Portrait Photography: Working with Natural Light | Benjamin Heath | Skillshare

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Portrait Photography: Working with Natural Light

teacher avatar Benjamin Heath, Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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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.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Setup & Planning


    • 4.

      Shooting in Natural Light


    • 5.

      Shooting in Studio


    • 6.

      Light Editing


    • 7.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Join celebrated photographer Benjamin Heath for a 40-minute class on photographing portraits using natural and studio light!

Whether you use an iPhone or DSLR, this class offers universal tips for making the most of your environment and resources — and capturing a professional, beautiful, and stylized portrait of a stranger or even a best friend.

Through anecdotes and practical examples, you'll learn the essentials of

  • planning your shoot
  • setting up your shot
  • technical tips on lighting
  • photographing in a studio
  • light edits that transform a photo from good to great

You'll finish this class empowered to take a great portrait of anyone, no matter where you are!


Class Outline

  • Portrait Photography. In this class, Ben will share his approach to taking a perfect photo portrait. He will touch on topics that include picking your subject and location, working with light, using camera settings, and editing your final photographs. You’ll follow along as he goes on location and works in-studio, creating multiple types of portraits and discussing his favorite tips and tricks along the way. You’ll be ready to create your own indoor and outdoor portraits in no time!
  • Creating your own. You will be encouraged to take three to five photos of two or more subjects in two locations – an outdoor setting and an indoor one. You’ll practice the different lighting techniques that Ben will teach you to use, and to upload your final product to the class page for review and valuable feedback. Whether you take maternity photographs, infant portraiture, pose geriatric subjects, or shoot groups of teens, this class project will make a useful and beautiful addition to your photography portfolio.  
  • Using the right equipment. Ben will talk you through the types of digital camera lenses he uses, and why selecting the right equipment can make or break a photograph. He will discuss his favorite lenses and how to use them to make simple portraits and to capture your subject’s wider environment. Ben will also explain how to use zoom lenses, how to avoid perspective warp, and why a battery grip is vital for comfort and control.
  • Reading reference books. Whether you are creating a still life or a portrait, working with indoor or natural lighting, photography is about channeling creative inspiration into dynamic, beautiful images. You’ll learn why Ben relies on visual references to help him prepare for a shoot, and the photography books that he always recommends would-be portrait artists study before they begin.
  • Choosing your setting. Ben will guide you through the benefits and drawbacks of shooting outdoors or on location, and indoors, in a studio setting. He will explore the factors that every photographer should consider before settling on a location, and will share his secrets for selecting the right types of light and times of day to make reliably gorgeous, flattering photographs.
  • Shooting on location. Ben will go on location to shoot subjects in their own environment. He’ll explain how to approach people you suspect may feel uneasy or unused to being photographed, and how to survey locations for the best lighting and compositions to create beautiful, expressive portraiture.  
  • Working in a studio. You’ll learn how Ben works with models in an environment that offers maximum creative control. He will shoot two subjects on a variety of backdrops, demonstrating how to diffuse and reflect harsh light, or to expose for it when it suits him artistically. Ben will also discuss the correct technique to use when your subject is backlit, and the best way to make sure they have a beautiful golden hour glow.
  • Editing techniques. Ben will select his favorite photographs and discuss why certain exposures work better than others. He will share ‘before and after’ examples of different editing techniques, and teach you how to soften shadows and brighten highlights without losing the details that are crucial to maintaining a natural-looking image.

Meet Your Teacher

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Benjamin Heath



Hi. My name is Ben and I'm a photographer based in San Francisco, California. My work can be seen here:




