Defining Shape

 

Posing Masterclass

 

Lesson Info

Defining Shape

so we're talking about lighting imposing and how it equals shape you see what gives this young woman her shape is the way the light crosses her body again I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have the lights skimming across the body by the way there are always exceptions to every rule and one of the exceptions is is that there are times and when it's appropriate to flat light your subject do you know when those times are when is it appropriate to flat like the subject what if you're photographing some middle aged woman like myself I'm going to tell you if you're photographing mature women like me flat light is flat her ring now I'm not saying photograph me from the waist down because that would not be flattering but if your subject if it's about the face then you want to flat like the face why would I do that why would I tell you to do that differently for mature woman because I don't want I don't want to show the cracks on my face and if I flat like guessed what it fills i...

n all the cracks and it makes my face look brighter and that's a good thing for that so there are times when it's not right but for a general rule you want that light skimming across because what you want is that shadow right on her bus line right there you want that shadow that comes across her body that shows the detail on her dress it's also look at the way that in this pose of this young woman where are the highlights and this is just in my studio and just facing the window by the way this is on the second floor of my building and the only thing that's out here is like but you know about a half a mile away is the is the water so you there's nobody out there that could see her naked or anything like that but what am I trying to say with this picture notice how the highlights are on this backside cheek you see I want that so where'd that light come from well the light comes through this window and it bounces off of this wall over here to give me that little bit of highlight on the cheek now why is that good to do because it gives her backside shape it gives it that little bit of both so give it some some it's gonna make her bottom look beautiful and then the other thing that's another thing that's important is noticed the way that her weight is shifted to that hip now that's important because when you have something just stand flat footed the weight is evenly distributed across the the two cheeks of their bought their backside and it does not necessarily make them look more shapely but if you take the weight and instead of having a stand flatfooted haven't pushed one hip one way do this I'm in fact all of you that in the audience today I want you to stand up for a second right now and I want you to go from this standing flat footed too just pushing your hip one way and notice what happens and you know in a nice wholesome way you can feel your butt shake back there but feel it feel that you get the weight on that back cheek it's going to put pressure on and it gives it shape and for if we're trying to make a young woman look more more shapely and more curve a cious you want to get the weight off both feet you don't want to have those feet the weight evenly distributing want the weight one way or the other whether you can see that backside cheek or not it's really really in critical it's very important now this is an example of exposing for her back I exposed for her back and I want the light to go I want to overexpose the windows a bit why is that good because I don't want to see any of the distracting elements that are in the background couple that with a shallow depth of field in other words two point eight or maybe one point ate whatever I could get I want to keep the focus on exactly what I want people to see and I don't want them to start being distracted because if these other areas are if there's there if there's lots of interesting things going on here you can't see this and that's what this story is about this particular moment is about that guess what this young lady is posed in the very same way that that other young lady wass I've just chosen to move my camera position to a different angle now notice see how hurt you can see she's got her hip pushed towards the camera but why does that work it works because her backside is in shadow and in this case I don't want I want to show up just this portion of her bottom I don't want it to make its up the whole subject so by moving myself again forty five degrees fromthe light source of lights coming through the window over here then I get that narrow strip of light on the arm and I get more importantly that beautiful shadow going up the back side to give her a shape so you see this young lady right here could be this young lady this one just happens to be wearing a wedding gown and I hope that you'll start keeping that in your mind so think about that in terms of what you're photographing notice how neutral the background is just a simple doorway nothing fancy but your eye naturally goes to her she's more interesting than background is so think about that when you're looking for locations my goal whenever I am anywhere the first thing I do when I walk into a building is I start thinking well where would I go and what's going to might what am I going to take pictures of where am I going to do my chute right here and now if I had to photograph right now where is my chosen location even if you don't have a camera in your hand that's good to do because what happens is that you train yourself to start thinking creatively so that whenever you walk into a building you know where you're going you walk in you ok got my spot picked out already so that it makes it a lot easier and makes you look much more like a professional because the difference between a pro and an amateur quite often is that a pro knows how to get the job done really quickly and an amateur takes ten minutes to do what a broken due in thirty seconds and you know the in fact one time I had a client that came into me and I was doing him I was designing a business card for her she was a little makeup artists and all night long I laid awake thinking about how it was going to design this business card so the next morning came and I had not still designed the card well she walks in the door and I