Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Technique Tuesday: Rembrandt Lives – Part One. Making Your Clients Look Good!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Piles up papersThis post almost got the best of me today. After being gone for more than 3 weeks and with my week long Master Class before that, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do around my studio. I always like to get a head start my Technique Tuesday's because if I don't, they just seemed to drag out all day long like just this one is.

Rembrandt Lives – Part One. Making Your Clients Look Good!

Mono LisaAnyway, I finally got it organized today. I decided to revisit a Technique Tuesday's from a few years ago. With all my lectures and workshops, I've been spending a lot of time on how to make people look good in front of the camera. I think back to the Renaissance artists whose patrons were the kings and queens and the dukes and duchesses of the day. We all know that if those artists didn't make their patrons look their best on their canvasses that heads would roll…literally.

I think we, as photographers, need to make our clients look like royalty in front of our cameras as well. That's why in today's post I want to revisit a tutorial I did a number of years ago entitled “Rembrandt Lives – Part 1.  I think it took me as long to re-cut this tutorial as it would have to do a brand new one but I believe it’s an important post and also one of my most popular.

In this tutorial I'll cover the classic views of the face – the views of the face that the artists were careful to paint back in the Renaissance days when they needed to make their patrons look their absolute best.

Rembrandt Lives picEveryone wants to look good in front of the camera and, as photographers, it's our job to do just that. With the onslaught of run-and-gun wedding photography I think we've slowly lost sight of that goal.

Sure, people still want to capture the fun and spontaneity of the wedding day.  That’s our job too. I'm not disagreeing that these moments of celebration also need to be captured.  But, what I am suggesting is that for those few photographs, the best photographs of the bride and groom, the photographs that the moms and the dads want of their children on their wedding day, the photographs that the grandparents are looking forward to seeing should be the best and most flattering images that we can create for our clients.

Why not hit the PLAY button below and enjoy a short presentation on how to make your clients look great in front of the camera.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. It's already late in the afternoon and I still have a pile of things on my plate. How about I see everybody again tomorrow for another episode of "The One That Got Away".

Have a great rest of the day and I'll see you then.
Adios,  -David


  1. I was just watching the video and noticed that you broke your own rule lol! Check out the image that comes up on the screen at the 11:20 mark.

    Just giving you a hard time :-) The "rules" are not really rules, they can be broken and still have the image work. Good lesson today!

  2. David, Thank you so much for sharing the craft that you've developed. You truly are a great educator and artist. Keep it up sir!

  3. David,

    Thanks again for all the wonderful sharing.

    I notice in the Rembrandt Mona Lisa painting above the shadow ends slightly below the nose and does not continue down to the lip and across the cheek like the shadow pattern that you seem to strive for.

    I am beginning to feel that I prefer shadow on the female face to end slightly below the nose like the painting in your post, leaving the entire mask of the face in light.

    Have you ever considered lighting in this manner? I am curious, do you prefer the shadow on the female face to continue down from the nose to the lip and across the mask of the face? If so, why?

  4. I wonder why you all talk about Rembrandt and showing Leonardo's Mona Lisa? In fine art Rembrandt's lighting is something complete different than this example.

    Don't get me wrong, tutorial is great, just saying "Rembrandt Mona Lisa"is really hilarious. Google a little...