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Posing Masterclass

Lesson 5 of 36

Lifestyle Portraits

Bambi Cantrell

Posing Masterclass

Bambi Cantrell

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Lesson Info

5. Lifestyle Portraits


  Class Trailer
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1 Introduction Duration:24:19
2 Location Challenges Duration:29:23
3 Defining Shape Duration:17:19
4 Group Photography Duration:09:59
5 Lifestyle Portraits Duration:20:46
6 Shoot: Clam Shell Lighting Duration:22:05
7 Lighting Tricks and Tips Duration:14:46
8 Posing a Bridal Party Duration:41:32
9 Bridal Party Q&A Duration:34:41
10 Camera Angles to Flatter Duration:17:21
11 Audience Q&A Duration:12:12
12 Posing a Family Duration:42:38
13 Posing Families Q&A Duration:12:04
14 Review Images Duration:12:40
15 Challenging Situations Duration:44:59
16 The Walk Off Duration:07:19
17 Plus Sized Brides Duration:17:05
18 Shoot: Plus Sized Bride Duration:53:07
19 Image Critiques Duration:33:56
20 Light is Light Duration:30:54
21 Receptions That Rock Duration:09:34
22 Shoot: Mismatched Couples Duration:36:34
23 Shoot: Indonesian Woman Duration:13:47
24 Shoot: Person in Wheelchair Duration:15:17
25 Understanding Your Subject Duration:13:16
26 Image Review Duration:24:33
27 Wedding Client Interview Duration:25:45
28 Tall and Short (Kenna + Nikko) Duration:06:49
29 Shoot: Indian Model (Simi) Duration:23:49
30 Shoot: Japanese Model (Akari) Duration:31:22
31 General Q&A Duration:20:34
32 Creativity in Photography Duration:18:54
33 Shoot: Newspaper Dress Duration:21:36
34 Creating a Garment: Tool Dress Duration:06:29
36 Shoot: Beige Tule Dress (Jen) Duration:27:15

Lesson Info

Lifestyle Portraits

okay now we're going to switch gears and we're going to talk about something that's exactly the same but it's a different subject let's talk about lifestyle portrait's lifestyle portrait's are really really important portrait because when you do a lifestyle portrait lifestyle means something that's a bit more casual it's something that's done maybe in the home something that is about their lifestyle so I love doing lifestyle portrait's and the same concept in lifestyle portraiture I use whether I'm doing families whether I'm photographing a wedding because guess what lifestyle porches or nothing more than a bride getting prepped for her wedding you're the preparation shots of her getting dressed that's exactly the same mentality that you use in lifestyle portrait so with this little boy in this little girl I just stuck one of his favorite toys over on that little corner right there and I told the little girl say hey you know I think I saw a puppy outside so he immediately and I said yo...