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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Ben Heath. I'm a photographer. I'm based in Portland, Oregon. So this class is called portrait photography using natural light. I'm going to be sharing with you my approach to taking portraits. We're going to be talking about a few topics including picking your subject, picking a location, different types of light you can work with at that location, some settings you can set on your camera to get different types of exposure, and finally some editing techniques that I use to get close to look a certain way. I'm teaching this class today because I have some professional experience taking portraits for clients and hopefully because you like the way portraits and you're here to check out what I do. If that's the case, thank you. I really appreciate that. I'm glad you're here. We're going to start today at a store here in Portland called Beam and Anchor where we will be photographing the owners of that shop in the space that they work in. Maybe some folks who don't have a lot of experience in front of the camera and it's kind of a less than controlled environment where our characters are going to be at their shop. So I think that's going to be neat to kind of work with both of those things. After that we are going to be going into my studio and we're going to be working with two models there. Some folks who have more experience in front of the camera and we're going to have more control of the light there. So its going to be a bit of a different scenario. Thanks so much for joining my class. I hope you enjoy what we do today and learn a little something to help you the you take portraits. 2. Equipment: Okay, so before we head out today, I'm going talk to you a little bit about the equipment we're going to be using. And then for my last Skillshare class, I shot film and I got some questions about how I edit. I really didn't know how to answer those questions because I don't edit my film very much. So, today we're going to shoot digital. We're shooting a full-frame camera and starting with 50 millimeter prime lens, this is kind of my go-to lens when shooting portraits. It yields a really nice natural look. You get a nice three-quarter shot of the person, a lot of nice detail, a lot of nice color. To me, it just feels like the right focal length for a portrait. Also, we'll going to be using a 35 millimeter lens. This lens is great if you're in a cool location. You can get a nice environmental portrait. I'm going to be using this probably at Beam & Anchor, because that's such a beautiful shop and I want to get them there in their shop and show off where they work. 35 is a really great lens for that. I wouldn't really go wider than 35, maybe a 28. If you shoot wider than that, you're going to get a lot of perspective work that's going to feel kind of funny. That person might look kind of funny. The location was going to be bent. For my taste, that doesn't really look the best, so I rarely shoot portraits wider than 35. Also, I'm using one of my favorite lenses. This is a Canon 70-200 Mark II. It's a pricey lens. I wasn't sure if I wanted to buy it, but now I'm really glad that I did. If you open it all the way up to two-eight and stand far back, you're going to get really beautiful fall off, really beautiful color. It's a hard lens to work with. It took me a bit of time to figure out how to use it and to practice with it. You look silly standing half a mile away, shooting with the 70-200, but it yields really interesting results. So, maybe check out or rent one of these guys if you have a telephoto lens. It can be really great for portraits. I also want to show you something I use. This is the battery grip. I find this is very helpful when I know I'm going to be shooting portraits. I'll screw this guy onto the camera. I know it makes the camera a lot bigger and a lot heavier, but to me it was really important to have this control up here. So my index finger, that's the shutter right there. So you shoot people like that and it's really a lot more comfortable, at least for me in doing like this. When my hand is over here, I can focus on composition a lot more. It's a lot easier, a lot more comfortable to use that way. So, a battery grip is something that I use when I know I'm going to be taking portraits, and then you just screwed off when you're done, and your camera is a little lighter again, still heavy, but a little lighter. Probably the most important piece of equipment and [inaudible] are my photo books. I love looking at photo books when I'm going to go shooting. It really inspires me to see the work of the geniuses of the craft and masters in the craft. I think it is really important to stay inspired by that stuff. So, one thing that I wanted to share with you guys today is probably one of my favorite portrait photographers, his name is Dan Winters. This is a book called Periodical Photographs. This is such an inspirational book for me. He's a master at light. His stuff is so good. So if you have a chance, I would check out this book. Or really, any photographer that you admire, I would encourage you to check out their work and their books and spend time looking in that and trying to figure out, "Oh, how did they like this? How did they take that photo? So, I strongly think that photo books are a strong piece of equipment for you and really help you kind of train your eye and get you looking at things in a newer or perhaps different way for you. So that's a little bit about equipment. I'm ready to get started, hope you are too. We're going to head out to Beam & Anchor, and we'll see you there. 