Portrait Photography: Creating and Styling your Environment

Lesson 32/52 - Shoot: Building Environment Part 1

 

Portrait Photography: Creating and Styling your Environment

 

Lesson Info

Shoot: Building Environment Part 1

Actually was easier than I expected this set to be (laughs) as much as we did to it. Alright, so stay right there. Just look right at the camera. If anything, just kind of, I want a heavier kind of, tired, tired emotion. (camera shutter clicks) There we go, that's good, that's good. Bring your left hand out a little bit more, kinda more on your, yeah, and bend your elbow a little bit so it's kinda like, and you can drop that elbow down a little bit so it feels a little more relaxed. There we go. Yeah that's good. (camera shutter clicks) Chin down, just a little bit. Perfect. (camera shutter clicks) And then look, just kind of straight ahead off camera over there, there we go, that's good right there. (camera shutter clicks) Really nice. Look up a little higher. (camera shutter clicks) Good good good good. Just with your eyes, look right in the camera. (camera shutter clicks) Give me a little, kind of like, "What's up?" moment. Just like a slight head nod, there we go. (camera shutter c...

licks) Yeah there we go. Nice nice nice. Lips apart a little bit. And kinda deep breath (exhales deeply). (camera shutter clicks) There we go, good, and chin down a little bit. (camera shutter clicks) Right there. And then look past me, right up, right up there. (camera shutter clicks) That's awesome, that looks really nice. And then look kind of a little further out. (camera shutter clicks) Slightly tilt your head to, there we go, yeah, just like that, that's great. (camera shutter clicks) That looks really good, chin down a little bit more. (camera shutter clicks) Perfect. I'm gonna switch it up, I'm gonna bring your head kind of over in this direction. And lips apart a little bit. (camera shutter clicks) Look down a little bit more. Chin down a little bit more, too. There we go. (camera shutter clicks) Lips apart even a little bit more, kind of like a deep, deep breath. (camera shutter clicks) There we go, that's good, that's good. And then look right into the camera for this one. (camera shutter clicks) Perfect. And then swivel your head back around this way a little bit more. (camera shutter clicks) Good. Bring your head back right a little bit more again, even. (camera shutter clicks) Awesome. I love shooting on a tripod for this kinda stuff, 'cause then you don't have to hold the camera, you're not thinking about anything other than just the emotion of the subject, and you can fire away, which allows you to really cover a lot more ground for this kinda stuff. (camera shutter clicks) I'm gonna have you look down a little bit lower, kinda right at the edge of this flooring over there. There we go, that's good. (camera shutter clicks) And with your left hand, just kinda put it up like you're adjusting, adjusting your, your hat. (camera shutter clicks) Maybe your elbow up even higher, there we go yeah, just like that. And then stay right there and then eyes up. (camera shutter clicks) There we go, perfect. Up a little, eyes up a little bit more. (camera shutter clicks) And then look just past me right here, there we go. That's good, that's good. (camera shutter clicks) Perfect. And then look a little further, maybe kind of at that black triangle on the wall. (camera shutter clicks) Perfect. And then stay right there, just bring the walkie up a little bit more. Yeah right there. Hold it. Perfect. (camera shutter clicks) Try, can you try to sheath the walkie out so it shows a little bit more? Maybe hold it a little lower, so you see that, there we go, yeah. And just kinda bring it a little closer to your, to your chest. There we go, just like that. And bring it, towards the radio. There we go, yep. And then (camera shutter clicks) let's drop your, your left hand back down to your... Swivel your head towards me a little bit more, right there. (camera shutter clicks) And then bring the radio up a little bit more, lips apart like you're about to say, like, you're doing your, you're doing your, you gotta check in with, like, four ships that are out in the bay every night, you gotta do, like, nightly check-ins at 10, and 10:15, and 10:30. So you're just, roll call, basically. (camera shutter