u know I said aramis I think I saw your toil there how did it get over there so they both ran over there and because I knew what I was going to get you see I had my assistant stand over there ahead of time before the kids were even involved in the scene I chose the environment and because I love the way the light was there and I wanted to I knew this was a great story that I could create so I said okay how do I use it so I said hey mike can I get you just bend down you want to see what the light looks like on your face so I had my aperture set my shutter speed set so that when those kids ran over there I knew what I was going to get my results were going to be predictable I didn't have to go and guess I knew what I was going to get from there I did a serious of photographs of this little boy just playing with his dog very important imagery of him with his with his his his favorite animal just his dog and so by because I got I laid the foundation for my imagery ahead of time I knew where the main light wass and I could get look at the light on his face to see how the light is coming on his face beautifully see those things you want to think about when you're doing a portrait session think about where is the main light well how can I get the light on the subject's face where it needs to be so with that little boy I said hey you know what hey ben down I bet your little puppy guess what he bends down because he wants to pet his dog and guess what I get that beautiful illumination on his fate face which separates him from the background I don't think there's anything cuter than a naked baby andi I've been photographing this little girl since the day she was born and I love doing lifestyle portrait by the way people that are maura fluent the wealthier you go up the food chain the more they will not hang a big portrait of someone of their family on the wall they hang fine art on the wall like you know they hang money isn't a gauze and stuff like that they're not going to hang a big picture of their family so you want to do albums and lifestyle books they are all over life cell photography is not sloppy photography though people it's not about happy snap shots just because you know I'll just take a bunch of pictures of this kid running in the yard there is thought behind it you still need to pay attention to where the direction of light is coming from and interact with your subject in such a way that you maximize the benefits what you can't see in this picture is that my assistant is standing just off camera over on the right hand side and he's got like her favorite her favorite doll her mom is outside and so michael is interacting with her and she naturally runs in the door to come and see uncle mike so you want to think about what is going on in ways that you can tell beautiful stories and if you need to stack the deck it's okay this is after all photography it's not like you know we're not you know we're not trying to you know find a cure for cancer or something like that but because I knew I had could get predictable results I metered first of all for someone with that skin tone right in that area so I knew what I was going to get main lights coming through the doorway I get that beautiful light on this little girl and able tto have a beautiful beautiful siri's of images official lady from there this is that same little girl we also photographed her with her grandmother and her family members that she had her breakfast that morning I love this picture some of my favorite images I mean and this is to me where shallow depth of field is your best friend I shot this in the eighty five millimeter one point to lens hey the only thing tax sharpen this picture is those two eyeballs right there and I loved it when you know these are the moments that you can capture from a child that are absolutely priceless but keep your focus narrow and make what is in the picture important for the scene so in other words crop it in the camera learned to get it right in the camera um one of my favorite things to do this little boy were we develop a game played games with everybody I love playing games the people I'm not a bit shy about doing this hey give me five now while I grab him I hit myself on the head you know what the worst thing okay so I made a fool out of myself a big deal like it's going to last time right I mean I had fifty years to perfect that one let me tell you and so it's not going to hit any it's going to be bob sled to h e double toothpicks just so you know so so what I try to do is I want the experience to be fun so I find an environment where the light is pretty I find that friend for these kind of lifestyle portrait I prefer to use just natural light because it's a less scary thing for children so either the window is right over here look at how big the light sources and then the mom what you can't see she's just standing right off side the on the edge of the bed and what we were doing it I was having him crawl towards me so he'd crawl towards me and then she dragged his feet back and then he would do it again and because of that I was able to get amazing pictures of this this whole kid and this I just love this photograph because it's all about him and it's about this wonderful experience and I don't think it gets any better the hands are not in focus on purpose they should have because you don't want anything taking away from that face yes it's black and white or is that nick software this one right here that is actually that is marcus bell's number twenty two so is this marcus bills twenty two now in this case this little girl I've been photographing her since the day she was born a swell on guy flew to they actually live here in seattle and I flew to seattle to photograph and do a lifestyle session for this family and that I got there the evening I got their mom was just getting ready to give the kids about so I did a lot of pictures the kids getting their bath and just clowning around the tub and being children and then afterwards it's cozy time so I just said to the mom I said hey could you just do your cozy time with your with your little girl just over in this area they have she had a beanbag laying on the floor so I just had her new cozy time with her and then positioned myself in relation to that light source to see the lights coming from behind your about about forty five degrees somewhere camera position is you see you see how it doesn't matter whether it's a bride or a baby and actually I have a lot in common don't they write seven meltdown babies have meltdown should find that baby's actually easier than price sometimes so if you can create some beautiful beautiful imagery and just by standing there and getting some beautiful soft experiences I always try to place myself on the shadow side of the face so it gives my image it's a beautiful dimensionality and then I don't want the rest of this body to be sharp and focused I wanted it's all about the face that you want to ask yourself what is this moment about what is going to give you the biggest bang for my buck and give me what I need to tell this story properly same little girl the next morning I walked into her bedroom before she woke up and I just walked behind her are behind her crib and open to the drapes then I took one of her she had about three mickey mouse hats in her in her crib so I just put one on top of my head well guess what she wakes up right there on dh then what does she do she puts her mickey mouse hat on just like me