Dynamic Portrait Photography: Working With Props | Desdemona Dallas | Skillshare

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Dynamic Portrait Photography: Working With Props

teacher avatar Desdemona Dallas, Photographer.Filmmaker

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      In the Kitchen :: Choosing Props


    • 4.

      In the Kitchen :: Shoot With Me


    • 5.

      In the Bedroom :: Texture


    • 6.

      In the Bedroom :: Shoot With Me


    • 7.

      In the Bathroom :: Chasing The Light


    • 8.

      In the Bathroom :: Shoot With Me


    • 9.

      In the Living Room :: Colors & Textiles


    • 10.

      In the Living Room :: Shoot With Me


    • 11.

      Editing :: Bedroom Shoot


    • 12.

      Editing :: Bathroom Shoot


    • 13.

      Editing :: Kitchen Shoot


    • 14.

      Editing :: Living Room Shoot


    • 15.

      That's A Wrap!


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About This Class

Continuing on our journey into learning simple techniques to create unique portraits, in this class we turn our lens inside the home. 

You never know what fun can be had with a strainer, glass cup, or curtain until you try to use them in a photoshoot! During this class students will learn how to utilize easily accessible household items and turn them into eye-catching and unique portraits. Together we will go through each room in the house; living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, and discover the magic of everyday household items when used to create captivating portraits. 

Moving into the winter months, this class will offer photographers fun and simple ideas to expand their photography practice, even if they must work from inside. 

Throughout the class I’ll be guiding you on various techniques to incorporate while turning household objects into tools for portraits including:

  • Lighting
  • Shadow and Contrast
  • Texture and Color
  • Choosing the right prop to support your image

Once we have spent time creating these images, I'll take students through a few simple editing techniques to bring their photos to life using Adobe Lightroom.

What will you need? I will be using my DSLR during the class, however the lessons and exercises can be easily practiced with a phone camera.

Who is this for? This class is accessible for all levels of photographers. It is helpful to have a basic knowledge of camera functions if students choose to use a DSLR or another type of professional camera.

Let's get started on this journey into your imagination, while we use our lens to turn the mundane into the magical. 

For other tips on lighting techniques for using natural lighting, visit my first Dynamic Portrait Photography Class, working with natural light.