clicks) There we go. And then let's relax your left hand firmly on your leg, but I wanna have your elbow bend a little bit, you can bring it back in a little bit more. There we go, yep. And then drop that elbow back in a little, there we go. Actually, try, try like a fist or something, or... I don't wanna get too showy with the arm but I wanna try to find, like, a confident position for it somehow. There we go, yeah that looks good. Let's try that. And then tilt your head a little bit more to this side, there we go. Chin up a little bit. (camera shutter clicks) Man, these are awesome, I love this, that's good. (camera shutter clicks) That's really good. And then just eyes right at here. (camera shutter clicks) Lips apart a little bit more. There we go. (camera shutter clicks) Perfect. (camera shutter clicks) Give me kind of like a, like kind of a skeptical, like, "You do this to me every time. I have to call you up 10 seconds before you answer, like, pick up." You know? "I know you're out there, just pick up for crying out loud." (camera shutter clicks) There we go, yeah. Chin up a little bit more. And actually, maybe it might be help to actually just give me like "ahhhhh" even though we're obviously not getting audio, but just so your mouth can kind of believe the action a little bit better. (inaudible from assistant) Oh, thanks, yeah, I didn't even catch that. Can we, can we up, de-frizz kind of on the outer edge, too, a little bit more? And then, on camera right, on the inside under her chin there's a few strayaways that, there we go, yeah. That looks good? Yep. Cool. I feel like we could even, will you remind me at some point, let's, I wanna, for safety I wanna keep shooting like this, but at some point we should either try to get more haze or walk in that light at some point before we finish. Oh the flare light? Just to get even more even more flare if we can. Okay. There we go. (camera shutter clicks) There we go. Good good good. Alright look right at the camera. (camera shutter clicks) Lips apart, "ahhhhh." Ahhhh. There we go. Good good good. Give me a little head tilt, kind of again like, "Come on, pick up, sick of this." (camera shutter clicks) Deep breath, kind of like (exhales). (camera shutter clicks) There we go. Good good good. (camera shutter clicks) Looking right out here. And then just drop that (camera shutter clicks) that walkie down a little bit lower. You can, you can bring it back down in your hand a little bit more so it's not showing quite so much, there we go, yeah, that's nice. Alright, good. Can we you know what, can we Against where? So her foot can come down a little lower. So, yeah, yeah there we go, I wanna keep that other leg right where it's at, but I just wanna see a little more separation there. Nice, that's perfect. Are you comfortable? Is that okay? Is that, can you hold that? This? Yeah. Okay cool. (assistant speaking indistinctly) Alright, so lean a little bit more. There we go. And tilt your head a little to the, there we go, yeah. (camera shutter clicks) Josh, can you check focus on that for me? Focus is perfect. Okay cool. Awesome. (camera shutter clicks) Alright good. I'm gonna have you look right towards that camera right there. And you can even turn your head towards it, too. (camera shutter clicks) Just maybe an inch back towards me. Right there. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Let's see here. Okay. Let me just, I'm gonna do a quick review, I wanna kinda see where we're at, and what we've got. If we can change some stuff up or not. There's a part of me that feels like I'd like her to be a little higher. But I totally know what you're saying about, we don't really need to see more chair. It's gonna become part of the chair, yeah. If we go lower, then we're gonna start losing that light and I feel like the light's in a really good place. If you go lower, I don't think you lose the light, I think you gain the light, unless I'm... Well if I go lower and I don't pan, we lose the light. If I go lower and pan, yeah you're right we could maybe compress the two. Maybe, well, maybe that's the approach. Yeah, well it's worth looking at, unless you'll mess up what you've got. But then we'll lose our lines. Oh right, 'cause now you're out of, now you'd be pitchy. Right? Yeah. Let's do a few more here and then maybe we'll try that. That can be a, I love