3. Setup & Planning: So shooting in a studio or shooting outdoors, which do you like? It's really a personal preference. Obviously the results are going to be quite different. It's really up to you what you like and what kind of photos you want to make. In a studio you have a lot more control over the light and you can experiment a little bit, try out different things and get down into the exact photo you want to make. Outdoors you have less control but you might have a really cool environment. Really cool landscape as a backdrop or a beach or a mountain or wherever you're at to get some diversity in the images rather than just a plain background. So think about your personal preferences and what kind of photo you want to make. Think about if you want to shoot inside or outside. Think about what time of day is best for you and your shoot, what you want your photos to look like, and so to make some decisions on your locations. So let's talk about picking your location. Where are you going to shoot? Some factors to consider are light, that's probably the most important thing to think about when you're looking in different places to shoot. If you are shooting inside you want a place that has lots of big windows maybe some skylights. I love a good skylight, because you get some natural light in areas or parts of a room that wouldn't otherwise get lights. You can get some really cool looks if you find a place with cool skylights. Big windows are great, you're going to get a lot of light in from there. I think one thing to avoid inside is mixed light. I really don't like the look of mixed light photos. What I'm talking about my mixed light is when you have tungsten or artificial light mixing with the natural light, just gives a weird yellowy orange hint to it, even if you fix your white balance it just always looks a little bit off because the light isn't even across the board in terms of temperature. So that's one thing I would avoid. I think another thing when you're picking location is, what is the location say to the subject. Is the subject at home? Is it where they work? Think about that and how that connects to the photos that you're going to make because I think if you're shooting someone at home, you want to approach it a little bit differently than you would if you're shooting someone at work. So what time of day are you going to go shooting? That's another really important thing to think about. If you're shooting inside, it doesn't really matter what time of day it is, as long as you're getting some nice light through the windows, or through the skylights or whatever it is, you can shoot pretty much all day inside. In fact, if it's really bright outside, you got a lot of harsh light, I think that's a great day to find an inside location to go shooting. On the other hand if you're shooting outside, you are more limited in time. For my taste I like to shoot either very early in the morning or very late in the evening, the last hour before the sun goes down it's called golden hour. The reason why you want to shoot then is when the sun is low in the sky, you're going to get a lot of diffused light, a lot of nice coloring, far less harsh shadows. It just looks a lot neater, the colors are lot prettier, and I think that the images you make at that time of day are more pleasing to the eye. So shooting inside, just whatever time of day it is, just make sure you scout the location and make sure that that time has good light. If you're shooting outside I think it's safe to say that you want to shoot early in the morning or really the last hour of the day. 4. Shooting in Natural Light: So, we're here at Beam & Anchor, it's a shop here in Northeast Portland. They're going to be shooting the owners, Jocelyn and Robert. They're nice enough to let us hang out here today. This is a cool space. It's a cool shop. There's a lot of different light situations to work with. Downstairs in the retail shop, there's a lot of mixed light, and we'll be shooting down there. Then, up here in this studio area, it's really bright. We have these huge giant windows behind us giving us a lot of light, and so, we'll be able to shoot in here. Then, the wood shop, which is a couple of rooms over, is really cool. It's a cool space. There's some skylights bringing us a lot of neat even light in there. So, I'm going to shoot Robert in there for sure. Another thing I'd like to work on while we're here, maybe show you a little bit how I do it, is when you're shooting with someone who maybe doesn't have a lot of experience in front of the camera or is perhaps a little bit uncomfortable. One thing I like to do is just take it easy, hold your camera a little bit more, shoot the shed a little bit, hang out with them, and make photos secondary. So, it's not like you're just running in there taking photos, that can be a little jarring. But if you just hang out a little bit and relax, sometimes, that makes it a little more comfortable for them, a little more comfortable for you, and then the photos can have a little bit more of a natural feel. So, if you're watching what I'm doing here, that's definitely something