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Location Shoot: Composite Pieces

Lesson 17 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

Location Shoot: Composite Pieces

Lesson 17 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

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Lesson Info

17. Location Shoot: Composite Pieces


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

Location Shoot: Composite Pieces

So one of the things about lighting when it comes to post-production is you wanna make sure you have your lighting as nice as possible on set. Because what happens is if you shoot something and the lighting is completely flat, it changes that image and how you manipulate colors in post-processing. If you have a really contrasty image, colors can appear more vibrant and have a different effect. So if you have an image that's really flat, you take the same colors and apply to a contrasty image, it'll have a different outlook. So you have to make sure that's as clean as possible before you continue on to post-production. So I'm gonna take a couple more shots. I'm gonna position you the exact same way I had you before, so it's facing me there straight because we're going to be flicking your hair for this. It's going to go with the vision I have in mind which is you're in your own little world and I don't know, there's something so ethereal about about the graphic or the visual of somebod...

y in their world and then like the hair everywhere. It just adds a little bit of surrealness and a little bit of otherworldly depth. Basically I get inspired a lot from anime and they do this a lot in anime. Whenever there's a moment of heightened emotion, hair suddenly starts swishing everywhere. (laughter) But seriously, it's pretty much it. I think that's where I get it from. I love the hair flow and it just feels very unusual. A bit of contrast. Yeah, yeah as well as the movement. Because there's also the juxtaposition of a still and something moving as well. And I think that makes for a really striking photo. I agree. So we're gonna go for that. I'm gonna just nail this and then we get the hair going. Okay? Alright. So I actually quite liked it with one leg behind the other even when you're facing me dead straight. Yes, you know, there you go. Well done, love. And I want your head up, head straight, straight on. And up, yes beautiful, one, two, three. So like longing. Lovely, beautiful, one, two, three. And stay there, one, two, three. And now eyes closed. Beautiful, and you can, yes. Okay, oh you're doing such a good job. Okay, one, two, three. And you know what, in the end we did decide to go with the reflector, so Ken's holding the reflector on this side because I noticed there wasn't catch lights in her eyes. And I always love having catch lights because it just adds a little bit of extra interest. Yeah, you need to have catch lights. You need to. You look dead without them. You want to make sure that there's definitely catch lights. I mean, I've gotten away with no catch lights, so I'm not gonna like say I haven't, I have, but the images that stand out the most, have something in their eye, yeah. Okay, one, two, three. Beautiful, okay, so we're gonna throw the hair. In order to do that, something that I like to do is stay in the same place. If you're shooting this by yourself at home, then what you would do at this point is have your camera on a tripod because then it stays in the same place, you don't need to go back and forth, as well as the fact that making the photo come together later in post production is easier. So the camera's in one place, you can just pick and choose from different pictures and bring it together in post easily. I don't have a tripod because I've got Apartik. So we're gonna make it harder and stuff today to show you that anything is possible. Anything is possible. So I'm making sure I'm in the same position. You can grab as much of it from the back. Quick note, my shutter speed at this point is 320. Again, that's just because the light's gone up. It's a little brighter now than it was earlier. I'm just constantly checking the back of my camera, reviewing it, and adjusting the settings. 320 shutter speed also means that I can catch that hair, beautifully and crisp. My aperture is still at 2.5, I like to keep that low, so. Great. Are we doing outwards or towards? Outwards, yeah. And you can have your eyes closed for this, love. Yeah, okay. One, two, three. Beautiful, so this is, yeah so this is another thing. I always make sure that when I play back my images, I'm playing them back on the CF card. Earlier I mentioned that I shoot on RAW on my CF card and JPEG on my SD cards. And that's just because I like to back up the images as I go I made sure that my playback mode is on the CF card. And that just means that it reviews the pictures quickly and more yeah, yeah, quickly. Because it takes a bit longer for it to read the SD card. One, two, three, go. Wonderful. Great, oh that looks amazing. We're gonna do a couple more. Okay, one, two, three, go. Great. And again this is just to give us some options for later. And one, two, three, go. Great. And at that point I was making sure that my focus stayed on her face. Just her eyes, that's where your focus should always be, shouldn't it really? Yeah, the eyes. That was wonderful. Do you mind if we do one more for luck and then we're done on that side? Yeah. Yeah? Okay, one, two, three. Go. Wonderful. Okay great, that was great. Okay we're gonna do the other side now. Love, I'm gonna have your hands, just the first, your right hand is, yes, I want it always on the side. Because when it's flat like that, it looks a little bit wider to the camera. And if you have it like that it looks a bit more delicate. Yeah, perfect. Okay, so one, two, three, go. Oh it's harder for you, isn't it. You can come on this side. The bush naturally has a little thing you can tuck into on the side here, yes. Yeah, yeah, great. Thank you. So as you guys can tell, Apartik's done this like 500 times. One, two, three, go. Wonderful. And I usually like to have the model in the same place as well because again it just makes my job so much easier later when I add all the pieces together. One more time, one, two, three. Great. And again, the focus is literally just on the hair. Oh, that's lovely. One more, last one. One, two, three, go. Great, okay. So ultimately, we've taken these shots, but I think what we're gonna do is we're just gonna take the shot that you liked and only use the hair in post-processing basically. So you don't have to worry about anything else in the frame. Perfect. So while I'm here, I'm just gonna do a little something. I'm gonna bring this hair forward, and bring this hair round Oh, sorry. There we go. Okay, so basically what I'm doing is just framing her. If I had this hair forward for example, then suddenly I've lost a lot of the lines that are lending form to this photo. You