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Capturing the Narrative

Lesson 1 of 9

Class Introduction

Nigel Barker

Capturing the Narrative

Nigel Barker

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Hi, I'm Nigel Barker. I'm a fashion photographer but I like to call myself a fashion photographer who's really a portrait photographer and I say that because, although I shoot a lot of fashion pictures, it's really about the person's personality, it's about the story behind the picture and that's exactly what we're gonna be talking about in today's class. It's called Capturing the Narrative. Now, you may wonder why that's so important and I'll tell you because people shoot photographs all the time, we're shooting portraits, we're shooting fashion pictures, magazines are coming out all the time and you can just shoot a beautiful picture, you can have a great location like this with a fabulous tree or you can be on a beach or there can be mountains around you, that doesn't make the picture. Even Ansel Adams, when he shot a picture of a horizon, he looked for the emotion in the clouds, he looked for the life to come from the picture so you would feel something from it and just the same, o...

bviously when you're shooting a person, you want that emotion. You're looking for that story. If you're shooting an actor, is it about the movie he's in or is it about his personality, his true personality? There are many reasons why you're looking for that to come out in the picture. If you're shooting a corporate head shot, is it that this young man or this young woman that you're shooting, is it about the job they're about to get, is it about the job they have? Are they the CEO? What role do they play? You wanna capture that in the picture. It isn't just about a pretty picture of a great looking person or an interesting person in a great location. Those things are important. The lighting, of course, is key and we'll talk about that in some of my other classes, but right now we're gonna be talking about capturing the narrative. Now, I started my career as a model many, many moons ago. I had hair back then, too, and I work with great photographers, many interesting people from all over the world and one of the things that I learned personally was how they dealt with me, how they talked to me, how they interacted with me and some were better than others and some used very different techniques and I picked up on many of the things that I liked and I brought them into the way I shoot. You may know some of my pictures from a show called America's Next Top Model that I worked on for many years and in those pictures which were oftentimes fashion pictures what made one picture work versus another was really my ability and my subject's ability to create a story in the picture, to bring that picture alive. That's what we're gonna be talking about today. I'm gonna be going through a whole series of different things that I do, tricks that I have up my sleeve, ways to bring out the character in the model and the character in the place and bring it all together so that we really create a dynamic image.

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.