Advanced Photography with William Carnahan | Phil Ebiner | Skillshare

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Advanced Photography with William Carnahan

teacher avatar Phil Ebiner, Video | Photo | Design

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to the Advanced Photography Course


    • 2.

      5 Principles to Improving Your Photos


    • 3.

      The Gear that Has Improved My Photography


    • 4.

      Activities You Can Do to Improve Your Photography


    • 5.

      Advance Your Headshot Photography


    • 6.

      Advance Your Portrait Photography


    • 7.

      Advance Your Creative Portraits


    • 8.

      Advance Your Street Photography


    • 9.

      Advance Your Travel Photography


    • 10.

      Advance Your Landscape Photography


    • 11.

      Advance Your Wedding Photography


    • 12.

      Advance Your Concert & Music Photography


    • 13.

      Advance Your Night Photography


    • 14.



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About This Class

Are you a photographer who knows how to use your camera to take decent photos BUT you want your photos to be more unique, artistic and impactful?


You want your photography to wow people (and to be something you're proud of).

This advanced photography course will help you improve your photography by understanding exactly what makes a great photo... well, great.

You'll learn how lighting, composition, storytelling and editing improve your photography.

The goal with this photography course is to not just teach you, but also inspire you. You'll analyze beautiful photos, and understand on a deeper level why they are beautiful so that you can go capture similar photos yourself.

Take better photos. It's as simple as that.

This photography course is NOT going to teach you how to use your camera. You should already know what things like aperture, shutter speed and ISO are. You should know how to compose & expose your photo properly. You should also know how to do basic photo editing. The application doesn't matter (Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Affinity Photo, your favorite smartphone editing app).

This photography course WILL teach you practical and easy steps to improving your photography. We start with photography lighting, then photography composition, then storytelling, and end on photo editing. In each section we showcase dozens of practical and easy-to-replicate ways to take better photos.

Who is your photography instructor?

This course is taught by William Carnahan, a professional photographer and a popular Skillshare instructor. He's been teaching people photography skills for over a decade. Perhaps you've already taken one of his top-rated photography courses that has helped you master your camera or photo editing.

He is so excited to teach you this course on advancing your photography.

What are you waiting for?

If you want to become a better photographer head over to lesson 1!

See you in class!

Will Carnahan and the Video School team

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Phil Ebiner

Video | Photo | Design


Can I help you learn a new skill?

Since 2012 have been teaching people like you everything I know. I create courses that teach you how to creatively share your story through photography, video, design, and marketing.

I pride myself on creating high quality courses from real world experience.


I've always tried to live life presently and to the fullest. Some of the things I love to do in my spare time include mountain biking, nerding out on personal finance, traveling to new places, watching sports (huge baseball fan here!), and sharing meals with friends and family. Most days you can find me spending quality time with my lovely wife, twin boys and a baby girl, and dog Ashby.