can't really see her neck, there's nothing here, there's no definition. It's just like body, hair, head. And it just seems a little bit disconnected. Whereas the moment I move this back, and have this forward, then I'm framing her beautiful neck, as well as just drawing the eye from the head all the way down. So if you face that way, see and you get this beautiful line here as well on the neck and that's what I really love to see when I'm taking photos. I love to see lines leading the person through I guess through the motion that the model is emulating. So we're gonna just put this here and we're gonna put that there, and I love this collar coming out here, great. And then you can even like toss your hair, yeah, there you go, just move your face back and forth. Her weight is still on her back leg, and so it gives us this beautiful like dent here that we can see. Dent, (laughter) curve. This dent here, sorry. This beautiful curve. Fabulous, I'm gonna take a portrait of you. And I just noticed that I wanted to tidy this up over here. Great. Okay, love that, that's beautiful. Okay, one, two, three. Oh, I can tell you've really warmed up as well now. Great. Yeah, I was gonna say actually. One, two, great. That's lovely. So I'm just checking my settings and checking the light. What I will also do, since I'm shooting this portrait, I wanna get a shot from the sides as well, so that if I wanted to make this a square crop, I've got all the information that I need right now. So stay where you were because that was beautiful. Yeah, yes, I love that. Is this coming in your frame at all? This top leaf? No, no it's not. Yeah, a 50 square crop so it actually just misses it. Great. Yeah, one, two, three, beautiful. And just look away. You can relax your shoulder, there you go. And just look away that way, great. Beautiful, and bring the flowers in like, yeah, and you can even close your eyes if you wanted to like yeah, so bring the flower in, beautiful. And toss your head back. Oh, that's lovely. That's exactly it. And now you can open your eyes and keep your head back. Beautiful, and now tilt your head towards me. Because I wanna see, yes, lovely. That's beautiful. One, two, three, beautiful. And eyes to me, beautiful. And eyes closed. And tilt your head down to the flower and close your eyes. There like that, for me like that. Lovely, so beautiful, so beautiful. Now let's have you like turn your body, oh bring the flower close to your face because I think that would be lovely. In fact, if you had your face that way and then just bring it close to your cheek maybe and bring your hands in so we can see the details with your hands. Maybe your other side, closer on my side, yes. So if you tilt your head back and then just bring it up. Let's see how that looks. And bring your other hand in, so that it's not hiding. Great, so we don't want the hand to be hiding, this other hand, so if you wanted to, you can hold the flower with one hand, and bring the other hand round, yeah, lovely. One, two, three, and just curl this hand so it's not flat, but it's just a little bit like yeah. Because what that does is it makes the hand look a little bit smaller. What if you turn it the other way, inward. Yes, something like that. Maybe let's have a look. Let's turn it this way, there we go, something like that. And just keep these out because they look really cool. If that's too awkward, have them curl up closer to this hand then, so just here. So have them like that. Hand's always the trickiest bit, but I think it's okay to spend time on them, right? Okay, your eyebrow is falling off, there we go. Okay yeah lovely. One, two, three, beautiful. And I'm just gonna take a shot. I love that, and turn your head that way. Oh my gosh, stay there. One more, and turn your head, oh yes. Yes, Lexi. And turn your head that way, bring the flower down a bit because I think it's hiding your beautiful neck. Curl this hand in, great. While you're there, let me just take extra shots. So I'm gonna take a shot. So I'm gonna focus on Lexi, and then move my camera so I grab this frame, gonna focus on you again, and then move my camera so I grab that frame. And essentially what that does, is give me options to play with later in post. In case I decided to expand the frame. But the focus has to remain on the model because it just wouldn't make sense if suddenly one part of the picture is focused on you and the other part of the photo is focuses on the flowers. It just wouldn't make any sense. So the focus point has to stay the same. And ideally if you're standing in the same place, then it makes your job so much easier. So I'm gonna focus on you, then shoot here. Gonna focus on you, and shoot there. Focus on you again, and shoot there. And actually Ken if you wanna move back a little bit, there we go, yeah. I might also just shoot around her as well. So I'm just gonna focus on you, shoot around. And you know when people say they're gonna expand the frame, this is what they're doing. So they're literally like, they've got the shot they want, and then they just move the camera around, making sure the focus is on the model. And that's literally called expanding the frame. So yeah, just gonna make sure that we're all set. Okay, so actually Apartik, you might have some insight. Yeah so basically you know when you're expanding the frame what that means is these shots we're taking around her, we're going to take those shots and piece them together with the main shot. So we'll pick a main photo that we really liked, and then with these other shots, we'll keep putting them in place, so it looks like a grander frame basically. And we do that in Photoshop? Yeah, we do, sorry. We're gonna do that in Photoshop so that way it's easy to go back and forth if we decide to change any elements. Also, I think what we'll do aside from extending the frame, is when we do extend the frame, if we see any gaps, like over here there's gaps in the bushes, we'll decide to fill them in with these other pieces that way it looks fuller, and you don't have to find a bush that's already full. I love it when the shoot looks magical when you're taking the picture, because then you know you're gonna have a really beautiful shot afterwards. But my job then in Photoshop becomes more about enhancing the magic that was already there. So in my head already, all these blank spaces don't really exist because I'm gonna fill them in. In my final photo, the vision in my head, I'm gonna fill all these things already. But knowing that I need to fill them means that it just gives me that extra bit of time to get the information I need before we hit that Photoshop phase. And also before you start shooting, if you're shooting a very delicate location, make sure you get some shots with the model not in there, that way if you so need to fill something back in, it's easy to fill that in and move on with your shoot.

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