How to Shoot a DIRECT FLASH Glamour Shot or Beauty Portrait – Lighting Tutorial


I need lights. Who’s idea was this? It looks like we’re going to do a one light
kind of direct flash setup for a glamour shot. Oh, God. Hey gang, you heard that right. A one light, direct flash glamour shot. Along the way, if you have tried using direct
flash without any modifiers or, even worse yet, put a speed light on top of your camera
and aimed it straight at your subject, or even if you haven’t and you’ve read some books
about waiting, you’ve probably heard direct flash is not a good idea when you’re photographing
people. It’s not flattering and it causes harsh shadows. On one end, that’s true. On the other hand, that’s bull. It only causes those problems if you don’t
use it properly. Turns out this model happens to have 63, yes,
she took the time to count them, 63 bikinis in her closet. I didn’t her bring all 63, but I had her bring
about 10 of them, all solid colors, no prints, no patterns, no florals. The pictures are about her and I decided what
I do is I’d shoot about 10. I’d edit it down to maybe 5 and assemble a
composite shot with the goal being to show different personality and emotions, all in
one shot. It’s kind of a very fun way to show a model’s
range. I decided to keep it simple so I’m going to
have the model pose standing against a white wall. The flash, in this case, I’m going to use
a studio strobe. It’s placed about a foot to a foot and a half
above my camera. I don’t want it too close to the lens because,
indeed, I don’t want to have red eye, but at the same time, I don’t want it too far
away from the lens because I don’t want to exaggerate the shadows. I’ll talk more about those in a minute. You could do this same thing with the speed
light. I would recommend getting the speed light
off camera so that it’s a little further away from the lens axis, but as long as you’re
able to mount your speed light on camera and not get red eye, go for it. It will work in this scenario. The important piece if you’re going to use
a speed light, you may find that if you’re going to work against the white wall like
I am, the TTL is going to have a little bit of a rough time reading the exposure properly. You’ll most likely have to make some exposure
compensation adjustments. The TTLs going to see all that white and it’s
going to tend to close the lens down a little more then you want it to for the best exposure
on your model. Back to the setup. I’ve got the model standing right against
the white wall. It’s important to keep her against the wall
because I do want to minimize the shadows. Let’s talk about those shadows. I want to make it clear, the only people that
ever ask me about the shadows are people like you. I’ve never had a model or a subject look at
the finished picture and ask is it okay that those shadows are there? I’ve never had a subject complain about the
shadows in the background. The whole idea here is to make sure that your
subject looks amazing, that there is tons of personality and energy and great body language
in the shot. Nobody’s going to care about those little
shadows that are there. The reason for having the light on axis, in
other words right above the lens, it’s about a foot higher, and making sure that the subject
is right against the wall, is so that I minimize the shadows. If I bring my subject away from the wall the
shadows will start to grow, they will become more noticeable because they’ll be bigger. I’m going to set the camera up on a tripod. I generally don’t work on a tripod, but in
this scenario I want to make sure that all of the shots have the exact same perspective
on the body. If I’m not careful and I’m hand holding, sometimes
I shoot a little higher, sometimes I shoot a little lower, I’m going to be looking at
the body from different angles, and they won’t mesh together properly in a composite. To make sure that I can’t get sloppy and to
make sure that everything lines up well, it’s real simple. Put the camera on a tripod. That way every single shot is taken at the
same altitude and it has the same body perspective. From there it’s simply a matter of working
through the 10 bikinis. For each of the bikinis I shot probably 100
to 150 frames. The model duplicated a lot of the poses and
a lot of the movements because it’s not a matter of how many different things can she
do. I’m looking for 5 different shots when it’s
over. The real key to making the pictures work is
going to be to get really good facial expressions, lots of emotion. You’ll notice in the bottom of the frame I’m
using a small fan just to get a little bit of movement on her hair. This girl, as you can see, has a lot of hair. While it’s beautiful it can get in the way. That light fan pushes the hair back off of
her face and it gives the hair a little bit more body which makes it exciting and little
sexier. Don’t be afraid to experiment with fans. Generally the biggest mistake you’ll make
with a fan is turning it up too high. A little tip. People with contacts will often struggle with
a fan. The reason is the fan dries out the contact
lenses. Regardless of whether the person wears contact
lenses or doesn’t, encourage your subjects to blink normally when they’re in front of
the fan. Another thing that you’ll notice in these
shots is that I generally have the model’s head essentially in a box, very small turns. Nothing big and dramatic where she’s looking
off. The reason for that is that these photographs
are going in her modeling portfolio. The goal here is to sell her, to sell her
personality and her ability to show lots of different emotions. By having her eyes closer to the camera I’m
getting more impact from them. I’m saying that it’s a rule that you have
to have your model staring down the barrel of your lens, but hey, if they’re that beautiful
why not? In the case of these shots where I’m trying
to market her it’s imperative that I don’t lose the impact of those beautiful eyes. There you have it, a simple, one light, direct
flash glamour shot. Make sure you check out part 2 of this set
where I’ll walk you through photo shop and how I assembled the 5 images to make the final
composite. For now, remember, keep thinking, keep learning,
and keep shooting. Adios. Thanks for watching. If you find these videos helpful please give
them a thumb’s up and subscribe so that you don’t miss a single episode. If you’ve got a question that you would like
answered please post it in the comments section below. Your question could be my next video.

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