Moving Forward


Capturing Authentic Portraits


Lesson Info

Moving Forward

In our PDF guide, I have five exercises and these exercises are called the lens, the eyes, significant, simplify and smile. What tends to happen in photography remember I said it's one of the easiest art mediums to perform, push the button, because of that we tend not to practice very much or think you know I need to do this over and over and over again. But painters like my friend Amber here that brushstroke practice that they do is so wonderful or the fiddle practicing that Drew did for us. So what I'm encouraging you to do is we have all of this content, what's next is the practice. What's next is I need to try this and the trick with trying this is you need to try it within the next 10 minutes. If you think I'm gonna do this next month or on my next client thing, you're here right now or you're watching online right now, there's people around you you can photograph. You gotta get over it and you gotta do it, you gotta be bold and you gotta try. Because once you try that's where tha...

t momentum happens and beginning to do that right away will actually make this stuff sink in otherwise it's just a fun experience where it's kinda cool to see someone else do their thing. But now's a chance where you get to do that yourselves. Obviously do it in a way that works for you. Go back through that whole thing, do you like rock climbing, find a rock climbing friend, why a friend versus the pro? Friends can help you out, buddy can you help me out? I gotta do this thing, I'm trying to create a portrait like I've never done before I wanna get you out on this rock climbing scenario, you get the idea. A couple other things to highlight here which is, well I'll do it later but I have a book called People Pictures. It has, it's all about exercises you can do which is in the same line or fane of thinking and it basically will talk through different ideas like there's one which is called blur, another one which is called wide-eyed wonder, I'm just flipping through it, curious composition, and that one's all about breaking compositional rules. Sometimes what I find is to get over ourself and to get to our actual vision and voice we need someone else to tell us what to try. So it's not that these exercises are like oh my gosh I've never heard of that before, I think though you'll get some of that but some of it's like okay it's there, I have to do it and that's what you gain from like a photo school experience where we don't gain when we're more self taught. If you wanna become someone that sucks at a part try to find a way to do that thing. As far as review of what we did, my goal is as you know was to do these six things. Was to talk about vision and voice, which a lot has to do with identity, individuality you with me on that? Hopefully you're gonna think okay how can I develop my own vision and voice. We also hit this topic of light now I want you to see light differently and also look for it within. Shooting, we saw how that might play out in different scenarios. The gear, my friend with the surfboard kind of our gear concept that the surfboard's important right but you also need the wax and our relationship to our gear is, yeah you need the tools right but then also what are the characteristics or personalities of these things, try and create a new relationship with your gear. Hopefully connecting with subject, connect direct find and then finally grow as a person. If you wanna create better photographs, more interesting photographs we have to become more interesting ourselves. That really is the road that we have taken. Thank you so much for joining me, these are some ways that you can keep in touch with me. My website, Instagram there, as mentioned there's our PDF guide, some of the books that I've done. I also have a website where I just have all this creative inspiration stuff 'cause I love creativity and inspiration and there's some things there. It would be wonderful to keep in touch with you guys and also those of you who are watching online because part of this is a journey and part of it is learning from each other and growing in this new space. Maybe, maybe even changing how we think of portraiture in this space and not thinking of it as a model or someone who's pretty but someone who shoot had got her M.B.A., worked at Microsoft, has a sixth month old kid, has dimension, has soul, has depth right and all of those things. Which I think if we can do that in some way the world might be, I mean not to be too optimistic but it's a little bit of a better place right when we connect with folks in that way. On that note, deeply grateful for all of you, for Kenna, those watching, thank you so much. I did want to provide one more comment that somebody had said when we were talking about what their biggest take aways were and the person said Chris's portraits seem to be based on a philosophy and I'm seeing that artistic style comes from philosophy. The person said my philosophy is developing still and so this course is incredibly helpful. Yes. So do you have any sort of final thoughts on doing that work to develop the philosophy and a style? Yeah, which is so awesome and obviously I can talk about this stuff all day so we could keep going and going. I think what's so beautiful about that is the person nailed it right, that it's like how we think and who we are shapes what we create and that it isn't to follow me but it's to figure out what our own thing is there. To realize that there's a gap right, we're all developing in that and that people tend to think of style or vision and voice, they tend to think of it like oh yeah well I want mine to be like modern edgy and I'm going that's just like the wrong answer isn't it you know. I want my, it comes from somewhere else rather than coming from the outside in we're coming from the inside out does that make sense. My advice to that would be to look at books or leaders, you know Nelson Mandela he's someone who inspires you. He was on Robben Island for all those years but was never jaded, never gave up, you know never never gave in. Read his biography as your photography textbook, if you do that, then you'll create great frames. Maybe it's someone else, I think there's so many different ways you can go with that. Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Significance, maybe that's the book that you read. Or maybe you watch that little film on The Horse Whisperer or and I just gave like three guy examples. There's gotta be, I'm thinking of you know I have daughters but so find someone perhaps who really resonates with you. I'm just trying to reach for some who's someone else, I need a really strong, oh I was reading about this great book called Gutsy Girl amazing to my daughters and there's this one quote about there's this woman, she was 75 and she learned that an African American woman had never been to I don't know if I'm gonna get this right, the North Pole so she hired a guide, learned how to ski and went there herself and it's like that is it. That is the kind of photograph I wanna make, it's a people like that with that spirit and that's where the philosophy comes from because often we know these things but we can't quite articulate 'em when we see 'em embodied in other people or in their work and then use that ourselves, it filters into photography if we just study photography it seems like it's an imitation or a fake of someone else's work. The inspiration and Chase Jarvis will say this too, it comes from those outside sources. So anyway, my tip with that is to look to some sources and think of those not as just great reading, whatever those spaces are music, poetry, painting, art, literature, heroes, and sometimes the heroes are big sometimes more often than not they're small. Then say like okay how can this shape the work that I wanna make and if you have that thread in the work, oh my gosh, if you would see how you can become a pro with that it's so much quicker than if you try the other way around. Otherwise, you're competing with everybody. This way there's no competition, you are completely yourself and people love that. I mean we love that when someone's unique, that's the best thing in the world.

