Skip to main content

Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 28 of 48

Indoor Location Shoot Process

 

Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 28 of 48

Indoor Location Shoot Process

 

Lesson Info

Indoor Location Shoot Process

What I want to get to now is the actual indoor shooting process and the videos form the pre shoot. So looking at the indoor shoot process there's a few different things that I consider when we get there. The first is make a pre shoot checklist to be sure you capture all you need during the shoot. I know earlier I talked about using my notebook. You're actually gonna see me writing in the notebook here. Going over that checklist because again, once you get in the shoot no matter how large or small the shoot is you start to forget things, you start to lose that plan you had in your head because things happen naturally and you know something might happen on the shoot where you blow a flash tube and then all of the sudden everything goes out the window and you start to panic. Or just the stress of being on the shoot or having other people especially during a paid client shoot where the client might be there or an art director or someone from the magazine and they start asking questions or ...

you get nervous and you start to lose your way. So I always refer back to that notebook and that checklist to make sure that I've covered all my bases. So again when I get home after the shoot it's all there and I know I didn't forget anything. That also comes with the shot list. This could be provided by the client. It could be a collaboration between you and the ad agency or the magazine or just yourself your you know, if it's a personal shoot you probably have some sort of shot list that you're trying to add new work to your portfolio. So again I always start with these wide shots, I get the medium shot I get the close up. I analyze the location whether it's location scouting ahead of time or five minutes before the shoot. And make a quick shot list of you know I want three shots in this location, I think that'll help tell the story. I need this shot with this background with a window light. I need these detail shots and I wanna make a nice portrait. And a lot of times for me I always try and do all these action shots and the obvious shots up front but then I always want a nice portrait with graphic composition, just for me whether anybody else likes it or not I don't care but I have this affinity to really create portraits that are graphically composed. A little more quite moments where there's not a lot of action going on and at the same time there's definitely a mood there, but they're more still. And you'll see that I did that with both of the pre shoots and for me it's just something that again it kind of goes along a theme of everything I've shot over the course of my career. I always try and end with one of those portraits because that's kind of my thing. And it comes from people that inspire me as a photographer and it's also just something I like to give to the client afterwards. It's like I know you haven't asked for this but this is kind of the one I shot for me and I dunno it's something that helps me out creatively to end the shoot and know that I got everything. Also within that checklist are little reminders. These could be remember to plug in your laptop when you get to the shoot because you know it's low battery when you left the studio. Little things like that that can really be annoying especially if you're shooting tethered in that case. Or remember to bring an extra card for your camera. Just it's all the checklist of your day to day reminders. But those are things when you get to a shoot and you forget they can throw you off and really mix up the shoot or even ruin it if you're really unprepared so I set that reminder checklist before I get to the shoot or little things along the way and you'll see as I'm interviewing the subject for this indoor location shoot she gives me some ideas you know what she's going through her process and it's like oh yeah she told me she mixes these colors together. In my notebook remember to have her do that 'cause that could be a good photo. So just little reminders from the obvious things that deal with preparation to things that happen along the way just again so at the end of the shoot you make sure. And those other reminders could be for secondary ideas. They're not on the original shot list but they're things you thought of. Kind of happened organically during the shoot. You know sometimes these just don't work. Other times they end up being the best shot of the day. So secondary ideas are important. I know we all go into a photo shoot whether it's large or small with a picture in our head and sometimes, or a lot of times it seems like, that picture just doesn't quite work out. Whether it's the location didn't provide what you need, whether it's your lens, you just couldn't figure out how to get that focal length that got the framing correct. Maybe it was the lighting. A lot of times it's the lighting. So a lot of times what you'll find out is this picture that you had going into your head, isn't the best picture of the day. You kind of have to let it happen. You can strive to make that photo happen that's in your head and it is quite satisfying when everything comes together and your vision is you know executed perfectly. But at the same time a lot of the shoots, probably the majority of the shoots I've worked on, the idea I had in my head that I was setting up for initially ended up being okay but what happened in the moment and what happened naturally during the shoot ended up being a better photo that I couldn't even have thought of before hand because I didn't know the actual parameters of the shoot. You know and I think I told a story earlier about how maybe I was talking to some of you guys beforehand how you get this picture in your head let's say you're talking on the phone to someone for the first time and you've never seen them. You get a picture in your head of what they look like and then you meet them and you might be like oh I did not expect this person to look like that. Or maybe that's exactly how I expected you to look. That's how I always think with these photos I create in my head before I get to a shoot. Someone will say oh you're gonna shoot with this auto mechanic at this garage and in my head I'm thinking alright we have these greasy hands we have this, and I don't even know what this person looks like but for some reason I'm like we