Lighting and Posing for a Cinematic Portrait

Lesson 6/9 - Shoot: Strobes with Silver Reflector


Lighting and Posing for a Cinematic Portrait


Lesson Info

Shoot: Strobes with Silver Reflector

I wanna mess with a little bit of something closer up. So what I want you to do is stay about where you are. We're gonna turn this fill light down and I'm gonna grab the 72 hundred ones and I actually brought. So while we're so used to using white v-flats and reflectors you can do certain things, weird catch-lights and other things, using this $1.19 piece of metallic poster board that I bought at Hobby Lobby. And you can actually use fill with that. So we're gonna turn this all the way down so we almost have no fill and I'm gonna have John hold this in different places. So what I'm gonna do is you're gonna stand about how you are, turned this way, looking over that shoulder, into our light. So maybe look towards the screen, like towards where your feet are on that screen, or a little higher. And don't even worry about your hands so much, they're not gonna be in it. It's just gonna be from like here up. And I'm gonna have you hold this in different places until we see something that's a...

little interesting, so this is just a definite experiment. I'm gonna use the long lens so we get that perspective. We'll let it connect this time before I start shooting. That'd be good, huh? So do one without it at all. So looking over your shoulder that way. We're waiting for our tether connection. There we go. Looking hard over your shoulder, right there. I'm gonna pick a pretty interesting crop, something that's really close up. Eyes a little bit more towards camera. I'm watching where the whites of her eyes are. So just move your eyes, not your head. Not quite there. Right there. Perfect. Alright, so here's our test frame. There we go. It's something that's a lot more harsher than the normal studio light. We're gonna turn the highlights down just a little bit. Bring up the shadows a tiny bit and we're gonna desaturate a little bit more. Just because of how I want it to look. And this is something I can picture as like a gritty black and white. Alright, so now if we wanna do something that just adds in a little bit of craziness to it we're gonna actually bring in the silver reflector and we don't know what's gonna happen, it's just kinda playing. Looking off that way, it's gonna start adding in some strange reflections. 1, 2, 3. Alright, get in really close with that thing. 'Cause my frame's pretty tight. 1. 2. 3. There we go. So it's almost like there's a second light over there. Yea, if you wanna move it up and angle it down. Look off that way again. Eyes towards me. 1, 2, 3. And the reason I'm doing that, look where you were, I'm just gonna explain why I'm directing you that way. Look at the whites of her eyes in these two shots. So you can see there was just too much. I love the head angle but especially in this eye-- oops, that one--there's just way too much white so by moving her eyes over more, and we could even go further with it.

Class Description

Creating a cinematic look to your portraits will add another dimension by incorporating depth, emotion, and movement. Award-winning editorial and advertising photographer Dan Brouillette breaks down the components of lighting for a strong portrait. He will show you how he uses different lenses and lighting setups to make your portraits stand out and take on new life. He'll also explain how to direct the subject so they are involved to help bring all of the elements together for an amazing and cinematic photograph.



I was interested in this course firstly because I am interested in this type of image and secondly because of the negative reviews. I seldom watch instructional videos these days because I want to be instructed on all the details but I do watch lots of them because of the inspiration they can be for new work. This video is a walk through of some great shots taken by the photographer but that is fine by me and certainly gives some ideas for new material. The little bit of studio work on a white seamless is also fine and gives some insight into capturing the image, which is easily transferred to a hosed-down, back lit, cobbled alley or anywhere else you can imagine. I use this type of image in pre-wedding shoots and my only criticism is that the video could have given better examples of a really cinematic look. e.g. there is a scene in the movie 'Unbreakable' where Bruce Willis falls onto a pool cover in the pouring rain. The shot is made low to the ground with a long lens and it makes a terrific inspiration for a photoshoot. Or, there is the airport scene in 'Casablanca' or pulling the boat up-river in 'The African Queen', which I recently saw a Hong Kong photographer reproduce for a pre-wedding shoot in Iceland. There are millions of examples like this so finding more challenging scenes to motivate a cinematic look is not really hard. Google 'movie posters' and you will see what I mean. Nevertheless, there are good examples and some great ideas available here, making the videos value for money.


This course provided a practical application of some the basic creative tools and techniques that I learned years ago in an entry-level photography course in college. The beauty of Dan Brouillette's creative strategy and teaching style lies in his ability to make dynamic and interesting portraiture simplistically attainable. Brouillette breaks down his own work, walking you through the creative and technical process that he used. He is an interesting speaker--well-informed, technically proficient & relatable. I was lucky enough to be in the audience for this course. I found the content incredibly useful and easy to learn. Thank you for an awesome course!


I like Dan's easy going nature when presenting this information. Loved watching him demo this live!