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Shoot: Bride Portraits

Lesson 4 from: From Shoot Through Photo Editing: Wedding Portrait Retouch in Lightroom and Photoshop

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

4. Shoot: Bride Portraits

Lesson Info

Shoot: Bride Portraits

When we're shooting in this area and we're shooting the groom, I kinda wanted to go for a more dramatic sequence of images, right? With this, I wanna go for something a little more soft. Now, I can put a flash up. I could do that. I just need to modify how we did. I wanna show ya another type of light source, the Ice Light, which is a fantastic thing in the toolkit. This is nice because we're talking about now, a constant light, and with a constant light the benefit is, you just turn it on, get to your power setting, and go. All we have to do is just kind of hold it, and what we're gonna do is, I'm actually gonna bring this over. And lemme just mention, while I'm kinda moving things, that the Ice Light is I think it's like four or $500 bucks. It's pricey. It's not an inexpensive piece of gear, but there's a lot of debate about cheaper alternatives. Now, first of all, usually the cheap guys are rip-offs. They're actually patented. These are patented products, so anything that comes out ...

that's like that is a rip-off basically, and what you wanna be aware of is if you're buying a light that's $100 bucks that thinks it does this, it really doesn't. It looks like a light, but the difference is the CRI. CRI is the color rendition index. What that means is, this kind of a light is gonna put out a much cleaner light. It's gonna look like daylight, as opposed to a light with a CRI below 90 or whatever it is. That light that comes out is gonna look green, okay? You're gonna get muddied tones. It doesn't look good. A lot of testing goes into these to make sure that, not only is it durable, but the CRI is above 95, 97. They're really ridiculously high. That's the benefit of having something like this. But, what we'll see is, if we hold it, we have this little barn door, which just kind of helps to, it does what a grid would do, right, kind of. It just funnels the light forward a little bit, but we can do it without, and as we adjust, if we go this way, versus this way, we get two different types of light. This is a softer light. Why? Because we're widening the edge of it. This is more of a vertical light that goes top down, almost like a strip box light, okay? I'm gonna have you actually go this way, and what we're gonna do is, Can I also get a apple box pulling out? I'm gonna have you stand on the apple box, my dear. Yeah. (box thuds) (laughs) Anything else? Okay. What we're gonna do now is, lemme go ahead and switch off to an 85. (quiet clicking) 'Kay, thinking about this scene, and what would work best with this scene, well, again, we have this kind of nice bright look in the background. It looks fantastic. Let's go off on that for just one second. I'm gonna go ahead and just kind of, let's get our settings right first, and give you guys a couple test shots here. I want the background to be fairly bright. That's cute, I love that. (speaking off mic) Oh whoops, lemme turn that off. I'll just pop this off for now. Okay. What I want is I want my scene to be fairly bright. I'm at 1/200 of a second, f/1.4, ISO 100, 5500 degrees Kelvin. The only thing is, I need some attention drawn to her, right? Everything else is so bright in the image, but her face is dark, and so, we take that test shot, so you guys can actually see, that's where we wanna bring the light in. The difference this go around, is that, I'm not gonna modify this to look super-dramatic and super-dark. For her, I'm gonna choose a brighter, kind of more airy look to the images, because most of our brides, it's really funny, most of our grooms wanna look debonair, dramatic, powerful. They wanna have that look. They always say, I want those really epic shots. That's the word that they use. Most of our brides want the soft images. They wanna feel feminine. They want that look. There are brides that want the more edgy, kind of hard light, but for the most part, I would say, they go with the softer look. We're gonna shoot that. We're gonna go for the softer look with her shots. What I'm gonna do is, let's adjust you just a tiny, tiny bit. I'm gonna go ahead and move this first. And let's adjust you. Come down, love, for one second. And I'm Persian, so I say love a lot, just, (bride laughs) Sorry Kurt, I'll hit you up with some loves next time. (bride and audience laughs) You like love. Yeah, it's my thing. That's great. There's a big black bar that goes through the center of this background, so what I'm gonna try and do is, I'm gonna, for some close-up shots, focus more on this piece. And so, what I'm gonna have you do, my dear, is turn towards the audience. There ya go. And I want you to kind of have a nice, kind of drop to the step. I know that that's a really small platform. (laughs) Should we? Why not? (bride laughs) Oh, I thought you meant you're gonna make it even higher. Oh. (laughs) It's like we're raising the stakes. (speaking off mic) Yeah, okay. So you're gonna kind of step and then let the back kind of arch. And what we're gonna do is yeah, we're gonna show the curve of the back. I want this right hand to drop back. Usually if she has a bouquet, I'll have her hold the bouquet with the left hand and let it hang to the side. And I want you to look down and towards this side. Perfect, just like that. Okay, and then I want to see your right arm so it looks like you have a right arm. So from my angle, if I take the shot, guys, you'll notice. Oh I got tangled. I'm all tangled. I don't know why I do voices, guys. (quiet chuckles) It's kinda my thing. Okay, there we go. So if I pop this shot, you guys are gonna notice it kinda looks like she's missing