this, it feels really cool, but there's-- Or we can, certainly put her on a couple apple boxes, it's just the issue of, now you're dealing with a-- I, yeah, I, you're right-- Because think about the chair, if you just look with your eyes at that chair you're, it's not. Yeah. It's not helping yeah. I don't wanna see more of her, I just wanna see her higher in frame, I think. So, let me, let me shoot a little more here. And then we'll maybe Okay. Make that adjustment. (camera shutter clicks) Alright. (assistant speaking indistinctly) What's that? No, no, no. That one's not going anywhere. Okay, so. We got the haze still rolling. Alright. (camera shutter clicks) Stay right there, look right at the camera. (camera shutter clicks) Look right about here. (camera shutter clicks) Tilt your head a little bit to the side. Lips apart a little bit again. (camera shutter clicks) And then pick up the radio. There we go, yeah. (camera shutter clicks) Drop it down a little bit more. (camera shutter clicks) Drop it down a little bit more again. (camera shutter clicks) Look, try and see, look over kind of extreme to this side. There we, yeah there we go. (camera shutter clicks) Alright, mouth open again a little bit. (camera shutter clicks) Swivel your head back this way. Right there. And then, eyes over here again. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Perfect. And then stay right there, don't move your head but just with your eyes, look across the room. (camera shutter clicks) Okay, that's good, that's good. (camera shutter clicks) And let me see you looking right at camera, yeah there we go, I like that a lot. (camera shutter clicks) Hold it right there. (camera shutter clicks) Lips together. (camera shutter clicks) Beautiful, that's perfect. (camera shutter clicks) That's really nice. Eyebrows up a little bit more, even. (shutter catches) Oops. Hold on, let's try that again. (camera shutter clicks) Like, even more, kind of like, "Are you kidding me, man?" (camera shutter clicks) There we go, good good good good. Can you do one eyebrow? (model speaks indistinctly) (laughs) (camera shutter clicks) There we go. Tilt. There we go. Good good good. (camera shutter clicks) Alright. You can relax for a second. Let's... Can we, before I change camera, can we get can we get a bunch, a lot more haze in here just to kind of get a few plates? (assistant speaking indistinctly) (loud crack) Alright. (whistling) (indistinct talking) Huh? Would it be hitting her face right there? We're just getting some plates for haze, alright so I'm just gonna fire away here, (camera shutter clicks) you can relax. (camera shutter clicks) Okay good. (camera shutter clicks) Actually, just for the heck of it, Tracy, I'm gonna have you look kind of, try to hold it right there, tilt your head a little bit to the side. (camera shutter clicks) There we go. (camera shutter clicks) And maybe even hold the radio up a little bit higher. Chin down a little bit. (camera shutter clicks) Okay cool. (camera shutter clicks) Lean towards me just a little bit. Let me see here. You're only getting about 20 minutes. Okay cool, thank you. (camera shutter clicks) Ah, it's getting smoky. Alright you can cut that down a little bit. (camera shutter clicks) If you're still here we can't tell. Yeah yeah (laughs). (camera shutter clicks) Alright, I'm gonna fire a bunch. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Alright. (camera shutter clicks) Let's keep, yeah, keep pushing that a little bit. Do you need anything? Alright I'm gonna wait a second, let it let it fade a bit. That is a cool feature. (camera shutter clicks) Alright. (indistinct talking) (camera shutter clicks) What's that? Yeah, thanks. Let's... Did you move the... I pushed the Light? You just opened it out a little bit more? (camera shutter clicks) It might have been... Well, we'll see. It felt more effective before but it also could be just that the haze is too much right now. (camera shutter clicks) (crew members talking indistinctly) So, yeah, I think maybe focus it in a little bit. See, let me see. It could be in my head, but. I felt like we were getting a better effect before. And maybe even while we're here, let's, let's get it closer to... Hitting the camera and see what we get there. Try that, okay. (camera shutter clicks) Whoa, that's bright. Angle it out away a little bit