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Shoot: Groom Portraits

Lesson 3 from: From Shoot Through Photo Editing: Wedding Portrait Retouch in Lightroom and Photoshop

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

3. Shoot: Groom Portraits

Lesson Info

Shoot: Groom Portraits

Okay, so let's walk through this scene right here, I'm just gonna tell you kinda what I'm seeing. So going this direction I have this beautiful, backlit scene which would look fantastic as a bright and airy kind of a look. So when I'm thinking of bridal portraits I go hey, this is money right here. I can set up right here, do a little bit of stuff to modify and it'd look fantastic. This area is gonna need a little bit more work. Like we have a lot of kind of plugs and kinda junk against the wall, but we have a good background. We have a light coming in from this side, we have a little bit of light coming in from this side. I know that if I place my subject here, most likely I'm gonna have to modify light, add light, and adjust the exposure a little bit. But it's still a good background that you could potentially use. I'm gonna show you how we can knock out certain things, like plugs, by using special effect type stuff. Going in this direction, well this is pretty much flawless. Going i...

n this direction we have a beautiful background, we have this kind of nice patina? It's a patina wall, right? I learned that later on. I was like they have this cool wall, and someone said oh that's a patina wall. It's a patina wall. So these patina doors are fantastic. That background would look amazing. We have a beautiful flat light coming from these windows, so it's a very flattering direction if you wanna shoot that way. So we have a lot of good stuff in here, and we actually have a nice background going this way too. If we were to place, say, a sofa right here, and shoot against this side, that would look great as well. We have two lights coming in from each side. So what we always try to do is work to the scene's strength, and modify as needed, as little as possible basically. The more we try and make this look like what it's not, the worse it kinda looks, you know what I mean? If we keep it, if we just kinda make small modifications it'll look fantastic, but if we try and turn a scene into something that it really isn't, that's where we run into a little bit of issues. Let's do this. Curt, come on out buddy. We have our debonair groom, he's actually married already. And your wife in the back, it's gonna be awesome. That's buddy for comin' on. Thank you. We're gonna do a set of portraits, you look fantastic by the way, Thank you. and I'm not just sayin' that. Okay, so let's do some portraits. And what I wanna do is I'm gonna decide now kinda the look that I want for Curt's images before we start shooting. So I'm gonna say for the groom, a lot of times for the groom I like to shoot a little bit more dramatic types of images, okay? So I like to have darker backgrounds, I like to have more contemplative-type images, I like to have that kind of a look. So I'll try and set them up in a scene where we have that naturally. If we don't, we'll modify a little bit. So Curt, what I'm gonna have you do is stand right here. And let's flip over to our tethered view. And I'm on a 50 right now, so let me just get a quick little gauge. So I can see we have that nice light coming in from that side, and I'm gonna step right here. We'll move the the tether table a little bit. Perfect, I'm gonna use my live view. Tips galore, guys, tips galore. 'Kay, remember everything that we talked about, right? Everything we talked about in those first ten tips we're gonna reiterate and we're gonna work through as we're shooting. So what I'm gonna do is dial in an exposure. I'm gonna get to about, let's see. Looking at the histogram, what I wanna do first is I'm gonna actually shoot this so you guys can see the progression, basically. Now normally I would just shoot the images that I wanna get, but I want you guys to see how different we're gonna make this scene look from start to finish, okay? So, let's go ahead and get started. I went to 1/100 of a second, I'm at ISO 400 and F1.4. And we're gonna go to 5,500 degrees kelvin. I'm gonna take a shot, now this is gonna read as pretty darn bright, okay? 'Kay, and now my highlight alert is what tells me, if you look at this close you can see it's tellin' me a little bit of his face is knocked out, right? So I'm just gonna make a little bit of adjustment. My histogram didn't really tell me that, it's the highlight alert that told me. So I'm gonna make a little adjustment here. 'Kay, that's pretty dang close. We'll go up to 1/200 for, this was at 1/160. And let me switch this to 1/160, okay. But here's my issue with this, is that right now it kind of looks a little bit plain. When I look at the image, I go yeah, the red brick is a little bit too bright, I don't like it. I want this to look more dramatic and have a better feel to it, right? So what I'm gonna start doing is actually doing a little bit of modification. And the first thing I wanna do is actually, let's set our exposure for what we want the brick to look like. So real quick, I'm gonna go down to ISO, I'm just gonna use live view real quick and just see. I'm gonna go down to probably ISO 100. That's where I want, so 1/200 of a second, F1.4, and ISO 100. This is what I want the brick to look like. So this is what I mean about thinking about the composition and the attributes. What do you want the scene to look like? Now when you look at this it looks pretty darn dark, right? He looks dark, let me go ahead and just go Shift + F so we go full screen, there we go. Alright. I need to bring him out a little bit, but the brick looks good. So this is where we'd go okay, now that we have that dialed in we're gonna add in our light. