Create elegantly lit Rembrandt portraits. You'll improve your photography in lighting, posing, and editing and you'll feel confident when you step behind your camera.
Learn Studio Portraits in This Comprehensive Course.
Clever tips and tricks to improve your photography
Move past the basics and dive into off camera flash and light modifiers so you can get the most from your images. Don't be frustrated with your results for one more day.
Most photographers struggle with the small adjustments and pro secrets you'll discover that unlock Rembrandt lighting and pro head shots. Once you see these simple systems of lighting and posing you'll see photography in a new light.
Content and Overview
Suitable for intermediate and advanced photographers, in this course you'll learn the nuts and bolts of Rembrandt lighting and high key portraits as well as portrait photography editing. You'll build a powerful repertoire as a photographer that will open doors for you in the future.
Starting with a practical application section of lighting, posing, editing, and working with clients, you'll move to key theory lessons and some practical examples.
You will have the skills to setup, shoot, edit, and professionally deliver portraits when the course is complete.
Then, put your skills to use as we enjoy a monthly photo contest where you can enjoy other students' work, learn from their images, ask questions, and have a chance to win your first photo contest while you cheer on your fellow students.
Complete with comprehensive examples, tutorials, tips, and tricks and of course the instructor is there to answer any questions along the way.
Welcome to the course!
I really want you to finish this course. Instead of setting that as your goal, instead, I challenge you (!) to watch just 30 seconds a day for the next three weeks. That's it. Can you spare 30 seconds a day? I think you can.
Note: 2 links below:
1) Link to Stanford Professor BJ Fogg's Tiny Habits method (the inspiration for this 30 second challenge
2) Link to download Udemy's mobil app so you can learn on the go.
Here's some background on Rembrandt the man and artist if you're the intelectual and historical type, "Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (/ˈrɛmbrænt, -brɑːnt/; Dutch: [ˈrɛmbrɑnt ˈɦɑrmə(n)soːn vɑn ˈrɛin] ( listen); 15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art and the most important inDutch history. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age when Dutch Golden Age painting, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative, and gave rise to important new genres in painting."
- read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rembrandt
In this lesson we talk about controlling our camera in manual mode. This may be a little complicated if you've never tried manual mode. Here's some background information that will help you understand how to adjust shutter speed, aperture, and ISO - the three legs of the exposure triangle.
In manual you control all of the three settings above.
Shutter Speed - this controls how long the sensor is exposed. Measured in fractions of a second this typically is between 1/60 second to 1/250 second for portraits.
Aperture - the most confusing of settings for many, aperture measures how wide the hole made by your lens is. The larger the hole the smaller the number (f/2.8 is a larger hole letting in light than f/11). The wider the hole (known as wide open such as f/2.8) makes the background more out of focus than smaller apertures (known as stopped down such as f/11).
ISO - a measure of the sensitivity of the camera sensor. The lower the number the less sensitive to light (which is a image with less noise or that fuzzy stuff you see in shadows). The hight the ISO number the more sensitive to light (and noisier the image). In a studio, I recommend shooting at the lowest ISO possible.
If you're confused by this let me know and I'll be happy to help you through it.
Now, we add a gridded hair light on a light boom in this lesson. We'll see the keys to getting that light in just the right spot. Grids may be a bit confusing if you haven't seen them or used them before. They are just a way to keep your light into a tighter beam and prevent light spill around your subject. You don't need a hair light in your images, but they help. In the resources section I'll inlude a link to not only the grid I'm using, but a link to each light modifier and the lights I'm using.
1. Link to hair light grid
2. Link to hair light modifier
3. Link to key light modifier
4. Link to key light grid
In this photography lesson you'll see how to add depth and tone to a portrait by using a back light. We'll see how to position and power your light for the best images. The link below is a link to the light I used as a backlight (and all the other lights in this lesson)
We're exploring light ratios here. While not the subject of this lesson, you can use a light meter to actually calculate light ratios. I don't think this is necessary (which is why I don't dork out light meters and light ratio calculations in this lesson). However, if you want to dive deeper. Light ratios are explained in the first link below. The second like below is the light meter I use. I love it because the light meter is also my off camera light trigger - two for one!
In this short but important conclusion we wrap up Rembrandt lighting having covered in this section:
We've reviewed the fundamentals to Rembrandt lighting now and shown you how to properly adjust your lights, settings, and subjects to get Rembrandt light. Now, let's do a quick check for knowledge before we move on. If you're struggling with these questions, take a quick trip back to the lessons in this section. Thanks.
In this lesson we've seen how to get perfect colors. I show you how to use the Color Checker Passport. I know this device is expensive, but it is very, very helpful. There's a link below to ready more if you're interested.
We also go over how to make profile corrections in Lightroom to remove any lens distortion. When you've done this, your images should be very nicely adjusted.
We also learn Google NIK for photo editing. Good news! Now Google NIK is free. The second link below is to Google NIK. On mobile, Snapseed gives you almost the same capability. Do yourself a favor and check them out.
In this lesson we've reviewed frequency separation editing in Adobe Photoshop. It's a wonderful way to use an advanced technique to get wonderful color while preserving details in skin. This goes beyond just a healing brush or cloning, it's an amazingly powerful technique. Below is a link to the action we're using in the lesson.
See how to use Adobe Lightroom in order to fine tune an image. We use Lightroom tools to lighten the eyes, darken some areas, and lighten others. We also make a few quick and easy skin adjustments. We'll be using some easy to use, but powerful tools. You may (or may not) be a Lightroom user so, in case you're not, below is a link to Lightroom.
