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Editorial Portrait Photography for High School Seniors

Lesson 44 of 46

Alternative Income in Any Market

Dan Brouillette

Editorial Portrait Photography for High School Seniors

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

44. Alternative Income in Any Market


Class Trailer
1 Class Introduction 15:18 2 How to Make Senior Photos Stand Out 05:48 3 What is Lighting in Layers? 16:49 4 Build a Lighting Foundation 18:28 5 Layer One: Main Light 06:17 6 Layer Two: Fill Light 08:29 7 Layer Three: Accent Light 04:29 8 Layer Four: Additional Light 11:46

Lesson Info

Alternative Income in Any Market

So the next thing I want to talk about is diversifying your income. This is all through photography. We're all wanting to be photographers, if we aren't already. For me, when I started the business, the senior thing gave me money as a summer job while I was in college. It was just enough that when I went back to school, I didn't have to work, but when I graduated, it became a full time job. It was do I want to go follow the path of all the other people I graduated with and go find that full time job, or do I want to make what I'm already doing as a summer job into a full time career. For that to actually happen, for you to afford everyday expenses and a be a real adult, you have to figure out how to pay the bills and do all that stuff, so for me it was how can I keep money coming in year round? What can I do to make photography my job so that it's not just a hobby. So what I do on the side, and by on the side I mean outside of senior portraits, is a lot of business portraits, a lot of ...

commercial and editorial work. Some examples of that would be business portraits for banks, hospitals, realtors, law firms. Companies that really use photography. And for me, finding companies that have lots of employees is always good because it's guaranteed income and stable jobs that keep coming back around as more employees get hired and things change, so that's who I target. For commercial and editorial work, I work with marketing and advertising agencies, locally and nationally for different campaigns and things like that. Editorial work is your magazine shoots. Those aren't as much the money maker, but they provide you with more of a creative outlet to show your skills and work with different things and get in situations that you couldn't normally get in to create new work and show, plus, at least for me, getting more commercial work, using that editorial work using shoots that were in magazines, to show other people what I can do on that side, with my own personal touch, can show what I can do for their brand, their corporation, et cetera. So it's kind of a full circle type of deal. Here's a couple samples, these are just basic business portraits. It's using the exact same lighting set ups we used in the studio earlier. This is just a three light set up, one to one ratio, of your big soft source, with a bell above the camera, an accent light on a white background. It's exactly what I do with the seniors, it's just a little different feel, a little different attitude. Something that is the exact same skill set, but I've had days where I've gone in and photographed 60 attorneys at a law firm, spent the whole day. It's not the most exciting thing in the world, but it definitely pays the bills, and you can make a great living doing it. And something like that, I already have the skillset and now a lot of you guys do too. You know what to do, it's just a matter of going out and finding the clients. Every area has companies that need commercial head shots. Between their business cards, their websites, billboard, anything like that, there's tons of photography. And then figuring out how to add to it, so from this same group of photos, came this. None of these people were even in the room at the same time, but it's the exact same lighting. Being able to put it all together, and then that's for the law firm. Again, something as simple as that can help you in the off season of your senior portraits, keep the same skill set and obviously going to those things, setting up those lights and tweaking with all the lights and messing with stuff keeps you sharp and keeps that experience level because things happen in those shoots when I need to adjust and it's always evolving. And just getting more smooth with how everything works and learning little things here and there.

Class Description

Create images beyond the “traditional” senior shoot and make your clients feel like they stepped into an editorial campaign.  Knowing the basics for lighting in-studio and outdoors, as well as how to make your clients feel involved in the creative process can make your business stand out and thrive in a crowded market.  Dan Brouillette is a successful editorial photographer, who molded his studio to reflect his commercial work.  Each senior gets to help with the creative process of finding a shoot that fits their personality and Dan uses his knowledge on lighting and posing to make every shoot look as if it belongs in a magazine.  In this course Dan will teach:

  • Pre-session tips for preparing your photoshoot
  • What lighting equipment works for successful in-studio and location shooting
  • How to light in layers to create a portrait that is dynamic
  • Tips for posing and directing your seniors that make them feel comfortable and excited for the shoot
  • How to get involved in the local high schools so that students are familiar with you and your work
  • How to edit and cull through your images for a simple and time efficient workflow

  Create stand-out photography that excites seniors to organically market your business to their friends and simultaneously grow your portfolio beyond the high school senior market.  Dan Brouillette has taken his knowledge from working with magazines like ESPN, Time, The Wall Street Journal, and Men’s Health and utilized it to build his successful high school senior photography business while shooting in a style he loves and growing his portfolio.


pete hopkins

awesome teacher and awesome technique. after soooo many webinars, it's really great to see someone break it down to the bare bones of lighting with exceptional quality results. i can listen to Dan all day. no pretense, no over the top emotional pleas, no drama! did i say awesome!!!! Plus, I'm a huge fan of the B! and B2 systems. Freedom is key. Now I can shoot anywhere, anytime. Thanks Dan.


This is by far the best class on senior photography I have found on creativelive. Dan explains the technical aspects in an easy to understand format. He does a great job going through studio shots, outdoor shots, editing and marketing. He's given me some great ideas and inspired me to be more creative. I am going to rewatch the lighting set up for the "hero shot". It's super cool!

Tristanne Endrina

Dan was great. His class was very comprehensive but easy to follow. The slides he used weren't flashy. Instead, they were simple and he went at a good pace. I left feeling like I could really pull off the lighting techniques he taught. I'm excited to put what I learned into my photography. :) Thanks, Dan.