I'm going to be focused on. So, great. Let's get started. That's great, just like that. Yeah. Perfect. That's perfect, Jocelyn. [inaudible] to smile? Yes, soften the expression a little bit. That's good. Maybe look over to Robert. Okay, back to me. That's great. Let's do some non-smiles. Get super serious. That's good. The light here, getting some good back light, it looks a little orange. I could've changed my white balance. That looks a little better, and we have a really nice smile, looks very natural, feels very natural. I think it looks pretty good. So, I found this cool spot here in the shop. We've been trying to find some nice light down here, and right here where Jocelyn is sitting now, getting some great light from the door, and the background looks pretty clean, and there's a lot of the neat items in the shop sitting right there, so I think that's going to be a good spot to take a photo. All right. So, maybe you face me, that's really good. That's great. Bring your right foot flat down on the ground. Yeah, that's cool, let's see what that looks like. Chin up a bit. Good. A bit shoulders back sit up a little straighter. That's cool, right there, yes. That's a good smile, that's really cool. I like this shot, it's going to be a good one. [inaudible] Yes, just put your foot flat. But just, our language is [inaudible] after all. Yeah. You're trying to figure out who you are. It's not very forgiving is it? I think, it's very forgiving. Just going to do one a little closer, try not to break any shit. Bad angle. Nice, yeah. Can we see the chip too? Hell, no. Good. Okay, awesome. All right, I feel like I've bothered you enough. No, we're all good. Maybe pick on Robert a little bit. Sounds great. Maybe come stand right over in this corner. [inaudible] all the time. Yeah. [inaudible] Yeah, Jocelyn is saying you are from Missouri? Yes. I'm from Indiana originally. Where in Indiana? Fishers, Indiana. Where is that? It's about half hour, 45 minutes north of Indy. Okay, yeah. Yes, on the river. [inaudible] , Anyway, so, we're basically just spaced up. But during the week, this place is we always play music and it's always nonstop machine going. Yes. It's pretty fun, it's like to say the creativity, but the relationship she has, it really makes me happy is what everybody says. Yes, that's cool. Yes. I like what you're doing right here, could you just wheel around and do that. Right there, yeah. That's great. No, just like you had it. Just kind of look over my shoulder just like that. Let's see what that looks like. It's pretty good. Shoot straight on here. I can do [inaudible]. -giant machine, that's okay. [inaudible] So just look right at me, that's good. Expression you're making right there is great, and kind of look at your one o'clock, yeah. Okay, let's find a different spot. I noticed this light over here, it looks really interesting in this room. Oh, the spray booth. Spray booth. That's actually the finishing room, whatever. Finishing room. [inaudible] Skylight is great. That's red. Then, this one bucket right here. Maybe take that off actually. Maybe let's get the chair back just a bit. Right there, that's red. Like that, and cross your legs the other way. Yeah, like that. This way or this way? No, boot away. Yeah, that's good, just like that. We're not Robert's dad. That's a good smile. Okay, let's do a straight one. There we go. Okay, let's uncross and put both boots flat. Yeah, sitting on the chair like that, and put knees together. Yeah, a little bit. That's good. I love taking photos with people, telling me what to do. Yeah. [inaudible]. Just do your thing, yeah. I don't have a thing. Should we put stuff back? I will when I'm done today. Okay. 5. Shooting in Studio: So, we just got to my studio. I had fun at Beam and Anchor with Joslyn and Robert, but we're going to be shooting here now. A little bit of a different environment, we have more control over the light here and we're going to be shooting with two models and folks who have more experience in front of the camera. So, we're going to start with Frederick. The light's a little harsh right now, so I'm just going to pull these screens down. We're going to diffuse the light. Block the sun a little bit. You can see already the light is much more diffused and more even. Frederick, that probably feels a little better on you too, right? Yeah. I think it looks a lot better. So, we're going to shoot like that, so I'm pulling this down. As you can see, it's a nice even lighting. We're still getting some good side light on Frederick's right side. So, I think that'll be, that'll make for a good exposure, you have the black background, nice even light. Let's what we can get from that. Set the spot. Let's move it back like a foot. That's good, yeah. Let's see what that looks like. Twist it just a little bit this way, yeah, and then look back. Yeah, there we go. So, we're getting some nice diffuse light, it's very even on his face. It's a little shadowy on one side, so I'm going to get the bounce out and try to get some light on the other side of his face. Lets see, there we go, okay. Shelby, maybe could you come over here. So, do you see how I catch the light like this? See how intense it is right there. See I'm putting it on his face. So, let's just catch it back here and see how it's shadowed right now. Yeah. So, you want to do is just bring a little light up to the side of his