got this big guy with this beard, and then you get there and it's like nothing like that. It's like this tiny little guy who has glasses and looks totally different than what I was expecting and it's like oh well the picture in my head is already completely changed so let's just go with it and not be disappointed by these facts but just let them kind of help you and retell that story and you can get a new picture in your head and probably end up with something better than you imagined. So with that said let's look at the first video of our indoor shoot. So to kind of set this up we went to Alicia Tormey's art studio here in Seattle. She gives us a little tour but first I want to show you kind of how I go through that check list and everything that I write down and the thought process I'll be thinking out loud in the video like I do quite often and you'll kind of see how that all works out. So let's take a look at that. Hello we are at Alicia Tormey's stuido here in Seattle Washington. As you guys will see she has some great art work a lot of colors and textures some great light. All of which will make for a great photo but one of the first things I do on any photo shoot whether it's large or small, commercial or personal is I bring my little handy dandy notebook here. And what that does it keeps everything organized because everything in my brain is disorganized. So there has to be some sort of order here or else I'll get back to the studio I'll start editing through the images and I will definitely forget something so any time I get to a new location and I'm working with a new subject I bust out the notebook here, I title it with the location, the subject and any other little notes that I need to get going and then I make a shot list. So a lot of times this shot list will be done before hand with general notes and then when I get to the location I can fill it in. For this place obviously I hadn't been here before so I walked in I looked around, did a few laps looked at all the different angles and I started creating the shot list and you know it can be based on what you have in your head what you want to create or the amount of time you have or you know if it's the case of a commercial or editorial shoot the client needs. So for this one I came up with three quick shots because we have you know a certain amount of time here and I always want to work form wide and let the story kind of tell itself within each frame to then getting a portrait. So we go from wide to a little closer up and within my notebook here I came through and I looked and I thought alright for shot one we can have a nice wide shot. The vibes I get from this studio are that it's a little light and airy. The ceiling, the walls, everything's white. There's colors everywhere from you know even the tape that's on the side of the pieces of art that'll come off later to the actual beam itself to the wax and everything else. There's all these different colors mixed with the window light so I go this light and airy feel so for that you know it's not necessarily sunny out. It's really in the morning here in Seattle and you can't count on the sun so we're gonna to get that light and airy feel we're gonna actually create fake sun so I have in my notes fake sun with soft fill, bright and airy, depth. So to me that means adding foreground elements to create depth in the frame whether it's framing in our subject or just you know adding different color and texture to the frame. And the reason I make little check marks next to each or dashes next to each is as I go through I check them off. And that's again so when I get back to the studio I know okay that shot was done, I did that I did that I did that and as I think of more ideas throughout the shoot I'll add them to the notebook because early on in my photo career I would rush through a shoot, I would think I got the shot and I would get back to the studio and I would think oh I totally forgot to do this or I didn't push myself far enough and I could have gotten more so a lot of times even once I start checking things off I'll get other ideas and I'll add those to this. So I have shot one that's what we just discussed. Shot two is another wide shot but from an alternate angle so I even have you know shooting overhead, seated standing, adding more shadows, less shadows, eye contact with the subject. So I want some where she's looking at the camera, others where she's just focusing on her work. So we have that whole interaction. Along with you know eye contact type portraits and everything even from seated to standing and then for shot three I have a portrait so it's like we might have a blank canvas as a background or maybe a finished canvas as a background for some color. Leave space that's something I need to take a mental note on because a lot of times I'll get in close. You don't know the final use of the portrait especially when it's for commercial so you know if you start off with a frame in your head, back up, give it some room to breathe, it might be cropped later. You might be glad you did. There might be other elements that sneak in that are a pleasant surprise when you're looking at it afterwards. And shadow and flat that's for my lighting. When I take portraits I like to take two versions, one that has a little more mood and one that's a little more in this case bright and airy. So I want to have both of those options so we can decide later which one we like and not limit ourselves off the start by only doing one option so that's pretty much the importance of the notebook. Again I do it for every shoot. It's just my little check list to go through. I keep it in my camera bag all the time and it's also fun to go through previous shoots and kind of see you know what I did, how I did it and how I could do it better next time. So that's pretty much it with the notebook and how I start every shoot on any environmental portrait. Alright well hopefully that gives you a little better idea what I do before the shoot as far as breaking down the scene before we're ever working with the subject. That's what I do to kind of analyze the light, analyze you know the subject matter, the location, the whole works, and putting it down in writing so that way again when the shoot happens and everything goes to chaos I can still know that I'm gonna be checking those boxes and getting all the things I need from the shoot so when I have to give those files over to the client or put them in my portfolio later I'm not disappointed or thinking that I forgot something.

