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Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 7 of 48

Purpose For Action Editorial

Dan Brouillette

Environmental Portrait Photography

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

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.


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:06:15
4 Personal Work Duration:18:36
5 Find Your Process Duration:20:20
6 Tethering Duration:18:35
7 Purpose For Action Editorial Duration:05:19
8 Prepare for Shoot Duration:06:10
9 Action Editorial Process Duration:11:27
10 Set Up Action Editorial Shoot Duration:12:43
12 Studio Portrait Shoot Overview Duration:05:58
18 Shoot: Action Shots In Studio Duration:04:00
19 Review Images in Capture One Duration:14:54
20 Raw Processing Duration:05:24
21 File Handling Duration:05:19
22 Retouching & Color Overview Duration:05:45
23 Retouch Images in Capture One Duration:11:37
24 Retouch Images in Photoshop Duration:07:00
25 Retouch Images With Presets Duration:27:40
26 Advertising Vs. Editorial Duration:04:49
27 Indoor Location Shoot Duration:13:12
28 Indoor Location Shoot Process Duration:11:19
29 Get to Know Your Subject Duration:13:12
30 Test & Frame Your Shot Duration:10:44
31 Create Natural Light Duration:24:33
34 Indoor Shoot Results Duration:19:00
35 Outdoor Location Shoot Goals Duration:16:51
36 Indoor/Outdoor Light Setup Duration:17:27
37 Studio Light On Location Duration:09:56
38 Create Location Portrait Duration:11:41
39 Outdoor Shoot Results Duration:13:26
40 Post Processing Overview Duration:08:42
44 Portfolio Management Duration:28:13
45 Importance of Website Duration:17:55
46 Marketing 101 Duration:18:51
47 What About Reps? Duration:05:54
48 Bring it All Together Duration:10:52

Lesson Info

Purpose For Action Editorial

What I wanna move into now, we've learned what environmental portraits are, why they're important, how to create them, creating personal work and then a basic introduction to tethering. So now what we're gonna do is, we're gonna talk about doing an actual photo shoot and we are going to do an actual photo shoot live here in a few minutes. So just to kind of cover that, studio action editorial shoot. So we're obviously in the studio here. We have two different studio fields. We have the warehouse field of the garage here at CreativeLive and then in a second segment, we're actually going to have seamless setup, so we're gonna be in a traditional style photo studio. So we're gonna do same subject. We have Brock, who's a basketball player, and we're gonna be doing two different totally, two totally different setups with him, within the same space. So it'll be pretty cool. We'll get a lot of variety from the shoot. Should get some pretty cool images, and I'll kind of go over the goals and i...

mportance of that right now. So just to continue, we just did all the stuff I just talked about with explaining the environmental portraits, so now we're on to chapter two, which is the Action Editorial Shoot. And then just to get a look we have Portrait Editorial Shoot coming up and then Post-Processing. After that we have Indoor Location Shoot, Outdoor Location Shoot, Post-Shoot Workflow, and then Portfolio and Marketing. So those are all to come. But for now we're gonna focus on the studio shoot. So we're gonna go over the purpose of a studio shoot. Why is it important? What do we do with it? How to prepare for the studio shoot? And what the process is to kind of make it all come together and how I work through everything from the planning to the shooting to the post-processing and everything in between. So let's start off with purpose. So purpose of the studio shoot is this, many commercial or editorial shoots require a studio shoot. To fully tell the story and provide options to the client, I capture both action shots as well as portraits. So I like to get everything in there and provide options both for myself and for any type of client, even if it's a personal shoot. Like I said before, I like to go back to the studio, load up all the images, whether I shot tethered or on a card. The worst feeling is when you don't push yourself fully and you get back and you had an idea in your head, or you were on set and you knew that certain parameter, you know, certain things could happen, but you're like, oh that's good enough or I feel like more comfortable or maybe I've taken enough of this person's time, we'll just be done. But when you're looking those images and you're working through them and you know that you kind of stopped yourself a little bit short, or maybe you didn't cover everything, or if you were a little less organized and you just didn't get the shot you wanted. We'll talk about how to make sure you go through all the checklists and get exactly what you want, because whether it's for client or whether it's for yourself, I hate that feeling when you know you could have gotten more out of a shoot and you stopped yourself short. So this is example of a studio shoot. It's my old studio assistant, Nicole. This was a test shoot, just for personal work. I had a couple of new grids that we were trying out, how they affected the light and things like that, so it was just creating different portraits of her in the studio. She came to work, probably didn't know that she was gonna be modeling, but that's what happens when you work at a photo studio. So she sat in and we tried all these different grids for a spread of light and this was just a shot that ended up making my portfolio as far as personal work goes, of something, you know, that I was happy with, with a studio setting. This is another shot. This is actually from a workshop that I was teaching in New York City with photographer, Victoria Will. This was a shot we created in the workshop, teaching studio lighting. So again, it was working through the process of, you know, different lighting, different experimenting. We were just dealing with on-camera flash style looks. So kind of that paparazzi light of getting the model to move, but having the freedom to move because you're hand-holding the light directly over the camera. I actually did some of that in the pre-shoot, so we'll be showing some of that with the guy at the motorcycle garage, and how to get that look and how to finesse it through tethering, and capture one, and you know, light placement and all that good stuff. This is another shot from in my studio. Again, we'll be doing something like this with Brock. So this is just white seamless in the studio, one light, pretty basic setup, but again, you know, directing the model or subject to get a certain look that you want, based on the feel you're going for within the shoot. And this is actually, you just met my assistant, Nicole, two shots ago, this is her husband. Again, I had another lighting test day, where I needed to do something for, it was a potential editorial shoot with like a CEO, but they wanted some edgy lighting, so this was John. I said, "Why don't you come in and wear a suit and tie.", and who knows, he might have been wearing shorts, and it's just some portraits were we can experiment with this really harsh and specular two-light setup. So that way when I go onto the shoot, I'm not experimenting with the actual client, or the subject of the editorial. Because again, I don't wanna be messing with all that gear when I'm with a paying client. I'd rather have all these details ironed out beforehand. So I was like, come in for an hour, and I'll buy you a beer when were done and he's like, sound good. So all he had to do was sit there and look off to the side while I messed with the lights, took pictures of my setup, took good notes of, you know, light settings, camera settings, all that type of stuff, so that way when I go to the shoot, I already have this ironed out and can do it on command.

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.


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!