Meet Your Teacher

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Desdemona Dallas


Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: The simplest objects that you see everyday and use in your everyday life can turn a photograph into a whole another reality. The more that you stay open to what you can use in your photographs, the more you're going to be able to find unique and captivating images through your lens. I'm [inaudible] , a portrait photographer and filmmaker working in Brooklyn, New York. Working with artists, individuals, and brands, I use my photography and my lens to create captivating images to help individuals tell their own unique story. In this class, we're going to be looking at how to use accessible household items and turn them into beautiful, creative, imaginative, eye-catching photographs and portraits. You'll be following me on a tour throughout my home, through my bedroom, kitchen, living room, and bathroom, and discovering the magic in accessible household items when utilized in photographs. While we enter another winter of social distancing and COVID protocols, this class is going to teach you how to utilize what's in your home to continue to expand your own creative photography practice. Throughout the class, I'll be guiding you through a variety of principles to remember while developing your artistic eye. We will be talking about texture and color, the type of lighting you want to use, shadow and contrast, and most importantly, how to choose a prop that best supports the images you're trying to make. The most important part of this class is that you come with an open imagination. A huge part of photography is being able to take something simple and mundane, and turn it into something extraordinary and captivating. After learning this variety of techniques, we'll be also learning some simple editing tools for you to really bring your photographs to life. For this class, I will be using my own DSLR professional camera, but this photography course is really available to all levels with any type of camera equipment, so I suggest if you even just have an iPhone or a camera phone to use that and go ahead and try this class out. It is helpful to have a little bit of previous knowledge about aperture and ISO, but we will be discussing that during the class as well. I'm really excited about teaching this course, and I hope that you'll join me as we learn how to take the mundane and turn it into the magical. 2. Class Project: For each technique that we go through in the class, I'll be giving you short activities. This will give you an opportunity to practice each of those techniques as we move through each room. By the end of this class, you'll have a better understanding of exactly how to bring props into your photography in ways that create dynamic compositions. For the final project, I'll be asking you to choose one room in your house, and gather together three different household objects that you would like to use in that room. You'll be wanting to think about what we've discussed in all the lessons: bringing the techniques and concepts into those different portraits. With those three props, create three different portraits to share in the class project section. I'll be looking over these and giving feedback as they come in. I'm really excited to see what everyone comes up with, and I hope that the lessons in this class will really help you to expand your own creative endeavors with photography. 3. In the Kitchen :: Choosing Props: For our first lesson, we're going to be talking about how to actually choose your prop. What we're going to be doing throughout the class is going to different rooms and choosing props in each of those rooms. One of my favorite rooms to choose props in is the kitchen. The kitchen is full of a lot of really cool objects that I love working with, in a variety of different ways. Something to think about when you're choosing your prop is how is the light going to hit that prop? How can you manipulate the light in different ways when it's hitting the prop, and then also reflecting off onto your subject's face. I really like to lean into a more dreamy photography. When I use these props, it gives me a lot of ability to manipulate an image, to have a little bit more of this magical essence to it. For instance, a prop like this cup I choose to use because it's got this really nice golden color to it. That golden color is actually going to translate when the light is moving through it onto my subject's face. These are things to think about. You want to think about color, you want to think about light, and then you just want to think about how you're going to be using both of those things in the actual photograph and the composition of the image. Today is really bright outside, and that's the perfect day to use this type of prop. There are other props that you can use that will just go in front of your subject's face. Those ones are less about actual light manipulation and so that you can use those on a more cloudy day or when it's a little bit darker or a low lighting atmosphere. But for a day like today where it's really sunny outside, and I have these big windows coming in through my kitchen, I'm going to be playing more with the actual light and how the light impacts the different objects that I'm using. This is one that I'll actually be shooting through. I'll be holding it up to my lens, shooting through it, and also be trying to play with ideas of reflecting the light off of the object onto my subject's face. Some other different objects that I like to work with are something just as simple as a kitchen strainer. These leave really cool shadows on your subject's face, and it can be really fun to play with these high contrast patterns and get really creative with actual shadows that you you are going to be capturing. If for instance, you don't have any colored glass, I really love colored glass, so I'll choose like a Pepsi bottle or a wine bottle. Get that cool green color going into the actual shot. But if you don't have any colored glass in your house, you can always just use plain clear glass. This is still going to do two things. You can either shoot through it, which is going to create a Gaussian glow feel to it. That's going to be something that'll be really fun to play with. Something else with these again is just reflecting the light. If I hold this kind of edge up to my camera lens, it's going to make this really interesting framing around the subject. That's another really good thing to think about as you're using props, is using them as actual frames and seeing how you can get them in either below or above your subject to create an interesting framing composition. One last thing that I want to mention about kitchen props is shooting through water. I'll just fill up an empty glass like this. Again, I can shoot through it, and it's going to create this really weird glow now, magnifying glass effect. Then another thing is again, letting the light come through. The water is going to create these really fun different types of reflections on your subject's face. These are types of objects that you would usually find in your kitchen. If you have objects like this in other parts of your home, like your living room or your bedroom, feel free to use those as well. You can use something like a vase or a mirror, even a CD-ROM if you have something like that still laying around from the '90s. 4. In the Kitchen :: Shoot With Me: I'm going to start with this little glass cup. I really like working with objects like this, just because of their color and their ability to reflect light. I feel like I'm getting two for one with these. I'm going to go ahead and start with this one. Since it's such a bright day, I'm going to start with my settings set for pretty bright light. I'm on 500 ISO, 400 shutter speed and a 5.0 aperture. But even that setting was actually a little too bright, so I'm going bring my ISO down to 250 and see how that goes. I'm liking how about looking again with the harsher lights. We're going to have to be thinking about exposing for the lighter part of Laurel's face. The shadows might end up being super dark in these photographs, the contrast is going to be pretty intense just because of the sunlight. Just something