Class Description

AFTER THIS CLASS YOU’LL BE ABLE TO:

  • Confidently create environmental portraits
  • Light any portrait, indoors or outdoors
  • Compose strong environmental portraits
  • Cull and polish high-end images in post
  • Develop a portfolio and marketing tactics

ABOUT DAN’S CLASS:

Create dramatic images anywhere by mastering on-location scouting, planning, lighting, and composition. Join professional photographer Dan Brouillette in a start-to-finish course on the art of environmental portraits. From planning and scouting to post-processing and portfolio building, gain the skills to shoot high-end portraits, anywhere. While designed for environmental portrait work, this class is also for any photographer that wants to create better light, on location.

In this light-intensive course, learn how to craft environmental portraits using photographic lighting techniques working with both natural light and studio lighting equipment. Work with multi-light strobe set-ups and natural window light to turn difficult lighting conditions into beautiful light. Then, learn how to mix natural light and studio lights for dramatic effects that complement the scene. By incorporating light in new and inventive ways, Dan will help you push the boundaries of your portraits and improve your workflow.

Finally, work with culling and post-processing. Learn how to polish images using a combination of Capture One, Photoshop, and Alien Skin software. Then, gain insight into building a portfolio and marketing your work to work in editorial and commercial areas for environmental portraiture.

WHO THIS CLASS IS FOR:

  • Budding portrait photographers
  • On-location portrait photographers
  • Photographers eager to learn on-location lighting
  • Photographers branching into commercial and editorial work


SOFTWARE USED:

Capture One 11, Adobe Photoshop CC 2018, Alien Skin 2018

ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR:

Dan Brouillette's high-end editorial style has lead to work with celebrities from Anne Hathaway to Scarlett Johansson. A commercial, editorial and senior photographer based in Nebraska, he's known for giving everyday people the Hollywood look. His previous work as a lighting technician helped him build his signature style using dramatic lighting techniques typically used for commercial work. With an insightful and easy listening teaching style, he helps photographers learn to craft with light.

Lessons

  1. Class Introduction

    Jump into environmental portraits with an overview of the class. Prep for the class with an overview in this lesson.

  2. Introduction to The Environmental Portrait

    What is an environmental portrait? Environmental portraits tell a story using a single image. Gain insight into the genre in this lesson.

  3. Environmental Portrait Purpose

    Why shoot environmental portraits? Environmental portraits encompass history, story, and personality -- and they are more interesting than plain backgrounds.

  4. Personal Work

    Personal work conveys your unique passion for photography. In this lesson, Dan discusses using personal work -- even for photographers with paying clients -- to avoid burnout and stay true to your passion.

  5. Find Your Process

    Every photographer's workflow may feel a little different. Start finding your own process by brainstorming, planning out personal shoots, scouting locations and more.

  6. Tethering

    Tethering allows your camera to instantly talk to your computer for review during the shoot. In this lesson, learn how tethering can boost your workflow and can help you easily pre-process your images during the shoot.

  7. Purpose For Action Editorial

    Ahead of the live shoot, walk through the purpose of the action editorial shoot in the photo studio. Learn why studio-like shoots are often a requirement.

  8. Prepare for Shoot

    Preparation is key to successful environmental portraits. Master what's essential to the planning process and learn how Dan prepared for the upcoming live shoot.

  9. Action Editorial Process

    Dive into the workflow for an action editorial shoot. Walk through Dan's process for this type of image, from working with the client to delivering the photos and invoicing. Read through an actual editorial assignment from a real magazine and learn how those details spark the planning process, including preparing the dramatic effects from studio lighting.