go okay so I said well come on back to my office and so I can't bring her back and literally within thirty seconds I had that business card designed for her and so when I handed her the bill which was a substantial amount she looked at me like oh my god how about when he does that again she goes but it only took you thirty seconds to do that and I said yeah but it took me three years to learn thirty second trick so what's the moral of the story is well in this case first of all never let a client see you work number one when you're doing things like that especially in photo shop work but but the other thing is is that if you learn to do it really quickly it looks effortless and it really enhances people wanting them to use you because you are a professional and you know what you're doing and it really does make a huge huge difference um what if you have a client that is maybe pregnant do you always want to show the tummy in this case this young lady was about five months pregnant just pregnant enough to have a little belly but not pregnant up to be a cute belly so I thought well how could I photograph her and then this gorgeous husband of hers together well I thought okay you know what from behind you can't even tell she's pregnant so I chose to photograph them on this couch so I had him slouch lay on the couch with his head in the corner of the couch I want that arm a bit away from his body the light coming through is coming from just on open door anus even open window over on the left hand side and then I chose to get up on a ladder and photograph down on them notice that I talked her belly in between his leg and the couch so it was comfortable to her say it wouldn't necessarily want to put her on her stomach on top of him that might be really uncomfortable for someone is pregnant and I've been pregnant so I know how that feels but by tucking her belly right between his thigh and the couch I could create a beautiful photograph that didn't where she didn't look pregnant so that it could be timeless it's a timeless image that could be hanging in their home is a piece of artwork again notice where the light is falling in it voted falls in on the top of that leg highlights the backside hurt her little backside right here falls across their bodies in a very pleasing way from and it just makes her body look very shapely there are occasions when I will do a few images that are very random on just very quirky my goal is to give people a variety of emotional responses when they come to see me some of the images that I'll take on any given session will be very straightforward nice pretty you know hi mom pictures which is what I call all pictures of people that are looking in the camera but then I also want to put in with amongst those images that I do some things like a well what it is that you know because whether good or bad I don't care if they hate that picture as long as they have a strong emotion about it because if they have a strong emotion about it guess what it means I've done my job but if they have no feeling about something you did than guess what you're screwed because it means that it's boring and that's really not what I want so occasionally outside I'm going to do some things that are a bit more just a little bit more crazy this particular photograph I shot outdoors using studio lighting as my phil so I have my d one light source over here with the small octa bank on it and it's about a stop under the sunset light sunset lighting was over on the right hand side notice how the body is placed in an s shape composition so what happens you have the sub to push the hip one way or the other benedettini and drop it over the other leg he c this is important to drop this need down over my other leg and then have them lean forward slightly that really works let me tell you what does this say to you right here what am I saying to you back off right get out of my face back off no notice what happens if I do one thing what did I do all I did was lean forward and what did I do I can't change I completely changed your perception of my image did night I hate all of a sudden it became more interested so if you want your subjects to look more interesting and more engaged have them lean forward slightly really makes a huge huge difference I'm gonna tell you more about this picture on a sunday because we're going to do some very very fun things and I'll tell you why because I created her dress I I'm a designer on besides being a photographer and I'm going to show you how we created that on sunday um this is another example of photographing outdoors and this is a balancing between studio strobe and also a soft natural life it's well I'm using a studio strobe which is my main light see how it's really beautiful and soft this is again using that octa bank it's great teams so soft boxes outside cause you can create a beautiful soft light the actual sunlight is behind her you can tell bythe seeing that very right there see how it's behind her shoulder over there so you can balance that the daylight and you're sunlight using it you're beautiful strobes outside and again a notice where I'm standing in relation to that light source I'm standing towards the shadow side so we get that beautiful wraparound shadow right here and this is especially a powerful technique when you're photographing dresses or especially for wedding gowns in such when you have all of that white and you want to show you need to be able to show the texture on that and that beautiful beautiful gown and it really makes a huge huge difference in this case I want a photograph at a higher shutter speed the faster shutter speed is goingto bring my background down a little bit and make it look a little bit darker yes a question from sarah catherine about natural light and I think this might help would that be a similar approach to like shooting a b beach wedding where it's really high bright sun exactly the same thing now there's a couple things you could do it beach with a with a beach wedding or any other kind of our beach portrait session there's a variety things and when I shot this this was in the morning I think this was like about ten o'clock in the morning when I shot thes and many of us have to photograph on the beach at times of the day one or not they're not all that great so if you can bring a studio strobe