face like that. Does that sound all right? Yeah. That's great Fredrick, thank you. Look toward Shelby. Turn your chin towards her, there we go. Bring your eyes over here. Yeah, that's good. That's pretty good. So, I have a few shots of Frederick. I'm going to open up a little bit and see if I can get some cool shots when the lens is wide open. So, we have some really nice photos of Frederick with nice even light, so I want to do something different and shoot in some shadow with him. So, we set up the V-flat here to catch some of the sunlight as it's coming in, and we're going to open the screen and let in some shadows. I'll talk a little bit about the different exposures you can work with when you're shooting in a harsh light shadow situation. What I want to do is find where the light and the shadow meet here. So, this, I need to, don't love that either. There we go. Okay, stand there. Stand up against the, turn to the side. Okay, step against it. Let's see, there you go. That's what I'm looking at. Okay, cool. So, we're going to shoot in a shadow situation here. There's a couple of different ways you can expose this. Fredrick here right now, his eyes are in the shadow and there's a lot of harsh light on his body. So, what I'm going to do is, I'm going to have him pull out a little bit, get a little bit more of that light on his face. Step back a bit for me if you would. Step back right in that spot, right there. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to expose it sort of dark, so I'm really getting the detail in this light and his eyes. Then later when we're editing, we can bring up the shadows as much or as little as we want, so we have a little bit of options. If we expose for the dark parts, the highlights are going to be really blown out and your file is going to look like crap. So, I almost always shoot dark in these harsh light situations and then work with the file later. So, I'm going to dial the exposure and I'm going to meter right in this area, and then shoot him based off of that. Okay, three, two, one. Look at me. Okay, three, two, one. A little less intense. It's hard right in the sun, I know. Okay, right there. Okay, open, that's great. Close. Shelby, dear, could you help us out please? Did you sense that I was about to, okay. It's like, well, you're not going to stay there. True. Okay, so what we want to do is just bring in a little bit more shadow on to Frederick here. There we go, that's great. That looks cool. Does that help your eyes probably a little bit too. That's great. Right there dude, right there. Okay, Shelby. That's cool. Bring your eyes up a bit, right there. Those baby blues need to be cared for, huh? Yeah. All right, if you can look out the window, there we go. Okay, show them. Step away from the wall, towards me, baby, baby step, right there. Yeah, that's it. Okay. Shut them. Look at the black wall, if that's easier for you. So now, we're going to shoot with Shelby a little bit, kind of the same situation. I've pulled the screen back to diffuse the light, so we have some nice even lighting on her. She brought this really nice light-colored turtleneck sweater that I think it's going to look great with the back blackdrop. So, what we're going do is some similar shots with Shelby that we did with Frederick. Give me a few different looks, yeah. That's pretty good. Let's just hold it right there and see what we can do that. Yeah, that's great. Same thing. I like that. Okay, keep moving, keep moving. Let's play with this one a little bit. I think we might have caught something. I think that could be really pretty. Okay. Yeah, so let's try that one. Okay, look down a little bit more. Bring your jaw down a little bit more. There it is, that's it, yeah. Really pretty. I think that was really pretty, that's a good one. So, I'm just going to meter for you right here. That's great, keep that look. Look straight, straight up. Yeah. So, my last technique to share with you today is probably my favorite, it's when your backlighting your subjects. So, at the end of the day when the sun is low in the sky, you can position your subject in between your lens and the sun. It gives a really neat glow behind them, it's a pretty cool effect. It takes careful exposure and some practice getting the right settings on your camera, but once you nail it, it looks really cool. So, we're going to work with Shelby on the fire escape outside my studio here. The sun is low, it's late in the day, so we maybe get a cool shot out of this. Look at me. It's cool. Open a bit. Eyes down a bit. Look straight up, look down a little bit. Using your eyes, just look down. Yeah, that's pretty. Now, I think we got it. Let's do the same thing where you're facing this way, looking out, yeah. I think it's my favorite show of the day. Who is that? So, just take that, wrung out, that'll be easy. Oh, yeah. Cool. All right. Let's go in. Okay. 6. Light Editing: So, we finished our shoot, we had a great time at Beam & Anchor and in the studio, worked with some cool people, I think we got some good shots. I'm going to take you through some of my editing techniques, show you how the photos look before and how they look when they're finished. All right. So, here we have our final photos, I picked one from each subject that I like the most. As you can see we have some before and after as before I edited them and after I edited them. Let me tell