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Portrait Photography: Creating and Styling your Environment

Lesson 39 of 52

Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 4


Portrait Photography: Creating and Styling your Environment

Lesson 39 of 52

Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 4


Lesson Info

Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 4

Hi John. Any particular reason why you chose fog machines over dry ice, or not a combination of both? Was it just allowance? I haven't really worked with dry ice so that could've been a good solution. So I'm not really familiar with it and it's just not something that we'd considered. But it may have been harder to work with, too, would be my initial reaction. I know you have to kind of be a little careful with that. But yeah, I mean, the honest answer is this is just kind of more of what I'm used to. If we could, just now that we've established all what the lighting ended up being, could you just quickly talk to the different lights and what aspect they were, where they were hitting, or what aspect they were doing adding to the environment? Sure, sure. So we'll start with our key. So this is a seven inch grid reflector and it's got, looks like a 20 in it. Ken is that? 20 degree. So it's a 20 degree grid. So it's just literally, grids they have different hole openings in the grid...

and the wider the hole, the more the light will spread. So the narrower the grid the more focused it becomes. So 10 is real focused, 20's a little more, so on. So we used the 20 because we wanted to light her up, but we didn't want a ton of light all over the boat, we're trying to keep it moody. So you can see here, I don't know if you can see, yeah see this light is creating all of the shape, basically, on Jessica. That's our key. Oh thank you. Yeah, here's a grid. So this is when, like when we always have someone go behind the model and look up, like get dangerously close to their face. When you look at a grid, I don't know if you can see this on camera at all, but when the grid is tilted it cuts off the view, but when you're dead on it can see straight through it. So that's a good way to read where the light's actually coming from on a grid other than seeing where the light's actually hitting. Thanks John. So that's our key. I think we were using this fill, right? Yeah this fill was on basically providing light on this part of the boat and on her face. One thing when we first setup we had a bunch of lights going and that was a really beautiful picture of the boat and the edge light and the key were lighting up this side and we had bright detail over on this side of the boat. And as a picture it was pretty, but again, thinking about motivation, why would she be so bright over here and then the underside of the boat would be really bright over here and dark here? It just doesn't really make a lot of sense. The main source, unless there's a way you can justify it, it wouldn't be doing that. So that's why we have the fill coming in on both sides. And again we just have some white fill over here because we do want detail on this side of the boat, but we don't want it to be brighter than that side. So this is just to kind of bring that up. And then we have an edge light back here that's gelled warm, it's CTO gel, it's orange, and then we have a blue gel over here. And the purpose for that is if you've ever worked with smog or haze or anything, if you light it from the front it just flattens it. The only way to pull in detail is you have to rear light it. So that was why we had that back there is we wanted to create that depth and the definition in the fog. And then we brought in extra lights because I was feeling like those were not creating enough depth. Because the scene is so wide it felt like to kind of get definition up here and back there we needed additional light sources to pull that in so that's why they rigged up these additional ones. And then they kept them gelled, I think, kept them gelled to again motivate and match the light that was already, the color that was set over there. And I think that was, I think that was it. Really the fog and the haze was also kind of a light source in and of itself. It provides just that blanket diffusion all over that kind of lights up the air and everything.

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!