Portraits Under Pressure
with Victoria Will
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01 Class Introduction15:43
03 Editorial/Celebrity Style Shoot14:32
07 The Power of the Portrait17:59
About The Class
Capture Stunning Portraits in Any Environment.
AFTER THIS CLASS YOU’LL BE ABLE TO:
- Leverage new techniques for choosing the light and locations for a successful portrait
- Know how to build a rapport and utilize clear communication with your subjects
- Set up a developed concept as well as how to light on the fly
- Use successful strategies for marketing yourself as a photographer and how to get your work in front of editors
ABOUT VICTORIA’S CLASS:
Portraits require more than just great lighting and equipment. Sometimes a shoot doesn’t go as planned. The location is drab, the client isn’t in the best mood, or you forget to charge your camera batteries. Great portrait photography artists are able to think on their feet, connect with their subjects -- and capture great images under pressure. The best portraits often come from portrait sessions that didn't go exactly as planned, when challenges turn into assets.
Celebrity portrait photographer Victoria Will shows you how to use your environment to capture a unique, sharp image that reflects the person in the portrait. She’ll also highlight how to quickly evaluate a less than perfect situation and make it work for you and your subject. Take your portraits from amateur to near Mona Lisa gallery worthy by learning how to shoot portraits under pressure.
You’ll watch Victoria photograph real people in limited settings, discovering multiple opportunities in a limited space. Learn her three portrait musts for preparation, point-of-view, and connection. Gain insight into how to make every frame count and how to get the shots the editor requested, as well as those that speak to your vision. Learn how to make your subject feel comfortable in only a few moments while capturing exquisite photo collections in Portraits Under Pressure.
WHO THIS CLASS IS FOR:
The photographer looking to improve their portraiture through thoughtful lighting, creative techniques and leveraging the environment around you to get a consistent appearance.
ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR:
Victoria Will’s background as an American photojournalist and celebrity photographer has helped her to develop techniques on editorial assignments to quickly connect with a subject. Her career began as a photojournalist for the New York Post and grew into a sharp portrait photography focus that opened opportunities to photograph celebrities. She continues to work in New York as an artist specializing in portraits and commercial work.
In the first lesson, meet Victoria and dip your toes into learning her creative process. See the portraits that Victoria has captured in windowless storage rooms and learn why a bad location is no excuse for a bad portrait. Discover why portraits are about preparation, point-of-view, and connection and learn what to expect from the class.15:43
Evaluating Location and Set-Up with Assistant
Portrait shoots often mean walking into a location that you've never seen before. Walk through the process of evaluating the location and prepping for the shoot. Learn major essentials and smaller tips, like why portrait photographers should deliver multiple images with a consistent appearance but varying orientations.41:45
Editorial/Celebrity Style Shoot
Think you can't get several great portraits in 15 minutes? Watch a live 15-minute portrait shoot, from communicating poses with the subject to helping the client feel comfortable in front of the camera. Learn how continuous changes help the client feel comfortable while creating variety in a short time frame.14:32
Culling Editorial/Celebrity Style Shoot
After watching the shoot unfold, see the results as Victoria looks through the images from the 15-minute shoot. Get answers to questions posed from students like you, then watch an image critique.21:31
Victoria's Portrait Journey
How did Victoria go from a photo of a croissant at a tabloid newspaper to photographing Brad Pitt? Victoria shares her photography journey and the certain events that led to her success. Gain insight into how she moved from her early works to her current portfolio and stunning photo collections.12:18
Victoria's Sundance Experience
What's more under pressure than a 15-minute time-frame to shoot an entire cast? Victoria walks through her experience shooting celebrity portraits in temporary studios during the Sundance Film festival as a prime example of working under pressure.13:20
The Power of the Portrait
Rule number one of portrait photography? Portraits are never about the photographer. Victoria walks through the power of the camera and portraits that have changed the national conversation.17:59
How to Connect with Your Subject
Human nature means most people are uncomfortable in front of a camera -- but portraits aren't about cameras and lighting, it's about the person, Victoria says. Learn how to create a connection that will bring out the person in portrait photography.24:55
Shooting a Commercial Image Part 1
Photographing people doesn't always fall strictly under a portrait category. Watch Victoria's process through a commercial shoot designed to sell jeans and see how the same portrait photo tips work for commercial work.26:06
Shooting a Commercial Image Part 2
Continue the dive into commercial portraiture and move into more poses and deeper insight into the process.22:47
Culling the Commercial Shoot
What do you look for when culling images from a commercial portrait session? Victoria walks through her process and why, when she chooses photos, it's not the always the obvious smiling photo that makes the cut.14:25
Marketing: Websites and Portfolios
Victoria calls marketing the eye roll of the photography industry -- but it's an important part of working as a professional. Walk through online portfolio advice, marketing photo tips and more in this lesson.19:48
Social Media & Blogs
Social media is an extension of marketing -- and an essential one. Dive into photo tips for marketing with social media and blogs as a portrait photography artist.14:15
Interview: Lacey Browne, Money Magazine Photo Editor
Marketing to potential clients is one thing, but what about attracting the attention of a photo editor from a major magazine? Gain insight into what photo editors are looking for when they hire photographers.22:15
Wardrobe and Make-Up Best Practices
Just like marketing, makeup and wardrobe is an essential subject that photographers don't always have a handle on. Victoria walks through the process of selecting clothing and makeup for the shoot, from making the subject feel comfortable to what colors work best.07:14