In 2011, I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Film and Tele... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Welcome to the Advanced Photography Course: Welcome to the class. This is Advanced Photography with me, William Carnahan, you can call me. Will I really appreciate you being here? You could be in any other advanced photography class and they'd be teaching you lots of technical, wonderful things. And I encourage you to go do that for this class. Specifically, we're going to talk about what I do to better myself as a photographer and how you can do the same thing. You can go ahead and download the slides if you want to follow along on like an ipad or on a tablet, or on your phone, or something separately, it might help. I would also employ you to join the Photography in France community online, where you can connect and talk to everyone else who's taking classes and going through photography journeys like yourself, it's a really, really good way to get better at photography. And that is just community. That's how I've gotten better. That's how I've worked with Phil and Sam for years now and we've pushed each other in photography and I think you can do that the same way with your fellow students. Check out all our socials. We're on Instagram, we're on Facebook, we're on Youtube, we're on Tiktop, we're on all the things. You can also check out my Instagram specifically at William Carnahan. That Instagram itself is actually where most of my photography has been and will be as a portfolio. You can also look at my personal website at Will You can check out my photography there. You'll see a lot of photos in these slides that you won't see on all my portfolio. Which I think is really kind of a cool thing for you. Because I'm not going to be posting all my photos, right? I'm only posting the best of the best. But in this course, you're going to see my okay best. Or the photos that I delivered to the client that I think they want, not necessarily what I put on my portfolio. So we're going to be looking at the techniques, the equipment, the philosophy behind taking photos for specific genres of photography. The big thing that I need you to know is I need you to have the basics down. I'm not going to be talking about exposure triangle. I'm not going to be talking about what the best camera for you to buy is. I'm not going to be talking about what an F stop is, what a shutter is. I need you to already have those base skills kind of down. So that would mean that you probably took our photography master class or you took one of our other intro to photography courses or with someone else or you have a knowledge already and you're already out there taking photos and whatnot. And also feel free to skip around. We've broken this into different sections so that you can decide where you want to learn. If you're not into head shot photography, you don't need to watch that. And if you're specific towards so weddings or astrophotography, you can go to those sections specifically. Or if you know, in six months to a year, you have a job where you need to be taking family photos. You can come back and look at that specific section, pull up your notes or whatever like that. So feel free to skip around. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Watch something. Give it a month. Watch it again before your client, before you're starting to shoot, something is going to see your photos. So thanks for being here. I'm so excited that you are going to listen to all my advanced techniques. Let's get started. 2. 5 Principles to Improving Your Photos: How I take better photos. I want to start here, right. There are some baseline things across all genres of photography that will allow you to take better photos. And these are the things that push me as a photographer and we'll push you to basically, here are my five principles to improve your photography. We're going to go through all top five and then we're going to get more specific. Number one, look for emotion, that's across all photography. Look for emotion and not just people, but in your composition, In the feeling, the lighting. Number two, put your camera where your eyes are. Not often. We're just here, right? We're just taking photos, right? Why not find a different perspective? Put it on the floor. Put it on the sky. Bend down. Turn it. We're so used to looking right here while we're walking around. It should be something different, something creative, something that says something that's not normal to our normal eye. Number three, push your exposure. I don't normally say this in introduction to photography, but you can lose the darks and the blacks in the shadows. You can overexpose the highlights in the whites because you're trying to be creative. Now that you understand exposure, now that you know how to expose properly an image, push it, make it wild, make it interesting, make it have emotion. Number four, be patient. And I think this is something I've struggled with forever across all forms of art. But being patient is really key. And that means being patient with your skill level, with practice, with waiting to buy equipment, with waiting for the sun to change, with waiting for a person to change emotions, with waiting for an animal. There's literally infinite things to be patient about in photography, and we'll go more into that in this section and the rest of them. And number five, fail again. You're not seeing all my worst photos, and you're going to take a lot of bad photos to get the really, really good ones. And in fact, when I delivered a clients, I'd say on an average wedding, I'm probably taking close to 5,000 photos and they're only seeing 250. That's 4,600 700 and something. I can't do math photos that no one will ever see and they're bad and I'm failing at. And that's okay because you have to understand what is bad, what is not good in order to have the good come out. It is night and day. There's no light without dark. It's in and yang, it's contrast. It's everything. So I think you need to fail. All right, so let's go deeper. Number one, look free motion. I look for emotion in my photos because that is what's going to evoke something in the viewer. That's what's going to inspire, that's what's going to make something look and feel like a really good photo. So these three photos I have as a really good example for emotion because you want to see and connect with what's going on. The photo on the left, we have a Dr. I made her laugh. You can really see her personality here, right? You feel the emotion of someone laughing and I love that. The second photo is a man jumping off this barge in a very quick moment of street photography. And you feel the like, anticipation of the cold water, right? That's the emotion there, he's just static. The third one we see like a very cool Quintinera girl in front of her name all lit up. She's got some attitude, there's a lot of emotive, you know, attitude in it and that also is a vibe, right? Look for these little moments that have pure emotion that you can inspire your viewer to see. Pay attention to that. Number two, right? Put your camera where your eyes are. Not. These three specifically are on the ground. On the floor, right? The pet, the dog, get on their level, get where their eyes are. What are the perspectives of animals? We don't get to see that that often. This is going to push your photography from just walking around and being right here, right? Move around, get on your knees, put your hand up over a crowd. You know, here's a manhole down in New York, yet really low. You see the perspective from, again, the road. I have this in my photography a lot where I'm shooting down roads quite a bit. In fact, this one down in Monument Valley on the right, is me on my knees looking down at the road. Because I want to see the perspective of the road going into the hills and have the horizon at the center. If I was just standing up here, the road would be very low and it would be kind of like, you know, not as interesting because we're just here, you know, looking versus being there, getting down, feeling, the texture of the road creates the sort of like, you know, like you're there, you're in the middle of this place and it's new and it's different. Number three, remember push your exposure. These are some examples of me pushing my exposure. The one on the left and the right is letting the shadows fall into the shadows, let him go. I know we say that we want like a full exposure, but this is when you can get really created with the light. Look at the emotion that we are creating by letting the exposure be really dark, right? The photo on the left, it's falling off. You don't even see the edge of his back, but we get this vibe of this strong boxer on the right. We don't see the man's face at all. We just see this light coming over top and I let Be dark. I let the exposure just fall off into the darkness in the middle. The other way, right? I overexpose the veil. There's just whiteness around. We don't see anything. But that's not what matters. What matters is the kiss, the couple. We're inside this veil. So I let the exposure go. If I didn't let it go and there's more detail in the veil, we may not see their faces as clearly and it wouldn't be this bright, sunny spot. Our eyes wouldn't get focused right in on the couple. In all these images, there's a ton of exposure difference. We're not in the middle of your light meter. We're going left, we're going right. And then I take that and I push it even more in post editing, so you can see even in the star photo, we're going to get to astrophotography. But this image I've brought up quite a bit in post, but when I shot it, it was pretty dark. We'll see the difference in letting your exposure go when you take it and when you do it in editing number four, be patient. I brought these two photos up specifically because concert and music photography requires a ton of patience, but also requires a ton of being in a hurry. You have to hurry up and wait and wait for that moment that you feel will get your emotion expose, right. Have your camera in the right place. That's not your eyes. Nail it, right. This photo on the left, this guy is playing Giant Stadium in Indianapolis. And I'm, you know, I'm in the pit so I'm like not in the crowd. But I was looking and I was shooting. I was shooting and he finally saw me and he had a break in his play. I mean, he's playing to like, you know, 30,000 people and he's able to take a moment and throw up a like, yeah, let's rock sign. And I was there ready to snap. But I was patient. I waited and I held, and I held, and I held for something cool to kind of happen. And again, over here on the right, Music's the same way, right? I was just waiting for her to have a little bit more emotion and I caught this moment where she's kind of thinking to herself and being in her own sort of world. And I felt like that carried some emotion. The big thing is I'm being patient, right? And we'll go into specifics. And being patient, I think I bring it up in a lot of other specific genres of photography fail. Well, these four photos are actually pretty fun looking, they are failures. You can see the one on the far left with the animal is me, out of focus. It's on film. It doesn't really have any emotion. There's nothing to it. There's a head shot of my buddy here, Matt, way under exposed. I couldn't even bring that back and make it look good. There's a couple down on the bottom right where I missed focus on them and I focused on the background. There's another film photo where there's just a gnarly flare coming across. You can't even see your face. It would have been a really great photo if that flare wasn't there. And I can't get rid of it. Make mistakes all the time. All four of these photos that you're looking at I've taken since this recording in the last year. I've been doing photography for 15 plus years. Close to 20 years at this point. And I'm still taking bad photos every once in a while. That's just going to happen and you have to let yourself be okay with that. I think the more you take bad photos or you mess up, the better idea you'll have of what is a good photo and how you can get there on your own. Be patient with yourself. Be okay failing and taking bad photos. You can always take more. 3. The Gear that Has Improved My Photography: Are my five tips. What about gear? Like, I feel that like gear is kind of a big deal and a lot of questions arise, especially when you're advancing your photography. So there are a few specific things. I'd say there's five things that I've taken really into account that have improved my photography. I don't know in a creative way. Right. I have a general rule that while gear is always fun to get, it does cost a lot of money. And the rule is generally like, I don't buy the new fancy thing unless I feel like I absolutely need it to push my creativeness. I guess. Like if you have a camera and you have lenses and you feel like that camera in those lenses are holding you back from achieving exactly what you're trying to do. Sure. Then I think it's time to advance and put money into what you're trying to do. A really good example of that is if you've started out in photography, and you've sort of boutten a little less expensive of like a camera, the ISO isn't as good, it may not be full frame, or maybe, you know, just a little slower than a fast camera would, and you're starting to get like weddings, you're starting to get like bigger clients. You need to be able to nail those things when you're out working and being creative. Or like lenses, right? You want to be shooting sports but you only have a kit lens. Well, probably time to get a longer lens in order to advance your photography. So let's talk about these five things that I think are kind of base level things that you can probably go from beginner to advance. You'd probably need these things to get going. Number one, prime lenses. Prime lenses are huge. I think prime lenses specifically if you're trying to do portraits more than anything, but also if you're just trying to automatically create that sort of professional look, right? Our aesthetic for professional look tends to be a lot of things out of focus and very little in focus. And then also compression, right? We think about your mobile camera, you know, the normal camera, not the portrait version, the normal camera or like a Go pro action camera or a disposable camera. All those things have a lot of things in focus. Right? And so they don't look as professional as we think as our aesthetic does. So to advance your photography on your mobile camera, on your mobile phone, you would probably go to portrait mode, right? And that portrait mode is mimicking what prime lenses tend to do. And that is very little in focus and a lot out of focus. And typically that means the human face in focus and everything in the background out of focus, It also compresses, right? I don't think portrait mode on mobile phones have really gotten the compression down as well as they've gotten the in focus, out of focus thing out. But let's look at these examples of prime lenses, right? These three photos right here are all shot on an 85 millimeter at various levels of camera equipment. And you can see that in the photo on the left. The backgrounds of focus is a great linked in shot. The photo on the right has a really nice fall off with focus and you can see how the background is really fuzzy. The photo in the center of the couple does the same thing as the other two, but it also compresses everything. You can see how far away I am, but it also feels like the trees are closer in a sense, and it just has this nice sharp feeling where they are and this fall off into the background that looks really aesthetically beautiful. This is a really good way to advance your photography, right? Ditch the kit lens and go to a prime lens. Something like a 3,550.85, 100. We're going to talk all about that stuff as we get into specifics and genres of photography. But think about upgrading to a prime lens, a small camera. Now, I know I said earlier, if you're trying to advance in photography, you need to get the next biggest camera. But sometimes it doesn't mean it needs to be a giant Behemoth DSLR, Nikon, whatever it can be, a small mirrorless camera that you feel comfortable and fast with. That allows for really great street photography, really great photo journalism when you're out in an event or at a wedding or something like that. For example, this shot these two girls I was just talking to and I had my camera down at my hip and I was able just to take the photo, I was able to get a lot of this emotion across. They were none the wiser. And it really has upped my photo journalistic street photography in a way. And I actually, when I shoot weddings, I always have a smaller camera that I take around with me, not just the big one with a big long lens. A lot of times when you have a giant camera with a big lens or a big flash, it kind of freaks people out. And so you lose some of the emotion. People might clam up or they might act differently. If you have a smaller camera, you will be able to get that emotion without freaking them out right away. I mean, if you're in their face it might be tough. But you know, just casually and taking a photo you'll get a lot more emotion. So thinking about having a small camera is a really good way to up game. Now it's a balance, right? Because not all small cameras are fast enough for other things. So you kind of have to find the camera that will work for you. That's part of the reason why I would be positive about mirrorless cameras. High megapixels? Yeah. I mean, I know it's kind of silly to think about high megapixels and I'm not like a big fan of being like, oh, we'll just reframe it later. But it can be helpful, especially when you're shooting landscapes or you're not able to get close enough. Having a high megapixel camera is going to help you advance your photography in so many ways. One, you can crop in, and two, you'll be able to deliver a more high res image depending on what your clients want. Right? If you need to make a big print for someone, if you need to make a book for someone, you're going to want the higher megapixels potentially. And you can see right here in this image, this is a nice, really beautiful landscape photo. But you can punch in so much more and fill out a frame with a high megapixel camera. This will advance your photography in the sense of you'll have more range to do what you would like to do. And I think that's a sense with all these things, right? Having more range and pushing what you're already capable of doing. I'd say most cameras at this point you can print pretty big. Even your mobile phones print pretty well if that's your end game. But having more megapixels is just going to allow more of that. Les cameras and straps. This is a photo of me with my T two when I was shooting a wedding, and originally I was taking photos, especially weddings with bigger DSLRs. Right. Like I had a Nikon D 800 and then I would rent like a D 700 and I'd be shooting ten to 12 hours a day with these big hefty, you know, cameras. I switched down to a crop sensor camera, a mirrorless cameras because a they were just lighter, They were cheaper. I could afford the lenses better and then I was able to basically blend in with the guests more. Same thing goes for these straps, right? Having dual camera straps where I can have a long lens and then a short lens really allows me to be quick at events so the guests aren't waiting around or the couples not waiting around for me to change lenses. Having dual cameras with straps and mirrorless really, really changed my wedding photography. I think I'm able to cover much, much more without participating and disrupting what's happening in front of me, and I think that's the key. Right. The mirrorless cameras, the dual cameras, strapped multiple cameras really allowed me to not disrupt what was going on. Right. It's like you're in the wild life and you don't want to like mess with the animals, you just want to have the tools and shoot and capture that moment. Because all it's about is being able to capture that moment with the tools you got. That being said, I ended up having to upgrade my mreless cameras to a different camera system because they weren't fast enough, but started down that mreless path with those Fuji. I think now thinking about running a big DSLR or a big camera now with everything I do just seems outrageous to thinking about upgrading a camera that's mirrorless. I think it's great. I'm a big person. I think other people might say different if they're doing different things. But for general photography, having a mirrorless camera, I think will help advance your photography. And thinking about having straps that look nice, that are professional, where you could have two cameras, or even having just any camera strap that looks nice will make you appear more professional. And it will also let you blend in with your subjects and so they don't know that you're out there trying to get their photos, which I think is fun. 4. Activities You Can Do to Improve Your Photography: All right, here's some activities that you can do yourself to improve your photography, right? It's not just about gear, It's not just about what you're shooting and lighting, all the technical stuff. There are actual things that you can practice to do to improve your photography. It's like if you're a surfer and you want to get better at surfing, you should probably do shoulder exercises so that you can swim better and do breathing exercises in case you get bail out on a wave. These are things that you can do to improve