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Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 20 of 48

Raw Processing

Dan Brouillette

Environmental Portrait Photography

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

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.


  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

Raw Processing

Now that we've covered the entire shoot, we've covered the basis of environmental portraits and all that, we're going to move on to re-touching, whether that's carrying on with the selects we just made, file handling and folder structure, actual retouching and Photoshop and then doing some of the color work with an Alien Skin, that's what I like to do a lot of my color-in afterwards because I can really tweak it how I want to and get everything looking the same and consistent, image to image. I'll kind of go over that whole process and we'll introduce some of that software, as well. So, the first thing I wanted to do is kind of go back, again rehash what we went over and then we'll get into studio post-processing. So, again, we went over the environmental portrait, we went over the action editorial shoot here in the studio. We just finished our portrait editorial shoot with our studio setting on white seamless. And now we're going to do post-processing, and then we'll move forward for ...

the last four chapters. We're going to do our indoor location shoot, our outdoor location shoot, our post-shoot workflow, which will be a similar version to what we're going to do now, only with the stuff that we've already shot during the pre-shoot. And then, portfolio and marketing. So what to do with all those images now that we have them, how to put them together, how to show them off, and how to hopefully get work. So, with that said, let's move on to studio post-processing. First thing I want to talk about is our raw processing. We've already kind of done our tethering and our really rough raw processing. Everything when we're shooting, it's a little bit rough and gritty because the location of our subject changes. I just want a general feel when I'm tethering of what the image could look like. But when it comes to actually processing it for a client, or for myself, or for my own portfolio, I kind of start from scratch. I remember the recipe, those settings that I use, but I reset the image back down to zero, fine-tune it for that particular image and then I export that and work on that in Photoshop, then do the color last in Alien Skin and then it's ready to go. So, it's kind of a three to four step process, takes a little time but I'll show you kind of my entire process of how I go from a raw image to a finished image and everything in between. We'll talk about file handling. If you are a professional photographer or you just take a lot of photos, you'll know your computer can get quite bogged down and when it comes time to search for an image, having a good folder structure, if you have employees, having to call your assistant and tell her you need a file from a client from last June, could be a little difficult if they have no idea where that's being stored on the computer. So I'll talk about how I do my file handling and folder structure and how that coincides with invoicing and everything as well. Just so I can keep it organized. Everybody has a different system, it might be easier or better than mine. But I'm just going to explain what I do and it's worked for the last 14 or so years that I've been a photographer, so I keep it consistent, knowing that if I do that going forward I can always go back and find these old files. Retouching and color, so that will come after. Basically, we're going through Capture One, where those images go from Capture One into the file handling, then when they go after that, which is in to Photoshop and Alien Skin and then I want to break down a little bit to end this chapter of, kind of, the advertising verse editorial. It's kind of like an offshoot and it will help us get to the next stage. I just want to finish up with the images and then talk a little bit of more of a broad spectrum of what you can do with these images and we'll really get into that later in chapter eight. So with that said, let's move into our raw processing. Raw processing, I use Capture One Pro. The current version is 11. It's always changing, like I said so I don't even have that up there but yeah. Capture One 11 is what's up on the screen right now for me and that's what we'll be working in shortly. Again, you saw what I like to do when I tether but when I fine-tune it to the raw files, we like to adjust our exposure, adjust our color, our skin tones, the whole works to get everything perfect for that image. I'm kind of a stickler when it comes to technical details. I don't like sloppy photography. I do like it to be loose enough that there's a moment and it's authentic but at the same time, I like the technicality, I like the puzzle of putting together the lights and make sure everything's exposing right. You saw me use my light meter, like 50 times at least. So, I want to keep it loose but I also want to keep it done the right way. And I want to make it as little work as possible on the backend. I'm sure some of you will be probably underwhelmed by the Photoshop I do. But it's because I took so much time upfront to make sure all the lighting was there, that I don't like to sit in front of the computer forever. I'd rather go golfing or do something fun. So, I try and get it all done ahead of time so that way, the computer time is minimal. And then we're going to process to JPEG. I process all my files up to high res and low res JPEGs. A lot of people will talk about lossless files and all that. I keep all the raws. We can always go back and re-use those. But as far as file size and working, I don't want to work from a TIF file, it's huge. I'd rather work from a JPEG, send that off to somebody and be done with it. If I do layered files, I'll save PSDs so I can see the steps. But for the most part, we're talking about raws, and JPEGs and occasional PSDs, but I like to keep it pretty simple and not overthink it. I'm not creating work that's going to get in the Smithsonian or something like that, so if there's a little bit of sharing and quality loss within a JPEG over time, so be it. I have the raw file, I can always go back and work from there.

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!