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In this course, Pulitzer finalist Natalie Fobes shows how to capture engaging portrait shots of couples, families, and other groups using a variety of posing and composition techniques.
The course discusses how to plan for a portrait photo shoot and how to make stylistic decisions regarding props, clothing, and makeup. Next, the course reviews the essentials of posing women and men, starting with a single subject, moving on to a couple, and then working up to large groups. The course also demonstrates how to pose and compose a group portrait in ways that highlight the relationships between group members, whether they're family members or business colleagues. Lastly, to illustrate the time constraints photographers often face, Natalie works against the clock to shoot a group of people she's never met.
The course also covers various postprocessing techniques geared specifically for portraiture, such as working with wrinkles and skin textures.
The group from the fast business portrait has come back. I'm going to take a picture of their entire team this time. They've given me a little bit more time which is good because with six people, it will take more time than with three. Now I've changed out the lights just a little bit. I want it to be a little bit more even so that I have nice light on everyone's face. With six people, you have to be a little bit more conservative in your lighting. Natalie Fobes: Well thanks for coming again, nice to see you! And I understand we're going to do a little bit more casual portrait of your team.
So why don't we come on in. We're going to do it in the same location to kind of keep the consistency. So I'm using the same setup as before. I'm not on a tripod and I'm using my 24 -105 because I want to be able to have the choice of focal length during the time that I'm shooting the portrait. Natalie Fobes: Art, Beth and Stephanie why don't you come here and sit right down here? Art we'll put you in the foreground again. Beth: Okay, Sit right on that? Natalie Fobes: Yep, right on that, yeah.
I think we'll have to have your coat just moved a little bit off to the side because it is a little bit more casual now. So contributing to the casual feeling of this particular shoot was that the clothing was also more casual. We still had suits but we also had more business casual clothes that really added to a little bit more of a relaxed feeling to the photograph. Natalie Fobes: Now I'm going to be having you kind of lean forward. You know, you're the tall guy in the group so you get in the middle on the back.
I'm sure you've heard that before. I'll try to mix it up a little bit. Whenever you're shooting a larger group shot like this, it's important to divide it into subgroups. The first thing that I did was I pulled them in and created the subgroup of the first three people that I had photographed earlier in the day. Once I positioned them, then I was able to add the other people to the composition. And poor Rick, you know, he is the tall guy; tall guy goes in the back.
I try to avoid that but in this situation I really needed to have him stand in the back. And we'll just have your hands up kind of here. Stephanie, go ahead and scoot back this way. I'm going to actually have you and Beth back here a little bit so there's more attention on Art. Go ahead and scoot back that way just a little bit, and go ahead and sit on that hip, remember the hip sit -- Beth: Which one do I sit on, this one, this one? Natalie Fobes: Sit on the one closest to me. Beth: Okay. Natalie Fobes: Yeah, there you go! And you can have your hands kind of off to the side there too, and that hand is perfectly placed right there.
So Art you're going to be -- have to have a very strong back, very tall back, and leaning forward. Yeah, yeah, exactly, there you go. You guys look great back there. I designed the composition by creating that triangular shape of the three people in the foreground and then the other people created a really nice simple symmetry in the composition. Their heads were staggered, that created a little bit of compositional interest in the photograph.
Natalie Fobes: This first one will be kind of -- you're a little more conservative in approach and then we might get some fun stuff happening. Okay, so Art, remember the tall back, straight shoulders, and lean just a little bit. Beth: Happy faces? Natalie Fobes: Yeah, I think so. Are you guys happy today? Beth: Oh yeah. Natalie Fobes: All right, very nice. Everybody looks pretty darn good. All right, lowering just a little bit and this is just going to be from your knees up. I realized that Rick was still so tall in the back that I needed to either lower him or lower my perspective so he didn't look so tall.
In that case I sat down and photographed and created a little bit of a more horizontal feel to the photograph. And everybody lunging, great! Whenever you're working with a group, no matter if it's two people or a hundred people, you've got to find a way to get their attention. So often people will kind of go off into side groups and start talking or maybe they're thinking about something else, worrying about something that happened this morning, but for that time that they're in your studio or in the portrait situation, they need to be paying attention to you.