your photography that aren't necessary. Technical. Take your camera everywhere. If you're going to take photos, you need to practice, right? What better way to practice than to take photos everywhere? And I got to be honest with you, I take one of my cameras with me everywhere I go. It's my every day camera that I take everywhere. I also use it to shoot professionally. Even if you're not going to take any photos, take it with you. Even if you don't think that you're going to take any photos, take it with you. I can't tell you how many times I've been places where I've wanted to take a photo. I didn't bring my camera. You just have to kind of get over that. You have to bring it with you as long as you feel safe. I think there is a balance of, if you're starting to take it with you too much or it's becoming too much in your life, it's taking away from being present. Maybe you don't take it with you, but every chance you get, I would be taking photos, and I can guarantee you it's if you wrote every day or you drew something every day, over a month, over two months, over a year. If you do it every day or every other day, you're going to get better at it. If you play piano every day, you're going to get better at it. If you take photos every day, you're going to get better at it. Taking your camera with you everywhere you go is going to be a huge plus. You can also use your mobile phone, right? Obviously, a lot of us take our mobile phones with us everywhere, take more photos, just take them everywhere. I think it helps if you take your professional camera with you because you're getting used to it. Right. It's becoming an extension of you. And in turn it, it'll let you express your art in a better way. And it'll just be natural to you when you're taking photos of clients and whatnot, photos with your phone. I already started talking about this, but right again, practice, practice. Practice is all I'm getting at. Take both. I think it's just really imperative that you practice your compositions, you practice looking at lighting, you practice messing with your exposure. You fail with all this stuff. Because when it comes time to perform well, you'll be practiced in both equipment and taking photos. Number three, do other art, try things out. I actually do drawing a lot. Noticing when I draw a lot, that I look at different shading and different lighting. And that may inform you when you're taking photos or you're setting up a light for like a head shop. Where's the lighting come from? Look at paintings. Look at old Renaissance paintings. There's a lot of information out there that adds to your creativeness in other art. Listen to music, get inspired, listen to your headphones, read literature. All these artistic things are going to inform you on how you take photos and what you do. It doesn't always just have to be about photography and Instagram, there are expressionisms, lots of form of art, in acting, in writing, in drawing, all these things. Do other art appreciate other art study, other art. It will make you a better photographer, I promise. So those are some things that overall I would, you know, think about doing, activating thinking about that will advance your photography in general. Right? All those things will go across every genre of photography. And I really, really think that if you just did those things alone, your photography is going to get better very, very soon. So let's go into more specifics, right? Let's talk about different genres of photography and what I do personally to help advance those photos and have them be better really in each genre. 5. Advance Your Headshot Photography: All right, let's talk about how to take better photos, no matter what style you're photographing. We're going to go into every different type of genre that I take photos of so that you can see what I do to advance my photography. So let's start off with headshot photography. I've been doing head shots for as long as I can remember. I think being in Los Angeles helps because there are a lot of actors that need headshots. And I'm going to say 90% of the head shots I'm about to show you are actors needing head shots to show for roles. And so they need multiple styles, multiple looks, all these sort of things. And so why are headshots great? I think head shots are a really good way to start your business if you're trying to advance your photography. Everybody needs them, especially nowadays. I think head shots are actually more prevalent now than they were 20 years ago. I think mostly because of the avatar right on linked in on social sites. If you're teaching at a school, if you're working at a business, if you need an ID card, you need some sort of head shot. And the more professional that looks, the better the person looks. So of course, they're always going to want something that looks really, really good. So everyone needs them. You need them for businesses, you need them for socials. But the place that I focus on, our actors and artists, they need head shots for press releases to get jobs to put on flyers, everything. So it's a really, really good way to advance your photography. Let's talk about the lighting first. You can get out there and you can put a lens on, and you can put them in the right spot, and you can take a head shot and everything will look good. But if you want to really, really dial in your head shots and make them look good, I'm going to show you what I do. I use big natural light. Right now in this video, I'm being lit by a big light. That's not a huge light, but it's bigger than like a little tiny light. And it's about three quarters off, right. I'm facing you right now and the light is right here. And it's lighting me this way. And this is very similar to how I would light a head shot. I think for more even look, I would move the light over above the camera or I would have a big open window of non direct light. Right? I don't want sun coming right in at me. I want nice ambient, full light coming in and being soft so that we don't create any deep shadows on the face. Because that's what looks nice in a real, real head shot. So let's look at these two photos, right? The photo on the left and the photo on the right are both actor headshots. However, I am lighting them very differently. Can you tell what I'm doing differently? The photo on the left, I'm using a strobe light. And the photo on the right, I'm using a nice big garage door window. Both of these photos work great. And I did a bunch of different versions for both of them. I actually have started preferring using the stroke because I can't always count on the natural light. You know, what if it's cloudy? You know, it's too hot or too cold. What if the time of day we need to shoot? When the sun is down or during the fall when the sun goes down early. I can't use that ambient light, so it's not as dependable. However, in a pinch, I would do a lot of head shots with a big open window. And you can do this anywhere really. I mean, you can go to your front door and as long as there's ambient light coming in, set up a backdrop and let all that light spill in. If you want to be advanced about it, which is why we're here, we would use a stroke. Let's look at the difference in set ups. These are overhead lighting set ups for both of these photos. This is what I did. On the left, I have the camera facing there and I have a strobe with double diffusion. And it's shooting right over the camera at the subject. And it's filling out his entire body. You can see, we'll go back to the bigger image. It falls off on the edge of his right arm, you start to see some shadows. You start to see some shadows under his neck, but we don't see it coming out so much that it's unflattering. It also causes this nice little pin light inside his eyeball, which adds depth and it adds way to connect with the person. Having a little eye light is really, really important in headshots. I think it allows a sparkle in the eye, a little bit of connectivity and depth in the eye. It's almost like you're seeing into the person they are, that big giant strobe. I have a big octagon, it's about three feet wide, and I have it wirelessly hooked up to my camera, and I'm taking photos with it just above the camera. Now on the right, it's a little different. There's a giant door behind me and it's letting all this ambient light in and it's really lighting up her face perfectly. Even right. We don't really see any shadows. There's a little bit shadow coming off into the back and I have a white backdrop set up. Now, at the time I remember editing this, this, I probably edited this like five or six years ago. If I were to redo this edit, I would bring up the background, the white a little bit more to have it be a little bit less gradient. You can see how it starts to be a little shadowy at the bottom and brighter at the top. Same with the strobe on the left. You can change this by moving the subject further from the backdrop. It'll start to even it out. And then you can also add another strobe light if you have two strobe lights, or you can bring it up in post. The cool thing about having the strobe is that you just have more control. You can be more creative with it. If you're using a door, it's great, it's fine. It's good and a pinch, like I said, but you kind of just relegated to just one big source light. Me taking head shots like this. The bigger, the softer the source light, the nicer and the more natural it will look. Here are three examples of different situations, right, with my light. Now the one on the far left is natural light. It's outside. I put the sun behind her. I made sure that her face is in the shade and I exposed to evenly lighting her face so that the sun became this nice back light. It works really great for people who have blond hair because it highlights them. The problem is, it creates all these flyaway, little stranglly lines from their hair that you could go in and meticulously fix. But it's not, it's not really ideal. The photo in the middle, I have again, a black backdrop with a big strobe overhead and just looking straight on. Again, nice and even. But you can see again the gradient starts to go off because the black soaks in all the light and the background starts to get really, really dark. She is getting that nice pin light though, especially for a brown eyed person or a dark eyed person. We want to create the depth. Same thing on the right, it's the same gentleman we used with the same background. The overhead light was a little bit more over the camera, looking right down and evenly lit on his face. Super soft, right? So we don't have any hard shadows and it looks really natural. Nice pin light, again, it just really depends on your style. But on the right, I only use one stroke, one big stroke, double diffused. It's like that big. Can you see the whole frame, Phil? Yeah, it's like that big. Again, let's look at these three natural light from the door on the left, but you can see how it's lighting up her entire body and we're losing like a really tight pin light in her eye. It's more of like a bigger spread out light. The photo in the middle is a static light. Now, I used this to be more of a hard light. He wanted more creative. He's a writer, he's a director, he's on set. He wanted a little bit, something more creative for a head shot. And so I use a static light at the same position, much like this light that we're using now, but it was less diffused. Notice the deep, deep shadow under his neck that's just covering it. Now we notice it and we can look at it and we don't like it. Maybe because if we look at it too long, it'll start to look weird. But at first glance, it's a fine photo and it's harsher. And I think on men, a lot of times you want a hard, hard light will add a little bit more of a masculine look as opposed to the soft look. It depends on what your client is trying to say and do. For the center photo, he wanted it a little bit darker, a little bit moodier. And actually, I think when we turn it black and white, it looks even better. The photo on the right back to our strobe, again, we have it right over the camera and it's evenly lighting his entire face. I've cropped him in a little bit because I don't need to see the rest of his body. I really just need to see who he is in the expression that he has on his face. We got a nice pin light in his eye. And what's fun about this one is I had to really position the strobe to not reflect in his glasses. Very difficult. And if you can get used to doing that, there's a specific place when you're photographing someone with glasses that you get that away from. So keep in mind where are you going to put your strobe again in all three cases. One source of light, and that's all you really, really need as far as lighting goes, whether it be very, very big and soft on the left, very, very hard and harsh in the middle, or again, a smaller source but more targeted strobe light. To this day, whenever I get hired to take head shots, I will always use the strobe at this point. And that's because I'm so mobile. I used to use the big window because I had an office in a stage where I could use the big light. So it just made sense. Now that I'm traveling around, I can really just dial in the strobe where I need to do it. It packs up really, really small and I'm able to travel with it very easily and it looks great. I mean, look at this guy on the right. He's tappy and it looks perfect. Let's talk about the next thing that you would need for head shots. I do all my head shots with an 85 millimeter prime. You can use any lens you want, right? I just love the look of an 85 prime and I know a lot of photographers that use the 85. First of all, I would recommend using a prime lens. You can do portraits with a 355,075.85, 90, 100, whatever you feel comfortable with. I personally feel like the 75 and the 85 are a really, really, really good place for head shots specifically. And that's on a full frame sensor, right? So 85 on a full frame sensor. If we translate that down into most crop centers, that'd be closer to like a 55, 56, which we'll talk about with crop sensors. This is how I've upped my photography. I used to use a lot of 24, 70 or like a kit, or I've even used a 70 to 200 to shoot some portraits. But I feel like you're getting too far away from your subject. 75, 85 puts you in a really good place with your subject distance wise that you can talk to them and be connected with them. But it also allows the nice fall off from the background. And then if you're shooting outside, it gives a really, really nice Boca. You look in the background. It also has a lot of really good speed attributes, right? You don't want to necessarily be shooting at a 1.41 0.7 Because you don't want just their nose and focus and one eye in focus. You want most of their face and focus. It's nice that they have the option for speed, and I'll use my 85, which is I think, a 1.8 at weddings, when it gets to too dark, it'll be nice to have. But even at like a 28 or a four, sometimes we'll even shoot at a 56. The 85 will still hold that nice fall off. And deep focus or shallow focus that looks nice outdoors. But it will also keep two eyes in focus, which is really the important thing, right? We don't want one eye in focus, on one eye not in focus. That's not a great thing. But the fact that they still hold that cool depth of feel that like an F four really important, especially as you start to go up in prime lenses right 35 will still do it, but not as much as say 100 will. You can see the scale of that. I also really, really like the compression of the lens, and you've probably seen these on social media, but where they'll take a picture of like close up of a face. And they'll start at like a wide lens and go all the way down to like 100 millimeter or 200 millimeter. You start to see the shape of the person's face for my personal taste and I feel like advancement 50, 75, 85 is a much more natural representation of a human face than any other lens will be. If you go too far in like 100 or 200 or 600, you really start to see some compression and it starts to look a little funky. And if you go the other way, if you go like a wide lens, like a 28, or an 18, or a 16, or a fish eye, you know it's like real wide. And it looks weird. And everything's bowed. 50, 75, 85 is like the sweet spot for a natural looking human face. And that's what we're trying to do, right? We're trying to make them look inviting. We're trying to make them look, you know, like a normal person. And that's the best way to do it when you're shooting headshots, focusing on a prime that's a 50, 75 or 85 would be the best thing to do, in my opinion. Here's some examples of me shooting on an 85, and in fact, that's just me on the right. That's actually an 80 millimeter on a medium format sensor. And you can see, because the sensor is bigger, even though we're shooting at 80, that becomes more like, closer to like a 50 would be on a full frame. We're going the other direction, right? Sam actually shot this and it's the head shot that I use for everything now. It has a nice little fall off on the right. I think it looks great for me. It's a good artist profile shot. The fall off looks really nice. My face is in focus. My neck starts to go off focus. The static light is looking nice On the left, I shot this on a cropped sensor, on my Fuji T two. Using a 56 millimeter that Fuji has, which is on a full frame, would be closer to 80, 85 millimeter. You can see again, we see her whole face in focus. Both her eyes are in focus. And then we get some fall off into the rest of her body. We use some nice color tones. She had these bright blue eyes that worked great with that backdrop. I actually don't mind that. I'm cutting her head off again because we want her eyes in the sweet spot. We don't need to see her whole body. We just want to connect with the person that's there. And I think that that's okay. If you want to crop off the top of her head and get in close. The closer you get to someone, the more intimate it is, the more you can connect with someone and instantly she needs to be able to show this head shot to get acting jobs. This again, is when I used to use a garage and the big outdoor soft light. Everything is perfectly even and soft and that's how I'm lighting that one. Specifically, these two are proper 85 millimeter full frame camera shots. Shut these on my like a SL back here and the one on the left is our gentleman, again that we used with the glasses. And the nice big strobe, big even light. I'm showing more of his body this time. And again, you can see that 85, his face is nice in focus. It falls off into the background a little bit. You can see the back of his jacket is out of focus, but it looks nice. This is a really, really good business head shot, and I know he's still using that and I've shot that, like, I don't know, 56 years ago and maybe not that long, four years ago, he's still using it, which is great. The photo on the right is part of a job that I did for a company where I took 90 headshots and I put everyone in the same spot. Just because his company employs a lot of kids, like right out of college. And not a lot of them had professional looking headshots. So they hired me to come in and again, 85 millimeter, I shot it horizontally. So they had options to use it for other things. But I let the background go out of focus with the 85. And she is perfectly in focus. It's important that her eyes are in focus, of course. But we nailed it so that her body could be in focus and it looked professional. It looked like she was at an office. I'm using my strobe to light her, but I'm letting the rest of the natural light from the windows to light the rest of the background. The idea here is to light both of them so that they're matching a little bit, but so that it looks still natural and professional. The 85 here is such a really, really great lens to use because the background is just out of focus. Enough that we can kind of tell what's going on, but it looks like it's in a professional setting. So again, really good time to use 85 millimeter. Another tip for head shots is disarming your subject. When I walk in for a session with someone for head shots, I like to take my time to set up. And while I'm setting up, I like to talk to them. If I haven't set up before they've gotten there, I'll be doing this. If I have set up, I'll still sort of pretend like I'm setting up the camera so I can talk to them. When you start to bring your camera out right away, people get nervous, right? A lot of people that you're taking photos of, unless they're trained, actors are not going to be used to being in front of the camera. So there's anxiety behind it. Even actors will have some anxiety behind being on camera. I have anxiety about being in front of the camera right now. Just a thing if you can get them to be used to being in front of the camera. Get them to feel comfortable with not only you, but with you taking their photo. That's a really good thing. Their emotion is going to come across and you want their emotion to be positive, right? Not one of anxiety. The best way to do that is just disarm them. And you can do this by talking to them, asking them about their day, asking about their job, just relating and connecting to them. And that will come across the camera. I'm really a big person to shoot with my eye in the camera, a lot like that. But sometimes that can be a, I don't know, unpersonal. It's really nice that we have screens on because you can shoot like this and you can be talking to a person and you can connect with them while you're taking photos. Sometimes that can be a little rough because they'll be looking at you and not the glass. But try doing that. Maybe take the first couple photos like this so you can connect with them. You know, they may not be good, but you'll be talking to them. And I think that's a really, really good way to start off and then bring it up to your eye, take the photo. The most important thing is that you're just making your subject feel comfortable because that's what it's all about, right? You want to show their personality in a really positive way, not in an anxious way. So those are some tips for headshot photography. Again, you know, the big, nice soft open lighting, the use of prime lenses, and interacting with your client. Now we can go in and talk about the F stops and the shutters and all the stuff, but it's going to be very specific to your situation. I think of those three things. Having the lighting right is really going to be kind of the more crucial thing. Um, you can get away with shooting on a kit lens or a long lens, and you can get away without connecting with your person. But if the lighting is not good, it's just not going to look good. Making that your priority. Making sure that your lighting is nice and even, and it's going to separate you from other photographers who may not have good lighting. I'd say after that, connecting with your person is the next priority, and then your lens after that. But all these things are these tiny little things that you can really do to make really, really good headshots. And I'll mention this all again at the end, but we do have a specific lighting portrait course that you can check out and you're interested in. We go into all sorts of different ways of lighting your subject. 