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Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 35 of 48

Outdoor Location Shoot Goals


Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 35 of 48

Outdoor Location Shoot Goals


Lesson Info

Outdoor Location Shoot Goals

We now have the outdoor location shoots. So, with outdoor locations it doesn't necessarily mean purely outdoors. This was kind of a mix. It was a garage where the garage door was wide open. You know, it's just a little bit... The art studio was obviously indoors, the stuff we did yesterday in the studio with the white seamless was obviously indoors. So, that's... When I'm referring to outdoor location shoots verse indoor, a lot of times it's mostly the lighting conditions. So, you'll see in the outdoor location shot... In the outdoor location shoot we did photograph Richie, the co-owner of the garage, in his space, but we also took him outside on the sidewalk where he was changing spark plugs on a motorcycle so that we have that mixed light situation. So, you'll see we did three lighting setups, three totally different shots, again, ending with a more graphic portrait for me, and there's a whole mix there. So, it's a little different thought process when it comes to that, but overall, ...

it's the general same checklist. So, just to quickly go over, because it's been a bit, we obviously covered the entire environmental portrait, our action editorial shoot, our portrait shoot in the studio, our post processing for all that. We moved on to our indoor location shoot, which you just watched all the videos and saw those results, and now we're gonna do the outdoor location shoot. We only have two segments left after that. One is the post shoot workflow for both the artist gallery and the motor garage. So, we'll have a little different feel with how we go through. You'll see me make the selects again. There's a lot more images to look through. So, we're gonna go through 400 images in about two minutes, and I'm gonna instantly just pick yes or no, and we're not gonna second guess it, we're not gonna overthink it, we're just gonna go with what initially hits us with that impact. And then lastly, we're gonna go over the portfolio and marketing, so again, what to do with all those images. So, with that said, let's move forward to the outdoor location shoot. We'll go over the goals of the outdoor location shoot. We're gonna through the process, everything from breaking down the lighting to coming up with a shot list. And then, of course, the results. And in there there's gonna be a number of videos from the motorcycle garage and you'll see kinda how we work through that, how we work with the subject. It was two totally different personalities from Alisha at the art studio to Richie at the garage. You'll see, and that's how it is in real life. You'll meet with people who some are have all these all ideas and wanna do everything, other people really just don't care so they kinda let you do your thing. So, you kinda have to... It's that whole psychological deal of dealing with different people and knowing how to get the results you want and how to steer them in that direction. So, let's talk about the goals first of our outdoor locations shoot. So, the first goal is similar to the indoor location. You've gotta let the setting help the story, help tell the story, and that's true in any portrait. You want there to be a connection. I know when I first started in photography I was really big into entering PPA type competitions, and for me, that was great; however, I felt like it was lacking, at the least the work I was creating, was lacking in telling a story. I was more concerned with this recipe of having perfect composition, having no blown out highlights or too dark of shadows, you know, all the things, the posing. It was a little bit stiff for me. It was a good lesson in learning technique and technical details, but when it got to a certain point, the photos were almost a little boring for what I wanted to create. And that's where the storytelling came in and being a little more loose. So, it's letting the location help tell that story and not being so concerned with, you know, exact poses or catch lights. Sometimes, you know, it might be seen as sloppy, but at the same time, emotion... If you can get emotion out of a viewer instead of... Well, let's rephrase that. With the technical details of a photo, most people who view a photo are not photographers. They're not knowing 'oh, well you didn't get to the catch light' or 'the white of the eye is showing too much' or 'that wrist angle is not proper.' Those things do not come up. Most people who view a photo have an instant impact or an instant opinion on it, whether it catches their eye or it doesn't. And I, a long time ago, maybe five, six years ago, I was lucky enough to have a portfolio review meeting with Cathy Ryan. She's the editor of The New York Times Magazine, photo editor, and she is amazing. And she looked through my entire portfolio as I sat there and listened to every word, and she told me... I had a photo in there that I wasn't crazy about, but