Even the slightest turn of my head can make a difference in how they will react to me if they're paying attention. In this situation, I was able to address a tilt of a head with some of the women just by tilting my head a little bit and they followed through with me as I turned that way. So, if someone is wandering off in their mind, you just need to bring them back in and let them know that they have to be in the moment with you. Natalie Fobes: Good! Art, you're doing great! Okay.
All right, so this is the time to kind of loosen you up a little bit, but I really love it when everybody gets their faces really close together. So if you all could lean -- Art you're going to have to scoot back just a little, yeah, and get your faces as close as you can. And you can lean on each other if you need to because I know I don't want anybody falling over. Okay, very good, even closer, even closer. I had the people get their faces as close as possible together. Sometimes that just kind of breaks the ice a little bit.
In the shots, they're actually reacting to each other in a real honest and open way. It's not everyday you get to put your cheek next to your boss's cheek, or your coworker's cheek. So that's always kind of a fun playful element to introduce into the portrait session too. Natalie Fobes: Very good! So just go ahead and relax for a minute and this time I'm going to have just Art in the front, and then I want the rest of you back on that sofa, that circular sofa. After I felt I had that taken care of, then I was able to mix up and do a little bit more playful composition by having Art in the foreground and putting the people behind on the sofa.
I think that worked pretty well and to accentuate kind of the playful nature of that, I used more of a wide-angle lens so that there really was a little bit of distortion between the foreground and background. Natalie Fobes: This is looking pretty nice. I'm going to get a little height on this so that you'll all be naturally looking up at me. Very good! And Rick, go ahead and have your hands just kind of maybe on one knee or something like that.
Yeah. Alright! Okay, here we go! And this time I think, maybe have your hands crossed. The man, there you go! Okay, so go ahead and tilt your head a little bit, Art, lower your chin. It's still the -- if at any time I ask you to do something and you can't do it, don't worry about it; just tell me. Okay, very good, here we go, nice. In a group portrait, you really want to have everybody in focus.
It didn't really come into play until I had Art in the foreground and the other people on the sofa in the background. Then I had to really be concerned about whether or not my depth of field is going to pull down them in and keep them sharp. I didn't worry about it though because I set the camera at F/8, and using a little bit of a wider lens I knew that I would have everyone sharp throughout the frame. Natalie Fobes: I'm going to do something really fun. Why don't you all sit on the table? Beth: All of us? Natalie Fobes: All of us, yup.
Nice! Okay, we've got it. That looks good, excellent! Okay, so I'll make sure I can see everybody, cool, very good. What I'm doing is I'm making a triangle with all of you. I'm going to step back a little bit and get a little height. So after I was convinced that I had gotten a good shot there then I was able to mix it up a little bit. I varied my focal length and I varied the height that I was shooting from.
Natalie Fobes: There you go, sweet, oh looking good, Okay! All right, very nice. Now we'll try that thing with the faces again, as close as you can get. I'm talking cheek to cheek, but I still need to see everybody, there you go. All right, even more, come on you can do it. Okay, you can relax now, very good, excellent. And you know, I think to wrap up, I just want to do a real simple kind of a straightforward one.
So why don't we all stand up? After I was sure that I had a lot of great photographs in the bag, I wanted to try just a little bit more. I wanted to experiment a little bit more. I wanted to do more of a conservative kind of traditional shot of them standing up just a three-quarter length shot. So as I was positioning them, I was having difficulty coming up with the composition. Natalie Fobes: So lets have you come in the foreground again. Yeah, there we go, that's good.
I mean, we're still getting a nice staggering of heights and Rick if you want to take a -- over Rick: This side? Natalie Fobes: Yeah, that sounds good. And let's button your jacket this time since it's a little more formal in feel. Great! And Stephanie I think I'll have you stand up, yeah, very good. And go ahead and move in a just a little, Beth. There you go! Looks good! One, two, three, one, two, three, got it. When I realized that this last pose was not going to work, I didn't let the client know.
There's no reason to let him think that everything wasn't going smoothly. I just went on, I just ended the session and thanked them for coming in and wished them a happy day. I may not even show that last pose to the client. There is no reason to. I've got lots of great stuff from before. And so to show something that didn't quite work up to my expectations doesn't make any sense.
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