6. Advance Your Portrait Photography: Let's talk about family portrait photography. This can be very difficult for very many reasons, right? It's not just a technical aspect of what you're doing, but you're also dealing with kids. A lot of times, sometimes pets, you can't predict kids, right. You have to do the best you can do with what you've got going on. And this photo is like one of my favorite photos I've ever taken in a family. In fact, I think it's the same one that's in Phil's home hanging over his one of them anyway. But you can see even in this photo, it doesn't necessarily need to have everybody looking at camera. You're still feeling the family. You're still getting the happiness, the vibe, right? The two boys and the mom are looking at the camera. Phil, smiling and looking up in their direction still looks good. And Lucia is also smiling and happy so you still get the vibe of it. But there are a few things that you can do specifically to make sure that you're upping your game in family portrait photography would be one, making sure that your family's out in the shade. If you're not doing a portrait session indoors in like a studio, right? You want to put them in the shade because you want all that, even nice beauty lighting, very similar to our head shots. Right? And then we also want to make sure that when they're in the shade, the sun is behind them. Because you don't want their faces squinting. And if you're ever going to put the sun anywhere, you want to make sure that it's highlighting them for blowing up their faces. And the next thing to think about is making sure that all the faces are on the same plane. I know that we've sort of been taught to create that sort of shallow depth of field by shooting wide open, right? By shooting at a 2.8 or shooting at a two, or 1.4 or whatever. As soon as you do that, if you're shooting multiple people in a photograph, everything is going to be out of focus if they're on different planes, right? So if you're gonna shoot at an F two or an F28 or 14 or whatever, you want to make sure that all the faces are going to be on the same plane And that's fine. That's great. You can shoot at an F two and wide open and have the background fall off. Just make sure they're on the same plane so everyone's in focus. I can't tell you how many times I've messed up or I've shot with a wide open F stop like that and you know the kids are in the front and the parents are in the back and the kids faces are out of focus or the parents phases are out of focus. It's just not a good look. So either put them all on the same plane or shoot at a deeper F stop, right. Shoot at a 56 and use a prime lens and the background will still go out of focus and it'll look great. The last thing is going to be thinking about action and posing naturally. Specific poses that we can do, we'll talk about that is natural, but I think giving them an action, especially when there's kids, will give you those moments, right? Think back to what I talked about earlier in this whole course. Emotion, we want that emotion, so acting out something will create that emotion automatically. So first of all, lighting with the shade and the sun behind them, these two photographs specifically are in a park in shade, and you can see I'm having a general vibe in my style of photography where it's like a warm look. I also tend to do family sessions closer to the end of the day when the sun is getting a little bit lower, especially in the fall, you get this nice warm look. And typically, I think I do a lot of family portraits for clients, especially in October, November, around the time where they're starting to put together cards for the holidays. So looking at this, I put the sun behind them. Their faces are nice and evenly lit on the left. My friend, Julia K here, her legs are out of focus, but her husband and her and her baby are all in focus. While there is a grumpy looking baby, at least henley is in focus. And we can see the whole family as a whole. And that's what's important, right? The photo on the right. They're not looking at us, but we're getting the emotion and we're seeing that the light is falling across all their faces evenly, and we're getting that nice, warm vibe from behind them. The sun is highlighting his body. You can see the nice, nice sharp high light around his back and then the daughter's hair and the mom's hair, it's just giving this nice glow to them and it's separating them from the background, which is popping them out. And that's what looks really, really nice, Making sure you have the sun in the background, somehow going that direction and exposing for the shadows in their faces. That's what's going to look really good. Here's an example of faces on the same plane, right? Again, I'm doing the same thing, right? They're a little bit more in the sun, but they're also in the shade. I had them all have their faces close together, versus having Mom and Dad stand too tall. We want to have them come down to the daughter. Right. We want them all to be close and together because they're a unit and their family. If we separate their faces too much, you kind of lose that sort of connectivity and warmth, right? The whole idea behind family portraits is being a family and we want to get that emotion out of being close. If we move their faces into a different plane or they're not next to each other, it'll start to look a little bit more robotic and static. That can be a style, especially if it's like, you know, a photo with Santa. Or like a photo the department store on a white background with for rugs that can be a vibe. But for me, when you're out in the natural get the faces together and on the same plane, it'll create this emotional intimacy that you won't be able to get any other way. Here's another one with a big group. This is multiple people, right? This is a big family, right? Grandma, grandpa, other kids all on the same plane. I definitely shot this at closer to a 4.56 because I wanted everyone to be in focus and let it fall off into the background. Unfortunately, this was shot up in Kentucky and they're starting to come. A little bit of clouds in this one is a little stormy day. Not as easy to shoot. Beautiful sunsets out there versus California, but we got them all on the same plane and you still have a little bit of fall off in the background. And the important thing is that we see that everyone's there and together, again, faces on the same plane. We're going back to this first photo. While they're not all looking at camera, we can see that they're all in focus and we can see that they're all happy and smiling and they're together. Had mom and dad been up and holding one kid up and two kids down, it just wouldn't feel as intimate. So having them on the same plane, this is one of my favorite family photos I've taken ever. And I love that it's Phil and his family. I think it's just one of the greatest photos. This is another way to get more creative with it. Do you have just the kids on the same plane and the parents are out of focus? If you're going to have the parents be out of focus, do it on purpose. Right. Don't let it look like you did it on accident. In this, we just had the pictures of the three kids. The three of them are being excellent, excellent kids. And they're just staying there, holding their sister, taking the photo, having them in focus with the parents in the background, out of focus on purpose. Right. So I think that, I don't know, in 20 or 30 years this photo is going to show up at a wedding or a graduation and we're going to see just the kids with the parents in the background. And there is a little bit more emotion and creativity in it. Now to me this photo is kind of like a wine that's going to age right When you look back at this photo in more times it'll have more depth in emotion because everyone will be much older and they'll look differently. And you can see how happy you feel. Isabel are in the background looking at how beautifully behaved their kids are at this moment. So another thing to think about outside opposing is giving them action. How would you do that? I like to have parents run up and give them hugs. I like to make silly faces. I like to make noises or play games. Again, they don't all need to be looking into camera at the time. You want to create that emotion in between those posed shots. Again, this is just something that I do as my advanced photography and my style. But I think it really, really adds a lot and I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from these action photos. So here are four examples of action in photos. The one on the left here, I had the daughter stand there and I told her to keep looking at me, and I had the two parents, I said, come run up and give her a big hug. And I think it surprised her. I think they did it without me telling him when to do it. And it created all these wonderful little laughs. And while you don't see the dad's face or the mom's face full, you're getting this nice, beautiful emotion. It's really, really, really great. Again, in the middle, I think we had dad stay in the middle, and we had all the kids and mom pile onto Dad. And that created this, you know, laughing down below. I had them just walk away. I was like, oh, we're done. Maybe you can swing your hold your hand a little bit. And I was able to snap that photo. I know that's a really, really good one. And then again, on the right, we were creating silly faces because daughter didn't necessarily want to be taking photos at the time. That's really great. Again, mom's a little out of focus, but we get this emotion. It's super fun and silly, and I really like the faces that they're making it. Look at these four photos, what else do you notice? Go back to the other things we were talking about. Right? They're all in the shade, the sun is behind them. For all of them, most of the time, all their faces, other than the shot of them walking away, are on the same plane. I'm doing all three things here, right? All on the same plane. All in the shade with the sun behind them. And action. Yeah, Even in this one, not all kids faces are in focus. And they're not all looking over here on the right with just Phil and his daughter. She's just laughing and smiling. And their faces are close enough that they can be in the same plane and be in focus. There's also that nice sunlight that I let actually peek into the lens this time. That allowed some flare and that's what's so great When you put these families in the shade and the sun behind them, you can find little spots where maybe you let the sun come in and it creates this nice glow. And look again, that's more of a specific style, right? But by putting them in the shade and putting the sun behind them, you have the choice to do that. Gives you a little bit more versatility in using the image. And so that's the best thing about taking family portraits is you kind of have to adapt and run with it. It's very similar to taking head shots in the sense where you could be using primes, you could be using strobes if you want. I find that taking families outdoors later in the day, having patience with the kids, putting them in the shade, giving them actions to do, is going to set you up to take the best family photos you can do. Because you can't control the kids. You can't always control, you know, the weather, but you can control your sort of little, you know, style of shooting and posing in action and stuff like that. 7. Advance Your Creative Portraits: Let's talk about creative portraits. These aren't going to be too dissimilar from head shots in the way you like them, but they are going to be a little bit more specific to your subject, right? Most of the time, creative portraits are going to be a portrait, an example of like an artist or someone who wants to portrait themselves, doing the thing that they do, or being in the place that they do, for whatever reason. So let's go through five tips that I can give you to up your game and creative portraits, right? Get to know your subject, understand the location, the location, the location. We want that to be specific to your subject. That's going to add a lot. We want to tell a story, right? We want to be able to show what this person's doing and what it means to them. We want to think about changing your composition to not necessarily be that basic head shot photo, right? Change the composition to add emotion. And I always say you can never get close enough with any type of photography. But I think especially when you're taking photos of people, the closer you get, the more intimate you are, the more that person will come out. So let's talk about getting to know your subject. Here are three photos of me getting to know my subject, right? The first photo on the left was we definitely did some actor head shots, but then she had a little bit of attitude and some as to her, she wanted to add some more to it. So we talked and we were sitting there and, you know, I would just really get to know her and see where she was going. And she kind of just had that pose while she was talking to me about an attitude she had about something, and it came across really, really well. I know she loves that photo. Same with the guy in the middle, right? He's a very somber, quiet boxer who was getting into modeling, but he also was like a very quiet, stoic person. And I would just let him stand and I would just let him be quiet and we would take photos. And that came across really well in that photo. It allowed me to light him in that way as well. On the right, we have my friend Bonage, who I've taken photos of quite a bit. I just know what makes him laugh. And I've gotten to know him really well in a sense that I can crack him up and I know when to take the photo of him right away. He has a wonderful smile, but it only comes out when he's laughing and we're joking and stuff like that, right? I'm not just going to sit around and just snap away and be quiet, right? I'm going to get to know him, find out where his personality is physically and then take the photo and that's how these really come out and come alive again with Bonaja on the left. He's making him laugh. We have my Dr. friend here that we took some photos of and those are a little bit more headshoddy. I snapped away when she was laughing, when I told a joke. These other two on the right, Blake, That's just his look, I think when he was telling a joke, he's a stand up comedian, and a director, and a producer. It's that black and white in the middle. And that just seemed like very him in the moment. And you can see that coming across. Same with Anthony on the right, he's an artist and a musician. And we were just walking around and I really, in all these photos, was talking to them. I was getting to know them. Talking about what they love, what they don't like, what makes them laugh, what their hopes and dreams are. All that conversation creates these looks, right? I'm not telling them to do these looks. I'm not telling them to look down and smile. I'm having a conversation with them and snapping away at the same time. The more you get to know your subject, the more you talk to them, the more you interact with them, the better the photos are going to come out. Their motion is going to come across in your lens, Talk about location. Here is a girl she wanted to take photos of her and her purple motorcycle in like a really interesting way. The best place I thought was like, okay, we're taking motorcycles machines. We want to make it look like really cool. I waited later in the day during the fall and we rode out and took photos of her in an industrial area. And I was able to find these two different looks. There's a bunch more series of photos in her session, but we found this really cool mural on this wall. I was able to find a spot where this light was coming through behind her. But then I was reflecting off some glass in front of her and I was able to put her there and it really like highlighted her tattoos, the color going on in her bike, the color going on in her hair, but then it also back litter. And then the background was industrial, which looked really cool with the motorcycle. If it weren't for this location, these photos would not have come out I think the way I thought they would and it was really just finding about the vibe of her and the location. I think her skin tone, what she's wearing pops on the cooler background with her purple motorcycle in between those two things. The background of the mural between the two eyes and her looking up adds this sort of like cool, artsy vibe to it. Now she uses this, she's a motorcycle salesman, and she uses these as her profiles to sell Harleys, which is really great. I think the location adds a lot to this creative portrait. Again, more location stuff. Right here on the left we have a musical artist. Her name is Kylee Morgan, and she was shooting a music video, but we found this room and I was able to set up a hard light that the music video guys were using and use this location to pop out her personality. I think if we had taken the same photo, just in her bedroom or in a room or in a living room, it would not be the same as actually going in and taking portraits in a specific cool looking location that adds to her personality and the vibe that she has in this specific song, an album that she's doing. Over here on the right is, as you've seen, Sam, there's a really cool location in LA that I always try to shoot at over the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles. It's a bridge and it has that center light that goes right down the middle, That is Sam right there. And I had him hold up his camera and take this more harsh light. I added some sharpness to it, made it black and white. But this location is like making him pop. You can see I also composed a little bit higher, which we'll talk about in a second. But having him be in this nice well lit depth of field, lines coming, it feels like a photographer's location. For some reason, I think it just adds a lot to the portrait itself. So thinking about where your subject is is really great, right? You want it to add to the personality of the photo. So when you're taking a creative portrait, or you're going to do something specific to that person, think about what's around them. Think about how it will add to the emotion of that person in general. Let's take out the location and go back to a white backdrop. Right? We also want to tell a story. Here's a story of my cousin Jackie. She was also in a charity fight a couple years ago. While I needed to take portraits of her. She was, that was the morning of her fight. She was getting ready. She got her hair done. We wanted to take photos of her, and instead of just going out into the backyard, we just put her on the white wall. And I had her just a couple poses and I had her punch and made her laugh a little bit because she was feeling silly. But this tells a story, right? We snapped at the right time. We snapped at a portrait of her just on the upper left. We snapped at her getting ready to punch. She can see her tongues out a little bit. We snapped at the right moment we had her punch, so we can just see her eyes. We still want to see her eyes. And then I got really, really close and I shot her laughing because she was, we were talking were joking around making a joke. But when you put these four photos together in a sequence, it's telling her story, right? For her it's really great. Because I think she can look back on these and see how fun it was to do that, but also look at this moment in time and look at her emotions that she was having that day. We're able to capture all that in a creative portrait. One photo is great, but four photos as a series can also be really, really good in telling a story, especially for something active like this. Let's talk about changing the composition. I say this because I use a lot of headroom a lot of times to create a isolation with the subject. Or maybe just to emphasize something specifically about how awkward this may be. In this photo above, here we have Sarah who's graduating from college. It was just so windy that her tassel kept hitting her face. And she finally just gave up and just stood there. And I added some room on the top because it just felt like an awkward side moment. And I think that that composition itself gives a lot more emotion than it would just be if I just framed it up normally, right? If she was just centered on top, bottom, left, and right, it's fine. But look at how much more awkwardness the space allows for us to be there. Down below Anthony, who's this artist, He's a country artist and we're taking this photo in the middle of Tennessee with all these like trees and stuff. I did get one of him just centered and framed and full and frame. But when I stepped back and allowed their head room to be, you can see how small he is in the back country of Tennessee. And I think that that adds a lot for maybe an album cover or something that he can use on his website. It also leaves room for text, right? If you're thinking about doing a portrait for someone's website or doing a portrait for someone's, I don't know, social media or something. You can allow room for text and for copy, and for other graphics, or for a Youtube thumbnail. So, thinking about what your subject may be using this for is good to know. And you might need to change your composition to help add to that portrait. You can never get close enough. Both these artists are artists are musicians and I feel like they had already a lot of personality. The one on the right, Caroline Sky, we saw at the beginning for the creative portraits. And we did some photos like that where we had some color and it matched her music video. But then also we did, we did a creative shoot where we had a bathtub full of white milk. And we got close because they wanted to get the closeness of her eyes and get the emotion out of her. Right? You can get really close and they don't even need to be looking a camera here on the left. My friend's name is Danielle here. She is a musical artist, but it goes by the name of Williams. Again, we did like a photo session of her just hanging out and practicing and doing some art. And I got really, really close and you can see the emotion in her eyes. You can see the emotion in just her compiness in this sort of like nice warm jacket. The closer you get to someone, the more intimate you are, the more you can connect that person. I think I like getting really, really close in those intimate sessions because it adds that level of connectivity. Don't be afraid to get close even if it doesn't work out. Just try, see if you can get close. I think if you start with getting to know your subject and you work your way up through all those things and to getting close and creative portraits, right? Get to know your subject, put them in the right location, compose in a nice, fun way and get close their personality, the essence that they're trying to share, will come across in your photography. And you will up your game. If anything, just be present and be creative and get to know that person. 