to think about as you're shooting, you want to make sure you expose for the lighter parts. If you do want to have a little bit of a softer light with less harsh shadows, I would suggest shooting at a later time in the day, when the light is a little bit softer. I'm not really loving what this one is doing with this light. Maybe if I had started earlier in the day, it would've made a difference. But right now it's too small, so it's not capturing the light in the way that I really wanted to. I'm going to switch to using the bigger pie dish and see if since that has a bigger surface area, it can give an effect more than I'm looking for. I am actually liking this one better. The bigger surface area is giving me more ability to cast more of the light on her face. It's catching the light through the sun and making these really cool different patterns on Laurel's face that I like. I did end up liking the shots that we were able to get with this larger surface. We didn't have to move around a lot. I was just tracing the light a little bit throughout the kitchen. So think about that. If you're not getting it through one window that you like, switch to another window. You want to just keep moving. The light throughout the day is going to keep changing. If you don't like how something looks at 12:00, you might like how it looks at 1:00 or at 2:00, so just keep trying different approaches. I'm trying with using some of these shadowee ones. Again, you want to think about your exposure. Just be aware that you are exposing for the skin tone and not for the actual shadows. Because you don't want to lose any of that information in the skin tones. We just finished the portion of the class that we did in the kitchen. Some of the things that we're working with here, was using props that reflect light and using props that casts shadows. A couple of things to remember when you're choosing your props; are they going to reflect light in an interesting way? What kind of patterns are they going to make? Similar things to think about for shadows, when they're casting a shadow on your subject's face, how is that going to look? What are the shadows they are going to look like? Is it going to be dynamic? Is it going to create an interesting composition? For some of this, we had to move around the kitchen a lot, trying to capture the light coming in from the windows, from a lot of different spaces. At one point I even had Laurel actually sitting in a darker area of the kitchen, but I was casting light on her face that was reflecting off of one of the objects I was using. Just keep all these things in mind. How does the object reflect light, and where's the light coming from? How can you make an interesting composition based off of where that light is coming from and how it's going to be interacting with your subject. Go ahead and choose three objects in your house and to get started with playing with your own objects. Again, this is going to be a lot easier to do if it's a sunny, bright day. But it might also be fun to play with on a more of a cloudy day. You'll still get shadows, but it will be a little bit harder to reflect light. Just a few things to think about as you're preparing together your own compositions. Get really creative with the different types of objects that you're going to use. Something that is totally mundane as a piece of glass can have a really incredible impact on your images. For this portion, choose three different props that you want to use. Again, I think the kitchen is a great place to start, but you can try other rooms in your house and just make sure that they're either reflective or see-through or creating shadows. Those are three different ideas that you want to be concentrating on for this particular exercise. Just taking those props and trying to create different images with each of those props. 5. In the Bedroom :: Texture: So here, with the soft light and this really soft material, like I said before, we're really just bringing more of that out of the subject and trying to capture this really soft feeling to the whole vibe. I'm going to just switch up the color of the curtain and we'll see what we get with a different color that's going to be a little bit brighter and having a little bit more fun with the colors that we're going to be using. Okay, we're back. Now we've got this new color. It's this nice, orange, kind of salmon tone that we're going to be playing with. Even if you don't have a curtain that's a really nice, sheer curtain, you can always just tack up a piece of fabric that you can find at a fabric store, and if you want to get playful in that way. I love this because it's casting this really nice, salmony glow onto Laurel's face. So think about how also the colors are going to play with your subject's skin tone and what feeling that you want to invoke overall. If we had a yellow, it would have a very different kind of warming sensation to it versus if we chose a blue color, it would make everything feel a lot cooler. Think about the kind of vibe that you want to go for. Think about what emotions you're trying to invoke through your photography and get really playful with the colors. I'm going to start on what I was at before, which is I ended at 250 shutter speed, 800 ISO, and 2.8 aperture. So I'm going to try that out. This is a little bit darker, so I might have to play with those settings, but I'm going to just give that a try, to begin with. So yeah, like what I thought, that's a little bit too dark. I'm going to bring the ISO up at just a little bit to 1250 and bring the shutter speed down to 160. Again, not everyone would want to shoot at 160 because you are going to get a little bit of motion blur, but I like my photos to be a little bit softer, so I'm okay with bringing it down to that. Okay. Can you pull it away from your face a little bit? Then can you just have it behind you like you were before and maybe get a little bit closer in towards the-? I want to get in a little bit closer to Laurel's face. So I'm going to switch from my 35-millimeter to my 50-millimeter and see what I can get. I'm really liking the orange, so I want to be able to be a little bit closer, getting less of the overall environment which is what we were getting before, the outside and more just close on her face where I'm really capturing this really nice, beautiful color that we're pulling out with this new fabric. Now I have my little 50-millimeter on and I'm gonna go ahead, stick with the same settings 200, 1250, and 2. 8 and see what we can get with that. I really like what's happening with the 50 and I'm going to stick with us for the rest of this session. I'm taking a lot of time to shoot from below and from above. That's going to help me capture light on her face in lots of different ways. It's going to be shifting the feeling of the full composition just by moving around where my body is, whether I'm shooting above Laurel or below Laurel. So think about that as you're positioning yourself and taking these shots. 6. In the Bedroom :: Shoot With Me: Okay, so let's get started. Cool. If you want to just start with playing with this a little bit. This is also a really good opportunity for you to get your model more engaged with the creation process. So what I'm going to have [inaudible] do is play around with the shapes that she can make and just have a playful experience with how she's creating the shot. It's a really good way to involve your model into the creation process, which I always think makes it more exciting for both of you to be collaborating. Since it's a little bit more of a low lighting day, I'm going to bring down my aperture a bit. I'm at 3.5. right now. That's going to give me a little bit of a closer focal length and then I'm going to bring my shutter speed down to 160, which might give me a little bit of motion blur, but I kind of like that we're going with the soft light and the soft fabric. I'm okay that there's a little bit of blur and it doesn't need to be so crisp. This is a good opportunity to play with those ideas. If you want to just turn towards the light a little bit more. Yeah, that looks really nice. Okay, let's see if these even look like, oh, cool. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah, that's so nice. Also something you want to think about when you're playing with a prop like this that's going to be in front of your model's face, you want to keep adjusting the focus to be on either your hand of your model or the face of your model. As they're moving the prop around, it's going to be changing where your focus is. But think about where you're focusing your lens as you're taking these photos, especially when you're using lower aperture. I'm going to experiment a little bit and even bring the aperture down more, down to 2.8 and kind of see what we get with that. So maybe there. A little bit more. I like that. Yeah, nice. Finishing up with the shoot in the bedroom, we got to play with a few different textures and colors. Some things to think about when you're doing your own shoot in your bedroom is to think about how you want to utilize the light coming from the window. So do you want a more soft, like cloudy day, that's going to create a bit of a softer feel to your photographs? Or do you want to play with shadows a little bit more, getting blinds up or the shadows coming in from the window? You want to use a more sunny day and just be aware of tracking when the light is coming in from the window and think about what kind of colors and emotions that you want to invoke through your process. 7. In the Bathroom :: Chasing The Light: We're onto our next shoot, we're in the bathroom now. Just again, I want to reiterate the idea that you want to really be thinking about what time of day you want to be shooting in each room. I really like shooting in my bathroom at different times of day. I've tracked what time of day the shadows fall in different areas of the room. There's a time in the morning when the shadows fall across the room and I really like that. That gives these really big harsh shadows and creates a lot of these cool lines on people's faces. I shoot a lot here in the morning. For today, we missed the morning light because it was a little bit cloudy this morning, but we're going to capture a little bit of the last bit of light. Just behind me there's a little bit of shadow going on from the light coming outside. It's really nice, it's soft. We're now towards the end of the day. So the light coming in from the sun has this really nice soft glow to it. It's a little bit more orange versus the color that I get in the morning is really like bright and very intense and the contrast is super sharp. Now that we're doing it towards the end of the day, there's going to be a little bit more of a softness to it. Like I said, a little bit more of this orangey color and the shadows aren't going to be popping so much, but they're still going to be enough that I can still capture them on my subject's face. As you move through your house and try these activities in different rooms, really spend some time in that room, spend time thinking about the way the light is going to be cast in that room throughout different times of the day. This is also going to change throughout the year. In the summertime, I have way more opportunity to shoot in different areas of my house because the days are so long. I have to get up super early to catch the light that I like in the bathroom. But then I have the opportunity to shoot more at night, like at 7:00 or 8:00 PM. But in the wintertime, it's a shoot super short window around 3:00 PM. I actually can't catch as good of light as I'm used to. So I have to get an earlier start. Those are just some things to think about the way that the light is going to be cast off certain objects in your house and what kind of lights you're trying to capture. Another thing to think about is how is the light actually being reflected off of certain things in the room. For instance, if you have a mirror that reflects some of the room from outdoors, or if you have maybe like a prism that hangs in one of your windows, different objects like this that are going to be in the room already, you can think about those and how those are going to reflect the light and how you might be able to utilize those in your photographs. In the bathroom, we're just going to be using this nice gentle light that's coming in from the window and capturing a few photos from that. 8. In the Bathroom :: Shoot With Me: This one is going to be a little bit more challenging to get the right focus here because I'm exposing for both the shadow and for the light that's on Laurel's face. So that makes it a little bit more complicated. What you want to do for this is expose more for the light part than for the shadow, because if something is blown out, you lose all of the information that's there, versus if you're able to expose for the lighter parts, you're not going to lose the information that's there if it gets too blown out. It's okay that you have parts of the photograph that are a lot darker. This is just going to allow you to bring those out, versus if it's blown out, you just can't really get that information back. Cool, a little bit shadow too [inaudible]. This is really fun for me. As we're losing the light, it's changing super fast in here. So I'm able to get a lot of different perspectives on Laurel's face because we're getting the shadows that are moving pretty quickly. In the middle of the day, the shadows are going to be pretty consistent, but if you shoot at the beginning of the day or the end of the day, they're going to move more quickly which means you have to move fast as a photographer to catch the light that you want. But it can also be a really fun way to get in and get a lot of different types of shots in a short period of time. Something else that can be really fun to play with is just houseplants. I have a ton of houseplants in my house. They make just for a really fun extra prop. We have a couple in the bathroom and they add a little bit of nice greenery edge, to what you're photographing. Even if you just have a little plant and you put it right in front of your lens and shoot through that, it can just bring a little extra pop of color that can be really fun. One of the props that I really love to use in my home that most people have at home is bath curtain. Just these plain see-through bath curtains, they make this really amazing, like dreamy, ethereal look to your photographs, which I think is really fun idea to play with. You can make just portraits that are really interesting and dynamic by shooting through them, and it's going to give your subject a really like ethereal feel to them. Something else too to consider with shooting through the bath curtain is how the water droplets are on the curtain. Sometimes I'll actually even bring a spray bottle and spray the curtain down just to bring a little bit extra, and that's going to give you this really nice texture to your photograph. Nice. I think I want to do like- Also, what I'm seeing here is the curtain itself is catching some light, and it's creating these really fun like refracting light pieces over Laurel's face which I'm really loving. That's another thing to think about. Whenever you are using a prop, you want to think about, how is that prop capturing the light? How can I use that to create an interesting and dynamic image? For this, I love the way that it's reflecting and creating these streaks of light. I'm going to keep trying to play with that, and that's going to change at different times of day and with different types of props. But think about how the prop you're using is actually manipulating the light itself and how that's impacting your photograph. There, and you come closer to it. Can you hold it together? Yeah. I especially like playing with the focus. Sometimes I'll focus on the bath curtain itself, and sometimes I'll focus on the subject, and both of those bring a different feel. You want to think about what kind of story are you trying to evoke when you're taking these photographs. How do you want your subject to be seen? What is the idea behind the photograph itself? You're not just necessarily pointing and shooting, and just shooting through this prop. You want to think about how do you want to show your subject. What kind of light do you want to have illuminated on your subject? What's the story behind the photograph that you're trying to capture? Keep that in mind when you're deciding on what your aperture is going to be, how you're going