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Portrait Photography: Creating and Styling your Environment

Lesson 33 of 52

Shoot: Building Environment Part 2


Portrait Photography: Creating and Styling your Environment

Lesson 33 of 52

Shoot: Building Environment Part 2


Lesson Info

Shoot: Building Environment Part 2

We're basically doing the same shot now but I'm just trying to change my angle a little bit because I felt like she was a little low in the frame. Tracy gets really upset when she's low in frame so, we try to make her happy. Alright. Full of dad jokes. Here we go. Let's see here. Let's compare that maybe to where we were. I kind of like that one, it was probably just like a test fire, but I really like that one. She didn't know we were shooting, it's like ... It doesn't look like much changed, does it? Which is the current one? Current is left. I'm seeing more foreground ... Oh yeah, okay, I see that. Um, huh. And she's slightly higher on the horizon line. Yeah, that's true. I don't know if it's an extreme enough change that it's gonna make much of a difference. I don't know if we need to shoot for hours just based on what changed, but... There we go. Alright, can you check focus? You seeing anything John? No, only if her arm where it is now, is intersecting too much with t...

he back crate. Let's just look at that when we see it. Focus is good. Just so that doesn't line up completely, but she overlapped, it should be ... Yeah, I like that. It's just something to watch for. Alright let's just, let's fire off, use our time if we can. Come towards me just a little bit at your waist, tilt your head a little bit back, there we go, yeah, that's good. Tell me if we're losing focus here, cause I kind of brought her forward. No, it's still good, cool. Alright, here we go. I'm gonna have you look off that direction. Just move your head away a little bit more. Tilt your head back a little bit more. A little bit more even. Move your head back towards me. There we go, that's great, I like it a lot. Alright I'm gonna have you set down the radio, or the walky and then I'm just gonna get a couple pictures without that. Although I think it's not gonna be as good, but we'll do it anyway. Put your hand, if you could, your right hand on the crate. So kind of like, bring it back a little bit more, like there we go. Maybe turn so your hands going, yeah, that direction. Oh, nice thanks, yeah. That's out of frame, that's in, that's good, yeah. John everybody. (claps) Good call, good call. Tracy, bring your hand back just an inch, there we go, yep. Lean towards me a little bit at your waist. Chin down, there we go. I think I like your hand better, kind of on your leg, maybe. This doesn't feel quite right. There we go, yeah, that's good. Give me just like, like try to lean back just, really, yeah, there we go. That might be too much. Look up to the sky. That's too much. Lean back towards me. Maybe kinda turn your head, look down this way. Yeah, okay, I'm gonna bring you back up, there we go. And then I'm gonna have you look out across your body. Move your head away from me a little bit more. And then put your left hand up, there we go, like that, that's good. Perfect, yeah, that's nice, hold it right there. Just your eyes towards me. Just move your head towards me. With your right hand, reach over and grab the radio. There we go. Perfect. And hold it up a little higher. (camera shutters) Good, good, good. Okay you know what, I forgot, we need to get a plate of the light spilling onto the wall. Yeah, before we wrap set. Three plates then. Cause we need that to look like it's actually doing what it would normally do. Chin down a little bit more, there we go. Hold that walky up and give me your call signal. 4747 come over. Tracy here. (laughs) Alright bring it up higher, open up your mouth a little like you're really like ... You thought I was joking, I really want your call signal. I'm just kidding. Well I don't know what a call signal is, I'm sorry. There we go, good. Alright, relax your left arm too. You can just, where does it fall? Yeah, that's good. Perfect. Just move your head away from me a little bit. Give me kind of like a, these guys. What's that? Oh, sorry. Squeeze that button like you're talking into it too. Red Rover, Red Rover, send John Lavin over. Sorry, I shouldn't be trying to make you laugh if I'm trying to keep you serious. It's been a long couple days Tracy, it's been a long couple days. Alright, here we go, lips apart a little bit, there we go, yep yep. Chin up a little. Give me that (sigh) come on you guys. Quit messing around with me. You should've seen the last girl that messed around with me, gave her a scar right across her eye. (mumbles) Look right at the camera with your eyes, there we go, yep. Even more kind of (sigh) huffy. Huffy breath. You like, a little more just like ... Oh nice, nice, there we go look (laughs) can we get some blood on that knife? Jennifer you got a little fake blood? You know what, it should stab into the crate like ... Should it be here? Yeah maybe. There we go. There it is. Let me see. See how that reads. I think if we get it somehow, maybe it needs to come out more so it's not crossing that. Let's try that. I think we're gonna lose the blade. Let me make sure I don't stab you. Nice, Tracy, don't mess with Tracy. Serious face, alright. And just, I want that look kind of like, you want the knife? Tilt your head a little bit and eyebrows up like are you kidding me? Oh, nice. Gonna bounce onto the knife? I almost feel like the knife, like it's going with the board. It needs to be just like a little, it needs to be flatter towards the camera I think. Better to do that? Then you won't see it, it won't read I don't think as much. Better to just lay? That won't read at all. You could lay it like maybe on the right, kind of below the cord