Storytelling Portraiture

Lesson 8 of 49

Newborn Image Review


Storytelling Portraiture

Lesson 8 of 49

Newborn Image Review


Lesson Info

Newborn Image Review

I can't wait to get these photos on my computer and start playing with them. Okay so the different sort of exposures that I'm looking at here, I was shooting two thirds of a stop, oh actually, yeah I did end up at two thirds of a stop overexposed. When it comes to my camera settings I'm not actually looking at what the number is for my shutter speed. A lot of the times I get asked what's your shutter speed? So when I'm taking in and composing my shot in camera I bring my camera up as I showed you and I get my focal point, I move my focus point to where I want it to be which is usually on that baby's eye area and I go for that contrasting point which is you know, sort of usually deep into the eye socket there. Because your camera will focus on the most, highest contracting point to that focal point. And then what I look at is the overall composition. I look at the foreground, the middle ground, and then the background. So I'm taking into consideration absolutely everything. So in this i...

nstance I'm looking at where the composition is in terms of the placement of the cranes in my frame. You know I've got, you know, lacking background over here and over here but I'm gonna crop this as probably more of an eight by 10 ratio. And get rid of those sides. Because it's pointless to have all that negative space leading out there when I want to frame this in a way that brings that subject to the forefront of the image. So my forefront is these, the placement in my frame of those cranes. Now I'm looking at my middle ground which is the baby. It is my main focal point. So you can see that I've actually got the baby sort of center of frame. But up in those, in between those top two thirds. So if you think of you know your rule of thirds you've got you know that first plane coming through here and that second one coming through there. So that baby is intersecting that middle, that top plane and then the middle of my frame in terms of composition and balance. Which is really important to me. If we go to the next image I think it's, yeah and there is another one after this? Okay go back to that previous one. Yeah so that was the one. She does have her little fingers curled up there but they look soft. If she had a fist I would have recaptured that. Because that fist shows tension. But because those fingers are just kind of just resting there curled over it's very natural. So I'm not too concerned about them being absolutely perfect. And being just over three weeks of age and being as fidgety as she was really wasn't worth me sort of fussing over her and getting it absolutely perfect. But for the point of creating this beautiful photograph they're lovely and soft and she looks comfortable and relaxed. So when I look at that background then I want to make sure that I don't have to do too much to that in post production. If I hadn't of had both Garret and Jade pulling on it I would have creases, wrinkles, things like that that it would take me so long to kind of touch up in post production I really want to make sure that you know I've got a nice smooth background to work with. So yeah that's probably the frame that I'm gonna work with. I love just that one little crane flying off there into the distance. I know in post production I'm gonna touch up some shadows and things like that and I'm gonna really make sure whenever I am doing anything to this photograph that I'm not losing any detail in any of the highlights that are around this area here on the crane. So anything that I have inside this photograph that is drawing my eye away from the main subject I'm gonna like hone in on and really kind of look at the ways I can, you know, bring those exposures down or remove sort of any distracting elements as well. So yeah, I'm stoked with that. To come up with something in my mind and to be able to create that, it's different, I've not seen anything like that, so for me that's kind of huge. Like to create something that's completely unique. So yeah. The budget's that you set up, are they the same or close to the same, do you have a maximum that you set up for each of these shoots? Yeah so the budget will change for every single shoot. But it depends on how much time and how elaborate I really want to make this. So for a budget like this, you know these backdrops they cost probably around $100 each, and then the paper cranes I think they cost me about $60 each. So in terms of what I've spent it's about $ and I'm happy to do that because I'm pricing for these portraits to accommodate for that budget, which is huge. But a lot of the stuff that I make I really try to do it on a budget. I'm trying to find things, like if I actually knew how to fold a paper crane I probably would have done it at night and I probably should have but I found them on Etsy. 500 of them and I thought, fold 500 cranes or. My time is also valuable. So that would have taken me quite a few hours if not days to fold and create those, and when I think of my time and how valuable it is in terms of my business and what my hourly rate is, it was heaps cheaper for me to go and buy them on Etsy and have them delivered. So they're the sort of things that you've got to weigh up. But I am very conscious of not spending too much money. So when it comes to backdrops, I'll often paint them, make them myself, the flower, you know, finding the cheapest things to be able to create that. The wooden bowl, and the four wooden bowls that was something I already had in my studio. But yeah it will change for every single setup. Something that we're gonna create next for our child portrait that has actually cost me a little more than I wanted to, but at the same time it is unique, it is different, and sometimes you just have to go sort of up but it's how you price it and how much time you spend on planning to create these images. But yeah when it comes to creating a budget, when you are working out how long you're gonna spend creating one conceptual art piece for a client how long is it gonna take you from start to finish? Is it gonna take a couple of weeks? Are you gonna allocate an hour a day towards that? Then what is your hourly rate? Working out what your cost of doing business is, how many days of the week you can work, and all of those things. How much you actually need to earn to pay yourself a wage. It all goes back to that how to price your business, to learn what your hourly rate is, to be able to know exactly what you have to price for it. Because what I'm gonna charge is not what everybody else is gonna charge depending on where you are at in your business. And what your cost of doing business really is. But then it's factoring in that budget. Fantastic Kelly, great question. Some of the folks online were asking the same thing, so thank you. One more question and that is, this is from Loretta Clark, people are wondering if you would use this same setup for another client? For another baby? Or is it a one time thing. So with something like this I probably will get asked to create something like this for someone else. I recently had a client come in and I have a workflow throughout all of my newborn sessions. I know what I'm pretty much gonna do. I'm gonna work on my posing bag, I'm gonna use two props, and then I'm gonna photograph your family beautifully. So I've got that workflow down pact. But I recently had a client come in and she had five photographs of mine that she had found on the internet and she wanted all of them. And they were all award images. And so I said oh well, so that was tough. But I've got to be able to deliver and I said look, this is how they're created. This is the time that it takes to create them, and then I give her the choice. You know, are you prepared to spend that much time with me today, because some of them take a lot longer to set up and create than a normal sort of flow posing on my bean bag would take. So it's all about that communication process. But I really do love creating unique pieces for everyone, so my surrogate symbol, that is never going to be used for someone else. My wings with the love heart, will not be used for another baby. So this one here, because it was a concept piece created for that family because of what they've gone through in terms of you know, building their family, this is purely for them. So it depends on what it is that I'm creating, like my flower doesn't really mean anything, it was just something beautiful that I saw in a fashion magazine so I can use that for another client. So it depends on that story and what's it relevant to?

