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Image Review for Senior Portrait

Lesson 30 from: Capturing Story in Portrait Photography

Kelly Brown

Image Review for Senior Portrait

Lesson 30 from: Capturing Story in Portrait Photography

Kelly Brown

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Lesson Info

30. Image Review for Senior Portrait

Take a look at the RAW, unedited results of the live portrait session. Work through Kelly's thought process to improve each shot, taking better portraits with just minor tweaks.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


The Power of Portrait Photography


Introduction to Newborn Portrait


Find Inspiration for Newborn Portrait


Create The Scene for Newborn Portrait


Prepare & Pose Newborn for Portrait


Shoot: Techniques for Photographing Newborn


Newborn Image Review


Introduction & Find Inspiration For Child Portrait


Create The Scene for Child Portrait


Prepare Set for Child Portrait


Shoot: Capture Child Portrait


Image Review for Child Portrait


Introduction & Inspiration For Teenager Portrait


Create The Scene for Teenager Portrait


Building Set for Teenager Portrait


Shoot: Portrait with Teenager


Shoot: Pose Teenager for Multiple Looks


Image Review for Teenage Portrait


Introduction & Inspiration For Adult Portrait


Creating The Scene for Adult Portrait


Lighting for Adult Portrait


Tell Your Subject's Story


Shoot: Lighting for Double Exposure


Introduction to Senior Portrait


Create Storyboard & The Scene For Senior Portrait


Connect With Client to Create Portrait


Shoot: Lighting for Senior Portrait


Shoot: Be Creative on Set


Image Review for Senior Portrait


Portrait Shoots Recap


Global Adjustments in Camera Raw®


Editing In Photoshop® CC: New Born Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Child Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Adult Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Teenager Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Senior Portrait


Introduction to Entering Print Competitions


Process of Print Competitions


What to Consider For Print Competitions


What Judges Look For Overview


Image Impact


Creativity, Style & Composition in Images


Entering Photography Competitions Q&A


Image Lighting


Image Color Balance


Technical Excellence in Images


Photographic Technique


Storytelling & Subject Matter


Lesson Info

Image Review for Senior Portrait

So coming back to the original capture where we're looking at the amount of light that we need to come through, I thought that when I saw this come up on screen, I'm like, it's perfect. Then I looked at the laptop and it was a little underexposed. So I really want to try and get that exposure right in camera. Like I said, if I'm underexposing those photographs, what's gonna happen is I'm gonna run into all types of problems later on in post-production when I'm trying to get, you know, detail into those shadows. Okay, then we brought in, we changed our exposure, lifted it a little, so that's where we can start to see more detail there, and this is where we've started to bring in that reflector. So you can see now the difference. Can we go back one? You can see all the shadows over there, and then we go forward one, and then the detail that's starting to come out in all of those different elements. Because when I'm looking at potential award images that tell a story, if you were to enter...