almost. You know like, going up on the lip. You could just lay it there, kind of thing. Yeah, something like that, that could read. We'll see. That might be, you may have to push it a little away from the camera a couple inches, handle too. There we go, try that. She's always got the knife close by. Yeah that reads pretty good. I kinda like that. Every once in a while ... I love your smile, I feel so torn, I'm like oh my gosh, I'm suppressing that. Well to have the knife and the smile is kind of a nice combo. Yeah give me, oh woops, we lost ... Man down. Fire it off? Okay, firing. There we go. Alright that's good. Tilt your head a little bit to the side. There we go, good, good, good. Bring your right knee out towards me a little bit more, there we go yep. And then bring your hand up, just, not quite that far, but right there. That's too showy, I think just kind of whatever, there we go, yeah. As you were. There we go, perfect. And then look out across. Look out a little bit further. Keep going, keep going. One more time, give me kind of a hand up on your hat. There we go. Look back towards the camera. Look off a little bit here. And then hand down. There we go. Alright, I'm gonna set, can I set you loose a little bit, can we just kind of like freestyle? I wanna have you kind of like pick it up and move around and just kind of explore that. We're still locked in a little bit in this but I just kind of wanna see what happens now that we've covered this thing. Real quick can you run in and can you take down the strays on the edge and then we'll get moving. Just don't actually stab somebody. Like I don't want you to get too into character. Sure. Unless they look at you wrong, then ... Does it feel like we're a little soft here? Maybe? Could be a little bit but, it still looks like we have good detail. Where are we? I feel like I should pull. She's a little forward. So you think we're back focused? I think so. The hat doesn't stay in focus. Let's see where I can really see it. We're back focused, so I'm gonna pull, try that. Firing real quick. Hmm, one more time. Nope, wrong direction right? Try that. That looks much better, yeah. Should I push more? A little bit. Try that. Isn't that awesome? That's for reals. Oh there we go, now we're talkin. Can you go back and make sure that we weren't too far off and see how ... Alright, real quick, one last one before I set you loose. Hold it up a little bit higher. Just move your head a little bit, there we go, yeah. Look right at the camera. And look off camera. Looks like it was only since we came in and fixed the hair strays. Okay, so we've been good for a while. Yes. Okay, that's what I like to hear. That's terrifying. Alright, so here, I'm gonna let you set it down and then just kind of like move around and just we'll freestyle here for a second and see what happens. And don't feel tied to any of the particular actions we were doing before. I mean anything goes. (camera shutters) Look up while you're kind of doing your gloves like that. There we go. Alright cool. Let me have you play with the walky too. Or actually, I'm sorry, just with the handset, yeah, there we go. (camera shutters) Okay cool. Can you check on those for me? I think we got it. I feel pretty good. Let me just fly through here while we have a couple minutes left. Let's go back early on . You also wanna grab some plates. Yeah I wanna grab some plates. I'm gonna do that right now actually. Oh, wait, hold on. Let's see. Alright, yeah, I think we're good. So I'm gonna do a couple plates for the light on the wall. And we should also go back up roughly to where we were, you know. Let's do, let's turn off the strobes. All of them? Yeah, just so we can get only that continuous light. Alright, everything off? Cool. So this is just an exposure for the wall with the light. We may have to bring some strobe back into it, we'll see. There we go, that's nice. John, can you talk us through again for people who don't know about what it means to have plates? What you're capturing for and why. Yeah, exactly. So right now, I am just taking plates of the light on the wall. Because as you can see it has like a natural spill-off onto the wall. It doesn't mean that we'll necessarily use it, but I like to have those options because maybe you'll get back and you'll put the image together and it feels like, we talked about motivating light before, you might feel like your eye is requiring there to be something on the wall. Because there was a light there. So you wanna be able to have plates or just additional images to use those pieces. So potentially we could cut around this light and then kind of paste it or overlay it, if you will, onto the main image that we select. So I'm just gonna get a couple more here. And then I think we'll maybe bring the strobe back in. Woops, did that go? We're not firing. Ready, go ahead, sorry. Here we go. And then we might wanna put on the rear fill also. So I'm just trying to balance. The less we have to use plates, the better. If there's a way to balance all of the light together, that will make our job and post a lot easier. There we go, that's kind of nice. So now you have that flair and you still have some of your strobe light on the wall. I'll bring in a little more of that light on the wall now. With a longer exposure. And I'll go a couple more steps. And obviously we don't need this many, but I just like to cover it with a blanket because I'd rather have more than I need than not enough. And then we'll go just a couple more drastic steps. Cool. And then we'll get some plates. But I think that is a wrap for Tracy. Tracy everybody (claps) thank you. Oh my gosh, that was awesome. I'm so excited about these.

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

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.


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!