8. Advance Your Street Photography: Now, I'm not a huge street photographer. I don't do it all the time, but I have been doing it a lot more lately. And it's actually very similar to travel photography. So let's get into street photography a little bit. There are definitely some things that you can be doing to advance your skills here in street photography aside from practicing. The first thing is being incognito, right. Again, this goes back to using a small camera or something that you can look down at and shoe. I know Sam is like a big proprietor of looking down at his camera and it pops up and just shooting from your hip. So people don't know that you're doing that. If taking photos of people in street photography is the thing that you're trying to do versus like just things and ambience and stuff like that. The other thing is a long lens versus a prime lens. Prime lenses are really great because they're fast, right? And they're small, right? You can make them smaller and they can be on a camera and you can really just kind of go around and snap them real quick. But a long zoom lens can also go a long way. You're off in the corner. And having a very long zoom, you'd be able to basically like sit back and people wouldn't notice that you're taking photos of them. Again, if you're taking photos of people, those would be incognito long lenses and versus prime lenses and how that would work out for you. Those are really quick ways to get in there with gear and be quiet. But what are we trying to achieve with street photography? I would say we're trying to get some emotion. We're trying to show reality. We're photo journalistic in a way which is at the end of the day in my style, I'm very photo journalistic viewer vibe that I'm doing. You want to look for emotions with people, right? And I know I've said this before, but specifically you want to look for what's happening in that scene, at that particular moment. So I know those two things are connected. And when I say look for emotions, you want to snap away before people are knowing that you're taking a photo of them, right? We talked earlier about when you're taking a photo of someone, people tend to clam up or they're not sure or they change or, you know, they don't show the true emotion. That's happening, Judge, and these two photos right here, I caught a couple touching each other. This was over in Sicily and they were just sitting outside a bench and I just snapped a quick photo without them knowing. Their hands are unknowingly making a heart. And that's the kind of emotion I'm talking about, right? Like I will have never been able to get them to pose like that in that specific place at that specific time with those specific eyes looking into each other. That is a pure emotive moment that they're having on their own that I snuck away with. Which is, you know, also something to think about and talk about as being a little sneaky when you're a street photographer and the ethics behind taking people's photos and emotions and moments. But I'm not selling this print, I'm not trying to exploit them. I just was passing by and thought it was a nice photo. This photo on the right, which you've seen before, I've shown you earlier, I snapped away and these were two wranglers at a ranch that I go to as a guest, but also go to to work at. Again, it really shows their attitude in the moment they would not have had those faces, I think had I picked up the camera. In fact, I know for a fact that both of them would turn away if they knew I was taking a photo of them. But instead, I have this very modern cowgirl look of them talking to their mom who was behind me. And I just quickly snapped away. But I found this emotion in their attitudes towards what was happening in that moment. And that is that street photography that I was able to get with a small camera and a prime down below very quick. And that's what makes street photography really good. And it will make your street photography pop. Look for what's around you, how people are feeling, what the emotion is going on in that moment, and snap that again moment in time, right? The emotion here, I mentioned earlier earlier in this whole class was like I can feel how cold that water going to be or how, or how nice it's going to feel in jumping it off, This is also a single moment in time, and that's what's so great about street photography too, is because you find yourself in a very specific moment in time. Philosophically, the only way to get that is through stills, right? Or video I suppose. But like you're capturing this very specific moment in time. And that is what makes street photography and photography so cool. It's like time travel, right? This will never, ever happen again in this moment, In this time at this place with these people. I caught him in mid air. I saw him about to jump, and I quickly turned my camera and snapped away. The camera focused out on his friend, watching him jump in the water. You can feel it, right? You understand that he's about to get consumed by water. He's caught in mid air. It's somewhere between standing, getting, anticipating jump, and landing in the water. Or already floating around in his friend. It's, this was a fraction of a second, a second in time when this happened. And I was able to snag it. And if you can look for these moments, if you can look for these specific moments in time that only happen in an instance, in a moment and you can capture them. It's going to make your street photography look and feel even more impactful. So when you're walking the street next, keep an idea of emotion of a moment in time. Do you see something that only happens once in a while? Maybe hang out and wait and be patient and take a photo of that. Or maybe you look for what's going on around. You look to see if someone's angry waiting in line at like a taco shop in downtown area. Look and see if there's someone alone on a park bench. Look and see if these birds are about to fly away. You know, look for these moments and I can guarantee you that this is what's going to advance your street photography is capturing these moments, paying attention to what's you're earning, and paying attention to emotion and a single moment in time. Now, let's talk about other things, right? Snapping away. I try not to be super trigger happy, especially when I'm doing weddings and stuff because you're just making more work for yourself. But there's something to be said about taking a ton of photos constantly, all the time. The more photos you take, like I said earlier, the more practice you'll get. But with street photography, you can be snapping away and you may find something later when you're looking at those like a diamond in the rough, right? If you're taking a bunch of photos and you're paying attention to the moment in time and the emotion, something will be in there somewhere, right? It's sort of like an interesting way to think about art and creativity is looking at those moments. Snapping away, taking a ton of photos, and then going back and looking to see what you sort of had in that moment. Because sometimes those moments are so fast that we don't notice them in the moment. We don't notice them until later when we've been taking a ton of photos. That goes along with getting used to taking your camera everywhere. And I mentioned this in the beginning in the sense that you, you should think about getting used to taking your camera everywhere. And that will make you a better photographer. It will make you an even better street photographer. Because even if you're going out for a Taco at a food truck, or you're going out to get gas or something, and you bring your camera with you. You never know what moment might pop up that you can take a photo. You never know when creativity will strike. You never know when you know an ambulance will be flying down the street or whatever, right? If you take your camera with you and you're prepared and you're used to shooting and you've gotten good at it, and you know your settings, you will get really, really great photos. So I'm always going to say get used to taking your camera with you everywhere. I know it can be a burden sometimes. I know you can struggle. Any time I sit and I ask myself, go, should I take my camera or shouldn't I take my camera? That is a sign that you should take your camera. And I tell myself that every time and when I don't take my camera, I usually I'd say more than that. I regret not taking it every time I've taken it. I've never really regretted taking it with me. I mean, unless you're doing like going on roller coasters or doing something superactive where you're afraid of it or you're going to leave it somewhere. I'd say nine times out of ten. I'm happy I took it. Even if I didn't take any photos. I know that if something happened, I will have been prepared and I will have taken a good photo. So get used to taking a camera with you. It will make you a better photographer all around. Not just street photography, right? Thinking about incognito gear, you know, not making a big scene of yourself but just kind of snapping away. I think a lot of dark gear helps out a lot with that. Thinking about a long lens versus a prime or a zoom if you want to be versatile. Everyone kind of has their own style of street photography. Looking for that emotion in people very important, anticipating it, being patient with it, even the people that you're walking around with or on the street with, looking for a single moment in time. I think that one's the most important thing that's really going to up the way all your street photography looks like. Take a walk around a block and just go a walk, right? Take photos, don't think about it. Do a walk at the same time the next day. And think about single moments in time. And take photos of those that apply to it and see how much better they are. I'm telling you it will change the way your photography looks in a good way. Snap away. Take as many photos as you can. Digital stuff doesn't cost money. You can always throw it away. As long as you're cool, sitting there with a cup of coffee, going through it all, you never know what moments you may have missed or gotten and get used to taking your camera with you everywhere. I still try to take mine with me everywhere I go, anytime I can. And if not again, your mobile camera can take photos, but you know you want to take away the looking like you're taking a photo when you're talking about street photography. 9. Advance Your Travel Photography: Travel photography, I don't really see it being that much different than street photography other than you trying to tell a story when you're out in traveling. So travel photography will really be more about telling a full story about your whole traveling, right, Versus like moments in time just on the street. That doesn't mean you don't want to get moments in time in travel photography. I think when you're thinking about travel photography, you should apply everything that you would be doing in street photography to travel photography. You want to apply landscapes to what you'd be doing in travel photography. You want to maybe apply events to what you'd be doing in travel photography. Travel photography is more about being present and capturing those moments that you are experiencing while you're traveling. Mostly so you have time to look back on them if you want, unless you're working for a client and you're trying to showcase the travel for a specific client. Travel photography ends up really just being for yourself, so it's a really important thing to get good at if you want to make sure that you want to look back at the good times that you've had traveling and whatnot. So let's go through some quick tips. First one of course, take all your street photography knowledge and apply it to your travel photography. It just means you're kind of taking more photos and it's a little more versatile small camera. I would say that that more than that has been the best way that I've gotten better travel photos. I have taken my bigger camera when I travel for fun, But at the same time, like I feel like taking a bigger camera starts to take away from what you're doing and what you're doing. The most important thing is the traveling, right? Having a smaller point and shoot camera is like really, really beneficial. I think for travel, especially with photography, especially when you're moving around a lot. You just have to decide like what kind of smaller camera you feel like comfortable with doing and the versatility of it, right? Like if you took a small camera and you only took an 85 millimeter, you wouldn't be able to get the nice big, wide landscapes if you're going to like somewhere that has a lot of landscapes. Unless you're going to like, you know, maybe you're going to India to shoot the Festival of Colors and you want to get portraits of people. You might want to take the 85 and have it be big and bulky. But, you know, typically I travel with, I have a little point and shoot camera with a 28 millimeter fixed lens and that's all I need. It's a high megapixel camera so I can crop in later. And that has been the best travel camera I would ever recommend. And take small enough light enough wall expensive. Having the small camera allows me to enjoy travel and still take both landscape and portraits when I need to. Don't be afraid to use your mobile phone, right? Like I'm like a big proprietor of wanting to use your mobile camera, especially in travel aspects. If you don't have room for a camera, use your phone 100% The only thing that worries me about using your phone as a camera is you start to think about battery life, right when you're traveling. You may need to use maps, You may need to use translators. You may need to get to e mails and confirmation codes and transit and all that stuff. If you start to use your mobile phone as a camera, you're taking away your battery quite a bit. And then it also becomes a duality of something. So don't be afraid to use it, but also think about separating them. I think that's more what I would try to be thinking about when thinking about mobile photography as you're traveling taking lots of wides. Don't forget to establish where you are when you look out through your eyeballs right now. Right, it's pretty wide, right? You can see like a pretty vast area through your eyes while you're focusing around moving your pupils. Having a nice wide shot with your camera is really going to ground your travel, you know, when you look back at your albums and ground them. So I think it's really good to always do wides. I'd say more often than not, my travel photos and usually I'm traveling for work. Right. I already have 1 million cameras with me, but I try to never forget to get a wide because that's going to be the best cool thing. Something to go back on. The mobile phone too, is a lot of mobile phones these days, when you take photos with your mobile phones, it puts a pin where you are. And I think that that's a really fun way to go back and look at your travels through that. Here's a quick photo I took. This is down in the Amazon. I was down there working on a project for NBC. And this is actually take my Fuji Xt one, I want to say with a 56 millimeter, so that's an 85 on a full frame camera. And we were down there showing some indigenous people And I just happened to see this on the corner, very street photography sort of vibe. But I happen to have the camera in the right spot, the right time to nail this photo. And it wouldn't happen if I wasn't paying attention and have the right small camera to where they didn't notice I was taking the photo of them. It's a really beautiful photo and I believe he was making some headdress from they had dressed up in their fancy wear for us being there. Here's another photo from Sicily. If you remember the street photography shot in the back. This photo complements the street photo of the man jumping in the water. Right? There's a nice big wide, I actually used this on my desktop a lot because I think it's just a really nice, refreshing photo on my computer to remember being in that nice, cool air in the summer. Here's a nice big wide from Guatemala at Lake Atitlan. Sam and I had a project down there and then we stayed at this resort that had Doc out. And that's a very sort of typical travel photo, right? Is Lake Atitlan and Guateimala with a volcano in the background and Doc going out to the water. There's a famous music video by Z and there's a kid running out and jumping into the water at this lake. So, but again, this is like a wide, right? I'll always remember this feeling because I took this wide. I think if I had just taken a close up zoomed in of the volcano or a close up zoomed in of the doc, I wouldn't get the same feeling. And I remember sitting there and taking this wide and taking it in and remembering, and now I have this image that sparks that same feeling. Because that's really what you're trying to do. Trying to take these wides to help spark that travel bug, to remember how you were feeling during this whole, you know, travel episode. These are my quick travel tips. It's funny, because I haven't really traveled a ton outside of work. And so I'm already going to have cameras with me. So the biggest thing I can really emphasize is like remember to use your phone. Remember to be present. Remember to take wides where you can and try to encapsulate the feeling that you would have when you're being there. The whole point of taking travel photos is to remember the smells. Remember the feeling you got from being there. Remember the light. Remember the people you're with, right? This photo over here is me taking a photo of Phil. Phil taking a photo of me. And that trip was all about the three of us out hiking, talking about photography, and pushing ourselves as photographers. And I really like this photo that Phil picked out of me because, you know, it's just so us. And it reminds me of that moment and I remember exactly how cold it was right there. And then it would rain. It would not rain and get hot from hiking. And that's all travel photography really is, is encapsulating the feeling that you have when you're taking those photos. So if I were to leave you with any advanced tip with travel photography, it would be that whatever camera you have when you're there in the moment, take a moment to be present and breathe in and understand the area that you're around and see how you can translate that into taking a photo. 