to focus the actual photograph, and how you're going to place your subject inside the photograph, because all that is going to be working to create this different kind of narrative. We got some really cool shots in the bathroom. We actually shot a little bit next to the window to get some of these really amazing shadows that are coming in right before the sun is setting. Then, we are also able to get some with using the prop of the shower curtain. Just some things to remember again is just being aware of when shadows are hitting at different times of the day in the rooms that you're choosing, and what kind of light is going to be cast in those. If you choose to shoot at the end of the day, you're going to get soft, warmer lights. If you are shooting like mid-morning or in the middle of the day, you're going to get these really intense shadows. Today, we are shooting more around golden hour, so we got this really sweet goldeny aesthetic to all the photographs that we are taking. So just something to think about. Then again, when you're choosing your prop and choosing using props, thinking about how the light is reflecting off of that prop, how it's going to impact your actual photograph, and how you want to be working with the prop to make something more interesting. You don't want to just choose the prop and then put it right in front of your lens, and that's it. You want to pick a prop, and then really try to work with that prop, and utilize it to the best of your ability to make it more dynamic. It's not interesting to just see a random leaf or shower curtain in front of your lens. What makes it interesting is how you actually play with it, how you play with the light that is cast on it, how you play with the texture of it. Get creative with the props that you're using, and try to just make them as dynamic and interesting as possible, so you're really bringing an extra layer of something different into the photograph that wouldn't be there just to make the photograph that much more intriguing. 9. In the Living Room :: Colors & Textiles: We're coming towards the end of our class. This is going to be the last room that we'll be shooting in. This is my living room, and what we're going to be thinking about for this one is more low lighting. In this room of my house, I really only have one tiny little window. I mostly light this room just with lamps and an overhead light. It's not super ideal for shooting in, but if I'm trying to get a more of a moody, darker feeling, this is the room that I'm going to use for that. Often I'll just shoot with the light from this lamp. I try to avoid using the overhead lights just because that can cause a lot of really intense shadows coming above on people's faces, which usually isn't very flattering. When we're in the low-level lighting, we're definitely going to have to keep our aperture super low and bump up the ISO. Something else that I like to think about in these low lighting settings is thinking about shadows, how the lamps are casting shadows on my subject's face. So I'll move the lamp around the room and just try different setups, and not necessarily pigeonhole myself into having a lamp just in one area. Again, you want to really be thinking about what type of vibe a you going for? What kind of story are you telling? We've talked about this a little bit earlier on in the class, but lighting is a really good way to just demonstrate different types of stories and bringing out a different kind of aesthetic with your subject. For the props we'll be using in this class, I want you to really be thinking about color. The things that I have in my living room are some really nice textiles. They're just little things that I picked up at a market that I sometimes use for backdrops in photography. I also use to drape over some of the clutter I have in my living room. They're already here in my living room. Most people have in their living room either a throw blanket, or some interesting pillows that might have a dynamic color on them. Think about textiles when you're working through this particular class, and think about the colors that you're going to be working with. For this one, I've chosen two bright colors. I'm going to use an orange cloth and a green cloth, and I'm going to have my subject wear a bright pink dress. All of these colors are going to bring up a really exciting feel to it, and it's going to be bringing about a lot more feelings of happiness, and joy, and elated emotions. It's going to be really captivating and eye-catching to the audience in a way that's very exciting. When you're thinking about choosing the colors, you want to be thinking about what kind of aesthetic and emotion you're trying to convey. If you're choosing more soft textures and soft neutral tones, that's going to be very calming. Maybe for something like this, you would bring a plant in also to the picture for a prop. Like I said, I'm going to be using bright poppy colors, and that's going to be bringing this really exciting feel to the photograph. 10. In the Living Room :: Shoot With Me: When you're playing around with fabrics, it can be really fun to create these completely other environments. I'm getting really close to Laurel's face and it doesn't even look like we're in my living room, it looks like we're in some tent somewhere completely different. Playing with fabrics can just be really a cool way to make these other realities. You can tack one up onto your background or you can drape it across your subject. There are so many ways to play with fabric in a way that can make a really simple setting, seem really fun and transporting you to somewhere else. Something that I'm playing with here is I'm actually using the lamp to shoot around. I have the lamp actually in the foreground of some of these photos to caster really cool light on Laurel's face and also get a little bit of a glow from the bulb itself. So just something to think about, if you're working with artificial light and a more low lighting setting, you can get really creative with your placement of the lights. Don't let it hinder you that you don't have a lot of natural light. You can definitely use the artificial light to still create some really fun compositions. Look at me. bring up your head, yeah. What I'd like you to do for an exercise for this lesson, is to choose two different colored materials. It doesn't have to be a blanket, it could be a sheet, or a curtain, or any kind of pillow that you have that can bring a little pop of color into your composition. Choose one bright color to play with and one neutral color to play with, and see how these bring about different types of emotions and aesthetics. You might even see when you start to approach your subject with different types of colors, that it brings out a different aesthetic or a different approach for you and your photography. Using different colors can bring out a different aspect of your own creative process. So allow yourself to have different aesthetic with each of the different colors that you choose. 11. Editing :: Bedroom Shoot: We're back here in the studio and we spent a whole day shooting. We shot in the kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom, and the living room. Got some really cool shots. I'm just going to be giving you all a few pointers on how you might do some of your editing. Through my editing process, I definitely lean into making things look a little bit more fantastical, especially when I'm using props. I love that the props can bring you into a different world, and that's something that we can really start to bring out in the process of the editing, so you'll see me playing with that a lot. I'll bring out a lot of more colors, I'll often times soften the image and generally just bring out more of a dreamy aesthetic in the photography. But again, this is totally up to your own process, and I really encourage you to play around with these different settings and see what you like best and what you want to lean into more. Maybe you want to keep things more simple, or maybe you want to make them look more abstract. I generally use Lightroom for most of my edits, especially if I'm doing a group of edits like this. Sometimes if I just have one photograph that I want to edit or that I want to edit a little bit