Posing 101 (Female Subjects)

Objective:

Posing is my secret sauce. Okay, not really, but it's arguably the one thing that has improved my images.  Yes, it is important to know your gear.  Yes, it is important to understand light, but none of that really matters if the images of your subject are not flattering.

Giving my subjects "directions" by asking them to turn their head into the light and taking one thousand frames, but only having about 10 frames that were keepers, is how I used to work with my my fingers crossed hoping for useable images.  After doing that for some time, I was not happy with those percentages.  I decided to research and understand basic posing techniques, which later helped me to direct the positioning of my human subjects into flattering poses; this enhanced my subject’s form and made my final images 100% better.  With this approach, I was no longer taking a ridiculous amount of images and my number of keeper images increased.

In this workshop we will go over basic posing techniques that you can use to help increase your number of keeper images.  These techniques will make you a more deliberate photographer.  Here are some of the topics we will cover:

  • Light and how it relates to posing
  • How to position the legs and feet to make a pleasing form
  • We will discuss certain things you should avoid when “striking a pose”
  • How to position hands
  • How to make sitting and reclining poses look natural and appealing
  • And so much more.

Here's what you will need:

  • Camera
  • Note Pad (there will be a great deal of demonstration, so you may want to take notes)

Investment:

  • Photographers $150
  • Limited to 3 photographers
  • FEE IS NON-REFUNDABLE

General Notes:

  • This workshop will be held in Cary, NC.  The exact address will be provided to confirmed attendees.
  • Event Date: Saturday September 19th, 2015 from 2pm to 3:30pm.
  • This is a rain or shine event. This event will only be cancelled/rescheduled if the weather conditions are dangerous for travel and/or gear.

Model: Shana Collins

FREE LEARNING RESOURCES:

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One-On-One Workshop With Terry Witherspoon | Cary, NC Photographer

This one-on-one workshop was with Terry Witherspoon. Terry found me while doing a YouTube search about lighting and he came across the latest video posted on our YouTube channel - "Edgy Fashion Photoshoot Using All Natural Light."  

During our conversation, he explained that he found the educational content of our videos extremely helpful, so he subscribed to our channel and began consuming the other 35 plus videos available on our YouTube channel. Once he was done viewing the contents of those videos, he realized I was local and he reached out to me for a one-on-one workshop.

Here's what Terry had to say about his experience with our one-on-one workshop:

"I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. The one on one aspect is really what initially drew me to this. All of my questions were answered thoroughly, and then applied hands on. To me, that was invaluable. I have been practicing the techniques you taught me, and have already seen a dramatic improvement in my photographs. I can't begin to thank you enough!!"

Every one on one workshop is customized to each attendee and their specific requirements.  There’s absolutely no value to the attendees to teach about a subject they have no interest in learning, so I always determine their specific concerns in an effort to address those areas directly.  In Terry's case he wanted more information on the following:

  • Composition - articulating a vision and creating beautiful images.
  • Lighting - he experienced a level of difficulty getting the correct exposure; he shot aperture priority most of the time.
  • Camera settings - gaining a better understanding of his equipment and how the functions and settings affected, or are best suited for various lighting conditions.
  • Start-up/Growing a business - my thoughts on next-step; he expressed an interest in starting his own photography business at some point in the future, and asked me to share some tips from my experiences.

In addition, we discussed how to pose a subject, as well as the differences between directing someone and posing them.  We went over various lighting techniques using natural light, artificial light, and flash.  I also shared my opinions on why location is not the most important element of a successful shoot; the key components being: quality of available light and subject.

Jessica Perry was our model for the workshop.  A total professional and extremely patient with us while I focused on educating Terry and ensuring he received what he needed to maximize his experience during his time in the workshop.  This was Jessica's first photoshoot and I have to say, she did an awesome job.

In conclusion, I want to say thank you, Terry, for booking a one on one workshop with me. Based on his feedback, he got all his questions answered and more importantly he continued to practice what he learned.  I’d also want to thank the following individuals; a supportive team is an essential aspect of a successful workshop: Palani Mohan and Anthony Coriale for providing assistance with this workshop.  Nicole Sue aka Carlton Eliza Charles for styling, and assisting Jessica with organizing the wardrobe she had.  Wayne Wonder for capturing the BTS video, which will be published in the near future.

If you want to attend one of my workshops, please become a member of my meetup group and RSVP for any workshop that you are interested in.

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One-On-One Workshop With Charles Jere | Cary, NC Photographer

My intent and focus in this one-on-one workshop with Charles Jere, was to inspire and motivate him to create great portraits.  In an effort to gauge his needs, and gain a sense of what his expectations were for this session, I encouraged Charles to discuss his concerns, and ask any pertinent questions relating to photography.  Our dialogue was in-depth and centered-on: what he has done so far, ways to build upon his skill-set, and where he wanted to see his work eventually.  We chatted – minus photography gear - for over an hour about his specific concerns.  After our discussion, I reviewed some of the images from Charles’ portfolio and provided my feedback on each one.

