Narrative Portraiture: Foundations of Portraiture

with Chris Orwig
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Narrative Portraiture: Foundations of Portraiture
Video duration: 0s 1h 44m Beginner


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 first installment, Chris lays the groundwork for the series. The course begins with a discussion of portraiture and the characteristics that make an effective, story-filled portrait. Chris then explains the importance of establishing a connection with a subject and identifying those details that will help tell his or her story. Next, he explores elements such as location, natural lighting, and composition. The course concludes with an exploration of gear: the creative options that various lenses and cameras provide, and techniques for shooting efficiently and unobtrusively.

Topics include:
  • The elements of narrative portraiture
  • Choosing locations and working with natural light
  • Connecting with your subject to better tell a story
  • Composition strategies
  • Choosing lenses and selecting gear for a shoot
  • Camera-handling tips


- My name's Chris Orwig, I'm a photographer, author, and teacher, and more than anything, I am passionate about photography, and I'm really excited to share that passion with you in this course, Foundations of Portraiture. Now, this course is part of a larger series that we call Narrative Portraiture, and this series is all about creating pictures of people that tell stories. Well, instead of bringing someone into a studio, and surrounding them with lights, in this series, we're gonna go out into the world, and we're gonna explore how we can create pictures of people where they live, work, and play, and our goal, it isn't flattery, rather it's trying to create something that's honest and authentic, and to do so using natural light.

Now, in this first installment of the series, we aren't going to actually create photographs, rather we're going to step back, we're gonna explore how we can work with light and composition and gear, and how we can combine all of those elements in order to create narrative filled natural light portraits. In future installments, we'll hit the road with camera in hand, we'll interact with some really fascinating people, and we'll explore how we can photographically tell their stories. I like to think of the entirety of this series as a collaboration between you and me, so as you watch it, always be asking yourself, how does this relate to the photographs that I want to create? Well, in future installments, I'll provide you with some assignments, which will help you answer that question, but for now, let's start the beginning, let's build a foundation for portraiture.

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