  10. Set Up Action Editorial Shoot

    Set up for the live shoot, beginning with the tethering software. Go behind the scenes as Dan sets up lights and explains the gear and his vision for the shoot. Work with studio lighting placement, including angles and the height of the light stand. Control strobe lighting with different angles and modifiers.

  11. Shoot: Action Editorial With Athlete

    Begin the live shoot with a test shot to adjust the studio lighting and camera settings. Here, Dan shares his camera settings, like the 1/200 shutter speed and a white balance of around 5500K, then works with the "first layer" of lighting with the key light. Add fill light using a strobe modified with a silver umbrella and an accent rim light. Then, move into action shots.

  12. Studio Portrait Shoot Overview

    Take a brief break from the live shoot and learn why studio shoots are often included to supplement the environmental portraits. Gain an overview of the process before heading back into live shooting.

  13. Shoot: Athletic Studio Portrait

    Set-up the studio portrait using strobe lighting and V-flats with a bright white background. Learn how to manipulate the light to brighten the background without spilling over to the subject using side lighting and "cheats" with V-flats.

  14. Shoot: Manipulate Light to Mimic The Sun

    With the right modifiers and light source, you can mimic natural light with studio lighting. Learn how to create hard light to mimic the sun in the studio.

  15. Shoot: Change Background Color With Light

    Using the same white background, learn how to manipulate the color of the background with light. Remove the lights to create a gray background. Work with several different studio lighting set-ups to manipulate the background color.

  16. Shoot: Create Soft Light with Umbrella

    After working with hard light, work with soft light by using a black and white umbrella with a diffusion sock to light the subject. Set-up the side light to feather on the subject without falling onto the background.

  17. Shoot: Create Intentional Shadows

    Working with studio photography lighting is just as much about the shadows as it is the light. Learn how to create intentional shadows using studio equipment.

  18. Shoot: Action Shots In Studio

    Go behind-the-scenes for studio action shots. Watch as Dan works with a handheld light without a light stand to replicate the look of on-camera flash.

  19. Review Images in Capture One

    Review the images from the live studio shoots inside Capture One. Cull photos quickly with keyboard shortcuts and see the results from the live shoot.

  20. Raw Processing

    Move into post-processing by working with the RAW files. Pre-processing with tethering offers a jump start -- learn the process of fine-tuning RAWs and organizing files.

  21. File Handling

    Organizing files helps streamline the process and make invoicing easier. In this lesson, Dan shares his process for sharing and organizing digital images.

  22. Retouching & Color Overview

    Strategize for post-processing in this overview lesson. Learn Dan's process for editing, including finding your style, and working with color.

  23. Retouch Images in Capture One

    Work inside Capture One to perfect the RAW files from the live shoot. Find tricks and tips to working in Capture One, working with exposure, contrast, and basic color temperature.

  24. Retouch Images in Photoshop

    Moving into Adobe Photoshop, remove distracting elements like stray hairs and acne. Work with the patch tool and clone tool to clean up images in Photoshop.

  25. Retouch Images With Presets

    Work with cropping inside Adobe Photoshop. Then, move into Alien Skin to work with presets to work with different colors and dramatic effects. Work with film-inspired presets, then learn how to fine-tune the effect.

  26. Advertising Vs. Editorial

    Editorial work and advertising work have several distinct characteristics. Learn the difference between the two and how to please both types of clients.

  27. Indoor Location Shoot

    Move into the second shoot of the class with an indoor shoot on location. Gain an overview of the goals and process for the shoot.

  28. Indoor Location Shoot Process

    Prepare for the shoot with tips on the process of the environmental portraiture. Work with a checklist and a shot list, then jump into the first in a series of behind-the-scenes videos in an artist's studio.

  29. Get to Know Your Subject

    Understanding your subject helps create unique, authentic images. Learn how to collaborate with the subject. Find the essentials to quickly getting to know the subject.

  30. Test & Frame Your Shot

    With a shot list and understanding the subject, Dan then moves into analyzing the location and the natural light or ambient light that's already in the space. Work with testing the light and framing the composition.

  31. Create Natural Light

    Placing lights where they'd naturally be in the space helps create flattering, dramatic lighting that doesn't look terribly out of place. Work in the shooting space with initial lighting and start shooting.