Our model for the day was Steven Muncy.  Great job, Steven!  We appreciated you joining us.  Prior to the workshop, Steven had expressed to me that he wanted portraits for social media and his website.  With that in mind, I decided to incorporate capturing great head-shots and portraits into this session, thereby providing how-to and education for Charles.

It was an extremely hot day.  Usually, I would utilize several different areas during a location shoot; in an effort to minimize moving around too much in the heat, I decided to stick to the shaded areas of the park out of direct sunlight.  My goal for this entire workshop was to create some amazing portraits, which we did at this one location, a park-bench.  Given that we were in the shade and I wanted to use the park as the backdrop, we had to deal with two different exposures. I brought out my speedlights and demonstrated how to properly balance speedlights with ambient light.

It was a pleasure having Charles attend my one-on-one workshop, thank you so much.  I hope you are able to use the tips you learned during our educational session to create your own amazing images and portraits.  Steven, thank you for being our subject.  Wayne Myers, as always, great job capturing the awesome footage for the BTS video.

The behind the scenes video will be released soon.  To be notified immediately when it's released, please subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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One-On-One Workshop With Mario Guzman

In this one-on-one workshop with Mario Guzman, I explored 4 different lighting techniques:

  1. I used the sun as the hair light and the reflector as the main light 
  2. I used the sun as the main light and the reflector as fill 
  3. I used the omega reflector as our main light and the speed-light as the hair light 
  4. I used the flash as the main light and the ambient light as fill.

For more on these techniques and other educational/useful tips, you may view my YouTube channel.  Mastering these techniques requires repetition and proper application.  That's right!  Practice.  If you don't intend to put in the hours it takes to enhance your technique and augment your skill-level, you may as well not invest any finances in attending workshops; without thorough investment and dedication, you will not gain any additional knowledge or get any better at your chosen craft.  With the advent of smart-phones, and the smorgasbord of social media, it has become commonplace for some individuals to be easily convinced that they are photographers.  So, what makes you a "professional photographer"?  Better than the millions of "photographers" out there?  It's certainly not the camera or all the gear you have or even knowing lighting.  What gives you the edge and finesse, is your hours of work and mastery of all the techniques that encompass being brilliant at your craft.

While I am not a master photographer, I take pride in the earnest I apply to curate my craft and the work I put in.  In these one-on-one workshops, it's my goal to inspire attendees, show them techniques that I have learned overtime, which have worked for me, and instruct them on posing techniques that will bring out the best in their subjects. 

Thank you to Milica Guceva and Quionna Byrant for being our wonderful models for this workshop.  I also want thank Thang Ryan Le for assisting me on this workshop.  Big thank you to Wayne Myers for BTS video.  Lastly, thank you Mario Guzman for attending, I hope you were able to walk away with some valuable information that you can apply on your future photo shoots.

Here's what Mario had to say about the One On One Workshop:

"Being in this workshop with Ernesto was a great experience. Ernesto took the time to teach skills like using sunlight to illuminate the hair using a reflector as the main light. As a beginner in portrait photography, I thought that sunlight is used as the main light. Seeing the results of the techniques that Ernesto taught me I realized how great it is to manipulate light. Also learned how to use the sun as the main light and reflector as fill light. Ernesto is a great photographer and teacher of photography. I participated in some workshops with him and it's always a great experience."

One last point, light is light, you can create great images with just a camera and any beautiful quality of light, so don't get caught up with expensive lighting equipment.  In this workshop, you will notice I didn't use any expensive strobes; I used the sun, a reflector, and a single speed-light.

If you want to attend one of my workshops, please become a member of my meetup group and RSVP for any workshop that you are interested in.

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

Photo Walk, Networking & Lunch

I had the pleasure of hosting a group of photographers for what was suppose to be a photo walk, but Orlando and Milica quickly changed that idea.  We had an amazing photoshoot in the warehouse district of downtown Raleigh.  Thank you Orlando and Milica for being so awesome and playing along with us.

The intent was to do a simple photo walk in downtown Raleigh and network with the photographers, models, mua and hair stylist in the photography group I run.  While that may have been my intent the art festival changed our plans.  Given that Orland is a local downtown Raleigh resident he knew how to get away from crowd. He suggested we go to the Warehouse District, which was definitely away from the action.  I have always heard of this area, but I have never explored it and or capture any images there.  This location was amazing and I will be going back to do another photo shoot I have planned for the end of the month.

After the photo shoot, we all went to a local restaurant in downtown Raleigh, where we sat, had lunch and got to know each other.  I really enjoyed this social gathering and getting to know the amazing folks in my group.  I look forward to doing more of these.

Orlando, a special thank you goes out to you for helping me figure out new tools that I can use for Instagram.  We old folks can use all the help we can get with this thing call social media, so thank you :-).