something like this, I wanna make sure that every single little detail has got lots of information that I can, you know, kind of bring out in post-production and really define, because they're all elements that tell the story, so they're all important within the photograph. So that reflector is really huge there. Okay, go on to the next one. Yeah. So this is where I'm starting to look at this exposure and making sure that we've got focus. I'm looking at the different expressions, the body posture, all of those sort of things, and I think we leaned forward in the next one. Yeah, just a little bit more. And I really love this. I think that this kind of is a bit more relaxed for you. But that's an old lady. (laughs) So you don't like to look at yourself. Nobody does. No. No one does. No. But, like, right now, would you go, you know what? I wanna have my portrait taken. I'm gonna go out and I'm gonna book a photographer. Well, not anymore. There. But I'm pretty sure that your kids would love to have some photographs of you. Yeah. Even if they don't they'll say so, yeah. Yeah. (audience laughs) They're very dear. They're keepers. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I like that. But that's what we're sorta talking about here, is that, you know what, I'm not taking this photo for Janice. Yes, it's gonna have a lotta meaning for her in terms of the different elements that are in there, but this is kinda for her family. Her kids are gonna want this. You know, like, when she, if I was in her home, oh my God, I'm pretty sure I'd have a field day taking a photograph of her in amongst her own things, her own personal items and her objects. Especially with dad and their gift. I mean, they're very sentimental. Yeah. That has meaning to them. No one else, I'm not taking this photograph for anyone else. Yeah. It's for her family, for her. So this is the importance of photography and what I keep coming back to. So if we move on to the next one. And again, a little bit of a different exposure. I've lifted my exposure in the next one 'cause I was a little concerned about getting that focus. And if I prefer a different background, I can head swap if I need to in terms of that focus and expression. But obviously you wanna try and get it perfect in camera, absolutely. But yeah, I like this intense look that she's kinda got into the camera, as well. And then we did one with a little bit of a smile. Not that one. (Janice laughs) And then we started to have a bit of a wind gust there. But capturing fabric and things like this and just adding those different elements, you know what, you might do it on the day, but you might go back later on and go, you know what, that's not really how I kinda visualized it would be. It didn't work out the same way. Is that the last one? Yeah, so that's probably a bit more realistic in terms of getting that to work. And you know what, in post, I may even add a little bit of motion blur to the fan to make it look like it's actually moving, as well. Or because it's an old fan, you could set back up if you were perhaps on a tripod or something like that to line it all up. I could take another shot while Janice is not in it, because when you turn it on, you know, it may blow her away. But it could almost, you know, be on in another capture and you could bring that in in terms of those different kinda elements and the movement in the photograph. But yeah, I don't think it needs to be on, but I just think that that's, like, a little kind of gust of wind coming through just to add a little bit of meaning and life. And you can see where I've got her face, I didn't ask her to bring her face back around towards me, because when you are taking a profile shot, if you ask someone to look that way, you either want the profile or you wanna have them turned enough so that you can see the outside of their face on the other side of their nose. If that line starts to break, then you're gonna come into, you know, a few sort of, you know, awkward sort of posing sort of issues that you're gonna have there. So there are all the different elements that you must look for when you're looking through that viewfinder. But I'm also trying to get my crop as perfect as possible, as well. So you can see I don't have a lot of side there. This is pr-, I don't really have to crop this too much. Just a little bit of those B-flats over there. But I'm really happy with the way that that turned out in terms of all those different elements, and I love the way that the gaze is this way and then you've got Stan over here, and as the, you know, that eye direction is looking towards him, which all of those different little elements and leading lines in this frame in terms of composition work really well. So yeah, and I know looking at this in post-production, there's a few highlights that I'm gonna tone down. Over here in the background, I'm gonna make sure that the text is a little bit more predominant. So I'm gonna bring that out. That's something that you can't really do, you know, in camera. When you're trying to fill shadows over here, it is going to lighten that a little more. So I'll darken that down, make sure that, you know, all of this is darkened down just a tad more, as well, those highlights, and obviously the cup there, as well. So yeah, I'm kind of excited about this, and thank you for allowing me to create this. Well, thank you. Thank you, thank you. (Kelly laughs) It's been amazing communicating with Janice, and I'm a big believer in when you meet people, you just learn so much, and it makes you grow as a person, and that being a photographer, I think, allows us to do that on a more regular basis because we're meeting so many people all the time, different people who experience different things which we can learn and grow from, as well. We did have a question from Sunny, who says, I know you talked about it a little bit, but... This person, Sunny is thinking about how to find subjects. She's very interested in senior and legacy photography. Do you have any thoughts around that? You know, if this is something that you really wanna get into, you could perhaps do model calls. If you've not photographed someone in this age range before, do a model call. But if you've already got a clientele base, talk to those clients. Find out, you know, more about them, ask the right questions, and then offer to go and photograph them. Or, like, for a long time, I've said in my studio, especially with my newborn clients, because it's such a celebration of life, you know, if you have other family members that you would like to bring to the studio, please feel free to bring them. And I have had so many grandparents turn up to be in the photographs with those newborns, and some have driven a really long way. Like, I had a family come recently, and they had been living in London. They moved back to Brisbane. Her family lived in Brisbane and his parents lived in, I think it was Proserpine, which is, like, a 10-hour drive away. They drove to Brisbane to be a part of the family photographs. So we've just created a beautiful album, and we've got photographs of all the grandparents together with the baby. We've got individual photographs of those grandparents with their baby. One of my most favorite photographs that I've ever taken is with a couple that were in their 80s, and they came to my studio. They had one daughter, and she married a gentleman who didn't have contact with his family, and they had one baby. Both of them are doctors. They're not going to have any more children. So that one grandchild has no cousins, no aunts and uncles, and has his mum and dad and has his grandparents for a short period of time. But they're in their 80s. They're not gonna see him graduate. They're not gonna see him get married. So those photographs of them holding him, he's gonna have those for the rest of his life and know how much they loved him. And that's what photos do. Photos show people how much you loved them, how much they were loved. That's the power of what it is that we do. But if you're not communicating, if you're not asking the right questions, you won't find people to photograph. But invite people into your studio and remember that you're creating a legacy for them. You know, it's not a chore having more people turn up to the studio. Like, I have a group on Facebook, and I often see people go, oh, do you charge more for this? No. I just take less photos. But I incorporate them in the photographs. They want them there because it's important to them, and that's what they have to remember. This is what photography does. Question. This has been incredibly inspirational, so I just wanna say thank you. I mean, this is why we're a photographer. I have mountains of books of just notes and ideas of things that I wanna do for concept shoots and then never do them. I just have a really hard time getting to the execution stage. And I'm just seeing how simple you make it and I wonder if you could just talk a little bit about how to make it more simple and maybe not so complex where we get stalled. Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think you're not alone in the fact that you've got a heap of ideas written in notepads and things like that. And it's, it doesn't matter whether you're a photographer or not. Like, even Janice has filing cabinets full of things that, you know, she's written and worked on. We all have these things, but I think we get to a point where it becomes too hard or we've overthought it. And I've got in my phone a notes section full of ideas that have, some have been there for four or five years that I've not created. Because sometimes we have an idea and then when you try, when you wanna create it a certain way, you can't figure out how to do it, and then we overthink it. But I think it's just a matter of just doing it. And sometimes it's not only about overthinking it or thinking that it's too hard. It's that fear of what other people will think of what we're about to create. And when you allow that fear of what other people think of your photographs, your art, to get in the way of creating, then it's gonna hold you back, absolutely. So I got to a point where I just stopped worrying about what everybody else thought. But what it comes down to and why I've included in the bonus material the mind map and that what to expect is that you have to have a plan in every aspect of your life. If you don't have a plan, you won't have a goal. Or if you don't have a goal, you won't have a plan. Something like that. But you have to be able to create a plan of attack to get to that finished image, finished photograph, because if you don't evaluate all the different steps and even little things like I mentioned before about the light. You know, how am I gonna light it in a way that's gonna, you know, create that emotion, that story? You've gotta be able to break every element down and then kinda just allow yourself to do it. If you don't give yourself permission and time, you won't create. But also dedicating time to going out and about and sourcing things like pool noodles. You know, things like that. Walking through art and craft stores going, okay, I wanna create this. This could actually work. And if it doesn't, you know what, you've learnt something. Next time I'm gonna use this. So that's why when I create a project like this, I allow myself two to three weeks from start to finish, because it gives me that amount of time to be able to make sure that I can actually pull it off. These last two days have been the exception, because I would usually only work on one shoot at a time, whereas I've come up with five completely different concepts as well as taught in the same time in an environment that's not my studio. So whilst it's not perfect and I'm not the best at what I'm doing here and teaching, it's me. And I'm okay with that because I really don't care what other people think of what it is that I'm doing. I'm more focused on the impact that I leave on people's lives and what I create for them. Because I have this, you know, saying, you know, people just have to mind their own business. What you think of my work really shouldn't impact me, and I have to remember that every time I create, and you've gotta remember that. It's none of my business what you do in your studio and what you're creating. And I think that's what it all comes down to, if that makes sense.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Mind Map & Prep Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Among a sea of wonderful teachers here at CL, Kelly is the cream of the crop. All of her classes are outstanding and this one is no exception. Amazing teacher. Amazing class. Amazing education. If you are hoping to stretch yourself to create deeper more meaningful stories in your images, or are feeling the pull of print competition but need some direction, this is definitely the class for you. Thank you Kelly!

Melissa Soto

Kelly Brown is a true inspiration. She has been my idol in this industry since I began. This class was amazing. I love how honest, authentic and genuine she was. But most importantly I loved her wise direction and teaching style. Kelly brown thank you for this gem. You helped light a fire in me. I’m so excited to start telling amazing stories with the skills I have learned from this class.

Marjorie Stevenson

Just loving this class! Kelly is one of my favorite instructors. She is very good at articulating her ideas and carrying them to an absolutely wonderful end product. Her images are always stunning. I love that she always puts safety first with her models. Thank you Kelly for sharing your creative visions with us.

Student Work