more in detail, I'll take it into Photoshop just because that gives me a little bit more control. But generally, I'll just mostly stay in Lightroom because I think that it's an easier interface and it's pretty user friendly. There are other editing softwares out there, so don't feel like you have to stick to this one, but I'll be editing with Lightroom today. The editing process is really where you can hone in your aesthetic, so just get playful, be experimental, and have fun with it. Here are the ones from the bedroom. I loved the way this Gazi material brings this foggy like essence into the photograph. I chose photos that I shot mostly through the curtain like we're looking at Laurel through this veil and as though she's on the other side of another world, so I picked a lot of those ones. Then when we switched into this material with this orange color to it, I really liked to just focusing on Laurel's actual face here. I loved the colors that we got out. If you remember, I brought my aperture way down, put on my 50 millimeter, and got this really soft texture here. I love these up-close shot of really just honing in on Laurel's face and bringing out that color that we are getting from the curtain, which I was really loving. Other ones that I really enjoyed as I was going through the selection process, were these ones that were in front of Laurel's face, giving her the sense that she's maybe of another place and that dreamy feeling. But those were the ones from the bedroom, and out of those I really liked this one. I'm going to choose this one for our editing process, just making sure that that's the one I want to go with. Maybe actually this one where we're getting more of her eye. One of the first things that I just try to do with most photos is go into my contrast. Contrast is going to bring out some of the detail a little bit, bringing the darks darker and the lights lighter. I like that we get more of her eye here. But then I'm actually starting to notice is that we're getting a lot of this texture here from the actual curtain. I'm going to go back to this original one that I said that I liked. It does still have that texture from the curtain, but it seems a little bit less obstructive to the photo. Again, starting with the contrast then playing with this blue, I love this, I really like to lean into making things look more dreamy. I'm just going to grab this brush over here, and this is going to allow me to choose one section of the photo and edit just that section. I want to bring more clarity into Laurel's eye. I'm going to bring up the clarity over here and then just swipe it over her eye and let's see if I can bring that up a little bit more. That's just going to pop out the detail in her eye a little bit, and then inversely, I'm going to start a new one and actually bring the clarity down and see if I can get rid of some of this detail. I'm just trying to smooth over a little bit of the details from the curtain. A lot of times I'll soften up the edges just to bring the viewer's eye into the center. I like where this is out for now, this is all I can do with it in Lightroom and then I'll go into Photoshop and clear some of that stuff up. Next, let's go ahead and edit one of these, these ones were really fun. I really liked the way that this one came out with this gauze all around. For this one, I'm definitely going to bring up the exposure first. I like that we're getting this light behind Laurel is really nice. Then I'm going to actually bring down the contrast a little on this one. See if I can soften it a little bit, I really like that but maybe just actually darken the blacks just a little for a little pop, and let's see what happens if I boost the clarity. I'm really loving the way that this is feeling maybe bring in a little bit of pink highlights into there. Generally, what I'll do is just play a little bit with the temperature, play with the contrast, and then play with these highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, and then definitely play around with the clarity. If I'm feeling like I want to bring out the color a little bit more, the saturation is a good place I actually really like that. I'm going to keep that and yeah, I'm pretty happy with that photo. I do really like this and I think it would be good to apply to a few others. If you want to take all of the same settings and apply them to a few different photos, you can hit the Command key and select a few different photos, and then hit the ''Sync'' button and synchronize and then that's going to give me the same on all of them. That one's a little blurry, this is a little too exposed so I'm just going to bring down the exposure. I think that that's a fun composition, and then same with this, just bringing down the exposure but I do like the contrast being low. I might just soften this one a little. I like that soft misty effects. That's a nice way to if you choose one type of style that you like for your editing, you can apply it to a few different photos. Then let's just switch over to these colorful ones. This is going to be a different approach. I'll probably play a little less with the color because I already like that there's this color happening, whereas the other one was lacking, so maybe bring them up, add up just a little bit, bringing out the pinks a little bit more and then this, I want to go with a nice soft contrast. It was already a pretty soft photo, the focus is really soft and we're getting this nice blur here and around her face. Just going to bring the contrast down, maybe bring the clarity down a little. A lot of these, when you make adjustments, you don't need to make them really huge, you can just do slight adjustments. If there's something in particular that you really like, like say we do a bunch of clarity, some people like this style, it makes it much more dramatic or really soft, which gives it a more dreamlike aesthetic. You can play with the extremes of everything to see where you want to land. I really like the vibrance for this one a little bit down, here's the saturation. I think the saturation is good where it was. Just when you're starting, just play with the extremes. I actually really like where you bring these shadows down, I think that that gives a nice touch and I actually think we'll bring the saturation up just a little, keep those colors alive. As you play around with these different settings, different settings are going to impact the photo in different ways. Maybe you bring the contrast down and the saturation up, but if you bring the contrast up, you might want the saturation down. See how they are also impacting each other, and again, think about the vibe that you're going for, like this seems really dramatic and moody to me. Whereas this has a much more soft and inviting quality to it. I'm going to keep this one like that, I really like it. I'm going to apply it to a couple of these other ones and see how that goes. This one I really love this one, I love that this is the piece of the curtain is right here in front of her face, and we're getting this nice light coming in from the window. The highlights are a little high for me, so I'm going to bring those down, and then you see that as I change the highlights, you see that it brings in a little bit more information here. If you have any parts of a photo that are blown out, you can always bring the highlights down and try to save some of that information. But I really like because maybe a little bit more contrast on this one since we're further away from her face, and the clarity is already up. Be a little bit more vibrant. I'm liking this, bring the shadows down a little. Again with going to the extremes, like going extremely dark, I can see what that feels like and then going all the way light, I can also feel what that essence is going to be in the photo. I do like it a little bit on the darker side. I'm going to keep with that. Sometimes I'll do an initial edit and then after a couple of days, go back and recheck to see what I've done with the photographs and see if I still like them and it gives me a chance to have a little bit of a fresh perspective on the photographs. Just something to think about, it's good to give yourself a little breathing room and go back to it if you think you might want to do some changes. 