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Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

with Chris Knight

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  •   Trailer

  •   01 Class Introduction

    04:29
  •   29 The Haircut: Getting the Shot

    24:28

Class duration: 9h 25m

See all 49 lessons
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    11 student reviews

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About The Class

Discover Your Creativity with Lighting

Most photographers get comfortable with the lighting setups they use, and tend to shy away from trying new or different ones. Pushing yourself to incorporate new lighting techniques can help to expand your photographic style. You don’t need to buy more lighting equipment to start thinking about how the light is appropriate for what you’re shooting. Learning to see and light a location or scene and bring it to life in your images takes an in-depth understanding of lighting, direction, and creative vision. Join Chris Knight, well-known photographer, instructor, and author, to learn how to create cinematic lighting that allows you to be more innovative for your clients and yourself.

Chris will explain:

  • How to think like a filmmaker but apply those ideas to a single image
  • Motivated lighting and how to incorporate the techniques into your creative vision
  • Framing and layering for your images
  • How to use direction and guidance to achieve a cinematic look
  • How to enhance the cinematic lighting you achieved in-camera through post production processes

In this class, Chris takes you through his creative process during two cinematic style shoots at two different locations to share with you his behind-the-scenes thoughts, motivations, and scenarios. Chris also takes you through an in-studio shoot to explain the importance of prop placement, intentional set design, and light. You’ll learn the confidence to develop and incorporate new thought processes and get out of your everyday routines when lighting your subjects.

Topics Covered


Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

    04:29
  2. 02

    What is Cinematic Lighting?

    06:42
  3. 03

    Motivated & Practical Lighting

    07:41
  4. 04

    5 Cinematic Lighting Tips

    04:53
  5. 05

    Low-Key & Upstage Lighting

    06:26
  6. 06

    Control Your Fill Lighting

    05:18
  7. 07

    Show Depth In Your Image

    13:24
  8. 08

    Pre-Production for Cinematic Lighting

    22:42
  9. 09

    Grip Tools: Clamps

    08:41
  10. 10

    Grip Tools: Apple Boxes, C-Stands & Grip Heads

    10:53
  11. 11

    Grip Tools: Pins & Portable Gear

    04:50
  12. 12

    Grip Tools: Scrims, Silks, Flags & Tape

    13:52
  13. 13

    Grip Tools: Wind and Haze Machines

    04:07
  14. 14

    Grip Tools: Unusual Tools

    04:47
  15. 15

    Grip Tools: Filters

    11:05
  16. 16

    Grip Tools: Q&A

    15:04
  17. 17

    Theater Shoot: Concept

    08:03
  18. 18

    Theater Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations

    08:48
  19. 19

    Theater Shoot: Lighting Gear

    04:27
  20. 20

    Theater Shoot: Motivated Lighting Considerations

    26:47
  21. 21

    Theater Shoot: Lighting Walkthrough

    20:45
  22. 22

    Theater Shoot: Capturing The 1st Shot

    27:37
  23. 23

    Theater Shoot: Hero Shot

    21:47
  24. 24

    Theater Shoot: Capturing In The Seats

    21:48
  25. 25

    Airstrip Shoot: Concept

    05:49
  26. 26

    Airstrip Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations

    19:31
  27. 27

    The Haircut: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting

    13:17
  28. 28

    Working With Scrims On Location

    06:34
  29. 29

    The Haircut: Getting the Shot

    24:28
  30. 30

    The Haircut: Shooting Plates

    08:21
  31. 31

    Staggered Planes: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting

    08:10
  32. 32

    Staggered Planes: Getting The Shot

    08:23
  33. 33

    Capturing Plates With Talent In Background

    16:26
  34. 34

    Airstrip: Environmental Portraits

    07:01
  35. 35

    Airstrip: Location Shooting Q&A

    22:05
  36. 36

    Using Plates to Create a Pano in Lightroom®

    16:08
  37. 37

    Transform Tool

    04:50
  38. 38

    Post-Processing 1st Theater Shot

    09:48
  39. 39

    Retouching Details in Photoshop®

    13:09
  40. 40

    Color Grading in Alien Skin Exposure X3

    06:27
  41. 41

    Post-Processing Theater Hero Shot in Photoshop®

    08:11
  42. 42

    Creating a Spotlight in Photoshop®

    05:31
  43. 43

    Adjusting Color for Cinematic Lighting

    12:28
  44. 44

    Post-Processing: The Haircut

    12:08
  45. 45

    Coloring the Sky and Removing Modern Building

    05:10
  46. 46

    Creating a Pano Using Plates in Photoshop®

    17:12
  47. 47

    Developing Cinematic Portraits in Lightroom®

    07:29
  48. 48

    Retouching Cinematic Portraits in Photoshop®

    08:57
  49. 49

    Color Grading Cinematic Portraits in Alien Skin

    13:20

Meet Your Expert

Chris Knight

Chris Knight was born in Wiesbaden, Germany and grew up in Florida. He combines his unconditional love of art history with his love of technology, topping it off with a flare for the cinematic and an uncompromising eye for light and detail ... read more

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Bonus Material

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  • pdf Chris Knight - Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture Grip Quick Reference Guide

100% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Bruce Walker

    Bruce Walker

    August 2018

    This course is simply terrific, and I highly recommend it. Firstly it arrived at the perfect time for me as I am soon to do a studio shoot very much in keeping with a cinematic or theatrical aesthetic. Secondly it's taught by Chris Knight who I swear is like a long-lost twin brother. :-) There are so many parallels in the way he thinks and works to my own style. So I avidly watched this as soon as it was available for anytime streaming. This is the first time I have made extensive use of the CL iPhone app, btw, and I love how it pretty much enabled me to seamlessly switch back and forth from desktop viewing to my iPad that I carry around the house during the day. I was able to make coffee and still carry on taking in the course, uninterrupted. The content is fantastic, delivered succinctly yet entertainingly. Some material and ideas are already in my repertoire and were reinforced and validated by Chris' demonstrations. But he also introduced a lot of ideas and methods new to me and very welcome. I was particularly glad to see how practical it is to stitch a series of tripod shots into a wide pano. I have been afraid to try that but I will now be using that in my next shoot, for sure. As alway, his post production practices revealed all kinds of tips about Lightroom and Photoshop I didn't know. Negatives. The volume level mastering is iffy. It started out at a decent level then midway through one of the early lessons dropped so much I had to turn up my sound system to compensate. And as I write this one lesson (34) is missing and in its place was a duplicate of the next lesson (35). I expect CL will have that fixed shortly though (I sent support a note).

  • Jeph DeLorme

    Jeph DeLorme

    September 2018

    One of the best classes I have viewed at Creative Live. Definitely worth the investment of time and money. The pace of the class allows you to learn extra tips and tricks throughout the process. Great instructor, highly recommend this class to anyone looking to step up their creative game.

  • Estefânia Silva

    Estefânia Silva

    August 2018

    I'm not a fan of every single instructor on CL. Some of them can't teach a class without trying to project their own egos. Chris is an amazing exception to that. I really end up learning with him even if my personal aesthetic preferences are different from his. This class really focus on basics such as lighting, basic gear, production and practical execution. This is about more than cinematic/low-key lighting. I really recommend.

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