Long Exposure Portraits

Jake Hicks teaches long exposure techniques for portraiture

Every day new and exciting images are competing for our attention.  Famed UK photographer, Jake Hicks returns to PRO EDU teaching a fundamentally simple yet powerful technique to create long exposure portraits impossible to ignore.

Combining ambient light with studio strobes, Jake introduces four unique methods of creating portraits while capturing unbelievable practical effects in-camera.

This tutorial was designed to teach you not just the technical aspects of long exposure photography but how to be truly creative in the studio and experiment in ways that will set your work apart from the rest.

$ 149.00 $ 99.00 ON SALE
  • 01. Introduction
    • Thumbnail for Introduction / Introduction
      Introduction (2:23)
      Meet photographer, Jake Hicks and receive a training series overview.

    • Thumbnail for Introduction / Lighting Setup
      Lighting Setup (4:19)
      Before learning to paint with light, identify a general overview of the equipment and overall rationale of Jake’s lighting setup. Work to create incredibly strong portrait lighting and posing in order to make beautiful, compelling, and engaging long exposure images. Build the foundation of a strong portrait and its subsequent lighting. Develop a rock solid foundation in the lighting setup training.

    • Thumbnail for Introduction / Key Light
      Key Light (4:43)
      Observe the importance of building up the set 1 light at a time to achieve precise results in a long exposure, light painting for an in-studio shoot. Learn Jake’s specific approach to settings, gear and lighting approach to create the highest quality exposure and image capture. Practice with some initial lighting test captures.

    • Thumbnail for Introduction / Fill Light
      Fill Light (4:19)
      Continue the lighting build up, adding a fill light with more insight into the gear, rationale, and testing to shape the proper lighting balance between the fill and key light. Prepare your images with a shoot-to-edit approach, creating the widest latitude possible for creative control in post-production, with a mindful approach towards the shadows. Work without a light meter, learning to trust your eyes and look for specific details as you manipulate your lighting setup. Identify some of the components of what helps to create depth and dimension in your image.

    • Thumbnail for Introduction / Backlight
      Backlight (3:41)
      Work to adjust the backlight to create a perfect balance between the key and fill lights. Test a few exposures, continuing to dial in the balance for optimum balance of skin exposure, shadow latitude, focus, contrast, and dimension.

    • Thumbnail for Introduction / Hair Light
      Hair Light (7:44)
      Position the hair light with precision to avoid unwanted shadows and create the final harmonious balance across all 4 lights. Lean how to avoid creating visual conflicts by properly positioning and angling the lighting setup. Work through iteration, refining a perfect lighting balance, with layers and nuance in the setup process to achieve beautiful captures for long exposures.

  • 02. Light Painting Part One
    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part One / Posing
      Posing (3:24)
      Work through a variety of poses to test the strength of the lighting setup and flexibility before beginning the long exposure light painting process.

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part One / Light Painting Tools
      Light Painting Tools (3:06)
      With the lighting setup, posing, and tools identified and tested, begin the iterative and experimental process of long exposure light painting.

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part One / Exposure Test
      Exposure Test (13:58)
      Implement the tools and philosophy as you learn how to paint with light in a studio environment. Assess the ambient light level in the room. Iterate through multiple tests to find the sweet spot of creating compelling imagery with this technique. Develop a sense of how to move light in relationship to the time of the long exposure. Analyze what is happening in the captures and how to adjust your technique to avoid unwanted artifacts and achieve clean image captures.

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part One / Photoshoot
      Photoshoot (8:47)
      With testing complete, apply gels to the lighting setup to create a balanced color temperature between the set lights and light painting tools. Put all of the knowledge to work and create multiple long exposures, learn the basics of painting with light in studio using a variety of techniques to create beautiful, organic images. Develop an eye for problem areas and how to solve them.

  • 03. Light Painting Part Two
    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Lighting Setup
      Lighting Setup (6:57)
      Advance your light painting skills with an entirely new setup. Refine your set with a new model, wardrobe, colors, gels and light brushes. Prepare modified tools to create a variety of new shapes and textures of light and entirely new creative.

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Shoot Part 1
      Shoot Part 1 (14:59)
      Create long exposures with dimension and a variety of shapes using the new gel setup and tools. With the effort of careful, layering to the light setup, along with methodical testing in the early stages of the process, achieve powerful results in your imagery, while minimizing problematic variables.

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Shoot Part 2
      Shoot Part 2 (10:09)
      With a rock solid lighting base, alternate with different light brushes and gels to create even more variant imagery. Learn to adjust speed and movement of your lighting tools as you paint with a different source shape

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Wardrobe Change
      Wardrobe Change (11:49)
      Work with a change in wardrobe, gels, and a combination of light painting tools. Refine the long exposure light painting technique.