12. Editing :: Bathroom Shoot: Next we're going to edit the photos from the bathroom. For this one, we're focusing a lot on light and shadow. Something to think about when you're doing the editing process. If you want to bring down some of the highlights, or if you want to lean into that a little bit more and actually bring up the contrast and bump that up a lot. That's again, up to your own aesthetic and what you're into like this one for example, the shadow across her face, someone might want to make that a really intense shadow. Inversely, you might want to lighten it and bring the more of the details of Laurel's hair and her eye into the photograph. That's just something to think about when you're playing with photography that has a little bit more shadow and light in it. Here are some of the ones that I chose. I really loved the plants and this green effects that we got, especially this one where you're really seeing the green all around Laurel's face, I think that framing is really beautiful. Here's where we were using the curtain, where we were playing more with these light streaks. Again, we're thinking about light and shadow, do I want to bring those highlights out and blow them out and make them really intense and dramatic? Or do I want to bring them down into do them a little bit more and make the photograph a little bit softer than I would bring down the clarity, bring down the contrast, go for this really soft look, or bump everything up and make it much more dramatic? You can really see the difference between those two photographs. That's all again up to what you're really drawn to. I think I'm going to go ahead and edit this one. I feel like with a lot of these photos, I'm actually not doing too much editing and keeping it pretty light, just staying in here in the basic edits. You can also go down to all of these other facets of editing in Light-room it is definitely fun to play with some of these other elements of the editing process. But for me, I really like simplicity in my edit. I try not to go too far into the other settings that I can use. Bringing these whites down because I do feel like this was a little bit overexposed on her face. When you're oftentimes when you're shooting these really drastic light and dark photographs that can be easy to blow out the lighter parts of the photograph. I like to just, this one feels like its dark moody vibe. I'm going to just keep with that aesthetic for this and even bringing the saturation a little bit more. I love the color of Laurel's skin here and I'm going to bump up the clarity up a tiny bit here. As I'm playing with this, I'm really seeing the essence of the photograph is much more dramatic and moody. I'm just leaning into that and really trying to bring that out of the photograph as I'm editing it. As you're editing think about what is already there in the photo, for the bedroom photos they already felt really dreamy. So I tended towards a softer, lighter, glow effect. But for these, they're a little bit more dramatic and moody. So I'm going to lean into that. Look at what is already apparent in your photo and try to just elevate those aspects of it. Let's go on to do this one with the house plants. This is where I'm going to come in and actually start to play with the colors. You have here under the section of Light-room, the ability to get into the colors more. I want to play with the saturation of green. I'm just going to go right here and I'm just gonna bring it up. And that's going to bring this color and just make it more vibrant. Let's see what happens when we play with the luminance also, yes, so that's just really elevating the green color, which I love because there isn't too much color in Laurel's face for this shoot, we went really neutral. So I love that the green is bringing this fun pop of color. Again, I'm going to lean into the moodiness here and bring up the contrast. I really love what's happening here with Laurel's eye, the shadow that's coming out and it's just a little bit overexposed in the back, so we're going to bring the highlights down. I love this one, I think that this one for me is done, maybe bring in a little bit softness into the face. Sometimes it can be nice to just bring the brush tool, bring the softness down, and just like smooth out people's skin a little bit. When you're really this close to a photo. Yes, that's feels done to me. This is where it gets really fun to play with props when you really are starting to manipulate the light like this and bringing in a completely different aesthetic than what you would have if there wasn't a prop there. So if there was no curtain there, we wouldn't be getting these light streaks across the photo. That just brings is completely other feel to the photograph. Playing with these props and bringing out these different aspects of a photo that weren't there before gives you a completely different world to see through. I really am happy with how this one came out. 13. Editing :: Kitchen Shoot: The next shoot is the one that we did from the kitchen. This is where we were playing with a lot of different props. There were a lot of different aesthetics to look at when I was going through the editing process. We didn't shoot this on a cloudy day, we shot it on a sunny day so all the lighting is really intense, which is giving us a lot of different contrasts. Just something to think about as we're in the editing process and choosing our different photographs. I liked here how it looks like we're looking at Laurel almost through a fishbowl, almost as though she's in water. As you see, as I bring down the highlights, that we start to get even more of the pattern on her face. A really cool part of editing, is that you can start to bring out parts of the photo that you weren't able to see inside the camera. Again, if I bring up the shadows, we really start to get Laurel's hair too, and I think that it's cool that Laurel's hair matches the pattern on her face. This one, I'm going to go in more because there's so many different exposures, back here is super dark, and here is really light. It's hard to expose perfectly for a lighting situation that's really intense like this. I'm going to come in here with my brush tool and I'm going to work on the exposure a little bit and just bring the highlights down in here on her skin here. Yeah, I like that better. Yeah, it was just a little bit too bright. Then inversely, I'm going to start a new one. I want to bring down the exposure in the back because I want to just make sure that the attention is focused on Laurel's face. If you have a lot going on in the background, it can be really disorienting to your audience, where they're not necessarily sure where to look. Part of the editing process too is just, bringing the direction of your viewers eye into where you want them in the photo. You can really pull them into the part of the photograph that is most important to you. Here I just really want to focus on this cool pattern that we're getting on Laurel's face and I don't want there to be this other stuff going on in the background. I'm even thinking about softening this little. Yes, I don't know if you notice so much, but if we go more clarity, the patterns become really solidified, and if we bring it down, I like that. It seems more uniform a little bit. So yeah, I'm loving that. I'm going to stick with that for my final edit. Then here, these photos are all really similar, so I'm going to do the sync again just to give us an idea of what they look like. When you're syncing you want to just always make sure to start with your first photograph and then select the other ones to sync. Yeah, I think that those synced pretty well. For this one, not do the exposure, I'm just going to soften around her skin a little. Maybe even here I might play with the colors a little bit. We didn't do that for the last one. No, I like it how it was actually, yeah. If you've come up with an editing style that you really like, you can start just applying that to most of your photos and then you can play with them slightly, but know that you have that as the base. Like, I love bringing out Laurel's hair in this one. Then again, I'm going to go into the exposure. I don't really want people paying attention to that