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Portrait Photography: Creating and Styling your Environment

with John Keatley

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  •   Trailer

  •   01 Class Introduction

    20:10
  •   34 Photo Critique

    26:06
  •   39 Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 4

    04:10

Class duration: 14h 39m

See all 52 lessons
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  • 92% recommended

    26 student reviews

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About The Class

Produce, light and create your vision

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.

Topics Covered


Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

    20:10
  2. 02

    Creative Photography Path

    22:57
  3. 03

    Importance of Personal Work

    15:25
  4. 04

    Concepts and Inspiration

    12:04
  5. 05

    Choosing Your Environment

    05:03
  6. 06

    Research and Mood Boards

    06:58
  7. 07

    Finding Your Style

    09:34
  8. 08

    Establishing a Team

    10:44
  9. 09

    Jobs on Set

    28:38
  10. 10

    Production Hurdles

    13:45
  11. 11

    Working with an Art Director

    07:01
  12. 12

    Pooling Resources

    03:43
  13. 13

    Casting

    17:26
  14. 14

    Wardrobe

    11:24
  15. 15

    Set Design and Props: Interview with John Lavin

    35:06
  16. 16

    Gear

    09:59
  17. 17

    Lighting

    29:10
  18. 18

    Technical vs. Flexible Lighting

    07:56
  19. 19

    Creating Environment

    07:59
  20. 20

    Gear Essentials vs. DIY Solutions

    07:02
  21. 21

    Lighting for Your Subject

    04:10
  22. 22

    Lighting for Your Environment

    05:17
  23. 23

    Q&A

    08:36
  24. 24

    Directing Your Subject

    34:03
  25. 25

    Tips for Directing Talent

    09:58
  26. 26

    Pre-Lighting and Test Shoots

    05:08
  27. 27

    Shoot: Stylized Portrait - Close Up Part 1

    49:55
  28. 28

    Shoot: Stylized Portrait - Close Up Part 2

    20:19
  29. 29

    Shoot: Stylized Portrait - Close Up Part 3

    17:19
  30. 30

    Set Tour and Lighting Set Up

    05:41
  31. 31

    Shoot: Building Environment & Lighting Adjustments

    33:13
  32. 32

    Shoot: Building Environment Part 1

    18:45
  33. 33

    Shoot: Building Environment Part 2

    18:39
  34. 34

    Photo Critique

    26:06
  35. 35

    Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Set Tour

    03:54
  36. 36

    Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 1

    42:19
  37. 37

    Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 2

    28:34
  38. 38

    Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 3

    24:34
  39. 39

    Shoot: Row Boat in Fog Part 4

    04:10
  40. 40

    Shoot: Scuba in the Hull Part 1

    44:27
  41. 41

    Shoot: Scuba in the Hull Part 2

    21:50
  42. 42

    Shoot: Scuba in the Hull Part 3

    16:40
  43. 43

    Image Selection: Stylized Portrait

    30:53
  44. 44

    Image Selection: Building Environment

    10:52
  45. 45

    Image Selection: Row Boat in Fog

    11:53
  46. 46

    Image Selection: Scuba in the Hull

    06:38
  47. 47

    Next Steps: Create New Work

    05:44
  48. 48

    Next Steps: Share Your Work

    12:03
  49. 49

    Next Steps: Marketing and Branding Consistency

    12:52
  50. 50

    Final Image Reveal - Concept and Casting

    13:20
  51. 51

    Final Image Reveal - Retouching: Communication and Direction

    14:13
  52. 52

    Final Image Reveal - Final Q&A

    34:52

Meet Your Expert

John Keatley

John Keatley often self-characterizes his work as a reflection of himself, rather than the individual he is photographing. In recent years ... read more

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Bonus Material

Access your course materials here!

Get access to exclusive bonus content when you purchase this class.

  • pdf Keatley Keynote Presentation
  • mp4 Casting for Nautical Shoot Video

92% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Creativelive Student

    Creativelive Student

    March 2017

    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

    Doppio Studio

    March 2017

    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

    Vitamin Dee

    March 2017

    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!

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