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Lightroom
      Lightroom (14:26)
      Use Lightroom to select an image and prepare it with a procedural and methodical approach for the final editing within Photoshop

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Clean Up
      Clean Up (12:50)
      Begin retouching the first of four images in Photoshop. Take a broad approach to cleaning up various elements of an image, focusing on major problem areas first. Utilize the patch and cloning tools to create a clean foundation for the retouching workflow - with a primary focus on skin.

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Dodge & Burn Targeted
      Dodge & Burn Targeted (6:44)
      Apply dodging and burning in a targeted way to affect specific areas of skin. Create more continuity, definition, depth and tone in specific areas of the subject’s face.

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Frequency Separation
      Frequency Separation (7:01)
      With the initial, targeted areas resolved in cleanup and the initial dodge and burn pass, complete the process of retouching skin. Develop a methodical approach to create smooth texture along with even and natural flow to the skin’s surface

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Masking
      Masking (6:50)
      Build a multi-purpose mask to create a more distinctive background with richer color and gradation. Save that same mask for other retouching techniques further on in the workflow

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Dodge & Burn Global
      Dodge & Burn Global (8:28)
      With the same multi-purpose mask, dodge and burn the image with a global approach to create more dimension and definition for the entire image.

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Sharpening
      Sharpening (5:50)
      Continue to enhance your image by applying a procedural, multi-pass sharpening effect, without affecting the overall color. With a subtle build up of layers, blend modes, and opacity adjustments begin to realize the final stages of your image.

    • Thumbnail for Light Painting Part Two / Color Toning
      Color Toning (5:48)
      Apply the final layers of polish to your image with an intelligent approach, using isolated color channel curves to bring out the most vibrant and balanced final grade.

  • 04. Background Exposure
    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Lighting Setup
      Lighting Setup (8:02)
      With a new model, background, and wardrobe, learn another approach to long exposure photography. Observe how to place movement on the background of your set. With this emphasis, walk through the lighting setup to properly expose this technique.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Backlight
      Backlight (8:24)
      Begin dialing in your settings to properly expose the backlight onto the white backdrop. Test through captures, isolating the variables to achieve the best results.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Key & Fill Lights
      Key & Fill Lights (10:30)
      With the backlight set, iterate through multiple test exposures to hone in the settings for the key and fill lights. Analyze the relationship between the model and the background, breaking down each exposure. Learn to identify the variables affecting each capture. Understand the relationship between pose, lighting, camera lens selection and background to master this technique of long exposure.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Camera Movements
      Camera Movements (5:53)
      After creating a solid lighting foundation, work through a series of captures by adding camera movement. With the addition of camera movement, learn to create new long exposure effects in relationship to the new background.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Posing
      Posing (15:51)
      Learn to integrate camera movement with moving poses while also adding additional movement on the subject with a fan. Examine your captures to discern how to maintain focus while achieving the long exposure affect of variable movement within your setup. Experiment with your shutter speed to create even more variance.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Wardrobe Change
      Wardrobe Change (7:42)
      Create a completely different look with a change in wardrobe, adding a gel, but virtually no change to your lighting setup. Maximize your shoot time by making simple tweaks to achieve a vastly different look.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Lightroom
      Lightroom (5:41)
      Select and prepare the best image to retouch in Photoshop using some of the key features of Lightroom.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Cleanup
      Cleanup (7:37)
      Begin retouching the second of four images in Photoshop. Apply a first past process with skin cleanup. Use patching and liquify to create a solid base for skin and volume to the subject, before moving into a multi-layered approach

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Dodge & Burn Targeted
      Dodge & Burn Targeted (4:25)
      In a second pass, approach skin cleanup with a targeted perspective, isolating specific areas to dodge and burn. Develop a more dimensional, even look, focusing on specific areas to protect and repair.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Frequency Separation
      Frequency Separation (4:26)
      With the major areas of cleanup resolved, learn to apply a procedural and methodical approach to skin smoothing. Create even texture with tone.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Masking
      Masking (3:04)
      Quickly create a another multipurpose mask with the immediate intent of isolating the subject from the background.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Dodge & Burn Global
      Dodge & Burn Global (6:38)
      In this retouching pass, create a more globalized dimension with shadows and highlights, pushing your image towards the final phase of retouching. Utilize your multipurpose mask to quickly and intelligently apply changes to isolated areas of the image.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Sharpening
      Sharpening (3:01)
      Apply sharpening with confidence, without affecting the color balance and tone of your image.

    • Thumbnail for Background Exposure / Color Toning
      Color Toning (4:22)
      Clean up a variety of spots, bumps, discolorations, and reduce unwanted highlights

  • 05. Model Exposure
    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Lighting Setup
      Lighting Setup (5:10)
      With a third model, new wardrobe, and new lighting setup, create an entirely new variant of the long exposure technique with the lighting emphasis moving back to the subject. Walk through best practices, with lighting, with the goal of a achieving a vibrant, light trails effect.

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Edge Lights
      Edge Lights (3:44)
      Work through test captures to refine the edge lighting setup and experiment with different shutter speeds to achieve ideal results. Continue to walk through the lighting rationale, building towards perfect results.