she just kept pointing at it. She's like, 'that's the one that gets me,' and I was like, 'what do you mean by that?' and she said 'well, it.... You know, she didn't ever mention a technical detail once and she's the photo editor of The New York Times Magazine, but she was all about the emotion and she was like, 'Well, why don't... Why doesn't it have the same impact to you as the photographer?' And I know because I was there shooting it, I was like (groans) 'I had this idea and this didn't quite work out,' and she's like 'yeah, but this photo brings out... I wonder the backstory of the girl in this photo.' I should've brought the photo to make for a better story, but I just thought of it now. But she has so many questions about that photo because of the content and because of... The environment was telling the story and the funny thing was it was a forced narrative. This girl didn't live there, I had an idea for a photo. She was basically being a model. It obviously worked out pretty well, but then Cathy went on to tell me a story. She's like, 'Well, one of the covers we did of The New York Times Magazine wasn't even in focus,' and I knew exactly which shot she was talking about. The focus... But the photographer was capturing so many shots that things happen and you lose focus once in a while, but she's like, 'the moment was so genuine and authentic and powerful that I knew that if that was on the cover of the magazine, 99% of the people who view that will have an emotional reaction to it.' The 1% of photographers might say 'yeah, but it's not in focus.' She's like, 'but that doesn't really matter. It's the emotion that I want from the viewer, not so much the technical details.' So, I always have to remember that when I'm shooting. It's like, you know, there's little things that happen where maybe a light pole is showing through someone's head, and whether or not you wanna Photoshop is out later, that's only gonna matter to the photographers. Most people are never gonna view that. They're looking at the more raw elements that bring out emotion. And so, that's why I let the photo kinda tell the story. And yes, I'm in control of the composition and I am very much aware of those elements and I try and make as clean of a photo as possible, but at the same time, if the emotion's there, if that moment's there... That's why I shoot a lot of frames, too, to try and capture that moment. So, it's definitely a delicate balance of technicalities along with emotion, and you just gotta get to a point where you're happy with the whole works, and that's how you can tell that story. Push beyond the safe, obvious shot. I think it might be William Eggleston who's known for the quote of 'I am constantly at war with the obvious,' and as a photographer, he shot all sorts of these still life scenes and things like that out on location. That's definitely inspired some of the stuff I do when I take road trips and am photographing at random rest stops and who knows what. It's these looks that, you know, there's always that obvious shot when you enter a room. It's like oh yeah, here's the shot that's gonna be easy. But how can you push yourself to get beyond that obvious shot, and that might be using different lighting, different lenses, different composition. So, I'm always letting that kind of inspire me when I'm shooting. The obvious shot is the first one that comes to mind. The not so obvious one is the one that makes you get out of your comfort zone and push a little bit. And let the light help steer the narrative. So, that's, again, embracing that ambient light. In the art studio, we had the big window. In the garage, as you're gonna see, it was dark and dimly lit with some work lights, some fluorescence, that was about it. But there's some clear areas where the light... I knew what I wanted to go for after seeing it. And working with Richie to kind have him show me what he does within the space then told me where I need to put the lights to kinda fit that whole feel. And so, just to see a couple examples of more outdoor environmental portraits... I'll tell you a couple of the backstories on these and we'll take a look. So, this is actually my brother and his now wife. This is several years old. This is in my dad's old Blazer. My dad owned an auto body shop in Iowa and he had this Blazer he used to plow the snow in the wintertime. That's literally its only job was to hook a snow plow up to it and get the snow off the lot. But I always had this idea that it looks like its the 1980s, and I have some sort of affinity to shoot things that look like they happened in the past but they're actually more recent. So, I threw my brother in some vintage flannel shirt from a thrift store, his wife was just in a basic white tank top, that's his girlfriend then, now married, and I wanted to create this moment where it looks like I'm almost spying on this couple. So, it's definitely a forced narrative. This was all set up, but at the same time, you'll see there's a little bit of depth. There's these weird shadows you can see. I'm shooting through a chain link fence to kinda give it this added layer of depth, which