Capturing Authentic Portraits

Lesson 12/20 - Prefacing a Shoot


Capturing Authentic Portraits


Lesson Info

Prefacing a Shoot

So we're gonna do a little bit of shooting, we obviously have the warehouse door open, and the reason why I wanted to at least do some of that is because it gives us the ability to have brightness outside and a little bit darker inside. So we'll talk a little bit about light, connecting with the subject, working with a couple different subjects as well. So that's what we're in for, sound good? Alright, let me grab something and talk about how I wanna get a little more prepared for the shoot, 'cause last time I wasn't quite so prepared. So my tether stuff I just tested, hopefully that's gonna work. I have my little checklist, so I'm thinking about, do I have my cards formatted? Do I have my battery levels, all those things. Camera lens strap, all those kinda stuff, wardrobe, is that ready? So I'm going through that checklist. I don't wanna do it again, but just wanna highlight that having a little one of these with you, if you despise my checklist, that's fine, make your own, but have s...

omething. This is the same thing that climbers do, that pilots do, eventually you may not need it, but it's always good to have, just have something because it gets you in the right space, even that last one of having the mindful attitude. So for me, I'm just gonna try to take a breath, get a little more present, and realize that what I'm trying to think of, as far as the teaching goes, that it's not gonna be so much about, like this isn't so much about performing, because when you have cameras on you, you kinda think I've gotta perform, but this is about connecting. So I'm gonna connect with you guys, connect with our subject, and we'll see what happens. If you notice something that brings up a question for you, write it down on your notepad, or mentally think of it, and then we'll take those as we near the end of this. And so we can get those things in, that sound good? Okay, so I wanna test my camera, but even before we get a subject here, I'm gonna take a picture of you guys, 'cause might as well, and talk a little bit about the camera setting. Now you guys can wave. (camera clicks) I wanna see how this is gonna pull up or not pull up. And what I'm seeing is it's pulling up, which is fine, I see nice, smiling faces. So couple things in regards to camera, we haven't talked about settings that I would use in a scenario like this. It's really bright and light, so I'm gonna use a low ISO of course, right? I'm shooting at f2, because I wanna go shallow, and a lot of times I don't shoot necessarily with staged backdrops, but sometimes a backdrop's a wall. So if you're thinking, oh gosh, I need to hang a sheet up, you don't always have to do that, sometimes you just are finding these things, but for the sake of demo, that's what I'm doing, make sense? I think I mentioned that my cousin, did I talk about that, my cousin dyed this thing for me, so I also like to find things that have meaning. I try to stay away from things that are generic. So one of the backdrops we'll use in a second is someone here helped throw these together before I got here, but just taking foam core and putting chalkboard paint on it, and then throwing a bunch of water. And it looks too obvious right now, but if I move the subject away from it, it'll be just this kind of interesting pattern, and what I mean by meaningful is this is kinda personal, no one else has this water drip. Or I could just mess up the chalk, you'll see the other one is just like chalk and I took a rag and rubbed it off. And so anytime that I think you can make something a little more personal with your backdrops, or your context, your environment, helps out, 'cause that's obviously what we're trying to do.

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!