like that do you want is a sense that little power pack that goes right along with it you're gonna set it down on the beach and just make that your main life just pay attention to where the sunlight is and use it as a tool like behind them slightly and then fill in on the front and then use a higher ah higher shutter speed which is going to bring that back ground down and make it a little bit darker great question thinks um use different camera angles with this particular photograph where is the main light the main light is coming from in front of her and that's and this in this case I chose to photograph from behind I'm getting just a beautiful little bit of separation between her arm and the bottom and that is critical see I need her arms to be brighter than the background because if not then they will blend into the background and you won't be able to tell the difference between where her arm ends and the background begins pulling those elbows back slightly gives us this beautiful light trap here and here because we need context to a waistline we need to see that there's there's actually a waistline there makes sense um again using you can use different kinds of light together with this young lady when she was getting ready for her wedding to things I did I walked in the room I opened the windows the drapes in the bedroom I don't ask for permission to do my job I just do it and apologize later okay I'm just gonna do what I want until someone says I can't do that but I just tried to get it done and so I'm gonna walk in and open those drapes you know I figure you've seymour in the sears catalog than you will in that room when that brides getting dressed or even on the beach see stays I mean last time I went to the beach holy cow there's not a lot left to imagination so just the fact that their underwear versus a bathing suit I mean really gone so so in her case that that's the first thing I did was open the drapes so I could create I wanted that to be my main light I'll had a very very limited amount of time to do this photo shoot so I knew I needed to use the light that was at my disposal that was right on sight so walked in the main light is coming from the window and it's again about forty five degrees from where my camera position is but I kept thinking you know the background is gonna go really dark and dead behind her so what can I do so I chose to turn the bathroom light's on to give it that bit of depth and dimensionality so at that time she just sits down on her on her beautiful louis vuitton trump puts on her shoes and I'm I'm where I need to be to get the best photograph of the subject engaging and interacting same exact concept with this gentleman getting dressed again I turn on the background light this little table lamp took finish framing this arena but the main light is coming from that open window so by doing that I can keep and have him stand and have that light skinned across his body to give dimensionality to his shape yesterday get caught up thinking that's a different color of light I don't want that do you conquer that in your brain you get over it I'm sorry levi but you know what that's a really not trying to minimize your question because that is a very valid question you know you have to think in your mind will will that background light is it going is it does it alter the scene so much is that such a contrast that it would be a distraction and that's why that's such a good question because notice how there's harmony it's warm it's a warm environment the whole scene feels warm so it would if I had a real problem and I still wanted to use that and guess what I could either correct that is correct for that light later on after in postproduction or converted to black and white I'm not afraid to experiment with different color temperatures and lighting I think you can get some real creative experiences from that like the outdoor here was definitely bluer than the background like but because I think that that kind of that background light here pulls it toe warm it kind of just warms up the whole picture which I felt was much more important you see before I turn the bathroom light on it was cold it was a very cold light it wasn't a pretty light source so by turning on that bathroom light it just kind of gave the mental impression of warmth to the picture really good question levi you know I got to tell you you are way smarter than you look waiting to use that line all day and you know anybody by the way I'm going talk trash to these guys for the next three days but just realized I'm not being mean about it it's not mean spirited it I just have to play and this is my way of just being a silly girl okay okay with this particular portrait session notice the way the again where the light is and the light in this this regard is almost behind her but see see that works because it creates drama and this beautiful dramatic feel to her pictures the light skins across her body and if that's the case then I'm going to turn the face up towards the light source same is true with this one the light is coming from outside but the most important thing I want you to notice is where is the shadow area you see how that shot it was right over here which gives her body her bottom its shape a closer view of that other young lady that you saw little earlier look at how beautiful this soft her lips look it just looks so soft and inviting to get that beautiful soft sensuous light on her and the other thing that's really critical cia you can see the back of her hand now generally we don't like to see the back of the hand if you're entering competition they probably would dock you points for seeing the back of the hand why because generally the hand is about the same size as the faces isn't it it's about the same size as the face so the way to conquer that though is you don't want as much light on that body part as you do on the face so I want to have the main light right up in this area right here there's a little highlight right on her arm right there but it's all fairly soft but your eye goes right here to the subject's space so you know there's there's there are some absolute rules in photography but I prefer to bend them at will and that there are times when there are always exceptions for the greater good

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​.​