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna put a light right here, 'kay? I'm gonna make it a little bit higher than him, pointing down towards him. Curt, I'm gonna have you take a small step forward. Right there. And then, remember guys, we have this cool little button on here. Let's see if we can get that test to fire. So I'm on a Phottix. These are fairly inexpensive, full-feature flashes. This is set to channel 2B, this is controlling channel 2B. We're on 1/128 of the power, 'kay? And now if I press this little button right here guys, this is the depth of field preview button, right here on the side of the camera. You can set this to do a flash preview when a flash is attached. So if you guys see this, as I press it it pulses. Do you see it pulsing against his face? Look at it in the camera. Tips galore people, tips galore, 'kay? So I can actually get a reading on where that light's going from right there. So let's put the zoom at 20 millimeters, and I just wanna take a little shot. Curt, I'm gonna have you bring the chin down to this side, there you go. I'm gonna see where that's light's hitting. Perfect, right there, let's check this out, 'kay. We get a nice look. It's not quite perfected but it's better, 'kay? It's a little bit too dramatic, I need to control the angle of the light. What I'm looking at right now is that I wanna go for a Rembrandt light, but see how it's just split right off the eye right there? We're not quite there yet, and we have a little bit right here. But it looks pretty decent. The only other thing that I feel like is missing is I don't want this light. As I'm looking at this, I'm getting splash on the background, and I think I actually wanna pull the exposure down a little bit more too. I'm gonna go down to low ISO so the bricks even drops even lower. But the only other thing is, is I don't want that light to spill everywhere. We can control that by controlling the zoom on the flash. Right now it's set to 20 millimeters, but what I'm gonna do is I still want, even if I went to 200 zoom or whatever this can go up to, I think this goes up to 200, it says it goes up to 200. I think it is actually 100-something. I'm gonna throw on a MagMod grid. This is gonna tighten up that pattern even more, and it's gonna prevent it from hitting the wall, that's what I wanna prevent. I don't want it to hit the wall, I want it to just get him. So I love this 'cause they just pop right on and I can see where it's comin'. I'm gonna bring this over to this side a little bit more. Now if you're looking at this, you can see it's only hitting him. And I'm just gonna adjust the angle of this down a little tiny bit. Wouldn't it be awesome if I dropped my camera right now? Not really, not really awesome. (light laughter) Alright. 'Kay, so Curt what I want you to do is have a strong, open stance. I want you to kind of open up to the camera a little bit more, there you go. I wanna bring the chin down to this side, perfect, just like that. Let me see where that light's hitting. And brotha, I'm gonna actually bring this light over just a little bit. So I can actually see where the light's hitting once I get his chin into place. I can actually move myself and just kind of see where that's going. M'kay, now I went down to low ISO, so I'm gonna power this guy up just a little bit. Gonna go up to 1/64 power. Let's check that out, that's what I'm talkin' about. 'Kay, so we got that Rembrandt light, and now we just need a nice expression, we need to put some action to it, we need to block out some junk in the frame. So, I'm gonna show you guys my special effect's kit. These are a buncha little, this is like tips galore right here, look at this. Now this is the typical prism. People like Sam Hurd, they made these things really popular for photography, they're fantastic. I love using things like this, like glass. People have been putting things in front of the lens forever. If you watch anything Hollywood, they used to put Vaseline over lenses. Well, over the plastic. Glass, anything. This is a piece of glass that I just bought on Amazon that has a beveled edge to it, so I have a beveled mirror anywhere I go. Like super simple stuff. This is my favorite prism, it's my paperweight too. This gigantic pyramid, ha ha. Amazon's gonna see all these sales of prisms and they're like what is going on, why did prism just become so popular for like five minutes? 'Kay, so this is my favorite prism because it gives me a lot of surface area to work with, and it also looks like a snow cone when you hold it in your hand like this, it looks awesome. Or like a glass ice cream cone maybe? Somethin' like that? Yeah. So I can take stuff that I don't like in the image and I can say Curt, I want you to go and adjust. Like, imagine you have a cuff link you're kind of adjusting. Bring the chin up a little bit, perfect. Look down and to the left side, right there, that's fantastic. Bring the face, just the chin back to me a little bit. And then straighten up the head. And then so you're a little crook to the side right now, there you go, straighten up the head, look down towards, there you go, right there, that's perfect. And then turn the chin a little bit into the left side. Oh sorry, your right, there you go. Look down to the hands, kind of adjust the cuff links as you're goin', there you go, right there bro. 