Join Derrick Story for an in-depth discussion in this video Shooting a portrait, starting with natural light, part of Portrait Photography: High School Seniors (2014).
So when I was looking around for a good setting for Max, we had done that really pretty series with Ashley with the trees and the, you know, and the background all soft, and. It, it felt really right for her, but it felt a little too soft for Max. And I, I wanted something that was more, more masculine, and I was looking around, looking around, and I, you know, I found this. And I like the texture here, and we had a good angle on the edge and it was something that he could interact with and it felt a lot better than having him like put his hand on a tree trunk, or something, it just felt so wrong to me.
So, and, and I'll do that. I, you know, once I get a feel for the subject, I want to try to find a setting that, that matches their personality and, and their looks, and hopefully something that they'll like too. So what I was thinking is that, you know, a lot of times to get warmed up the hand-in-pocket pose,. >> I can do that. >> Is a good way to start. And we'll just have, you know, kind of this in the background. Actually that color scheme is pretty good here, with they're almost complementary colors. And this is the thing where you have the, you know, kind of your foot pointed toward me.
Your weight will be on this back foot. >> Okay. >> You just kind of have your hand in your pocket, right. >> Yep. >> So we'll do a series like that. And even though I'll, I'll shoot some like this, but we'll shoot some tight too. >> Okay. >> And then what I was thinking we'd do is that we'd actually get closer to the wall, and have you do some stuff where you're kind of up leaning against it, and you know, doing a, I don't know, they call this the back wall lean. >> Okay. >> The side wall lean. >> Looks good. >> Yeah, you cool with this here? >> That's fine with me.
>> Yeah I think that'd look pretty good. I think it'd look pretty good. So we, we'll go ahead and start with this, here, hand in pocket, and then we'll take it from there. All righty? >> Cool. >> All right, let's do it. A few things to keep in mind, color I think is really important because, when you're in this open shade that's a very blue light, and that tends to be not flattering at all for skin tones. So, I will warm it up a bit. In camera, I actually switch to the cloudy preset. And then I had him hold the target, just to be sure, so that in post, I can get just the right color.
And I think that's true with a fair skin. Fair skin and blueish light is not a good combination at all. This is good, this'll help me make sure that I get your skin color really good. I'm going to post. All right, so let me get this out of here for right now. All right. I'm going to start serious. And chin down just a bit. There you go. Just like that. Just like that. Good. Good, good, good. We're off to a good start. Right there. So you may have noticed that I used, Micro Four Thirds on a series with Max.
And, we were talking earlier that I think it's a legitimate camera for portrait shooting. And it'll be a good series. I mean all, I'm going to mix it in with it, I don't call out to the, to the subject, hey, I'm changing cameras now. I'm doing this or that, they all go in the gallery. And I'll tell you, they'll, they'll all look terrific together, they'll blend. But I like having that, that lightness of the Micro Four Thirds and the mobility of it and it felt good for the moment. It's amazing, that little bit of shift of weight, really makes the shot look cool.
Good. All right. That's a good first series right there. Once I know I have a shot, this, the safe shot, the shot that will probably work, I do like to play a little bit, and there's a couple ways I did that today. One is I moved around a lot. So instead of having Max, you know reposition, and all of that. I kind of changed angles. I went up, I went down, I moved around. Looking for, you know, something that was a little bit different. Then the other thing I did, and this is actually sort of wacky, where I got the one handed reflector there, and I was holding the reflector and shooting and really bringing kind of a, a harsh bright light into the scene.
And every shot is different with that because you know, you're not holding your reflector exactly the same way every time. Now there's going to be a lot of loss on that, there's probably only going to be one or two shots that even make it into the gallery. But the thing about those shots, once you know you have your safe shot and you take those risks, sometimes those end up being the home run shots too. So I really, I like doing that, and I like adding that to the shoot. If the subject has enough energy, and they're in to it, I say go for it, see what you get. Once we shot that, and I liked a number of those shots in that series, then I wanted to do something that was a little edgier.
And so I had him roll up the sleeves. And we unbuttoned his collar. And had him kind of, you know, work right against the wall here. And then I brought in a flash on the side. And then, just the one light on the side, we're already getting some natural fill light from, you know, the ambiance here. So, I brought in that one light from the side. And then had his poses kind of reflect that little edgier light. And actually, to tell you the truth, I like that series a bit better, and I'll be curious to see what he picks when he looks at the proofs.
Oh, I like that. The angle's good on you. That's a really good angle. A little bit of smile. Just a faint smile, Matt, just faint. Good, nice, good. All right, back to serious. Yeah. Chin down. Oh, good wow. Good. Let me take a look. Awesome. Okay I'm going to bring down that light a bit. It's a little, I think it's just a hair hot, so I could cool that off right here. Wireless flash, such a beautiful thing. Okay let's do that same series again. Yep. Right there.
Good. Yeah, that's it. Right on. Nice, I like it when you yeah, let's do that. Good. There, that's it, that's it. I like it when it's more a little bit like that. Good, nice. Oh, nice light. Okay, I'm going to, tighten up a little bit on you here. That's good. Oh, right there. Right there. Right there. Good. Good. Change it a little bit for me. Go back to the shoulder thing. I like the sho, I'm really, I'm into the three-quarters on you. Yeah, that's good.
And one more, right there. Good. Nice, very good. Those look really good, got a little light going. How do they feel on your end? >> Good. >> You want to take a peek? >> Yeah, sure. >> About the time I finished with Max and was feeling pretty good about the series of shots that I had for him, I turned around and looked and wow, there was a beautiful lighting out there. I had been thinking all along that that's what we would use for Ashley. And so then it was time to change gears and go to Ashley and see what we could do, with what I think is probably the easiest and most fun light to shoot in, which is that light at the end of the day.
It is just gorgeous.
In this course, photographer and educator Derrick Story details the art and the process of modern senior portraiture, from working with the subject and his or her parents to plan a shot list, to shooting indoors and out, to delivering the final shots. Along the way, he examines gear and workflow considerations, including lighting, sharing proofs, and post-processing.
And because senior portraiture is a potentially lucrative business, the course concludes with a discussion of various business angles, including developing a pricing strategy, connecting with local high schools, marketing through social media outlets, and more.