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Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Lesson 1 of 48

Class Introduction


Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Lesson 1 of 48

Class Introduction


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

I am Bella Kotak and I'm a fine art photographer from the UK. And I am Pratik Naik. I'm one of our full time assistants. (laughter) Just kidding, I'm a retoucher. I do editorial, commercial, and retouching. So you may be wondering, why we are both here today? 'Cause Bella does these spectacular images that you see. Well, the reality is, we work as a team for many of her projects. I get involved in many ways. Most of the time, I do help with the retouching, the fine polish, and she does a lot of the vision and the art. Yeah, so I would say that I'm definitely bringing the more creative, artistic side. I'm taking the photos, and taking them as far as I can- Yes. In terms of editing, and then I work with Pratik, and he does the final polish on top of all my work. And I honestly feel like my work's been elevated since we started working together. And you know what the other bonus is? Yeah. When I get to work with someone like Bella, I end up seeing a lot of things that I woul...

dn't have noticed as a retoucher. 'Cause as a retoucher, sometimes you're really technical, you're obsessed with details, and when you work with someone like Bella, and you see this vision as an artist, you see other ways of creating things that you wouldn't have considered. So, in a way, you have a fine art background too. Yeah. I started out as a painter. Yeah, exactly. And when I see stuff like that, I'm inspired. So, I think anybody watching today could be inspired no matter what we do. And with us, we've been working together for about four years now. Yeah. And we're partners as well, which is really sweet. (laughter) Yeah, I won the Photoshop lottery. That's how I like to think about it. But really, if you look at her, you can see who won the actual lottery. Oh no, stop. (laughter) So today we're gonna be starting with Bella going through her actual presentation with how she started, her origins, because your magic actually started before we started working together. It started with how you enter photography, and how you process. So I'm gonna leave it to you to talk about your journey, and then I'm gonna come back later, and then we can go from there. So, before we do that, let's talk about our schedule today. Yes, so- There's a clicker right behind you that you can grab if you want. That's right. Thank you. I was gonna do mind control, but that's okay. (laughter) Yeah, thank you very much. So yeah, actually, this is something we worked on together, isn't it? Right. Yeah. This image was really beautiful. It's a good compilation of what we've done. Yes, that's right. So, very quickly, today. We are gonna start off the day with a conversation about artistic vision, inspiration. After that, we're gonna talk about teamwork, communication with your team, how to find a team, resourcing your team, clothes, how to pull all that together. After that, we're gonna have live photo shoot on location, which has already been pre-recorded. So we're gonna go through that, and I'll be here talking through that while we're watching the videos, which is really cool. I'm excited to show you what we got up to. Right. And then after that, we have a live photo shoot here in the studio, which I'm very excited about. (Pratik laughs) It looks great, yeah. We're gonna have a flower wall, we're gonna be shooting it over there, and yeah. I think you're gonna enjoy this. The best part about that is you do a lot of stuff on location, but people don't know how much you do in studio, too. And I wanna show people the difference in what it takes to shoot in studio versus on location, and the differences, and the pros and cons of each. Yeah, yeah, definitely, 'cause if we're in the location one, we're using natural light, very minimal set-up. And then in the studio one, there's a bit more thought into that, and how to craft that image. Exactly. So it's gonna be really exciting. So in a way we're going from basics all the way to advanced, and everything in between. We wanna show people you could do this, no matter what you have. Yeah. That's the key emphasis. Yeah, just to keep it as authentic as possible as well, 'cause this is pretty much how I do things. Yeah. And I really just wanna share that with you, everything that I've learned. That's why you're here. Very authentically. So, yeah, thank you. So then, after that we're gonna dive right in, later on, with close processing, which is my favorite part. I don't love flowers as much as she does. (laughter) We're gonna go through the post-processing side, starting with Capture One, and then jumping into color toning, which is a big segment. People keep asking us, you know, "Bella, how do you color tone your work," and "How do you get those beautiful tones that we can't seem to get?" And we're gonna be exposing that in its entirety. Exposing all the colors! Yes, exposing everything! Okay, let's not go there, not yet at least. (laughter) Then after that, we're gonna talk about something we've created, which is like, Fine Art Actions. Yes, yeah. We've packaged a lot of your style and color work and- Yeah, I often get asked about my color toning process, and a lot of people, and it's so difficult for me to explain that sometimes, even in a workshop. And, especially because people from around the world can't make a workshop sometimes. So we made Fine Art Actions to make our, my colors, accessible to everybody else. Especially for learning as well. Yeah, especially for learning. And then after that, I'm gonna get involved and talk about the final details when it comes to retouching, polishing up an image, which should end up finalizing everything we've done through the whole set. Yeah, that's right.

Class Description

It’s one thing to have a creative imagination but bringing your visions to life requires a specific skillset. You need to understand the technical challenges facing you to move from concept to planning production and finalizing your image. The amazingly talented duo of Bella Kotak and Pratik Naik will walk through every detail to creating your conceptual vision. Bella will help you understand how to evaluate locations and environment, pose your model, see color in a new way, and create beautiful props on a budget. Pratik will share his vast knowledge of color theory, color toning, and compositing images to streamline your retouching workflow. This class will offer an in-depth look at creative production and retouching process. 

You’ll learn: 
  • How to concept and develop a scene
  • Color theory and how it applies in camera and in post production
  • Location practices to guide your eye toward beauty in common environments
  • Communication tactics for collaborating with other artists
  • Lighting techniques for composite images and fine art portraits
  • Basic retouching of an image
  • Color toning techniques in Capture One
  • Compositing techniques for bringing an image together



Great class and great instructors. Genuine and informative. Practical tips to create stunning images. Seeing them work through the process from shoot to finished image was great and I loved that they shared the thought processes behind the creative decisions. Definitely recommended!


Truly a remarkable duo. Bella is so down-to-earth and humble for a photographer with such a strong beautiful and ethereal voice. Her explanations of her process really inspired me--I was sketching concepts throughout the class. Pratik's process really opened my eyes to "smart" retouching--understanding what can be done in fewer brush strokes and slimmer PS files. All in all a really unique and inspiring class that makes me excited to realize my next conceptual shoot. They're also adorable together!

Mai Her

I've gained sooooo much from this I can't even contain my appreciation and excitement! So much inspiration and so much generous advice and tips to help me! Thank you so much Bella and Pratik and Creative Live!

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