an arm. Okay. And like she's angry at me. (laughing) Don't be mad at me. It's okay. So what I wanna do is kind of reveal the arm. Now she is perfectly slender, but what we wanna do is make sure the arm positioning is flattering. Now again, we don't have time to go over this entire thing but the Incredible Engagements has a full section on posing. We're gonna put her arm across kind of the body like this. If she has a tummy, we probably wanna avoid that. Because anywhere the hands and the fingers go is where attention is gonna be drawn, right. So you wouldn't bring your hands to the belly if you didn't wanna feature that. Unless it's a maternity shot. Again, we wanna feature that. This isn't a maternity shot, right? No, okay. (laughing) So (laughs) let's just try this. This is gonna get more awkward before it gets better, trust me. (laughs) Okay. Now bring the fingers kinda closed like on the right hand, so kind of let it be soft and let it almost hang down a little bit on the body a little bit, there you go. And look down to that side, perfect. Perfect. I want you to relax your right shoulder, too. So like relax it down, there you go. Okay. Now let's go ahead and add in that light, John. Okay. And I'm gonna have that light, I wanna go for this soft, kinda Rembrandt light. Let's go from right about here. Now it's lit flat into her face, but think of my angle. My angle that's actually a very dramatic angle for the light, right. Because on my angle, I'm shooting from this profile. Okay so now look at me right here. Bring the chin down. There you go and a soft smile with the lips. Perfect. And I want you just to turn the body a little bit and relax the right hand actually. So let's relax the right hand, so bring it off the body. There you go, just like that. Bring the chin down, smile toward the ground a little bit. There you go, and put the right hand just on the dress a little bit, like almost like you're holding the dress a little. There you go, beautiful, I like that there. (shutter clicks) Okay. Now we don't have to worry about flash. And we've kind of matched that soft daylight look. While fixing the attention, right, so now we've drawn attention into her and I'll go flick back and forth between these. So look at these two. Okay, so do you see how dark her face is. Now we're kinda bringing that up a bit. We're matching those out. Okay, so let's keep tweaking this. Dear, I want you to go arch the back, bring both hands right to the front like this. I wanna get a shot of you looking down so we can kind of see the veil training behind you. Is that a word, training behind you? (chuckles) It is now. Perfect. This is like a very industrial scene, right guys, but we're still making this scene look fairly soft in camera with that super shallow depth of field with the right kind of lighting exposure. And then, my dear, I want a kind of a softer, actually go behind, what if we went behind the back. Oh that's cute, I like that. Perfect. I love that, bring the chin down and to my side a little bit, kind of rotate a little bit. There you go, soft smile towards the ground a little bit. Beautiful. Want you to bring the eyes to me. So turn, open up a little bit into me there you go, right there. Really cute, let the right hand drop and be against your side. And let the left hand drop, too. So left hand kind of drop, right hand kind of comes and holds onto the dress from your right side, there you go, right there. Beautiful, I love that. Smile and there it is. Gorgeous, look down as you're laughing. Beautiful. Okay, you can see what we've done with this natural frame. So that's why I had him grab an apple box. If we have like a chair or something to stand on, oftentimes I'll put the bride up and one thing I want you guys to remember is my height, I'm still shooting down. Like if I get close, I'm still shooting down on her, what we wanna avoid is getting close, putting her too high and then going up. So I know a lot of our female photographers are gonna be a little bit shorter, it's a great idea to take around a little stool with you like a little, they're like two pound stools that you can buy that get you like two steps up. And take it around the shoots because it'll really help to get higher. We never wanna shoot up on somebody, because it's just unflattering, right? Unless it's a guy, I wanna make him look powerful and dominating over the frame, but for girls it's generally gonna be kind of unflattering we're gonna go up the nostrils, it's not something that we wanna really feature. I dunno, do you wanna feature it? (chuckling) Maybe. Yes. Maybe just a little bit. Sure. (chuckling) Sure. Why not. (chuckling) 'Kay, let's play around a little bit, I'm gonna go onto one of my favorite lenses for showing off the detail. So we've kind of gotten a semi, now again, if we were in a hotel room or somewhere else, we're gonna generally shoot through that doorway we're gonna shoot some sort of a shot where we can kind of set the scene with her dress and everything. And we can still do that if we have time, but I wanna get into the details right now and shoot some of the details. So I'm going onto a 100mm macro (quiet clicks) and whether she's wearing the dress or not, I like to go in close and, my dear, bring your hands just to the front like that. I'm just shooting the detail of the dress. So I just wanna get some of the lace kind of pieces. I'm gonna go ahead and look at my exposure live view, hey. Cheat when you can, it's my rule. Don't tell my kids I said that. (chuckles) (shutter click) Okay, so I'll take little pieces of detail shots. (beeping) Like this. Again, we're thinking about the story, right, so in an album, this actually makes a nice little square cutout to show like the lace, we'll show the lace of the veil. So I'll just kind of bring that open a little bit. (exhales) (shutter clicks) I'm giving my album