you a little bit about why I pick these, just my technique, you can see here, I have this filtered by rated. So, if you hit just a number on one of the photos, it's going to give it a rating two, three, four, five. Then, you can filter it by rating. That's one way I used to go through my selects and only edit the photos that I selected. We turn filters off. Looks like we have 728 photos from yesterday, from Beam & Anchor and from the studio, and have a lot of different choices. You can see here what some of these photos of Jocelyn in the retail shop of Beam & Anchor. This is mixed lighting, she's got a great smile there, it's kind of a natural pose. She did a great job, but I did a bad job, this is the big example of mixed light that I don't like. Just think it looks weird, we have the tungsten light, the yellow light, we have the artificial light coming from her side here, then we have the natural light coming in from the windows. Just my taste that's not something that I really enjoy. We went up with her to the studio and got much better light, as you can see, we have that big window next to her, and presented a better opportunity to make a better exposure and get better color. So, that's why I picked that one of Jocelyn. For Robert, we had some really great stuff upstairs in his shop. I talked with him here, we worked with a few different angles of him in his woodshop. Here was just chatting with him a bit. This one was very casual, it's kind of an in-between moment right here, just talking to me, there's a break in the conversation, I just snapped a quick photo. It ended up being the one that I picked. I think it looked the most natural, but as you can see, I made him come around the corner there, that one looked pretty good, I don't love his expression so much, looks a little bit awkward to me, and then I tried a few other things, moving him around the shop, but then I realized that, hey, I had him in a good place, I already have a good photo. So, let's try to find a different location. There's this really cool section of a shop, the spray area, I guess where they finish the furniture. Really neat chair back there, had him sit in the chair and played around with the light in there. The light was really great. I have some really good photos of him, I think that's an okay photo. Just doesn't look quite so comfortable, again when you're working with someone who doesn't have a lot of experience in front of the camera, it's up to you to help them be comfortable. I messed up here, I didn't do the best job of having him in that chair. So, that's why I ended up picking this photo here of him in his shop. Onto the studio, we have some photos here with Frederick and Shelby. Certain testing out the lightning, experimenting a little bit here, had never worked with Frederick or Shelby before, so it's kind of feeling them out too. Really loved the shadow photos I took with Frederick. You can see this is the one I ended up picking. I took quite a few of them and played around with the different shadows, putting them in different places on his face there. Just my preference, that's the one I like so that's the one that I picked. As for Shelby, took a lot of photos of her, she had some light clothing that played well with the black backdrop. Some of these further out shots were nice. So, we have this photo here, Shelby in depth, what we did there is, I said, "Okay, Shelby, give me a few different looks." You can see she moved around a little bit, gave me a few different expressions, looked at me, looked off camera, and then she did this, I was like, "Oh that's pretty cool, let's work with that a little bit." So, I shutter here, okay, let's try looking down, making sure the autofocus is sharp. I'm probably going to come back to these and look at these, there might be a good photo in there. The reason I picked the barely lighting photo of Shelby is that's just my favorite style of lighting. We went out on the fire escape as the day got long there. End up picking this photo, I think it has a nice glow. She looks pretty casual there, maybe it's not the best photo I've ever taken, but I think the light and exposure work well for what we're trying to do here today. First, a little bit about why I'd pick these photos, let's go down here to the rated section and we can talk about how I edited these and the before and afters. So, here we have our photos from yesterday, we have one from each of our subjects. I'm going to show you the before and after and how I got to the afters. Let's start with this photo of Jocelyn, this is the photo of her in her studio. As you can see, we have it really dark on one side of her, we have the nice side light coming in on her right side of her face, but her left side is pretty dark. In the after photo you can see that I brought up the shadows, I tried to maintain contrast across the photo. But the goal here is to bring up the shadow areas, but maintain detail and not make it unnatural. If you bring up the shadows all the way, it would feel unnatural. Let me show you how I got there. So, on our Develop section in Lightroom, you have your control panel here on the right side where you can edit the exposure, the tones, and finally the color. A few techniques here in this photo, some of the things that I did to get the final look, is first you bring up the exposure a little bit, that's going to help you bring out those shadow