Someone emailed me a couple of weeks ago (but I can't remember who) and asked for a tutorial showing the positions of the lights, how I get inspiration for poses and how I do a shoot. So here it is.
When the client calls for an appointment I ask them to bring in a favorite photograph they have seen, (or tear one out of a magazine that they like) and we will attempt to duplicate it. The first image below was torn from this month's edition of Glamour magazine.
The first thing I do is shoot a zebra card. This will give me the correct white balance for the lights I'm using. I will only need to do this once unless I change my main or fill lights during the shoot.
My assistant held the card for me. I could have also placed it up against a posing stool and stepped back and made the capture or by using a wide angle lens, you can hold it yourself. Make sure you are not getting any glare from the lights.
Next I studied the tear sheet so I could determine where the original photographer set up his lights. I also will at this time study the lighting and posing and decide if could be "Benjized". Some fashion photographers are usually not as particular about lighting and posing as some portrait photographers are. Once this is done, I set up my lights.
The image below shows the exact position of all the lights I used in the making of the first image below, except for the fill light. I moved the fill light off to camera right several feet so it would not obstruct the ability to see the position of the other lights. All meter readings were taken with a Sekonic L-358 with the white dome extended. The dome was held at the subject's face nearly touching her cheek. The meter readings were as follows:
Then I attempted to duplicate the pose. The original photographer lit his subject from above the camera and to camera left, but that left shadows in her right eye due to her hair. Bree's hair style is different so I will try one from the light at camera left and on from camera right and see which one I like better. After I shoot this one I will begin experimenting with slightly different poses. The reason for this is because the original photographer most likely has shot this image numerous times and has already made all the mistakes one can make, so why should I attempt to make them also.
Then I changed her right hand and I moved the main light and the fill light to the opposite side. All the rest of the lights stayed in the same positions as before.
I think I like the lighting and the elevated camera position in the first image, but I like the pose in the second image. I will try several other positions of the right hand and arm/elbow when I do this pose again. I don't care for the position of her right hand in image # 4 above. Her hand appears to be amputated. This is because it is cut off at the wrist, BUT when it is moved further over to camera right (so it isn't cropped at the wrist) it pulls the arm over (like in the tear sheet) and I think that looks bad also.
I'm wondering if I placed a folded up blanket under her tummy if that might raise her torso up. I think by raising her torso it would lengthen the distance between the floor and her elbow which would drop her shoulders and that would allow her to tilt her head. I think Bree's arms are not long enough to allow her to place her hand under her chin and tilt her head at the same time with her torso, and elbow both on the floor. But I could be wrong. I've been wrong millions of times before!
Benji's Book Posing and Lighting
My full color 8.5 x 11 inch glossy 44 page book on how to pose and light the high school senior girl is in my hands are ready to be shipped. It has 44 different poses in it, including head and shoulders, waist up, 3/4 and full length poses. Twenty six poses are shown without a prop, most of the rest of the poses are with chairs that can be bought locally in a second hand furniture store (or new!) I also show a steel "school" chair that I have modified, and I've included instructions how to do it. Four pages of lighting diagrams and five wide angle shots showing the entire scene, then the actual close up shot of that same image so you can see just what the heck the rest of her body is doing to get that great close up shot! LOTS of posing and lighting tips in easy to understand language. Poses for the larger gal as well as the size 6 senior are shown. This is a "lay flat" book that you can show to your client and let her choose what she likes thereby eliminating poses that will not sell.
Benji's Video Photographing The High School Senior in the New MillenniumOver 45 minutes long and jam packed with lots of good instruction on posing and lighting for the high school senior girl. How to get beautiful indoor lighting for head and shoulders portraits, 3/4 length and full length poses. All of this and lots more are covered, most showing exactly what I do to get the shot. I show in several of the images what problems will crop up when YOU attempt this pose and what you need to do to correct it. The exact placement of the lights to get these shots is also covered in detail. Outdoor poses are covered also. Perfect exposure quickly and easily whether you are shooting digital or film. This is the instructional video for you. You have already experienced my easy to understand style of teaching in my tutorials found here and several of them are included in this video also.
How to order: