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Capturing the Narrative

Lesson 8 of 9

Bringing the Story Together

Nigel Barker

Capturing the Narrative

Nigel Barker

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Lesson Info

8. Bringing the Story Together

Lesson Info

Bringing the Story Together

This is really the culmination of everything I've been talking about, all day long. The sun is setting, we've got all kinds of things behind us, as in we have water, we have mud, I've got I think one of my favorite subjects I've ever shot, Ivan, here, and we're gonna help tell that story. This whole class has been about telling the story, creating a narrative, working the narrative, what is the story? Bringing it out. And what we're gonna do right now is really channel who you are. You're a fighter, you're strong, you're tough. I see you as majestic. You have, I see you, you're not just powerful, but I also see a kindess to you as well. So I want all those things to come together, but I also want to take advantage of this scenery. I want it to be visceral. I want it to be real. There's something very primal about fighting. When you see mud, and you see water, these are all elements that are part of the world. I want to bring that all into the picture. So, that being said, we're gonna g...

et dirty. Okay! (Ivan laughs) Let's do this! Alright Ivan, I want you to first of all just stand in the water. Now hopefully the water being cold is gonna help liven him up, he's gonna feel it, it's very much a visceral feeling. Where? Just stand right there for a minute. Okay. Just feel it, shake it around, soak it in, soak it in. Alright, I'm gonna get a light reading on you. (camera shutters) Beautiful. Strong. Looking out into the water over there. (camera shutters) Okay, can you kick the water at me? And now off to that direction a little bit more. More, even more, really splash it. Okay can you drop and give me twenty in the water? Nice. Now stand up for me, like that. And actually, get even more water on your body. Boom. That's the spirit I'm talking about! Nice. Right here. Come towards me. There, stand there, stand right up, stand up straight. (camera shutters) Nice, looking out into the water. (camera shutters) Put your hand into the mud over there. Okay, stay there. That's nice, right in there. Bring in the rug for me. Because... This is the kind of man I am. (both laugh) Nice there, I love that smile too. Feel that mud, put your hands into it. Scrape it across your shirt, there you go. And up there too, Perfect right there. Nice. C'mere c'mere, Don't want it to be too perfect. (Ivan laughs) There you go. Now wipe it with yourself, wipe your hands with it, like that, yeah keep your hand up there, hold there. Let's bring in the reflector. Right in here, go again with the hand up. Looking up here a little bit, there you go. (camera shutters) Let's get more mud on the sides of your arms. There you go. Wipe your head, and the top of your head wipe it off. Wipe your face too. There you go, look at me like that. (Nigel laughs) (camera shutters) Wipe your neck. There you go. Come right down into the mud, there, right in there. Now if you're lucky enough to have a subject that will do this for you, you're going to create pictures that are absolutely special, magic, one of a kind, and something that you're probably going to prize forever, and that's exactly what I feel like I'm capturing right now. Wipe your face a little bit. There you go. Smells good doesn't it? No (both laugh) Actually, not really! (both laugh) This is mud right? (both laugh) Nice. Beautiful. Come right up, push your body out, just like that, and then looking off into - right there. (camera shutters) Hold it there. (camera shutters) Stand up for me. Pull your shirt down, there you go. Little bit of mud on the side of the shirt. My shoulders don't let me I know right? (Ivan laughs) Okay, there you go. Looking out this way. No, stand that way, you can stand that way, and then bring your head around and look to me. More. Twist your body a bit more, till you can't, Bring your hands up. (camera shutters) Beautiful. Look at him, nice. Turn around to the light. (camera shutters) Rub your face one more time, actually keep your hand in front of your head, face that way, and then look at me through there. Eyes to me. (camera shutters) There. (rapid shuttering) One more time. (rapid shuttering) Boom! That's what I'm talking about. You see, I was silent, I was quiet. I had nothing to say, the story was telling itself. We have the mud, we have the water, we got Ivan, We got absolute passion, it came out in the pictures. We have magic in here. Be careful with it Toby. Wow. Thank you sir. I'd give you a hug, but, (both laugh) We'll save it for later. Exactly.

Class Description

The more you know about the subject you’re photographing, the better the image will be. Internationally renowned photographer Nigel Barker wants to show you the best methods to connect with your subject and how to bring out the story using lighting and direction. In this class, Nigel will show you in a live shoot:

  • How to connect with your subject using conversation
  • How lighting and posing can create the story
  • Different ways to connect with commercial and corporate clients
  • Ways to use the environment to create different and creative portraits that the client might not have expected

Connecting with subject establishes trust and allows you to craft a story behind an image. When you can create a story in a single frame, you'll be able to capture the imagination of the viewer and your clients.

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Brenda Pollock Smith

Nigel brilliantly demonstrates how to connect soul to soul. He uses his finely tuned empathic gifts and transforms them into art. This class will help you relax, trust and find what is real and honest in your subject. I love his flow and intuitive approach to creating a narrative with passion and soul. I want all of his classes in my library, he's just that amazing.


The feeling of this class is one of the Joy of the Why we do this. His excitement is perhaps the best lesson. Talking through the working with the models was VERY instructive. Not an overblown, pretentious, too techie, I am impressing you with me, type of class. Loved it!

Stefan Legacy

Nigel is an excellent teacher. He always explains everything he does which in turn helps you understand why he's doing it. Short but effective course for someone looking to learn how to capture people and get comfortable with shooting them.