more. Okay, firing. Gosh I almost looked at it (laughs). Have to warn myself I'm firing. (camera shutter clicks) Okay there we go. Still, it's feeling really hot. (camera shutter clicks) Maybe... Give me a big, give me a big hit with that cardboard right up in that area. Okay. (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) (camera shutter clicks) Okay. I think that gives us probably enough to work with. Come on. Still. It's not quite. (camera shutter clicks) Okay let me go back and see it again. You want that, like, lens flare? No I don't want lens flare. I just kinda wanted that, effect where it seemed like it was hazy but it's not blowing out. Right now it feels like it's blowing out, but. It's too much in the room. Yeah. Well, let me see. I think as long as I can find a plate where we had, that's getting pretty good right there, let's mark that. As long as we have something we can work with from some point. Then we don't have to make it perfect right now. That's pretty good, too. That's kinda nice. Cool. I think we've got, we've got something to work with in there. Let me get one more just (camera shutter clicks) for kicks. Okay so let's drop camera down. Okay. Like maybe four inches. Three to four inches. With regard to getting the, the look and the feel of the images that are coming up onto the monitor, people are saying that they have kind of a painterly look to them. Okay. And wondering if there's some processing that's going on immediately, are those the raw images? Those are just raw, right? Yeah, raw, raw. Just the raw raw. And so, is that because of the lighting? Is it because of the fog? Is it because of the camera that you're using? Would it be the same on a DSLR? I mean, it's probably some of all of that. The camera, as I said though yesterday, the camera, this has higher clarity and resolution than a lot of, than a lot of other, you know, other cameras do, medium format just has more detail to it. But really, for our purposes, that really should not affect much of what you're seeing. Like I said yesterday, a raw image from a medium format camera does not look any better than a raw image from an SLR of some sort, you know? Some are maybe more red or yellow than others or whatever but they're all a little messy. But I think, you know again, taking the time to kinda carve out the light in a certain way, that's something that, you know, we take the time to do in camera, because it does make a difference. You can do lots of things in post, and I certainly do rely on retouching, but you don't wanna do something just because, you know? And so when people say something looks painterly, I mean I think a lot of times we talked about Rembrandt lighting and we were catching that a little bit in some of these shots, but it's kind of just, you know this big window light, that is defined, but it also wraps. It has like, and the reason for that is, you know, if you think about, we're talking about a key light and when you see all the fill lights off, there's really hard shadows everywhere the key light's not touching. That's 'cause the key light's really small, but if you consider even a small window in a house, oftentimes it's bigger than the largest modifier we might use on strobes. And so when you have a window, or a large modifier, it's acting as key light. It's creating the pattern but it's also so large you're getting wrap from that window or large modifier also. So in those cases, your key light also becomes your fill. And a window can do that, too, so. That's the kind of light a lot of, you know, old painting masters would mimic also, so I think, you know, if that's kind of getting at what they're noticing. The other thing I think is just that we are using we're using atmosphere, like the haze to create this sense of depth. And we're using the light on the wall to kind of balance, we have this cool color, we're not even using cool light, but the cool color in the wall in the background is kind of balancing out that warm light on the wall, and then the warm gel on this light that's lighting up the haze, so. I think all those things kinda coming together are maybe getting at what they're talking about. But yeah, this is no, this is no post or any sort of contrast or anything added to it, this is just kind of our base, and then we'll probably push a lot of contrast into it once we get into post.

