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


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...

James's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of sudarsankannan sudarsankannan

    I can’t play this video.. though I am logged in.
    I have seen this a few times before on few videos.. Hope someone from
    Kelbyone will respond.. I am keeping my fingers crossed since I did not get any response to many of my
    queries before.. Hope Scott Kelby sees some of these posts.. I really like these videos but I simply hate the
    customer service at Kelby one (but my expectation is very LOW that someone from Kelbyone will respond :-) )


  2. Profile photo of

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  3. Profile photo of greenlife greenlife

    Very nice, love the teacher. Learned a lot, but the newer Constant Lighting is ever better, so watch that too! And do not miss this either. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  4. Profile photo of donboys donboys

    Learned a lot that I have not seen in other lighting videos. Making the ear darker is one example. My own shooting is limited to small flash; essentially I have the number of lights but not the continuous lighting so that I can see the effect before I take the test shot. Still the videos go a long way to tell me how I can evaluate the test shots, and then alter the light positions. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of Jon Hunter Jon Hunter

    I found the video very informative and I learnt a lot. The instruction was clear and didn’t assume the viewer knew anything about lighting.

    My only criticism has nothing to do with the instruction but the annoying background music. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of milchuk milchuk

    VERY good instructor!!! It is so easy to understand. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of mheerschap mheerschap

    Mr. James Schmelzer is absolute and concise in his explanation of lighting. One of the best teachers at Kelby Training. I hope you do more training videos featuring Mr. Schmelzer. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of PFryPhotos PFryPhotos

    Very informative. I am marking this as one of my favorites so I can review over and over again until I totally understand how to light my subject. Lighting my subject in a studio has been one of the hardest things for me to comprehend. There are lots of good instructors on Kelby Training. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of Mike Kembel Mike Kembel

    Very helpful, easy to understand the concepts! Would like to see more from this instructor. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of ratherbsouth ratherbsouth

    WOW!! The absolute best explanation of lighting patterns and how to accomplish them that I’ve ever seen!! Thank you for taking the time to slow down and really show the clear details! Really love the use of barn doors to fine tune and sculpt the light! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of NovumLucis NovumLucis

    All I can say is, WOW!!! After watching numerous videos on lighting techniques from other photographers, I always felt like something was missing; and there was. In this single class, James Schmezler managed to provide that missing link by the use of exaturated lighting examples and concise clear explanations that are visually tangible. I also really like the instructional technique of showing the build up of each light until the final image is achieved. Many photographers providing instructional training could learn a great deal from James’ approach. I would REALLY enjoy watching more videos from Mr Schmelzer, as I feel his 30+ years of experience need to be passed on. Thank you James! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of gordonmarkmartin gordonmarkmartin

    This is by far the best explained and demonstrated lighting course on bar none —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of capsix capsix

    Brilliant.thanks guys. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of 77faces 77faces

    Fantastic – Thank you so much
    One of the best lighting demonstrations i have seen.
    So appreciated.
    Where do i get the barn doors you are using in this video?
    Yes, you can use my feedback!

    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of Octavio Ortega Octavio Ortega

    wow thank you james you are great!

  16. Profile photo of Ross Ross

    Incredible! Although I’ve been exposed to lighting theory for years, James’ class is the clearest and most effective medium I’ve encountered to learn the rudiments of lighting. —- Yes, please post my feedback

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