I were a guest I were black always a black suit you know black armani suit and a pair of black shoes said that I just kind of become invisible and then I go sit on that second row and they never tell aunt martha that she can't take pictures so that's how I can try try to be a stuff as I can but I want to make them I want to get to be on their page I tryto have empathy and fellow feeling for anyone who's in that on that side and I had this one experience with this one priest one time he was so adorable he walked up to me before the ceremony he caught me he says he has he goes are you the photographer I went yes and he goes I want you to know you've got fifteen minutes to get these people out of my church just like that he stuck his finger right in my face and then I went and put my hand on my hip and I went well honey you know what that means don't you don't you go rattling on during that ceremony and cut into my time you understand me and it was but I did it that way I said it in a funny way he busts out laughing thank goodness and because I wasn't I said it in a way that was obviously very very joking and I I realized that you know and I and then I looked and I said you know I totally understand that you know you you got things to do and you got a life and you don't need to be sitting around here all afternoon you know when you've got other things that are more important so so anyway during middle of the ceremony told the bride and groom that he wasn't allowed to rattle on because of photographer he was going to cut it so it was really cute so I find a way to try to joke people make it make it a fun experience you know and then if I find I tried to become who I need to be for this person I'm talking to and now that may sound a bit phony I don't consider it phony at all I consider it showing fellow feeling and being on dh showing care and respect to the person that I'm speaking with because not everybody is a poodle like myself not everybody likes is what it was all crazy and wacky some people are very quiet and very private and very shy and if they're like that I put on my quiet and shy demeanor and I speak to them and very calm quiet terms because I want them to feel comfortable that's what's about it's not about being phoney it's about having respect for who you are and wanting to make you feel comfortable and I think that the end of the day if you're photographing people that's what it's all about

Class Description

Do you have problems diverse groups of clients? Are you unsure if your lighting and posing are on point? Join award-winning and Nikon Ambassador Bambi Cantrell in this comprehensive class covering all aspects of posing, lighting and developing a successful portrait studio.

In this class, Bambi will:

  • Show you the best lighting for different scenarios
  • Camera angles that flatter
  • How to add creativity to your portrait shoots

You will learn ​Bambi​'s​ secrets of how she continues to innovate in her photography and business​.​


a Creativelive Student

I almost didn't bought this course due to low rating and what other reviewers were saying about her, but because it was on sale at incredibly low price that i decided to bite the bullet. And I am so glad I did. First of, for those reviewer that find her offensive, because she talks loud or make some jokes to her models or her audience, i don't think that it is offensive at all and neither did her audience or everyone in the studio. As a matter of fact, they were enjoying it. And I did too, was laughing while watching them laugh and having a good time. There was nothing wrong with the audio. I heard her just fine. I found her class to be the best class ever because she only not answers questions by theory, she demonstrate them live with the participation of her audience and the creative live crew and that's what made her class very interesting and not boring. She also uses real people and not models with perfect sizes or figures and it really helped me a lot because i have a challenge when it comes to posing plus sized people. I love her sense of bluntness, humor and at the same time, all the wonderful nuggets of wisdom she shared to her audience. I had purchased tons of creative class about photography and to tell you honestly, i haven even watched the full content on some of these classes because i get sleepy and bored but with Bambi's class, i watched her class in just 2 days without even feeling bored. I don't write reviews and in fact this is my first time to write a review here on creative live because i just feel the need to say that it's very unfair for her to be criticized liked that. I love you Bambi, I love your personality, I love your style and the information you taught were very invaluable. Thank you.

Melissa Baker Griffin

Loved the invaluable lessons! I can't wait to go through them all again. They are jam packed with valuable and tactical information that creatives on every level can take from. Her energy and personal style creates a great experience! I can only imagine how cool it would be to take a class from her in person! She is such a treat and so inspiring! I LOVE how enthusiastic Bambi is about the questions she receives and encourages phototgraphers to continue to grow, learn, and think out of the box. Thank you creative live! I feel like there should've been something like fire works at the end because she did outstanding!

Anne Dougherty

I’ll be honest. Ms Cantrell moves very fast, but her experience, humor and confidence are infectious. I thought I would check out a lesson or two and ended up watching and listening to her entire program. She is clear about her process and why it works so well. Her portraits are beautiful, whether individual or group situations. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentations, and I am a landscape and pet photographer. But I feel like I learned a lot about seeing, and was reminded of approaches to running your own creative business that are valuable for anyone. I have been very impressed by the professional instructors in every one of the CreativeLive courses I’ve watched or bought. It’s not every professional who can teach! I know. I am one who could not handle classroom situations. So happy I was able to join in on these classes. Thank you, Bambi, for all of your energy, and for sharing your knowledge with all of us. This was quite a ride!