Creating black and white images without all the headache
Time for another portfolio image to come to life through some great post processing you can use on your images.
Here, we'll reinforce some key post processing lessons to make sure you're ready to move on.
OK, so one of my pet peeves is seeing all these professional head shots and profile pictures with double chins and weak jawlines. Seriously people, we can do better and our subjects deserve better. We want people to look their best and that doesn’t mean just Photoshopping everything in your image. We can do this in camera. In the next few lessons you’ll learn how to get head shots you can be proud of because they make your clients looks younger and engaging. No more vacant looks in your pictures people.
You need to get your subjects talking and get their foreheads forward just a bit. This will create that strong jawline. Then, by getting the eyes just a bit closed your subjects will look engaged and make them seem as though they’re looking through the camera.
This isn’t as hard as you think. Talk to them about… wait for it… things they are interested in. This will loosen them up and make them feel comfortable. What are a few good topics? How about their life? Where are you from? Have family here? What do you do for fun? Those simple questions can open up wonderful conversation and get your subjects to open up to you. Then, with your lights right, you can get them to stick their forehead out a little, move their shoulders, then you’ll make magic!
Now, some people will put their chin down, but that’s not exactly what you want. You want to stretch the skin of the neck which means thrusting the head forward a few inches. Also, if you put your chin down you’ll lose that strong eye contact you’ll need.
Some people never really talk to their subjects. Or, if they talk to them they wind up get this… talking about themselves. Why? Because that’s what they know… their life. You want to talk to them about their life. Now, as things get rolling many people think twisting the shoulders is the way to build should and head angle, but it’s not the best way. The best way is to move the feet. Once the feet move, the shoulders will naturally settle into the right place.
So, now you know how to get people to relax, open up, and look their best. You know you want to move the head a little forward to avoid double chins and make a strong jawline. You’re ready to dive into the next set of lessons where you’ll see all these points in detail and follow along as we do it for a male and female shoot. Let’s go!
A quick intro into this head shot photography lesson. The link below is to inspire you to continue studying head shot photography. It's a fellow photographer and friend Tracy. Here work is amazing and I think it will inspire you to greatness. I hope you enjoy it.
Let's talk about lighting your background to make it perfectly white (but not too white) and how far your subject should be from the backdrop. Adjust your lights so your background is just white and your subject is as far away from the background as possible.
In this lesson we also talk about depth of field. This is a frequently misunderstood concept. In the link below you'll find a depth of field article that may be helpful.
In this photography lesson we'll start filling in shadows with a reflector. We can do this by putting the reflector under the chin. Notice what a big difference small adjustments to the reflector distance can make. Now, in this lesson we talk about moving the feet to move the body. Here's a great concept I'd like to share with you, contrapposto, "Contrapposto [kontrapˈposto] is an Italian term that means counterpose. It is used in the visual arts to describe a human figure standing with most of its weight on one foot so that its shoulders and arms twist off-axis from the hips and legs."
Read more at the link below.
Now we move the light over, fill from the side and introduce a kicker light. We also talk about what lights provide. Below is a link for my personal favorite light company (and I'm not affiliated with them at all). They are the nicest company, have amazing customer service, and their lights cost about the same as a speed light.
Ever wonder how to use gels in lighting to get eye grabbing portraits? Here's how, get a gel (I use Lee filters and I order them from amazon). The filter just gives your light a bit of color. See Lee Filters (which I order through Amazon) at the link below.
I use these filters to gel the light coming from the kicker light to give a touch of blue light to the shadowy side of the face. I don't like using gel filters to light an entire face from the front. I think that looks creepy. I think this video shows a better way to use filters for portraits.
In this lesson we talk about head shots. These questions will check your understanding and allow you to reinforce the lessons.
In this session we'll learn to get perfectly white backgrounds with just one background light and we'll see how to get some fantastic female portraits.
Let's get that key light working for us and clean up our background. In this lesson we dial in our key light and background We also look at what happens if our background is over exposed. In short, you'll start to decrease the contrast of your images and make them look flat and lifeless. If that's happening, turn down your lights.
Want a better of understanding of contrast? While not part of this course, if you're not sure what contrast is or why it's important, the link below may be helpful.
In this lesson we again fill in the shadows with our reflects. This is especially important for woman as you really don't want strong shadows for female portraits. Notice again, the importance of the reflector position. Too far from your subject and it won't have an effect. Too close to your subject and you'll find it overpowering. If you want to learn more about reflectors below is a great resource to read product specs.
Now we'll learn hot to get some fun and beautiful head shots. We'll see the magic to getting great jaw lines by adjusting the body position. The key is head position, and once you see the right way to do this, you'll never go back... ever. It's that good.
Please note I've included a few images as downloadable resources for this lesson. I hope you find them useful and they inspire you along your journey.
Your images aren't complete until they are edited. See a fast and easy way to turbocharge your images in post. We'll be using Lightroom and a free tool or two to get the most from our images. Not necessary, but alway appreciated by your subjects. We'll learn to edit like a pro without taking hours editing and retouching all night.
Time for one last check on knowledge before you're complete.
Congratulations on making it all the way through this photography class. What an accomplishment. You're in the top 10% as most will never finish after they've started - so pat yourself on the back. You did great!
Here's the results of the May 2016 Photo contest. Great work. Will you be joining us next month?
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