Class Description

Connect to your photos
Don’t capture another picture that says nothing of your own style. Grow your confidence in creating or styling a portrait that pops and, more importantly, resonates. Recognize that you’re tired of feeling disconnected to your photography.

Tap into your artistic vision
Establishing your creative voice and finding the inspiration and support to stay with it are essential skills for a career in photography. Commit to mastering the technical elements so you can save time in production, focus on creating images with emotion, and start making the pictures that express your creative vision and ultimately resemble what you want to get paid to take.

Learn from the authority: John Keatley
John’s photos have filled the pages of Rolling Stone, Wired, and the New York Times Magazine. He’s covered celebrities from Anthony Hopkins to Macklemore, and even had the rare opportunity to photograph Annie Leibovitz. He’s also passionate about education and supporting artists to find their personal style.

In this one-of-a-kind class, John breaks down how to conceptualize, produce, style, light and fine tune your ideas. He leads you through the creation of an environmental portrait series, showing you how to make a vision come to life with any budget.

What you get out of this exclusive shoot:

  • Find inspiration and execute your vision
  • Research and create desired environments for set design or location scouting
  • Cast for portrait and direct subjects on set
  • Build a team of support around your project
  • Lighting and styles to make the background and subject work together
  • Creative ways to build your vision, regardless of budgetary limitations

What our students are saying:
“The amount of information John gives is mind blowing. To see the process from beginning to end, the road map to creativity...you cannot help but to be on the right road to success. He gives you steps to take and shows you how it's done.”
- Lorenzo Hill

Commit to your creativity
Are you ready to push the boundaries and find your unique voice? Get the hands-on tools to flex your creativity, collaborate for results, and carry out your vision.

Lessons

1Class Introduction 2Creative Photography Path 3Importance of Personal Work 4Concepts and Inspiration 5Choosing Your Environment 6Research and Mood Boards 7Finding Your Style 8Establishing a Team 9Jobs on Set 10Production Hurdles 11Working with an Art Director 12Pooling Resources 13Casting 14Wardrobe 15Set Design and Props: Interview with John Lavin 16Gear 17Lighting 18Technical vs. Flexible Lighting 19Creating Environment 20Gear Essentials vs. DIY Solutions 21Lighting for Your Subject 22Lighting for Your Environment 23Q&A 24Directing Your Subject 25Tips for Directing Talent 26Pre-Lighting and Test Shoots 27Shoot: Stylized Portrait - Close Up Part 1 28Shoot: Stylized Portrait - Close Up Part 2 29Shoot: Stylized Portrait - Close Up Part 3 30Set Tour and Lighting Set Up 31Shoot: Building Environment & Lighting Adjustments 32Shoot: Building Environment Part 1 33Shoot: Building Environment Part 2 34Photo Critique 35Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Set Tour 36Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 1 37Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 2 38Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 3 39Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 4 40Shoot: Scuba in the Hull Part 1 41Shoot: Scuba in the Hull Part 2 42Shoot: Scuba in the Hull Part 3 43Image Selection: Stylized Portrait 44Image Selection: Building Environment 45Image Selection: Row Boat in Fog 46Image Selection: Scuba in the Hull 47Next Steps: Create New Work 48Next Steps: Share Your Work 49Next Steps: Marketing and Branding Consistency 50Final Image Reveal - Concept and Casting 51Final Image Reveal - Retouching: Communication and Direction 52Final Image Reveal - Final Q&A

Reviews

a Creativelive Student
 

What an amazing show. I'm so happy that I could be a part of it. It was so great to see John at work and in his element. I learned so much from watching his process from beginning to ending. So many questions have been answered. I feel more confident, to get myself out there and create and make work that comes out from my imagination. I will definitely be keeping a journal/notebook with me at all times. I would also like to suggest that we have another course for John Cornicello, home studio. I'm curious to see what John is working on in his studio.

Doppio Studio
 

It's amazing to watch and understand how this great creative professional work. There's a lot to learn about with his production process. For me, that lives in Brazil, is a major opportunity to enjoy this class.

Vitamin Dee
 

Wow! There's just so much great information in this class. If you've ever wondered what it takes to produce an environmental portrait, this is the class for you! John did a superb job of taking us step-by-step through his process. From model casting to set building, lighting setups to culling; it's all here. He even wraps up the class with next steps and how to put it all together. He gives the knowledge so you can take it to a place you can create your own magic!