Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 22 of 48

Retouching & Color Overview

 

Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 22 of 48

Retouching & Color Overview

 

Lesson Info

Retouching & Color Overview

As far as retouching and color goes, the key to my retouching is to shoot clean. Like I said before, if you like spending a lot of time in Photoshop then don't use a light meter and shoot sloppy. But if you do like to have free time, shoot clean. Using a light meter takes an extra 20 seconds and it'll save you a lot of time of fixing blown highlights or bringing back super dark shadows. Also just knowing the basics of lighting and being able to experiment. As I work around the studio and have these experimental days where I just photograph myself or my assistant for hours on end. That helps me have cleaner light upfront because I know what the light's doing. That way when I get into an actual shoot for a client I'm not having to spend the whole time retouching because I didn't know what the light was gonna do. For me it's all about the preparation from writing everything in my notebook to make sure I got the shot to metering to experimenting, it's all done ahead of time so when I'm on ...

the shoot it's pretty stress free. Usually the most anxiety ridden part of any photo shoot for me is the week leading up to it because once I'm there all the details are taken care of. All I need to do is put a camera in my hand and that's how it should be, cause you should have a clear mind when you're trying to create these images, not worry about, I don't really know if I should use this reflector or that one because I don't know which one's gonna have the effect. Well test before hand and you'll sleep pretty well the night before the shoot. So that's how I like to do it, I don't like going into anything, again I'm a last minute guy, I like deadlines but at the same time I like to have everything done before I get there because I don't like having that stress of thinking I'm under prepared. Embrace the subject, slight cleanup but natural. What I mean by that is, I don't do a ton of retouching, I'm not a beauty photographer, I'm not photographing for a makeup company, I'm not shooting high end fashion models. I don't need perfect skin, I need people that look real. So if there's a blemish or something that might be out of the ordinary or there is a special request from a client to get rid of a mole or birthmark or things like that I will certainly do that. But on my own accord, I'm not gonna remove that type of stuff. I'll remove acne or that type of stuff because it's not gonna be there in a couple months hopefully. So I want pictures to be flattering but I also want the to be real so I won't do a whole bunch of skin cleanup. And you'll see that when we go through all these images today. I do all my retouching with my tablet here. I bought this thing in college and I'm 34 years old so that was a while ago. For the first four years I owned it I never took it out of the box because I thought it was the worst invention ever, I couldn't figure out how to use it. I was using a mouse and then one time a guy I was talking to, he was like; you really don't use that tablet, you know you're kind of like a caveman retouching with a mouse. It's like a caveman with a rock drawing on the side of a cave. And it thought yeah you're right, it isn't that precise and then my mouse died. Not the batteries died, the whole thing just died 10 o'clock at night and I needed to write some emails and do some stuff on the internet. So I was forced to buss this guy out of the box and browse the internet using the tablet cause it was the only way I could do it on my desktop ad I've never went back. I started retouching with it that night, I got used to it and now almost probably 10 years later I'm still on the original setup. It was well worth the couple hundred bucks I spent in college and I'm glad it made its way out because retouching on a track pad, I've seen people who are awesome at it but that is not for me. So I like retouching with the tablet and there's newer versions of this that are great but if it aint broke, is that a saying (chuckles), don't fix it. So we'll keep going after that failed attempt at a joke. Find your palette, it's part of your point of view and identity as a photographer. What you're gonna see is we're going to get into different ways of colorizing your photos, color grading your photos. Whether it's the color stuff you can do within Capture One or whether it's all the color grading you can do with an alien scan, all the filters and all that. It's really easy to get lost and lose your identity. It's also really easy spend two hours on one image and have 40 layers and eight gigabyte PSD file. You don't need to do that. It's always fun to go through when you just get the software and figure out what you like. But with any of these versions of the software, especially Alien Skin; you can mark favorites, you can make pre-sets. So that way you don't have to go down that rabbit hole every time you open the software. I have a certain look, as you're gonna see in a little bit, Alien Skin probably has, I don't even know, thousands of filters and hundreds of thousands of combinations literally. I use about 10 of them. So I went through all of them at one point, tweak certain ones to fix, it'd be two in the morning and I would still be working on the same file that I started at 10 o'clock. Because I want to figure out which of these fit different scenarios. So I have certain filters I like for natural light, I have certain filters I like for studio, I have certain combinations I like for black and white. So I do all my black and whites in Alien Skin, I'll show you one of those. And I do all my color work in Alien Skin as well. And it's pretty quick and once you find one apply it to all the images from that same set because if you start messing with different filters on different images you're gonna not be able to put those on your website cause people won't even know if they're from the same shoot. So find your identity and stick with it cause it's really easy to get lost in those types of programs because there's so many options. So it's a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. Next thing, a little more retouching and color. Again, Alien Skin and Photoshop, those are the two program we're gonna talk about along with Capture One.

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! ;-)