Class Description

It takes a true connection between photographer and subject to create powerful portrait photography. A portrait doesn’t have to be dramatic or glamorous to be compelling. In fact, the best portraits often showcase people expressing their vulnerability or discomfort. It’s the photographer’s job to evoke and capture authentic emotion by establishing a genuine rapport with the subject.

Join veteran portrait photographer Chris Orwig to learn how to take meaningful portraits and use them to make your transition from amateur to professional. In this class, you’ll learn:

  • How to confidently approach a stranger and convince them to participate in a shoot.
  • How to connect with and pose your subjects naturally
  • Which lenses, camera settings, and light considerations to keep in mind during a shoot

Chris Orwig has created images for companies like Google, Adobe, and Patagonia, and his work has been published in Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Surfer Magazine. His experience has taught him how to keep a subject comfortable, authentic and engaged throughout a shoot. He has learned to deal with the technical demands of a portrait shoot - lighting, setting, constraints of time and budget - while also staying focused on the story he is trying to tell. 



Wow. This course was about so much more than "just" portraiture. Chris Orwig is a fantastic speaker and teacher - very engaging, down to earth, wonderful photo examples and live demonstrations on how to interact with the subjects you are photographing. I love that he brought in quotes and artwork and poetry, as well as some really great personal stories and experiences, to make his points. Fabulous! This man is an expert in capturing that spark in others - and you can totally see why. Really great.

Martin Backhauss

Amazing class and what a great AND inspiring trainer. Thank you Creativelive for giving Chris Orwig the stage. Perfect choice! Learned a lot but more importantly, I got so inspired by his presentation and that is what matters the most .....for me. Super grateful. THX CL!