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Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 23 of 48

Retouch Images in Capture One

Dan Brouillette

Environmental Portrait Photography

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

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.


  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

Retouch Images in Capture One

We're gonna start the retouching process. So we've already gone through capture one and made our selects. And the next thing I wanna do is kind of really tweak these images and fine tune them down to fit each image individually. So what I wanna do is we're gonna do them one at a time. We have about nine images we're gonna edit from Brock's session. We're gonna do them each individually. So the first think I'm gonna do is copy these settings and what I'm gonna do is you can go to image and make a new variant. You can either hit shift F2 or just make a new variant there and what we have is the exact raw. So you can see before and after of what we did to the image and what was not done. So what I wanna do is take this variant, and I'm gonna use that as a baseline. And I'm actually gonna apply all the settings from this image. So you can copy all your settings up here and I'm gonna paste them to the variant. And then that way when I have, I know what I want it to look like roughly, and I'm...

gonna go back and work on the original. So we're gonna go back to our local adjustments tab here, and I'm going to reset that image. That's this arrow up here. It resets all the settings. So now we're back to our raw. Well now we can start working and getting it exactly how we want. And I know this was the general direction so I can always go back and look at those settings because I have that variant. Where if you look at here, my exposure and HDR tabs, these ones are re-zeroed. These ones are set. So I can always know what I set it at and I can always go back and look. But I just like working this way so I have kinda a before and after and a comparative view. So the first thing I'm gonna do is I know what we did in studio, I'm gonna up the exposure slightly, and I'm definitely gonna open up those shadows. And again, by going back and forth I can see for the original I didn't touch the exposure but I opened up the shadows a ton. And I also know that I'm gonna up the contrast. And what I'm looking at here is shadow detail in the true shadows down here, and I'm looking at highlights. So we have this eyedropper. I can take that, we can even zoom in a little bit further and we can pan upwards, and I can take that dropper and look, and we can zoom over highlights on his head. So here we're at 231. The other thing you can do, so 255 would be totally blown out. 231's fine, there's still detail there. The other thing you can do within Capture One you'll see this little warning sign here. You can actually set highlight warnings or exposure warnings. So there, the brightest highlight on his face is there. What you do is you go to file, or sorry, Capture One, preferences, exposure. So your exposure warning will blink red or whatever color you want. And I put mine at 245. So anything that gets over 245 will flash red because I know I'm getting really close to losing detail. I don't have a shadow warning even turned on 'cause I don't care about that so much. So I know that his nose right here is approaching 245, or it is 245, and there's a tiny dot on his forehead. That's about as far as I wanna push the exposure. We can bring a little bit of that back by bringing the highlights. But again, once they're gone, they're gone. So I don't wanna push it too far. So we're good pushing our exposure. We don't wanna go any further. And I like how that looks anyways. The next thing I wanna do, we can push the contrast just a tiny bit. I'm gonna take away a little bit of saturation and I like to work from a file that's not fully pushed out as far as contrast goes because when I start doing color grading later, that's naturally gonna add more contrast. So I need a little bit of leeway. That's why I don't set my exposure warning at 255. I give myself just a little bit of room to work with so that way when I start adding the color later, if it ups the contrast a little bit, I'm not gonna be losing detail. There you can see, that one's pretty bright. So we don't need to go ahead yet. So with that said, I'm gonna kinda work with this. It looks pretty good overall. The only thing I haven't done is any of the color work. So we're good with the exposure. There's nothing too blown out by any means. Now we can go to color balance. So that's where I wanna compare what we have here. We definitely added some blue to our shadows. And I always do that. That's kinda part of my look, so we're adding a little blue there. You can see if we add a lot of blue it just gets to be a little much. I know I'm gonna do more color work later. This is just to make me a nice solid base file. We definitely added some of this yellowish orange to our mid tones. I always do that as well, especially on environmental work. It warms it up just a little bit to counter act those blue shadows. And then we add a little bit of warmth to the highlights. That's gonna warm up that light that's coming through the windows for the most part. You'll see, I'll turn on a lot. We'll turn off this exposure warning, but you'll see it almost makes it look like just totally different. But I want a little bit of that, but not a ton. I mean it's looking pretty good overall. And I don't want it to be as contrasty as this image, this variant because again, I'm gonna be doing that toning and other work later. So what we're gonna do, is we're gonna call this one good and we can save that to export it later. And I'm gonna delete this variant, well actually I'm gonna leave that because I like to see the before and after. So we're gonna do the