Controlling Mood in Portraits: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

In this video, I have a look at how
changing just three things will completely change the mood of a
portrait. AdoramaTV presents ‘Take and Make Great Photography’ with Gavin Hoey. Hello, I’m Gavin Hoey and you’re watching AdoramaTV, brought to you by Adorama, the camera store that has everything for us photographers. In this video I’m going to have a look at portraits
and how it’s possible to completely change the mood of a portrait by only changing
a few things. Now, I’m going to look at three different things. I’m going to look at the
obvious stuff, for example, if you change model’s expression or pose, that can
change the mood in your shot then there’s more subtle things. Lighting. That can
alter the mood as well. Finally, I’m going to have a look at
post-processing, a bit of Photoshop, because of course you can do almost anything in
Photoshop, possibly. We’ll see how that works out, but first let’s get on with
the shoot. Once again I’ve been joined by Roger and he’s still, well, he’s still a boxer that’s had a bit of a bad day but the moods that we’re going to simulate are two. Well, we’re going to go with Roger as a victorious boxer, who’s won his fight and is looking
really happy and aggressive, and we’re going to go with a sad, defeated boxer as well and Roger that’s the one we’re going to start with, but don’t worry we’ll get to your victory very soon indeed. So for the sad shot, I’m going to use simple lighting. One light and just light it
nice and soft and gentle. So, this is the light I am going to use. This is the Adorama
Streaklight 360 and I’ve got it in a small softbox. So let’s just bring this down a little bit closer into Roger. Now I’ve got it on a boom arm, simply so it doesn’t appear
in the shots, and we’re going to get in nice and close. Nice and close should give nice, soft lighting. The closer and bigger the light source, the softer and more moody the shot
becomes. Now, I want to shoot at f8 as my aperture, so I need to set this light to produce f8 amount of light . Now we could do it by trial and error but as I’ve got a flash meter, I like to use that, and I’ve got my little
remote control for the Streaklight here. So I’m going to set my flash meter up so
it’s the same camera settings and then I’ll pop the little dome underneath Roger’s chin, pointing back at the light press the test button and I get a flash
meter reading of f5.6. Now, that might be fine. I could just dial in f5.6 on my camera
but because I want f8, I’m going to increase the power of that light by one
stop and that’s three clicks here on the remote. And there you go, f8. So, I’ve got the light set exactly how I want it. Let’s set the camera up and take some shots. So there we go, Roger. That was your failure. But now we get to do your victory. So for the victory I’m going to do things a little bit differently. The first thing you’ll notice is the keylight. The keylight is exactly the same as the last shot. I
still want that soft lighting on Roger’s face. It’s the same power setting as well, f8, so what’s the difference? Well, the difference is the background lights. I’ve got two small speedlights either side and just behind Roger and they’re going to be
set to put a little bit of rim lighting on the shoulders and on the back. That adds contrast to the shot and that contrast is going to give this picture a bit more aggression and that’s
what I’m looking for. Now, I need to work out how bright to make these lights. Now, remember I’m working at f8 for my camera and f8 for the key light. So the background lights, I want them to be about a stop less, f5.6. So I’ve got my flash meter, I’ve got my remote trigger. I’m going to point the little dome, back at the light I want to meter. OK, that is f8, so that’s too much light onto Roger. I just need to reduce the power here. I can either do it on the remote or of course I can come round to the flash itself, we can just bring that down a little bit lower in power and now I’m getting f5.6. I repeat the process on the other side, here we go and by chance that’s actually on f5.6. Brilliant, don’t you love it when that happens? So that’s the light set. Let’s do some pictures. Well, that was fantastic fun and of course it’s not just about the lighting is also the model’s attitude, the posing, it all helps
to bring the two different moods together. The final piece of the jigsaw
puzzle is post-processing. So Photoshop can help too. Let’s jump into Photoshop and see how we edit some of the pictures and we’re going to do that right now Photoshop is the key that’s going to unlock the mood in these pictures but before I get to Photoshop let’s just have a look at the pictures as
they came out of the camera, starting with the first shoot, the defeated look. I
asked Roger to give me a pose that looked defeated and the simplest way to do that it just ask to get a big sigh and when somebody sighs, their shoulders drop,
their body relaxes and it all becomes, well he looks just looks deflated doesn’t he? He looks fantastically beaten. That worked well. The lighting helped as well. The single light up very close means that I get a nice, natural vignette around the outside and soft
light on Roger which is exactly what I wanted for this shot. Compare that to the victorious shot in
this one, where the energy that comes through in this picture is enormous and
we built that up in the shoot. We had a great conversation. We were really getting enthusiastic, you can see it in Rogers arms, how their veins are standing up and the facial expression. Perfect. The lighting on this one, well, those two little edge lights may be
small, but they give this lovely separation from the edge of roger and
the background. Now the key here was to make sure they weren’t too bright. It’s very
easy to get edge lights that overpower the shot and burn out detail, particularly
bearing in mind what I’m going to do next in Photoshop, because it’s easy to lose
that detail in Photoshop as you increase contrast. Let’s have a look. I’m going to start with the first shot and defeated look. I’m going to change the white balance rather than having it the Air Shot white balance, I’m going to pull it down towards
the colder end. He’s getting the cold shoulder, he’s defeated its a sad, cold shot. I’m then going to come to
contrast and increase the contrast. Now, I’m increasing the contrast really just
to make these nice blacks a little bit deeper so it adds to the mood of the shot and I’ve gone a little bit more than perhaps I wanted to because I know I’m going to change the contrast again with clarity. Clarity only works on the mid tones and
usually I push it up, make it much more clarity increased, but in this case I
want to decrease it, I want to smooth out some of the detail, really to give this
a softness and that’s going to add to the mood, the gentle downbeat mood of this
shot. The main thing, however, is going to be vibrance. Vibrance, well the colors at
the moment look like I shot them but if I decrease the vibrance I can really
make the colors feel muted and that is what adds the mood that I want for this shot. Now once I’ve done all those adjustments you need to glance back over, particularly at the
histogram and say there’s a bit of a gap up there so we’ll just increase the
highlights and increase the whites just so we have a decent range of tones and
just adjust things accordingly. That’s the sort of downbeat mood. What
about the victorious shot? Well, let’s jump over to that one. So for this one, I’m going to give it similar but subtly different changes. I’m not going to change the
temperature. I’ll leave that as is for now. I am going to add in the contrast,
however, because I still want those nice deep, dark blacks in the shot. The clarity
this time, rather than decreasing clarity I’m going to increase the clarity and I’m
going to increase it a lot and that’s really going to add to the energy in this
picture by giving it a very sharp defined edge. Similarly I’m going to come
down to the vibrance and I’ll punch up the vibrance a little bit just to make sure
the colors are nice and punchy. It may be just a little bit too red on Roger’s face,
so because I just want to adjust these areas, I’m just going to get the local
adjustment brush, come down to the saturation and just set that and that
alone. We’ll drop it down, maybe 30%, and with a nice small brush I’ll just paint a little bit less saturation just across Roger’s face and we can fine tune that to get it about right. There’s the two different moods completed, starting with a downbeat and defeated low-key, low saturation shot followed by a much more energetic, much more punchy, saturated and clarity-driven shot as well. Well, there you go. If you’ve enjoyed this video and you want to see more from myself and the other amazing presenters here on AdoramaTV. You know what you’ve got to do? You’ve got to click on the subscribe button. I’m Gavin Hoey, thanks for watching. Do you want great looking prints at low cost? Be sure to visit our easy to use online printing service. Adorama Pix has professionals who treat your images with the utmost care that
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59 Replies to “Controlling Mood in Portraits: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey”