  32. Natural Light & Alternate Light

    Every portrait doesn't need studio equipment lighting -- work with natural lighting and window light. Alternate lighting can build variety into your environmental portraits.

  33. How to Shoot Indoor Location Portrait

    Along with action-based environmental portraits, a more formal, looking-at-the-camera shot is often part of each shoot. Work with shooting portraits on location, from setting up the studio lighting to composing and getting the shot.

  34. Indoor Shoot Results

    Review the results from the indoor shoot in this lesson. Dan explains everything that went into the shot and why he made some of the decisions that he did.

  35. Outdoor Location Shoot Goals

    In the third shoot of the class, head out to a location with natural light inside a garage and outdoors. Learn how Dan prepared for the session and the goals for the shoot.

  36. Indoor/Outdoor Light Setup

    Work with outdoor and semi-outdoor locations by tackling the lighting. After scouting and settling on a narrative, work with studio lighting tools to create dramatic effects. Go behind-the-scenes for the three light set-up using artificial lighting.

  37. Studio Light On Location

    Mix the natural light with the ambient light in this shoot outside the garage, continuing the third project of the class. Learn why you might use artificial lighting outside and how to mix the sunlight and a studio light kit.

  38. Create Location Portrait

    Work with the location portrait from the third shoot of the class. Learn how to spot locations for the more formal portrait and work with graphic compositions and more dramatic light.

  39. Outdoor Shoot Results

    Take a look at the results from the final shoot. In this lesson, Dan shares his thought process behind creating each shot and why he made the lighting and composition decisions that he did.

  40. Post Processing Overview

    Make a plan to polish the images from the second and third shoots. In this lesson, get an overview of the editing process before jumping into the post-processing.

  41. Choose Selects & Sort Images From Indoor Shoot

    Cull the images from the artist's studio and the garage inside Capture One. Review the images and go through the process of choosing what photos to edit and deliver.

  42. Edit Raw Images from Indoor Shoot

    Learn how to polish those indoor shots inside Capture One. Work with exposure, contrast, and color with the shots from the artist's studio.

  43. Finish Images in Photoshop & Alien Skin

    Work inside Photoshop to remove scuffs and scrapes on the walls and other clean-up tasks. Then, work with files in Alein Skin to color using presets.

  44. Portfolio Management

    Moving into the portfolio and marketing segment, gain insight into building a strong portfolio. Dan shares tips on building a portfolio, from what order to use to choosing what images to include.

  45. Importance of Website

    Websites serve as a first impression of your work. In this lesson, learn the dos and don'ts to building a photography website, like focusing on images and simplifying navigation.

  46. Marketing 101

    Your portfolio doesn't do much good if no one is actually laying eyes on it. Develop strategies to get your work in front of potential clients for editorial and commercial work.

  47. What About Reps?

    Reps work with the numbers while you focus on the photography. Learn the basic pros and cons to working with representatives or agents.

  48. Bring it All Together

    Wrap up the course with a final chat on environmental portrait photography. Once you've built a successful business, remember to take the time to get back to your roots and shoot for yourself.

Reviews

Julie V
 

I had the chance to sit in the audience for this class and absolutely loved it. Watching Dan create amazing images from start to finish in front of us was so inspiring. I've learned so much from this class. It actually gave me the confidence to start playing with lights in my studio. It was really useful to see how he sets his lights and how he can easily mix ambient light with artificial. I also love how he focuses on getting the image right in the camera to only do light edits after. I recommend this class to anyone wanting to learn more about lighting, shooting tethered and editing efficiently!

a Creativelive Student
 

I love this guy! I so appreciate his honesty while he is explaining his thought process, admitting that his “shoulda/coulda/woulda’s” - which I experience ALL the time. I am now going to dust off my light meter and start using it on location as I’m convinced that it works now that I’ve seen Dan’s class. I enjoyed the detailed way he sets up each light individually, checking to make sure it adds the amount and quality of light he wants. Definitely recommend this class - especially for those people who have experience using studio lights and want to see how they can be used to get specific results. Dan’s clear, simple explanations, his unabashed humility, and his sense of humor made this a truly enjoyable way to spend my time learning his methods.

Tim Hufnagl
 

to the point, worth every cent. dan is an excellent yet humble photographer not holding back any information on how he achieves is style. also i did not now, that first officer will t. riker was not only serving starfleet, but is an excellent photographer! ;-)