Models:

If you want to attend one of my workshops, please become a member of my meetup group and RSVP for any workshop that you are interested in.

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Workshop | Night Portraits 2015 | North Carolina Photography

In this workshop we focused on using 3 light sources to create beautiful night portraits.

  1. On Camera Flash - This was our very first setup.  I demonstrated to the attendees how to effectively use this light source to create an image with depth and dimension.
  2. Constant Light - Our second setup.  This light source is very efficient, effective and fast.  On most photoshoots this is my go to light source.  It's very simple, what you see is what you get.
  3. Ambient Light - Our last setup.  This light source is very similar to constant light however; not all ambient light is good light and we focused on how to properly use this light source.

Thank you Alex for stepping in and being our subject for this workshop.  Below you will find a few images from the workshop.  Also, thank you to all the attendees of this workshop.

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

Exposure / Lighting Workshop 2014 | Cary North Carolina Photographer

I had the pleasure of hosting some wonderful photographers and our model Carrie for my 2014 Exposure / lighting workshop.  It was sunny, then cloudy and finally rainy.  We did not backdown from any of our weather challenges, we had a great deal of fun and I hope they walked away with some new techniques to apply to their own craft. 

I did a lot of talking and not so much shooting, so below you will find the only two images I captured.

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Workshop | Environmental Portraits | Raleigh, North Carolina

Everyday I am enjoying creating images on location.  I enjoy the challenge and I love the fact that I never know what type of image I will get because I use what's around me.  The below images were captured at a workshop I held on July 19th in downtown Raleigh North Carolina.  In this workshop we worked with natural and artificial light to help create images with our model Jessica.   

Adley, John & Jessica thank you for participating in my workshop, you all made it very fun and educational for me.

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

Natural Light Workshop 2014 | Cary North Carolina Photographer

On May 17th, I held a natural light workshop in Cary, North Carolina.  The workshop was done between 2pm and 4pm, which is not the most ideal situation to create images.  However, I knew with the right poses and specific directions we would create some amazing images.  Agnes, Nika and Jim were the 3 photographers who attended my workshop, I hope you all learned something new, thank you for attending.

The models that attended my workshop were Jessica Delovely who I have worked with in the pass and Seema Lateef Aziz.  Jessica had to leave early, so I didn't capture as much images I wanted to of her, which is why Seema dominates the below.  In addition to modeling Seema did the hair and make up.  Seema was a trooper and was very easy to work.

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Crappy Location | Amazing Images | Cary, North Carolina

Taking photos at high noon with no reflector, defuser or flash can sometimes prove challenging, but not always :-).  There was nothing really amazingly beautiful about this location, but when you have light and shadows, sometimes the location just doesn't matter.  Running from the light was simply not an option, so I embraced the light by applying very specific poses to bring out shadows, which brought depth and dimension to the images.

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Beauty Workshop 2014 | Cary North Carolina

On Saturday February 8th, I hosted a group of six great photographers at my home studio for a beauty workshop.  The workshop was very hands on, they got to construct the photo shoot from start to finish.  They worked with strobes, modifiers and models.   They pretty much put together every component required for this shoot, which I believe is the best way to learn.  We worked with 3 strobes and a speed light.  The modifiers were a combination of soft boxes, a beauty dish and bare bulbs. 

After the photo shoot, we grabbed some lunch and networked with each other.  We then quickly proceeded to post processing and I discussed my thought process when working with beauty images in photoshop. 

We had 3 incredible models Jessica, Claire and Julia, they all did a wonderful job working with 6 different photographers, well 7 if you count me :-).  Doing the heavy lifting, on the hair we had the wonderful Shereese Cromartie and on MUA we had the incredibly forgiving (inside joke about me) Deatrice Snuggs.  Without you ladies this day would not be possible and for that I thank you.

Overall this was an incredibly rewarding and successful workshop.  We were able to exchange a great deal of information and we made some wonderful connections.  I have learned a lot from this event and for that and many more I am grateful.

Below you will find one of the images from the workshop, I will be posting more on this blog post but I just wanted to get this post out to thank everyone for the awesome team work.

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Claire Daniella

Jessica Douglas

Julia Manchester

Impromptu Beauty Shoot | Raleigh NC Photographer

My friend Shereese Cromartie is a talented hair stylist, whose bragging rights include New York Fashion Week.  When she contacted me to do an impromptu beauty shoot, I was immediately interested.  I've worked with Shereese in the past and knew the quality of work she produces --- she creates some amazing styles.

Shereese was in town on business and decided to maximize her travel time by quickly organizing a photo shoot focused on soft, natural looking beauty shots.  I put the word out for models and MUA and received responses from two beauties, Jessica De lovely, recently featured in BeautyBliss magazine and Kaley Morrison, who walked the runway in Redress Raleigh fashion show; no MUA were available on short notice, so the models did their own make-up.

Below are images from the shoot.

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