you don't really notice, but you just notice there's something going on. And everything in this shot from the lighting, it's a gridded seven inch reflector off to the left to make it look like it's just a street light shining on the car, but I need to control that light because the car's white. I didn't wanna blow it out. To the red back here. I wanted it to look like his foot's on the brake, but it wasn't bright enough. So, that's actually another strobe in the back of the car with a red gel on it to kinda give it that whole feel. And then, compositionally, I said I liked shooting either totally square... So, this car is totally square to me, but we're also using the corner of the frame of this lot and I'm up on a retaining wall. So, everything about this shot was set up, but then, once they were there, I kinda put a few scenarios in their head, almost like they were actors. Maybe they were in a fight, maybe they were contemplating running away, maybe they're gonna get married. I don't know, but it's all these little thought where she'd end up scooting over and sitting with him and they're talking, I don't even know. I probably shot for a half an hour and just let them chat to the point where they forgot I was probably taking photos, and at the same time, I was able to get this frame exactly how I wanted. So, this shot's several years old, but it definitely tells the full story of an environmental portrait shot on location. And the other thing was this was not shot at pitch black. It looks like it was at night. This was just using the camera to overpower the ambient light then using the strobes to kind of... This might've been shot at f11 or something at a 200th of a second at ISO 100, so it really drowned out all the ambient light and the strobes took over, and the ambience is just providing a little bit of fill to the background. So, it's kinda controlling all those elements yet still capturing a moment of... It's almost this cinematic thing of I wonder what they're looking at, what's going on, what are they thinking? So, those are the moments I like. Here's another one. This was photographed in Brooklyn. I put out a model call on Craigslist, which can be a little dangerous sometimes. I just needed people to shoot because I had some new equipment I was working with. So, this guy, his name's Adam, he reached out to me and wanted to do the shoot. So, he came to my studio, the shared studio that I actually lived in in Brooklyn, and again, this was going out, kinda telling a story as if this was his home and we were working and he's actually wearing my coat because I didn't like the clothes he was wearing. So it's, again, it's set up and staged. It's not totally authentic, but at the same time, we came up with this narrative and he was all about it. He was like, 'alright, I sit here, I'm sitting here waiting for my mom to come home' and blah, blah, blah. He had all these stories that were even more complex than I cared about, but it just showed that he was into it and willing to make an authentic portrait. And, to me, this could be a shot that could end up in a magazine like GQ if it was of a musician on his front porch of his home. Something like that, which would be authentic, but I was more concerned about using my new lights and getting these moments. So, again, this is just another shot that was an environmental portrait, but not necessarily the subject in his environment. It's more about creating that narrative and giving direction. The next photo is people in their environment. One day, I was driving home and I saw these kids out playing. I'm along my normal drive and I stopped and I was chatting with their mom for a little and they were... They had this white Camaro outside and they were all playing around with that, and then I saw this four wheeler and I said 'hold on, let me go get my camera, I wanna do a photo' just because I saw this fence line, the sunlight coming in, the perspective, and the way the four wheelers aimed down that fence line. And I said 'alright, so do you guys drive this?' And they said, 'no, it has flat tires, but we always play on it.' So, I said 'what do you do?' And he said, the older brother was like 'well, I drive it and he sits on the back' and they were bouncing around. So, this was authentic. I asked them what they would do, they kinda showed me a little bit about it, the sun... This was all sunlight, it was perfect, and it was all about building that composition and letting this kinda story tell itself and having them look at each other, having them sit different ways, having them jump off. So, again, just a different version, but something that wasn't forced. This actually happened and I let them kinda steer the way. I just made a frame that looked visually pleasing for me as a photographer. And then we got a couple more of these. This was assigned work. This was for Men's Health. This is a triathlete from Nebraska. He was training to do a couple triathlons. He'd actually just undergone a real physical transformation as far as he had let himself go over the course of his career and he's a professor at University of Nebraska and he