areas. You don't want to bring it up too much, and I'd never really bring it up more than half a stop or maybe three quarters. If you go over a stop, you can see it really blows out the highlighted areas in it, starts to look bad there. So, bring that up a little bit. Let's say 0.7 and then this shadow area is something you can work with quite a bit. You can bring up the shadows and bring light into the dark areas of the photo. See, now it looks a little bit more even, the lights a little nicer on both sides and if we see the right side of her face and the left side of her face, it's almost even light there. Again, the before, really dark, and then if you bring up the shadows and the exposure, you can fill in those light areas. Okay, great. Let's look at our next photo here. Have our photo of Robert. This is the before, and take a look at the before and the after. You can see in the before, we have some shadow areas in the outer ends of the frame and shooting with the prime lens pretty wide open. Pretty typical to get corners that look like that when you're shooting wide open. Not to worry about that, and you can solve that in the after, as you can see, flattened out the photo, got the corners and shape. Another big thing you might notice is, I changed the color of the cabinet behind him, loved the green, that's a cool shade of green, but to me, it just looked a little bit distracting. So, I was able to bring that color down and blended in with the rest of the image to make it fit a little bit better. So, let me show you some things I did on this photo and then before you see how it's worked, i'm shooting with a 35-millimeter, I'm shooting at F2, that's pretty wide open. It's a 1.4 lens, but I'm shooting it at F2. Still pretty far open. So, one thing I like to do when you're shooting with lenses like this, let's go down to Lens Correction, hit Profile, hit Enable Profile Corrections, and it automatically knows that I was using Canon camera and a Canon 35mm, it's going to flatten it out and make the corners look a little bit better for us. So again, there's before and there's after. So, I think that looks a lot better. I think our lighting is a little bit better here than Jocelyn's photo, it's a little bit more even. We're getting some nice light from right above coming down on Robert here. So, I think we just have to make a few minor details to bring the exposure up a little bit. Let's take those shadows out of the corner. That's looking a lot better already. Now, once you get the exposure where you want it, you can do your fine tuning here. This is your curves, your Tone Curve. Real fine tuning with the lights and darks here. You can spend a lot of time messing with stuff here, really dialing it in to your preference. Bring the shadows down, I kind of like them, up. Bring the highlights down a little bit, it's a little harsh on his face. You see being that all down there's no highlights. Let's just bring him down a little bit. I'm going to bring shadows up a little bit. One thing I like to do is I bring the shadows up, maybe bring the darks down a little bit just to touch to kind of counterbalance. You don't want to lose all your contrast. If you're bringing shadows up too far you can see that photo looks really flat. If we bring our shadows up to let's say somewhere between 15 and 20. Just bring your darks down a little bit to kind of maintain contrast. Maintain your tone curve there. Once you have your exposure dialed in, you have your tone curve exactly where you want it then you can mess with color and you can see here, you can take that green. Just desaturate that a little bit, fade it out. You can change the tone of the green. Really manipulate it to get something that's a little bit different than that distracting lime green plus saturation down a little bit more. There is probably some yellow in there too. Looking better already. That's how I got from the original photo to the after photo. Let's check out our next photo here. I have some photos of Frederick. Let's take a look. Here's the before. This is when we're shooting in studio and remember I mentioned that was really dialing into the highlighted portion on his face where the light was brightest. As you can see we have a nice exposure on his face but the rest is pretty dark. That's okay because here in the after photo is able to bring up the shadows a little bit, really bring out the color of his eye and I think if you're working with shadows as kind of a neat exposure and a neat look. Once again here's the before, here's the after. Let's show you a little bit about how I got there. Once again, we're going to start with our exposure. Here you don't want to bring it up too much. We're mainly going to be working with the shadows. Let's bring it up maybe 0.35 there. That looks okay. This is where we're going to work with the shadows quite a bit. I wouldn't be afraid of pulling this up almost all the way to 100 there. We're still got a lot of nice contrast. It's a little bit too much. Let's kick it at 0.65 there. Feels about right. There we go, 65, that feels good. Then the blacks you can mess with those two. That's just going to lift the black part of the shadow up and that's to me a little too flat. You don't want to mess with that too much. Let's keep that about halfway right there. That's good. Once again you can use your tone curve to do fine detail on this. Here