'Kay, and we can knock out kind of all these little plugs that make a scene not so good. We just knock it out with a reflection, whatever we want. We can place that anywhere in the frame that we'd like. 'Kay, now I'm gonna actually pick up the studio in here on certain angles, so I'm gonna be careful with this. So keep goin', there you go, right there bro, 'kay. So the worse a scene is, the more that we're gonna do stuff like this to kind of block things out, 'kay? Really simple. First step to make post-production faster, don't do any. How's that? Take it out in this. So our other special effects stuff. We talked about in, you know, we don't have necessarily a time to run through all this stuff, but we have our LED lights, we have our sparklers. Can I be known for sparklering? Is that a thing, and can that be my thing, sparklering? Doesn't sound as good as prisming or freelensing, but whatever. Atmosphere aerosol, great stuff to take around, get a little bit of atmosphere in the room. Alright, so let's actually shoot a few images. I wanna get a few basic portraits right here. I'm gonna go on to an 85. We're gonna go even tighter, just so we can get a few basic shots of our groom. So let's actually get a sequence of images that I would use for him. Now if I'm gonna bring his eyes into the camera, what I'm probably gonna do is soften the light a little bit. I can do that really easily, John, do you wanna help me out? If you just grab that scrim right there. Watch this guys. You can set up one light like this, tip number 130, 'kay. I'm just gonna bring this up right here, and I'm gonna look at the pattern that's hitting this. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna extend it to the point where the pattern is filling most of the scrim, right? That's increasing the size of the light source. If we bring the scrim back here, if you look at the pattern that's hitting it it's really small, can you guys see that? See how small it is? So we bring the pattern out so we get a nice, large area. 'Kay, now, oop I lost my tether, there we go. We're gonna have to adjust power from that. I'm gonna guess we're gonna lose about two stops of light, okay? So we're gonna go up to 1/16 power. Curt, bring the chin down and to that side right there. Perfect, eyes right towards me, fantastic. (camera clicks) Chin down to the left, right there. And I want you to look down to that left side, there you go. And kinda look down to the ground, a little bit contemplative and turn the chin more. There you go, right there, perfect, just like that. Those are great, I'm gonna go ahead and look at the histogram real quick just to make sure, we're actually really good on the histogram. You guys see how we have a much softer light coming in? Yeah. Instead of usin' the reflector, you could get away with usin' an umbrella? Yeah totally, the reflector gives us a little bit more control in terms of where we place it. Your umbrella, your distance of control is here to here. And so it's the same thing, but the reflector's gonna give us. What we're doing right now is, an umbrella is gonna, you know the shape of the umbrella is kind of spherical, right? So you're gonna spill light everywhere. What this is doing is I'm still utilizing the grid to make sure the light only goes in this direction, and right before it hits him we just open the light up. And so we're basically creating a soft box, almost a gridded soft box, so it's not hitting the background still. So that's really why we're doing that. That was pretty concise, right? Everyone's like Pye, you gotta not be so Pye when you answer questions and I'm like, okay. Alright, so bring that light up again, let's make a couple adjustments. What I wanted to do is adjust the cuff links so go down to the hands, there you go. Kind of adjust right there, perfect, that's solid. Fantastic, bring the chin a little bit more to your right side, there you go, right there. Look down at the cuff links, keep adjusting, perfect. Sometimes we'll do a little bottom-up shot on this. So we love the bottom-up on this angle, kinda gives the guy a little sense of dominance over the frame, looks nice. I want you to go from right, let's go to adjusting the tie actually, so bring your hands up to the tie. And then bring the chin over to this left side and then look up and towards the lens a little bit, so chin down, down, and then straighten the head out a little bit, there you go. Tilt a little bit this way, right there, perfect. Give me a smile to the camera as you're adjusting, there you go, perfect. And then look down while you're adjusting. Chin up a little bit, keep the eyes kinda down though, 'cause you're adjusting the tie, there you go, solid. That didn't fire. (camera clicks) There we go, perfect. (camera clicks) Okay, and then what I'm gonna do is adjust. So bring both hands to the tie like you're adjusting the knot of the tie. I'm gonna get in for the tight kinda crop shot. Let's