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Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 19 of 48

Review Images in Capture One


Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 19 of 48

Review Images in Capture One


Lesson Info

Review Images in Capture One

So what I want to do next is I want to kind of go through some of these shots. And I don't necessarily want to, let me get back to my notes, make sure we did everything. So I had white cover image, white close up, gray dramatic lit, hard-light, directional or flat from close-up, and a soft light. So we pretty much did everything plus a few other additions. And then from the shot earlier when we had the studio, or the environmental; different angles, stand up sit down, for me, do two light, do three light, get movement - dribbling, long lens/cinematic. Remember horizontal and vertical. Action - Dribble, sit down, I didn't do that cause I didn't want to move the light too much. So just some things that keep me, oh and then I have jacket on, jacket off. So, just to make sure we get everything. I think we did plus a few things. So I feel good about that. We took, you know, 263 tethered shots. Who know how many are on the card because it came unplugged. Probably just a few, it didn't come u...

nplugged too much. But I really like these shots here. As far as having a little attitude and personality. So the next thing I would do, let me look at one thing real quick to make sure we got it. And these are why I keep these notebooks I go through these things like crazy. So I want to make our selects. So what I do for making selects is I just order them all by how they came in, filename. How they're in the computer already. I start with at the top and I go through each image setup. And in capture one, you can see underneath these thumbnails you have these dots. The image I have selected, if I hit one it makes one star, if I hit five it make five stars. So if you hit zero it gets zero stars. So what I want to do is quickly scroll through and I have a shot in my head. As a photographer I know there's certain technical details I'm looking for, there's certain mood, there's certain things I know we were striving for on the actual shoot. So if I feel like it is good enough to make the next round I'll just give it a one. So I'm just going to quickly go through and things like that reflection in the window, oh hey. I know people have commented on previous classes. If I'm ever selling lenses on the internet do not buy them. Cause I can't guarantee function. But anyways I'm not going to deal with things like that reflection on my first edit. Because this shots not strong enough to go on and Photoshop that window. You know, this one on the other hand might be there. I really like that, I'm loving this haze we got from the, from the light that was up high. It kind of looks like there's some sort of dust or it's the sun or something, I'm loving that. So again, these are just instinctual. I'm not going to go back and look at these again. I'm just going back I'm going through. I'm being, you know, pretty liberal with my approach because I'm going to go through them again and add more. So I'm just looking for like, that silver thing I did not want to go through his face went through his face but I still like this shot. It's not an impossible fix by any means, its just annoying. So I'm just looking for the shots that have a a good feel for me as a photographer. And that I feel represent kind of what we were going for in this shoot, and feel authentic like it was an actual moment. So again, I go through them pretty quick. People will give me grief, they'll say oh you shot 800 images on a two hour shoot, or whatever. They're digital they're all going to get We're not paying for film here so why not if there's moments be captured I'd rather have them then worrying about getting a new external hard drive. And that's why I shoot a lot because you never know when the eye contact or whatever is going to be just right. That you get that shot you want. Yeah, and there's that one without that grid. And again even these, I'm not going to use any of these in black and white. I'm going to take them back to color. But I know what I'm looking for. And I know the lighting is all properly exposed because its the same metering done throughout this entire process. So I'm just looking for moments that feel like flattering to both Brock and the lighting, everything kind of lined up. And that they're sharp. So we're just going to go through those. I'm giving all these one star. I'll show you how we transition to giving some- making our final selects here shortly. Alright now we're onto the white so I know these first ones were Tess. There we go that's pretty sharp. That's different fill lights so you can see how we went from no fill, to light fill, to full fill, to going back down because it was to much. Just making- if this were for a magazine I'd be picking out my favorite ones from each section. So they'd get a variety of poses but I get rid of the garbage shots first because if you give them the garbage shots for some reason they always pick the ones that you hate the most and I never know why. So I try and give good variety of shots that cover everything but get rid of the obvious ones that if they end up published I'll cringe or not want to share. So I try and give as much as I can without giving away the things that I don't care for. And again you can see how we work from far away to close. And again you can crop if you want but I'd rather have resolution and shot it up front. On to the next lighting setup. Yeah, these were, there's some potential in here. This soft light setup actually worked pretty slick. And then the most recent setup. We'll get rid of that one now. There we go. I like that moment there. Some attitude. I like that, a little bit of eye contact. Some action, that's good. That's good. I'm pretty good with that so now what were going to do is we're going to sort them. We have 262 images, we're going to sort by rating. Scroll back up to the top. All of our one stars have now moved up the ladder. And we went from 262 to 34 images. So that's a pretty good cut. We got rid of a bunch of stuff. I'm actually okay with that, I'm going to two star just a couple of them that I want to edit later. I like that one a lot. I like that one a lot. I like a lot of these quite a bit. But I can't do them all. I'm going to reset this one back to color. And then I'm going to apply these settings to that shot so it kind of fits in and matches all those. Same thing here, we're resetting it and pasting. Same thing here, just takes two seconds it's worth doing. I like that one. Alright so now we've got, we've went from our 34 selects down to what I think will be the final cut. These ones would get processed to high-res jpegs. We have nine images out 262. One outfit, a couple different setups. Its not often you're going to look at a magazine that has nine different images of one person in it. So, you know if I can go through a whole shot. If I could get two images from this side and two images from this side that are stellar. I would be pumped because that's enough to make a new section of my website or a new you know a new submission that has new content. And it's enough to throw in an email promo and say hey I just did a shoot of basketball player and here's some new stuff. So, its just kind of how you want to work it