where the main light is I'm standing just see I'm standing in positioning myself where I could draw her natural attention to me in the way that's going to give the best photograph you see it's about where you need to be as a photographer and if I want to change your your attention and move in and get you to turn this way you see the way for me to do that is to move myself and the less you could see with children you're not going to get her clothes I'm not going to say oh here you know kasi honey I want you to pose like this no it doesn't happen but you can stack the deck in your behalf by doing silly things that kids enjoy you know like putting that thing on my head then of course it nationally made her want to put it on her head as well and then because I was standing in the direction where the light would be optimal for me I could get a beautiful beautiful photograph and again notice where those catch lights are under either of the eleven o'clock position and the benefit to that is that that the light hits the iris on the opposite side and it makes it glow and it gives you this beautiful illuminated I it's very very beautiful you can use other kinds of light sources this is actually the other little girl that you saw a little earlier this is wasn't bath time and I shot this in a very tiny bathroom that was probably no bigger than this little tiny area right here was a very small room but where's the main light coming from well in this case the main light was coming from up above so I have a couple of choices what can I d'oh well I've got to draw that child's attention up so if I'm gonna do that then I said hey mom what should come right over about over here and I want you start pouring water into your little daughter's hand I stood outside of the bathroom so that I could rim light her face and get the light falling on the face in a pleasing way and it does not get any better than this this is with the eighty five millimeter at two point oh look at the eyes or tax sharp we get this beautiful image that has feeling and movement and the tungsten actually works for me I chose not to color correct this out and I have to tell you I can I have a couple of images of this siri's and black and white and I couldn't decide which I like better I actually felt that the warmth of the tungsten light from a just a bathroom light fixture just kind of felt right to me um of course because I'm working in raw that I could do whatever I want to I'm not limited come in tight on your on your baby's faces and because if you do that then you can photograph literally anywhere you're never never locked and you don't have to have fancy backgrounds and for those of you that are photographers working out of your home it means you're totally free if and I by the way I worked out of my home for many many years as a photographer andi will tell you these days if I had to do it over again instead of having clients come to my home for photo shoots I would probably go to their home because I think for a number of recent number one I can work in the comfort of their environment and many really high paid professionals go to your home many high paid professionals your insurance agent don't they come to your house your real estate agent they come to your home don't they and they come dressed in a very professional way so it's not a bad way to do it and then just fine little nooks and crannies around their home that you can use this an environment this little boy was adorable I had so much fun photographing him and his sister um and I just said hey I want you to take me can you take me to your room and I had heard his parents and told me he loved legos so he just started building stuff I said I bet you you can't build me a spaceship can you and so he of course started building me a spaceship right away so just by interacting with him um and again this is just with a window in his bedroom I could capture it there are times when I'm going to do group images and notice the difference I want comfortable relaxing environment again there's more space around this family group because we have this natural environment to work with it was actually raining when I shot this picture of this family but I love the soft light it wasn't like a heavy downpour it was like a misting rain just before it started heavy down pouring so by placing this little girl in front of her her grandpa right there I can minimize his shape I try to keep people soft and a bit more relaxed in their pose but notice again we're getting triangular shapes here this another triangle there there's another triangle there now this family a completely different environment but notice again how casual and I hope that you see a difference in the way that these people are opposed based on the what they're wearing and the environment that they're in I have photographed I did this couple's wedding and I have photographed their children every single year since then so again in a very very casual way we get our triangle shape composition going on on this again was just shot with just a window over on the right hand side this is a bit more of a formal family how do you know yeah look at how they're dressed that to meet screams volumes their little girls with all the little white bows in their hair very proper very elegant very very very very lovely southern family but again the same kinds of compositional element trying to reshape compositions triangle shape composition triangle shape composition here but spread your group's out don't be afraid to give a little bit of breathing room so when I shot this in this image I chose to do it outside on their back porch because the main light coming over on the backside was just beautiful notice how that people are sitting forward on the seat there not sitting back in the environment to create that that picture and now what about this family are they like the other ones no their mom and dad are sassy and cute and they're just they're very very casual family I shot this actually in my backyard notice the way the children are poses a bit more young and contemporary because it was dictated by the family member the mom and the dad he shows up he's wearing this really cool hip kind of shirt and really trendy g blue jeans on the mom is just a little hottie she's just as cute as she can be in her hair is in a very casual kind of a very youthful look so and then the way that they had their children dressed absolutely screamed balling is that mia's how to pose them so I did a variety of pictures of the family I'm just doing a nice beautiful family portrait here and then from there I broke down and I did group I did individual shots so the little boy without having to move the family I just moved him from here to stand in front of dad came in tight on his face to shoot this picture of him again notice the highlights and shadows and more highlights to capture a beautiful picture of his face now with him and dad just clowning around just goofing off I brought my chair I have this really cool leather chair that I bring outside occasionally and it's just a silly old leather chair and and we just move it outside and put it in the tall grass is and I want to get people comfortable and cozy I like to photograph higher up so I bring I have a stepladder the higher camera angle is really important because again I want to minimize anything under here and it'll give me a mohr a more interesting environment background wise look at sea in the background just kind of goes away I