background color as much. I'm going to bring it down a little bit more, there we go. Then people are really going to be drawn straight into Laurel's eye here where we're getting this really great reflection. Here we are getting more into the shadows. Yeah, here with the shadows, it gets a little tricky to just get the right exposure. I love this, is like more contrasty, that's really cool to me. I really liking this one, that we're getting this sun beam off of Laurel's eye. Yeah, honestly, I like this one just like this. I think it's really dramatic. I love the look on Laurel's face. Bringing in the contrast, just brings in the drama. Again, with this background, our kitchen is pretty bland, so it's not the most exotic background. Then here, I think sometimes things like this can be a little distracting. So maybe even bring in the spot tool, try to cover that up a bit. Let's see how that works. Yeah, it's a little bit more covered. Yeah, I love the way that this one came out. This one I really leaned into the extra contrast, and I really like that. Sometimes you might only choose just two different things to change in the photo. You don't have to go overboard and change every little single thing. If you want to just change one aspect of it, that's totally fine. Her face is definitely blown out here. Again, this was hard to expose for because the sun was super intense. We're going to just bring that down. While we bring down the highlights, we start to get this really dramatic look on Laurel's eye which I think is really cool. Again, with these I'm going to play into the contrast more. When it's a super sunny day like this and we're playing mostly with really intense shadow, I'll definitely choose to lean more into making really dramatic contrasty photos. Just because it's like already the aesthetic of the picture, whereas when it was a cloudy day during our shoot in the bedroom, I went with a softer, more glowy essence. Again, just playing with what is already there and trying to bring that out even more. I love this. I think this is great just as is, and I only affected just a couple of things. There's just one more that I want to go through the editing process of. Actually, I want to do this one. This was this really cool reflection that we got when we were photographing Laurel. The light was moving across the camera. One was really dramatic like this, which for something like this, I guess I would bring down the exposure a little. But this one is a little bit harder honestly because it's a little bit too much of a wash. Even though I like this effect, in this one in particular, it's a little bit too dramatic. I'm going to go ahead and go with this one where you can't really tell. We get this nice little prism effect in the corner. There is a softness to the photograph because it is picking up this light reflection that's going across the lens, but it's not so dramatic as this. It's a little bit softer and this one doesn't have it at all. You can see this one has this little bit of light reflecting on it. I'm going to bump the contrast here, and again just soften a little bit Laurel's skin. Sometimes also, if I soften the skin, I will bump the clarity around the eye. Yeah, so we still get that really nice clear look on Laurel's eye. Honestly, just with a bump of the contrast and a little bit of change in the skin, I love this one. I think that this is really great as is. So I'm just going to leave it like that. 14. Editing :: Living Room Shoot: Now we're going into the final room that we shot in. This is a low lighting room that we shot and it was my living room which only has a little window in it, so this is going to be in editing process, what we are going to be thinking about is can I see the graininess of the photograph. You definitely are going to want to boost up the exposure but if you boost it up too much, you're going to start to see the grain. I ended up having to shoot at 6,400, which I really prefer not to do, but it was just such a low lighting setting that I ended up going to that high of an ISO, so they're going to be super grainy. I just have to be aware of being balanced about how much I bring up the exposure. If I start to bring it up to here, obviously that's overexposed, but you start to see the grain in here in her skin tone. This one's going to bring up the shadows and then even when I start to bring up the shadows, that's when I start to see this grainy effect. Something you can do to help with the grain is going into the Detail part of Lightroom and going to Noise reduction and Luminance. You can bring this up, and it's just going to soften that grain. The issue with using this too much is that you do lose any crispness that you're getting in the photo. Here it is with nothing where you obviously you're getting a lot of grain, but you're also getting more of these clear lines, then when I bring it up, it just is going to soften the photo overall so the grain isn't going to be as distracting, but you also are not going to get those sharp lines. These are just things to consider when you're editing your low lighting settings. 15. That's A Wrap!: That wraps up the class. Thank you so much for joining me in the journey through my home as we discovered how mundane everyday objects could become imaginative and captivating parts of our own portrait photography. In this class, we went through my living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom, and discovered just how exciting something as simple as a shower curtain could be turned into a unique and dynamic concept for a photograph. I hope through this lesson you've really learned that you can take your imagination in photography with you anywhere, and not to feel limited anymore by the constraints of being in a small space or just being in your home, or not having all of the lights and setups that you feel a professional photographer might have. You can take something as simple as a strainer or pie pan and turn it into a really beautiful image. I hope that you keep this in mind as you move this into your own photography practice, and I really hope that you'll share your own projects with me. For the class project, just as a reminder, I'm asking you to create three images, choosing one room in your house and three different household objects. You can use those objects in whatever way you want, and just remember to think about some of the techniques and guidelines we talked about in this class: what time of day you want to shoot, what type of lighting you want to shoot in, textures, colors, and really thinking about the different shadows and how you're using those objects from your home. Through using your own imagination, you can lean into an aesthetic that feels especially good to you, and to continue to try to really harness what is exciting to you in photography, and how can you use the most simple of tools to make your photograph shine. I'm so excited to see what you all come up with, and happy to give you feedback as the projects are shared in the project class gallery. If you're looking to expand your knowledge about working with natural light, which we talked about a little bit in this class, you can check out my first Skillshare class on dynamic portrait photography using natural lighting. This class will talk about backlight, direct light, lens flare, and working with shadows, so you can start to expand on some of the ideas that we also mentioned in this class. Also, if you're looking for some inspiration, feel free to check out my Instagram, which will have portraits from this class and from my other projects. You can find that at desdemona_dallas, I'll also be linking that in the class files. I hope if you take anything away from this class, is that you don't need to be hindered by a lack of tools or a big studio setup, and that you can use the most simple mundane objects to create dynamic work. The most important thing in photography is that you bring your imagination with you, and allow yourself to have fun, and make images that feel exciting and captivating to you. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey through my home, and I hope that you are able to utilize all of these new skills and tools in your own work, as you move forward with your own creative photography practice.