we might bring the shadows back down a little bit just to fine tune that look. I think that looks pretty good. Let's bring the highlights down. It's a little too rough on his face there. That looks pretty good to me. Once again, we're going to enable profile corrections there. There we go. Again, it's just fine-tuning your exposure, bringing up a little bit. We're able to in the field meter for his face and then bring up the shadows a little bit later when we're editing our file. Here's the before and the after. Let's talk about our last photo here. This really nice photo of Shelby on the fire escape. This is what I was talking about with the backlighting. Looks a little dark right now. As you can see in the after, I was able to bring up the exposure quite a bit. Really get that nice glow. Her hair and the color of her coat really play well with the late evening light. Let me show you a little bit about what I did here including getting rid of the fire escape. For this photo it's the same thing we've been doing all along. We are bringing up the shadows here. Leave the exposure as is it is. Let's just bring up that shadow area. See how we're getting some detail on her face there. Maybe a little touch to the exposure. It looks a little warm, it looks a little orange in her skin. So, I'm going to ease the temperature here and just cool it off a little bit and see the rest of the photo get cool but we still have that great warm glow behind her. Another thing you can do, let's enable the lens profile, there we go, flattens the corners out, looks a little bit better already. I'd suggest her skin a little bit. It looks just a little bit orange. So in the orange down here and your hue saturation and luminescence let's head down in saturation and orange and just dial that back just a bit, just to get her skin look in a little bit better there. That looks pretty good. Let's take this photo into Photoshop and I'll show you some techniques for getting rid of that nasty fire escape ladder there. Proof can be really easy to do. Here we have the photo loaded up in Photoshop. I'm going to show you really quickly how to get rid of something you don't want in the background there. Got our clone stamp tool loaded up. Premise of this tool is you're going to choose one area of the photo and clone it onto an other area the photo. This is going to be really easy here because we have the whole sky to work with. What I'm going to do, select this area here using "Option" and then just bring it over to the fire escape and move it around there and get rid of it. Pick another area of the sky just to picking up the fire escape. See how easy it is to remove that. Real easy. Another thing you can do here when you're working with back lighting is something I'd like to do to really help with the exposure. Use your Quick Selection tool and let's bring up her face here. It's still a little dark. I'm going to copy that. I'm going to create a new layer. You have a new layer here, that's just her face. We're going to work with that exposure a little bit and try and bring that up but leave the rest of the photo as is. I like to use levels. Here you can see the histogram. There's just for that section we have picked of her face and there's no highlighted area so it's just a little bit dark so what we're going to do is we're going to pull the highlights up a little bit. You can see her face is getting a little bit brighter. It's going to be too much. Let's go the other way with the mids, bring those mid down a little bit. It looks a lot better already. From there to there. Hit "Save", bring that into Lightroom. So, you can see this is the before and this is after and that's some of the techniques that I use. This is a halfway photo to get there. Bringing up the exposure not too much, work with the shadows. Select her face because you want the rest of the photo to have that nice backlit vibe but bring up the exposure on her face there. 7. Final Thoughts: Okay, now it's time for your assignment, and when you take some of the things that I talked about today plus your own ideas and put them to work. Let's take three to five photos in two or more locations of two or more people. So that's three to five photos. You can shoot more if you want but around that range in two or more locations (one location inside, one location outside) of at least two people. Again, more if you want but at least two different subjects. Let's use a few different lighting techniques, pick the one that you like best or one that you want to learn a little bit about and maybe a couple others that you see in your location that look interesting to you. Finally, upload your assignments to Skillshare. I'll view them there and if you post your photos on Instagram please add or reply to me BenjaminHeath, #skillshare. So, just right @benjaminheath #skillshare on your photo. I want to come and check it out and see what your finished projects look like. All right, thanks so much for taking my Skillshare class. I really appreciate your interest in my photography, my approach to portraiture. I hope some of the techniques I shared with you today are helpful for you. I can't wait to see your finished project, how you take what I talked about put it to use, put it to work with your own ideas. Remember to upload them to Skillshare, upload them on Instagram. I can't wait to see what you guys do. All right, thanks guys.