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Plates Extending the Scene

Lesson 18 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

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Lesson Info

18. Plates Extending the Scene


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

Plates Extending the Scene

So we're gonna be back in the shoot now, so I'm going to take a couple more photos. Honestly I think we've got everything we need, so I'm really happy. We're just going to take a couple more because there's always a couple more. Let's go. One two three, beautiful. And one soft, softness, so whatever you can give me soft. Even if you want to put your hands down, you can do that. Yeah, yeah that's it. Bring that other hand up, cause actually it does look really nice. Angles, yeah. Yeah, lovely. Tilt your head back, like all the way back. Eyes closed. Give me feeling, yes that's it. I want to feel, I want to feel it. Wonderful, lovely. Okay, and I'm pretty happy with these. One more? And just look away, and look that way. Bring your shoulders down and head that way, but give me like the, yeah. Beautiful, and tilt your head back quick. That's it, there we go, love, there we go. Okay, a little bit more. All right, I'm happy with that. I am going to take some empty shots now, so what I'l...

l do is I'm going to make sure I'm in the same spot and... Okay, this is where I have been the majority of the time, so we're going to take you out now, and I'm just gonna change my camera setting from auto focus to manual focus. So before she left the scene, I focused on her. I set it on manual, she's left, and now the focus is right, so I'm going to take some empty shots now. And I highly highly recommend if you're going to do a composite shot that you do this just because it makes editing so much easier. When you have an empty frame, you can just pick and select parts of the image from. So I'm just gonna, this is on manual focus. I'm just gonna shoot around. Okay! So what I just did just then is was make sure that I took the extra shots that I needed for composite. So basically what I like to do is take a photo of the shot, the scene, without the model in it. So I focus on the model, and I usually have my auto focus on, and then I take that off and make sure it's on manual focus while staying in the same spot. She moves, and I just take the photos of the scene without her in it. And what that really just does is give me pictures that I can work from really easily without the model in it. So if I need to add bits of flowers from different parts of the photo, I've got empty shots, and I can just do that. And especially because, you know light has changed, and maybe you got the shot at the later part of the shoot, and then it stays consistent, and it's also important that when we pay attention to the lighting from frame to frame, you get consistency and continuity when you're doing natural light. And especially for lookbooks and things like that where you want to make sure, that's why you have to really be paying close attention. Yeah, I think lighting gives it away, especially if you're shooting in changing lighting conditions like we are today, where things are a little bit cloudy one minute, and then the sun is peeking out another minute. While I was shooting, I was consciously aware of the light. And you really have to be when you're shooting on location. Just to know where it's coming from and what pictures work best with or without it, so I knew that I quite liked it when the sun was peeking out because it added a bit more depth in the photo. There's a bit more light behind her, but then there was light popping in front of her, which made the scene look really interesting to me. So when I took my extra shots now, I made sure that the sun was peeking out. I didn't make sure, I asked the sun to peek out for a second. It was all you. It was all me. But I was conscious that the sun was out, so I was like while the sun is still out, let me quickly grab those extra shots, so we took her out, and I made sure I grabbed that scene. And you know, we could have made it easy, where we added a scrim so it stayed perfect the whole time, but in reality, this is the real situation. We wanted to show you what it's like on a day-to-day shoot. And as you saw us bar, you really don't need fancy things to kind of take a good photo. Exactly. Like I'm here with one camera, one lens. I haven't changed it. I had a really clear vision of the kind of photo that I was after, which was a portrait of a girl lost in her own little world moment, and most of my focus went on the idea and the concept of the photo rather than getting weighed down with the technicalities. I honestly think don't worry if you don't have the right equipment. Don't let that hold you back. It's about the concept, and it's about your creativity. And that's really what's going to set you apart from other people. Exactly. So I took extra time today to do her hair and put flowers on her hands and have the whole, really consider colors, like considering red, the yellow, the oranges, how they would work together. It's that level of thought that makes this photo stand out from a girl in a pretty dress, you know what I mean? You can get all of the technical details down, but that doesn't mean it's going to be an interesting image. It's like retouching before the actual retouching begins. Yeah, it's just your vision, and I think that even if you have a pointed shoot, you can bring it to life. You can bring it to life on an iPhone now, or just a phone. So you don't have to worry that "Oh I don't have the right equipment, "And they don't have the right lights." We were just using the sun today. The sun and a reflector was directing how the light worked on her. A little bit of knowledge about you know, you'll feel out your shadows, what you prefer. Again, that comes with experience and practice. And catch light in her eye. You can't go wrong with a bit of catched light in the eye. You know ultimately what I thought was really interesting was like we mentioned earlier, seeing the progress from the first test shots with the model and how it progressed and how you led her to the vision that you were going for. Yeah. Especially with a lot of those poses that related specifically to how you had those references from the Final world. Yeah. So I think that does help though. Having an inspiration that I talk to in your brain, and also with the poses as well. Before the shoot I actually showed her some poses on the phone. So that she knew how I liked to have her hands to be and stuff like that. That really helped guide her a little bit as well. So it's okay that she wasn't 100% experienced because not all of the girls that we work with are, so it just makes you work harder to be better at communicating and channeling that energy that you want her to create, creating that connection between the photographer and the model.

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