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Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Lesson 41 of 49

Post-Processing Theater Hero Shot in Photoshop®


Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Lesson 41 of 49

Post-Processing Theater Hero Shot in Photoshop®


Lesson Info

Post-Processing Theater Hero Shot in Photoshop®

There are a couple quick tricks and considerations that you can do to fake haze. So there are certain things that are almost impossible to fake and it's not going to be the same, but it'll be kind of close. And one of those things you can do is use a black pro mist which will help, right. There's also the, to a degree, there is the dehaze which does this, but it also goes the other direction and so it kind of help lower the contrast. For the most part, that's what the haze machine does, but what I like about it is that it's helping lights appear, and so in this particular image, I want the lights to appear like spot lights, but they don't really appear as much as I'd like them to so you can sort of create it in the same way that I am about to accentuate it. Now the other thing about this shot is I've got a giant C-stand in the frame and I'm going to show you how to amp up the lights in this image as well as get rid of this C-stand when you don't have a plate that goes over top. What ha...

ppened, so this is stitched already. I figured you didn't need to see me stitch a panorama together again. It's been stitched, same method as the other one, but I wanted to show you what happens when the plate doesn't really work as well. And the reason why this one didn't work as well is even though I had the left hand side of the plate, that light is flaring at camera, and drastically changed the brightness of the left side of the frame, and when I put in the plate that didn't have that it had a tough time matching it. And so it actually made a lot more sense just to come in and do a quick fill over top of it. So I'm gonna close this down so my computer doesn't die, and I'm gonna fill this in and the way I would generally approach something like this is to use something called a content aware fill, and this happens on the background layer. You can duplicate this if you want, but I don't want any of this stuff anyway, so I'm gonna basically come over here and I'm gonna outline this, I get it relatively close. Makes sense, I hit shift delete. That brings up my fill dialogue. You can also go to edit and fill, and I make sure that my contents here has content aware selected. This also works when the panorama is missing information, it can also help fill stuff in. It's not always a one-stop shop, and what you're about to see is not going to work 100%. But I figure even it gets you like 60% of the way there, that's alright. So I hit content aware, I hit okay. (whistles) (groans) Okay there we go, alright so again not amazing, but it's a good start. Sometimes it does a really great job right out of the gate, sometimes it's really good. This is a (groans) okay. So what I'm gonna do here is I gotta fix this area here, this a little bit, I've gotta fix this whole thing. I'm gonna do this with clone stamp, make it really easy. Again, you can also do this with the healing tool, or sorry with the frequency separation. I'm just gonna do something like that a little bit. Gonna come in here ish, like it's not amazing, and I could definitely spend a whole lot more time doing this but... Let's lower the opacity maybe, kinda paint over that, alright that sounds good. Let's come over here, same thing. You can also occasionally, you can run the content aware fill on multiple things. So that can sometimes help you out a little bit. I'm doing kind of not a great job, so forgive me a little bit here. Let's follow that edge a little bit. I mean in truth, it's a little bit tricky to do this kind of a thing with just the clone stamp. What I'll regularly do is come in and beef it up with adjustment layers so it's a little bit more correct. So you can kinda see how this right here is really dark compared to the flared area, right? So what I come in here and I do is I create a curve adjustment layer and I clip it so it's only affecting the layer is underneath of it, command option G, or option click between the layers or you can right click and you can go to create clipping mask or release clipping mask. You can kinda see it creates this little arrow that goes down to it and it basically says I'm only affecting the layer underneath. I remember the day I discovered clipping masks, it changed my life. And so I basically have this. I'm gonna overly brighten it, and then I'm gonna invert the mask and only paint where I want the effect to go. Do that at a lower opacity and come in like that. And you can even do it up here where I kinda had it before. So think of it kind of like dodging and burning. So that kind of allows you to work through that stuff. So there's my full clean up before and after. I'd also wanna come through and get rid of this where the spot light missed, so again with the content aware fill. You make the selection, you come around, shift delete, hit enter, you actually get into this really quick key stroke of going shift delete enter, shift delete enter and I'll just walk around the image and fill it in and that does that, hides it pretty well. So I mean, I understand that this is not the most amazing clone stamp job in the world, I apologize. Let's brighten it up a little bit. That's probably a little bit better.

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.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. What is Cinematic Lighting?
  3. Motivated & Practical Lighting
  4. 5 Cinematic Lighting Tips
  5. Low-Key & Upstage Lighting
  6. Control Your Fill Lighting
  7. Show Depth In Your Image
  8. Pre-Production for Cinematic Lighting
  9. Grip Tools: Clamps
  10. Grip Tools: Apple Boxes, C-Stands & Grip Heads
  11. Grip Tools: Pins & Portable Gear
  12. Grip Tools: Scrims, Silks, Flags & Tape
  13. Grip Tools: Wind and Haze Machines
  14. Grip Tools: Unusual Tools
  15. Grip Tools: Filters
  16. Grip Tools: Q&A
  17. Theater Shoot: Concept
  18. Theater Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations
  19. Theater Shoot: Lighting Gear
  20. Theater Shoot: Motivated Lighting Considerations
  21. Theater Shoot: Lighting Walkthrough
  22. Theater Shoot: Capturing The 1st Shot
  23. Theater Shoot: Hero Shot
  24. Theater Shoot: Capturing In The Seats
  25. Airstrip Shoot: Concept
  26. Airstrip Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations
  27. The Haircut: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting
  28. Working With Scrims On Location
  29. The Haircut: Getting the Shot
  30. The Haircut: Shooting Plates
  31. Staggered Planes: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting
  32. Staggered Planes: Getting The Shot
  33. Capturing Plates With Talent In Background
  34. Airstrip: Environmental Portraits
  35. Airstrip: Location Shooting Q&A
  36. Using Plates to Create a Pano in Lightroom®
  37. Transform Tool
  38. Post-Processing 1st Theater Shot
  39. Retouching Details in Photoshop®
  40. Color Grading in Alien Skin Exposure X3
  41. Post-Processing Theater Hero Shot in Photoshop®
  42. Creating a Spotlight in Photoshop®
  43. Adjusting Color for Cinematic Lighting
  44. Post-Processing: The Haircut
  45. Coloring the Sky and Removing Modern Building
  46. Creating a Pano Using Plates in Photoshop®
  47. Developing Cinematic Portraits in Lightroom®
  48. Retouching Cinematic Portraits in Photoshop®
  49. Color Grading Cinematic Portraits in Alien Skin


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.