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Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Lesson 34 of 49

Airstrip: Environmental Portraits

Chris Knight

Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Chris Knight

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Lesson Info

34. Airstrip: Environmental Portraits


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:04:29
2 What is Cinematic Lighting? Duration:06:42
4 5 Cinematic Lighting Tips Duration:04:53
5 Low-Key & Upstage Lighting Duration:06:26
6 Control Your Fill Lighting Duration:05:18
7 Show Depth In Your Image Duration:13:24
9 Grip Tools: Clamps Duration:08:41
14 Grip Tools: Unusual Tools Duration:04:47
15 Grip Tools: Filters Duration:11:05
16 Grip Tools: Q&A Duration:15:04
17 Theater Shoot: Concept Duration:08:03
19 Theater Shoot: Lighting Gear Duration:04:27
23 Theater Shoot: Hero Shot Duration:21:47
25 Airstrip Shoot: Concept Duration:05:49
29 The Haircut: Getting the Shot Duration:24:28
30 The Haircut: Shooting Plates Duration:08:21
37 Transform Tool Duration:04:50
44 Post-Processing: The Haircut Duration:12:08

Lesson Info

Airstrip: Environmental Portraits

We've taken a look at the shooting from the first two. We are gonna take a peak at some of the bonus shots and these were the unplanned environmental portraits. And it was just kinda like a, hey I'm in this cool spot and we have some extra time so let's throw in some shots that look a little bit different. Basically, if you remember from the theater shoot the stuff we did in the seats. Very similar stylistically to what we were doing there just now on location with a very different purpose. I have the shots that I'm looking for. But since we have a little bit of extra time I want to throw in some cinematic portraits of the two guys here. And so, I'm gonna keep the lighting setup similar to what it was. I'm gonna bring the Octa back in. But I'm gonna shoot with a little bit of a longer lens. Shoot some close up work with this stuff behind them. I'll try both with the to see if I like the environmental stuff a little bit better. And then I will also try with a little bit of a longer len...

s. But I think because we're on location I'm probably gonna wanna end up utilizing the wider angle lens to show this stuff behind. All right, let's bring that scrim back in. Come back to me just a hair. (camera shutter opens) (camera shutter opens) (camera shutter opens) Come forward just a little bit. Turn your face this way. Reach the neck out a little bit, like a turtle, there you go. Chin down a hair. Face to me just a little. (camera shutter opens) Good. Yeah it's good, head down a little bit. Eyes at me. (camera shutter opens) Nice. So what I'm trying to do is give me some more dramatic light on the face. I'm trying to short light the face while I shoot at a shallow depth of field I'm also trying to show the background. So when I put the 55 on, I realize that the background was really soft. You couldn't tell what it was so it kinda defeated the purpose of it being an environmental portrait. So I took the ND off. I went to a might higher depth of field because I am so close even at F the background is a little bit blurry and so, and so I took the ND off to achieve that. And now I'm trying to dial back in the overall contrast of the light so that it kinda matches the other stuff more successfully. (camera shutter opens) That's lookin' better. Turn the face just a little bit. Good. (camera shutter opens) Right? Let's take this. (camera shutter opens) How about that? Is that too dark? I'm gonna open it up just a touch. That's good. You wanna put the jacket on for me please? And we'll do this quickly. Good. Nice. (camera shutter opens) You like the collar that way? What was that? Collar's good? Yeah I like the collar. (camera shutter opens) Turn your face a little more to me. Good. (camera shutter opens) Good. Turn your face a little bit more that way keep the body where it was. That's great. (camera shutter opens) (camera shutter opens) Good. (camera shutter opens) Make it the hat a little bit more, kinda cattywampus. There you go. That's not right, how did we do that before? Or was it a little bit more slouched? Can we put it on a little bit tighter. Focus looks good, babe. Good, yeah, there you go. (camera shutter opens) Face off that way a little bit more, there you go. (camera shutter opens) Nice. (camera shutter opens) That's great. Cool. (camera shutter opens) (camera shutter opens) (camera shutter opens) Some advice that Lindsay Adler told me a long time ago, (laughing) so, was when you wanna be inspired put more interesting things in front of your camera and you'll be a lot more excited to shoot it. So sometimes it's a lot easier to come up with fresh ideas and be ready for kinda happenstance inspiration if you go through the preparation of setting yourself up to shoot something that you're really excited to shoot and so this is one of those instances when we had a little bit more time and so I just wanted to get a couple of environmental portraits of the guys together just for some variety. Okay, so before we field some questions, I wanted to pop over to the screen really quick and just show you a little bit of what that looked like. Cus you saw about half of it. This was again, like an end of the day kind of a rush rush job and it was just they were really cool looking and I wanted to get some more pictures, wanted to get some close up stuff. And so these were some of the environmental shots, the environmental portraits that I did with him that was kinda separate from the two big main complicated shots that we were trying to achieve. And with these I popped off the ND filter so that I could get a little bit more of the environment in the background. And I brought my f-stop way back up. Because when I was shooting em' really close I found that it got too blurry at 2- and I couldn't really tell that they were in front of a, this really beautiful plane. And so, I wanted to show that a little bit. Remember, purpose of the shot, right? What are you trying to achieve with it? It's a, you know, he's supposed to be a pilot in front of a plane. If you can't see the plane, what's the point, right? So bringing that aperture up to show what that looked like. And then this was just a singular light. And did some kinda classic black and white conversions of it. And then we brought in the other subject. And this is kind of where it began and I liked it but I actually ended up, although this was kinda cool too, I ended up bringing in a light from the back with a CTO gel on it. Much like the way we did it in the theater. We, instead of the spotlight it's just meant to be the setting sun. And kind of brought that through and added that little kiss of warmth to the back corner. Which I think looks really nice. It's, you know, not quite as adhering to those rules that I was talking about about lighting from the motivated source and everything. It was just throwing up some really fun, fun environmental portraits at the end of the day. I think the ones that are a bit more naturally lit make a bit more sense from a motivated lighting perspective. This one I think works as well but once you start, you know, getting into this it looks like there's a reflector another light source in. I just still think it looks pretty cool so, so that's why that was there. That was just kind of breaking the rules a little bit and having some fun.

