Environmental Portrait Photography

Lesson 17/48 - Shoot: Create Intentional Shadows


Environmental Portrait Photography


Lesson Info

Shoot: Create Intentional Shadows

Now the one thing I'm gonna do is kind of screw it all up and I'm gonna have you relax for a second. We're gonna do a couple action shots in studio, so when I was talking about that paparazzi style light earlier with the on-camera flash, I do that a lot of times with the Profoto at the B2, because I can hand hold it. I happen to have my own personal B2 back here. And then I fill that in with one of these big umbrellas, cause there is gonna be some fall off, and that will be our last light set up. At least that's what I say, but I keep looking at the clock and we have time, so why not keep playing? And we're gonna go back to the white type of background. So, actually we are going to do two things. Brock, I'm going to have you stand back on the seamless, about, so don't lean back on this. This is not a wall. That happened once. Someone thought it was a wall and ended up through the seamless with everything ruined, and that's not good. So, this is not a wall. Stand right where I'm at. I'v...

e been lighting him from this side a lot, so I'm gonna light him from this side. So stay right where you're at. We're gonna do one harsh light, where we're purposefully gonna throw a shadow on the wall. Now, the thing about shadows is they fall opposite the light, so the more our light is centered, the more that shadow's gonna directly behind him. But if we want the shadow to go off to a side, we need to move the light a little bit. So I'm gonna put it about right here. I'm gonna put it up pretty high, because I want that shadow to fall down. I don't want it to be directly next to his head. Same thing applies with the height of the light and shadows. And then we're gonna fill it in with this, but just to show you, I'm gonna start off with no fill. We're gonna shoot at F-8. And we are going to cast a shadow. Then we're going to move that light slowly back to the center position to show how to get that kind of an on-camera flash effect. F-5, we need to go up. Another third. To F-8, so we're good. All right, so you can stay right in there. I'm gonna have you turn just a little bit more this way. Yep, head right towards me. And then hold that ball down here. Perfect. (shutter clicks) So, I don't like how far away that shadow is right now. We've got two options here: For one, it's at an awkward distance. We either need to move farther away from the backdrop, which we can do, so take a step away from the backdrop, because that will give more space for his shadow to fall away. And I can also keep the light over here, so his shadow will kick out of frame. So, as of right now, I don't think we'll get a shadow on the backdrop if I do this second shot. Could be wrong. So, it's close. I don't mind that as much, especially if I were to get, turn your head that way once. (shutter clicks) Chin down a little bit. And if I move this way ever so slightly. (shutter clicks) So it's just a different look. Now what we can do is get back towards the backdrop again for me. Like right almost so you're as close as you can get without, you can ease your way back there. And we're gonna make the shadow be an actual part of the shot, so it's gonna fall almost directly behind him. So Brock, I'm gonna have you stare right at the camera. Yep, just like that. (shutter clicks) And we didn't change distances, so that, I don't know. That's art people. All right, we'll reconnect. There we go. Actually, that was the previous image. One, two, three. (shutter clicks) All right, so now you can see we've changed where that shadow goes. If you want that head shadow that's falling below his chin to not be so prominent below his chin, you need to lower the light. Cause that's gonna make his shadow go higher up. And these are all things that I do when I'm experimenting in the studio, photographing myself on the tripod. It's really thrilling. One, two, three. (shutter clicks) And there we go. That shadow's slowly going. It's just a matter of what you wanna do. If you want to move it to the other side, do this. One, two, three. This will be less distracting, because it will be on the opposite side of his face. So there's all that type of stuff you can do. This is kinda more that on-camera flash feel. One, two, three. (shutter clicks) I actually like that quite a bit.

Class Description

Are most of your portrait sessions in an environment other than a studio? Learn to light your subject in any setting through simple techniques that lead to dynamic photos. Editorial photographer and lighting expert, Dan Brouillette teaches how to work in and shape light for any environment (indoors or outdoors) while creating a workflow that allows you to work independently and quickly. You’ll learn:

  • How to light in a variety of portrait scenarios
  • The benefits of tethering while shooting
  • Quick lighting solutions to enhance your shot on set
  • Culling techniques and post processing tactics to create high end images and portfolios

By incorporating light in new and inventive ways, Dan will help you push the boundaries of your portraits and improve your workflow. It’s time to work on your skills and expand your creativity to attract the clientele you’ve always wanted to have. 


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!

Rita Carmo

I do this kind of Photography for almost 20 years (previously in film, obviously). I can see myself exactly in all that Dan is teaching. Congrats! It is so great to see that, (almost) on the other side of the globe, we can work exactly the same way :)

Terry Hammond

The information given so far is so valuable! Dan is so relateable and shares personal experiences that I personally connect with! He shares information that I thought would be a stupid idea; a perfect example being taking a notebook onto shoots with things to remember. Dan even said that sometimes he also goes mind blank on set, so the notebook keeps him grounded. Love this guy!!