10. Advance Your Landscape Photography: Oh boy, landscape photography. We have a whole course on landscape photography, if you want to check that out where we go deeper into this, but let me give you some tips on how I advanced my landscape photography. I didn't used to do a lot of landscapes and I think as I've gotten older, I found more patients for it. And I think that that's going to be one of the things I talk about later on. But landscape photography can really be complex, but it can also be very simple. And if you set yourself up for the right things, your landscape photography can be epic. Let's talk about some of those things that I set myself up for. First of all, the location, right? You can just go out the door and shoot whatever landscape you have. But like if you want it to be epic, if you want it to be advanced, if you want it to look good, go to a good location, go get that shot that you've been wanting to get landscape wise, Go to a national park, go on vacation. If you're on vacation, go hike somewhere that you know is going to be an epic location that you wouldn't normally be at. Those are what's going to look the best and the most epic. And it's going to push your photography, right? If you're just going around your neighborhood, you're never going to get the best looking locations and the best looking landscapes. You have to go get them. They're out there and they will look good once you get there. And you apply these other things to them. The other things we want to look at, I'm going to talk about the time of day, the composition, the gear you may want specifically for this. And again, the patience that you need especially for landscape photography. So let's talk about the time of day. I mean, we talked about location. If once you have the location, you have to understand that your time of day is going to be just as important, right? A landscape is a big, vast area, right? It's not like I can throw up a strobe light and shoot it in the way I want to, or control the light, by controlling and dimming and stuff. When you're out shooting a landscape, you adhere to the sun, right? You adhere to the land in front of you, adhere to the weather. So have a plan, right? First of all, know your location. Find it, right? You're going to go somewhere. Pick a time of day that you're going to shoot. When does it look good? What direction are you facing at that time of day? Where's the sun going to be at that time of day? Have a plan for this, right? If you just go somewhere, you wake up, you have breakfast, you're already at your location, You walk out, you saunter out. It's 11:00 in the morning, 10:00 in the morning. The sun's right overhead and you're looking at some beautiful desert scene. It's just going to be fully lit. That can look really beautiful 100% especially if there's clouds and the weather's good. But what if it rained that day? Did you look up and see what the weather was going to be like? What if you had gotten up right when the sun is caressing over the hills from the other side. And it's just hitting one corner of that giant butte, which I'm about to show you. What if you waited throughout the day? What if you just took a nap during the day, waited for the sun to go down, and you went back to the same spot. And right when the sun was setting, you snapped a series of photos and you let the sun just kiss the corner of that butte and you got the blowing up colors of the sky in the background. Like this is right here. That's exactly what I did here. Right? I knew exactly where I wanted to be for this photo and I waited all day for the sun to set in that moment. I'm not going to lie. I didn't know the colors were going to look that good in the background. And this has a little bit of editing post help. But I did know the sun was going to slowly sweep across the butte like that. And I have some other photos where it's lit up more, But I love that, like nice, warm sun coming across the red desert onto Monument Valley onto this butte. Time of day is very, very important when talking about landscape photos. Here is not something I had planned, right? This is at the end of working on this ranch. We were on a cattle drive. This was the last moments of the cattle going into their final pin, after a whole week of driving 300 cattle across state lines and it just it blew up. Right. I was waiting and taking photos all day, and as I was riding my horse there, I had a camera. While I was on horseback, I just waited and waited for the sun to get to that right moment and took a photo. I didn't take any photos before this and I didn't take any photos after this. This was the perfect time for me to take this photo. Time of day, right? Very important to the way landscape looks. If everything was lit up, it just wouldn't have that contrast, that like really professional colorful look later in the day. Earlier in the day, the sun is going to be your friend to make it look really, really. And again, this is like a quick advanced tip, right? This is just the minimal thing you can do to make this look even better. Planning out, waiting for the time of day. You can start to add filters. You can start to have longer exposures. You can do all these things. But this is just a really quick, advanced thing that you should be thinking about as a photographer. As you go from beginner to advance, knowing where the sun is, knowing that you have a plan, knowing what time of day you're shooting, anything but specifically landscapes is really how you start to be a professional. Here's another one, right? I got there and I waited for the sun to dip below. I think I spent maybe an hour or two just hanging out at the spot in Monument Valley. This is on a different trip. This is a motorcycle trip. And I remember it was so cold because I was there in February and I just parked and just waited as cars went by and waited for the sunset to get that iconic shot, right? That brings me to composition. When thinking about compositional landscapes, there's a lot of things you can do. There's a very famous story that an old director, John Ford, told Spielberg about horizon lines, right? If horizons are in the middle, it's boring, right? If you put it at the top or you put it at the bottom, it's going to express more. It's going to say more. I think that's true, but I think it also depends on what you're photographing in film and video. It's a little different because you have someone walking across frame or going into frame. So you have that dynamic with stills. Think about the overall image and the balance of the image. What are you trying to show and how are you trying to balance that out per like your style and your emotion. So let's look at these two photos. They're very similarly composed, right? The horizon line is in the middle. On both of them, right? They're down the center. But why did I allow that to be right? I think a lot of people say put it in the upper or lower third, right? But in both of these shots, I wanted the foreground to be coming into you and I wanted you to see the vastness of the space above, right in the shot on the left, this is at Death Valley in California. The foreground of the desert floor, it's the lowest spot in North America, really close to you. And then you just see how empty it is in the back. I let there be negative space in the sky. Maybe a more interesting photo would be completely tilted down, just looking at the floor itself. But I didn't want the floor to be the main focus. I wanted the entire area to be the main focus. I wanted to add in floor with Sky photo on the right. Also the same amount of like composition, right? I like the center because we see downtown LA. In the middle, but we also see sky in the top in the contrast. And we see the foreground coming with the houses in the Hollywood Hills. The cool thing about this photo, I think, is that there is like a balance between the sky and there's a balance. The sky and the homes inside the horizon doesn't necessarily need to be at the top or bottom to be interesting. It's more about having a balance and a symmetrical shot in these compositions. Specifically opposite in this right, in this photo, this is out in the Alabama Hills, again, more California as I framed it up at the very bottom, right, the horizon at the very bottom. And there's a ton of negative space in the sky. What idea is I think honestly, because there really wasn't a ton of interesting things going on in these hills, right? It's a beautiful mountain. The sun is setting. I only have the option to shoot into the sun. And how do I make this photo more interesting? I'm going to add a ton of negative space and tell a story with it being at the bottom in this shot. This is monument value and this is done on film. Same thing as the last shot, right? If we just taken a photo in the middle of the day with these long shadows, with the horizon at the middle, like our first two photos, there really wouldn't be much going on, right? Because there's nothing down below and there's nothing above. There's no sky, there's no anything like the last photo. By putting the frame and the horizon at the bottom, we're leaving all this negative space to show you how vast the desert and Monument Valley is. You can see how tall these buttes reach into the sky. If we had center, if we had tilted down and the image was more facing down, it wouldn't be as interesting. It would also just be like you looking at it from your eye. Remember I mentioned that earlier? It's just kind of there. We're curating and deciding how our viewer looks at our photo. We want to frame it in this sky. It's not just open or just there, right? We're showing exactly how big these things are with how big the sky is and that's what creates the feeling in this landscape photo. Let's talk about gear when you're doing landscape photography, right? Having a high megapixel camera is super helpful, right? Because you can print these out real big or you can zoom in if you want. And you're getting all those details and those sharp things like that. So if you really are getting into landscape photos, I would really highly recommend a higher megapixel camera o wide lens versus a zoom lens. This is really specific to your style and what you're doing. My friend Sam, he loves to shoot landscapes on zoom lenses, he'll get really, really far away and he'll zoom in really far. Mountain range, really far away. And you'll see the compression because of the zoom lens. You'll see the mountains looking like stacked up. Or if you've ever seen a photo of like a city skyline with the mountains right behind or something like that's because they're shooting on a very long lens. Typically, I shoot a lot with a wide lens, a lot of landscapes, because we want to see everything. You're going to need a tripod, absolutely need a tripod mostly, and specifically because you want to be able to frame stuff up, you can do it without a tripod and just hand held. But having sticks, having a tripod will really let you fine tune everything. On top of that, you can always screw in filters. You'll be able to really dial in everything. Highly recommend a tripod, especially like a travel one. And then filters, right? You can start to learn as you advance. You can start to use gradient filters. Use ND filters to have longer exposures. There's all these things that you can do, filter wise to really up your game. It's something you should think about and start getting into. I don't do a lot of that because I do a lot of in post now. But if you're really getting in the landscapes, it's worth looking at gradient filters ND filters and polarizing filters which will allow to get more blues out of the skies, more deep looks into water. If you're doing water, landscapes and water skepes, those are really important. So I would start to look into those. And then just using your mobile phone, right, If you don't have your camera. Again, I always go back to this. I actually think mobile phones doing landscapes are much, much better than taking photos of people. It's able to give like high HDR. You can see into the shadows really deeply and it can pull down those highlights really well to create really beautiful, not only like landscape photos, but panoramas of landscapes. I think mobile phones just excel at that more than taking photos of people, honestly. And then finally, we've talked about this is just having the patients right in this photo. I was waiting for the sun to be at the right place but for cars to coming through. At the same time, I used an ND filter, which we talked about later, to get a longer exposure. So I was able to see cars, their lights go through this long exposure. But understanding that like you must wait or you must not miss when the sun is going to be in the right place, when the physical objects of these big large landscapes are going to be in the right place. We are all moving through space and time and you have to allow yourself to wait for that kind of stuff. Don't just be done right. Also, I think when the sun is behind the horizon, it doesn't mean that you should stop taking photos. There is a patience level to where the sun will then skip off and get even more colorful once it's behind the horizon line. Thinking about waiting and understanding that like if there's not a new moon this weekend and you want to shoot at night, maybe you should be patient and wait for the following cycle of the moon. Or you want a Full Moon. Be patient, and wait for it to show up next month before you go. The name of the game is Patience. And being present there and understanding that you don't need to do everything so quickly. Because you may be able to get a better shot if you wait it out, especially with landscapes. 11. Advance Your Wedding Photography: Let's talk about wedding photography. This is one of the bigger ones, right? Especially because I have been shooting weddings for 15 plus years. I had my own wedding photography company for a few years while I was going through grad school, and I still shoot weddings. The cool thing about wedding photography is when you learn wedding photography and you design how to shoot wedding photography, you can apply this to pretty much any event style photography, even concerts. Even though we have our own section on concerts and music, wedding photography really applies itself to any event where you're taking photos and there's a thing going on and there's guests and all sorts of things. Wedding photography is big, right? There's a lot that goes into wedding photography. It is so big that we have our own wedding photography course where I go way deep into every single aspect of wedding photography, including doing demos and editing and all that stuff. But for now, I'm going to give you some basic ideas on how to take wedding photography and push to the next level, right? First of all, wedding photography, you need a style. Your specific wedding photography style is what makes you unique. It's what will separate you from other people. Especially when it comes to when you're pitted against another wedding photographer and you're trying to get that job. So let's talk about style. We're going to talk about gear that helps you become a wedding photographer. We're also going to talk about how you can connect to your couples and the people that you're taking photos of. And this is kind of also where this applies to other event photography, right? Connecting with the people that you're taking photos of at an event. And then finally, we'll go into a really quick thing, which I just kind of briefly mentioned in how hard wedding photography is and how worth it it is. So let's start off with talking about my style. My style is a very non participant. I mean, I do participate obviously when I have to, when we do formal photos and when I'm trying to pose the couple. But often my style is as a viewer. And this gets talked about a lot with a lot of other advanced photographers. There's a photographer that I follow that he always talks about being a viewer or being a participant. And I've sort of adapted that and I've learned to do that over years. Is my style specifically is very photo journalistic, which means I'm a viewer, which means I'm not really like, you know, positioning and I'm not really like posing all that much. I do do that and you have to do that at a certain point. But in general, a lot of my photography is going to be like stepping back view and taking the picture. Finding the right moment, right, and finding the emotion through my compositions and whatnot. You can see in these two photos right away. They're both the same vibe, the same thing. And I didn't ask either of these couples to kiss, I just put myself in the situation and they did. I got into the car with them, they kissed. I put the veil over my head, they kissed automatically. That sort of viewership, and knowing when to take the right photo is something that I have learned in my style. It's taken time to understand. So first, when you're trying to find your style, think about my style and look at my photos and decide, are you a viewer or you are a participant, that's the fastest way that you're going to find your style. Think about how you interact with your couple. Think about the colors that you like that you gravitate towards. Pay attention to what you're paying attention to when you look at Pinterest. Like go through wedding photographers on Pinterest and see what sparks your interest. See what you like. Go back and look at the photos that you've taken at a wedding or of your friends and see what you're doing. Try to notice the little compositions that you're doing. Notice what color you're editing with, what things are in focus, what things are not in focus. Start to look at what you like doing and do more of that. That's the fastest way to get to your style. Don't think too hard about this. I think sometimes we can get caught up in like who we are as artists and what we're doing and not doing just it sounds as cheesy as it sounds. Take photos that come from your heart that you feel look nice, that you think look cool, that have expression. And you'll start to notice, certain couples will gravitate towards you and towards that. You can't be the photographer for everybody. There's plenty of couples that would not want to hire me as a photographer based on the way that I take photos, which is fine. There's space and there's room for everybody to take pictures. Just like any other art, your art is very unique and specific to you and you should be proud of it and work on it as much as you can. And it's okay if a couple wants to go with another photographer who is also unique and has their own style and shoots their own way. It's a game of art and life, and creativity and evolution of you as an artist and not just a business person. So work on developing your style and know it so that when you do get to sit in front of a couple and present yourself, you have a good grasp on it. And then when you get to the wedding, just do your thing. You don't have to think about, am I doing this right? Am I getting these right shots? You just be yourself and do the thing that you know you're good at. And that will come across in emotion in moments of time. And the couple will really, really love you for it and love it. And your portfolio will show it. So let's look back at my photos. Like I like to talk about this finding yourself, 'cause I feel like this is a really good place to start. And you can look at my photographs specifically in these three, right? Are you a participant in a viewer? Now, I look at the three of these photos across the board here and on the left. I was sort of a participant because I had her go sit near a window that knew she was gonna put her shot. I was like, are you gonna put your shoes on? Maybe you should go do that near the window so I can have some light and she's like or whatever. I was participating in the sense where I told her where to be in the light, but I wasn't telling her how to do her shoes, what to do them. And I was able to snap this really beautiful photo of detail of her dress and her shoes. Adversely in the center, we have the shot of this man in the vineyards of Napa Valley. And I had him just stand there. I had him look off towards the sun and put his hands in his pocket. And very much I'm a participant, right at this point, I'm telling him what I want him to do and look, and I took some photos and then I stood back and let him do his own thing to the right. Actually, it's from the same wedding. This is his bride on the right, Rachel. She was getting ready in a room. They're putting her shoes on. And I was definitely just more of a voyeur viewer snapping photos of the moment, not engaging in the wild life, right? I'm not telling them where to be, what to do, I'm just quietly off in the corner taking them. They knew I was there. But you're still there taking photos and capturing the moment. So you see the difference in participating or viewing, right? What kind of style are you doing? What kind of interaction are you doing with your guests? Let's look at these three photos. Can you tell if I'm a participant or a viewer? And would you be a participant or a viewer in these photos? What do you think? The first one on the left, they're posing in front of this, you know, garage thing. The one in the middle, They're all holding up the bouquets. And on the right, she's throwing a bouquet. Well, of course, I'm probably participating in the ones where they're posed, right? I'm asking them to pose and look at the wedding. At the wedding photographer. Right. So you are participating in your creating and designing a shot, which is perfectly fine. And in the last one I'm viewing, right, she just happened to stand there and she happened to hold the little girl up, throwing the bouquet. And I knew where I wanted to be and I was able to take the photo as a viewer. And these both work for