and how you want to think of it. A lot of photographers get mad if, you know. You're not shooting, you know, a wedding, you don't need 400 good shots for a bride to go through. That's why weddings are really tough because you need so much good stuff in a high pressure environment. With these type of situations I just need a few good shots. In a controlled environment, if something goes wrong I can just have them do it again. So, these would be the ones I would process. So that's basically how I'd go through, make my selects. And then we'll get into the whole exporting and processing thing in the next chapter. But that's pretty much all I got there so if we want to have any questions or anything like that I'd love to hear. I know we went over a lot from all the different lighting setups and now making select so there could be a little overwhelming amount of info. But hopefully it's enough to digest and we can kind of take that moving forward into the next chapter. Well I agree with Nicole's comment who says, "Wow, nice narrowing speed. I take way too long, so." (laughs) Yeah, and you can't let your emotions get into it and have this picture in your head. It's either a yes or a no. And usually your instinct is right. And if you're not good at editing yourself or culling through, have someone who is. I know a lot of times if I get a connection to a set of images, one of my good friends Victoria Wells, she's a great editor. I'll send the whole lot to her, I'll make a web gallery and I'll say star your favorites through a site like ShootProof or something. It's like, pick four and you don't need to say why. I just will go with those four because you know. Sometimes you get a little connection to your work. Weather its the subject, location, the circumstances. And that's another great, another great thought off of that is sometimes in your portfolio. And we'll get to this later on. You know, you'll have that weak link image that you don't understand why it's weak but everybody else is like oh this has no impact, but its that emotional connection. And there might have been something great from that shoot within the entire take but you get a connection to these images, so. Yeah, I take all emotion out of it and I look at it from the stand point of what has the most impact visually. And what hit the shot for me that I have an instant connection, star it, and move on. That's great advice. Question? Yeah. As far as building out lighting equipment and setups, and what not. We've seen a fair amount of stuff today. I'm wondering if you ever recommendation as far as us here and those at home who may be starting to build their own lighting setups? Maybe something used most often, most versatile, light modifier? Yeah, yeah. Kind of a first direction for us here and those who are watching to move towards? No that's a great question and I think as far as actual hardware goes for the lights themselves, that's up to your budget and what you can afford. I have had every type of lights from a full set of AlienBees, to Hensel lighting equipment, to Norman ighting equipment, to now Profotos. Had I bought, I couldn't afford Profotos in the start. But had I bought Profotos earlier I wouldn't have had all this other equipment that I've definitely spent more money on. And one of the things that I love about these is the fact, this is just not a sales pitch by any means. But, the fact that the flash tubes are flat. When I had the AlienBees and the Hensel Lights. I broke so many flash tubes that the amount I saved in money buying those could have been made up for in flash tubes. So just things like that. But as far as modifiers go, where to start. You guys all saw what I shot today. So if there was a quality of light at you liked if you go back and watch you might say oh I really liked how that beauty dish looked. You know, it's more so how you use it. But for me, it's that soft lighter umbrella. That 46 inch, I think that things great because you can move it around, you can also take the baffle off and you have a silver umbrella so it's kind of a 2-in-1. I also really like the beauty dish because it has you know it's qualities, plus with that grid you can really, you know, really make the light do what you want to do. So again, I think earlier I said if I had to have three I'd have that Photec, which it under $100 bucks. I'd have the Beauty Dish with the grid. And then I'd have one of these harsher light reflectors weather its a seven inch or a magnum. And I'd kinda just go from there. And the rest you can modify by using V-flats or reflectors to kind of massage the light to make it do what you want it to do. Thanks. Yep Great. Great question. Any other questions? We did have a quick question from a photo maker online who said "does it matter if the umbrella has the silver or just the white interior finish for the impact on the lighting emitted." And that is when you had that sock over it so I don't know. Yeah, so, the question was what? Oh, Was what's the difference between the white interior and the silver interior. So the silver interior is just going to reflect more light so it's going to have more specular highlights. If you have the sock on it and you put the silver next to the white and you were to meter, the silver one would actually meter brighter than the white because the white one is absorbing more light and reflecting it softly. Where there's more specularity from the silver one. Once you put the sock on, it definitely knocks off that edge so there's not a lot of difference. The Photecs, I don't have it open right now. But that's actually like a really soft satin-silver interior. It's kind of similar between the Profoto silver and the white. So it's kind of a good in between. But once you put that sock on there it knocks off a lot of that specular edge. Great. Thank you. Did you have a question Carlos? When you work in editorial shoots how many photos do you deliver for the client to pick from? Yeah, that's a great question. I mean it really depends on the shoot and their shot list. Because a lot of times they will provide a shot list up front. You know, for that turkey call maker. They had a shot list that said we need how to construct- We need to know how to construct a turkey call out of a turtle shell and something else. We need to know how to construct another- So, they had a shot list where it was at least ten steps for each one so all of a sudden my deliverables were like 200 images. Where if it's a portrait, I did a shot for Time Magazine a couple years ago, of a woman for like the 100 most influential people. And I only had 15 minutes to do the shoot. And it was seamless in in this, it was kind of like a zoo type area where she was holding a baby monkey. And for one, this baby, it was a Bonobo. Only had a you know, patience for about five minutes worth of shooting. So then it was like how many shots can I get. I gave them maybe three dozen images. And its like one setup, three dozen images here's everything I shot, I don't know. You take what works because the limitations on each shoot are different. So I try and give the most variety that's technically solid, and let them pick what works for the layout or for whatever they had in mind. But again like I said if there is something that obviously bad I delete that because I don't really want anyone to see it. So, yeah, so it just really depends on the job.

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!