Senior Portraits: Lighting Techniques By James Schmelzer

44 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

James has been photographing high school portraits for over 30 years. In this course, James shares his best techniques and hottest tricks that have made his style of photography an incredible success!

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Quality portraits are all about quality lighting
What is the correct placement for your studio light in relation to the subject?
Using an umbrella to increase the size of your light source
Determining the correct distance to place your softbox away from the subject
Joe talks positioning the soft box around the subject
Using a reflector to fill the light around your subject
Going over some of the different light patterns typically used with portrait photography
Learn the rudimentary theories of lighting and have fun and success shooting senior portraits
Profile photo of James Schmelzer

Meet your instructor

James Schmelzer

4 Courses


James Schmelzer is an award winning photographer, lecturer, and has been the technical representative for F.J. Westcott Company for over 25 years. James has been actively involved in designing new light modifier products as well as creating instructional videos demonstrating control of light. He conducts workshops, speaks at seminars, and...


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of pedrojschmitt pedrojschmitt

    Im in the process to set up my first studio (for portraits) and those lessons
    are invaluable to me. Im very impressed with level of details that Mr. Schmelzer put in each light (size, distance, modifiers, etc.). That’s Im looking for my photos – quality and distinguish.

    Thank you —- Yes, please post my feedback

  2. Profile photo of Housty Housty

    Im am interested in the lighting setup that James has used. I have search suppliers such as B&H but cannot find the continuous lighting and exact triflector that is used. Lastolite market one but this appears much larger than the one that in used in the video. Thanks. Johnny —- Yes, please post my feedback

  3. Profile photo of JakAHearts JakAHearts

    Thanks so much for all of your senior videos. They have been invaluable in my growth as a photographer. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  4. Profile photo of Barton Bernard Barton Bernard

    This was a very helpful series. There were so many details covered that I will be viewing again just to make sure I see them all. I like the style of studio he has. The foam boards are a great way to move a background into place without the hassle of hanging cloth backdrops. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of Bluefine Bluefine

    Love the different techniques and the very easy to understand lighting layouts. I am really getting a lot out of the available light type shooters. Love that James steps through his perspective on sets, props and posing. Good guy. Can’t wait to hear more from him! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of lucienr lucienr

    Very good course! It inspired me and gave me new ideas. Good teacher that explains well. Stunning models! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of JCam1964 JCam1964

    I enjoyed this course from start to finish.This is a class that I will definitely be watching over again . —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of matmlmm matmlmm

    Please have James Schmelzer do some more courses. I’m new to photography and he’s great! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of Ray Warren Ray Warren

    Brilliant video James. I love your work and learn a lot from your videos.

  10. Profile photo of Neptune_Sky Neptune_Sky

    Thanks for these killer videos! Having never done portraiture but quickly developing interest in it, these lessons give me a great idea of the basic elements of lighting people, as well as the creative possibilities inherent in portraiture. Awesome series!