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Lighting Solutions for Portrait Photography

with James Schmelzer

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  •   01 Class Introduction

    05:59
  •   02 The Distance of Light from the Subject

    10:18

Class duration: 1h 29m

See all 6 lessons
  • 9K students

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  • 69% recommended

    44 student reviews

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About The Class

lighting for portraits of real people.

Join award-winning photographer and 25-year studio owner, James Schmelzer, for Lighting Solutions for Portrait Photography. 

In this class, James will teach you how to light everyday people and not just perfect models. He will break down the specifics on where the lighting should be and why it needs to be there. He’ll explain how high, how far away, why you change the distance, how do you light groups, and what size light should you use? 

After the basics, you will learn the seven advanced lighting patterns and why you need to use them. You’ll learn how to analyze a face and decide where to place the light to minimize flaws and flatter your subject and which lens will achieve the style you are after.  

Topics Covered


Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

    05:59
  2. 02

    The Distance of Light from the Subject

    Explore the different results you get when you adjust the distance between your backdrop, subject, and light source.

    10:18
  3. 03

    Positioning the Lights

    14:51
  4. 04

    Studying the Patterns of Light

    10:06
  5. 05

    Using Reflectors & Fabrics in Light

    15:56
  6. 06

    Lighting Real People & Situations

    32:13

Meet Your Expert

James Schmelzer

James Schmelzer is an internationally known Master Craftsmen Photographer, lecturer and owner of Elite Photographic Studio located in Shelby Twp., Michigan. As a professional photographer for over 25 years, James has been awarded the Photographic Craftsman and Master of Photography from PPA, Accolade of Photographic Mastery from WPPI, among many others. Besides owning and running his own studio, James conducts workshops, speaks at seminars & demonstrates lighting techniques at tradeshows all around the world. ... read more

See instructor's Classes

69% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • MikeGPhoto

    MikeGPhoto

    June 2016

    First off - the instructor's personality is not for everyone. I personally found him hilarious. He's your typical brash, cocky New Yorker AKA my kind of people. As for the class, its very instructive. He doesn't show off every single lighting style he mentions (loop, broad, short, butterfly, etc) in exquisite detail but that's because the purpose is to use whatever light makes your subject look the best. He goes through each one, but very quickly. His two main lighting examples are butterfly and rembrandt. The portraits he takes are very high school senior style, but the information he provides is incredibly useful for any other kind of lighting situation. There is a boat load of excellent information in this class; you just gotta know that what he's telling you is applicable across the board.

  • Rock Williams

    Rock Williams

    February 2016

    Not a good teacher by any means. The "Just teasing" comment he has to throw around is just weird. Other classes I've taken were MUCH better with far more humble instructors. Not happy with this one purchase...but thankful it was one and lesson learned. LOL LOVE all my other Creative Live classes though!!

  • Creativelive Student

    Creativelive Student

    December 2016

    Fantastic course! Loved the instructors sense of humor and direct, straight to the point approach!

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