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FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Lesson 1 of 19

Class Introduction

Victoria Will

FAST CLASS: Portraits Under Pressure

Victoria Will

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

I have a lot to share with you guys actually about my creative process. So let's talk about why we're here. Uh, hope. And I think it's because, uh, you want to grow is photographers and you want to evolve your art and you want to push yourself creatively. I think maybe something, something like that. That's why we look for platforms like Creativelive. Uh, and I think you're also here because you want to make beautiful, emotionally connected, moment driven images. I think that's what we all strive to dio. And you want to do that regardless of the circumstances. So regardless of the obstacles that are put in your way, So I want to show you this image I shot in this room. It's pretty right. I shot this image of Steve Martin in this room, and actually, I'll go back and show you this. He's sitting on what looks like a speaker, right? Well, it's actually a refrigerator, a mini fridge that I found in the employee lounge of this location. I shot both of these images, which are obviously very d...

ifferent and feel in this room, which is essentially a storage room. The point is, you really can make a beautiful, connected image anywhere. Uh, a lot of I think we make excuses for ourselves. Oh, I didn't have time. I didn't. You know there was the light wasn't good. You know, I don't have that. I have to come back. If I'm on assignment, I have to come back with the portrait. So I have to just put the excuses aside. So when we're shooting and were on assignment or were even shooting personal work for ourselves, there's a lot of pressure that we put on ourselves as photographers. Both the kind, um, you know, creatively. We're really trying to strive to make something great, but also the pressures that given to us from things that are out of our hands, like perhaps a publicist who's trying to rip the subject away and take them to their next interview. Well, during this workshop, I'm going to share with you my creative process and the tools that I used to alleviate those pressures. I'm going to go over everything from how I planned for a shoot, because every shoots different. So I take all of the things that I know about the shoot and will make decisions based specifically on that. I'm also going to talk to you about how I pick my gear and how I troubleshoot on the fly, how I work with clients and also how we work with my team. That's also really important to bring my shoots toe life. And honestly, I'm going to talk about everything in between. And so if you have questions, definitely, let me know we're going to do four live shoots with real time editing. So I go over the four different types of shoots we're gonna do. The 1st 1 is a very riel rial situation or the very similar circumstances to if I was on assignment with a celebrity for a magazine. So I'm not gonna have a lot of time to set up. I'm not gonna really know what the subject is wearing, and we're just gonna all be in this together. So we're gonna approach it that way and you'll see how I handle that. The 2nd 1 will be mimicking natural window light in a studio. So as if we were shooting in here. But this window didn't exist. So I want to create this sort of light. I get asked about that often in my work. So I want to share that with you. The third shoot Conquering difficult spaces. Uh, that is a little bit more. When we get to that segment, it's more like a portrait challenge because I don't know who I'm shooting, and I don't know where I'm shooting. So you guys are going to see our subjects and our spaces at the same time that I am, and you can watch me sort of work through the process and then, um, ask questions, Sort of, you know, why made the decisions I made. And then the last one, The fourth chute will be actually shooting outside with natural light and incorporating strobes and also touch on working a group situation. And then, after each shoot, I'll go through my take frame by frame so you can see exactly what I shot. The mistakes I made which images I selected and why, and what I'll do is, um, approach it the way I was editing for magazine. So I narrow it down and then show you the photos that I would then later do postproduction on and send to the editor. From there. We're going to talk about marketing. I'm gonna talk to you about how I take the work. Then I'm making, and I get into the hands of the people that I want to hire me. It's so important marketing. It's like the giant eye roll of the industry. Everyone's like, Oh, God, I have to update my website. I have to do my portfolio. Do I really have to email them? Should I pick up the phone and call them? There's a lot of questions that people have, and I will tell you how how I do it. My approach to it and I brought some old portfolios of mine. And my current one, along with some promo, is that I've sent out in the past so you can see how I've done it. And I'm gonna touch on social media. Of course, the good and the bad. I think it's a double edged sword, and I'll talk to you guys about rep relationships. All right, so what is portraiture? Well, to may, it's three things. It's a craft. It requires particular skills, right, as most crafts do, and and photography, it's lighting. It's understanding your camera. It's computers, it's Photoshopped. But it's also an art. It's your voice. It's how you come through in your imagery. That's the artistry of a portrait. In the last part is the collaboration and the connection. It's about what you're creating in that moment. On that set, how you connect and collaborate with your team is just as important is how you connect and collaborate with your client and also, most importantly, your subject. I have said this before. You may have heard me say this before. I don't think that taking a portrait is capturing somebody soul. I just don't It's not That's not my philosophy to it in any way. Um, I think there's an important two portraiture, which we'll talk about later and a responsibility that comes with it. But I think that the perfect images when the craft, the art and the collaboration all come together. So finally, through our time together, I'm going to share with you my philosophy on portraiture and ultimately, how that directly effects how I connect with my subjects. Great lighting doesn't make a great picture if the portrait isn't there first. I wanted to say that I get because it's people go What great lighting doesn't make a great picture if the portrait isn't there. First Portrait is the most important part the essence of the image. It's about the gesture and the connection and the emotion, and I will walk you through the ways that I create that because I think that's the heart of portraiture.

Class Description


Try a Fast Class – now available to all Creator Pass subscribers! Fast Classes are shortened “highlight” versions of our most popular classes that let you consume 10+ hours in about 60 minutes. We’ve edited straight to the most popular moments, actionable techniques, and profound insights into bite-sized chunks– so you can easily find and focus on what matters most to you. (And of course, you can always go back to the full class for a deep dive into your favorite parts.)

Full-length class: Portraits Under Pressure with Victoria Will

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  • Leverage new techniques for choosing the light and locations for a successful portrait
  • Know how to build a rapport and utilize clear communication with your subjects
  • Set up a developed concept as well as how to light on the fly
  • Use successful strategies for marketing yourself as a photographer and how to get your work in front of editors


Portraits require more than just great lighting and equipment. Sometimes a shoot doesn’t go as planned. The location is drab, the client isn’t in the best mood, or you forget to charge your camera batteries. Great portrait photography artists are able to think on their feet, connect with their subjects -- and capture great images under pressure. The best portraits often come from portrait sessions that didn't go exactly as planned, when challenges turn into assets.

Celebrity portrait photographer Victoria Will shows you how to use your environment to capture a unique, sharp image that reflects the person in the portrait. She’ll also highlight how to quickly evaluate a less than perfect situation and make it work for you and your subject. Take your portraits from amateur to near Mona Lisa gallery worthy by learning how to shoot portraits under pressure.

You’ll watch Victoria photograph real people in limited settings, discovering multiple opportunities in a limited space. Learn her three portrait musts for preparation, point-of-view, and connection. Gain insight into how to make every frame count and how to get the shots the editor requested, as well as those that speak to your vision. Learn how to make your subject feel comfortable in only a few moments while capturing exquisite photo collections in Portraits Under Pressure.


The photographer looking to improve their portraiture through thoughtful lighting, creative techniques and leveraging the environment around you to get a consistent appearance.

Class Materials

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Reference Guide

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