design people things to work with. Ope, did it lose? There it is. Ah there we go, perfect. There we go. Okay, simple little pieces. So we're just at 1/200 of a second, ISO 400, f/28 right now. Now I'm gonna go for the makeup. John, can I get, oh you know what? Remember I said, I'm totally gonna forget to tell you guys this. Can we turn off these lights above us? When I walk into a hotel room, one of the first things that I'll do is if the lights above us don't look good, we ask them just to shut them off. Just so we have nice consistent lighting. And since I'm bumping, you're not gonna notice this kind of stuff with him, right? So if I go back to these. With him, why don't we see it? Do you guys know? Why don't we see the yellow coming from those lights. It's well yeah, this light is kinda soft, but the main reason that we don't see it is because we're adding so much additional light so we're exposing for that flash that we're adding which is so much brighter than those. I started to notice them in yellow right now because now we're balancing to brighten the scene, and once we did that, I started seeing yellow casts coming through on her skin and then we go okay, the lights are on, we need to flip them off. Okay, so when your flashing it's not as big of a deal because you're overpowering those lights. But when you're not, then it becomes an issue. So let's go back to this set and so you can see that yellow cast. I was like, why are we getting a little bit of yellow on the skin, yeah, there we go. Alright. Let's grab the Ice Light. I love those though, those are adorable. Can you see it? Yeah. You like it? Yeah. Good. She has to say that. (chuckling) Wouldn't it be terrible if you're like, mmmno. (laughter) Not really. Hmm (chuckles) You look amazing. Okay so what we're gonna do is I wanted to get some shots now that focus on the detail of her. So I want that to come to the front. Let's hold it like this and there you go. And let's actually bring it more towards my side. Perfect, okay. I'm gonna show you guys this. And then I'm gonna show you guys the poor man's version of this. Perfect. 'Kay, look down, perfect. I wanna focus just on the dress detail so bring the hands, okay, let me take a quick shot, guys. Look down a little bit, soft smile. (clicks) And by the way, I'm just going to point something out, I would never do this on an actual shoot, obviously but, you're my model and so. You're flawlessly skinny, but anybody, anybody that's doing this, is going to have this arm thing going on right here. If I have the arms crossing the body. Let me just move this guy, whoops. That's not what I meant to do. (chuckling) So what we wanna do is just adjust a little bit the hand positioning. So I want you guys to think of all the different areas of the frame as you're going and getting these shots. So your focus is her and her makeup and so forth, but you still need to watch those corners and the edges of the frame. So what we're gonna do, my dear, is bring the hands kind of at the back a little bit. There you go, perfect. And maybe like do... There you go, bring this hand like right to the side and just leave a little bit of space right there, perfect. Look down to the side, perfect. Bring that light in right there. Beautiful. Okay, and show me behind the back. That's really cute. (shutter clicks) Beautiful. 'Kay, i'm gonna go crop a little bit wider. (clicks) Soft smile. (shutter clicks) 'Kay and then this is where I would go, let me get in tight for a makeup shot. And I would just kind of shoot this close up. Of her and then one shot of you looking up towards me. There it is, beautiful. Soft smile. Be really careful with this. I wanted to show this, 'cause she has a low cut dress. If you have a low cut dress, it can make them look nude if you crop it all out. So just show a fringe of the dress in the frame, cool. So I wanted to show you that. I wanted to show you, well there are ways like we try and teach you guys that tools like this make our lives easier. That's what nicer gear does. Is it simply makes your life better. But we can do it any way we want to and that's why we try and teach you all to master the lighting, because this is my reflector. And I've actually had this for a long time and they recently released the Westcott Omega. So I have a silver and then I have a silver with, my peeping Tom. (chuckling) Alright, so it's a shoot through reflector. And so what we'll do is I will actually bring her, so I'm gonna say let's come off the apple boxes for one sec. (footsteps) I'm just gonna do the rest of the course like this, if that's cool. (laughing) You think it looks good, right? Mm-hmm It draws attention to my face. (laughing) Okay, so let's have you step back to that side. I actually saw a really cool tutorial featured recently. I think I saw it on PetaPixel. A guy had a reflector and he cut a tiny hole just for the size of his own lens. It makes it so you can't really move around much inside of this area, but her was holding it himself because he could rest it on the lens. So that's another way to do this. But this is the guy I've had for a long time. So what I'm gonna do is bring this up close and I love the look that this has. It looks like this close up beauty look. And can you see this, how much light it's putting on her? Can you guys see that? It's crazy huh? (exhales) Tip number 295, baby. John, can you hold that right there? I'm gonna come to the other side. Yep, totally. Just put my head through it. Put your head through it, yeah. It feels great, just try it. (chuckles) (laughs) That's flawless right there. I love that. So what I'm gonna do is get a quick little balance here and that looks gorgeous. I'm gonna leave this fairly bright, guys. 