Narrative Portraiture: On Location in New York City

with Chris Orwig
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Narrative Portraiture: On Location in New York City
Video duration: 0s 1h 30m Appropriate for all


In the Narrative Portraiture series, photographer and teacher Chris Orwig explores the use of elements such as location and natural light to create images that tell stories about their subjects and produce a strong emotional connection.

In this installment of the series, Chris shows how to incorporate aspects of a location, such as architecture, natural light, and even passersby, to create authentic, story-filled portraits.

The course begins with a photo shoot on the Brooklyn Bridge. Chris emphasizes the importance of directing and collaborating with a subject and of being responsive to changing lighting and location conditions. After the shoot, Chris discusses the preparation that goes into on-location shoots, from choosing camera gear to storyboarding. Next, he reviews the images from the shoot and mentions the post-processing techniques that he employed to make them more effective. The course also includes several assignments aimed at reinforcing the concepts Chris describes.

The course concludes with an on-location family portrait shoot and a look at the special considerations that go into group shots.

Topics include:
  • Engaging the subject
  • Scouting a location
  • Handling gear on location
  • Taking advantage of natural light
  • Planning and storyboarding before a shoot
  • Working with props and groups


Hi! My name is Chris Orwig. I am a photographer and a teacher. Welcome to this installment of Narrative Portraiture: On Location in New York City. You know in the first installment of this series, Foundations of Portraiture, we talked a little bit about how we can work with natural light and gear and composition and other elements, and how we can bring all of these together in order to create pictures that tell stories. Well, here in this installment, we are going to build upon all of that and we are going to take things even further as we travel to a really exciting and inspiring location New York City.

And there in New York, we will be meeting up with Jared Mason, a Broadway performer, musician and actor. We're creating some pictures of Jared at a really iconic New York spot, the Brooklyn Bridge. And along the way, I will be sharing with you some techniques that you can use when exploring and evaluating a location. We will also talk a little bit about how you can work with natural and available light, how you can use your gear and how you can do all of this in order to create pictures of depth and purpose and meaning and story.

We will also review those photographs and I'll talk a little bit about some of the postproduction techniques that I employ in order to further my vision for those pictures. Well, as a bonus, we are going to meet up what Jared and his family and there you will discover that there are some unique challenges and creative opportunities that arise whenever you're photographing a group. Well in nclosing my hope for the entirety of this course is that it will somehow further your own photographic vision. So as you watch this, have fun, take good notes but always be asking yourself, how does this relate to me and to my pictures? Because regardless of who or where you photograph, it's all about storytelling.

All right, well, if you're ready to head to New York City, let's begin.

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