same thing here. I don't always make a variant. Sometimes we just work from the original image. But I do like having it just so I can see what we do. So again we'll copy and we'll paste. And we're gonna go here. This one's already too bright. I know that because I saw the warning pop up last time. So we're gonna tone that down a little bit. We're gonna bring down the highlights. It's already looking a little better. The shadow detail's fine. The color, we're gonna get rid of just a little bit of this blue. And the rest of it looks pretty good. I'm gonna tone down the, I'm out of warmth in the highlights and mid tones. And as far as saturation goes, we'll bring that down just a little bit. Contrast is all right. We'll bring it down a tad. That's pretty good too. I am gonna bring up the shadows just a little bit more. It also looks a little different on here only because the resolution's different than my native resolution on the laptop. So I know the sharp, it might look not perfectly sharp but if you were to look at on here afterward it would be pretty tack sharp. Any ones that weren't sharp, I didn't select in the original culling. So that's pretty much good for that. This one has great exposure. He was just in the right spot. I don't think there'll be, you know just a little bit there at 245 but that's perfect. I'll take that any day. I'm gonna get rid of a little bit of the warmth in the highlights and a little in the mid tones. We're good with that. Same here, I'm gonna up the shadows just a little bit to flatten it out. We'll call that good. Now we'll move on to these white ones. This is just a little bit bright. So I'm gonna tune it down every so slightly. And again, I don't want to tune it down to the point that my background is not stark white, you know something like this. But it's okay to bring it down just a little bit. And I'm actually gonna darken the shadows for once. And our contrast is turned way up so I'm gonna get rid of some that contrast knowing that we're gonna add back a little later. So we'll tune that down just a little bit. I'm actually gonna copy those settings. I know this is from the same set. We can apply, and I don't have to do that all again. So that's how you can both, you don't need to do the exact thing every single time. If you get one that you like and you have another image that's from the exact same set, this crop right now is awful. What I'm gonna end up doing is cropping it. But I like the look. So I'm not necessarily judging it as a whole quite yet. I do like what was going on here. We'll flatten it out just a little bit as far as contrast, 'cause I know again, we're gonna add some more later. Saturation was already reduced. I'm pretty okay with that. These ones are little more tricky just because of the movement. So we'll flatten that guy out. This one will be one that's just a little more stylized. It's a little less technical than the other ones as far as from a standpoint of lighting because you have someone moving around and I'm handholding the light. It's just a different look. Not everyone will like that, but I like to provide options and do different things. And again, you saw he was dribbling right at me. So the light, the distance between him and the light changes a lot, even from here leaning his head back to leaning forward. There's gonna be things that happen, but that's okay. We can play with it, see what happens. We'll call that good. So now to process these. We can select the ones that we've edited. Actually before we do that we're gonna hit this little gear right here, and that's gonna send us to our processing area. So you have what's called a processing recipe. With that recipe, I think I talked about this a little bit earlier, you can select the file type. So jpeg, tif, dng, png, psd. We're gonna go to jpeg. We're gonna keep the current file name of CL Brock. I forgot to set the, reset the counter. That's fine, it doesn't really matter. And then SRGB files, that's great. Resolution 3000 dpi. This is where you can adjust the width. So we're gonna go with a fixed width of 100%. So I wanna work on a true high res file. So it's gonna be the full file which is 4900 by 7300 pixels, so it's essentially 36 mega pixels. And now where do we wanna put it. So when we created our new session in Capture One, it already gave us an area to put these photos. CL Brock, output. So that's where we can put those. So all those files are gonna go into the output folder and you can see I have 247 gigs left on my computer because I'm saving everything there today. And now we'll go up, we'll select all the files we wanna process. You could shift click all of them, but I don't want those variants. All right, then all you gotta do is click this gear up here and hold on one second, yeah, so it wants to edit all the variants. Those files will then end up in CL Brock output. I might be doing one at a time here. Yeah, so you can see if the gear on here is gray, that means it's processed. If it's orange it means it's still to be. Or you can hit this triple-geared box right here and it shows there's about 27 seconds left and it shows a little pie chart here. And then those files will end up in here. And they have the same name as they do with the raw. So if you wanna, you know if you have a client who has a jpeg, if you keep all the names the same you can go back and access the raw if you send him low res or something like that. So now that all of our files have transferred, I believe, oop there's one left. So they're about 25 megs a piece as far as jpegs go. What I do then is I don't go through, some people will use Photo Mechanic or Bridge to make more select. We already did all that. I'm not doing that another time. We have these in our finder here. So I'm just gonna open 'em up one at a time in Photoshop and we are going to do a little quick editing.

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!