Jeff Rojas shares his theory and workflows for photographing men in this comprehensive video course. Covering styling and posing, lighting, composition, and retouching, Jeff breaks down his process for conveying confidence and masculinity in a series of distinguished studio portraits. Using simple one and two-light setups, Jeff offers easy-to-understand processes for controlling and shaping light best suited for male subjects. Take advantage of this overlooked genre of photography and create value for your work by specializing in an untapped market.
Welcome to Photographing Men with Jeff Rojas. In this series, explore the process of photographing men across commercial, corporate and cinematic setups. Focus on lighting, perspective, modifiers, and tone. But beyond the technical, learn how to create comfortable, confident imagery that evokes men across different context. Examine shape, style, wardrobe fit, and how body language can communicate different messages. Learn to create confident, stand out images from shooting through to retouching. Learn to add on set environmental elements for dimension and atmosphere, as well as in post. Create dynamic, beautiful portraiture for men.
Identifying Facial Shapes (8:35)
Before entering the studio for a series of photo shoots featuring different male subjects, sit down with photographer Jeff Rojas to examine facial shapes. Explore a variety of facial shapes and how to manipulate light to create visually pleasing portraiture.
The Perfect Fit (6:48)
With the understanding of how people perceive shapes and symmetry, identify the elements of styling that create a confident, compelling image of a man. Focus on wardrobe, the importance of a perfect fit, to evoke and accentuate the best features and attributes of men. Follow photographer, Jeff Rojas, as he highlights the important subtleties and nuance to consider before heading into a photo shoot.
Lighting-Single Light Setup (7:05)
Follow photographer, Jeff Rojas, as he begins with the first studio shoot - a single light setup. Learn to use diffused lighting to create soft, clean skin tone and smooth dramatic portraiture, regardless of your gear. Watch as Jeff meters light, iterating through captures, and works with you step by step to understand how he is achieving his portrait results. Consider lighting distance, angle, modification, backdrop, camera body, and lens to build a foundation for stand out male portraiture.
Lighting-Using Flats (3:51)
In this setup, remove the diffusion from your key light and use a different modifier as a backdrop for your subject - the v-flat. With the umbrella diffusion removed, focus on creating higher contrast imagery. Watch as photographer, Jeff Rojas, meters lighting and creates the ideal settings for capturing a different aesthetic for male portraiture, with minimal changes to his set. Examine how the v-flat creates separation through controlled rim lighting around the subject.
Lighting-Rim Light (6:00)
For this setup, remove the v-flat and replace it with a softbox backdrop behind your subject. Focus on creating a controlled rim light around your subject’s face. Examine the effects of backlighting your subject with specific attention on retaining skin and hair texture. Build up through the lighting setup to see the specific impact each light has upon your portrait.
Lighting-Commerical Lighting (5:18)
Change out lighting for a Westcott Zeppelin Part 47 key light to create a more commercial look for your male subject. With inner and outer diffusion on the light, a V-Flat modifier and longer, narrower source, control the look of the image using diffusion, angle, and lighting position. Intentionally control the shape of light, manipulating highlights and shadows for the perfect commercial aesthetic for your male portraits. Iterate through a series of captures across different subjects to see this setup in different context.
Lighting-Incorporating Props (3:54)
Using the same commercial lighting setup, begin to incorporate different props to change the mood and posture of your male subject. Iterate through a series of captures changing your camera’s position to achieve different perspectives.
Posing-The Essentials Part I (6:03)
With a foundation for lighting, transition to structuring intentional posing for your subjects. Focus on the nuances of posing to create cool, comfortable, and confident male portraiture. Start this exercise in posing with a simple one light softbox setup. Learn to control shadows and highlights with intention using spatial relationships of camera, subject, background, and the key light. Create structure and learn the importance of seeing the inverted triangle within a man’s posing.
Posing-The Essentials Part II (6:19)
In this second part of the posing focus, transition from a commercial portrait style into a corporate headshot aesthetic, evaluating posing techniques for professional male subjects. Continue to build on creating structure, negative spaces and accentuating the inverted triangle to create strong, confident male portraiture. Build on the usage of props to create interest while giving your subjects active participation in the image. Create confident, authentic male portraits for corporate context.
Posing-The Essentials Part III (8:07)
For this segment, transition to a different male subject for a variant of the corporate portrait aesthetic. In this setting, leverage the usage of your backdrop and props to create effective poses for standing vs. sitting. Learn to create posing the evokes both comfort and confidence, with subjects that present control over their space. Focus on subtle styling details within the wardrobe to capture the perfect, confident image.
Posing-The Essentials Part IV (11:30)
For this segment of the posing focus, switch to a more casual subject and aesthetic. Work to elongate your subject using perspective in relationship to the camera. Iterate through a series of captures using pose, props, and v-flat reflection for a casual, confident male portrait.
Commercial Portrait-3 Light Setup-White Backdrop (8:45)
With a firm foundation establish, put all of the pieces together for a commercial studio shoot. Follow photographer, Jeff Rojas in a new lighting and modifier setup, leveraging a key with umbrella, v-flats bouncing 2 lights onto a white backdrop. Meter each light building up a precise setup to capture a modern, commercial portrait to be processed for black and white conversion. Compare placements of the subject at different depths in relationship to the rim lighting and flats for higher and lower contrast image results.