my style, right? Because you do have to have somewhat of a mix of portraits and viewer or not up to you. I guess I shouldn't tell you what you have or haven't need to do or not need to do because you can make your own style. That's the whole point. What do you think? Am I a participant or a reviewer in this photo? Definitely a viewer, right? I happened to catch the picture of the groom shooting eight millimeter of his bride out in the woods and there's an emotion there, right? I'm not setting this up. This is a total organic thing and it feels that way. Again, participant or viewer, viewer again just hanging out while they get ready. I just got in the right spot and took the right picture. They were all talking and had their emotion and I was able to take a really nice photo. This is one of my favorite photos because I feel like she's like actually laughing and it's very organic and it's right before she's going out to get married, which I think is really fun participant or reviewer. This one's a little tougher participant. I picked that very specific spot. I had them stand in a very specific place. I had them put their hands in a very specific place. I made them be the way they are positioned and are. And then I took the photo. While it looks natural and stuff, I definitely participated in the vibe of the photo. Um, and sometimes I do that right because I and I have an idea and it's creative and I need them to be in a specific spot. Let's talk about gear real quick. We talked about earlier about when to get gear, when non to get gear. There are certain things with weddings that things will definitely help out. I'd say at the base level, if you're a beginner or photographer having a camera in a 24, 70, that's all you kind of really need to cover a wedding. I could probably get away with doing that. But what will make it easier and better for me are smaller, lighter weight quiet cameras, lighter weight lenses on mirrorless cameras, long lenses, and honestly the gear that helps me dress like a guest. And why is All right, well, let's start the small cameras and lenses. Right. Chances are you could be shooting a wedding for 3 hours, for 6 hours. I've shot weddings for up to 12 to 15 hours. And when you start to carry those big DSLRs and you're carrying two of them, that weighs on you like literally it's very heavy and your back starts to hurt. You're on your feet all day. Having smaller mirrorless cameras has really, really changed my game and my body, as I've gotten older has been able to help take that. More stretching out, you know, small cameras. That also comes with smaller lenses, right? I remember shooting those crop sensor, mirrorless cameras, the Fuji's, which are getting faster and better every day. And the first wedding I shot with two of them after shooting a wedding the weekend before on bigger D 800 changed everything for me. Now the mirrorless cameras are starting to get bigger and getting back up to the weight of DSLRs, but they're still going to be smaller than those older DSLRs. And I think that that's huge gear wise. You want to be comfortable, you want to be speedy, and you don't want your gear and everything to weigh you down in when you're trying to find the exact moment during weddings to take photos. Having a long lens helps a lot. I have specifically a 70 to 200, and I really own that lens specifically for taking long shots at weddings and events. Usually you can't get right up in front of the speaker at an event or you can't get right up when they're doing their vows or anything. But you can be standing over the crowd on a 200 millimeter lens and shoot from there. And without that lens, I don't think I'd be able to shoot a lot of the ceremonies that I'm shooting, there's been times where I've been at churches where you're not even allowed past like the back pew. So I'm going to need that 70 to 200 lens. That's how you can really up your game in wedding photography. Get a longer lens, the 70 to 202.8 that's pretty much across all camera systems will be your best friend if you get a faster. If you get a longer lens like something like a 150 to 300, typically those end up being like F four or 56. They may not have enough light for you. If you can pair a 70 to 200 millimeter lens, that's a 2.8 on a camera that has a higher megapixel camera, you can shoot at 200 millimeters from far away. And then if you need to, you can crop even more. So this means that I don't need to have that 300 millimeter lens. That's giant and heavy, and expensive, and you carry it around. All I need is the 200. It's smaller, lightweight, and I can crop in later. I only use my 70 to 200 when the ceremony is about to start. When the ceremony is over, I don't use my 7,200 for pretty much anything else outside of maybe speeches if I can't get up close enough when they're doing the speech. So it's kind of odd to just own a lens for like what is maybe like an hour of an entire day of wedding. But that's what it takes to be advanced, right? So when the ceremony starts, I flip on the 7,200, on one camera, and then I have a wider angle on my other camera. Or the 24, 70, which means now I'm able to have 24 to 200, right? I can cover that much range on two cameras on my body during the ceremony. When the ceremony is over and I'm doing portraits and just hanging out, I go back to my 24, 70 and maybe an 85 or 28 or a prime to take those pretty photos. So having a long lens in your arsenal goes a long way, even though you may not think it would. Quiet cameras, right? Those mirrorless cameras, again, same situation. I've been in a church where I'll have had a DSLR and it'll be very quiet and there'll be a moment that's very nice and subtle. And it'll be up on the ceremony and it'll get all quiet, and then all of a sudden you'll hear my DSR go C, C, and you just see people's heads turning around. It's the most embarrassing thing, but you know you need to take the photo, right? So having the quiet, mirrorless cameras with modes that you can actually put on silent, you can have it so it doesn't make a sound at all. No one will know you're taking photos. In fact, when you're in a quiet room and maybe there's a prayer going on, the respectful thing is to not be taking photos, but you still can take photos 'cause images are going to beautiful. You just don't want to disturb them or be active or a participant, right? So having a quiet camera that'll be dead quiet while taking photos is another very sneaky way to take some really intimate photos. And I think, you know, it doesn't sound like it's like a big deal to a lot of people. But trust me, when you've been in those situations and you have a loud camera, if you don't see people changing their attitude towards you, they are internally and that will come across in your photos. This is something people don't think about. Right. Trying to make yourself just be a fly on the wall getting those moments I think are the best wedding photos that I've taken at least. And finally, dressing like a guest has been one of my favorite things to do as a wedding photographer. And a part of that is because when you're in the mingle and you're out there, people don't necessarily know you're the wedding photographer, so they don't have that guard up. We talked earlier about street photography and when we bring the camera out, people start to freak out and they worry. Same thing goes for weddings, right? If you have a big camera up in their face, people are going to clam up and be very not themselves. It's just what happens. I do the same thing if you're dressed like a guest. If you have, you know, nice clothes on, it looks like you're there as a guest. Part of the reason I use the leather dual camera strap is because they kind of just look like suspenders. They don't look like I'm carrying around a camera, so I can walk around and it looks nice and I can pull up a camera and take a photo. And no one's none, the wiser people's guards are down and you get a lot of really intimate, wonderful photos. That way along those lines is connecting with your couple. I love, this is one of my favorite photos. I always try to take a mere shot of myself with the bride and the groom, or just the bride typically, Or just the groom, just to like, encapsulate that moment. And then I like to show them, I'm part of the wedding, right? I'm part of the whole entourage of what's going on. And if you do that throughout the day and you connect with your couple, they're going to be happy that you're there. You are spending more time with that couple than anybody else. That day I'm talking about like aside from each other, you're spending time with both of them from beginning to end. That means like parents, kids, whatever. You're in their face as soon as they're putting their clothes on, you're with them when they're waiting. You're with them when they walk down the aisle. You're with them when they're up there. You're with them after their first kiss as they're walking away. You're the first person they see after they've officially been married and they have all that adrenaline going. You go with them to wait before the cocktails. You're with them when they're taking photos of all their family. We're trying to figure out where grandfather is to get them over to take the photo. You're with them during the speeches. You're with them when they're cutting their cake. You're with them all day. The more you can connect with your couple, the better your photos are going to come out. I'm telling you if they trust you, if they feel good, if they know, they don't have to worry about you interacting with their guests. Their happiness, their confidence, their love is all going to come across in every photo you take, so I can't stress enough, connect with your couple. Text them a couple days before. Text them the day after. Tell them during the day that they look great, that you're so happy to be there. You don't have to overdo it, but just be friends with them because that's really, really important when it comes to taking photos of people. Wedding photography is hard. I get this all the time where people are like, I don't know how you do it, man. Like wedding photography is so hard. What if you miss this? What if you miss that and I get it, I know that there's a lot of stigma behind making sure you nail it the right way. Here's the thing though. The more you do it, the better you'll get at it. The more you practice at it, the easier it is. I don't even think about it anymore. The hardest thing for me when I shoot weddings nowadays is just the long hours, honestly, and being on my feet all day. Now that I have shoes with, you know, I wear comfortable shoes, things have gotten a lot better. I've been doing this for 15 years, so that's part of the thing. Thinking about wedding photographer and being hard is because it's worth it. I don't know, I think that's what lets you push yourself through it. And when you think about being a photographer, especially when you're starting out, photography already is like pretty difficult, right? There's a lot of math, there's a lot of art involved. There's what to buy, what not to buy. There's like comparing yourself to others. And then you enter into this world of being the one person that's taking photos of the most important day to a lot of people. And you can get in your head about it. But to be an advanced photographer, you have to let that go. You have to push through and you have to like practice and take photos and have confidence in yourself. The more and more you do, the better and better you'll get at it. Knock one down, and get ready for the next one. Understand from your mistakes, see what you're doing right. See what you're doing wrong. And honestly like revel in when your couples see your photos, they will love them and trust me, that is the best part I think about being a wedding photographer is capturing those moments and showing those things to the couple. Because on that day, they're all over the place, right? They're not going to remember a thing. And it's your job to encapsulate all those little moments into these one little photos from the day. So don't give up. If you're trying to be a wedding photographer, don't get discouraged because you will get discouraged. And it will be hard and your feet will hurt and your hands will hurt from gripping the camera. And you'll get tired of going through photos days and editing them and finishing them and dealing with drunk guests. It is not the easiest thing to do, but man, when you get the hang of it, it is fun. You can make a living doing it, and I don't know, it's just artistic and there's just something about being there and taking photos on such an important day to so many people. 12. Advance Your Concert & Music Photography: Concert music photography. This is a really, really fun topic for me that I've gotten more deep into in the last two or three years since I moved to Nashville. And now back in LA, I've shot a decent amount of concerts for both some friends and some bigger artists that I'm going to take you through here. You can really get into this quickly, right? Because there's a lot of musicians from like people starting out to big time musicians. But there are a few things that you can get going to really push that up. Because in a lot of ways you can just kind of, you can just kind of start and just go right. Things are lit up. Unless you're shooting in like a studio and you're doing music portraits or whatever. Just a few things that you can do to just pump up your skill level very quickly. Let's talk about concerts and just shooting musicians in general. First of all, know what you need to photograph, and that means like what instruments they're doing. If you're shooting a concert, like the story of the concert, what's going on? Think about having the right gear also getting into the right place during when you're shooting a musician. And that either means like in concert, getting into a good place or getting into a good place while they're recording in a studio. Then how to shot in concert photography. There's a couple different ways we're going to talk about on how to take photos at a concert as far as like technical settings that I think will really get you good. Then finally getting close. You can't get close enough in anything but especially musicians. So let's go into the first thing, knowing the story that you want to tell when you're taking photos of a musician. This shot has been one of my favorites for a long time. We were actually on a music video set and I was directing a music video. And this bass player happened to be standing in front of this LED board and he was very focused and he just had this vibe. And I was like, I really want to take a good photo of him At some point Finally it just dawned and me, I was waiting for the light board to go completely white so I can have this nice contrast. You photo of him on this backdrop, That's his story, right? He's there, He's on a music video set and you sort of the lone bass player next to a big drum kit and horn set is really, really beautiful. So knowing what story you want to get is really important, right? It's kind of like we talked about with getting to know your couple and wedding photography, or getting to know your subject when you're doing creative portraits. Know the story of the musicians that you're shooting and where you'd want to be to tell that story. Often when there's a concert going on that musician, those musicians, that band, they've put a ton of time and energy to telling their own story through their music, through their artistry. Whether it's the songs they're singing, the lyrics they've written, the drums they're playing, or simply the lights they've chosen for their concert or their playlists themselves. They're telling a story through their music and through the order of songs that they're playing. So it's your job to sort of tell that story in a fun way. This is one concert that I got to shoot recently with a mentor of mine. And it was through one of his workshops. And oddly enough, like my buddy is the piano player for the Luke Combs traveling band. And so my whole goal here was to tell the story of this. Right? This isn't Indianapolis. It's a giant football stadium. There's tons of people there. Right? Luke Holmes has a song about beer, so I took some close up shots of some beer. He likes to carry out a solo cup with some whiskey or some beer while he's singing and he moves around with it a lot. These four images alone are telling the story of the night, right? This giant, just Indianapolis has the Colts, the NFL team play here. And he basically filled this entire stadium like 20 to 30,000 people. And you can see the skyline in Indianapolis threw over the stage. We cut to Luke here, he was right over me and I'm inside the pit. Taking a photo was trying to get the Lucas Oil in the background to like show where he was. And you can see the levels of sweets behind him. So here are the beers that Luke sings about. In fact, he has a song specifically about beer. And like I said, he walks around stage with the beer. So I wanted to make sure I got the show beers that he's going to grab out. I was able to go onstage beforehand, and that's when I got those photos. Again, I had access, right? It's a little different if you're just going as a casual viewer. This is one of my favorite shots. I got him just walking across stage. I thought it was okay to actually shoot up into the scaffolding. I know normally that's like a no, no, right. Doesn't look very good. But again, I added some head room to show you how vast the space is. He's looking down on his microphone and he's got a beer in his hand. It's very Luke Combs, again, telling the story of the man, of how he feels. Finding that emotion goes across all photography. But seeing it here with the lights while he's onstage with anyone else onstage I think is really important. Again, how do these four things fit together? It's really cool, right? You can see the place, the big wide insert of what he's all about. Close up of him singing and then him walking offstage. There are a ton more photos that I took obviously, but just to be condensed, I can tell this story in four images. You can tell a story in like 15, 21 maybe. But the idea is that you're able to take a look at the concert, figure out the story, and tell the story through images. Let's talk about the right gear. Having a camera that can handle ISO is really helpful. We'll talk about more on manual control and stuff. But it does make sense that most concerts have big bright lights, right? Because it's going to be changing a lot. But having a good ISO allows you to look deeper in the shadows when you need to, and you can handle the highlights when you have to. Having a long lens is, I think, probably one of the more crucial things of shooting a concert. Because one, you never know where you're going to be put, and two, you want to get close. So actually because I'm shooting a stadium, I had a 600 millimeter lens for this. It was like a 300 to 600 or 150 to 300 or 100 to 600 or something like that. It was a long, long lens. And I'll show you some close ups later on, but that really, really helped a lot. Making sure you have enough card space. You don't want to be having to change cards when things are happening very quickly. So having enough cards to go in your camera, whether you have a dual slot for your cards or you just have cards on your body that you can get in and change very quickly, Having everything on you is also important. And then finally, if you're shooting a small venue or you're shooting something like a friend or something, making sure that the lights are up and there. If the venue doesn't have good lights, make your own lights right. Get remote flash heads and put them in spots, underlight, overlight light from behind the crowd so that at least your photos will come out great. They don't need to just be lit by the venue themselves, Nowhere to be at the venue. I think scouting a concert venue is one of the best things you can possibly do. But just not just a concert venue, but like if you're shooting a recording in like a studio, scouted out, know where you can be, know where they're going to be. The images that are going to look the best are the ones that aren't normal, right? So being somewhere where the audience is not right. You're not just a casual viewer. You are out there taking really epic photos and telling the story from a really interesting way. Some of the best concert photography obviously comes from being onstage. We're talking about advanced photography here, right? So we need to get access. We want to get up there, we want to talk to someone. I'm not telling you to do anything illegal, talk to the stage manners, get involved with the band, shoot them, your Instagram, get in there and get involved so that you can get that access so you can get that cool photo, right? It's not all about just shooting from the crowd or shooting from behind. Some of the best photos I've taken have been onstage right at the pit or inside the little space between the band and the stage and the audience. Like in that little area, been some of the better photos that I've taken when I'm shooting a band in the studio. Getting in the booth with them is huge, right? So here's two shots that I got. One on the left at the Luks was kind of like not really onstage, but it was kind of like in the back or not in the back, I guess he had a long walkway, so I was at the base of the walkway. I could sneak around away from the crowd. I got behind the spotlight and so now you can see all the people with their cellphones lining up in the background. You can see the spotlight that is spotting Luke Combs himself and