  1. Great video, thanks! I really enjoyed seeing how you created each shot. Question: How did you decide you needed the light at F8?

  2. Gavin, did you not need a flag to prevent the rims lights from flaring in your camera (making the image look all hazey)? How did you prevent that?

  3. I've learnt soooo much from Gavin. My photography skills have increased two fold. Thanks mate. Keep up the excellent tutorials.

  4. So grateful for your wonderfully presented tutorials Gavin! I only wish you were closer to the beautiful sunny Southern Cal. Please schedule a workshop here soon! I'll throw in a surf lesson. 🙂

  5. Hallo Gavin, great tut thnx for that. It was interesting to hear you set the rim-light on stop less than the main-light. I was imagine that it is contrary! So, I've learned from that, thnx..

  6. Another excellent video tutorial Gavin! Well presented, concise and great content as always. More importantly it looked like fun! Thanks for all your efforts, keep 'em coming!

  7. Great video as always Gavin. Quick gear question – What boom arm and pivot clamp are you using? I don't see them in the equipment list…
    Thanks for the video and the info.

  8. Hi Gavin, I'm new to your work. But have now watched most of your videos. Great work and tutorial! Can I ask how you created the back drop in this and other shoots? It looks like slate, but pretty sure it isn't real slate. I love the look of it.

  9. Gavin, I love your tutorials, really helping me out!! You are the best! Im curious to see what this would've been like with gels for effect.

  10. How come the only light we see in the pictures is that of the strobes? How come can the lights in the studio (ceiling light fixtures etc..) don't affect the shot?

  11. Hi Gavin,

    you just cost me a lot of $$$$ ……after watching your great videos…..I could not resist to order 2 EX 600RT and a transmitter and try to become as good as you….you're really incredible! thanks for sharing all your knowledge!


  12. can you share what you are using to secure the battery pack to the boom
    arm? And as for the boom arm itself, can you share the make?

  13. Hi, Gavin Hoey.
    I love your videos .. !! Your work is incredible .. !!
    You have photo videos made with basic lens 18-55. ?
    I have a Canon T3 camera, with basic lens and I would like to know if you can take good pictures with that lens.

    I'm your super fan …!

  14. Hi..Gavin..Thanks for everything you did for us photographers..I am just wondering why 200 shutter speed can be set on your Sekonic flashmate? I've got it too but only 125 or 250 are available…

  15. Hi Gavin awesome shots but I think they would look better in B&W, however I still like the images the way they are. 🙂

  16. Gavin sir, I just came Ur videos recently I just love Ur way of sharing small details , appreciate Ur work very much… Love 2 see more in future thank u

  17. Gavin, Great video. However I would have like to have seen more sweat on the boxer. A 50/50 mixture of H2O and Glycerin would have done the trick quite well.

  18. I LOVE your work.
    What would be a good speed light to add to the background (as a light) that would work with my Godox AD600, one that can be added to a group and can be controlled by the same remote as the Godox AD600?

  19. This is the most positive, truly uplifting comment section I have ever seen. Shout out to all the non-a_wholes who appreciate great instructors and great talent making great photos for the best photography channel on Youtube!

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