was just getting into triathlons and now he's killing it. He's winning all these races and all this, but Men's Health was actually doing a feature on him onto how he made this transformation and how he's now doing all these triathlons. So, they asked for request of shooting him on white seamless so they could use that for certain aspects, and then they wanted something with a pool. So, we just went to the YMCA. We went there as soon as they closed, they let us use the pool when everybody was out, and this was more about figuring out where the natural light was coming from. There were a couple of these really weird tungsteny type lights on the walls, and it was getting dark outside because this was in the winter. So, there was no natural light in there, it was just this overhead light. So, again, for me, from a technical aspect, it was, again, that same Magnum reflector but with a grid on it to... because otherwise it was a ton of glare on the water. It was watching how these lines were parallel with these lines. We have a top of the framing. You can see here a little bit of a reflection, so he's kind of in here twice. Playing with all those aspects, but bringing them all together and then adding some color grading afterwards to make it have that blue pool feel, and then having him look at the camera. So, it's all the things that go with that. We did action shots of him swimming, but as far as a portrait goes, this was my favorite. It kinda brought... It brought all those things together, similar to the last portrait we did of the artist of bringing everything together compositionally, graphically, and showing it all off. And the last one I have is another authentic moment, but there was some forced narrative here. It's kinda funny. So, this was a garage I had driven by a ton of times. I'd never really been in there, but I always thought, 'oh, man, that would make a great place for a photo.' So, I photographed this guy in his office. He had some ideas, I used... This is actually a two light setup. There is a kicker... The main light is a gridded 24 inch soft box. It's silver, it's actually a video light soft box. I wanted something more specular. That's just out of frame camera right, and that's what's lighting up the side of his face. You can see there's a little bit of highlights over here and on his arm. I had a gridded seven inch reflector back in the corner to kinda light up the back of the room and give that little bit of separation. It's almost as if it were a shock light or something. And then the garage door's wide open. That's what he's looking out, so that's what's providing the entire fill and lighting up all the rest of the room. So, it was balancing those three light sources, and he was just kinda standing there. He wasn't giving me much, he literally didn't talk. So, I said, 'alright, we need to kinda do something,' and there was some high school kids outside messing around, like doing burnouts with their car, and I was like 'alright, so these kids, they're about to give you some trouble. They're gonna come in here. What are you gonna do to defend yourself or whatever?' So, he picks up this big wrench and he's like, 'oh, I'm just gonna stare at them like this and they're not gonna mess with me.' So, it was kind of... I had to get him to a place where he would give me something and this is the look, but again, it has all the technical aspects of me shooting this perspective into the corner, little touches of color, the lighting is exactly what I want it to look like, and there's a little bit of a storyline there. But it makes you look at the photo and think what's the story with this guy, what's he doing? He's definitely carrying a wrench, is he about to fix a car, is he about to crack some skulls, what's going on? So, that was just another example of using the environment to kinda help tell the story. You know what he does. He definitely works in a garage, looks like he's got a pack of cigarettes about to pop the bottom of his shirt pocket, and little details like that that I love and kinda help tell the story. Some subtle dark humor, but at the same time it's more of a... Just one portrait that can tell the entire story. And I'll show you how I fit things like this into my portfolio later to even tell a bigger story paired with other images that have nothing to do with it.

Class Description


  • 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


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.


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


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


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.


  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.


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.

a Creativelive Student

Dan is an excellent instructor! He's completely transparent with his thought processes, from technical to creative. He doesn't waste time horsing around or getting off topic, but is structured and sticks to his outline. Every minute watched is on topic, and is understandable. He's sincere and likable. The course is great for anyone interested in this genre!