it's giving him a halo. And you see the few people that are in front of the stage. In fact, there's a guy down there that has a whiskey jam hat that actually comes from a little tiny concert venue that I also shoot in Nashville, which has been pretty cool. You've seen some photos from there too. There's some photos later. So that was a story for me and I'm getting the Lucas Oil Stadium logo up in the back. There's an entire story in this photo, just because I'm in a place where most audience members are not. Here's a good shot of my friend Oscar, who's an amazing guitar player, and I've been doing a lot of music videos for their bands. But when they're recording, I'll go into the booth with him and take a photo. How often are you getting to see an artist record live in a booth? As long as they're okay with it. Helped out here is have a small camera and it's a quiet camera. Remember There's no clack, Clack, Clack. It's a quiet, mirrorless digital camera. You don't hear anything. All you maybe here is the auto focus, and when you hear that, I would turn it down. It only takes a few seconds to get a couple of good shots. Obviously, you can be patient and wait for them to be in that moment or that vibe. But I think it really got an amazing shot here just by getting in the booth with them. Let's talk about how to shoot a concert from a technical setting. There are two ways that I have learned to take concert photography, and there's two ways that you can do it as well. The first way is manual shooting, and that's a typical of most professionals, Is shooting manual. I think this is like a pretty fun way to shoot. It's a good way to do it as a beginner because you have full control. I know a lot of older, seasoned photographers that still shoot this way because they have complete and full control. This is not the way that I shoot all the time, but I think this is a very valid way of shooting and it assumes some things about what you could be doing with your photographs. Again, you need to have a base knowledge here because I'm going to be flying through some terms, but Manual shooting. This requires you to one pick your F stop that you're shooting. Typically you're probably going to want to be shooting wide open, right? If your lens goes to a 28, you probably want to shoot at 28. If your lens on a prime, you're open to 14. Maybe you might want to shoot it at 14 or two, or 28. Because you want very little in focus and a lot out of focus. That gives us that professional looking aesthetic. Number two, you want to pick your ISO, very similar to film days, right? Just locked in with the films ISO and then you're stuck there. This is one I'm talking about, assuming most photography these days are going to be gone within seconds, right? A lot of people are showing them on social media online. If you want to have this long lasting on a print, maybe we ISO down a little bit, right? Because we don't want to necessarily see all that. Grain cameras today are amazing. You can shoot at a very, very high ISO and not worry about changing it. In fact, you could shoot, I don't know, up to like 10,000 and you'd probably be okay showing this print or showing a photo of this on your social media or on your website, especially after you ran it through a Noiser. Picking your ISO is kind of like a fun thing nowadays to throw back to film, but also pick a high ISO, be okay with the grain. Sometimes people like it, I think I'm okay with it, especially when it's on a small screen. Picking a high ISO is fine. I know everyone tells you to stay away from that, but there's a method to this madness, right? So, let's pick a high ISO now. We've picked our F stop, we've picked our ISO, right? Those are our, two of our three variables. Now, because there's lights going everywhere, there's spot lights, it goes dark. Now is when you ride your shutter, right? So now I can use my thumb to go up and down on the shutter. I probably wouldn't go below a 60th, right? Because we'll start to get motion. But sometimes because I have this high ISO and this open F stop, I'll need to go up to 1,000 or 2000. I'll adjust the shutter so that I can quickly adjust my exposure while these lights are changing quickly and fast. And that's how you kind of ride a manual sort of setting. I'm only adjusting the shutter. If the ISO seems too crazy, I might come down. But you never know what concert lights are going to be like, unless you've actually seen the show before. In which case, you'll already have an edge up. You'll know what ISO to run, and you'll know what shutter to run. So, that's the way you would shoot a concert manually, right? Pick your F stop, pick your ISO, ride the shutter priority shooting. This is actually what I shoot for weddings and probably what I shoot mostly for concerts as well. And that means I'm going to let the camera pick a lot of stuff and I'm going to set parameters, right? So I'm still going to pick my F stop, because I like to shoot an aperture priority. That means the camera is going to make the F stop a priority, or the aperture. And the camera will then pick the shutter and pick the ISO. Now, I'll let it do that, but I will go in beforehand, and I will set the parameters for the shutter and for the ISO, depending on what camera I'm shooting at. So, I'll tell the camera, I don't want you to pick a shutter below one 60th. I don't want you to pick a shutter above whatever, which is usually it can pick however high shutter it wants. I just don't want it to go low because that's when I'll start to get vibration, right. Same goes for the ISO, but maybe opposite. You can go as low as you want ISO, but I don't want you to pick an ISO higher than this number. That means the camera is going to pick everything. The thing here though, is because lights are changing, you have spotlights coming in and out, you have fireworks. Whatever your exposures are going to be, all over the place from China concert, this is when you ride your exposure compensation. This is when you're telling the camera, I want things to be overexposed by a stop, underexposed by a stop, whatever, however you want to adjust it. In this sense, instead of riding the shutter on your thumb like we did before, you're riding the exposure compensation and the camera is acting accordingly and picking everything else. These are two similar ways to do it. I think the advantage of the manual shooting is that you have a little bit more control over everything. However, you're sacrificing that ISO to ride your shutter, unless you feel like riding both, there's just no way you'll have time to do both. The advantage of doing priority shooting is that you can really not think about it other than the exposure and let the camera do everything else. And you'll probably get some of those really, really low ISO's when the lights are huge and bright, and those will look a little bit cleaner. I don't mind the new digital grain that all of these cameras are doing. I think it's actually fine as long as you're not going nuts, just like everything else. Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice. Even if you're out and there's a concert going on in the weekend in the park, go take photos, you talk to the band. The more and more you take photos of music and musicians, the better you'll get at it, the better you'll feel at framing. Like guitars shooting through drum sets, knowing where lights are going to be, getting the vibe of specific types of musicians that you're taking photos of. You've heard me say it before, but I can't tell you enough to go and practice. Even if you have musician friends, have them play live in your living room, take photos. See what that framing is like, feel the emotion of the music, and see if you can translate that to a photo. You can't get close enough. This is like one of my favorite photos I took at this concert lane. Wilson was actually opening for Luke Combs and she has a song called Like a Truck. And it was like one of her bigger songs. And she has it burned into the bottom of her hat, the brim of her hat. And so I was trying to get that shot all night. I was looking for a good shot and I finally got one. You cannot get close enough. I employ you if you're taking photos of musicians onstage, try to get close. The amount of emotion that they are giving to the song is just going to come oozing out of them when you get these close shots, which is why I think you need to have a long lens when you're taking concert photography. Look at these three images are as close as I could get in those positions. And you can see, you can see how focused both of them are in what they're doing. And like how they're singing these songs mean the world to them and they're just prolificating them. If you can get close and you can capture that emotion, that emotion will come out in your photographs tenfold. I've got some even closer images that I got of them that I think are even bigger and better. It's just the more you can get close to something like this, I think the more your images will really be impactful. 13. Advance Your Night Photography: Let's talk about night and astrophotography. Most of my night and astrophotography has been completely and totally for fun, right? This is something that I do go camping a lot and I am out in the wild a lot. And so getting to do the night astrophotography is much more of like a labor of love. I love doing it more so than I've ever done it for a client. So there are a lot of things that go into it. One being planning. So let's talk about these five things that I want to make sure that, you know, going into this, because it is also hard and you need to plan for stuff, right? Having a plan, having patience, not being afraid to push your ISO shooting for the edit. When you think about it and then there's a lot of math involved, right? Astrophotography is an advanced, I think, skill. It's not like you can just go out there and take photos and hope and pray. You can get lucky. And I have been lucky, and I've seen people that have gotten lucky. But you need to be able to do these five things in order to take really, really good astrophotography. Let's start with having a plan. Having a plan actually bleeds into the next one, which is having patience. But understanding when you're going to do astrophotography, right? Like if you want to go take pictures of all the stars, you probably need to make sure you're going to a place where you can see all stars. So having a plan on where you're going to go, right, you need to pick a spot where you know you'll be able to see the stars. You need to pick a time of year where you know the weather's going to be okay. We don't want to see any clouds. And you need to pick a time when there's not going to be a big giant moon in the sky. And you can do this by using apps on your phone. There's a ton of apps. The app that I use is called photo pills, but you can look up when there's going to be a new moon. You can look up when the sunset is going to be, when the Galactic center will be visible. Where you are specifically, typically that's mostly the thing you're going to want to be shooting is probably the Milky Way. You're not going to see those in a park. In Central Park, right, Because there's too much light pollution from New York City. You're not going to see those right outside of Los Angeles because there's too much light Even often a national park like Joshua Tree compared to Los Angeles, it's close enough that where the light pollution coming from LA is big. If you add a moon into that, you won't be able to see anything knowing where you're going to go, knowing that there's not a lot of light pollution, knowing the time of year, knowing the time of the moon cycle, all these things go into making a plan. I really think if you want a beautiful, beautiful night photograph, you need to make that plan. And it may take time and it may take patience. You may need to wait a week to go. You may need to wait a month. You may need to wait an entire year if the weather is gone and you want to be on the specific spot we are on a moving planet, which means there are so many variables that you can time out with taking photos of the stars that are also all moving, um, in conjunction with where you are and the time of year it is. Plan and patience will go a very long way. Before you even think about taking out your camera, push your ISO. I think I said this earlier, in concert photography, these cameras can handle a lot more ISO than you think they can. Honestly, like I think if you push your ISO when tuking night photos, I don't know, Sometimes you can get away with a little bit more digital noise when taking pictures of stars because you're looking at the really bright spots everywhere. Denoisers these days are also super helpful. But at the same time, you also want to be able to do the right shutter, which we'll talk about later towards the end of this lesson. But feel free to push your ISO, right? Don't be afraid to shoot up to like whatever highest ISO your specific camera can handle. Test it out again, this is going back to patients, right? Get out there, do a bunch of different pictures with different high level ISO's. I think you'll be surprised at how much you'll be able to see with a higher ISO that you're shooting. Shoot for the edit. This is something I think that it took me a while to understand. I used to think that these astro photographers would go out there, set up their camera and do all the math and the settings, take a photo, and it was this beautiful, epic avatar looking universal Star Wars, Star Trek photo. And that's just not the case. Most astrophotography that you're googling and eying over that you may see on social media and other places have been heavily edited or have had at least a decent amount of editing involved or people have taken time to edit them. So don't be afraid to learn how to edit your photos. And I'm so heartily believe this that I'm going to take you through two very specific photos that I've taken. I'm going to show you the original. I'm going to show you the edit that I've done that I've actually gone and shared. Again, this photo actually is in Joshua Tree and that big giant light in the background. Yeah, that's LA putting off all this light. This is at like one in the morning. You can see some streaks from some satellites. It looks like daytime. I also push, this is a little bit too hard. And you know what else I didn't posts that I really don't like about this photo is that I put too much noise in and to me. Now this photo looks a little too soft and milky to me and it's not. One of my favorite. In fact, it's probably my least favorite astrophotography photo I've taken. But I wanted to show it to you guys because people have liked it and I get it. I understand why it's still pretty, but as an artist, I'm bummed about it, especially when I've gone and taken other photos at this point. This one is a little bit more fun for me. This was also in Joshua Tree, but it was facing in a different direction. It was also on a much darker night. The moon was far gone Beyond this point. I do like this photo, but again, I held myself back with my ISO and you can see how many stars their heart. It's pretty crazy. But I remember being out there and being so cold because it was during the winter. Couldn't and didn't want to take any more effort to make this a better photo. That's my lacking in patience. I wasn't patient enough to wait later in the night for there to be less light. The Milky Way looks a little hazy because there's still smog coming from LA. You can see a streak of a satellite. And this photo is great. Again, I've shown this people, people love it. It was fun taking a photo of it, but I'm not over the moon about it as I am about these other photos. This photo I am over the mot about and I've been trying to get this photo for years. I go to the same rancher every year as you've seen in other photos. I finally waited till two in the morning. I got up at two in the morning to take this photo, and I knew the Milky Way would be over that barn there. But look on the left, That's my original photo. It's cool, but it doesn't look epic. You've seen all these other epic photos. The edit on the right may look a little over process to your eye or to someone, but I love it. I think it looks great Understanding that you can take this original photo on the left and you can push it into these nice colors and contrasts and you can pull out those clouds in the Milky Way. Just, I think just so epic, you are capable of doing this. And this is from a small little fixed point and shoot camera with not the highest ISO. There's still some noise in there, but it plays fine especially with the sky. And I've printed this photo and it looks amazing. Here's the original, right, a little muddy, a little out of focus on the bottom. The stars are there. It's a little gray, but not a ton. I don't know if you notice a little outhouse on the bottom left. But look, I took that out too. See the processing here, I was able to bring up all the colors in the milky way. I softened it a little bit to get rid of the noise a little bit. I brought up the shadows would cause more noise. I added a gradient filter to bring out the saturation in the colors. And I think it just looks more epic and more what I was trying to do as a photographer. Same for this one, right? This is a little bit even more dramatic. Here's the original. There's a little streaky satellite in the bottom left. There's a small light hitting the wagons. You can tell what it is, the Milky Ways in the way background. And then bam, we isolated, I isolated, impost the sky. The Milky Way brought up the colors, brought up the saturation, brought up the shadows, raised the highlights in the bottom, so we can see the wagon in the bottom left. But again, right, I shot that and I was okay with it because I knew that this is what I was going to be doing. And that's what I mean. Shoot for the edit, right. Be okay under exposing it a little bit because you can mess with it a lot more in post. I'm so excited to talk to you about this. I feel like when I was a kid I was like, I'm never going to use math in my job And this is like a very specific time when you need very basic math. And photography does involve a lot of math already. But for some reason this rule is something that I'm so excited about because I feel like it, it connects me as a human to like earth and the rotation and science and art. I don't know. It's called the rule of 500. And what the rule of 500 is, is it allows you to use this very simple division equation of 500 to figure out how long your shutter can be on your camera before you start to see the streaks of the stars. Now going back to our basic photography, remember the shutter is open for a long time and allows light to come in. Because we're on the Earth and we're moving the stars, these points of light are moving. So we don't want to have the shutter open long enough so that we see the streak of the star moving, right. We want the stars to be sharp. Now, the reason we do this, the reason we need to use this math, is because of, I'm going to do this wrong. The shape of the Earth and the shape of our optics in our lenses. If we're using a wide lens, like a 18, 12 millimeter fish eye, it's going to take longer, right? For a start across that wide lens, right? Versus using like a 50 mill millimeter or an 85 millimeter. Because of the way the optics are, it's going to pass by shorter. We'll see the streak sooner or later in order to deflect that. There's been this math equation that works across and it works pretty well. That is, you take the number 500 and you divide the number of the lens of the focal link that you're using. The answer will give you amount of time you can have the shutter open before you start to see the streaks of the stars. Let's take an example. Let's say we have a 20 millimeter lens. Then our equation would be 500/20 which gives us 25. That means that our max shutter length is 25 seconds that we can have it open before we'll start seeing star trails. Right? I think that's just so wild because here we have these optics that no matter what length they are, this will work by just dividing from this one number. Now this is full frame, standard millimeters, right? That 20 millimeter on a full frame is actually probably more like the 12 meter on a crop sensor. You have to remember to do that math as well. Like remember we talked about earlier doing head shots. 85 millimeter on a full frame camera, we'd be closer to a 56 millimeter on a crop sensor. Which means remember to do the math right at the full frame focal length, not the crop sensor focal length. This is huge, right? We don't want to see those streaks. We want to see sharp, sharp stars. Keep this equation in mind and make sure you lock that in so you're not going over 25 seconds when you're soot in a 20 millimeter. 14. Conclusion: Thanks for taking this course. It was great telling you about all my advanced techniques. I know it's lecture based, but we kind of split this up into sections so that you can always go back and look at what you're trying to take photos of specifically. Again, we didn't go into like a ton of technical aspects of everything. If you want to get more technical information and you're interested, we have a ton more classes that we offer through my buddy Phil and Sam. We have the big master photography class and then we have other specific classes. The biggest one that I also have is the wedding photography class of course, so check those out. Don't forget to check out our photo and friends community. It's always better when you're learning with friends and get out there and practice and make sure to have fun.