'Cause I want it to be bright. So we're gonna leave it, there you go, right there, John. It's perfect. Oh I love that smile. (shutter clicks) Gorgeous, look down and to the right side a little bit, look down to your right. There you go, right there, beautiful. Lift up a little bit there John. Right there. (shutter clicks) Perfect. Oh, that's fantastic, and then from right there bring your eyes into the camera. (shutter clicks) Give me a little laugh, perfect. Oh, what? Did this disconnect? Or is it just slowing down. Okay. You have a question, any questions? Sure. This is a good time for it. Earlier we had asked, somebody had asked if they could see you actually holding up the prism. Like see where you are in terms of? Set up a beautiful shot? There you go. The prism relative to the lens. Got it, so yeah. Usually what I'm doing is, you take your hood off you either take the hood off or reverse it 'cause you need to get it right up to the glass. Generally you're gonna shoot these at a low aperture. So anywhere between like 1.2 up to 2.8. Okay, so those are great apertures. So if you too high, it becomes too unfocused and you kind of tell what it is. So just bring it up and you're gonna close off like a side of the lens, or side of the image that you don't wanna show. And then you're gonna rotate this. The interesting thing about a prism, any one that you use, is that you're actually not seeing what's the surface that's close to you. You're seeing the opposite side of the edge. So when I hold this right here, I'm actually seeing where my thumb is. Okay, so that's the reflection I'm gonna kind of angle into position and then I'm gonna get a little focus right here. Small for me, Dee. That's what I'm talking about right there. (shutter clicks) Okay, so you just bring it and you move it in and out to kind of control how much of the frame you're actually adding. Cool? I think we're all good. Kay, let's do this. So I guess we gotta do that real quick again. Let's bring this up. And I wanna just see what it looks like without this. So let's go none first and then there you go, I love that, perfect. Great, and now let's bring it up. Okay, I'm gonna adjust you a little bit, there you go, tilt right there. Perfect. Perfect, I love your smile. Perfect. Look down on the right side. Beautiful, bring the hand to the back. Perfect. And then just kind of bring it back a little bit, John. Right there. Fantastic. (shutter clicks) Beautiful and then from right there give me your eyes. Soft smile of the lips. And now a full smile, give it to me. The real deal, there it is. (shutter clicks) Perfect. Those are really nice, right? Like very simple and easy to do. Just take an old reflector and cut a hole in it. Now people ask should I buy the Omega? I kind of like the Omega because you can put the hole back. (laughs) So I don't have to carry about a ton of reflectors but I've had this forever and so it's like why not just keep it? I like to save money where I can. But it's still a really cool product. So let's go ahead now and I want to start working the veil a little bit, and so we're gonna switch out to a 50. (shuffling and clicking) So you guys see how I'm showing a little bit of the dress at the bottom? Just show a little bit of that dress so we can actually see she's wearing closthes. Know what I mean? This ain't boudoir, guys. Jen Rosen's mom'll do that all day long. Alright. 'Kay, let's bring, let's see, how we doing on time, Kenna? We've gotta keep moving. We've got about 10 minutes. So let's do this then. I'm gonna demo these shots then, with Kurt in them, so let's do a couple of shots with Kurt. Actually, let me do one other shot, just to feature her. I forgot to get this real quick. Real quick, real quick, sorry. Okay, there's a couple of like really nice shots that I really like doing that I wanted to show off. Not show off, because that sounds arrogant and conceited. (laughter) I'm just kidding. So let's bring the veil over your head. If they have a veil, I love doing this shot, it shows close up detail, it's really fantastic. The trick to making this shot look awesome is to get the right light on the veil. So generally you want the light kind of coming at sort of an angle. And you want little crimps in the veil itself. So I kind of just tease it a little bit and get it to kind of pull in. Look down my dear, to that side, look down, straight down. Like chin down a little bit. Chin down, there you go. Perfect, okay. So we're just gonna kind of tease a little bit so we have a nice. I'm making sure that her one eye that we're gonna be focusing on is clear, that's the word, yeah. That's a good word, clear. And then what we're gonna do is get in tight. This is one of those shots where sometimes I won't add light to it, because it ruins the light on the veil. Perfect, gotta love that. Chin down a little bit. (shutter clicks) I love that, let's add just the Ice Light. And we're gonna go from the direction. I'm gonna go from the direction of the window and just like that. Just to give me a little bit of crossover into the face. And let's see where the exposure is at. Bring the exposure down by one little stop. (shutter clicks) Beautiful. I love that. I'm gonna do one brighter, too just so we have it the same brightness. (shutter clicks) I love that soft smile. Perfect. 'Kay, the rest of the veil work I'm gonna do. I'm gonna just make sure that, yeah. The rest of the veilwork I'm gonna do, so a really cute thing to do is get her to laugh while she's in this. So if you can just get, now she's just gonna laugh (chuckles) 'cause she's my model. So it's really cute to get a laughing shot inside of the veil. What I generally don't do inside of the veil is have them look into the camera, that feels weird. Why, because we have this foreground element that's coming over. And so if there's a foreground element coming over and they're looking into the lens, it kind of looks like they're a fish caught in a net. Like, (quiet screaming). I shouldn't be in here. Okay.