Class Description

Every person who poses for a portrait has a story from their life that can be told. When creating unique storytelling portraiture there are many different elements to consider in the photograph on top of how to communicate with your subject before taking the photo. Join internationally renowned photographer, Kelly Brown for a distinctive exploration on how she captures her subject’s individual story. Kelly will take students on an expressive journey and deep dive into her meaningful approach and methods to photographing five different stages of life from newborn to elderly.

Kelly will teach you:

  • The power of imagery to convey the message and story of your subject
  • Finding inspiration to create images that are truly unique pieces of art
  • Identify your vision and bring your subject’s story to life through the use of storyboards
  • Designing, creating props, and knowing which materials to use to set up a scene for your images
  • Use light to evoke emotion and create a mood
  • How to communicate a story through posing and directing
  • How to capture a double exposure portrait in camera

Also, Kelly will delve into the world of print competitions. You’ll learn how to decide which competitions to enter and why, the importance of watching live judging for yourself, the different terms and conditions for different competitions and what they mean.

This class will show you how to connect with your subject to build confidence and trust. Taking the time to listen to your subject’s story and to create a unique image that reflects who that person is takes time, patience, insight, and creativity. Kelly will share with you from her vast experience and knowledge how to push yourself to become more creative with your photography and share those unique images with your clients.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. The Power of Portrait Photography
  3. Introduction to Newborn Portrait
  4. Find Inspiration for Newborn Portrait
  5. Create The Scene for Newborn Portrait
  6. Prepare & Pose Newborn for Portrait
  7. Shoot: Techniques for Photographing Newborn
  8. Newborn Image Review
  9. Introduction & Find Inspiration For Child Portrait
  10. Create The Scene for Child Portrait
  11. Prepare Set for Child Portrait
  12. Shoot: Capture Child Portrait
  13. Image Review for Child Portrait
  14. Introduction & Inspiration For Teenager Portrait
  15. Create The Scene for Teenager Portrait
  16. Building Set for Teenager Portrait
  17. Shoot: Portrait with Teenager
  18. Shoot: Pose Teenager for Multiple Looks
  19. Image Review for Teenage Portrait
  20. Introduction & Inspiration For Adult Portrait
  21. Creating The Scene for Adult Portrait
  22. Lighting for Adult Portrait
  23. Tell Your Subject's Story
  24. Shoot: Lighting for Double Exposure
  25. Introduction to Senior Portrait
  26. Create Storyboard & The Scene For Senior Portrait
  27. Connect With Client to Create Portrait
  28. Shoot: Lighting for Senior Portrait
  29. Shoot: Be Creative on Set
  30. Image Review for Senior Portrait
  31. Portrait Shoots Recap
  32. Global Adjustments in Camera Raw®
  33. Editing In Photoshop® CC: New Born Portrait
  34. Editing In Photoshop® CC: Child Portrait
  35. Editing In Photoshop® CC: Adult Portrait
  36. Editing In Photoshop® CC: Teenager Portrait
  37. Editing In Photoshop® CC: Senior Portrait
  38. Introduction to Entering Print Competitions
  39. Process of Print Competitions
  40. What to Consider For Print Competitions
  41. What Judges Look For Overview
  42. Image Impact
  43. Creativity, Style & Composition in Images
  44. Entering Photography Competitions Q&A
  45. Image Lighting
  46. Image Color Balance
  47. Technical Excellence in Images
  48. Photographic Technique
  49. Storytelling & Subject Matter



Among a sea of wonderful teachers here at CL, Kelly is the cream of the crop. All of her classes are outstanding and this one is no exception. Amazing teacher. Amazing class. Amazing education. If you are hoping to stretch yourself to create deeper more meaningful stories in your images, or are feeling the pull of print competition but need some direction, this is definitely the class for you. Thank you Kelly!

Melissa Soto

Kelly Brown is a true inspiration. She has been my idol in this industry since I began. This class was amazing. I love how honest, authentic and genuine she was. But most importantly I loved her wise direction and teaching style. Kelly brown thank you for this gem. You helped light a fire in me. I’m so excited to start telling amazing stories with the skills I have learned from this class.

Marjorie Stevenson

Just loving this class! Kelly is one of my favorite instructors. She is very good at articulating her ideas and carrying them to an absolutely wonderful end product. Her images are always stunning. I love that she always puts safety first with her models. Thank you Kelly for sharing your creative visions with us.