Storytelling Portraiture

Lesson 11 of 49

Prepare Set for Child Portrait


Storytelling Portraiture

Lesson 11 of 49

Prepare Set for Child Portrait


Lesson Info

Prepare Set for Child Portrait

With this particular set up, and how I'm gonna do it, there's a few things that I kind of want to point out before I actually start shooting it because I've already got a very clear vision of how I'm going to edit this photo in post-production. So, my original concept had the balloons much larger and almost touching, if that makes sense. But because I want to shoot this from a lower perspective so that I'm on the same plane as Olivia when she's standing up here on the swing, I need to get down lower. When you come down lower, your perspective changes. And then I start to lose background. So if the balloons were bigger, and this was the size that I originally wanted them. You can see that it's much larger. So from a lower perspective, I would lose that background. I would have probably had to of printed maybe another meter or two on top of that. And that's a lot of paper. So, I know in Photoshop, and as per the rules of the competition, I can slightly enlarge those without any problems.

So I already know in my mind that that's what I'm gonna have to do, and sometimes, to create that single capture, you can't always get it spot on. You want to get your exposure right, your composition right, but things like that can sometimes be a little bit out of your control. Then, when it comes to creating that illusion, we've printed another strip of paper along the front here so that as I'm over there, I'm gonna line the pattern up here with the background to make sure that I get that sort of seamless repetition of those lines going through there to be able to really, truly create that. But talking about the safety aspects that we've got going on here. So, obviously, this boom arm is not strong enough to hold the weight of a 10-year-old. So I want to make sure that Olivia is going to be extremely safe up here, and she's not going to fall or go anywhere. I'm also going to have someone close by just holding her hand until I'm actually kind of ready to take that shot. So, underneath our swing is a stool. It's a very steady stool, and I actually researched this particular stool because it holds 100 kilos in body weight. So that's a lot, and she's a 10-year-old girl. There's no way she could ever weigh that much. You'd have to put 10 of her on here or maybe more. But underneath, I've also got two sandbags holding that down, and then we've got two clamps, and I can't even move those. So I probably wouldn't even be able to lift that stool with the two sandbags on it. So that is clamped tight, so it's not gonna slip and slide or go anywhere, so it's taking into consideration all of those factors. And then we've got weights over here counteracting the boom, so that that's not gonna go anywhere. And she can hold onto these and pull it. We're gonna ask her not to pull it down, but she can sort of hold them. But at the same time, yes. Then we're gonna bring in dry ice, and obviously when you're using dry ice, you have to be extremely careful. Kids should never go anywhere near dry ice. So we're gonna bring that on after we've brought Olivia in behind here. And it's gonna be positioned just over here and just over here, and it's gonna sort of drift across the front of the photograph there to create some of that sort of floating cloud look that we want. You can use smoke machines. I've picked one up at Aldi for like $29. So, they're really affordable, but I can't bring devices like that to the United States because of the different voltage and wattages with those machines. But dry ice is great and it works perfectly for this. You just have to make sure that whoever is handling it has gloves, tongs, and all of those things, so that they're not gonna burn themselves because it burns exactly like fire. So gotta be really careful with that. So talking and communicating with your clients prior to this is really important and letting them know, like, I went in, I met Olivia, we talked a little bit about what we're gonna create. I've asked her if she knew what dry ice was, and she was like, yup. And she knows the whole process. So I'm gonna communicate with her throughout this photograph and let her know exactly what I'm doing. We're also gonna put in a little bit of wind on her just with a reflector. We're gonna waft and fan at her and just to give her a bit of movement in her hair and her dress to create that illusion like she is floating. So thinking about all of those different elements to bring that illusion to life. Alright, so we're going to start with moving this light into place. So Gary, if you can help me do that. And I'm gonna put my camera in place before I bring Olivia on set so that I'm prepared. (wheels creak) So when I shoot something like this... So we're just gonna bring that light over this way. Yeah, perfect. So you can see my light stand's got two really heavy sandbags on it because it's up high because Olivia's going to be up higher. I need to make sure that that light is exactly where I want it. Again, it's just gonna bring in a whole heap of beautiful soft light into this set.

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.