go right here. (camera clicks) There we go. So these are a little bit of the detail shots that I would get is like this tight shot, if he had a watch on we can focus on the watch, we can get that. But there's a, oh did it not, maybe it didn't load. Oh there we go. So we'll crop the bridge of the nose, so we'll set this down a little bit and we have a nice shot of kind of the tie. If he's smilin', doing that kinda stuff it looks great. It's like we're thinking of these little squares that go in the album, right? So as we're thinking about everything, we're thinking about those little pieces that we're gonna be filling in. Now what I need is, for him, I would still need that scene-establishing shot. Usually we try and shoot it through a doorway, through somewhere where we can get a look into the environment that he's in, and we'll use a light like this to kinda bring attention to him. So what that would look like was kind of the first setup. I'm gonna go back to a 50 mil, 'kay. And then let's go just no, no reflector on this one, so let's bring that out. That reflector's dirty. Helps to add some warmth to it. Warmth. Yeah, there you go. John knows, see? I'm gonna hide behind the TV for a second. And brotha, look down to your right side right there, there you go. Let me just get a quick shot right here. 'Kay, that's solid. I'm gonna power down a little bit on the flash. So I'm gonna take it down to 1/32, 'kay? And we'd shoot something wide. I want you to get a little bit more of a open stance so I can see through the legs a little bit. There you go, right there. And you know what, do this dude. I want you to go kind of almost like you're taking a step where you can rock back and forth a little bit, but flip feet, there you go. And bring one hand out, so bring the right hand out, keep the left hand in the pocket, there you go. And then with the left leg just open a little bit to the side. There you go, right there, perfect. What I'm trying to do guys is I'm opening up the leg a little bit so I can actually see that he has two legs instead of just one, okay? We actually get a pretty cool shot, right? I mean it's very industrial, 'cause we have the stuff in the background, but it looks really cool. And the light is what takes attention off of the background. Because we're burning down the background quite a bit, and so these elements take a much lighter piece of the frame. Now we can even go down more, and we can keep, if I run this actually to, let's go up to, I'm gonna go into high-speed sync guys. The flash can actually do high-speed sync. When we go into high-speed sync versus using an ND filter, we need to power up the flash 'cause we're gonna lose power on the flash, okay? So I'm gonna go up to high-speed sync, just to see what it looks like with a slightly darker background. So now I'm taking the flash power. I lost, by going up to 1/400 of a second I actually lost two full stops of light. So I am goin' up to 1/8, perfect, right there. 'Kay, bring the hands down like you're adjusting the cuff links again. Perfect, just like that, perfect. Bring the chin down a little bit towards my side, there you go, right there. And the chin a little bit more, there you go, right there, hold that. Adjust the tie. (camera clicking) That's good, we can show the before and afters. Bring the hands back down like you're doin' the cuff links. Let's get a flash on that, there you go, right there. I like that smile too, it's fantastic. Nice, we got a good amount of no flash versus flash. The reason why we're not getting the flash right now is because when it runs in high-speed sync, it's pulsing. So when the shutter is open for 1/400 of a second, it's not actually getting any faster. It can't shoot faster than 1/200 of a second, right? We talk about this in detail in some of the other courses. So I'm gonna just give you the quick version of that. This doesn't get any faster. What ends up happening is, when you go to high-speed sync, it does this. That pulsing thing, it does that, okay? So this requires a lot more power, and so it's basically trying to pulse, and it's trying to squeeze one of those pulsed flashes into your shutter speed. So it requires more power. The higher your shutter speed goes, the less power you're gonna get from your flash 'cause it has to pulse that much quicker, cool? But look at how dramatic these, so check this out. So we often get asked is how do you make a scene look better? Well it's drawing attention to the areas that you want via lighting, right? So for him we went with a more dramatic series. Usually when I get closer, as we start shooting the face and shooting the eyes, we soften the light a little bit so that we're not getting such a hard edge to the light. Cool? And then we have a prism. Let's play for a second, gonna bring up my small guy. Let me have you stand right there brotha, and I'm gonna have you, I don't think we can actually knock out the left side. I actually kinda like the left side. What I'm gonna do is knock out a little to the right, kinda create a little reflection on the right side. Look down, perfect. (camera clicking) Did it flash? (camera clicking) Look a little bit down to your right side, right there. (camera clicking) Solid.

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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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