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Ratings and Reviews

Pamela Richardson

I would absolutely recommend this class. I watched this class by chance on the rebroadcast, since I am not a wedding photographer. However, I learned so much that I was amazed. I do take many many photographs of friends, family, and at events, although my professional speciality is landscape. I will be able to improve my photographs of people substantially thanks to Pye's course, because I learned so much about how to pose subjects, how to work with a variety of backgrounds, lighting, and then the photo editing. I can apply the photo editing to all of my photographs, not just portraits. I really liked Pye's comprehensive explanations of each step that he was demonstrating, for both the portrait session and the photo editing. I really appreciated Pye's clear demonstrations of how images of people can be improved, and am eager to apply his examples to my own work. I appreciated Pye's absolutely outstanding presentation skills, as he had slide show already prepared, with the list of tips and associated mini tips for every step of the process. I learned so much about equipment (such as lighting and flashes), additional software, printing and publishing services, and more. Pye's presentation pace allowed me to make notes and absorb what he was saying. My friends and family will also appreciate my increased skills at retouching photos of them!!!


loved this class! lots of good info and it was great to see a small version of his normal shooting process. He presents it in a very fun and entertaining way making it not just educational but also enjoyable to watch!


A+ Fantastic course. Quick work flow is a real weakness of mine. Pye did a terrific job. I must admit, sometimes I fail to appreciate the top caliber of talent CreativeLive gets. There are a log of great Instagram photographers that don't make money. CreativeLive gets top tiered working photographers, which is key. I know I'll need to re-watch so I can implement what Pye taught.

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