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Test Shots With Model

Lesson 15 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

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Lesson Info

15. Test Shots With Model


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Artistic Vision and Inspiration


Personal Projects


Creative Motivation and Defining Your Story


Organizing Your Inspiration


Building A Character


Creating Wardrobe and Props


Location Scouting


Lesson Info

Test Shots With Model

So we're here on location now, and our lovely model, Lexi, is all done up. We've had a few little final touch-ups that we added since the last time we showed you, but you look fantastic. We're gonna be taking some test shots now, just to test the lighting, and the framing, and hopefully it should all work out. The sun's coming out a little bit, it's a little bit partly cloudy, so it's coming, it's peeking in and out of the clouds, which I think would work quite nicely here anyway, because there's a little bit of overhang and some shade. So yeah, we're gonna put you inside. I'm gonna take some pictures and just tweak the scene from here. And basically, the roles that I'm playing here today is making sure all the details are looking good, 'cause as a photographer, you're focusing a lot on the frame, the emotion, I am. And the composition. and I'm here to, exactly. So I'll just make sure if the hair's in place perfectly, if there's anything falling in the frame that we didn't accoun...

t for. If the sun starts peeking out, you don't notice, I can say let's stop and reorganize and wait till, so I can. Yeah, because for me, it always helps having another pair of eyes on the scene, just because I'm so focused on getting the emotion, the closing, and all of that right. 'Cause I want to be able to pull emotion from just that picture, but sometimes the little details I don't notice, because I'm too focused. You look at the wider picture and I'm zoomed in. (camera beeps and clicks) I'm just gonna bring that shutter speed up a little bit, and my ISO down, and have a look. Oh, looking good. Okay, and a little bit more. So at this point, all I'm really looking at is just the lighting. I'm not focusing on your pose, or any of that. I'd like to make sure that what I capture in-camera, all the details are there, my highlights, my shadows, and the lighting looks beautiful. Do you wanna have a look? Yeah. So look at that. What are your settings? My settings are, my aperture was at, I'm quite happy with it at this point, actually. Hang on, let's have a look. (camera beeps and clicks) This one is, aperture's 2.8. Either 2.8 or 2.5 I really liked. My ISO was 160 and my shutter speed is 250. So you're getting basically everything in the foreground here is a little bit out of focus? Yeah, 'cause basically what I want is my shutter speed to be high enough that if we flick your hair, I get that detail. And I want the shallow depth of field, because I really like the blurriness behind you. And it doesn't distract, actually, from her. No, no. It's perfect. And actually, if I, I knew that I would be standing here anyway when I designed this shot, so she's framed so beautifully already. So that's pretty much what I'm looking at. Usually, what I would also do at this point is, if you turn your head this way, just to get an idea of where the light is. It's actually over here. Yeah, the sun's coming directly from over here. Turn there. Ah, brilliant! Okay, so it's actually, because it's above, if you move your head either way, it was hitting your face perfectly. So yeah, just turn it up a little bit, lemme just get that. (camera beeps and clicks) Lovely. Okay, and because I'm shooting with a 50, I might actually need to move a bit further back as well, to get the shots that I want around you as well. What I might do is give myself some options and just move around as well. So if you look up here, and just bring your hands in a bit, I just want to see what that looks like. (camera beeps and clicks) See, the lighting here is lovely. Let's do that one more time. (camera clicks) Perfect, and now look at me. (camera clicks) Okay. This is where we'd experiment with a scrim or a reflector. Yeah, especially if you don't have control of the sun, like, what if the sun did come out right now? You'd need a scrim to block it out. So if we had the reflector over here, just gonna grab it. Ah, thank you. Okay, so if we did it, we'd have it turned this way, and just have it... See the sun's coming from there? So it's coming down, bouncing off this, and hitting you. And we control that from that. And then, this is again, I'm just testing again at this point, and I just want to see how it looks. (camera beeps and clicks) Wonderful. Yeah, so much better. So if you go to the picture before and the picture after, there's a huge difference with and without the reflector. Aw, you're so pretty! (model laughs) All right, one, two, three. (camera beeps and clicks) Brilliant. All right, and in fact, you know what, I'm gonna go back forward here, and we're gonna-- Should I stay here? You stay there, 'cause I quite like the way the light's bouncing. And one, two, three. Keep you head lifted always, love, yeah? But turn your face, lift it up. Towards me, straight and up. Yeah. (camera clicks) Little bit higher, beautiful. At this point, I'm looking for the catchlight. Do you see that? Yeah. It's in her eyes. So tell us about your thought process when you went through that. Yeah, mainly just looking at the light, how it worked, whether or not I wanted to use a reflector. So I tried some shots with natural light and some without. Some without, meaning that I had the reflector. I quite liked the reflector, didn't you? 'Cause it gave a bit of a gold tone. Right, it added some balance to it I think. I think so too, even though I did like the contrast of it without. But yeah, I think at that point we were really just trying to figure out poses as well, 'cause she wasn't really confident. Usually, if you direct, the more you direct, the looser they get. The first few shots are always about getting comfortable with each other as well.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Practice PSD File - Sleeping Beauty
Pratik Naik Retouching Actions
The Royal Collection - Fine Art Actions
Practice PSD File - Location Shoot (~700mb)
Practice PSD File - In Studio Shoot (~1.3gb)

Ratings and Reviews


Great class and great instructors. Genuine and informative. Practical tips to create stunning images. Seeing them work through the process from shoot to finished image was great and I loved that they shared the thought processes behind the creative decisions. Definitely recommended!


Truly a remarkable duo. Bella is so down-to-earth and humble for a photographer with such a strong beautiful and ethereal voice. Her explanations of her process really inspired me--I was sketching concepts throughout the class. Pratik's process really opened my eyes to "smart" retouching--understanding what can be done in fewer brush strokes and slimmer PS files. All in all a really unique and inspiring class that makes me excited to realize my next conceptual shoot. They're also adorable together!

Mai Her

I've gained sooooo much from this I can't even contain my appreciation and excitement! So much inspiration and so much generous advice and tips to help me! Thank you so much Bella and Pratik and Creative Live!

Student Work