Class Description

Most photographers get comfortable with the lighting setups they use, and tend to shy away from trying new or different ones. Pushing yourself to incorporate new lighting techniques can help to expand your photographic style. You don’t need to buy more lighting equipment to start thinking about how the light is appropriate for what you’re shooting. Learning to see and light a location or scene and bring it to life in your images takes an in-depth understanding of lighting, direction, and creative vision. Join Chris Knight, well-known photographer, instructor, and author, to learn how to create cinematic lighting that allows you to be more innovative for your clients and yourself.

Chris will explain:

  • How to think like a filmmaker but apply those ideas to a single image
  • Motivated lighting and how to incorporate the techniques into your creative vision
  • Framing and layering for your images
  • How to use direction and guidance to achieve a cinematic look
  • How to enhance the cinematic lighting you achieved in-camera through post production processes

In this class, Chris takes you through his creative process during two cinematic style shoots at two different locations to share with you his behind-the-scenes thoughts, motivations, and scenarios. Chris also takes you through an in-studio shoot to explain the importance of prop placement, intentional set design, and light. You’ll learn the confidence to develop and incorporate new thought processes and get out of your everyday routines when lighting your subjects.


Bruce Walker

This course is simply terrific, and I highly recommend it. Firstly it arrived at the perfect time for me as I am soon to do a studio shoot very much in keeping with a cinematic or theatrical aesthetic. Secondly it's taught by Chris Knight who I swear is like a long-lost twin brother. :-) There are so many parallels in the way he thinks and works to my own style. So I avidly watched this as soon as it was available for anytime streaming. This is the first time I have made extensive use of the CL iPhone app, btw, and I love how it pretty much enabled me to seamlessly switch back and forth from desktop viewing to my iPad that I carry around the house during the day. I was able to make coffee and still carry on taking in the course, uninterrupted. The content is fantastic, delivered succinctly yet entertainingly. Some material and ideas are already in my repertoire and were reinforced and validated by Chris' demonstrations. But he also introduced a lot of ideas and methods new to me and very welcome. I was particularly glad to see how practical it is to stitch a series of tripod shots into a wide pano. I have been afraid to try that but I will now be using that in my next shoot, for sure. As alway, his post production practices revealed all kinds of tips about Lightroom and Photoshop I didn't know. Negatives. The volume level mastering is iffy. It started out at a decent level then midway through one of the early lessons dropped so much I had to turn up my sound system to compensate. And as I write this one lesson (34) is missing and in its place was a duplicate of the next lesson (35). I expect CL will have that fixed shortly though (I sent support a note).

Jeph DeLorme

One of the best classes I have viewed at Creative Live. Definitely worth the investment of time and money. The pace of the class allows you to learn extra tips and tricks throughout the process. Great instructor, highly recommend this class to anyone looking to step up their creative game.

a Creativelive Student

excellent class in all regards. outstanding instructor with experience in complicated cinematic shoots but who also is willing to thoroughly cover the basic nuts and bolts. i wish all creative live classes were of this quality.