love that I think that just says so much about clowning around with your children and what does that say they're sexy they're very sexy young couple noticed where the light just son just evening sky literally right but right before sunset but this is just where the higher camera angle is brilliant on them and they get tucked in she's laying across his lap in that same chair so you can use simple props and just simple neutral backgrounds are so so beneficial but you say we get that beautiful shadow on her face here and that great jaw outline that dark shadow under his jaw which gives him which really mimics in my opinion his eyes and gives him that wonderful wonderful sexy look so it's a really cool way to tell a unique story for every single client that you photographed but number one fundamental you've got to always think about where your lights coming from and how you pose in relation to that light source and then think about what your subjects are weary and how you can tell a story that fits that family so for them I wanted cool and cute and sexy so I stood on my ladder so that I could photograph down on them when you photograph down on somebody like my camera guys can you get a pie higher with that light sources on my face notice what happens with my face this is a little scary okay notice see if I keep my chin down and look up it with my eyes guess what for older women specifically it makes your eyes look bigger when you look up not with your eyebrows and look up with your eyebrows but look up with the eyes now bring that down and notice how unflattering that light gets here I'm gonna move closer so this is my main light keep coming down and notice how much more unflattering it gets the lower that that angle goes see the lower that light goes the more unflattering it is under here so it's not good okay um but even those lifestyle port it's not just about moms and babies and little kids and families and lovable they can also be about band members and cool people that you know so when I photographed this young man he was he was the member of a really interesting ban on guy chose to photograph in this in this club the only light source that I used was the light coming from these spotlights but notice the way that I posed him the color temperature of the light I chose to use the temperature of the light to create a more interesting photograph see the way the light skims across his body most of his body is in shadow of course if you're using these kinds of environments then you're going to have to increase your s o and my oh so is probably up around thirty two hundred speed the same exact a group of guys I just chose to have him lately lay back on this on this bench but notice where his face is it pulls I haven't slouch on that bench to bring the face back up a bit towards a light and that the other band member turning his face towards him to create a bit more of an editorial story about a couple of band members in a group how about this one this is of that same group of guys they were about to go up and do a recording so what I did I didn't want to stop the action I didn't want to say hey guys stop here and posed blah blah blah I wanted to keep my actual posing to a minimum because it's been my experience that sometimes you have to really pull back a bit occasionally with people because if they if they start feeling the camera too much or feel that you're manipulating them too much you'll kill it you'll kill the magic and especially is that important when you're photographing musical groups because they really like to keep pre spirited so I do maybe one or two pictures where I actually manipulate them and interact with them and then I pull back and I want lots of reality and that I will move myself in relation to that light source so that I don't have to stop them in real time it's just a really want to really learn to finish yourself in them so what I did before they went up the staircase I had my assistant run up the stairs and stand where this guy was going to stand so that I could go ahead and stack the deck in my behalf and get a light meter reading on about where I wanted to be so that when those guys started walking up those stairs I knew where my shot wass and I didn't have to go but like that and take a bazillion pictures to get one shot and because I knew it my shutter speed and my aperture and my exposure was going to be I could get it really quickly without any effort without a lot of effort so to speak so learn to finesse and think okay well if you know where doe I want where I want this story to go and how can I how can I stack the deck and get it right so that I'll have to make people repeat themselves does that make sense okay we're down to the homestretch kids for the morning session this same gentleman this was him and his beautiful bride I chose to do a few images of them by themselves the main light is coming from where it's actually coming from through that open window but notice the way it skims across his body illuminating his body so we get highlights on the chair and then shadow areas and then another highlight and then shadows in another highlight and the more shadows on the young lady to create a bit more of an interpretive story with the young lady it's important that she not be standing flat footed so in her case I told her to just create an x with her legs and then lean into the window he would not work for her to head lean with the other leg because it doesn't it doesn't make sense if you're trying to lean the top part of your body into the window here and your energy is flowing the other direction so you want all of the energy to flow in the same direction so her energy flows from her to him and out of the picture does that make sense okay and then last but not least and this will be the closing segment for our today's morning program don't just limit it to fund really cute young groups of people but also don't forget about grand parents and so forth this is truly my favorite man in the world I love this man I love his family and I have photographed his family for ever and so I did a series of portrait of him at his home with his wife and his his daughter and such and I and then I said you know tell me about your dad you know what does he usually do well you know he always sits in this room and he loves music and he used to play when he was younger and he loves to read the newspaper so I did a series of images of him in this environment by himself and I did some with him and his beautiful wife is well and my reason for doing that was to create a variety of different stories for that family shortly after I did this siri's of images of him with his wife and such she was diagnosed with alzheimer's and today she is not the same woman that she was the day that I did that so it's really important to just think about the stories that you can tell because they're meaningful to someone and I think that's what I really want to say is that you know we're not just this is a logical decision even though there is logic behind taking pictures there's logic behind your f stops and your shutter speeds and such but it's not just an antiseptic experience it's about people in their lives and about their family members so well let's think about who those people are and find a window into their soul so that we can interpret who they are and create something that is very very special to them it really does make a huge huge difference

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!