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Key & Fill Lights
      Key & Fill Lights (5:54)
      With the edge lights locked in, iterate through multiple captures to refind the key and fill lighting. Reinforce the importance of keeping the ambient and flash lighting separate to achieve the long exposure effect while maintaining tack sharp focus on the subject. Adapt with Jake, as he makes a creative decision to change wardrobe on the fly. Learn the importance of wardrobe and the role it plays in this method of long exposure.

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Camera Movements
      Camera Movements (7:44)
      After a quick wardrobe change, work through multiple captures to create the light trails effect. Analyze how camera movement works with the specularity of the wardrobe, to create fiery trails of light. Study how camera movement and shutter speed directly relate to the light trail effect and how to control it.

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Posing
      Posing (5:49)
      With proper wardrobe selected, lighting and camera settings honed, and camera movement on the subject refined, focus on the proper posing to shape light trails around your subject. Compare Rear vs Front Curtain Sync Flash methods with best practices for this studio shoot.

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Wardrobe Change
      Wardrobe Change (10:38)
      With a final wardrobe change and new color gels, put all of the techniques together to create a final set of unique, long exposure images. Employ camera, subject, and fan movement to shape dimensional light trails around your subject. Test and vary your movements and implement of your gained knowledge to create beautiful, long exposure portraits.

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Lightroom
      Lightroom (6:29)
      Select a third image to retouch in Photoshop, leveraging the tools of Lightroom to create a balanced and properly formatted image for optimum editing

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Clean Up
      Clean Up (7:25)
      Begin retouching the third image, with a first pass focusing on eliminating spots, bumps, discoloration, and reducing unwanted highlights with the subject. Apply some basic cleanup to the background.

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Dodge & Burn Targeted
      Dodge & Burn Targeted (5:32)
      Apply a second pass of skin retouching, using dodge and burn to isolate targeted problem areas

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Frequency Separation
      Frequency Separation (4:21)
      Efficiently apply the same procedural method of skin smoothing to the third image for an even, smooth tone.

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Masking
      Masking (8:36)
      Use the same tool sets to create multiple distinct masks for more separation and control over the background and light trails.

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Dodge & Burn Global
      Dodge & Burn Global (6:29)
      As in previous lessons, utilize the variety of masks to isolate subject from background, and efficiently dodge and burn with intention. Create a global sense of dimension with highlights and shadows as you move towards the final stages of retouching this long exposure image.

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Sharpening
      Sharpening (1:56)
      Apply the same methodology of sharpening to the third long exposure image, with the same mindfulness of not affecting the entire image’s color balance.

    • Thumbnail for Model Exposure / Color Toning
      Color Toning (7:30)
      Complete the image with a final pass of color toning, utilizing separate channels to isolate specific colors in the highlights, midtones, and shadows. Tweak the highlights of the light trails, leveraging the masking work, for the final finishing polish.

  • 06. On Location
    • Thumbnail for On Location / Night Shoot
      Night Shoot (13:16)
      Go on location with Jake Hicks, and observe as he puts into practice all of the fundamentals of long exposure outside the confines of a studio environment. Watch 4 different setups and listen as Jake retrospectively breaks down the challenges and success of working on location to capture long exposure imagery

    • Thumbnail for On Location / Lightroom
      Lightroom (6:25)
      Select and prepare the best image to retouch in Photoshop using some of the key features of Lightroom.

    • Thumbnail for On Location / Clean Up
      Clean Up (6:21)
      Clean up a variety of spots, bumps, discolorations, and reduce unwanted highlights

    • Thumbnail for On Location / Dodge & Burn Targeted
      Dodge & Burn Targeted (3:05)
      With minimal skin to retouch, work efficiently to maximize the dodging and burning on this fourth outdoor composition, targeting a few areas to maximize skin quality and tone

    • Thumbnail for On Location / Frequency Separation
      Frequency Separation (4:38)
      Utilize the same procedural method to maximize skin tonality, texture and quality. Apply this skin smoothing process to minor fabric inconsistencies.

    • Thumbnail for On Location / Dodge & Burn Global
      Dodge & Burn Global (7:25)
      Create subject separation, definition and dimension across skin and fabric to push the image towards the final layers of retouching

    • Thumbnail for On Location / Sharpening
      Sharpening (4:19)
      Apply a two multi-pass sharpening process to enhance the contrast of the entire image without compromising color.

    • Thumbnail for On Location / Color Toning
      Color Toning (6:35)
      For the last image, isolate the color channels of the image to balance and finalize the color grade. Bring all of the layered elements together into the final, polished image for the on location, long exposure image.

    • Thumbnail for On Location / Closing Thoughts
      Closing Thoughts (1:55)
      Hear some final closing thoughts from Jake Hicks encompassing the journey of Long Exposure Portrait photography and considerations for your work going forward.



Reviews

See what other people have to say about their learning experience.