How to Work with Agents and Reps
Portrait photography is not a solo career. Learn how to work on creative teams, starting with finding a rep to working with an agent.04:59
How to Work with Assistants: Skype Interview
Assistants help portrait sessions move quickly while under pressure -- but shooting with an assistant can be intimidating. Victoria dives into working with assistants and building a relationship through an interview with photo assistant Tim Young.17:38
The Importance of Being Prepared
Portrait photographers often walk into a location blind -- but that doesn't make preparation any less essential. Walk through the process of preparing, learn how to scout locations if you can, and dive into the process of building flexible ideas pre-shoot. Learn the gear Victoria brings with her and more.16:59
Shoot: Conquering Dark Tight Spaces
Portrait photographers don't always get to pick epic locations. Learn how to create a studio space in a small, dark space and how to assess a tight spot to create multiple different types of portrait images.28:43
Culling Dark Tight Spaces Shoot
See the result of working in a dark, tight space as Victoria culls and critiques the images from the challenge. Also, watch Victoria's initial reaction and thoughts on the "boring" location for the second shoot.21:34
Shoot: Conquering Boring Spaces
Learn how to make create interesting, riveting portrait photography in boring spaces. Watch Victoria set up multiple shots in this quick shoot, from re-arranging furniture to adjusting lighting.24:32
Culling Boring Spaces Shoot
Examine the results of the portrait session in a "boring" space. Watch Victoria critique her own work and see how she progressed from testing the light to developing comfortable poses.13:35
Shoot: Working with Groups - Part 1
Groups increase the challenges to portrait photography, especially under pressure. Get a behind the scenes look at developing a group portrait, from building a relationship to working with harsh light.18:23
Shoot: Working with Groups - Part 2
Continue working with group portrait sessions and watch Victoria create her own shade, direct poses, and channel high energy in a group setting.13:25
Culling Working with Groups Shoot
Build a critical eye by critiquing the group shoot, looking for what works and what doesn't.29:58
Portfolio Best Practices
Building a portfolio is essential to working as a portrait photography artist. Learn portfolio essentials from how to build your point of view to formatting options. Learn how to create distinctive features to make your work stand out and why a consistent appearance is important. See classical examples of portraiture in Victoria's own portfolio.20:47
Portfolio Best Practices Q&A
Grab deep insight into the most common portfolio questions in this Q&A session with students in our Seatle studio.10:30
Listening to photography critiques helps you develop a critical eye for your own work. Learn the common protocol editors follow in a review of photo collections from distinguished artisans in the CreativeLive studio audience, and gain critical insight to use in your own work.39:18
Victoria began her career at the New York Post where she was a staff photographer. In a news environment responsible for headlines like Headless Body in Topless Bar, Victoria honed her skills and her sense of humor. With a focus on portraiture and lifestyle imagery, her photographs appear in newspapers and magazines worldwide, from ... read moreSee instructor's Classes
86% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.
This was a great class and I learned a ton! It was amazing to watch Victoria Will in action -- shooting portraits under pressure. I learned a lot watching her walk into an unknown situation -- not knowing the location, what the natural lighting situation would be, and only knowing she had 15 minutes for the shoot. I loved watching her problem solve on the spot with lightning and tight, dark spaces. She also taught a lot about how she interacts with her subjects -- always putting them at ease (like you're the host at a dinner party -- gem!) It's much easier for a photographer to take pictures in their studio, but this course was not about that. This was watching a photographer handle real world situations under time pressure and think on her feet. Loved it! I also loved the parts where she culled her photos afterwards and picked out the ones that caught her eye. In most instances, I found myself agreeing with her!! When she gets subjects to stand up and sit back down, it is the in-between moments she is looking for, or the moment right afterwards -- genius!! Oh, lastly, I loved how she went through stunning images she shot of celebrities like Brad Pitt and Janelle Monae and gave us the backstory of how she creatively problem-solved to get the shot! Hello, showing up two hours before a shoot and knocking on random hotel room doors for furniture?!! Of course she could do that because she has a lovely, warm personality! Oh, and by the way, the bits she shares about her early career path is very inspiring!
Great course! And the best part was the honesty. I was an executive in a fortune 500 company and what the critics watching this course missed is that there are a lot of talented photographers, actors, singers, accountants and even landscapers, but there are very few that are successful and accomplished. Yes, part of it may involve a certain degree of luck, but most of it is the drive and desire to suceed. It is obvious you have both. I used to beleive that a true image could only be captured by styling the shot, metering light and controlling the subject. (Yes, I shot film...complete with developing and printing all my images) Then, one day I realized that, if deliberate-shooting was the right way, why then most of the great images I have were the result of quick, rather than deliberate reactions. I get it Victoria. Love your style and how you get there. Three things I learned today are that the conditions... even the background, do not have to be perfect if the image is strong enough to carry the message. Second, setting up to capture the perfect image, misses all the imperfect, epic moments. Third, I disagreed with almost every image you picked until they were isolated from the rest. Then they made perfect sense. Well done. :) Robert Gabriel
I really love Victoria and her work. She's something suuuuper special and showed me a fab new way to look at portraits. I love her openness, honesty, the whole 'you're at my dinner party' intimacy, care and respect for her clients and am SO impressed at how quickly and reliably she's able to transform any location to suit her needs. She's super impressive, professional and inspiring thank you!
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