Commercial Portrait-3 Light Setup-Black Backdrop (10:03)
In this studio shoot, transition to a black background and a different male subject. Iterate through a few captures and then reverse engineer the lighting setup to understand the shape and control of lighting for this compelling male portrait.
Commercial Portrait-Single Light Setup (7:12)
Follow photographer, Jeff Rojas, as he builds up a single light setup for a commercial portrait. Using a Profoto B1 key light, diffusion, a v-flat modifier, and a black backdrop, watch as he builds up his light to create a modern, clean male portrait. Watch as Jeff experiments with a black v-flat to create texture that mimics the subject’s wardrobe. Learn how and why Jeff uses this setup and learn to recreate a stunning male portrait, regardless of your gear or budget.
Commercial Portrait-Budget Setup (8:41)
Learn to create an image with a soft, diffused single light without an expensive gear setup. Follow photographer, Jeff Rojas, as he builds up a beautiful black and white portrait. Continue to build on your experience, to shape light, controlling highlights and shadows. Manipulate v-flats and basic diffusion to create a high quality male portrait with basic materials.
Cinematic Portrait-Subject I (7:23)
Transition to an entirely different aesthetic for this next studio shoot. Follow photographer, Jeff Rojas, as he walks through his lighting setup for a more cinematic portrait. Build up the lighting, isolating the effect of each source and subsequent modifiers. Examine posing to create a moody, story driven male portrait. Use haze for atmosphere, creating dimension and texture to the scene environment.
Cinematic Portrait-Subject II (6:25)
With the same lighting setup, change the tone and mood of the cinematic male portrait with a different subject. See how changing up styling can change the emphasis of the story, while maintaining the same elements of the set. Switch out lenses and shoot handheld for more organic emotions and feelings for your portraiture. Learn the value understanding light, styling, and pose while using kit lenses and rental gear to create powerful, professional imagery.
Commercial Portrait-RAW Processing (5:57)
With production complete, move forward into the retouching phase. Follow photographer, Jeff Rojas, as he examines his top selects from the male portrait shoots, culling down to his favorite images to be retouched in Photoshop. Using Lightroom, learn about Jeff’s RAW processing approach. Leverage the Develop module to examine clipping, comparing highlight and shadow. Manipulate clarity for enhanced contrast in skin texture. Create a balanced RAW base and utilize profile protection to minimize unwanted vignetting.
Commercial Portrait-Basic Cleanup (3:12)
Begin the retouching phase of your commercial portrait using Photoshop. Join photographer, Jeff Rojas, as he identifies a variety of areas across skin, wardrobe and backdrop that will need cleanup. Use the power of Photoshop’s patch tool and spot healing brush to eliminate high areas of contrast, textural blemishes and dust for a first pass at cleaning up the image. Create a solid base in this first pass of retouching.
Commercial Portrait-Frequency Separation (10:06)
For this phase of retouching, leverage the power of Frequency Separation to create, natural, even and textured skin tone for your commercial portrait. Follow photographer, Jeff Rojas, as he dives deeper into retouching the subjects skin, hearing best practices using this method of Frequency Separation in Photoshop.
Commercial Portrait-Background Cleanup (3:27)
For this step, focus on cleaning up the background of your image. Using Transform, the patch and clone stamp tools to create a seamless, distraction free background.
Commercial Portrait-Black & White Conversion (3:03)
For the final phase, bring your image back into Lightroom for a black and white conversion process. Manipulate color within your Black and White mix to create the perfect gradation and tone to finish this modern, standout male portrait.
Cinematic Portrait-RAW Processing (3:03)
Begin the process of retouching the final image in this series - a Cinematic Male Portrait. Follow photographer, Jeff Rojas as he prepares the RAW image in Lightroom making balanced and targeted saturation adjustments. Using the Develop module, learn to process your RAW images for optimum retouching in Photoshop.
Cinematic Portrait-Basic Cleanup (4:50)
Jump into Photoshop to begin retouching a cinematic male portrait. For this wider, landscape portrait shot, quickly jump through skin and wardrobe cleanup using the patch and clone stamp tools.
Cinematic Portrait-Lighting Effects (8:59)
In this phase, focus on creating lighting effects in post. Using Photoshops elliptical marquee tool, gaussian blur filter, curves layering and blend modes, to create targeted lighting effects for your image. Learn to build a basic composite for realistic and dynamic effect.
Cinematic Portrait-Creative Overlays (5:17)
Continue to add dynamic environmental elements to enhance your cinematic male portrait. Using samples from PRO EDU’s Creative Overlays pack, create smoke and haze elements to create dimension and atmosphere. Add texture and more story elements to enhance the look and feel of your imagery. Leverage the power of Photoshop’s masking and blend modes to integrate these overlay elements in a realistic composite image.
Cinematic Portrait-Liquify (2:29)
For the final phase of retouching this Cinematic Portrait, use Photoshop’s Liquefy toolset to continue styling the subject in post. Make subtle, nuanced adjustments. Take a moment to reflect and recap the process as you complete this Cinematic Male Portrait.
Closing Thoughts (1:17)
Congratulations on completing Photographing Men with photographer Jeff Rojas. We challenge you to go, do, create and then share your results within our community. We would love to hear your feedback. Keep asking questions and seek out constructive criticism as you develop your skills as working, professional photographers and retouchers.
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